Is Acupuncture a Good Option?
Updated: Jul 5
There are numerous reported and potential uses for acupuncture therapy in animals. The most common are for pain relief for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions, neurologic conditions such as epilepsy, behavioral disorders, and chronic diseases. One of the ways acupuncture works is by triggering the body to release endorphins, anti-inflammatory mediators, and hormones to reduce pain, and improve quality of life.
In some situations, where we are using acupuncture to treat an acute disease process, the effects of acupuncture are almost immediate. These cases are the most rewarding to see what acupuncture therapy can really do; There are multiple reports of acupuncture therapy alone helping a paralyzed dachshund with a slipped spinal disc and compressed spinal cord regain the ability to walk. There are reports of acupuncture curing large breed dogs that are unable to put weight on one of their hind legs due to a torn ligament in their knee. The list goes on.
Some cases do not yield results that are as obvious as the scenarios mentioned above. For example, most patients with chronic disease processes (kidney disease, liver disease, arthritis) are on multiple medications/supplements and are experiencing a slew of symptoms. By nature, chronic diseases are progrssive and do not have a cure. In these situations, acupuncture may not cure them, but it can manage their symptoms and improve quality of life.
For example, patients with cancer, going through chemotherapy, or suffering from chronic kidney disease may be experiencing nausea, anorexia and other gastrointestinal issues. Acupuncture can be beneficial for these patients as an adjunctive weekly therapy to improve appetite, reduce nausea, and release endorphins to make these patients feel better. Pet owners with pets suffering from chronic progressive diseases report improved quality of life. While we can’t cure everything with acupuncture, we can improve quality of life for the ones who deserve it most.
Please reach out if you have any questions about veterinary acupuncture or if you want to learn how it can help your pet!
-Dr Kimberly Couch, DVM, CVA
West Asheville Family Vet