|Adding to the medicine bag|
|Monday, 09 September 2013 09:32|
OSU Veterinarians offer Chinese treatments in tough chronic cases.
Veterinarian Dr. Reed Holyoak, a recognized board-certified specialist in theriogenology (animal reproduction medicine) at OSU's veterinary hospital, was looking for ways to treat infertility cases that were unresponsive to mainstream veterinary therapies.
While neither approach has all of the answers, it was these frustrating cases that spurred Holyoak into five months of intensive study and training in order to offer an integrated East-meets-West medical approach in treating patients at the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences' Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
"It has been a mind-opening experience and a very demanding course of study," says Holyoak, who already held MS, DVM and Ph.D. degrees. "In addition to teaching future veterinarians as students here at OSU, I look forward to offering this new approach in working with veterinary practitioners, pet owners and livestock producers in the state of Oklahoma and surrounding areas. These are part of the wonders of my life.
"We had two infertile client mares at the Veterinary Medicine Ranch, where we handle our theriogenology cases," recalls Holyoak. "We added acupuncture, and we were able to clear the infection in the reproductive track and extract embryos for impregnation, and now we have two expectant mares."
Another veterinarian at OSU has also added acupuncture to her repertoire. In May 2012, Lara Sypniewski, DVM, community practice veterinarian at the small-animal clinic, completed the Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians course in Colorado, a collaborative effort involving Colorado State University, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and the International Academy of Veterinary Medical Acupuncture.
"This course provided critically evaluated, evidence-based instruction in acupuncture and related techniques, such as laser therapy, massage and rehabilitation," says Sypniewski, Patricia Henthorne Clinical Professorship in Small-Animal Medicine. "The curriculum concentrated on the action of acupuncture on the nervous system and how it can be utilized to provide effective pain relief."
Hours of studying
"Acupuncture is an emerging modality in veterinary medicine that allows for a complement to Western therapies for the treatment of numerous conditions including acute and chronic pain," says Sypniewski. "There are many local and systemic effects that occur after a sterile needle is placed in an acupuncture point. Increased circulation locally around the needle is noted almost immediately. Stress is reduced by a secondary release of ‘feel good' hormones (endorphins from the body's own pharmacy, if you will) and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, allowing the normalization of organ function."
Sypniewski explains that muscular trigger points relax and muscular restriction is reduced. The brain and spinal cord are also affected by the endorphins released during needling, modulating the body's response to pain.
"Acupuncture is not painful, and most patients actually enjoy it, It is very safe, and side effects are rare," she adds. "I do warn, however, that patients may experience muscular discomfort after acupuncture due to the physiologic changes that occur after needle placement. This discomfort is short-lived and can be managed with appropriate anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications."
Sypniewski usually spends about one hour with patients; her treatments combine acupuncture, massage and laser therapy.
Both Holyoak and Sypniewski agree that acupuncture is a complement to Western medical therapies; it is an option and not the only treatment to consider when dealing with disease and chronic pain cases. There are many patients that will benefit from this modality, they say.
Only in the United States has modern medicine completely replaced older forms of medicine. The World Health Organization recently indicated that 80 percent of the world's population relies on herbal medications as part of their primary health care. The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes acupuncture as an alternative form of veterinary medicine, and it falls under the Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act as well. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health found sufficient evidence of acupuncture's value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.