Can Acupuncture Help My Pet Feel Better?

If your cat or dog requires pain relief, veterinary acupuncture may be an ideal solution. Today, our Riverbank vets discuss acupuncture for pets and how it can benefit your cat or dog.

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM)

Acupuncture is a treatment originating from China that has been used for centuries to relieve all types of bodily pain and host illnesses in humans. In our modern day, veterinarians are being trained in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to offer acupuncture to their animal patients as well.

Acupuncture for pets aims to treat and manage the symptoms of illnesses by inserting ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body where nerves and blood vessels intersect. TCVM can be combined with traditional veterinary care to provide a full-body approach to treating animals with illnesses.

Animals at any stage of life from puppies and kittens to adult and senior pets can undergo acupuncture treatment for a range of health conditions. Cat and dog acupuncture treatments are considered to be a safe and effective therapy that may provide relief from the pain or discomfort associated with injury and illness.

Veterinary Acupuncture Treatment Sessions

Before beginning acupuncture treatment, the vet needs to determine what the source of their pain is. Once the cause of your cat or dog's symptoms is known, treatment can be honed in on their specific health issue.

The goal of pet acupuncture is to help the animal's body heal itself by resetting the balance of energy in the body known as "chi." This is done by inserting one or several fine needles into the animal's body at specific points where blood vessels and nerves intersect. This process, virtually painless, triggers endorphin release which provides pain relief to some of the most chronic pain.

It is also believed that the acupuncture process benefits mental health by triggering the release of serotonin, reducing your pet's anxiety levels, and generating a feeling of happiness.

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Pets

Some of the benefits of veterinary acupuncture include:

  • Stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • No negative side effects on internal organs, as can occur with some prescription medications.
  • 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.

Conditions Pet Acupuncture Can 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 River Oak Veterinary Hospital uses acupuncture to treat.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

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.

Are you curious about veterinary acupuncture? Contact our Riverbank vets to learn more or to book an appointment for your pet.