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Acupuncture for Dogs and It’s Benefits

Canine Acupuncture is an alternative method for treating a dog’s pain. It relieves discomfort and promotes overall well-being. 

What Happens During Canine Acupuncture Therapy

During an acupuncture therapy session, a certified professional places thin needles at strategic points of a dog’s body to stimulate nerves and muscles. Although veterinary science doesn’t entirely understand how or why acupuncture works the way it does, there are clear benefits including:

  • Pain relief and reduces inflammation
  • Improves blood flow and oxygenation
  • Boost the number of white T-cells to strengthen the immune system
  • Releases endorphins and helps pets heal
  • Ease muscle spasms 

Acupuncture is incredibly relaxing and makes a pet feel good. The treatment can be so relaxing that many dogs fall asleep during acupuncture therapy. 

Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
large dog uses rear support harness for back legs
Warrior Rear Harness
drag bag for paralyzed dog
Walkin’ Drag Bag

What is Electroacupuncture and is it Beneficial for IVDD Treatment?

Electroacupuncture (EA) is similar to traditional acupuncture. In both forms of acupuncture needles are placed to concentrate on nerve endings, and lymphatic vessels to help lower nerve and muscle pain.

According to Dr. Nicki Cohen, DVM DABVP of Vet Helpful, “Electroacupuncture uses a small electric current between pairs of acupuncture needles to increase the treatment stimulation to the site.  Electroacupuncture is often chosen over traditional acupuncture to treat IVDD. EA was studied in patients treated medically for IVDD and was found to significantly improve time-to-recovery-of-function (walking), and deep pain perception. In one study, the success rate for recovery was 30% improved in patients treated with electroacupuncture over traditional western medicine alone.”

In electroacupuncture therapy, the electrical currents pass between a pair of needles to stimulate the nerve endings deep below the acupuncture points for deeper healing. During EA therapy the technician will insert several pairs of needles at one time. Each pair of acupuncture needles may have varying frequencies and intensities. The location that the needle is placed is determined based on the condition being treated. 

The Benefits of Acupuncture for IVDD

A study by Dr. Hayashi, DVM found dogs with IVDD that used electroacupuncture were less likely to need high dose painkillers and had measurably less pain 36 hours after treatment. Another study concluded that combining electroacupuncture with traditional western medicines resulted in a shorter recovery time for IVDD, and the dogs became ambulatory much faster than dogs who did not have acupuncture. 

For dogs with IVDD, acupuncture needles help to reduce swelling and spinal pain. As a result, this therapy helps decrease spinal cord compression and helps to restore nerves. 

Is Acupuncture Right for Your Pet?

Your veterinarian or a specialist can determine the right therapies for your pet. Many medical conditions benefit from acupuncture treatments:

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD
  • Back and neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative joint diseases
  • Neurological conditions
  • Knee pain
  • Degenerative Myelopathy or DM
  • Chronic pain relief
  • Paralysis

Acupuncture is just one alternative therapy available. Acupuncture could be one of many therapies that may be part of your dog’s treatment plan.

One comment

  1. I’m really glad you said that it can help with pain relief. My cat has been struggling with arthritis for the past couple of months now, so I wanted to do some research on different treatment options she could try for her pain. I appreciate you helping me learn more about the advantages of acupuncture for pets. I’ll have to look into seeing if it can help my cat.

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