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Acupuncture for Dogs

Acupuncture for Dogs

An effective and renowned form of holistic medicine, acupuncture is now also used for the treatment of various diseases and disorders in dogs.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Acupuncture, which originated in Chinese civilization as a form of holistic medicine, has been used by humans for several ages. It mainly aims at treating ailments by balancing the energy in the body. In acupuncture, fine needles are inserted on certain pressure points (or acupuncture points) on the body, along the energy meridian, to stimulate the flow of energy. It treats diseases by directing renewed energy towards the affected body part, thereby curing it. Of late, the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals―dogs in particular―is also seen to be on a rise.

Acupuncture Treatment for Dogs

There is enough evidence to suggest that dogs benefit from acupuncture. In fact, it is now recognized as a valid treatment in veterinarian care by the American Veterinarian Medical Association and the World Health Organization (WHO). To determine whether the dog's condition can be improved using acupuncture, a physical examination by a qualified veterinarian is required. The veterinarian will also take into account your dog's medical history. Based on the preliminary examination, he will be able to tell if the dog can undergo acupuncture treatment or not.

Acupuncture is absolutely painless. That might come as a surprise for you, especially because it involves the insertion of several needles in the animal's body. However, you need to understand that these needles are very thin and hence, don't cause any pain. The process is simple; the acupuncturist first palpitates the dog, so as to find the path of energy meridian. He then massages the body to find the weak, tender parts. Needles are then inserted along this path, on certain pressure points. The dog can be either made to lie down on the table or floor, however, it is important to keep him calm throughout the entire process. He can be given treats to keep him engaged or the assistant may gently talk to him to divert his attention. The time taken for each session may range from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the gravity of the problem. Minor injuries or ailments can be treated in a single session itself, while chronic ailments may take multiple sessions.

Diseases That Can be Cured

Acupuncture strengthens the immune system of the dog, thus preventing him from falling prey to common infections and dog allergies. It is also helpful in curing neurological illnesses, reproductive problems, skin diseases, skeletal abnormalities, muscle dysfunctions, arthritis, etc. Acupuncture is not as effective for the treatment of cancer though, since cancer, in animals, is often detected in the later stages. As a result, there is not enough time to implement holistic therapies and wait for their results. However, it can be implemented as a supplementary therapy, along with surgery or allopathy, to help relieve the symptoms of the disease.

Cost Incurred

The main factors that influence its cost are: (i) the number of sessions required and (ii) the nature of the underlying condition. On an average, the acupuncturist may charge you anywhere between $60 to $200 per session. However, if the condition is complex, the cost may shoot up to $500. Similarly, the qualification and experience of the acupuncturist may also influence the cost.

Acupuncture is a great way of securing the health of your dog without subjecting him to scary surgeries or strong medication. However, like any other holistic therapy, it takes time to show results. Its results usually become evident within 2 - 3 weeks and you get to see drastic improvement in the condition of your dog.