5 Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture for Dogs & Cats in Boston, MA
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years for many different conditions, both in humans and animals. In veterinary medicine, acupuncture is becoming more popular as pet parents are looking for alternatives and complements to traditional pain medication. We’ve seen the difference acupuncture can make to a patient’s quality of life and are happy to offer this modality at Back Bay Veterinary Clinic.
So, what is veterinary acupuncture and does it really work on dogs and cats? Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted into certain acupuncture points, or acupoints, in the body. Traditionally, these points are thought to fall along “meridians” or energy lines in the body that, when interrupted with an imbalance, cause disease and injury. Acupuncture is meant to restore balance and encourage the body to heal itself. Scientifically speaking, feline and canine acupuncture points correspond to blood vessels, nerve clusters, and muscles. When a cat and dog acupuncturist inserts needles into these points, they stimulate physiological changes that bring your pet many health benefits.
Let’s look at the five main benefits of veterinary acupuncture.
Relieves Pain & Improves Circulation
One of the most prominent benefits of acupuncture is its ability to relieve pain and improve circulation. The fine needles of acupuncture don’t hurt your pet, but they do stimulate the release of the body’s natural painkillers: endorphins. These hormones are responsible for significant pain relief. Furthermore, acupuncture stimulates an increase in blood flow, which plays an important role in swelling reduction. These physiological effects are especially beneficial for pets with chronic conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other orthopedic problems. It’s also effective at relieving acute pain from injuries or surgical incisions.
Helps Relieve Gastrointestinal Problems
Maybe surprisingly, acupuncture can affect the gastrointestinal system. Certain acupuncture points correspond to your pet’s digestive system, and the stimulation of these points can aid in relieving digestive distress. Acupuncture can be used to help treat diarrhea and vomiting, constipation, pancreatitis, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Veterinary acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect that is useful in treating a wide variety of conditions. Many skin conditions and respiratory problems are caused by inflammation. Acupuncture, with is anti-inflammatory effect, can help treat several conditions including lick granulomas, hot spots, itchy skin from allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, and more.
Stimulates Nerves and Relaxes Muscles
Many acupoints, and indeed, the meridians, follow the nervous system and fall along nerve clusters as well as muscle groups. The thin needles are effective at stimulating a nerve response and help to relax muscles, too. This is especially helpful for pets who suffer from nerve injuries, neuromuscular issues like intervertebral disk disease, and neurologic problems like seizures.
Provides Stress Relief
Last, but certainly not least, veterinary acupuncture gives cats and dogs stress relief! The fine needles cause no pain and many pets will actually fall asleep during treatment. While stress may not seem to play a big role in your pet’s seemingly easy and relaxed life, it can actually take a serious toll on your pet’s health. Chronic stress can be caused by a change in routine or environment, the addition of a new pet to the home, a painful condition, chronic illness and a myriad of other reasons. An acupuncture session gives your pet a chance to relax and be the center of attention—all while enjoying the wonderful physiological benefits!
Are There Side Effects with Acupuncture?
Since acupuncture is entirely drug-free, there are very limited side effects. Some cat and dog acupuncture side effects include mild soreness and sleepiness after their session. These are both entirely normal and your pet should perk right back up within 24-48 hours of their appointment!
If you’re interested in veterinary acupuncture for your dog or cat, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (617) 247-2273 to make an appointment, or ask us questions! We look forward to hearing from you!