Facts and Myths About Canine Acupuncture

Although there are many misconceptions about canine acupuncture, its acceptance as a valid treatment for dogs is growing. Veterinary acupuncture practitioners use dog acupuncture to treat a wide variety of problems, especially arthritis. Exploring the myths about canine acupuncture can help the pet owner make an informed choice.

"An Intrusive Treatment"

Many people think that veterinary acupuncture is a harsh and intrusive treatment when in fact it is very gentle. The needles used are extremely fine and only a fraction of the size of a regular needle for dogs. Canine acupuncture works with a dog's body naturally by targeting specific canine acupuncture points associated with different bodily functions. These canine acupuncture points have been carefully mapped out and researched in veterinary acupuncture. They are gently stimulated by the very fine needles to stimulate the dog's natural healing mechanisms.

"Painful For Dogs"

Over 95% of dogs don't even flinch and actually relax when the needles are inserted into the canine acupuncture points. Many dog owners will notice that their dogs happily fall asleep during the acupuncture treatment as do many human beings. Dogs are much more likely to cry when given a conventional shot than when treated with canine acupuncture needles.

The Placebo Effect

Many people erroneously believe that dog acupuncture works only as a placebo. The placebo effect happens in people when they believe that a treatment is going to help them and then the desired effect occurs. Although a positive association to the doctor's office may develop, a dog's mind does not think in a way that would create a placebo effect.

"No One Knows If Dog Acupuncture Really Works"

While there has been vast research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for humans, the main evidence that canine acupuncture works comes from clinical studies. In these studies, however, veterinarians and pet owners alike see the positive effects of dog acupuncture treatments. The results are particularly obvious for dogs with canine arthritis and spinal disc disease. In a study of 65 arthritic dogs, conventional medicine was no longer controlling arthritic pain. After veterinary acupuncture treatment, 70% of these dogs' gait and mobility improved by at least 50% (Schoen, 1986). In helping dogs with spinal disc disease, pet owners and vets find that canine acupuncture is beneficial in the majority of cases. It also lacks the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia.

"Canine Acupuncture Only Treats Pain"

While dog acupuncture greatly addresses pain, it also has been shown to cause more positive change than just pain relief. Based on studies with people, acupuncture has been shown to help prevent certain illnesses and to help in the treatment of cancer and respiratory illnesses. Canine acupuncture is based on the same basic principles as human acupuncture and dog owners can attest to the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment.

"There Are Bad Side Effects"

Many people believe that a dog can get hepatitis or AIDS from acupuncture. This is only true if the needles used are contaminated with one of the viruses. Licensed acupuncturists in the United States are required to use disposable acupuncture needles. This is the practice in veterinary acupuncture. Many pet owners may also fear pain and bruising or injury as a result of the canine acupuncture. Dog acupuncture is very gentle and dogs are very unlikely to be injured or bruised during the treatments.