A question I often get from pet parents is, “Can acupuncture really be done on a dog or cat”? The answer is yes. I have used acupuncture on many of my patients over the years and I have been witness to some incredible responses from this complementary treatment. The two photos alongside this article demonstrate two of my patients (dog and cat) that have benefitted greatly from acupuncture. Notice how calm and relaxed they both are.
Acupuncture is a core component of traditional chinese veterinary medicine and it has been used in treating animals for thousands of years. Acupuncture is performed using small, sterile needles inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s healing response. Each acupuncture point has a specific action when stimulated. The stimulation of these points result in specific changes in the central nervous system.
- Stimulate the body’s own pain relieving substances
- Relax muscles
- Improve tissue blood flow, oxygenation, and removal of metabolic wastes and toxins
- May help reduce the amount of pain medication given
It is most commonly used to decrease arthritic pain (my dog patient), help with decreased nerve sensation, and improve overall wellness. Other uses can include reducing inappropriate urination (my cat patient), urinary incontinence, and anxiety. Acupuncture will not help every condition but it can work very well with those proven to have successful outcomes.
Grooming Tip of the Week
Some dogs, especially smaller breeds, have a very hard time expressing their anal glands naturally when defecating. Regular expression of the anal glands by a groomer or trained veterinary professional will help to prevent the anal glands from filling up and becoming swollen and irritated. If the glands are not expressed, painful abscesses can develop. Please note that groomers express from the outside compared to trained veterinary professionals, who will express internally. Outside expression may not be suitable for some dogs to fully express the anal glands.