acupuncture for animals

acupuncture helps older pets

Each year, it seems that more doctors are providing complementary and alternative medicine and are using it to help patients ease chronic pain, reduce the inflammation of arthritis or even lose weight.

Of course, in this case, the patients have four legs and cold noses – they are our pets and the practice of offering complementary and alternative medicine, especially acupuncture, to treat what ails them is growing by leaps and bounds.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which represents more than 78,000 vets in the U.S., has issued guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine and while it is difficult to track how many vets are offering the services, it is easy to see how it’s growing by doing some quick online searches or even talking to neighbors at the dog park.

I often get asked about pet acupuncture and while, as a licensed acupuncturist here in Pennsylvania for my two-legged human peers, I can’t offer that treatment (this varies state-to-state, so be sure to do your local research), I do find it very interesting how effective people find acupuncture for pets and how an increasing number of veterinarians are certain that it can help with mobility, joint pain, arthritis and other common ailments seen as pets age.

Here are some articles and resources that I find most interesting and helpful:

First, here in Philadelphia, if I am asked for a recommendation for a vet practice that offers acupuncture, I’ve had great experiences with St. George Hunt Memorial Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Karen Becker talks about how acupuncture treatments can make “a world of difference in the mobility” of your pet as he or she ages on the Huffington Post.

An early adopter, Jon Katz wrote about the wonders worked by acupuncture on his Border Collie, Orson, on Slate back in 2005.

In 2009, Michelle Slatalla chronicled how veterinary acupuncture was growing and how it helped bring the spring back to her Lab Otto’s step for the New York Times.

Along those same lines, U.S. News and World Report covered the trend of holistic veterinary medicine and how many vets “swear by it” in 2009.

Finally, while you might not go as far as to practice “doga” (yes, that’s yoga for dogs) with your pet, this piece in the New York Post tells you how you can.

So, the next time you see Rex or Fluffy limp a bit after some strenuous play (or even just getting up after a nap, if they are older), think of how much acupuncture has helped you…it may do the same for your furry friend.