Acupuncture as a treatment for various ailments has existed for thousands of years. The therapy was performed on both humans and animals, and there is even a “father of animal acupuncture” named Shun Yang.
Traditionally, the treatment used fine needles, but today, modern practitioners also use electric heat, massage, and low-power cold lasers as part of the treatment.
How It Works
According to the Ancient Chinese, illness occurs because there is an unbalance of energy in the body. The use of needles, or acupuncture, guides chi, or energy along the meridians or pathways, to restore balance and heal the body.
This has been studied by modern medical researchers, and acupuncture has proven to affect eclectic energy, increase blood circulation and release endorphins and other chemicals in the brain.
In the United States, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society is responsible for issuing certificates to veterinarians. Today, acupuncture is practiced by 150,000 vets and 700,000 para veterinary assistants.
What It Treats
Acupuncture can treat ailments in dogs such as:
- Noninfectious inflammation
- Orthopedic, obstetric, and surgical pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Reproductive issues
- Disc problems
- Skin disease
- Hearing loss
- Neurological disorders
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Chronic respiratory illnesses
Note that acupuncture usually complements other treatments and is believed to increase the efficacy of antibiotics, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Scheduling an appointment
Before visiting an acupuncturist, consult your vet. The session will begin with a physical exam for signs of illness, then will be followed by questions about habits, medical history, vaccinations, and so forth.
Your dog will be conscious during the process while needles are inserted based on the ailment and location of the meridians. They are usually about half an inch to an inch long, and should not hurt. In fact, it should be relaxing.
The session may last from a few seconds up to 30 minutes. Your dog might feel worse for a day or two after and should begin to recover after four to eight sessions.