When our furry best friends are in pain, we’re likely to do anything in our power to alleviate their discomfort and ease their distress. While some health issues are permanently resolved with various forms of medical intervention or medication, other problems persist on a daily basis. Arthritis is one such health concern which, typically, manifests with age. So, how can you help your poor pooch with this particular pain?
Although it’s traditionally treated with medication, many canines find relief with various homeopathic approaches, including acupuncture. Now, the question is, does acupuncture actually decrease arthritic pain in dogs? Luckily, we’re about to consider the facts on this popular go-to treatment for both humans and canines.
In short, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Sadly, this health concern affects dogs of all ages, though it is mainly seen in senior dogs. Normally, a canine’s joints are comprised of two boney surfaces, each encased in a thin covering of smooth cartilage. All joints in the body have a small amount of fluid which acts as a lubricant, minimizing friction when the two bones glide over one another.
However, with arthritis, the cartilage within the joint is either affected or damaged. Due to the changes in these cartilaginous surfaces, the boney surfaces end up grinding along one another, not only causing your pet pain but also further damaging the cartilage. Ultimately, because of this increased bone-on-bone friction, new bone growth forms around the joint, thus resulting in stiffer, restricted joint movement or limping.
In most cases, canine arthritis develops due to abnormal rubbing within the joint. Typically, this is caused by the typical development of cartilage, joint instability, or damage as a result of trauma, such as impact injuries or fractures.
Often, common symptoms or indicators of arthritis go undetected. Instead, changes in your companion’s behavior and mood will indicate the presence of arthritis pain. For instance, they may appear stiff when walking, having difficulty standing up from a seated or reclined position, and spend more and more time lying down. Occasionally, a pet might continuously lick a painful joint, especially in damp or cold conditions when symptoms may worsen.
While acupuncture has been documented for centuries as alleviating multiple health concerns in humans, it is indeed safe for dogs as well. In fact, nowadays, it is highly recommended by veterinarians in many parts of the world and is the favored therapy for various ailments. Simply put, acupuncture is the treatment of symptoms or conditions via the insertion of very thin needles into precise points throughout the body. When inserted into these specific points, a healing response is produced.
Over the past decade, more and more evidence has grown pointing to the multiple benefits of acupuncture for treating health disorders related to the dermatologic, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, neurologic, reproductive, and musculoskeletal systems in veterinary medicine. In fact, the most common conditions that are treated include degenerative myelopathy, canine intervertebral disc disease, traumatic nerve injuries, epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders; lick granulomas, allergic dermatitis, asthma; and chronic pain such as that caused by degenerative joint disease like arthritis.
So yes, canine acupuncture can work to treat arthritis and its many symptoms.
Due to the differences in human and canine anatomy as well as the potential for harm, it is crucial to seek out a trained, licensed practitioner with a diploma in Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM). The success of an acupuncture treatment will vary, though it is mainly based on a few determining factors: the number and frequency of treatments, the disorder being treated, and the skill of the practitioner.
Overall, unlike many medications that can cause negative side effects, acupuncture causes no undesirable side effects and is very safe. As a method of pain management, it is a great, all-natural option to conventional western medicine. As it does not interfere with medications, acupuncture can also be safely used in combination with traditional treatments.
Authors Bio: Sarah Black is a Veterinary candidate with a strong background in medicine and biology. Owner of dogsora.com. She is also a freelance writer and reluctant dog lover, living in one of the most dog-friendly towns.