How Acupuncture for Dogs Works

There are at least 360 acupoints that have been identified. The meridians run deep within the body, they surface on the skin via hundreds of spots known as acupoints. Manipulating these points can manipulate the body’s energy flow. The word “acupuncture” comes from the Latin “acus” (needle) and “punctura” (puncture). Just like in humans, acupuncture for dogs works by inserting tiny needles into specific acupuncture points to restore or redirect the flow of energy. 

Acupuncture is Acupuncture is great for problems that involve canine paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small dogs, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, or traumatic nerve injury
  • Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
  • Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea
  • Selected reproductive problems

For large dogs, acupuncture is again commonly used for functional problems. Some of the general conditions where it might be applied are the following:

  • Musculoskeletal problems such as sore backs
  • Neurological problems such as facial paralysis
  • Skin problems such as allergic dermatitis
  • Respiratory problems such as heaves and “bleeders”
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nonsurgical colic
  • Selected reproductive problems

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. Canine athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your dogs are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.

However, needles are not the only means to stimulate acupuncture points. Other methods include:

  • Electroacupuncture – a form of acupuncture in which the needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electrical pulses, enhancing the effect of the needles
  • Sonopuncture – stimulating the body by using high frequency sound waves instead of needles
  • Laserpuncture – stimulating the acupuncture points using a laser.
  • Aquapuncture – injecting saline-diluted Vitamin B12 into an acupuncture point
  • Acupressure – using manual pressure on a point instead of a needle

In addition, small gold beads, magnets or surgical staples can be implanted into acupuncture points to create permanent stimulation that can affect muscles and nerves..

Conditions Treated with Acupuncture for Dogs

Acupuncture can be used to treat many types of dog illnesses and conditions. Some examples are:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders (muscle soreness, back pain, slipped disk, hip dysplasia, chronic arthritis, degenerative joint disease)
  • Skin diseases and allergic dermatitis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Geriatric weakness
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gastric ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Neurological disorders (spinal chord trauma, seizures, epilepsy, some types of paralysis)
  • Kidney disease
  • Urinary incontinence and retention
  • Behavioral issues
  • Respiratory conditions (asthma, chronic bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory infections,)
  • Pain management (pre- and post-operative)
  • Chronic pain syndrome

Acupuncture is also used as a preventative measure to maintain the body in a state of balance.

If you would like to learn more about acupuncture for dogs or find a veterinary acupuncturist in your area, visit the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.