Acupuncture is an ancient, yet valued, method of healing in people, but did you know this practice is increasingly popular in pets, too? Our own Dr. Block is a certified veterinary acupuncturist eager to treat your pets. Learn more about veterinary acupuncture and how it may help your pet in our latest blog post.

What can acupuncture do for my pet?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points in the skin to elicit a healing response. Traditionally an ancient Chinese practice, acupuncture is widely used today in humans and animals. While acupuncture is not a curative measure for every disease, it can be extremely beneficial for specific conditions, and in conjunction with more modern medical techniques for a multimodal approach.

What conditions in pets does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can address a variety of conditions in pets. Illnesses that respond well to acupuncture are typically functional in nature, such as paralysis, nerve or muscle problems, inflammation, and certain skin conditions. While acupuncture is not meant to cure infections, cancer, or organ failure, it can be used as an adjunct treatment to help improve perfusion and address pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. Acupuncture, which works best when combined with traditional Western medicine, is commonly used to help with the following pet diseases:

How does veterinary acupuncture work?

A trained veterinary acupuncturist treats your pet using his knowledge of certain acupuncture points where nerves and blood vessels converge in the body. Stimulation of these specific areas can cause a variety of effects, including:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Increased tissue oxygenation
  • Removal of metabolic waste products
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Endorphin release
  • Cortisol release

There is still much to learn about the physiologic effects of acupuncture and its use in veterinary medicine, but, so far, acupuncture has proven a valuable tool for treating a range of pet ailments.

Will acupuncture hurt my pet?

Most pets willingly tolerate acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine, and their gentle insertion into the skin typically does not bother dogs and cats. Particularly sensitive pets may be hesitant at the initial treatment, but this usually passes as they become accustomed to the sensation. Then, most welcome the treatments, since they provide comfort, relaxation, and pain relief.

Why should I choose acupuncture for my pet?

Dr. Block will help you decide if acupuncture is appropriate for your pet and its condition. Some possible benefits of acupuncture in your pet include:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved mobility
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Decreased nausea
  • Improved appetite
  • Increased energy
  • Reduced itchiness

One of acupuncture’s most notable benefits is that the treatment has no known systemic side effects, as is common with many medications. While acupuncture is not meant to be a substitute for life-saving drugs, it may help reduce the number of pills your pet needs. Fortunately, acupuncture works cohesively with traditional veterinary medicine practices, allowing a holistic approach for many pet conditions.

How often will my pet need acupuncture treatments?

This depends on the severity of your pet’s condition and his treatment response. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, meaning that repeated treatments are typically beneficial. Most pets begin with one to two 20- to 30-minute sessions per week and taper down to the lowest number of treatments necessary for improvement.

How do I find a veterinary acupuncturist?

Our own Dr. Block is a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) and licensed veterinary medical doctor (DVM). Acupuncture should never be performed on a pet by anyone who does not have both these credentials. Contact us today to set up a consultation and see if veterinary acupuncture is right for your pet.