Though cutting-edge medical technologies are always something to keep your eyes open to. Sometimes it is wise to look to the past. Acupuncture is a 2500-year-old practice that was born out of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and may be used to complement conventional veterinary medicine to further the health of your pet.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture relies on the ideology that when a human or animal becomes sick, it is because of a disproportion of chi, or vital energy within the body. The goal of acupuncture is to restore the flow of chi throughout the system, restoring health and healing. This is done though inserting very thin needles, in the canine’s body at very specific points. These sites, known as meridians, are energy centers that transfer this chi throughout the canine’s body.

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When the needles are inserted in the meridians, blood circulation is enhanced and healing is stimulated. Acupuncture works by stimulating the dog’s nervous system, and releasing natural pain killing substances. Through improving blood flow, more oxygen is brought to the dog’s tissues and in turn, the quantity of waste that the dog’s body is able to remove increases.   

In the location where the needle is inserted, the muscle becomes relaxed and natural pain alleviating and anti-inflammatory elements are released into the dog’s system. This makes acupuncture a natural way to relieve pain in dogs.

While drugs such as pain medications are relatively safe for dogs, they may have an effect on the dog’s organs. This is why veterinarians keep an eye out on how the dog’s organs are functioning through routine testing when drugs are involved.

On the other hand, acupuncture does not possess any effects whatsoever. This is what makes it such a great addition to medical treatments, specifically for pain relief. Acupuncture isn’t intended to replace traditional medicine, but rather to be a beneficial complement to it.

What Conditions Can Be Benefited from Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture treatments are particularly beneficial for dogs who have inflammation in their joints, such as is experienced with arthritis. Other good candidates include dogs that suffer with hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease. Through acupuncture, their pain may be lessened and their range of motion improved. Dogs who suffer from chronic back pain or even those who have serious spinal cord conditions can be helped through acupuncture treatments.

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Photo by Lydia Torrey

Another condition that may be benefited from acupuncture treatments are called lick granulomas. Also known as hot spots, lick granulomas are places where the dog has licked over and over where an open sore now exists. Acupuncture helps to calm down this inflammation and work as a helpful addition to antibiotics.

It should be noted that although acupuncture is quite helpful, it should not be used to replace traditional medicine. Dogs that have cancer, or organ disease need traditional medicine to treat their disease. With that being said, acupuncture can be quite helpful in alleviating the side effects, such as nausea that come with medical treatments for serious diseases.

As always, God bless and Go Tigers!

Keywords: Acupuncture for Dogs