Q.  How long is my appointment?
A.  Your first appointment will be a full hour to establish the history of the patient and make a treatment plan. It includes a letter to your referring veterinarian with recommended follow-up care.

Q. If I have a new pet can I just come in for a check-up?
A.  Yes, wellness exams are offered at a reduced rate.

Q.  Are house calls available?
A. Yes, home and farm visits are available. These are an ideal money saving choice for people with multiple pets, or for pets who don’t travel well. Dogs, cats, horses, goats, and cattle are all treated on home visits.

Q. How far out will you go for a farm visit?
A. I cover Montgomery, Giles, and Craig counties. Appointments are required.

Q.   Can I get a telephone consultation?
A.   Yes, telephone consultations are available after after the first physical exam and a valid veterinarian patient relationship has been formed.   Follow-up visits are recommended, but are sometimes difficult due to distances traveled, so telephone appointments are a good option for some clients.

Q. Do you give vaccines at all?
A. Yes, I believe vaccination has a purpose but that over vaccination can be harmful to the immune system. Your customized vaccination schedule will be discussed at your first appointment.

Q. Should I ask my regular vet for a referral to you?
A. Referrals with medical records are great but not required. You may independently seek out a second opinion which most vets will encourage if you desire more care than you are currently getting. Your regular vet will receive a letter explaining what our treatment plan is and will be encouraged to remain a part of your health care team.

Q. What is pet hospice?
A. It is end of life care and advice covering patient comfort, pain control, nutritional support, just like hospice for people. A peaceful home euthanasia is available, if pain becomes unbearable.

Q. What takes place during home euthanasia?
A. Your pet will get a subcutaneous injection of a sedative to make him/her very calm and sleepy while you say your goodbyes. Then an intravenous injection is given which causes unconsciousness within seconds. It is painless and may be a humane choice when the pet is ready to go.

Q. I want my pet to die a natural death at home, but everyone says to put her down. Is this cruel?
A. No, you love your pet and this is not cruel if proper measures are taken for the patient’s comfort.  The separation of body and spirit can take some days and this can be a peaceful and spiritual time of  transition in many cases.

The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society has provided the following questions and answers on its website:

Q: For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?
A. Acupuncture is indicated mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:

•      Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis or vertebral disc pathology
•      Skin problems, such as lick granuloma
•      Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
•      Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
•      Selected reproductive problems

For large animals, acupuncture is again commonly used for functional problems. Some of the general conditions where it might be applied are the following:

•     Musculoskeletal problems, such as sore backs or downer cow syndrome
•      Nervous system problems, such as facial nerve paralysis
•      Skin problems, such as allergic dermatitis
•      Respiratory problems, such as heaves and “Bleeders”
•      Gastrointestinal problems, such as nonsurgical colic
•      Selected reproductive disorders

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.

Q: How does acupuncture work?
A. According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and, thereby, assist the body to heal disease.

In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.

Q: Is acupuncture painful?
A. For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. The larger needles necessary for large animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.

Q: Is acupuncture safe for animals?
A. Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals may become sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.

Q: How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?
A. The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several or several dozen treatments.

When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficiency. Patients often start with 1-3 treatments per week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is usually seen after the first to third treatments. Once a maximum positive response is achieved (usually after 4-8 treatments), treatments are tapered off so that the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.

Animals undergoing athletic training can benefit from acupuncture as often as twice a week to once a month. The frequency depends on the intensity of the training and the condition of the athlete.

Q: How should I choose an acupuncturist for my animals?
A. There are two important criteria you should look for in a veterinary acupuncturist:

1. Your veterinary acupuncturist must be a licensed veterinarian.
2. Your veterinary acupuncturist should have formal training in the practice of acupuncture for animals. (For example, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society offers an accredited certification program for veterinary acupuncturists.) 

In most countries, states, and provinces, veterinary acupuncture is considered a surgical procedure that only licensed veterinarians may legally administer to animals. A veterinarian is in the best position to diagnose an animal’s health problem and then to determine whether an animal is likely to benefit from an acupuncture treatment, or whether its problem requires chemical, surgical, or no intervention. In the USA, the American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery, but extensive educational programs should be undertaken before a veterinarian is considered competent to practice acupuncture. Ask your veterinarian about their training. The more your veterinarian knows about the traditional Chinese philosophies and Western scientific bases for acupuncture, the more sure you can be that your animals will be treated properly.