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Sadly, our pets experience the same aches, pains and illnesses that we experience as humans.  From Arthritis to Zinc poisoning, and everything in between, what can we do as committed Pet Parents to ensure the continued health and vitality of our furry loved ones?

Medically speaking, the obvious answer is to schedule regular well exams, along with routine vaccinations, with your favorite family Veterinarian.  It’s important to build a close relationship with him or her, to ensure an open, amiable line of communication. This is especially important when it comes to a noticeable change in your pet’s behavior and you need to consult with a professional about your observations and concerns.  As dogs and cats are very good at masking their pain, only YOU will know when something is wrong that begs attention.

I hear too many stories about Pet Parents who avoid contacting their Veterinarian due to the possible cost involved. We seek “advice” on the internet instead.  Please remember the adage “don’t believe everything you read on the net”, as there are far too many hidden agendas behind your screen. Fast forward!  You consult with your Vet and the diagnosis is (most likely) benign requiring short-term remediation. In the alternative, you need to be prepared for other recommendations. Fido needs surgery.  Fido has a condition that requires long-term medication or regularly-scheduled injections. Now what?

Here’s the good news: Veterinary treatment has advanced light years with several non-invasive alternatives for many “human” conditions diagnosed in our pets.

Recent advancements include Acupuncture, Laser & Water Therapy – who knew?

To the point:  Acupuncture, as one example, is gaining ground in the interest of alternative  therapy to many conditions that may affect your dog and cat. While this is a “sticky” point that should be thoroughly reviewed and discussed with your family Veterinarian, acupressure and acupuncture MIGHT be an appropriate treatment for consideration.

According to Patrick Mahaney, VMD, a holistic house call Vet:

Benefits of acupuncture may include:

(1). Stimulation and release of the body’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.

(2). Relaxed muscles, at the site of injection, creating a local and generalized pain-relieving effect.

(3) Improved tissue blood flow, oxygenation and removal of metabolic waste & toxins.

(4). Diminished effects of potential side effects on internal organs from prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Per Patrick Mahaney:

“The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself.  From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, Veterinary acupuncture encourages healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body.  It enhances blood circulation, nervous system stimulation, and the release of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving hormones.”

A recent article in NAPP news, by Arden Moore, offers the following:

“The field of veterinary acupuncture is drawing the interest of more conventionally-schooled veterinarians – and pet owners. Training programs have steadily experienced increased enrollments since the mid-1990s, according to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture. The AAVA was admitted into the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates in early 2014.

Featured in this article were the opinions of Dr. Polly Fleckenstein, DVM, MS @ the Veterinary Medical Center of Central New York. She explains:

“Acupuncture is a 2,000-year-old Chinese healing art that is fast-becoming a popular therapy for use on 21st Century pets: dogs, cats, horses and even birds. It can boost blood circulation and spur the release of endorphins (pain-controlling hormones) and cortisol (anti-inflammatory hormones design to regulate stress within the body). The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal and unlike conventional medications, it lacks potential adverse side effects”

“More owners are willing to do more for their pets in terms of medicine, pain management and nutrition,” she says. “People see the benefit of acupuncture on themselves. They are looking for that extra little bit that may improve the quality of life for their pets and acupuncture is a viable option.”

These alternative options include the use of lasers (needle-less treatments), Aqua Acupuncture (includes medicinal herbs or vitamins in the injections), Moxabustion (Chinese herbal compounds applied to the needles to provide added heat), Electroacupuncture (electrodes attached to the needles for a mild, steady electric current to stimulate damaged nerves).

Both cats and dogs may benefit by acupuncture to treat:


  • Arthritis
  • Sore muscles and joints
  • Muscle spasms
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Paralysis
  • Digestive issues
  • Cushing’s disease (dogs)
  • Hypothyroidism (dogs)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Ruptured discs
  • Cancer
  • Dermatologic conditions, including allergic dermatitis and lick granulomas
  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Weakened immune system

Dr. Fleckenstein cites impressive examples of patients who have benefitted by acupuncture treatments.  One such client, Sophie, an 8-year old Labrador, suffered chronic incontinence and developed an adverse reaction to medication (Proin is a common prescription for dog incontinence).  Following 2 months of weekly acupuncture treatment, Sophie’s incontinence reduced her regular accidents to only 3 times in 18 months, and now maintains bowel control with treatment every 6 weeks. To read more about her patient’s success stories, visit: http://www.vmccny.com/dr-polly-fleckenstein/

In addition to those alternatives mentioned above, other emerging areas of interest include chiropractic care, nutritional counseling and herbology, including CBD for pets.

Holistic medicine simply provides additional options to consider in the interest of your dog or cat’s health and well-being.

It’s also recommended that you consider enrolling your pet in a pet insurance plan.  Having the peace of mind that your pet is covered for potential illnesses and treatments is worth the evaluation of individual plans and costs.  Acupuncture may be included, if performed by a licensed therapist.  To get you started on your research for pet insurance, click on our PET STORE page for a link to EMBRACE insurance.

Your pet’s health and happiness are at the core of our hearts at Doolittle’s Doghouse.

Happy tails always and lots of hugs,


photo attribution: Dan Blackburn on unsplash.com


affiliate marketing disclosure: product purchases from merchant links on our Pet Store page are commissionable to us and at no extra cost to you.  We carefully selected each merchant based on very high quality standards and in the interest of our valued clients and their pets health and wellness (nose to tail).




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