Acupuncture has a long history, but it hasn’t always been exclusively for humans. Believed to have originated in India, ancient Chinese legends describe the successful use of acupuncture in battle-worn horses. Over time, other animals, such as camels, chickens, cattle, elephants, monkeys, goats, and sheep were also treated.
Since its adoption throughout Europe in the late 17th century, pet acupuncture has continued to heal and treat pain and chronic disease. The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center is proud to offer this effective, non-invasive option to our Los Gatos pet community.
The Same, but Different!
Pet acupuncture has documented benefits among various species, but it’s primarily applied to companion animals. Cats, dogs, and horses tolerate acupuncture very well. However, their specific anatomy – and the potential for injury if they aren’t properly restrained – mandates that only trained, licensed veterinarians perform this treatment.
In pet acupuncture, the whole body is viewed as a system with its own natural flow of energy. When thin needles are inserted just beneath the skin’s surface, the nervous system is stimulated, and endorphins are released. Muscles are activated and pain-blocking chemicals are triggered, helping the body to heal.
What’s the Deal with Needles?
Very small, thin needles are gently pressed into specific points on the body. When done correctly, pet acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that relieve pain and inflammation and promote healing. Most animals don’t show any discomfort, but to maximize effectiveness, pets should remain as calm and relaxed as possible.
When in Need
Many pet owners seek help when treating various disorders of the reproductive, neurological, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, pulmonary, and musculoskeletal systems. The following conditions are commonly treated by pet acupuncture:
- Post-surgical pain
- Arthritis and degenerative joint disease
- Back and spinal injuries
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Allergic dermatitis and other skin diseases
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Cancer-related illnesses
Amazingly, pet acupuncture can also support an animal’s weight loss regimen, nausea, incontinence, urine marking, excessive grooming, and even behavioral disorders, like anxiety.
Before treating your pet, it’s critical that they undergo a complete physical examination. Blood work and other labs may be necessary to diagnose and assess the specific condition or disease. Viewed as a complementary modality, pet acupuncture is most effective when used in conjunction with massage therapy, herbs and supplements, medication, surgery, laser therapy, and other options that treat your pet’s whole body.
The Lifelong Path
Pet acupuncture is gaining traction among pet owners who want the best for their furry friend. Depending on the individual pet, sessions last about an hour and are scheduled in response to treatment. Pets typically show improvement after 4 treatments.