Veterinary student travels to China to study acupuncture
Fourth-year veterinary student Shannon David spent two weeks in China studying veterinary acupuncture thanks to a grant from Donald and Sue Crow from Shreveport, La. Also participating in the acupuncture course co-sponsored by Southwest University in Chongqing, China, and the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine in Florida were veterinarians from Washington State University (1), Oklahoma State University (1), the University of Florida (1), Southwest University (3), and veterinary students from the University of Queensland in Australia (1), Washington State University (6) and Oklahoma State University (4). Another veterinarian participating in the program was Dr. Larry McCaskill, who received his DVM from LSU in 1981 and practices in Oscar, La.
Shannon arrived in Beijing on May 6. After touring the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, Shannon and the other participants flew to Chongqing to attend the course held at Southwest University. This course counts as an elective for Shannon as part of her requirements to obtain her DVM, and it is one step on the road to her becoming certified in acupuncture.
“There are five modules that need to be completed before you can become certified in acupuncture,” said Shannon. “With this course, I have completed the first module, which included lessons on the five elements, yin and yang, and 40 points on the meridians (body areas used in acupuncture).” The course consisted of lectures and labs. Two days were spent performing acupuncture on dogs, and the students even spent one day performing acupuncture on each other.
“Dr. Huisheng Xie’s lectures were very informative,” said Shannon. “I went into these lectures without knowing much about traditional Chinese medicine, but Dr. Xie was able to explain these complex topics in way that was easy to understand. The labs were also helpful because we were able to palpate the acupuncture points.
“My interest in veterinary acupuncture began in a roundabout way,” she said. “I went to an acupuncturist for my own health reasons and thought it was interesting. That acupuncturist and I discussed veterinary acupuncture (he had a book on the subject and knew I was a veterinary student). Then, during my third year, I attended an Integrative Medicine Club meeting at school, where one of our alumni did an acupuncture demonstration on a Dachshund. After that demonstration, I wanted to know more about the certification process. Eli Landry, a classmate of mine, is currently enrolled in the veterinary acupuncture course at the Chi Institute. He told me about this opportunity in China and about the Crow’s donation that would enable me to attend.”
Acupuncture is being used more and more in veterinary medicine. It is used in equine medicine for pain management, muscle reeducation, and colic, especially colic involving dysfunction in gastrointestinal motility. It can also help with anhidrosis (non-sweating), reproduction, arthritis, back pain and nerve paralysis, in addition to many other medical disorders.
Acupuncture can be used to treat a vast number of conditions in dogs and cats, including musculoskeletal diseases (such as arthritis), nerve disorders, allergies, seizures, cancer, organ dysfunction and more. The benefits of acupuncture are far reaching, and many owners report improvements in appetite and energy, as well as a decrease in chronic pain. Acupuncture can improve immune function and boost overall health.
Acupuncture needles differ greatly from hypodermic needles used to draw blood in that acupuncture needles are very fine and do not cut into the skin; they are placed with little or no discomfort. Most often, pets only feel pressure locally from the needles.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital currently offers acupuncture therapy for equine patients and farm animals and will offer it for small animal patients in the near future. The Crow’s gift will enable clinical faculty, staff and students to receive training in integrative techniques that will benefit both students and the patients in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
“I knew that acupuncture training was something I wanted to pursue, but after this training, I know that I’m going to get certified,” she said.
Top Photo: Veterinary student Shannon David visited the Great Wall of China while attending an acupuncture course in the country.
Middle Photo: Participating in an acupuncture lab at Southwest University in China are (from left) Dr. Mushtaq Memon (Washington State University), Dr. Cori Youngblood (Washington State University, Class of 2011), Krytal Atwood (Washington State University), a Southwest University veterinary student, and Shannon David (LSU SVM, Class of 2013).
Bottom Photo: Participating in an acupuncture lab at Southwest University in China Melissa Dulcey (Washington State University), Shannon David (LSU SVM, Class of 2013), a Southwest University veterinary student, Dr. Zhaorong Zhu (Southwest University), and Dr. Yue Ma (Southwest University).
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