Can acupuncture help manage my pet's pain?
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Can acupuncture help manage my pet's pain?

pet acupuncture

Pawsitive Strides Veterinary Rehabilitation & Therapy

Des Moines, Iowa

For thousands of years, the Chinese practice of acupuncture has been used
to help activate the body’s own healing mechanisms. At Pawsitive Strides
Veterinary Rehabilitation in Des Moines, acupuncture has been used for pain
management, mobility issues, seizure management, anxiety, and more.

But this ancient medicine is often reduced down in everyday conversation to
simply getting stuck with needles. Understanding the benefit of acupuncture
treatments for your pet’s pain can be difficult when the practice’s
efficacy in humans is so often called into question.
How does acupuncture actually work?

Acupuncture points are seen as places where nerves, muscles, and connective
tissue can be stimulated.

When these points are stimulated, each one has a unique physiological
effect on the central nervous system. The activation of acupuncture points
increases blood flow to the area and also tells the body to release its
natural pain relievers, enkephalins and endorphins.

Sustained acupuncture treatment can even change the way the brain thinks
about pain.

“Acupuncture also has modulating effects on certain areas of the brain (the
hippocampus and hypothalamus, in particular) that help to change pain
perception and transmission” - Alvarez, HVPM 2015

Why are needles used?

Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at strategic points on
your pets body. The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes
little discomfort. Veterinary acupuncturists feel that the use of the
filamentous or very thin needles has the potential to last longer and have
a more stimulating effect than other forms of acupuncture.

For dogs or cats that are especially sensitive to needles, alternative
forms of acupuncture can be employed using laser stimulation or
aqua-acupuncture—which is faster than the traditional “dry-needle” practice
and done by injecting small amounts of sterile fluid into acupuncture
How can you tell if it works on cats or dogs?

A growing body of evidence across recent studies supports “the use of
acupuncture to reduce pain associated with musculoskeletal and neurological
diseases in dogs” (Silva, CVJ 2017; Lane, CVJ 2016).

Most dogs and cats tolerate acupuncture treatments very well. It’s a slow
and gentle practice that sees its best effect with an accumulative response
across repeated treatments. And unlike human patients, your pets won’t
experience what is often known as the placebo effect.
Adding acupuncture to your pet’s care plan

With each treatment tailored to your pet’s individual problems or needs,
acupuncture can be a safe and effective part of a multi-modal pain
management plan alongside other therapies or medications.

Ask your primary care veterinarian about supplementing your pet’s care or
treatment plan—or call us today at Pawsitive Strides Veterinary
Rehabilitation and Therapy in Des Moines Iowa at 515-575-9655 for any
additional questions you might have about acupuncture or any of our
services. <>


Alvarez L. Chapter 18: Acupuncture. In Gaynor J and Muir M: Handbook of
Veterinary Pain Management, ed 3, St. Louis, 2015, Mosby.

Could Acupuncture Help My Dog? By LeilaniAlvarez, DVM, DACVSMR, CV, CCRT

Silva NE, Luna SP, Joaquim JG ,et al. Effect of acupuncture on pain and
quality of life in canine neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. Can
Vet J 58(9):941-951, 2017.

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