- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Veterinary Pet Acupuncture: Stick.... Stay!
Acupunture for Pets?
Does Fido seem to be feeling older than his 8 years? Do you want to put a spring back in your Springer Spaniel's steps? Its time for East to meet West - even when it comes to veterinary care. Believe it or not, but pet acupuncture is a fast growing trend these days.
Pet owners want to help their 4-legged family members feel well without unnecessary veterinary visits and medication. Just like humans, dogs and cats can benefit from Eastern medicine practices, including acupuncture, acupressure and massage.
Lest you think this is an unnecessary expense, many people have reported that the small investment of $50-100 for pet acupuncture has saved them significantly more in traditional vet bills over time.
What is Pet Acupuncture?
Just as with human beings, animals may not always respond favorably to traditional medical treatments. In particular, dogs, cats and horses may find relief from alternative therapies for arthritis and soft tissue injuries - especially in the back or legs. Pets have also reportedly recovered from traumatic conditions like paralysis through acupuncture treatments.
For those that are not familiar with acupuncture, the ancient practice involves application of small-gauge (thin) needles to specific points on the head and body in order to elicit physiological responses. Most often, acupuncture is reported by humans to relieve pain, but it can also help address a number of holistic conditions.
The actual insertion of needles does not cause discomfort, provided that you work with a trained and certified veterinary acupuncturist. Needles are placed at specific depths and angles and then manipulated slightly during the treatment.
For over 7000 years, acupuncture has been used by humans to treat physical and mental conditions. It fell out of favor in the mid 1900s with the rise of antibiotics and modern medicine, but revival efforts began again in the 1970s when it was officially declared an experimental medical procedure by The American Medical Association Council of Scientific Affairs.
Like human medical treatments, veterinary practices also began to rely more heavily on pharmaceuticals in the past century. Yet, veterinary acupuncture has been in use for about 3000, with the earliest records indicating treatment of elephants in India with the ancient practice.
With the surge in interest for less invasive, holistic healing, veterinary acupuncture and acupressure has become more mainstream, as well. Today, there are nearly 3 million veterinarians and para veterinary assistants that are trained in acupuncture!
Holistic Healing for your Pet
What to Expect with Veterinary Acupuncture
In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), animals and humans are viewed as individual components of an infinite universe. When life is out of balance, use of ancient practices like acupuncture, massage and herbal medicines can restore balance and good health.
Instead of the Western medicine view that health, disease and illness can be reduced to specific cells and other components of the body, Eastern medicine considers the entire body in healing. The belief is that the sum is greater than its parts.
Perhaps the most striking difference between Western and Eastern medical practices is the fact that, from a Western diagnosis a disease or condition is generally treated the same in all patients. Using TCM, the individual patient's body responds differently to holistic treatments because the underlying causes may differ. In other words, if your dog has acupuncture to treat arthritis, his or her body will respond as an overall system to the trigger points. But with Western medicine, only the inflammation will be addressed - not any other components that may be contributing to pain and stiffness.
The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) offers training classes for veterinary practitioners that wish to learn and master Eastern healing practices. In general, the course covers Chinese history and the theory of acupuncture. You can learn about yin and yang, meridians and alarm points. According to the organization's official website:
The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture as an integral part of the total veterinary health care delivery system. The Society endeavors to establish uniformly high standards of veterinary acupuncture practice through its educational programs and accreditation examination and process. IVAS seeks to integrate veterinary acupuncture and the practice of western veterinary science, while also noting that the science of veterinary acupuncture does not overlook related treatment modalities.
There are many stories of miraculous healing through use of TCM where
traditional medicine failed. Yet, there are many who do not believe in
the effectiveness of acupuncture for pets - or humans. Only you can decide whether to try alternative healing with your pet.
Again, be certain to contact a certified veterinary acupuncturist. Discuss your pet's symptoms, including any underlying injuries and other medical history. The trained clinician should be able to determine whether your furry friend will respond well to acupuncture or acupressure.
Prices for veterinary acupuncture are generally comparable to a regular vet visit. For less than $100 and approximately 30-40 minutes per session, your pet could be on the road to healing!