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Home > Newsletters > April 2005 >

Veterinary Acupuncture

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 (See Shiatsu for a more detailed explanation of 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 externally.

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 healing modality.

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 illness.

Here is a list of areas that respond favorably to acupuncture.

MUSCULO-SKELETAL

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.

GYNECOLOGICAL

All female reproductive conditions are acknowledged to respond to acupuncture treatment including anestrus, metritis, dystocia, retained placenta, agalactia, mastitis and mesalliance.

MALE REPRODUCTIVE

Impotence, orchitis, epididymitis, and libido can be successfully treated.

HORMONAL

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.

NEUROLOGICAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Anxiety, epilepsy and behavioral disorders have all responded well to acupuncture treatments.

DERMATOLOGICAL

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.

PERFORMANCE

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 complete recovery.

This Month's Articles

April, 2005
Volume 3, Number 4

Veterinary Acupuncture

Overcoming Insomnia - How to Achieve Quality, Peaceful Sleep

Qi Soup for the TCM Soul

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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