Acupuncture is an ancient healing art that only more recently has found its way into veterinary medicine. More and more vets are finding that pet acupuncture and other forms of holistic medicine can provide relief in a number of situations. In fact, a growing number of pet owners are turning to acupuncture to help provide their pets with a more comfortable, pain-free life. Even better, acupuncture can be used not only alone when traditional medicine is not an option, but also as a compliment to other forms of therapy.
For example, acupuncture is often used to:
- Help relieve inflammation and pain
- Relax muscles and alleviate pain connected to injuries or tension
- Improve blood flood in the body. This in turn helps the body release toxins and heal faster
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Pet Acupuncture?
Since acupuncture often provides an overall feeling of well-being and relaxation, many vets recommend it for pets that have been ill or are recuperating from surgery. This is in addition to any type of medication or traditional treatment your pet might also be receiving. The idea is that by adding acupuncture, you can improve the immune system and help speed up healing.
Common conditions treated by acupuncture include:
- Chronic pain caused by arthritis, disk or nerve injuries
- Asthma (especially in cats) and other respiratory problems
- Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- A number of neurological problems, such as paralysis of the face and legs
- Skin problems, including dermatitis and other types of skin allergies
- Stress, including the kind caused by illness or chronic pain
- Weakness of the hind legs, hips and back
- Urinary problems, including kidney disease and incontinence
Many vets also use acupuncture to manage post-surgery pain or pain during rehabilitation after extensive surgery or a serious injury. Although acupuncture can be used for many ailments, most studies done on it have been about musculoskeletal conditions.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Although there have been many studies surrounding the use and efficacy of acupuncture, not everybody agrees on when and how well it works. However, acupuncture is well accepted in veterinary medicine has a tool to help pets deal with pain and other conditions.
The basic principle behind acupuncture is that accessing certain energy points in the body helps stimulate the central nervous system. This in turn helps correct imbalances and increases the flow of qi or life energy. In addition, when a needle touches certain points in the body, it stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that ease pain and relieve tension. This is why acupuncture not only helps with physical pain but also causes an overall feeling of calm and relaxation in pets.
Some More Good News
Worried about how your pet is going to feel during a session? Don’t be: acupuncture is not painful, and many pets actually find sessions very relaxing. In addition, acupuncture done by a well-trained vet has no side effects, although some pets might experience some tingling or numbness during treatment. This is usually temporary and goes away on its own. If anything, it’s a sign that the body is responding and the needles are causing a reaction.
If you have concerns or questions about using acupuncture on your pet, talk to a vet. Keep in mind that not all vets are qualified to do acupuncture, so you want to make sure you’re dealing with a professional who is certified and has the experience to deal with pets properly.