What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic medical practice involving the insertion of tiny metal needles into points on the body and the subsequent stimulation of the points.
This alternative medicine treatment is a common feature in Chinese traditional medicine where it is believed to help re-balance one’s life energy, also known as chi or qi, and relieve pain.
Within Western medicine, the effectiveness of acupuncture is frequently associated with connective tissue, muscle, and nerve stimulation.
Can Acupuncture be Used on Pets?
Regardless of the explanation, many people have found relief through acupuncture and have sought to use the practice to achieve the same results in pets.
Recent developments within the field of veterinary medicine are evidence of the increasing popularity of acupuncture for pets as a viable treatment for animals. According to acupuncture.com, approximately 850,000 veterinary professionals in America practice acupuncture.
The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society is an organization dedicated to promoting the usage of acupuncture within the field and making acupuncture an important component of veterinary medicine.
Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes acupuncture as a valid practice within veterinary medicine.
How are Pets Treated with Acupuncture?
The nature of acupuncture treatment varies amongst patients and practitioners. Veterinary acupuncture should only be practiced by certified veterinary acupuncturists as they possess the extensive knowledge of both veterinary medicine and acupuncture necessary to provide the best possible treatment.
Certified veterinary acupuncturists will assess the pet’s condition and determine the best course of action.
Acupuncture may be used on its own or in conjunction with other medical care. Many veterinary acupuncturists embrace this integrative approach, using acupuncture, exercise, medication, and supplements as necessary to provide the most effective treatment to the pet.
What are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Pets?
There are many potential benefits of acupuncture for pets, and the practice can be used to address numerous ailments, though it is commonly used in cases involving paralysis or pain.
Dr. Karen Becker of MercolaHealthyPets.com lists many of the conditions most responsive to acupuncture, including allergic skin issues, arthritis, and hip dysplasia.
The IVAS lists even more acupuncture-receptive conditions, providing anatomical categories for the problems.
What is the Process of Pet Acupuncture?
In regards to acupuncture treatment, pets typically attend more than one session, and each session can last between twenty minutes and an hour.
Pets may experience some pain and discomfort while the needles are entering the body, but once the needles are in place, the pets should be at ease.
Can Any Pet Benefit from Acupuncture?
While many families have seen positive results from acupuncture, the alternative medicine isn’t necessarily the best option for every pet.
In some cases, the alleviation of pain may mask underlying medical conditions and cause pets to become active sooner than advised.
On acupuncture.com, Allen Schoen, DVM, co-editor of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine: Principles and Practice advises against using acupuncture on anxious pets as the adrenaline rush during acupuncture can counteract the treatment’s benefits.
Schoen also mentions the possibility of certain medications inhibiting the efficacy of acupuncture.
Ultimately, an experienced certified veterinary acupuncturist will be able to determine whether a pet is a good candidate for acupuncture as well as the best overall treatment for the pet’s condition.
More About Natural Healing and Your Pet
Just like us, domesticated animals like dogs and cats are affected by the health hazards of modern living. Pollution, poor nutrition, stress and unhealthy lifestyles can lead to a variety of illnesses and conditions that are very similar to those experienced by people.
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About the author:
Mandy Fricke is the community manager for Washington University in St. Louis’ @WashULaw, a Master of Law program, as well as a contributor to the LLM guide. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading, and yoga.
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