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Dog Acupuncture - The Benefits of Dog Acupuncture

What is dog acupuncture?

Acupuncture is taking needles and placing those needles in specific points on the body or along certain channels on the body to activate the body's natural healing abilities. The needles can stimulate the acupuncture point, cause some STEM cell release, and cause a cascade of other events. Acupuncture allows the body to release its own endorphins for pain management, tissue relaxation and help with any underlying condition.


Dr. Mitch McKee
Berry Farms Animal Hospital - Cupola Animal Hospitals

Is there more than one type of dog acupuncture?

There are different types of acupuncture. There's dry needle acupuncture, which is placing a single needle in a spot. There's electrical acupuncture, during which you take that needle and hook it to an electrical current to stimulate the area in that channel. There's aqua puncture, where you use medications like vitamin B12 or maybe some saline to put in the acupuncture spot. There's also pneumo acupuncture, where you can use air in certain areas to help build up muscle tissue. There is acupressure, in which you're using your thumb or your finger at an acupuncture spot. Some veterinarians do laser acupuncture, as you can use a laser to do the same thing as a needle can do. Also, there's another procedure called moxibustion.

What is moxibustion, and why is it considered part of acupuncture therapy?

Moxibustion is where you take an herbal stick, the exact name for it is Artemisia vulgaris (it's shaped kind of like a cigar), and you light that. You put a needle in a patient along the back, and you hold that warm stick over that needle, and the heat goes down the needle into the body and helps warm up that area. As an alternative, you can just hold the stick over the area without the needle being there, being careful not to burn our patients, of course. But it's excellent for heating areas in the body that stay cold all the time, especially good for our old, arthritic patients to help warm up their joints.

How does the use of acupuncture impact the health and wellbeing of my dog?

Using acupuncture treats the problem at hand and increases the quality of life, and it gives the dog the overall feel better type feeling. Acupuncture can be very rewarding in terms of buying them a little more time or trying to help them through chronic diseases. It gives us another alternative to use in our treatment regimen.

How old does a dog need to be to receive acupuncture?

There's really not an age restriction. We don't do it very much on our younger patients, puppies, or kittens, but for the most part, it can be done at any age.

What are some conditions that would benefit a dog by receiving acupuncture treatments?

The most common conditions that we use acupuncture for are going to be musculoskeletal pain. These would be your back problems or your neck problems. And that also extends into neurological issues like disc disease. It can be advantageous for patients with disc issues to get those patients back up on their feet again. Acupuncture can also be used for other scenarios, such as coughing. We also use it on heart patients, controlling some of their symptoms. Acupuncture can be good for GI disease, especially controlling symptoms like diarrhea, and it can be used for allergies. There are many different applications for it, depending upon what may be going on with your pet.

Would acupuncture compliment my dog's current treatments?

Acupuncture is most often always an excellent complementary treatment to what you may be using already. We found a lot of times that if you add acupuncture to your patient's treatment regimen, you're able to decrease the number of medications that they're sometimes taking, which can be a very good thing in terms of overall quality of life.

How can dog acupuncture be integrated with Western medicine?

It kind of depends upon the situation at hand. Still, we look at acupuncture as just another tool that we have in our toolbox—like our pain medication, antibiotics, our x-ray machine, and lab equipment. This is something that we have available to use when we feel like it's most needed.

How will a veterinarian determine if acupuncture is right for my dog?

The best way to determine if acupuncture is right for your pet is to have an appointment with a certified veterinary acupuncturist for different reasons. One thing we want to do is have the correct diagnosis. If you have the proper diagnosis, it gives you an optimal chance to do what feels best in affecting your patient's health. Also, it's essential to get an exam when you're considering acupuncture because not all patients like acupuncture. Some dogs won't sit still for the session, and some don't like the needles being placed. So, it's essential to get the right diagnosis. It is also important for a certified veterinary acupuncturist to assess your pet's condition to see if they’re a candidate for acupuncture or not.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 283-9040, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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