Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Acupuncture Could Help Your Dog's Arthritis

Study of a small girl with a prize Scottish te...Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

Acupuncture is an age old art. It is believed that this form of Chinese medicine may have been practiced as long as 5000 years ago by stone age humans who made needles made from fish bones. Acupuncture is still widely practiced in China, and it’s growing more popular in the US every day for humans anyway, but for animals the practice is much less common.

Acupuncture is a staple in many holistic veterinary practices. Holistic veterinarians recognize the need for conventional treatment. Sometimes emergency care, an antibiotic or surgery are necessary, but a holistic veterinarian integrates these with less traditional methods. A raw diet, homeopathy and acupuncture are some of the complementary treatments a holistic vet might use to improve you dog’s health.

Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate the flow of life energy in your dog’s body. Chinese medicine asserts that our pets body is crossed by meridians or paths along which the life energy travels. Specific points along the meridians are believed to correspond to various organs or illnesses. An acupuncturist will massage your dog’s body to find his meridians, an activity that is usually quite relaxing for your dog. When the acupuncturist finds a weak or tender spot he will insert a fine gauge needle. The treatments can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and may be accompanied by other forms of stimulation like acupressure or electrical stimulation. The procedures are not painful for the animal. Your vet will dispose of all the needles after treatment so there is no risk of spreading disease or infection.

It is believed that some of the success of acupuncture is a result of improved blood flow to the joints and muscles. The treatment can be used as a preventative measure or as cure for a variety of illnesses including allergies, epilepsy and gastrointestinal disorders, It seems to be of greatest help to dogs who suffer from back and arthritis pain. Relief can be immediate, but more often treatment spans a number of weeks or even months.

If your dog is suffering from the effects of aging or hasn’t responded to conventional medical treatment acupuncture is definitely worth a try. This procedure is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a valid treatment. If you think your dog might benefit from this alternative treatment check the internet for a holistic veterinarian in your area. Some animal acupuncturists will make house calls. Your pet doesn’t even have to leave his safety zone.

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