Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment option for people, but did you know it is also available for your pet? Acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for over 3000 years and was first introduced into the United States about 150 years ago. For the past 40-50 years, acupuncture use has steadily increased in the veterinary field, and it is now considered an integral part of veterinary medicine by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Acupuncture has been used to treat many different medical problems in animals including arthritis and back pain, skin allergies, chronic heart, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, seizure disorders, and as an adjunct to cancer therapy. Animals are surprisingly receptive to acupuncture, which uses very fine needles placed in specific points around the body. Often, the owner stays with their pet during the 20-30 minute sessions, and it is not unusual for the patient to doze off during the treatment session! Owners often notice results within 24-48 hours following a treatment, ranging from improved sleep or mobility or appetite, to playing with a toy for the first time in months.
Acupuncture can be used in addition to, and along with, our more conventional treatment protocols in many conditions to maximize your pet’s overall response to therapy. Acupuncture can also be a good alternative to long-term management of chronic illnesses not readily responsive to traditional therapies, and gives us another tool to reach for as we try to help our beloved companions maintain the highest quality of life possible.