Acupuncture has been safely used in veterinary medicine for over forty years to treat a wide range of conditions including pain management, osteoarthritis, muscular pain, spinal pain, relaxation, certain urinary problems and certain skin conditions.
The vast majority of pets readily accept and seem to enjoy acupuncture. Sometimes animals react to the sensation of needling but quickly relax when they realize it is not painful, and often become sleepy during acupuncture. Dogs sometimes show an eagerness for treatment on a return visit.
Animals respond to acupuncture much quicker than humans. Pet acupuncture visits are much shorter than human acupuncture sessions. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as long as 20 minutes. Pets are so sensitive to acupuncture, they often experience a shift in symptoms quickly and let you know they are ready to have the needles taken out. For example, dogs may stop panting and cats may try to take needles out themselves.
The length and frequency of treatments depend on the problem and condition of your pet. Generally, acute problems require less time and frequency of treatment than chronic cases. For example, an acute sprain may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may require multiple treatments.
When choosing a veterinary acupuncturist look for one who is a licensed veterinarian and has formal training in the practice of veterinary acupuncture. It is recommended by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society that a proper veterinary medical diagnosis be made before administering acupuncture. Since acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs it may delay proper veterinary diagnosis once treatment has begun.