Acupuncture for Your Pet?
it could help relieve pain and boost their immune system
If the idea of inserting tiny needles into specific places in your pet’s body to provide health benefits sounds a little out of the ordinary to you, you’re not exactly alone. That said, there are some Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVMs) right here in the Chippewa Valley who have delved into the practice of traditional Chinese medicine in order to provide a form of alternative care for your furry friends.
Curious? So was Dr. Carmi Simonson when she first heard of practicing acupuncture – the process of using tiny needles to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving substances – on pets.
“I’ve met a lot of dogs who are on many different medications for their health problems, and those medications are effective – don’t get me wrong – but it’s worth considering additional holistic options to possibly aid the treatment in a more natural way.” – Dr. Carmi Simonson, DVM
Carmi said that while this Chinese practice has been performed on humans for nearly 2,000 years, it’s still a fairly new form of medical treatment in animals. It is becoming an increasingly popular trend today, particularly in larger cities.
After 10 months of rigorous training in Portland, Ore., Carmi was able to open up her own clinic at Riverview Animal Hospital in Chippewa Falls in December.
Carmi admitted that she was a bit skeptical when she first heard of the practice from a former coworker. However, she said, “There is some science behind it; it’s not just voodoo.”
Stemming from one of the five branches of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used on domestic pets for pain management, enhancing the immune systems, and alleviating health ailments such as diarrhea or upper respiratory problems.
While it doesn’t exactly mirror the traditional Western medical practice – which focuses on fighting diseases – acupuncture can be a different but effective way to treat the health concerns of your four-legged loved ones.
“I’ve met a lot of dogs who are on many different medications for their health problems, and those medications are effective – don’t get me wrong – but it’s worth considering additional holistic options to possibly aid the treatment in a more natural way,” she said.
Carmi has practiced mostly on dogs, but has treated a few cats as well, though it’s harder to find the puncture points on them, she said.
For the skeptics out there, Carmi advises you to keep an open mind regarding this unconventional-sounding practice. “Veterinary acupuncture is just one more tool that your vet may be able to utilize to give your pet the best treatment possible.” she said.
Carmi’s own dog, who suffered from monoplegia paralysis, was treated with acupuncture which helped her breathe better toward the end of her life.
Linda Vognar, also a veterinarian, practices holistic animal care at Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital in Eau Claire and lives with her husband and cat, Oreo, in the Chippewa Valley.
According to Linda’s website, which is dedicated to her practice in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, she has helped a number of animals overcome health ailments, one of them a 13-year-old male golden retriever named Chip.
After recovering from surgery for cancer, Chip was treated with acupuncture and herbal supplements over a three-month period which successfully treated his itchy skin, allergies, joint pain, and low energy levels.
Linda also helped Jezabelle, an elderly cat who suffered from yellow discharge in the eyes and tender, dry, cracked pads of her paws. Jezabelle’s regular veterinarian attempted to treat her pain with traditional Western medicine but eventually her owner turned to acupuncture, which showed results after only four treatments. At that point Jezabelle was able to walk pain-free and have people touch her paws, unlike before.
So before you push aside the idea of these often dismissed Chinese medical practices and join the ever-judgmental skeptics of the world, it may be worth a second look to give your pets a better chance at living a healthy, pain-free life.