Acupuncture for Pets

Acupuncture is useful for certain conditions in animals, particularly conditions that require additional pain control.

Many pets with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis are managed with a multi-modal approach, using some aspects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and western medicine.

Acupuncture has been used for around 4500 years in humans and animals. Those Veterinarians who perform acupuncture have an additional year of study to do to be qualified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). They learn how to examine and treat your pet holistically and optimise health by restoring balance to your pet’s body.

How does it work?

Western science is not entirely sure how acupuncture works, but for many conditions we see the results. We do know that acupuncture leads to the release of endorphins, and that acupuncture points are different in regards to their concentration of nerve endings, mast cells and have a reduced electrical resistance among other things. Various physiological effects such as a change in heart rate or breathing can be caused by stimulating specific points.

In TCM the flow of energy or Qi (Chi) is important. This life force, when not in balance can lead to disease. Acupuncture is one of the therapies used by TCM practitioners to restore health.

Won’t my pet hate those needles?

Acupuncture needles are very small and gently part the tissue, rather than piercing.  Many animals grow to thoroughly enjoy a treatment and certainly humans report a feeling of relaxation during their own therapy.

What can acupuncture treat?

One of the most common reason that pets have acupuncture is for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In a study on intervertebral disk disease, acupuncture was proven to have excellent results and was equal to surgery in some cases. Acupuncture can also be used to treat anything from fertility problems to respiratory disease. You can contact your local Veterinary acupuncturist to find out if acupuncture could help your pet.

How often should acupuncture be done?

Your pet would usually receive weekly treatments, at least initially. Often acute conditions will improve quickly, while more chronic conditions like osteoarthritis may take 4 treatments or more to improve.

Further information

The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group lists the IVAS qualified veterinarians that are available to treat your pet and more information is available on their website.