OPVMC: Pain Relief for Injured, Ill & Post-Op Surgical Patients


At Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, no animal is ever allowed to suffer. Every measure is taken to reduce pain, increase comfort, stimulate healing, and enhance well-being in our pet patients.

Surgical Pain Relief with Anesthesiology

Anesthesia refers to blocking pain, achieved by drugs that induce loss of consciousness, awareness, and pain. This allows patients to undergo surgery without stress and trauma. The form of anesthesia is indicated by type of surgery, age and condition of the patient, and level of invasiveness.

Testing for Safe Anesthesia

Prior to any surgery, we evaluate each patient based upon age, health, and anticipated anesthetic procedure.

  • Pets older than seven years of age should have a complete blood chemistry profile, CBC (complete blood count), and urinalysis prior to an elective procedure such as dental cleaning or mass removal.
  • Younger pets are given basic screening blood chemistries and are checked for anemia prior to elective procedures such as spaying, neutering, or declawing.
  • Any pet of any age having a dental cleaning requires anesthesia, a screening blood chemistry, and to be checked for anemia.

Anesthesia Monitoring

Pets are maintained under gas anesthesia with a carefully calibrated mixture of oxygen and isoflurane or sevoflurane gases. These gases are extremely safe for birds, cats, dogs, reptiles, small mammals, and other species. These agents allow for quick induction, shorter time under anesthesia, and rapid recovery time.

During anesthesia, the pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen content of the blood, body temperature, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram are continuously monitored. A licensed veterinary technician is assigned to continuously record anesthetic progress and stability during the procedure, allowing the doctor to focus on the surgery.

Acupuncture Eases Pet Pain

Traditional Chinese medicine views the body as a unique energetic system. Acupuncture is aimed at maintaining and rebalancing this energy system to facilitate healing. Combined with western veterinary medicine, acupuncture helps manage comfort, quality of life, and the recovery process.

Acupuncture may be incorporated into therapy for a wide range of problems: gastrointestinal disease; respiratory disease; musculoskeletal and neurologic disorders; reproductive, endocrine and metabolic disorders; immune-mediated and allergic disorders; dermatologic problems; and urinary diseases.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture stimulates specific points along the body’s meridians that conduct the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”). The healthy flow of Qi may be disrupted by many factors including trauma, chronic injury, nutritional problems, fatigue, genetic weakness, or environmental factors such as heat, cold, dampness, or wind. Acupuncture attempts to re-establish the balance or flow of Qi.

Acupuncture increases blood and oxygen supply to areas treated, releases endorphins (internally produced pain mediators), and increases production of cortisone and other anti-inflammatory agents. Treatments may also aid the immune system by increasing white blood cell and antibody production.

Acupuncture FAQs

What conditions respond to acupuncture?

Musculoskeletal disorders including arthritis, degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease, and post-operative orthopedic surgery; neurological disorders, including paralysis secondary to disc disease; respiratory disorders such as chronic asthma; ocular disorders; gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, chronic/acute diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and decreased appetite; chemotherapy side effects and cancer pain.

How often will my pet need acupuncture?

Acupuncture is performed once or twice a week for four to eight treatments or until the desirable effect is reached. Treatments are then tapered according to the patient’s response, typically about every two to six months for maintenance.

How long does it take?

The length and frequency of treatments depends but, typically, the initial consult and treatment take 60 minutes and subsequent treatments may take 30 minutes.

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. It is performed with sterile, thin needles and side effects are rare. Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely develop.

Is it painful?

While some feel a bit of discomfort as the needles are inserted, most pets relax during treatment and many even fall asleep.