Acupuncture is a centuries-old therapy utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat various ailments and improve patient health. Pets may experience similar physical and emotional health concerns as humans. Some ailments may benefit from integrating traditional “Western” medicine with TCM therapies such as acupuncture. Acupuncture can help your pets in much the same way it can help human patients. Here is a brief overview of acupuncture for pets. From finding a veterinary acupuncturist a few of the common ailments that may benefit from acupuncture therapy.
Acupuncture For Pets – Picking A Practitioner
When selecting an acupuncturist for your pet, pick someone who has the training and qualifications for the job. Above all, the acupuncturist must be both a licensed veterinarian (DVM) and a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA). In most states, acupuncture can’t be practiced without the correct licensing and veterinary acupuncture is no different.
While the relative “risks” of acupuncture are nominal, an improperly trained acupuncturist may not achieve the desired therapeutic results. When properly utilized, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and veterinary acupuncture can help your pet in all stages of life by alleviating various health conditions and improving overall patient well-being.
During acupuncture, your pet shouldn’t feel discomfort and many pet owners report their pets becoming very relaxed during the procedure with some even falling asleep. Some of the common health conditions acupuncture can help with include the following:
- Arthritis and degenerative joint disease: chronic degenerative joint pain is extremely common in our older pets. Symptoms in pets often mirror what people with joint pain experience but clinical signs can be subtle, especially in the early stages. Acupuncture is an excellent integrative therapy to help clear the body of inflammation.
- Relaxation of aches and pains, post-operative therapy: acupuncture can stimulate natural (aka endogenous) anti-inflammatory and pain control substances in your pet’s body. Acupuncture can also aid in relaxation of skeletal muscles to reduce pain from soft tissue injuries. This can make acupuncture an effective treatment for traumatic injuries, sports injuries, or post-operative pain after surgery.
- Cancer: acupuncture can be part of therapeutic or palliative care in the cancer patient. Especially in multi-modal pain control. Acupuncture can help reduce nausea and stimulate appetite in the cancer patient. This can help improve your pet’s quality of life.
- Healthy circulation: increased blood flow following acupuncture therapy supports a healthy circulatory system and helps the body filter and remove environmental and metabolic waste products and toxins.
- Digestive health: acupuncture is often used in cases of chronic digestive issues such as malabsorption, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can also be used to stimulate the appetite.
- Mental health: acupuncture is a good option as part of a larger integrative treatment plan for dogs with anxiety, restlessness, poor sleep patterns, and other mental health ailments.
Final Thoughts And Considerations
Acupuncture can be an effective integrative therapy for your pet. Sometimes used as a stand-alone treatment. However, modern applications have found it works very well when used in combination with many traditional “Western” therapies and medicines. Sessions can run between 20 and 60 minutes. A full treatment cycle is typically between 4-8 sessions with follow-up dictated by the patient’s response and individual needs.
A final consideration is that acupuncture is a very safe therapy – the potential for “negative” side effects is nominal and it will not interfere with any existing medication your pet may be on. This makes it an ideal addition to your pet’s regular treatments and checkups. To see if acupuncture is right for your pet, please contact us to arrange a consultation appointment with our Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Dr. Morgan.