A lot of vets are now embracing alternative therapies for pets. Treating dogs with acupuncture is not new, and this trend is something we've been watching for some time. I was surprised to read last week just how many vets are accredited with the  International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.

Vets use acupuncture to treat variety of problems in all kinds of pets, but its most common use appears to be for treating back problems in dogs where the problem has not responded to drugs or surgery. Acupuncture is also used to treat complaints such as arthritis, urinary & bladder problems, some behaviour and skin problems and older animals.

Trauma is the most common cause of back problems in dogs. Causes include car accidents, falling, repeated jumping and twisting during exercise. Some dog breeds such as dachshunds and bulldogs appear to be are more prone to back injury due the lenght of  vertebrae. Many vets report significant improvement in dogs treated with acupuncture.

Many of us are familiar or at least aware of the traditional Chinese therapy of acupuncture, which  involves placing fine needles into specific points in the body. Health, according to the Chinese, is the life force energy, or chi (also sometimes called qi) flowing freely around the meridians or energy channels of the body. Acupuncture is said to clear any blockages to allow the free flow of chi.

Vets report that most dogs receive acupuncture well. Each treatment generally takes about 20 to 30 minutes  and in most cases three or four treatments a few days apart are required.

If you think your pet might benefit from a course of acupuncture,  talk to your local vet or the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.

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