All About the Use of Acupuncture in Dogs

The use of acupuncture in dogs, especially older dogs with chronic pain or loss of mobility, can be very helpful. Learn more today.
All About the Use of Acupuncture in Dogs

Last update: 04 April, 2020

Although acupuncture for dogs seems like something new, it actually isn’t. This medicinal practice actually began in animals. Surprising, isn’t it?

In general, we all know that acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal practice that’s been around for thousands of years. And we also know that it involves the insertion of needles into certain parts of the body. The purpose of acupuncture is to relieve and numb areas of the body in certain moments.

It’s important to clarify that acupuncture is an alternative therapy and doesn’t replace veterinary diagnosis and treatment in any case. Rather, the idea is to help improve a dog’s quality of life, preventing the pain that the animal’s pathology produces. In fact, it’s common to find veterinarians that perform this technique in their own clinics.

What does acupuncture consist of?

Acupuncture consists of the insertion of several very fine needles in different parts of the body. These needles measure about .02 millimeters in diameter. The insertion points are distributed in a series of lines, called meridians, that traverse the animal’s body.

A bulldog.

There are hundreds of points located in dogs and each one has to do with a specific location and specific functions.

These insertion points have to do with different organs, tissues, bones, and joints. And their stimulation helps to improve health and combat pain, especially in older canines. The treatment of pain is usually the main objective when it comes to acupuncture for dogs.

Acupuncture points coincide with the flow of nerve fibers or the areas where nerve endings are concentrated. Their stimulation can produce the release of neurotransmitters, such as endorphins that relieve pain and offer a sense of well-being. Over time, in animals with chronic pain, acupuncture is a good option for improving their quality of life.

How do specialists perform acupuncture in dogs?

First of all, the treatment involving acupuncture first requires knowing the animal’s medical history. For example, what are the dog’s ailments? Is the animal in pain? What symptoms are present? In the first session, the specialist will conduct an exhaustive exam of the animal. This will involve a complete exploration in order to evaluate muscle tone and look for sensitive areas and pain points.

The number of sessions the dog needs will differ from case to case, depending on the animal’s illness and overall state of health. Within acupuncture, different techniques exist, including electropuncture. In this case, a specialist will apply a small electric current to the needles inserted into the acupuncture points.

Acupuncture for dogs is a painless technique that’s doesn’t require anesthetic. In fact, animals usually relax during sessions, which tend to last between one and two hours.

The results of acupuncture

It’s been shown that acupuncture “mutes” pain that can be chronic when it comes to certain illnesses and problems with a dog’s locomotor system as the animal gets older. In fact, its a very useful technique in rehabilitation to treat mobility problems. Some of the most common applications of acupuncture in dogs are the following:

  • Allergies
  • Infertility
  • Aggression
  • Herniated disks
  • Paralysis or paresis
  • Kidney problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Mobility problems
  • Arthritis, arthrosis y rheumatism
  • Pain resulting from an indefinite origin
  • Dermatological problems
  • Chronic and acute gastroenteritis
  • Issues with an animal’s spinal column
Acupuncture for animals.

In the case of acute problems, just a few sessions are necessary in order to see results. However, in the case of patients with chronic illnesses or cancer, they may need a greater number of sessions. What’s more, it’s a good idea for these animals to receive periodic treatment in order to improve their quality of life.

Not only does acupuncture exist for dogs, but it’s also applicable to other animal species. These include cats, rabbits, ferrets, horses, and even wild animals that are in pain. It’s always important to seek out a professional who can apply this treatment.

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