Holistic treatments for animals are becoming more prevalent, and they are similar to the natural healing modalities being used with humans. Acupuncture for pets has become especially popular as an alternative technique. Veterinary acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific areas of an animal’s body to trigger a healing reaction. This practice has been used in China for eons to treat a variety of maladies and is sometimes used in combination with traditional medicine.
Conditions Acupuncture Is Used For
Acupuncture is being used for multiple health challenges, including:
- Respiratory problems such as asthma
- Musculoskeletal ailments such as nerve injury
- Neurological disorders such as epilepsy
- Reproductive disorders
- Allergies such as allergic dermatitis
- Urinary disorders
- Dermatological problems
- Gastrointestinal challenges such as diarrhea
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How It Works
An acupuncturist inserts extremely thin needles into the pet’s skin at certain points to correct imbalances. Imbalances are related to energy flow, also called qui, which is pronounced “chee.” Not only is the process painless, but it provides pain relief to the animal as endorphins and serotonins are released. These natural chemicals promote a calm state in the pet, which aids in healing. Chinese medicine is based on the belief that stagnation of blood and/or energy leads to pain, which can be brought into balance through acupuncture.
This technique is a very safe one when administered by a trained specialist. Unlike medications, acupuncture’s side effects are rare. Some animals may appear lethargic for 24 hours after their treatment, but that is a sign that physical changes are occurring. Sometimes pets seem worse for the first couple of days post-treatment, but then there is a marked improvement. Acupuncture should only be performed by a certified veterinarian who is trained in this modality. During treatments, the patient’s condition should be carefully monitored.
Not every dog or cat is a perfect candidate for acupuncture. To make a determination, the vet will conduct an examination of the animal, and then outline a treatment plan. The doctor will be able to discuss prognosis, costs of treatment, and how many sessions will be required so you can decide if acupuncture is right for your animal.
Times When Treatment Isn’t Advised
There are certain times when acupuncture is not the best choice for treatment, and other options should be explored. For example:
- When acupuncture will adversely interact with medications
- When pets are so ill they need antibiotics
- When a degenerative disease is in advanced stages
- At certain stages of a pet’s pregnancy
This alternative treatment can often be beneficial alone or in conjunction with traditional medicine. If your veterinarian is trained in this helpful Chinese healing method, he or she can help you decide if this procedure is one you and your dog or cat should explore.
What are your thoughts on acupuncture therapy?