How Your Pet Can Benefit from Acupuncture
For many people, that might conjure up images of discomfort and anxiety. But for pets, needles may actually be the source of comfort and relief.
Acupuncture, which has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, involves inserting very fine needles into specific points in the body to stimulate nerves and encourage blood flow, promoting healing and even preventing certain conditions. When practiced by a certified veterinary acupuncturist, it has been shown to be both safe and effective.
Once frowned upon by Western medicine, acupuncture and its benefits have become more widely accepted and acknowledged by both human and veterinary medicine. In the last two years, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) voted to accept the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture as an allied organization.
Our own Dr. Aleda Cheng has practiced acupuncture for more than 21 years. She says that the needles are rarely uncomfortable and can even leave some patients feeling energized. For those who are especially sensitive or intolerant of the needles, acupuncture can also be performed using a therapeutic laser.
Dr. Cheng says that during an acupuncture treatment, “The body recognizes the needles and needle placement somehow and knows which buttons to press for the necessary outcome. It really is amazing.”
Any animal can benefit from acupuncture, including dogs, cats, horses, birds and rodents. Dr. Cheng’s own arthritic dogs get acupuncture every week. For them, she says, the therapy acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Acupuncture can also be effective for:
Functional problems including those that involve paralysis and inflammation (such as allergies)Pain management Musculoskeletal pain from any cause such as arthritis, disc disease, tendon and ligament problems, head tilt due to vestibulitis, and cancer painMusculoskeletal degenerative diseases such as: Degenerative Myelopathy and Wobblers syndromeSkin problems such as acral lick granuloma, atopic dermatitis and allergiesRespiratory problems such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and dyspnea from many causesGastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, or inflammatory bowel diseaseReproductive problemsKidney or liver diseaseBehavioral issuesAdjunctive therapy for neurological disease
In addition, acupuncture can help fill the void when traditional medications don’t help or aren’t available. Dr. Cheng says that the whisper-thin needles may help extend both quality and quantity of life for animals who are elderly, ill or otherwise in pain. Unlike many medications, there are no major side effects associated with acupuncture.
As with any therapy, however, there are some conditions that don’t respond as well to acupuncture. Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, for example, can’t be cured but the progression can be slowed down. To find out if acupuncture is appropriate for your pet, speak with your veterinarian or a certified veterinary acupuncturist. They can help guide you on the best course of action for your pet’s particular situation and needs.
Continuous acupuncture treatments are usually required to achieve maximum results for the patient’s condition, such as the elimination of pain or the return of function. Once this has been achieved, patients are typically seen on a “maintenance” schedule.
Treatments last between 10 to 30 minutes and are generally prescribed on a weekly basis. However, they can safely be performed daily for severe conditions such as disk disease that results in acute paralysis.
For more information on acupuncture or to schedule a consultation, please call our offices at 908-236-4120.
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