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on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Alana Alpern
Campus Veterinary Clinic’s Veterinary Acupuncturist
Dr. Alana Alpern grew up in El Paso, Texas where she spent most of her young life showing quarter horses at the international level. Pitzer College brought her to California where she received her BA with a double major in studio art and honors in biology. After receiving her DVM from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Alpern went on to continue her education at the Chi Institute where she studied Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in both herbal and acupuncture modalities. Dr. Alpern completed her internship requirements for her acupuncture certification at Animal Health Options in Park City, Utah in 2009. When not working with her patients, Dr. Alana Alpern treats horses through her practice, Blue Heron Equine. Outside of her work, she enjoys spending time with her family, drawing and exploring northern California’s outdoors.
Dr. Alpern is available to Campus Veterinary clients every other Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m.(additional times may be accommodated upon request). The initial exam will be approximately one hour long, and will consist of a thorough history and physical exam, as well as creating a plan for treatment. Subsequent treatments will be approximately 30-40 minutes in length. For additional details, pricing information or to schedule an appointment for your pet with Dr. Alpern, please give us a call or come by the clinic at any time.
Acupuncture & Eastern Medicine
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a Chinese healing art, which has been practiced for over 3000 years. The ancient Chinese observed that the stimulation of specific areas of the body surface could relieve pain and discomfort. These areas were called acupuncture points and have been mapped and recorded over millennia. Acupuncture may be defined as the stimulation of a specific point on the body by a specific method (usually with a needle) to achieve a therapeutic effect. Acupuncture is used worldwide, either by itself or in conjunction with western medicine, herbs or other forms of therapy for a wide variety of illnesses in many species of animals. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but can work very well when indicated. What are some of the most common disorders treated with Acupuncture? Acupuncture is used mainly to treat conditions that are functional in nature such as pain, inflammation, some allergic conditions and many of the chronic changes that occur in the body associated with the aging process. For our pets the most common conditions treated with acupuncture are liver disease, intestinal disorders, skin diseases, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, hip dysplasia and geriatric wellness.
How does acupuncture work?
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 spasms, 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. In traditional Chinese medical philosophy, acupuncture stimulation is thought to reduce pathologic blockages or imbalances of the body’s vital energy force (called “Chi”) thereby allowing the return of free flow of this life energy throughout the body. This can reduce pain and may enable the body to heal itself and return to a state of balance.
Is acupuncture safe for animals?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when a properly trained veterinarian administers it. Side effects are rare, and are usually seen in the form of lethargy and/or sleepiness for 24hours following a treatment. Occasionally an animal’s condition may seem worse for a brief period following a treatment. These effects indicate physiologic changes are taking place and are often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.
How long do acupuncture treatments take and how often are they given?
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Stimulation of an individual point may take as little as 10 seconds or as long as 30 minutes. A simple problem may take 1-2 treatments while a serious or chronic condition may require multiple treatments. When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficacy. Patients are often treated once a week to every other week. A positive response is usually seen within the first 4 treatments for serious or chronic conditions. Once a maximum positive response is achieved, the treatments are tapered off so the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can be tapered off to 2-4 treatments per year.