A rapidly emerging field in veterinary medicine is the ancient Chinese science of acupuncture. Acupuncture involved the insertion of very fine needles into specific points of the body to trigger therapeutic physiological effects. While we are not entirely sure how acupuncture works, it has been thought to be of benefit in the adjunctive treatment of humans for many years. According to the Chinese, energy (Qi) flows through channels in the body called meridians. Disease is the result of imbalance in this system and insertion of needles at certain locations along the meridians restores balance. Western medicine has established that acupuncture has an effect both on the body’s bio-electrical current and its release of the body’s natural pain controllers, endorphins. Acupuncture for pets is a specialized field and should only be performed by veterinarians trained in this science.
It should be used as an adjunct, or supplementary therapy rather than a replacement for mainstream treatments. Acupuncture in pets is particularly useful for problems involving the muscles or skeleton, such as arthritis, intervertebral disc disease or following orthopedic surgery. It can, however, be used for certain other conditions.
Most pets tolerate acupuncture without sedation, and many centers allow the owner to be present during the procedure. If you think your pet may benefit from acupuncture, speak to your vet regarding a referral to a veterinary acupuncturist for further assessment.
Have you ever tried acupuncture for your pets? Share with us in the comment section!