Dr. Beverly Purswell of Blacksburg, Va., a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has graduated from the medical acupuncture course at Colorado State University and is now a certified veterinary acupuncturist.

Acupuncture, which has its roots in eastern countries, is a technique of inserting and manipulating very fine needles into specific points on the body with the intention of relieving pain and of other therapeutic purposes. This ancient practice has long been used among human patients and, over the past few years, has gained popularity and recognition in veterinary medicine.

"Acupuncture certainly does not replace traditional veterinary medicine," said Purswell. "It can, however, compliment the therapies we already use."

As part of her training, Purswell spent four weeks participating in lectures and laboratories. While she and her colleagues were primarily trained on canine and equine models, they also saw cattle, sheep, camelids, and some exotic animals.

She says she plans to use her new skills in her work in theriogenology, the specialized field of veterinary medicine that focuses on reproduction. "I will immediately start using acupuncture on my reproductive cases, especially in female and male infertility," said Purswell.

She also intends to start research utilizing acupuncture in subfertile/infertile male dogs. "We have great need for any treatment that might be effective in this area," she explains, "due to the lack of options using current traditional medicine."

Purswell's certification brings the number of veterinary acupuncturists in the college to six. They include: Drs. Mark Crisman, Wally Palmer, Scott Pleasant, and Rachel Tan, all members of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences; and Dr. Bess Pierce in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.

Purswell received her doctor of veterinary medicine, and her master’s and Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Georgia. She is board certified by the American College of Theriogenologists and is a member of numerous professional organizations including the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, the Society for Theriogenology, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and the American College of Theriogenologists.


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