Being a dog parent, it is understandable that you want your baby to be in the best of health. You might often come across a certain solution but cannot decide if that’s the best for your dog. Acupuncture is one such solution that comes with its own baggage of doubts and apprehensions. In this post, we shall attempt to clear some of those doubts, so you can take an informed decision—one that’s in the best interest of your doggo. To begin with, let’s understand what acupuncture is.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of alternative treatment, having its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The process entails inserting tiny needles at specific target points in the body to alleviate inflammation and pain. This process is believed to facilitate the proper flow of chi, or energy, throughout the body. Western medicine, on the other hand, believes that this process helps release hormones that reduce pain and inflammation. While terminologies might differ, the process remains the same.
Opinions vary on the effectiveness of acupuncture. Every dog is different and has different needs. According to the expert opinion of veterinarians Dr. Steve Marsden, Dr. Shawn Messonnier, and Dr. Cheryl Yuill, 25% of patients experience significant improvement, 50% respond well but continue to show symptoms, and 25% may show minimal or no obvious benefit.
Your veterinarian may recommend acupuncture for a variety of ailments, such as arthritis, allergies, digestive issues, hip dysplasia, or certain neurological disorders.
To help you have a better understanding, here are a few issues that could be tackled through acupuncture.
Arthritis and degenerative joint diseases
Acupuncture is known to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases by improving blood circulation to targeted trigger points.
Intervertebral disc disease and nerve pain
Dogs who suffer from bulging discs, or pinched nerves may experience relief from acupuncture.
Since acupuncture is known to reduce anxiety as well, veterinarians may use acupuncture before a surgery to calm the patient.
Hormonal or metabolic conditions
Dogs who suffer from hormonal conditions like Cushing's Syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and Addison's disease may find relief through acupuncture. In addition, dogs with liver and/or kidney diseases may experience benefits, as well.
Acupuncture is also known to ease a variety of digestive issues such as peptic ulcers, diarrhea, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Some of the key side-effects of cancer and its treatment include fatigue, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can often be reduced with the help of acupuncture.
If your dog is being treated for allergic dermatitis or lick granuloma, acupuncture may be used as a complementary treatment.
According to studies conducted by the Innovative Veterinary Care Journal, acupuncture may reduce seizures in dogs with epilepsy.
Your dog might be bitten by another animal, hit by a moving vehicle, or experience some other form of mishap that might give them broken bones, or other kinds of injuries. Acupuncture has the potential to provide relief not just from the pain caused by these injuries but reduce post-accident anxiety as well.
What are the cons?
Typically, doctors believe that acupuncture does not have ill effects as such; the worst that can happen is that the treatment won’t be effective. However, since the process involves the insertion of needles, there is a chance, though very rare, of developing an infection at the site of insertion. Dogs can also experience some soreness or stiffness and mild bruising or bleeding where the needle was inserted.
In addition, you must be extra cautious if your dog suffers from any serious illnesses and mention it to the doctor before going forward with it.
Acupuncture is mostly a safe method to provide relief to your furry friend. However, do remember that it is an alternative healing method. Consider it as a complementary method to any medicinal treatment that your dog might need (unless advised otherwise by your veterinarian) and done under strict medical and expert supervision.