Some people swear by the positive effects of acupuncture, and if your pet has chronic pain, joint problems, inflammation or other common ailments, maybe you have wondered if acupuncture can work for your pet, too. Well, some veterinarians say it can.
Acupuncture is not necessarily the right option for everyone, so it’s always important to discuss your pet’s personal medical conditions with your vet before taking your canine or feline friend to an acupuncturist. However, for some pets, it can be a safe way to help manage medical conditions.
Below we’ll lay out some answers to common questions regarding acupuncture for our furry friends.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture originates from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practices (TCVM) in ancient Eastern medicine. Today, it is sometimes used in conjunction with, or occasionally in lieu of, traditional Western treatment.
Predominantly, acupuncture strives for whole-body healing. In short, the body helps heal itself by correcting internal energy imbalances. This is done through the insertion of small, sterile needles into different points on your pet’s body to encourage different responses. Occasionally, injections such as B12, saline or the use of a heating technique are used.
How Does Acupuncture Help?
Some responses to needle insertion may include increased blood circulation, nerve stimulation, relief from muscle spasms and a release of endorphins to help manage pain.
Added benefits include the reduction of inflammation, increased energy and a boost in the immune system. It may also assist with nerve regrowth and hormone regulation.
What Conditions Can Be Managed by Acupuncture?
Generally, acupuncture can be particularly helpful for pets with inflammatory diseases, chronic pain, neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions and musculoskeletal problems. Some common ailments treated with acupuncture include:
- Arthritis. Joint inflammation from arthritis can lead to pain and discomfort for our pets.
- Behavior. Some pets with a lot of anxiety or other behavioral issues may benefit from acupuncture treatment.
- Cancer. Acupuncture may help reduce side effects of cancer treatment such as lethargy, nausea and decreased appetite.
- Degenerative Joint Disease. DJD can cause increased pain and a limited range of movement.
- Metabolic Disorders. A slew of metabolic disorders may lead to decreased appetite, lethargy and changes in energy. Acupuncture may help with the side effects of these diseases.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Acupuncture has been known to help these and other ailments. If you are wondering if your pet could benefit from this form of treatment, talk to your veterinarian.
Does Acupuncture Have Any Dangerous Side Effects?
One of the beauties of acupuncture is that there are minimal to no side effects, which is why some veterinarians recommend it in addition to standard medication management. It is considered safe for pets and does not pose any serious risks.
Occasionally, your pooch or kitty may feel sore or stiff after a visit to the vet, but these symptoms typically dissipate in 24-48 hours. Very rarely is there a negative reaction to this form of treatment.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Your pet’s particular treatment plan will depend on his or her specific needs. Typically, each session will last roughly 20-30 minutes. You may have to see the veterinarian more frequently for the first few weeks of treatment, such as one to three times per week, until your pet shows improvement.
After this point, sessions are tapered to ensure the best outcome with the least amount of treatment possible.
How To Find an Acupuncturist
Talk with your vet about finding a fully licensed veterinarian who has additional training in acupuncture. You may also find a list of certified veterinary acupuncturists on the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society’s website.
Thanks for stopping by! We’re glad you’re here and hope you learned more about acupuncture for pets. We’d love to hear from you. Have you ever tried acupuncture for your pet? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!