Pet Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for hundreds of years to relieve all types of bodily pain and illnesses in humans. Now, veterinarians are receiving training in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) so they can offer acupuncture to animal patients.
Veterinary acupuncture aims to treat and manage numerous symptoms of health issues in pets. A veterinarian inserts ultra-thin needles at specific points on the body where nerves and blood vessels intersect. TCVM can be combined with traditional veterinary services to offer a full-body approach that integrates both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions.
Animals of any age, from kittens and puppies to adult and senior pets, can undergo acupuncture treatment for a range of health problems. Cat and dog acupuncture treatments are considered a safe, effective therapy that can offer relief from pain or discomfort related to illness and injury.
What Happens During a Pet Acupuncture Treatment Session?
Before recommending acupuncture treatment, your vet will need to determine the source of your pet's pain. Once they've identified the cause of your cat or dog's symptoms, they can develop a customized treatment plan based on your pet's specific needs.
The goal of pet acupuncture is to help a cat or dog's body heal itself by resetting the body's balance of energy (the "chi"). One or several fine needles are inserted into an animal's body at specific points where nerves and blood vessels intersect. This virtually painless process triggers a release of endorphins. This can relieve chronic pain in many pets.
It's also believed that pet acupuncture benefits an animal's mental health by triggering the release of serotonin, which can help to reduce anxiety levels and induce feelings of happiness.
What Are The Benefits of Acupuncture for Pets?
Benefits of veterinary acupuncture include:
- No negative side effects on internal organs, as can occur with some prescription medications.
- Stimulating the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
- There are no adverse interactions with other medications or supplements, making acupuncture a safe treatment for animals undergoing conventional treatments.
- Acupuncture treatments are believed to create high blood flow and increased oxygenation as well as improved metabolic and toxic waste removal.
- Localized pain relief may be achieved at the site of needle insertion due to the relaxation of the muscles in that area.
What Conditions Can Pet Acupuncture Help Treat?
Veterinary acupuncture can be used to help treat a range of health issues involving inflammation or chronic pain. Below are some of the conditions our team at Voorhees Veterinary Center use acupuncture to treat.
- Metabolic Diseases. Acupuncture is believed to help with metabolic disorders by regulating your pet's endocrine system, improving digestion, and relieving oxidative stress. Acupuncture treatment also aims to improve blood flow to the tissues which boosts oxygenation and the removal of toxins and metabolic waste.
- Arthritis. The pain and discomfort from arthritis may also be relieved with acupuncture for pets due to the release of endorphins. In some cases, acupuncture treatment may reduce the need for conventional pain medications. Acupuncture can also be used to relieve pain in pets who are unable to tolerate traditional pain medications.
- Degenerative Joint Disease. Joint disease is common in pets and can seriously impact your pet's quality of life. Acupuncture aims to decrease the pain and tension associated with joint issues, making movement easier for your cat or dog.
- Cancer. When veterinary acupuncture is used as a cancer treatment the primary goal is to stimulate blood flow and support the pet's immune system to help improve the body's ability to heal itself naturally. Animal acupuncture treatments can also help relieve the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments.
- Trauma. If your pet has experienced an injury or trauma, such as an accident, fall, or fight, inflammation and pain may result. Acupuncture and other traditional Chinese veterinary medicines can treat these symptoms and help your pet recover and return to good health.
Cost of Pet Acupuncture
Similar to many other veterinary treatments, how much pet acupuncture treatments will cost can vary depending on several factors, such as the location the experience of the veterinary acupuncturist or TCVM specialist, and the condition to be treated.
To receive an accurate estimate of the cost of acupuncture treatments for your pet, speak to the staff at your veterinary clinic. Most veterinarians are happy to provide clients with an estimate of treatment costs.
Many pet parents consider these treatments to be a worthwhile investment in their pet's health and well-being. Some pet insurance plans may provide coverage for acupuncture, be sure to check your pet's policy before booking treatments for your dog or cat to avoid any surprises.
Pet acupuncture is often used as a complementary treatment alongside traditional veterinary care, and pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to determine if acupuncture is a suitable option for their furry family member.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.