Healing Points - How Acupuncture Can Benefit Your Pet
Updated: Jul 19
Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments in existence, originating in China more than 5,000 years ago. Back in the 70's, acupuncture exploded in popularity in people, and has recently been gaining more traction for treatment in pets.
How does acupuncture work?
The goal is to promote the body to heal itself. Our bodies have an amazing innate ability to heal themselves when given the right tools, and our pets are no different. Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the body's tissues at acupoints, which is where nerve bundles and blood vessels come together. These acupoints are all over the body along meridians (where energy or Qi flows according to Chinese medicine). These needles enhance blood circulation, nervous system stimulation, and the release of anti-inflammatory, feel-good and pain-relieving hormones.
Acupuncture can work for both dogs and cats. Unlike prescription medications, there are no adverse effects from acupuncture. Some pets can be sensitive at certain points due to trigger points in the muscles or the correlated organ system being inflamed. However, most pets relax and enjoy the treatment, because the body produces natural endorphins and pain control.
What do we use acupuncture for?
Traditionally, acupuncture has been used for pain control with conditions such as osteoarthritis, injuries, or post surgery in rehabilitation. However, there are many other conditions we can use acupuncture in. Allergies, cancer support, nausea, appetite stimulation, and any chronic illness are some of the conditions we can use acupuncture for. The beauty of acupuncture is that it can complement any other conventional treatment and will enhance the effectiveness of that treatment. The worse that happens with acupuncture is that it may not work.
What does a typical acupuncture appointment look like?
Most acupuncture sessions last anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes, and each pet will have a varying number of needles placed, because we treat each pet as an individual. When we are first starting treatments, the frequency is increased with usually 2-3 treatments per week, and then a longer duration in between treatments as the pet responds. We recommend at least 4-6 treatments before deciding if your pet is going to respond. Remember acupuncture is modulating the immune system and helping the body heal, so it can take a little time for some pets.
Whether your pet has allergies or a chronic disease, there is a way to treat it with acupuncture. Because acupuncture can be integrated in with other holistic modalities, like herbal medicine, we can achieve excellent results to heal the body, whereas conventional medicine tends to only treat the symptoms. Due to the limitations with conventional medicine, this may be why you find yourself at the vet's office every time allergy season returns.
Meet Ryker. He's an incredible German Shepherd, but unfortunately is allergic to many things. He recently had an acupuncture treatment due to a flare-up of his allergies. Ryker had some improvement and along with continued herbal medicine, appropriate diet and continued acupuncture treatments, he would most likely reduce his allergies to a minimum. Check out our blog post on allergies which can give you some other ways to help your pet's allergies if you're pet is battling this condition. This is just one way that acupuncture can help. Stay tuned for more amazing ways to help pets with acupuncture in our future blog posts!
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*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.