Watching your arthritic dog deal with joint pain and struggle to walk comfortably can be really hard. There is no cure for arthritis, and it does tend to get worse with age. However, there is some good news: while not curable, arthritis is manageable. Animal acupuncture is one treatment that is quite helpful for managing canine arthritis pain. Keep reading to learn more.
1. What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Eastern medical technique that involves inserting very tiny needles into the skin. According to tradition, the needles help redirect the flow of energy through the body, but the more modern understanding is that the needles help re-direct and quiet certain nerve activity. Acupuncture has been used in humans for many thousands of years, and it has become more common in veterinary practice over the past few decades.
2. How does acupuncture help manage canine arthritis?
Acupuncture can help manage your dog's arthritis in a few different ways. First, the needles may help turn off certain nerve endings that keep sending pain signals to your dog's brain. This directly reduces the amount of pain your dog is experiencing from their joints. Second, acupuncture can help alter nerve pathways related to inflammation. This can cause inflammation in the affected joints to go down, which in turn eases pain.
3. What happens during an acupuncture session?
When you take your dog in for an acupuncture session, you can expect the appointment to last about an hour. With your dog resting calmly, often in your lap, the vet will begin to insert tiny needles at specific points along your dog's body. These needles will be left in place as your dog relaxes for about 30 minutes. Most dogs become incredibly relaxed, and may even fall asleep, once the needles have been inserted. After the necessary time has passed, the needles are removed, and you can be on your way.
4. Are there any side effects to worry about with acupuncture?
Occasionally dogs will have a little bruising or soreness at one or more spots where the needles were inserted, but most dogs don't deal with any side effects at all. This is one reason why acupuncture is such a good choice for canine arthritis. It doesn't cause the stomach irritation or kidney damage that some pain relief medications can cause.
If your dog is suffering from arthritis pain, definitely look into acupuncture as a management option. A session every couple of weeks can really help your furry pal feel more comfortable.