Apr 14 2015

Acupuncture Helps Animals, Too

photo-veterinary-acupunctureA recent news story from Colorado really warmed my heart. A dog named Ernie was rescued by the Colorado Animal Rescue. Ernie was paralyzed when he arrived at CAR. Thanks to acupuncture treatment, he has regained the use of his legs. He can chase a ball again, and he even goes motorcycle riding with his adoptive mother Susi.

Providing acupuncture for nonhuman animals is not a new trend. Historical records show that China’s Emperor Mu utilized acupuncture in the 10th Century to help keep the military’s horses healthy. However, just as acupuncture for humans has increased in popularity in the West, acupuncture for animals has garnered credence, too.

The International Academy of Animal Acupuncture was founded in 2013 to bring acupuncture and Chinese herbal medical treatment to nonhuman animals. Co-founder and president of the IAAA Becca Seitz explains that:

Animals respond EXTREMELY well to acupuncture! If your average human needs 8 treatments to get a response from the acupuncture, a cat or dog may only take 2 or 3 treatments. Animals live in the here and now; they’re not worrying about what might happen tomorrow, or about feeling guilty for that shoe they chewed up years ago. They don’t seem to worry about the underlying causes of illnesses the same way humans do.

Many people turn to Eastern medicine when Western medicine has not been able to resolve their pets’ health challenges. Michael Middleton, a doggy daddy from Salt Lake City, explains why he utilized acupuncture when his dog became paralyzed.

My dog Beck started experiencing tremors that worsened to full paralysis of his back legs. The paralysis was caused by a ruptured disc that had put pressure on Beck’s spinal cord, which cut off nerve activity and muscle control. So Beck was not just paralyzed. He also lost bowel and bladder control. Beck’s primary veterinarian said I had two choices: a $6,000 surgery that had a very limited success rate, or euthanasia.

I’m glad that I looked for an alternative. I took Beck to the Millcreek Veterinary Clinic. The vet that treated Beck was Dr. Eric Foster. Acupuncture fully restored Beck’s mobility, and 90% of his incontinence issues were resolved after about 8-10 acupuncture treatments. Beck also started taking nutritional supplements that were provided by the Millcreek Veterinary Clinic.

I would definitely recommend acupuncture for other pets. Beck has been going strong for four years after his acupuncture treatment, and he hasn’t had a relapse. Not only that, acupuncture was less than 15% of the cost of the proposed surgery. I feel like I made the best choice, and I’m glad that I didn’t choose to euthanize my dog.

In addition to acupuncture, herbal treatments can also help animals heal. Ms. Seitz explains that most Chinese herbs are generally safe for animals. However, “any herbs from the onion family (such as green onions, onions, garlic, allium, etc.) should never be used in cats and dogs, because they are toxic.” Instead of trying to guess which herbs are best for your furry family members, talk to a veterinarian to get safe medical advice.

The Gathering Point Community Acupuncture does not provided acupuncture for nonhuman animals. However, you can find a list of certified veterinary acupuncturists, such as PAWS Veterinary Center here in Tucson, by visiting the International Veterinary Acupuncture’s website. If you are an acupuncture therapist who would like to treat nonhuman animals, visit the IAAA’s website to sign up for their next course. Once you’ve taken the IAAA’s course you can qualify to sit for the board certification exam for the American Board of Animal Acupuncture.


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