How Can Pets Benefit From Acupuncture Treatment?

Have you ever heard of veterinary acupuncture? You may be surprised to find out that this type of treatment is available to pets and might even be a good solution for your pet’s health and well-being.

Read through the information below to find out more about veterinary acupuncture and how it can benefit pets. From there, you can choose whether to pursue this possibility for your pet. If you have any questions, feel free to call Long Island Veterinary Specialists at (516) 501-1700.

Defining Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one treatment offered in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is grounded in the philosophy that the body’s life force, or Qi (“CHē”), flows along body channels known as meridians. An imbalance in one’s Qi is thought to cause disharmony and, as a result, disease. Acupuncture and the action of needle insertion along specific points on the meridians stimulate beneficial effects.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Pets

Benefits of acupuncture treatment sessions may include:

  • Pain relief
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Increased blood flow to specific areas of the body
  • Muscle spasm relief
  • Release of endorphins
  • Release of cortisol

Acupuncture for Pets

Acupuncture for pets works the same way that it does for humans, including the insertion of needles. Pets can enjoy a wide variety of results when they receive acupuncture, including relaxation, relief from cramps and pain, improved mobility, reduced inflammation, and much more. Many pets respond well to this type of treatment over time. Some pets may even relax so deeply during their acupuncture treatments that they fall asleep for the duration of the treatment session.

What Acupuncture Can Treat

Acupuncture is most used to treat pain related to arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. However, it can also treat other types of pain and disease. It is often recommended as a good course of action for pets who are predisposed or who develop orthopedic conditions such as hip dysplasia.

Acupuncture can also be used to treat hot spots and benign granulomas on a dog’s legs and feet. The procedure works for these issues by relieving the nerve pain that causes dogs to lick constantly and aggravate these skin conditions.

Acupuncture may benefit pets with conditions including:

  • Chronic musculoskeletal problems – including arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, and neck and back pain
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Nerve conditions
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Slowed gastrointestinal motility, and other GI issues
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Limping
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Allergies
  • Itching and scratching
  • Behavioral problems
  • Heart failure and heart murmurs
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
dog face
dog back with needles

How a Veterinary Acupuncture Appointment Works

First, the pet will be evaluated and checked for any signs of worsening conditions or problems related to previous treatments. The pet’s health history will be recorded and any changes since the last appointment will be noted as well. From there, the problem areas to focus on will be pinpointed and the vet will talk with you about the type of treatment your pet will receive during this visit.

The process will then begin, with pets only receiving sedatives if they absolutely must have it. The needles will be inserted slowly and carefully, and your pet will be monitored throughout the experience. The process will take about 30 minutes to complete.

What to Expect Afterward

After the visit is over, chances are good and that your pet will not show any signs that anything happened at all. However, some pets may be very tired for about a day after an acupuncture appointment and will need extra rest. Other pets may be a little bit stiffer than they normally are for the first day but should have improved mobility in the days following.

Make sure your pet is allowed to rest as much as they want to after their appointment and give them plenty of cool, clean water to drink. Feed them normally afterward as well.

How to Know if Your Pet is a Good Candidate for Acupuncture

If your pet is dealing with chronic pain related to joint problems, birth defects, or arthritis, they may be a great candidate for acupuncture. Pets who have nausea, inflammation, and loss of appetite related to chemotherapy may also be ideal candidates for this treatment, as are pets who cannot receive normal pain medication due to health problems such as those with liver or kidney disease. Acupuncture may also provide pain relief and comfort for older pets who are not good candidates for orthopedic surgery.

Acupuncture is an extremely safe treatment when performed by a veterinarian who is certified in veterinary acupuncture. These treatments are a form of alternative therapy that can often be used in conjunction with your pet’s primary care to provide a holistic, comprehensive approach to certain medical conditions.

There is a lot to consider when you are trying to decide whether veterinary acupuncture is a good option for your furry friend. If you have any further questions or concerns, you can always speak with your primary veterinarian for more information or for a referral to a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA). For more information about Acupuncture and the Integrative Medicine services at LIVS, give us a call today at (516) 501-1700.