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Acupuncture for Cats and Dogs

Updated on November 12, 2011

a sick puppy

Acupuncture for Cats and Dogs

Our cats and dogs are now suffering from the same chronic ailments previously thought to only affect humans. These ailments include diabetes, musculoskeletal problems like arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, reproductive problems, paralysis, gastrointestinal problems and neurological disorders.

The poor quality of foods on the supermarket shelf are not just in the human food supply, but also in pet foods, causing our pets to become obese no matter how much we control their food supply. (see link below).

Acupuncture is now being offered by veterinarians certified in this ancient practice as a complementary type of treatment.

What is acupuncture? - Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This type of treatment is based on the Taoist tradition which goes back more than 8000 years. The belief is that disease is caused by an imbalance in the body; acupuncture will balance the energy and help the body heal itself.

How does it work? - Acupuncture affects physiological changes such as releasing endorphins (one of the pain control chemicals in the body) as well as the natural steroids known as cortisol. Acupuncture uses thin needles that are inserted into certain acupuncture points in order to stimulate the the flow of qi (pronounced 'chee'). - which is life force energy.

Can I take my pet to any acupuncturist? - Because your pet cannot tell you what aches or where, an examination by a veterinarian will help determine the exact cause of the disorder.

What is a treatment like? - Once your pet is diagnosed, the thin needles are inserted for at least 20 minutes. Other options include the use of low-power lasers if your pet will not tolerate the needles. The lasers will stimulate the trigger points and your pet will feel no discomfort.

The length of a treatment varies depending on the condition treated; a sprain may require one treatment. More chronic or severe conditions may require treatment 1 to 3 times per week over a 4 to 6 week period.

Where can I find more information? - What you need is a veterinarian that is also an acupuncturist. Further information can be found at the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society at:

- ivas.org

Chinese herbs too? It's interesting to note that this society is also advocating Chinese Veterinary Herbal Medicine. The herbal medicine is being touted as beneficial in the treatment of allergic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease and lameness. Finally, what was previously considered 'Alternative Medicine' is now becoming mainstream.

Prevention of course, remains the best way to reduce the suffering of our pets. Too often obesity has become the standard due to poor quality foods, a lack of exercise, or perhaps not even realizing that your pet is overweight. See the next link about fat pets. Also see links about other issues affecting our pets.

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    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm with you there. I would chose acupuncture for my kitty before I ever considered a toxic drug. From my own experiences I know it works - usually instantly.

    • profile image

      chiropractic websites  6 years ago

      Great Hub BkCreative. Well written.

      What I love about accupuncture is that it promote health and alleviate pain and suffering. Not only for humans but also for the love of our Cats and Dogs.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Lord Bryan - I admit I admire that most in a cat - how they can claw your face off. They know how to fight.

      I've read that herbal medicine is also being used to treat pets (with all our human diseases) - perhaps a vet can use such an herb to calm a cat. But there is also the option of using a laser acupuncture so no needles are used.

      Our poor pets.

    • profile image

      Lord Bryan 7 years ago

      You are so timely. I have two friends with sick animals. One has a cat with diabetes. The other a dog with arthritis. I have forwarded this info on to them. One thought though, I cannot imagaine an animal sitting still long enough with needles in them. Especailly a cat with claws. I know in the US, they declaw cats, but it is not the done thing here in the UK. So claws would be out.

      Lord Bryan

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hi Ms Chievous!

      It seems these vets had to be wise enough to offer laser acupuncture options for those pets that won't stay still - but I have to tell you - those thin needles are pretty much pain free - they are so thin. It's looking at them or thinking about needles that seems to bother people. I think our pets may be a bit braver!

    • Ms Chievous profile image

      Tina 7 years ago from Wv

      I didn't read through all the comments, but the trick to getting your pet to stay still long enough for acupuncture to work is? I can barely get them to stay still to ge their claws trimmed!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for commenting AntoineAllen!

    • AntoineAllen profile image

      AntoineAllen 7 years ago from New York City

      great stuff!!!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Yes, I'm so glad to see this option too, Immartin. We all suffer from using those synthetic and toxic drugs.

      Thanks for your input and sharing how and where acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      In the dog show circuit, acupuncture is often used in the benching area for dogs with stiff muscles, sprains and sometimes even for a bad case of nerves. I've seen some miraculous results on limps with almost immediate results -- which is a good thing, because you can't show a dog with a limp; they'll throw you out of the ring.

      I've also seen acupuncture used on neonatal puppies where we wouldn't want to use pharmaceuticals or traditional invasive therapies. On one occasion, acupuncture settled the digestive difficulties of a week old pup I though sure was a hopeless case.

      Isn't it nice to see alternative therapies in the veterinary field as well? Great hub and very informative.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for your very kind input DOUBLE K! I'm glad there is this option available as it is less likely to cause the other side effects that then create more problems.

    • profile image

      DOUBLE K 7 years ago

      I feel sad for the cats and dogs.If you didn't make this hub people won't help animals. So cool and awsome information!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It seems Maita that acupuncture for pets is growing in Texas. Perhaps because of the horses - which seems to be a common use also for acupuncture.

      I'll look into the contest. Thanks for thinking of me!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      When I was in Manila, I am always seeking the help of acupuncturist, I only saw one here at Dallas BK< Did you see the contest here starting on MONDAY, I think you will be a hit partner, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Shalini Kagal! I suppose it had to happen with all our pets being affected by our diseases. Ah, the toxic Western Diet - the processed foods and worst. I feel so bad when I see super fat cats - which seems to be considered cute for some reason.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Very interesting - I would never have imagined it! Rather sad that animals are being affected with diseases like these!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So glad this hub is useful. By all means, please do link it. As I mention acupuncture to so many pet owners they are so happy - it seems arthritis is a big issue with both cats and dogs and both are really suffering. Maybe acupuncture will be the answer.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Great hub. This article would be interesting for my pet comfort product page. Do you mind if quote and I link to it?

      I am just building my web site, so it it might be a while. Sure glad they have the bookmark so I can find things easily.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Ed,

      I like the non-profit vet acupuncture society listed above. It's ivas.org

      In checking the website, I noticed that a course in acupuncture is being given in San Antonio, TX leading me to believe that there is a great interest in TX.

      There is a link on the first page of the website that will allow you to search for a vet based on your zip code.

      I hope acupuncture helps your dog as soon as possible. I'm sure other hubbers would like to know. It seems arthritis is affecting a lot of our pets.

    • Amez profile image

      Amez 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thank You for your research, I have a dog that is in pain, with arthritis, so I have a lot of calling, unless you have a few web sites to guide me , I live in Houston,Tx. Thank you again. Ed

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello tim-tim! I have had acupuncture done while I was working in S. Korea with instant results. My problem here in the US is finding someone who is really qualified - it seems to be a booming business. Fortunately, I know what to expect which helps - and here in NYC there is a large old Chinatown so we have many practitioners, even as part of a hospital. Surgery scares me - I would always try acupuncture first, it may just alleviate the pain. I hope you can find someone qualified.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Very interesting! In fact, I am looking into Acupuncture for myself as an alternative to surgery for my arm and shoulder pain. I am starting to go to therapy but I want to see my options down the road. Have you tried Acupuncture yourself? I want to do some research on that and see if it works. There is always mix answers.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks my rocking partner! And you are so right Maita - the acupuncture and then the Chinese herbs - health care that has worked for thousands of years. When I was in China, 10 of us went to a large medical clinic to see traditional Chinese medicine in action. We went to 4 different doctors - and just by looking at our tongues and feeling our pulse - we each got a diagnosis that was 100 percent accurate. One man was told he was impotent - which was true. And he bought two shopping bags filled with herbs (a year's supply) - and even went back to another doctor to see if there were any more herbs to help him. And my experience with acupuncture - it worked immediately.

      Always glad to see you!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      wow BK, this will help a lot of people who are taking care of their pets, good combinations Chinese herb and acupuncture, this kind of veterianarians will sure rock in the next decades, your hubs are always best in advise about health for people and animals, YOU ROCk, Best, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Oh, thank you gentleman prasetio30! I enjoyed your 'gentleman' hub!

      I'm soooo glad that across the board we are looking towards natural remedies, real foods, and all things that have sustained people for thousands of years. Finally, our medical profession in the US HAS to embrace the so-called 'alternatives' because we folks are just - as Fannie Lou Hamer (a civil rights activist) said - "...sick and tired of being sick and tired."

      Thanks for writing!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I never know about Acupuncture for animal, especially for dogs and cats. But it look interesting way in healing sick animal. and I think this is become natural remedies. wonderful hub and very informative. Hi...there's my name in your comment BkCreative. As a gentleman I want to say that this hub is great. Thanks.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      That was some information there, huh Mystique1957? I'm appalled but not surprised - no never surprised. I'm sure if we investigate pet food further we'll be horrified.

      I'm glad enjoyed the hub (and I very much like what you said in prasetio30's hub about a gentleman being a gentle man!)

      Thanks for writing!

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Bk...

      Very useful hub! Good to know for pet lovers and everybody in general. There is something that saddens me though, what Coolmon said about grinding dead cats and dogs with dog food. Some people will go to any lengths in order to make money or save money!

      Great info!

      Thumbs up!

      warm regards and blessings,

      Al

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Katrina Ariel! California is so progressive! In my research I saw that horses were treated as well. It's certainly something I would prefer to use. Thanks for that information.

      I was reading fastfreta, that since the needles are so fine - it seems pets have been responding quite well - but do have the option of being treated at the acupuncture points by laser, if the needles are uncomfortable. I had no problem with pain when I had acupuncture - it's just looking at the needles that made be think 'it should be painful.' Maybe cats and dogs aren't as bad as people.

      I'm glad this is the next thing in pet healthcare akircher - I'm glad there is some alternative. I remember having to give my cat some pills, well, try and give a cat a pill - it was futile. But just by chance I found out after hearing a vet speak on TV - that some cats are allergic to plastic - as in the plastic bowls we buy for their food and water. Once I started using regular dishes, the allergy went away.

      It's news to me too MrSpock - but I'm glad it's available. I think any vet who offers this would probably do very well. We do want something that can offer relief without all the pills or perhaps major surgery.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • MrSpock profile image

      MrSpock 7 years ago

      Fascinating. I didn't realize there was acupuncture for dogs and cats.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Gosh - what will we think of next but interesting and lots of information!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      BK this was an interesting read, I don't own pets at this time, however, I think this is good information for those that do. What I'd like to know though, how do you get the pet to sit still long enough to put the needles in? (Um interesting) You really did your research. Very good hub.

    • Katrina Ariel profile image

      Katrina Ariel 7 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

      Acupuncture has worked so well for me, and I think it's wonderful that it's becoming more available to our furry friends. Actually, some friends of mine in Northern California had a holistic vet come and do acupuncture for one of their horses. Great hub!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Aren't the comments interesting Mama Sez? I'm so glad we read them because we do learn from what others have to share. I love that your daughter will be encouraged to read this hub - we are here to teach our children! Yay!

      I've read ictodd1947, that the vets who are certified in acupuncture also use lasers for the dogs and cats who seem uncomfortable with the needles. When I had acupuncture done it was painless - but looking at those tiny needles being inserted in my feet made it seem as if is should be painful - but I could not look away. I hope you find something that works for your little one and this may be it.

      Thanks for the compliment theherbivorehippi - I'm glad you found the hub interesting. I'm always on the lookout for a safer way to keep our pets healthy. This was new to me but it does make sense - especially since dogs and cats are suffering from the same ailments as we are.

      Thanks for the comments!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      This is incredibly interesting! I had no idea that pets could get acupuncture!! You always teach me something! :)

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      You have wonderful information and articles. My Corky, a little red Pomeranian has arthritis we think. He chews on his legs and feet like they hurt. The Vet has not said. He does have allergies. He is wonderful and like my child in so many ways. He makes me laugh with his little bitty bright eyes. I don't know if I could stand the acupuncture or not. I at least know an alternative now. Thank you

    • Mama Sez profile image

      Mama Sez 7 years ago from Canada

      I believe in the effectiveness of acupuncture in humans and it is good to know it is already being practiced in pets. My daughter has been asking for a pet dog and I'll make her read this interesting hub of yours BkC. Even the comments thread is informative. Thanks.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you for writing nancy_30! I'm glad we can finally wrap our minds around an ancient treatment that is not only non-toxic, but has worked for thousands of years. We all deserve the best care.

      Hello Pamela00. Imagine! Those recalled pet foods were not recalled until people started complaining - a lot because their dogs were dying! And when the manufacturer issues a recall is up to the manufacturer. Imagine putting melamine in pet food which is already bad enough.

      I would certainly go for acupuncture ethel smith before I go for any other pain reducing treatments. I'm glad this information was useful.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Nice to read that dogs and cats have the option of acupuncture these days. Love my dogs and like to treat them well.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is a very informative hub. I didn't know they had acupuncture for pets. That's great. I buy a very good dry car food and my cat is very healthy. I adore him and have lost pets in the past, so I just stick with the same brand he's always had. It wasn't involved with all those recalls they had last year. Great hub!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you for this very informative hub. I never knew pets, like cats and dogs, could get acupuncture treatments. It's amazing at the things available for pets these days. As for can foods, I never feed it to my cats. It looks nasty and who knows what's in it. If it doesn't look good enough for me to eat then my cats aren't getting it either.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I've always heard that about German Shepherds Paradise7, the arthritis of the hip. Maybe this will be just what will offer relief. Speaking of Gravy Train - I was in the 6th grade when it came out - about 40 years ago and I remember a friend and I were able to go buy it for our dogs. Before my mother let me give it to our dear pet she actually tasted it - of course we kids were appalled but she said she wanted to know that it was okay. Our dogs liked it but that was 40 years ago - I don't know what is in it now.

      So true Hello, hello - what next. I just think we hit rock bottom and have to go up from here on. Or maybe we are becoming savvy enough with so much information available on the internet.

      And back to coolmon2009's comment - I remember some pet food companies advertising how there is no ash in their products - leading me to believe the ash comes from the bones of destroyed pets. If not there where else?

      Thanks for these comments. I learn so much!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      All is left to ask - What don't they do? It is really getting into a state. Thank you for your hub.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is a very interesting hub for anyone who owns a pet, especially a dog that's part German Shepherd, as they are known to suffer from arthritis in the hips as they age.

      I also found the comments about pet food very interesting. We gave our dog Gravy Train, mixed with water, and she seemed to like it ok. It didn't smell so bad as the stuff in the can. Which didn't look edible at all, to me, for anything, not even a doggie.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Ann Nonymous - I hope the woman was satisfied with the treatment for her 2 dogs. On the positive side no toxic drugs are used - however the vet still has the option of prescribing medication - and you are paying for the vet diagnosis along with the acupuncture fees. Still, I'd go with acupuncture, as pharmaceuticals tend to create other health issues.

      Thanks for writing Veronica Allen. I value your opinions - isn't it horrific the quality of food that we know is out there. From here on I want to be able to look at food and identify it. This a.m. I bought some grapefruits - they look like grapefruits and taste like it, so I can eat them - but that brown glop in a can - ugh! We absolutely have no idea what it is. If it was good - it would be advertised loudly!

      Yes, I learn a lot from comments - one hubber used the term 'food awareness' - we absolutely need this. And when you used the term 'repurposed' about how recalled meat is used again - this is food awareness, we need to be aware of the whole process.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      This makes a lot of common sense BkCreative. In agreement with what you and Coolmon2009 stated (Grinding up the bodies and putting it into cheap dog food? - Yikes!), if our pets are being fed food that contains "mystery meats" and ingredients much like their human counterparts, it's safe to assume that they will suffer from similar problems we humans suffer from. If accupunture works for humans, then it makes sense that it would work for our furry friends.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      I knew a lady who got it for her two dogs....Don't know if it worked or not just know she payed a pretty penny to see it happpen!

      Creative subject, BKCreative

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Nothing at all surprises me Coolmon2009 - although I admit to being appalled!

      And good points. Where does this meat come from? If garbage is served to humans - should we expect anything better to be made for our pets? Ugh! And yes this brown glop in a can - I remember as a child we always gave our healthy pet what we were eating - and canned food was a new invention - so I bought some - dumped it out, my dog bristled at it, and ran away. Perhaps, like cigarettes, something addictive is added to it to make them keep eating it.

      When I welcome new pets into my home in the near future, I'm going to have to make up my mind that food preparation is part of the equation. Thanks so much for writing.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      I read that some dog food manufactures have contracts with animal shelters to purchase the bodies of cats and dogs that have been put to sleep; they then grind up the bodies and put it into cheap dog food. Having said all this, it concerns me when i go to the store to buy food for my dog and I can't tell what it is. I mean the food that looks like poop in a can. I prefer to buy the higher grade of foods that looks like human food. I want my 14 month old girl to be around for a long time - Thanks for this Article