Acupuncture for Pets by Dr. Groberg

Acupuncture. You have probably heard of it, but very people know very little about how it actually works. You will probably also be very surprised to learn that it is a practice that is growing in popularity amongst owners of cats and dogs and has proven to have significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of our furry family members. Let’s find out more.


How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works in the same way for both humans and animals. It is an ancient Chinese practice that involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at defined points in order to alter the flow of energy around the body. However, in modern medicine, these needles are believed to stimulate the sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles, thus triggering the body to produce natural substances – for example, pain-relieving endorphins or serotonin to help relieve stress and anxiety. As such, acupuncture can have both therapeutic (healing) and preventative benefits.

Each needle is sterilized before insertion and will be placed at pre-determined locations dependent on the issues that we are treating. Needles will stay in your pet’s body for between 5 and 20 minutes before being removed. Most animals barely notice the treatment, with some even falling asleep while their acupuncture appointment takes place. Each appointment is typically around 40 minutes in length, but this may be tailored to suit the needs of your pet.


How many acupuncture sessions will my pet need?

Every animal is unique, and we pride ourselves on treating them as individuals. Not only may they have very different health requirements, but they may also respond to acupuncture at different rates. Our usual recommendation is for an animal to have up to four, weekly treatments. You may find that there is a noticeable improvement in your pet’s condition after the first session, but it is not unusual for as many as 4 appointments to be required. We will tailor your pet’s treatment program specifically to him.


Benefits of acupuncture for pets

One of the main reasons that owners opt for acupuncture is because it is a natural, non-medication dependent form of therapy. Many owners have concerns about their pets relying on prescription pain relief to help them manage chronic pain and inflammation. Acupuncture offers a viable alternative to this.


Currently, we are able to offer pet acupuncture to help alleviate the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders in cats and dogs including:

  • Arthritis

  • Chronic neck pain

  • Chronic back pain

  • Knee/joint problems


However, some studies have also shown that acupuncture may also be beneficial for other conditions including:

  • Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma

  • Skin problems, such as allergic dermatitis

  • Gastrointestinal issues, for example chronic diarrhea

  • Selective reproductive problems


Is acupuncture suitable for all types of pet?

Acupuncture has been proven to be beneficial for a variety of issues in cats and dogs. It could potentially also help with medical conditions in other animals, but enough research has not yet been done to confirm this. As such, at the present time, we are pleased to extend our acupuncture service to canines and felines who visit our practice.


Will acupuncture hurt my pet?

One of the biggest concerns that owners have about acupuncture is that it will cause their pet pain. Rest assured that any discomfort experienced is very uncommon. Should your furbaby feel a slight scratch when the needle goes in, it passes immediately and once the needles are in place, there shouldn’t be any pain whatsoever.


Is acupuncture safe?

Provided that your pet’s acupuncture is performed by a trained and experienced acupuncturist, there should be no concerns surrounding the safety of this therapy. We will always undertake a full assessment of the health of your furbaby before beginning any sort of treatment, including acupuncture.


If you have any further questions about pet acupuncture, or if you would like to arrange a consultation for your vet for this highly successful alternative therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our offices in Lake Mary, FL.


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