Many people have heard of using acupuncture to treat people, but did you know that it can also be used to heal animals?

The Chinese discovered acupuncture over 4,000 years ago, making it the oldest form of healing known for both humans and animals. Today, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is widely used in Eastern countries (China, Japan, Korea, and others) and is steadily gaining popularity in Western countries to treat a variety of animal species, including dogs and cats.

The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself.  This is achieved by correcting imbalances in the body, using tiny, painless needles to stimulate acupuncture points (acupoints).  The acupoints are where nerve bundles and blood vessels come together and can be found on meridians (energy channels) that course over the body’s surface. The Chinese discovered that there are 361 acupoints in people and 173 in cats and dogs, astoundingly without the use of any technology!  Modern research confirms that the stimulation of acupoints induces the release of endorphins, serotonin, anti-inflammatory hormones and other chemicals that are responsible for pain relief and healing.

Will your pet benefit from acupuncture?  If your pet is suffering from a condition that causes pain, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, spinal disc disease, neck, shoulder, knee or back pain, limping, muscle soreness
or spasm, injuries or weak hind legs, then acupuncture is likely to help. Acupuncture generally works wonders for geriatric animals that are slowing down and having trouble with overall mobility. TCVM can also help with vomiting or diarrhea, respiratory conditions, skin conditions such as lick granulomas or allergies, behavioral disorders and neurological conditions such as paralysis and seizures. In addition, acupuncture is used to keep canine athletes in top physical condition by helping to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, but only if administered by a veterinarian who has successfully completed an extensive post-doctoral educational program in veterinary acupuncture. Because of the differences in anatomy, and the potential for harm if done incorrectly, only a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) should treat your pet. In most countries, states, and provinces, acupuncture is considered a surgical procedure that only licensed veterinarians may legally administer.

Dr. Mitzi Schepps is the owner of Wellness Waggin’ Acupuncture, a mobile acupuncture practice servicing Marietta and surrounding areas. Contact them to see if acupuncture can benefit your dog or cat. www.wellwag.com

Dr. Mitzi Schepps,  a certified veterinary acupuncturist