By Brian Puterman
For centuries the healing art of acupuncture has been
practiced on animals. The origin of acupuncture dates back to ancient China.
The Chinese regularly practiced acupuncture on horses then gradually tried
it on other farm animals and finally dogs, cats and birds. This form of
healing work is based around bio-energy or Qi. Acupuncture serves to
unblock Qi energy and in so doing boosts the immune system which aids in
self-healing. Acupuncture causes the body to release endorphins and hormones
while at the same time decreasing inflammation both internally and
The Chinese discovered that animals have similar meridians
and reflex-points to humans. These meridians are the fields in which Qi
energy flows. The meridians are connected with internal organs, muscular and
joint structures, and the nervous system. Acupuncture points, which lie on
the meridians, are areas of the skin at which the flow of Qi can be
affected. When an animal is unhealthy, there is an imbalance or interference
with Qi flow. The acupuncturist manipulates the animalís Qi by stimulating
specific acupuncture points, which alleviates the blockage or imbalance.
Not until Oswald Kothbauer in Austria and Erwin
Westermayer in Germany began experimenting with treatment of cattle and
horses did acupuncture begin to be recognized in the west as a legitimate
In order for your veterinarian to diagnose your pet itís
important for them to have a thorough understanding of the bodyís meridians
and the relationship of those meridians to the corresponding condition or
Here is a list of areas that respond favorably to
This is the area most commonly treated with acupuncture in western medical
practice. Quite a few veterinarians limit themselves to the treatment of
arthritic disorders or muscular injuries, ignoring the many other conditions
and illnesses which can benefit from acupuncture.
All female reproductive conditions are acknowledged to respond to
acupuncture treatment including anestrus, metritis, dystocia, retained
placenta, agalactia, mastitis and mesalliance.
Impotence, orchitis, epididymitis, and libido can be successfully treated.
Almost all of the hormonal systems can be affected, including all of the
pituitary functions, thyroid and parathyroid functions, and adrenal
functions. It is also possible to normalize blood sugar levels.
Anxiety, epilepsy and behavioral disorders have all responded well to
The skin can tell us if our pet is getting proper nutrition and how well
theyíre disposing of waste through the respiratory, digestive and urinary
systems. If an acupuncturist can keep these organs and systems in good
condition this will be reflected in the skin.
Acupuncture is being used to indirectly influence the performance of a dog
or horse. Itís best not to use acupuncture 48 to 60 hours before a race due
to the sedating effect. After 48 hours or so there is an increase in vigor,
Vitality, and a general feeling of well-being.
Some veterinarians are now practicing acupuncture with
Helium-Neon lasers instead of needles. This is said to avoid the slight
discomfort to the animal that can be caused by the insertion of needles. In
addition, the operator does not have to learn needle insertion techniques
necessary to perform acupuncture. This form of treatment is safe to tissue
and cannot introduce infection.
Electro-acupuncture is used to help in some specific
procedures. Itís used as an alternative when needles or lasers do not seem
to be working.
Another variation on acupuncture is called aquapuncture,
which is the injection of a liquid into the main acupuncture points. Some
veterinarians have found that the effect lasts longer then the insertion of
needles. The liquids used in this technique are usually homeopathic in
nature. This modality takes less time to perform then acupuncture.
It is always good to keep in mind that there are still a
variety of conditions and illnesses that must be treated with drugs and/or
surgery. The use of acupuncture in conjunction with drugs and/or surgery can
immeasurably improve your companion animalís chances for a rapid and