Are you considering alternative treatments for a suffering pet that you are not completely sure will work or not? You may be apprehensive or not really sure if you should put your cat or dog through the stress of a vet visit only to realize it was for nothing.
There is nothing worse than shuffling your pet around when they are not feeling well, exposing them to the dreaded Vet waiting room, and possibly squished in a carrier; all with zero good results. If you and your pet go through the hassle, you want results! So does acupuncture work on animals or what?
Let me just say first, the fact that you are even researching to identify ways to help your pet speaks volumes about your sense of responsibility to your animals! Please know that you are taking the right steps to investigate how you can help. Your pet is so lucky to have you! So feel very good about being a good animal parent and hopefully this article will bring you some information that will help.
So let’s get right into the topic of the post and then unpack it even more.
Does Acupuncture work on animals?
Simply put, it is controversial, but more and more are learning that Acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for all animals including but not limited to cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and any other fury creature willing to oblige a qualified veterinarian. It is considered a wellness therapy and can be combined with other medical treatments or taken as a stand alone.
Meet Stanley! He was found outside on a winter day in Canada. Now he lives indoors and has no interest in going outside. Stanley gets really itchy and gets acupuncture to treat it. He doesn’t mind it, and it helps him feel better. He spends his days snuggled with his caregiver. pic.twitter.com/wCU7PRgkO8— I’ve Pet That Cat (@IvePetThatCat1) March 20, 2021
Acupuncture is a relevant conservative treatment to alleviate pain and improve quality of life in dogs w/ neurological and/or musculoskeletal diseases. Acupuncture is an important tool to be included in the multimodal treatment protocol of your pet!#acupuncture #acupunctureworks pic.twitter.com/2IxZPdEDrg— Advanced Care Vet (@AdvancedVet) November 11, 2019
It is not without it’s naysayers. There are many professionals who absolutely do not believe Acupuncture is a viable solution to any ailment and even see it as animal abuse.
That poor doggo! This is as animal abuse. Acupuncture has never been shown to be anything more than a theatrical placebo. https://t.co/U1ROff9pot— David Gorski, MD, PhD (@gorskon) February 1, 2020
What is Acupuncture?
In short, Acupuncture is the process of strategically inserted needles in specific areas of the body in order to relieve pain, stress and even anxiety. The concept is that it stimulates the areas identified for treatment and assists in the body’s rejuvenation to heal itself.
Acupuncture is considered to be an alternative wellness process to traditional medicines. It’s beginnings can be seen from the Chinese and has deep roots in China. When Acupuncture was first introduced into the Western culture, many in medicine believed it to be nonsense.
Acupuncture was not quickly adopted in the Western culture; the contradictions were between research and testing versus everyday users.
Studies would be conducted to identify the exact benefits of Acupuncture. These test samples showed no evidence of any additional benefits after test cases would take the needling prescripts. Without Scientific proof, many were not as open to try it for themselves or on their patients. To read more on these findings, you can go to Wikipedia for a full listing and explore the analysis.
We pulled one report out of the rabbit hole for you, a study done using placebo and real acupuncture from the Cochrane Library.
“Conclusions A small analgesic effect of acupuncture was found, which seems to lack clinical relevance and cannot be clearly distinguished from bias. Whether needling at acupuncture points, or at any site, reduces pain independently of the psychological impact of the treatment ritual is unclear.”
Without getting too Scientific or straying too far off the beaten path, it is obvious that the practice of Acupuncture continued to persist in the Western part of the world despite naysayers. Basically there seems to be too many regular people who saw benefits from the treatments, and soon enough it picked up speed!
What’s good for pet parents, is good for pets.
What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Veterinary Acupuncture is the basics of Acupuncture performed on animals, especially pets like cats and dogs. Only a qualified Veterinarian should administer the treatments. Make sure the Vet you decide to work with is an accredited Veterinary Acupuncturist who has extensive experience with the treatments and in muscle physiology. Here is an international list that can get you started on your journey.
We also found this website of an Acupuncturist who specializes in animals that also lists quite a few testimonials that might be helpful to browse!
What animals can be treated?
Of course the process can be performed on any animal, but mostly domestic animals are receiving treatments because they are owned by people who have adopted the wellness way of thinking and want to try alternatives to traditional medicines or have tried everything to help their pet, but other solutions did not work.
It is important to know and understand your dog or cat’s character and disposition before deciding if you will be taking this path. If the process will stress your pet out too much, you may decide this is not the right option for you. I would also be very interested in confirming the Vet’s “bedside manner” as that always seems to have a lot to do with an animal’s stress level too. The more calming, kind and gentle the Vet, the more calm and relaxed your pet will probably be.
How much does Veterinary Acupuncture cost?
Although procedures will vary from Veterinarian to Veterinarian, the average cost for treatment is between $300 and $600. The factors that can greatly effect the price are geography, home visits, location of Vet and how busy they might be at the time you book your appointment.
Once you identify a few Vets, you can price compare with specific services you might need (like at home visits) to decide what works best for you. Most Veterinary clinics include a first time consultation for free in their first visit for treatment.
Chinese herbs and even traditional medical treatments are used for the procedures, so your price might also be a package of everything needed for your pet.
Acupuncture for animals is becoming more and more practiced in the United States and even other countries as the adoption of alternative medicines picks up.
There is a wealth of information that seems to signal definite results from the treatments and each individual pet owner should do their own research to determine if this is a path that makes sense for your pets.
If you decide to take the wellness journey, it is important to be sure your Veterinarian of choice is an accredited Acupuncturist with experience treating animals. Testimonials are ideal too!
Kritter Kommunity Contributor