Acupuncture is the insertion of small, sterile needles into specific point on the body to cause a healing effect. Used by itself, or in conjunction with Western medicine, acupuncture can treat many acute and chronic conditions in animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association considers acupuncture a valid treatment modality within the practice of veterinary medicine.
What conditions respond to acupuncture?
Acupuncture is often indicated for functional problems that involve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and arthritis. Behavioral, neurologic, reproductive, gastrointestinal, and skin issues can also benefit from acupuncture. Common problems treated with acupuncture include: lameness, arthritis, nerve injury, post-operative pain, gastrointestinal disorders, lick granulomas, and allergies.
Lameness equals pain.
Animals are good at hiding pain. They often seem bright, alert, and friendly even when they are painful. Limping is a sign that an animal is experiencing pain.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works both locally, at the site of needle insertion, as well as systemically. Locally, acupuncture cause a mild increase in blood flow and normalizes chronically stimulated nerves. Acupuncture releases muscle trigger points, spasms, and chronic restriction caused by pain or compensation. Systemically, acupuncture restores homeostasis by releasing natural endorphins and affecting musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. Acupuncture also stimulates the immune system, helping increase and restore vitality and health.
Is acupuncture painful?
Every animal has a unique personality and a different response to acupuncture. Most animals don’t notice needle insertion and often become very calm as endorphins begin to circulate. Many dogs fall asleep and take a nap during their acupuncture treatments.
Though acupuncture compliments traditional western medicine well, acupuncture isn’t a cure for every condition and doesn’t replace conventional veterinary medicine for your pet.