How Acupuncture for Dog Arthritis Pain Works Wonders

How Acupuncture for Dog Arthritis Pain Works Wonders

People often ask me if acupuncture will help dogs suffering from arthritis pain.

This is a great question!

I treat dogs suffering from arthritis daily; most cases have already been treated with conventional medicine.

Because I practice a great deal of alternative medicine, I think people expect something special in my “bag of tricks.”  Honestly, sometimes I can pull out a unique tool and help… but sometimes I can’t!

But I can tell you, or better yet, explain to you, how acupuncture for dog arthritis pain can help.

Communicate Expectations

Acupuncture communicateCommunicating expectations is the absolute first and most critical step.

Misrepresenting the benefits of a specific modality can be very misleading.

An excellent example of  such misrepresentation would be  “acupuncture helps all pain.”

Well, acupuncture can “help” all pain, but the sound, discerning veterinarian knows when to use it and when other options may be better.

Even better yet, an experienced veterinarian can tell you when a combination of different modalities may be the best option for your dog.

An exceptional veterinarian can predict and communicate a particular treatment’s benefits and expected outcomes to the client. This is especially important when practicing alternative medicine.

Pain is real to the dog yet only perceived by you and I.

Acupuncture for dog arthritis pain helps dogs the most when I educate pet parents about the expectations. In addition, they must be committed to the recommended protocol.

Evaluate the Dog

Acupuncture evalutate dogEvaluating the dog is a huge step! It sounds like a given, yet sometimes veterinarians (including myself) tend to lump all arthritic dogs into one single category: dogs with arthritis!

This is a big mistake!

I believe arthritis pain in the back responds most favorably to acupuncture, while pain in only the extremities responds better to other methods.

Arthritis pain in the back responds favorably to acupuncture because you can utilize needle points right along the back and the bladder meridian.

These are areas in which dogs readily tolerate acupuncture.

Also, most dogs have a limited number of points that can be stimulated.

These points must be chosen wisely. Points along the back are easily needled, well-tolerated, and effective.

The muscles along the top line, the longissimus, must be stimulated for pain-relieving effects.

These large muscles on each side of the bony spinal column often become tight and spastic in response to bony arthritis.

I believe that most of the pain in back arthritis ultimately comes from the soft tissue muscular pain around the joint, not necessarily the bony abnormality.

Along the back, you can insert needles directly into the deep musculature. In other parts of the body, this is much more difficult.

The patient must be evaluated carefully, and X-rays may be necessary to determine the exact origin of the arthritic pain.

The take-home message here is: arthritic pain in the back responds more favorably to acupuncture than arthritic pain in the extremities.

Electro-Acupuncture for Dog Arthritis Pain

Acupuncture electroacupuntureFor maximal pain relief, electro-acupuncture must be used. Electroacupuncture is a technique involving needle stimulation that enhances the analgesic effects of acupuncture by blocking pain pathways.

The musculature and soft tissue structures become so relaxed that the tissue is essentially numb. For maximum pain relief, electro-acupuncture is mandatory.

Read our past article on electro-acupuncture.

Repeat Sessions

Unfortunately, determining the number of acupuncture sessions for dog arthritis pain is difficult and unpredictable. I am only able to provide an estimation after an evaluation.

In addition to your dog’s condition and eventual response, your goals will be the ultimate guide in the number and frequency of sessions.Acupuncture repeat session

Since arthritis is a chronic, progressive disease, the goal is pain management.

Managing pain typically requires consistent sessions over time.

You cannot cure the disease or limit its progression, you can only control the pain!

Different dogs respond differently to the treatment, and many factors come into play when deciding the frequency of sessions.

We decide on the number and frequency of sessions on an individual basis.

We must take into account the following:

  • Your opinion and expectations
  • Concurrent medicines
  • Degree of pain
  • Other relevant health issues.

The number and frequency of sessions do, however, have an impact on the veterinarians’ ability to control pain.

Ending Thoughts

Acupuncture end thoughtsI have had great success in my practice treating dog arthritis pain with acupuncture.

Sometimes acupuncture is the sole modality, and sometimes I use it with Eastern herbals, homeopathics, laser therapy, and food therapy.

I have seen dogs become so relaxed and relieved of the pain that they fall asleep during their acupuncture session.

Acupuncture is an excellent tool when used properly, and I am delighted to have it in my “bag of tricks.”

More Powerful Tools for Overcoming Dog Arthritis Challenges

You can make many quick and easy changes at home to help you give your dog an edge on easing arthritis pain.

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