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What is Electrical Stimulation Therapy?

Electrical stimulation in cats is a type of a rehabilitative therapy that sends electrical impulses to the nerve within the feline’s muscle. This commonly used therapy is effective for improving muscle tone, correcting structural abnormalities, reversing nerve damage, increasing muscle strength and increasing the muscular range of motion. This electric based treatment also accelerates healing, reduces pain and spasms, and enhances overall muscle function. Electrical stimulation is a painless, positive treatment if the therapy is properly delivered by a trained veterinary professional. 

There is more than one type of electrical stimulation theraypy and each stimulation device has multiple properties, which allow the veterinarian to achieve the desired effect. The three types of electrostimulation available in the world of veterinary medicine include; electroacupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and neuromuscular electrostimulation (NMES).  

Electrical Stimulation Therapy Procedure in Cats

Electroacupuncture Procedure:

  1. The acupuncture needles are placed at the appropriate points. 
  2. The electrode clips are attached to the previously placed needles. 
  3. The veterinarian turns on the machine
  4. The intensity of electrical impulses is adjusted accordingly. 

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS):

  1. The hair will be shaved over the affected area. 
  2. Electrodes (small gel pads that stick to the skin) will be placed over the trigger point area (a trigger point is the point of muscle pain).
  3. The machine is turned on and adjusted accordingly. 

Neuromuscular Electrostimulation (NMES):

  1. The fur will be shaved over the affected area. 
  2. Electrodes will be placed on the skin over the motor points. (A motor point is the nerve inside the muscle that stimulates a muscular contraction.) 
  3. The machine in then turned on and adjusted accordingly. 

Efficacy of Electrical Stimulation Therapy in Cats

Electrical stimulation in cats efficiently boosts the nervous system’s signal conductions, which results in a healthier muscle and pain management. Delivering a safe form of electricity to the nerves promotes contractions that the feline cannot admit naturally. 

Electrical Stimulation Therapy Recovery in Cats

Electrical stimulation in cats will not cure or reverse any permanent damage to the nerve, but the feline will show signs of improvement within a few hours after receiving treatment. The electrical stimulation session will last only a few minutes, which will be designated by the veterinarian. It may take several treatment sessions for the feline to show obvious signs of a recovery. 

Cost of Electrical Stimulation Therapy in Cats

The average cost of a feline electrical stimulation session is $30 to $40, but can cost pet owners up to $65 per treatment depending on the feline’s needs. The total cost of the therapy will depend on the number of treatments received, the length of the treatment, and if any diagnostic examinations were performed. 

Cat Electrical Stimulation Therapy Considerations

Electroacupuncture is to be used with caution, as some felines are highly sensitive and the nerves maintain a state of over relaxation for several days. It is advised that felines that are sensitive to general acupuncture, do not receive this form of electrotherapy. Electrical stimulation therapy is not designed to cure a feline of any disease, injury, or condition, but will improve the cat’s neuromuscular functions. Most forms of electrical stimulation will require the vet to shave a portion of the cat’s fur, which may regrow in a darker coloration that the original fur color. If your cat is an active competitor, you may want to consider other options for rehabilitative therapy. 

Electrical Stimulation Therapy Prevention in Cats

All injuries can be prevented by following basic pet safety requirements. Keeping your cat indoors while you are not home will greatly reduce the chances of him/her needing electrical stimulation therapy. Degenerative neuromuscular diseases in cats cannot be prevented and therapy treatments, such as electrical stimulation, are highly effective in delivering a higher quality of life.