Acupuncture for dogs? Yes! You heard right. This is an alternative treatment that pet owners are now considering for their dogs. It has become so very widely accepted that over 90% of pet insurers now cover it under alternative treatments.
What Exactly Is Acupuncture?
For those who may not have any idea of what acupuncture is, acupuncture is an ancient (over 5000 years old) Chinese treatment that does not make use of any form of medication. It simply makes use of tiny needles which are inserted into points on the body.
These points are known as acupoints and are located along what is known as the meridians, which are pathways that lead from the surface of the body to other vital organs of the body. By inserting these needles into certain points, specific organs are physiologically affected.
With this treatment, pain can be suppressed and inner organs stimulated. Endorphins also are known as “feel good” hormones can also be released into the body, making a person feel better. It is this same application on humans that has now been transposed to dogs and other pets.
The whole aim of acupuncture is not to provide relief from pain or to make the patient feel good, which are all great things in themselves. It aims to assist the body in healing itself. The idea is that there are energy imbalances that have resulted in the health condition.
It tries to create energy balance in the subject’s body by improving blood movement, stimulating the subject’s nervous system and releasing anti-inflammatory in addition to pain-relieving hormones in the subject’s body. With proper energy balance restored, it is believed the body will heal itself and the patient will be restored to full health.
Types of Acupuncture
There are different types of acupuncture and though they all work with the same principle, they do not all require the use of needles. Some of the different types of acupuncture include acupressure, aquapuncture, moxibustion, electrostimulation, and laser.
Where traditional acupuncture employs the use of needles, acupressure uses pressure, aquapuncture injects liquids, moxibustion uses heated herbs, electrostimulation uses electric currents while laser, of course, uses laser beams. All these different mediums are directed at the acupoints to bring about the desired physiological change.
Is Acupuncture Effective on Dogs?
This is one question that every dog owner will want to get answers to. First, from reports gotten from other pet parents who have tried acupuncture, it is a procedure that comes well recommended for the treatment and management of a number of pet health conditions.
Secondly, veterinarians have now found that acupuncture can actually help your dog. It has indeed been scientifically confirmed that the procedure can help with pain relief and also aid the release of endorphins into your pet’s body, leading to a happier and livelier pet.
The simple fact that insurance companies now cover acupuncture under alternative pet treatments is further proof that it indeed has its merits. In fact, there are now veterinarians who are getting trained in traditional Chinese way (that is, of practicing veterinary medicine). This includes acupuncture, acupressure and herbal treatments and more.
All of these are now being incorporated into modern treatments to offer holistic and medication-free treatments.
What Conditions Can be Treated With Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is not used in the treatment of all health conditions. It is more commonplace in the treatment of some health condition such as these…
Musculoskeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, chronic degenerative joint disease, tendonitis, intervertebral disc disease, muscle spasms and sprains.
Urinary problems like cystitis, incontinence and urine retention.
Neurological disorders such as stroke, epilepsy, deafness, paralysis caused by disc related diseases, and coma.
Respiratory conditions like rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, pneumonia and chronic coughing.
Gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting or chronic diarrhea, colitis, rectal prolapse, and gastroenteritis.
Inflammatory conditions such as allergies, skin inflammation (chronic) and lick granulomas.
Cancer management, which includes enhancing the body’s immune system, reducing the after-effects of chemotherapy and even reducing the growth of the cancer cells.
The above cover some of the conditions that many dogs are now receiving acupuncture treatment for and with good results too. Actually, a study showed that about 75% of pets treated with acupuncture record massive improvements with about a third of this number making full or almost full recovery.
Benefits of Acupuncture to Your Dog
There are a number of benefits that your dog will derive from going through the acupuncture treatment. Let us list some of these so you can fully understand why you should begin to consider it for your dog.
- It is very safe for your dog and has absolutely no side effects
- It does not involve the use of any medication and so can be used side by side your dog’s regular medication. It does not interfere with it
- It is great for pain management as it helps the body release the necessary substances that reduce pain in your dog’s body
- It helps improve the circulation of blood in your dog’s body which in turn leads to better oxygen distribution and waste removal from your dog’s system
- The treatment can have a very relaxing effect on your dog
- It can also help boost the body’s immune system, helping it fight diseases better
A Look at the Procedure
Looking at pictures of pins sticking out of dogs undergoing the treatment can be a bit scary. However, you actually have nothing to worry about as it is a very painless procedure. In fact, some dogs have been known to get so relaxed during the procedure that they fall asleep.
Before treatment commences, the dog to be treated is examined to select the acupoints to be treated and the number of needles needed. This will, of course, be determined by the ailment the dog is being treated for.
The pins are carefully inserted into the acupoints and a lot of times, the dogs are not even aware of what is going on. A treatment can last for between 10 and 20 minutes and may be required more than once a week.
After treatment has commenced, the acupuncturist will advise you on the number of times your dog will need to come in for treatment.
This is a safe and effective treatment as has been shown. However, it is important that you get this treatment from a certified and experienced practitioner as this will determine the result your dog will get.