Just like for us humans, acupuncture can provide a variety of different benefits to dogs and cats… and to other types of pets as well.
So if you’re looking for an alternative, holistic approach to helping your pet with pain or another medical issue, acupuncture might be a great choice for them.
How does acupuncture help pets?
Here are some of the most common conditions where acupuncture can help…
- Pain, especially from arthritis (this is a safe supplement to any pain medications your pet might be taking)
- Back pain and other spinal problems
- Inflammation (from a variety of difference medical conditions)
- Certain digestive problems
- Certain skin lesions, especially lick granulomas
- Certain behavioral problems or anxiety
- And more…
Also, while acupuncture is not a treatment for cancer, it can help some pets with cancer to have a much better quality of life, by reducing pain, inflammation, and nausea, and helping to improve their appetite.
An important note: Acupuncture isn’t a substitute for any medical care your pet may need such as antibiotics and other medications, or surgeries — but, it can work in combination with those therapies for the best possible outcome in terms of helping your pal feel better.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture in pets is part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), and follows the same principles as acupuncture in human beings.
It operates on the principle that illnesses in the body are caused by energy imbalances — and that, by correcting these energy balances, we can promote healing and relieve pain.
This is done by inserting tiny, very thin needles along certain key points of the body, called “acupuncture points.” These points are where bundles of blood vessels and nerves meet, and they tend to run in groups or lines along the body called “meridians.”
When an acupuncture needle is inserted at one of these points, it:
- Stimulates the release of natural pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances in the body
- Improves blood flow, increases oxygen delivery, and removes toxins
- Relieves tension and relaxes muscles (and might make your pet a bit sleepy, too—even nervous pets tend to relax during their treatments)
Are there any side effects from acupuncture?
One of the best things about acupuncture is that it doesn’t have any dangerous systemic side effects. In other words, it won’t affect your pet’s liver or kidneys, and is safe for them to receive long-term if needed.
At most, some pets may be a little sore or stiff the day of treatment, and some may feel sleepy for a day.
Is acupuncture painful?
The needles we use are very thin — so thin, that many pets don’t even notice them. At most, there may be some mild discomfort.
How do I schedule my pet for an acupuncture treatment?
You’ll want to be sure to bring your pet to a veterinarian who is certified in acupuncture (this is an additional course of study outside of the standard veterinary school curriculum).
Fortunately, we have a veterinarian right here at Southgate Animal Hospital who is certified, and ready to help your pet!
We’ll start by getting some background about your furry (or feathered) best friend, to see what’s troubling them and be sure acupuncture can help…
Then, we’ll schedule your consult, where you can meet Dr. Hamilton, who will examine your pet and create a plan.
Once you start the therapy for your pet, each session typically takes 20-30 minutes. You may need to come in more frequently at first, to help get the condition under control. But don’t worry, the goal after that is to reduce treatments to the minimum necessary to keep your pal comfortable.
Ready to get started? Or, to find out more?
Give us a call at 941-922-0774, and we’ll get you and your pet scheduled for an introductory consult.
You can also request an appointment time online — and be sure to note that it’s for acupuncture.
We look forward to seeing you soon, and to helping your pet enjoy a good quality of life!