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Acupuncture Effective in Dogs: People have Practiced Acupuncture on Animals for About 3,500 Years

Only fairly recently have Western pet owners and veterinarians discovered Chinese medicine, a major component of which is acupuncture. This treatment can support your dog’s emotional, psychological and physical health. Now recognized as a valid veterinary alternative, the World Health Organization endorses acupuncture as an effective medical treatment. As initially-skeptical dog owners begin to see the positive results and understand its theory, they often become enthusiastic “converts.”

The Yin-Yang of It

Acupuncture supports the dog’s proper balance of its yin-yang qualities. Chinese philosophy describes yin as the dark or shady aspect; yang represents the sunny side. Both are necessary for an organism to exist. Yin cools, nourishes and slows things down; yang heats things up and moves quickly. This “unity of opposites” results in a state of health.

Canine acupuncture positively affects the dog’s body energy flow—or Qi—pronounced Chi. In theory, pain obstructs Qi. Acupuncture disperses this force thus restoring the Qi’s natural stream.

Relief for What Ails Your Dog

Acupuncture addresses the pain in a variety of conditions and disorders, including muscle and skeletal abnormalities, paralysis, arthritis, reproductive problems, and neurological illness. It also has a role improving your dog’s athletic performance. By stimulating nerves, increasing blood circulation, and relieving muscle spasms, it releases endorphins, a natural hormone that produces a feeling of well-being. Acupuncture’s role strengthening a dog’s immune system results in improved function of vital organ systems.

Healing With Needles: Examination and Treatment

As in modern, allopathic veterinary medicine, the acupuncturist or holistic veterinarian thoroughly examines the dog for external signs of illness. He or she will take your dog’s temperature, check for normal respiratory rates, check pulse rate, examine the tongue, and palpate the abdomen. The veterinary acupuncturist will ask about daily behavior patterns as well as food and water intake, defecation, urination, breeding history—if any, vaccinations, and whether your dog is or has been on any medications or has any known allergies.

When a canine patient’s problem persists despite conventional veterinary diagnostics and therapy, a dog owner may seek holistic modalities such acupuncture, chiropractic, and Chinese Herbs, which can successfully address chronic skin allergies, urinary incontinence, chronic diarrhea, and even chronic kidney failure.

There are many acupuncture points along the meridian pathway. Just as conventionally-trained veterinarians prescribe specific medications or treatments for particular illnesses or injuries, acupuncturists choose treatment points based on the diagnosis. Depending on the treatment plan, once inserted, the needles may be manipulated or simply kept in place.

The ultra-fine needles inserted at certain points along a meridian (or energy path), stimulate the body to good health. For most dogs—except those who are extremely anxious– this is virtually painless. Many animals relax or even fall asleep during the treatment that lasts anywhere from one to thirty minutes and remain calm for a day or two. Some may seem worse for up to two days following the treatment, but this is usually temporary.

How Many Acupuncture Sessions?

The practitioner may repeat sessions for four to five weeks before assessing progress. If the patient responds, further treatment may continue on a regular basis. Gradually and depending on the dog’s progress, treatments may decrease as intervals between them increase.

Some simple ailments or injuries require a single treatment, but more complex problems often take longer to resolve. Weekly treatments are common; acute cases can require as many as three treatments per week. As the dog improves, the frequency decreases.