Acupuncture For The Animal Kingdom
Acupuncture is gaining popularity everywhere and that includes the animal kingdom. All kinds of animals are now receiving and getting relief from acupuncture – cats, dogs (this includes Oprah’s dog), horses, monkeys, alligators, owls, tigers, and elephants just to name a few!
Today I am very pleased to have a guest post by Becca Seitz acupuncturist, animal healer and author. Becca is a board certified acupuncturist, herbalist and animal acupuncturist. She’s also the President and an instructor at the International Academy of Animal Acupuncture (IAAA).
Hi guys! I’m Becca Seitz and in my practice, I treat cats and dogs mostly, but I’ve also treated rabbits, ferrets, hamsters and even an owl! Once people find out that I treat animals as well as people, I get all kinds of questions about animal acupuncture, so let’s answer some of the most common ones!
What sorts of things can an animal be treated for?
Animals can be treated for any condition that a human could be treated for using Chinese medicine. Of COURSE, your animal should first be seen by a veterinarian to get a diagnosis and to be sure that your pet is not experiencing an emergency.
Chinese medicine is not the best tool for treating medical emergencies. It IS, however, fantastic for dealing with chronic conditions that biomedicine doesn’t have great tools to treat. Some of the most common ailments that I see are: arthritis, atopic dermatitis, allergies, digestive troubles, post-surgical recovery and supportive care during cancer treatment.
You’d be surprised at how cooperative animals are – anesthesia is never needed! After many years of working in shelters and veterinary clinics, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve for keeping your pet calm and relaxed, even through treatment!
Dogs tend to love acupuncture. I’ll have the owner talk to them and scratch their ears while needles are being inserted and during the treatment.
Cats, I like to leave in their carriers. I take the crate apart so that the cat is sitting in just the bottom half – this way I have full access to the cat, while the cat still feels protected by the low walls! Many animals fall asleep during their treatments, an even if they don’t, unlike humans, where treatment lasts around 30 minutes, cats and dogs only need 3-15 minutes!
How many treatments does it take?
Cats and dogs typically require 3-6 treatments to get full relief from their health issues. Animals will then need to come in 2-4 times a year for “tune ups” to maintain their health. This is a much shorter treatment plan than most humans require!
I’d love to share some things that you can do at home to help keep your pet in tip-top shape!
1) Massage the insides of your pet’s ears (avoiding the actual ear canal) – In Chinese medicine, the ears contain acupuncture points that represent the entire body, and this is the same for your furry friend.
I like to gently massage little circles on the “flappy” part of my pets’ ears for the energetic equivalent of an all-over body massage! Bonus: both cats and dogs tend to LOVE it!
2) Back massage – gently massage down both sides of your pet’s spine – between 0.5″ to 1.5″ from the spine, depending on the size of your pet (0.5″ for cats and small dogs and 1.5″ for very large dogs). Along the spine are acupuncture points that treat all of their internal organs.
Massaging them boosts the functions of all of their organs – plus, what pet doesn’t love being petted there!
If you’re interested in having your pet receive acupuncture, check out the ABAA website to find a licensed acupuncturist near you who is board certified in treating animals!
Becca Seitz is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist, herbalist, animal acupuncturist and owner of Thrive Acupuncture in Portland, OR. She is President and an instructor at the International Academy of Animal Acupuncture (IAAA) where licensed acupuncturists are taught how to safely and effectively treat animals using Chinese medicine.
She is also the secretary for the American Board of Animal Acupuncture (ABAA) which certifies that acupuncturists have had adequate training in animal acupuncture. Becca is also the author of Small Animal Acupuncture Point Locations.