The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group was founded by a small group of dedicated veterinarians in 1985 to promote acupuncture as a treatment modality in veterinary medicine.
The Group is also the Australian Affiliate of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) and has been providing IVAS certified training to veterinarians since 1991.
IVAS is an internationally recognised organisation dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture through its accreditation process, continuing education programs and funding for responsible research projects to advance veterinary acupuncture. The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group delivers The IVAS Veterinary Acupuncture Course through The Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture.
Certified veterinarians are entitled to use the letters CVA (Certification in Veterinary Acupuncture) and must participate in continuing education in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in order to maintain their membership.
The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group aims to promote the use of acupuncture in veterinary practice as a drug free, complementary therapy which can be used in conjunction with conventional western medicine and surgery.
Members are able to connect with other practicing veterinary acupuncturists and participate in continuing education.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific skin points on the body. Acupuncture has the ability to alter various physiological body functions. Along with herbal medicine, it is probably one of the oldest forms of human and veterinary medicine in the world. Although pets have only recently been treated with acupuncture in the West, in China, horses, cows and pigs have been treated for well over 3000 years.
Apart from needles, other methods such as laser, electrostimulatorion, acupressure, moxibustion (heat), aquapuncture and gold bead implants may be used to stimulate acupuncture points. Veterinary Acupuncture is part of a whole system of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), which also include diet, Chinese herbs, massage and exercise. TCVM can be used in conjunction with mainstream medicine and surgery to achieve better patient outcomes especially in cases where conventional treatment is not enough or not well tolerated.
The effects of acupuncture is not limited to pain relief. Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to rebalance the whole body and promote healing and a sense of wellbeing throughout. It can relieve muscle tension, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, stimulate nerve regeneration, the immune systems and endocrine functions. Scientific studies have shown increases in endorphins, red and white cell counts and cortisol levels in the blood stream after acupuncture. It stimulates many pathways in the body, always bringing the body back to a state of balance and homeostasis.
Recently there have been a number of studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to observe the effect on the brain when inserting a needle into various acupuncture points. For example: acupuncturing points to treat eye problems will stimulate the optic section of the brain; points used to treat stomach conditions will stimulate the part of the brain that regulates stomach and bowel. The most exciting finding is that most acupuncture points have a regulating effect on the amygdala thereby reducing the body's stress levels and re-establishing the normal diurnal rhythms of the body.
In the west, acupuncture is used primarily when medications are not effective or contraindicated due to side effects or when surgery is not feasible. Approximately 80% of veterinary acupuncture treatments are used to treat musculoskeletal conditions e.g. hip dysplasia, arthritis, intervertebral disc disease and chronic lameness.
Many other conditions also respond to acupuncture, e.g. diseases of the skin, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, reproductive tract, cardiovascular system, nervous system, eyes, ears, immune system and behavioural problems.