Acupuncture is recognised as a useful treatment option for animals. Treating animals is not new; a treatise on treating elephants has been discovered in Sri Lanka and estimated to have been written 3000 years ago. Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – is a complete medical system that records the largest volume of medical knowledge known to the world today. According to TCM, an understanding of health begins with an understanding the laws of nature.
A TCM practitioner will not be interested in what type of bacteria or fungi is causing the pathology rather he/she will view the patient and the disease in terms of their relationship to each other and helping the body to overcame the disease. This way this traditional system can help transcend existing limits of scientific knowledge especially for difficult cases; increasing the chance of recovery for our animal.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment. “Acupuncture” means piercing with fine needles, however acupuncture points can be stimulated by massage (acupressure), medical laser, electrical stimulation, magnets and injections, inserting different implants such as gold beads and warming the points with herbs (moxa).
There are 361 acupuncture points on the body and 133 in the ear. These points have been shown to have reduced electric skin resistance – acting like little open gates from the body to the surface. Also acupuncture points are connected to each other on an organized fashion called “meridians”. The purpose of all treatment is to balance and restore the energy flow on the meridians.
When is acupuncture appropriate?
Needles can be very handy especially for certain conditions when Western medicine does not have a specific solution to a problem and only offer pain relief or palliative care.
Major indications for acupuncture:
- Musculo-skeletal: spinal/nerve trauma, paralysis, disc problems, arthritis and rheumatism, hip dysplasia, old age degenerative problems, tendon and bone disorders, spasm, founder and locking patella on horses.
- Digestive system: ulcers, colic, miscellaneous motility disorders, appetite stimulating after trauma, surgery
- Respiratory: sinusitis, pneumonia, allergies, nose bleeding
- Reproductive: infertility, ovary and uterine problems, milk let down, induction of labour
- Urinary: incontinence and retaining urine, infections.
- Neurological, behavioural problems, epilepsy.
- Skin and ear problems.
Do animals enjoy acupuncture?
When they need treatment animals do not seem to mind fine needles and often get so relaxed they fall asleep. Sedation, restraint or any form of anaesthesia are never used, as they will suppress the nervous system and the acupuncture treatment will not work.