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Acupuncture as Pain Management for Pets

acupuncture for pets

Is My Pet a Candidate for Acupuncture Treatment?

If your pet is struggling with chronic pain or another health problem and traditional veterinary intervention has proven to be ineffective, then your pet may be a good candidate for acupuncture. Veterinary acupuncture may be beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Disorders of the musculoskeletal system
  • Arthritis
  • Paralysis of the rear legs
  • Seizures
  • Back pain
  • Facial nerve paralysis

If your pet is receiving treatment for cancer, acupuncture may also be effective for alleviating the side effects of these treatments, including pain, fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite. Talk to your veterinarian to find out if your pet is a good candidate.

If your pet is suffering from pain or another illness but not responding to traditional veterinary care, veterinary acupuncture may be an effective treatment option. Veterinary acupuncture is very similar to the type of acupuncture used to treat humans. Long, thin needles are inserted at specific pressure points along an animal’s body to alleviate pain and stimulate the central nervous system. Typically, only a certified veterinary acupuncturist may administer acupuncture treatments for animals.

Veterinary acupuncture has its roots in traditional Eastern medicine. According to Chinese philosophy, the “chi” (a body’s energy) travels through energy pathways, known as meridians. A blockage or obstruction in these pathways affects the chi’s ability to travel through the body.  Contemporary medicine recognizes that the concept of the “chi” is very similar to our understanding of the central nervous system. Stimulating different points along the central nervous system stimulates the release of chemicals in the muscles, brain, and spinal cord. These chemicals affect the brain’s perception of pain and stimulate the release of other chemical mediators to improve organ function.

Studies suggest that veterinary acupuncture may be beneficial for a variety of animal species, including dogs, cats and horses. In fact, Chinese and Korean farmers have treated horses and cattle with acupuncture for centuries. In recent years, the applications for veterinary acupuncture have expanded to include zoo animals, small mammals, and pet birds.

Veterinary acupuncture treatments are generally well tolerated by pets as these treatments are gentle and safe. In fact, some pets even fall asleep during treatment because they enter such a peaceful, relaxed state! Treatment sessions typically last between 15 and 20 minutes; a series of five to 10 sessions may be necessary to address a pet’s health condition.

When a pet is suffering from pain, it can be a very frustrating experience for pet owners if they are unable to do anything directly to alleviate this pain. If a pet is not responding to conventional anti-inflammatory medication or other pain medications, then acupuncture may be able to help.

In addition to pain management, veterinary acupuncture is also beneficial for treating the following conditions: (1) disorders of the musculoskeletal system such as arthritis, (2) paralysis of the rear limbs, (3) seizures, (4) back pain, (5) facial nerve paralysis. 

Source:

American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture. “What Is Animal Acupuncture?” 

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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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