Can Acupuncture Help Your Dog? Many medical and veterinary professionals used to dismiss acupuncture treatment as false or useless. As alternative medicine gained popularity, more people began to notice that acupuncture gave them good results, with a proper treatment plan.
Doctors and medical professionals are beginning to consider acupuncture as a treatment option for a variety of health problems. Veterinarians have observed the effectiveness of acupuncture for years, but many are just now realizing its benefits. If your dog is suffering from a health problem that veterinary medicine cannot help with, then acupuncture might be a modality to treat your dog.
How Much Does Dog Acupuncture Cost?
Pet owners should be prepared to pay for a dog acupuncture anywhere between $60 and $240 per session. It is recommended by some veterinarians that you do more than one session for best results. Around eight sessions will be necessary for an average dog. Usually, each acupuncture session takes fifteen minutes to more than one hour.
In general, the procedure of acupuncture for a dog is done by a certified veterinary acupuncturist, and there are some factors that affect its costs such as the length of the session, the patient’s condition being treated, and the clinic.
According to the Mom.me website, the cost of a 15-to-120-minute dog acupuncture session would be anywhere between $30 and $140.
These price estimates will include the cost of the consultation and the session itself.
Veterinary acupuncture – short presentation
Practiced for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture represents the stimulation of certain points in the body, or meridians, as they are called by those who practice this type of therapy. According to Chinese medical theory, energy flows through these meridians, and acupuncture points correct excess or deficiencies in energy flow.
Most often associated with acupuncture are needles, but related techniques include applying pressure with the fingers (press puncture), burning a plant near a meridian (moxibustion), and injecting various substances into a point (aqua puncture). The area can also be stimulated with ultrasound or laser.
Electroacupuncture is a variation of traditional acupuncture that combines the principles of acupuncture with the application of electrical stimulation. In electroacupuncture, small electrical currents are applied to the needles to enhance the therapeutic effects.
Acupuncture is not a painful procedure for humans or animals. Animals usually accept the therapy without much fuss. The results appear after approximately 8-10 sessions, performed weekly or monthly. Veterinary acupuncture is not only for dogs and cats but also for horses, birds, horses, large herbivores, rodents, etc.
The exact physiological mechanisms of acupuncture involve the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body known as acupuncture points or acupoints.
Benefits of acupuncture for dogs
Conditions that respond best to such therapies include musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, partial cruciate ligament tears, post-operative recovery, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), vomiting, or chronic diarrhea. Acupuncture works also as an anti-inflammatory adjuvant.
Acupuncture may be used to treat skin problems, like allergic dermatitis and hot spots. It can help improve blood circulation to the skin and promote healing.
Acupuncture for a dog is not suitable for all diseases. Those who practice it do not recommend its use in chronic conditions like the treatment of cancer. A treatment applied near or in a tumor, as well as on a meridian that runs through a tumor can increase its size.
What are the additional expenses?
The vet may recommend extra medicine or even surgery if the problem that has to be treated is greater than expected.
In case the dog has the tendency to move around a lot, the vet may administer sedation-based medicines.
In order for your dog to feel better, more than one session may be required. Also, you should know that, in general, acupuncture will not cure problems like arthritis, but will provide temporary relief.
Important things to consider
Acupuncture is not recommended in combination with homeopathy, a method of treatment that treats a disease with small doses of a drug that in a healthy animal would produce the signs of the disease being treated. The two treatment methods may interfere with each other.
Results obtained by acupuncture in animals can be miraculous, or they can be absent. According to a study, in 25% of cases, a long-term improvement of symptoms was obtained, in 50% of cases, remarkable short-term results were obtained, and in the remaining 25% of cases, no improvement in health status was observed in animals undergoing acupuncture.
Even if acupuncture cannot definitively treat a condition in your beloved animal, it is definitely worth trying this alternative therapy to temporarily relieve the pain felt by it.
Typical acupuncture session
It may seem surprising, but most dogs do well during acupuncture sessions. At first, some dogs are nervous and distrustful. However, they seem to quickly learn that there is nothing to fear.
Many dogs look forward to acupuncture because it makes them feel better. Of course, training and socializing your dog in advance is a great way to make sure the first few sessions go well.
The first time your four-legged friend receives acupuncture therapy, the vet will slowly begin to sedate him. You may want to bring some treats for your dog to help make the experience positive. Many vets, however, will have rewards in their practice for this very reason.
How can I save money?
The first acupuncture session will be the most expensive. Talk with your vet and ask for a discount, in case you plan to take your dog to more than one session.
Some pet insurance companies offer coverage for alternative therapies, including acupuncture, while others may not include it in their standard coverage but offer it as an optional add-on or rider.
In case you feel that your dog may not adapt well to the needles, optional herbal remedies are also available. Moreover, many dog owners find that these sessions just aren’t worth it.