Acupuncture benefits for Dogs
Dog receiving acupuncture with Dr. Tasha Wilson

Dr. Tasha Wilson treats a patient in her clinic with acupuncture.

Veterinary acupuncture for dogs (and other pets) is a therapeutic treatment method that involves the insertion of sterile needles. For humans, acupuncture is a fantastic alternative or complementary treatment to treat chronic pain. For pets, the benefits can span much further. In fact, acupuncture for dogs has been shown to improve blood circulation, assist in allergy treatment, help heal wounds, as well as prevent inflammatory diseases and chronic pain.

Many pet parents report that during and after acupuncture treatment, their four-legged friend is more content, mellow, as well as mobile. If you’re thinking about using alternative treatments to help your dog recover from an acute injury or a long-term health issue, here are 5 benefits of acupuncture that may help seal the deal.

  1. Gastrointestinal Relief: Acupuncture at Acupetvet has been shown to relieve GI issues in both dogs and cats with IBS and diarrhea.
  2. Faster Recovery from Herniated Disk: As pets age so does their spine. In the cases of a herniated disk, acupuncture points are placed based on their location to major spinal nerves of the body. Placing the needles at these locations allows the body to release endorphins, norepinephrine, and anti-inflammatory mediators and allows the body to heal itself naturally.[1]
  3. Relief from Lick Granulomas: Continuous licking or gnawing at the skin or “hot spot” can cause an irritating sore exposing superficial nerve endings. These lesions are often very difficult to heal. Along with traditional medicine, like antibiotics, acupuncture has been shown to speed the healing time for lick granuloma wounds.
  4. Increase In Appetite: For dogs with metabolic diseases like diabetes, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, Cushing’s disease, and Addison’s disease, acupuncture has been shown to decrease nausea leading to an increase in appetite.
  5. Decrease Trauma-Related Anxiety: For pets that have had a traumatic injury like a broken bone or ligament tear, using acupuncture before and after surgery or treatment can help reduce anxiety as well as pain.
  6. Relief from Cancer Side Effects: Seeing our beloved pets suffer from cancer is heartbreaking. The good news is acupuncture is shown to increase energy, and decrease nausea and loss of appetite so pets can live their best lives.

What To Expect During Acupuncture For Dogs:

Dr. Tasha Wilson will insert needles in specific areas of your dog’s body called acupuncture points. For most dogs, this is virtually painless and they don’t notice the needles going in. Dr. Wilson has treats on hand to keep younger dogs or nervous dogs occupied. Oftentimes, dogs become very relaxed and even fall asleep. Note that the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your dog is likely to be.

If we notice that your dog starts to experience pain or fear during an acupuncture session, we can discuss other options like laser therapy to help your dog feel more comfortable. Most often, once a dog realizes that acupuncture doesn’t hurt and that they feel better during and after a session, they’ll calm down and enjoy their treatment time with us.

Here is Jenkins enjoying his acupuncture session with Dr. Wilson:

Acupuncture Resources:

 

[1]: https://healingpawsfl.com/treat-intervertebral-disc-disease-dog/

Although the certification is officially for canine rehabilitation, I also offer feline rehabilitation, as well. I took a rehab therapy course through Canine Rehab Institute and I went to multiple classes in Colorado and Florida over the course of one year.

I learned about different ways to assess a patient for pain, by looking at their muscles and ligaments in their spine a little bit differently than I have before. I also learned different ways to evaluate pets for limping and strength, and how to evaluate flexibility tests and measurements to help determine progress after treatment has begun.

What is Canine Rehabilitation Therapy?

Canine Rehabilitation Therapy is a practice that “adapts human physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles in animals. Animal rehabilitation can reduce pain and enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, and obesity.”

Rehab therapy includes pain management as well. Neuromuscular stimulation, laser therapy, or acupuncture, plus joint mobilizations or “ massages” can help decrease inflammation and improve joint health.

Benefits of Canine (and Feline) Rehabilitation Therapy

I greatly enjoy treating pets with acupuncture and cold laser therapy. These modalities offer great pain control; however, once a pet’s pain level is controlled, it is good to slowly strengthen and condition them back to shape so they do not hurt themselves once they feel better.

That is what rehabilitation therapy provides. It also helps stimulate the nervous system- providing both musculoskeletal and neurological support. Some additional examples of the benefits of rehabilitation therapy include:

Pre and Post Surgery

Physical therapy is not only beneficial after surgery, but prior to surgery as well. Patients are typically undergoing surgery to fix an issue that is causing pain, and rehab therapy can help ease the pain a bit leading up to the surgery. After the surgery, it is necessary to ensure full recovery and to regain strength.

Neurological Issues

Rehab therapy can be extremely beneficial in neurological cases, by helping patients to increase nerve and muscle stimulation. It’s also a great way to help teach the body how to walk again, by reteaching the muscles, patterns of walking, and stimulating the nerves.

Geriatric Patients

Rehab therapy provides great mental stimulation for cats and dogs, and especially for older pets. Geriatric patients can benefit significantly from this type of therapy, as their comfort level typically improves after just one visit. I often give older pets heat, a massage, and stretch their muscles, which helps their posture and aids in pain control. 

Feline Rehabilitation Therapy

Felines can benefit from rehabilitation therapy, too. Rehab therapy is good for cats who may have had a stroke, or those with neurological diseases and/or back diseases. For example, a feline who is having a hard time learning how to walk again could benefit from this type of therapy.

 

There are so many benefits to canine and feline rehabilitation therapy. After learning how patients have benefited from rehab therapy, I felt strongly that this would help my patients continue to improve and have a better comfort level.

If you have a pet who has a cruciate injury or a different orthopedic condition and want more information rehabilitation therapy, get in touch with Dr. Wilson today!