Acupuncture is an alternative medicine which has been practiced in China for thousands of years. In this procedure, needles are inserted into specific points in the body to stimulate healing. The practice is used around the world, often in conjunction with traditional Western medicine to treat many different types of conditions. Veterinarians have been using acupuncture in animals for generations. Although it does not cure every condition, in some cases it works very well.
Which Conditions Are Helped by Acupuncture?
Typically, acupuncture is indicated in issues that involve paralysis, inflammation not due to infections, and pain. Regular acupuncture treatment works well for minor sports injuries. Both professional and amateur athletes use acupuncture as part of their routine during training. Animals that are involved in jumping, racing or showing can benefit from acupuncture as a way to maintain top physical health.
Acupuncture works well for these conditions in small animals:
- Musculoskeletal problems, for example, arthritis, nerve injury and intervertebral disk disease
- Skin problems, such as allergic dermatitis
- Some reproductive problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
In large animals, acupuncture also treats functional problems, such as:
- Musculoskeletal problems, for example, sore backs
- Selected reproductive problems
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as nonsurgical colic
- Respiratory issues, heaves and bleeders
- Skin problems
- Neurological problems, such as facial paralysis
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture has its roots in ancient times, but its use and effects have been studied in modern times. We know that acupuncture helps the body heal itself through affecting physiological changes such as stimulating nerves, increasing blood circulation, relieving muscle spasms and causing hormones, like endorphins or cortisol to be released. Many of acupuncture’s effects are still unknown and need to be further researched to understand how it helps an animal heal. What we do know is that it works for certain conditions.
Does acupuncture hurt the animal?
In small animals, the acupuncture needles are very small and almost painless when being inserted. Once the needle is in place, there should be no pain. Many times, animals become so relaxed, they become sleepy during treatment. Our technicians closely monitor all patients for signs of tingles, cramps or numbness that may be uncomfortable as part of the treatment. Your animal’s comfort is our primary concern.
Is acupuncture safe for animals?
When administered by a trained veterinarian, acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments for animals. Although side effects of acupuncture do happen, occurrences are rare. Many times, for 48 hours after the procedure, the animal’s condition may seem worse. Animals get sleepy and lethargic. Actually, these effects indicate a physiological change is happening and most people see an improvement in the pet’s condition soon after.
How will my pet benefit from acupuncture?
As with many procedures, the success of the treatment depends on multiple factors, such as the condition being treated, the number of treatments and the health of the animal. Acute problems like a sprain may need only one treatment, but chronic ailments may require several treatments before seeing improvement. Our veterinary acupuncturist can help you understand the benefits for your animal’s specific condition and discuss your concerns. We only have your pet’s best interests and health in mind when we recommend treatment.