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Metairie Pet Acupuncture

Acupuncture for Animals--What You Need to Know

Acupuncture is a useful healing tool for humans, but can it really be used for pets, too? The answer is yes, it can. And, it is quite effective. The physiology of our pets is not that different from our own, so the same principles of acupuncture that apply to humans work on our animal companions, too. It is a healing technique that has been used by various societies all over the planet for more than 4,000 years, and in that time, it has been used on both people and animals. Even our ancient ancestors knew it worked well to heal both. It helps the body heal itself, may help the user reduce the dosage of some of their medications, and makes other, more modern healing techniques work better. It is an excellent complimentary therapy to many things. It is just what your beloved pet needs to feel and be at their best.

Will Animals Tolerate Acupuncture?

When administered by a skilled provider who is used to working with animals, then yes, your pet will likely tolerate acupuncture well. Remember the skin or our pets is thicker than ours. The insertion of the thin acupuncture needle at various energy stimulating and healing points won't even be noticed by most of them. When they do notice it, it's only for a brief second, and then they are on to focusing their attention on the next most interesting thing in the room. With a skilled animal acupuncture provider, positive reinforcement, affection, gentleness, and a calm attitude and environment are provided, so your pet feels relaxed and protected throughout the entire session. Most pets do wonderfully with accepting acupuncture therapy. And, every type of pet can benefit from it. Dogs and cats are some of our most common clients, but we also treat large farm animals and small, exotic pets; we even treat birds with acupuncture. It is a beneficial healing technique for them all.

What Types of Conditions Can Benefit from Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture can treat many things with pets (and people). Some of the most common conditions we treat with acupuncture at our clinic include:

  • Musculoskeletal issues like arthritis, muscle atrophy, hip dysplasia, disc diseases, and similar things.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and decreased appetite.
  • Skin disorders like skin allergies.
  • Neurological disorders like seizures and nerve disorders.
  • Chronic animal asthma
  • Dry eye

What to Do Next

Contact our office to make an appointment for your pet's initial exam, evaluation, consultation, and treatment. Most pets need weekly treatments at a minimum, and some need more, depending on their health issues. They may need treatment for a few sessions, or regularly for a few months, or indefinitely. Either way, it is worth it to ensure the health, well being, and happiness of your pet.

We are looking forward to meeting you and your pet and welcoming you to the Benbow Veterinary Services family. You can contact us at:

Benbow Veterinary Services

2031 Metairie Road

Metairie, LA 70005


Acupuncture Performed by Dr. Benbow

Bluebell (the rooster)

benbow vet acupuncture services

We are very excited to introduce Bluebell, the first rooster patient at Benbow Veterinary Services. Bluebell has scoliosis and was brought to Dr. Benbow after he suffered a traumatic disc injury. This type of injury can be very painful and causes damage to the spine. Bluebell was unable to walk and he had trouble sitting upright. After examination, Dr. Benbow decided that acupuncture with electrical stimulation was the right treatment for Bluebell.

Acupuncture is used to help decrease inflammation in the body and also helps create stem cells, which can travel to injured areas in the body to help with healing. The electrical stimulation can also signal the body to create more stem cells as well. Exotic animals respond very well to acupuncture, and some animals can show improvement after just one session. Other exotic animals that respond well to acupuncture include birds, rabbits, and reptiles.

At this point, Bluebell has had two acupuncture sessions with electrical stimulation and his owner has let us know that he is doing much better. Acupuncture is not only helping heal Bluebell's disc injury. We will continue to monitor Bluebell's progress and we hope that he will continue to improve.

Oliver (the guinea pig)

“Oliver” is a 3-year old guinea pig that was presented to us in May for acupuncture after falling out of his cage, causing sustained injury to the lumbosacral region of his back and hind legs. Oliver was unable to walk and had deep pain present in both his right and left rear legs. After thorough examination, Dr. Benbow believed Oliver could potentially have Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Intervertebral discs are gelatinous-filled fibrous capsules located in between each vertebra and the purpose of these discs is to act as a shock absorber when the animal is active, as well as to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other. IVDD occurs when the disc capsule tears or bulges, putting pressure on the spinal cord and affecting the nerve pathway from the site of injury to the tail. This can cause anything from a mild weakness to complete paralysis in the affected area. One of the most common causes of IVDD is trauma, which seems to be the case with Oliver.

Dr. Benbow performed Oliver’s first acupuncture session, and asked to see him back one week later. At the second session, his owner noticed that Oliver started to regain feeling in his hind legs, but he still wasn’t moving them. Dr. Benbow instructed the owner to continue doing flexion/extension exercises and massaging his legs at home to stimulate the nerves. At his third session a week later, the owner said Oliver had started using his left leg to pivot and move around the house. He also noticed some minor improvement in his right leg. At this session, Dr. Benbow decided to use electrical stimulation, which involves hooking up electrodes to the acupuncture needles and sending electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves. Research also shows that electrical stimulation brings stem cells and macrophages to the site to decrease inflammation and speed up the healing process. At his fourth session a week later, we noticed significant improvement in Oliver! The strength in his both of his legs was much greater and he seemed to have significant improvement in his pain sensation.

Dr. Benbow was so happy with how well Oliver has been responding to his acupuncture that she felt it was time to start tapering down the session to every 2 weeks. Dr. Benbow feels that this is not the peak of Oliver’s recovery, but that he will continue to improve over the next few months. We look forward to seeing what’s in store for Oliver!”

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