How is acupuncture performed?
Dr. Tucci assesses each patient at every appointment in regards to their current health and concerns and develops an individualized treatment plan. Very thin, sterile needles are carefully inserted into specific acupuncture points. There are many options when it comes to acupuncture points, so the treatment plans are always done within the pet’s comfort zone. Pets are able to walk around with the needles in if they wish. Often they will lie down and relax. Treatments may last between 15-45 minutes depending on the pet and their condition.
What if my dog is nervous at the vet or doesn’t like needles?
Acupuncture is performed in a calming environment, and stress-free manner. Hyper or anxious dogs may receive some soothing massage prior to placing the needles. Acupuncture is performed with needles that are much smaller than those typically used to draw blood or give an injection. Insertion of the needles is pain-free. The acupuncture treatment releases relaxing endorphins and relieves pain. Some dogs will even fall asleep with the needles in! Owners are often surprised that their pets enjoy coming in for their treatments.
How many treatments are needed?
The number of acupuncture treatments needed depends on the nature, severity, and duration of the problem. One or two treatments may be enough for an acute condition like an upper respiratory infection or fever. A series of three to ten treatments may be needed to improve more long-term problems. Regular monthly or seasonal “tune-ups” may be recommended for chronic problems to help keep pets feeling their best and to prevent relapses or flare ups.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture helps the body heal itself, and therefore has very few situations where practitioners need to exercise caution. These situations include performing acupuncture on pregnant animals or animals with tumors and open wounds. Needles should never be placed into tumors or open wounds but acupuncture can be performed elsewhere in the body to help treat tumors or heal wounds. Acupuncture is only performed by certified veterinarians. As a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA), Dr. Tucci always has your pet’s health and safety in mind. She is happy to collaborate with your pet’s primary care veterinarian to discuss any concerns that you have.
Does acupuncture really work?
There are many conditions and situations for which acupuncture is beneficial. Animal research studies have proven the effects of acupuncture for pain relief of various musculoskeletal and neurologic disorders; to decrease seizures; to resolve nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation; and to decrease intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma and more.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) consensus statement on acupuncture, there are more than 40 conditions for which acupuncture may be indicated for humans. The report states that data to support the use of acupuncture for some conditions are as strong as data for many accepted Western therapies. The same is true for pets.
Why are Chinese herbal formulas better than my over-the-counter supplements?
Today, there are many supplements available for pets and people which can be purchased without a prescription from grocery stores, health food stores and online. However these supplements are not regulated to ensure that they include the ingredients that are advertized in appropriate doses to be effective and that they do not contain any harmful ingredients. Dr. Tucci only prescribes herbs that have undergone testing and analysis and are compliant with US FDA GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). Dr. Tucci, being a veterinarian, can also advise you on potential side effects or medication interactions, whereas the grocery store workers cannot.
Dr. Tucci’s TCVM approach is used to select a specific formula based on your pet’s specific needs. Not every pet with kidney failure or arthritis will be treated with the same herbal medication.
How will Chinese herbs affect my pet's regular medications?
Dr. Tucci will ask you about all of your pet’s medications and supplements when she first meets with you and your pet; please keep her updated of any changes. Almost all of the Chinese formulas are safe to be given at the same time as your pet’s current medications. There are very few instances where an adjustment may need to be made, but Dr. Tucci will discuss this with you and your local veterinarian before starting these therapies. You should not stop any previously prescribed medications without speaking to your veterinarian first. The most common side effect of Chinese herbs is loose stool, which quickly resolves with a dose adjustment.
As your pet responds to the herbal medications, we may be able to decrease or stop Western medications that could have harmful side effects.
Does herbal medicine really work?
Similar to acupuncture, there are many conditions and situations for which herbal medincine is beneficial. Animal clinical studies have proven the effects of herbal medicine for respiratory infections, urinary tract stones, ear infections, diarrhea, and more. There have also been numerous case reports describing benefits in the fields of gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, reproduction, oncology, and behavior.
How does VMM work?
Once a 'restriction' (or a lack of normal motion of a joint) is identified, using the proper positioning, a high velocity low amplitude adjustment is made to that specific joint. Using that technique, a reflex relaxation to the surrounding muscles allows an immediate improvement in joint motion. Since pets have different anatomy, there is almost never a loud crack as people have become accustomed to hear during their adjustments. With the resolution of the restriction, there is also an improvement in blood flow and nerve conduction to the joint and surrounding tissues.
What kind of results are expected?
Many pets will show immediate improvement or will improve over 24-72 hours. However, long-term or chronic restrictions may require more than one treatment. If you notice a recurrence of symptoms, another treatment is likely required. Dr. Tucci will recommend a schedule of rechecks based on each pet's individual condition and their response to treatment.
Can acupuncture and VMM be performed on the same day?
Absolutely! Acupuncture and VMM are synergistic.