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Let's get right to the point. Is acupuncture something you might want to consider for your pet?

Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted into specific parts of the body to stimulate the release of pain-relieving endorphins, intended to help things like chronic pain and skin, musculoskeletal and nervous disorders. The goal of acupuncture is to stimulate the body to heal itself.

Most pets’ health problems are diagnosed once they already have symptoms and usually their condition has advanced.So this could possibly be a way to prevent disease from occurring.

Lexie Hanna is a veterinarian and acupuncturist in Wilmington, Delaware, says pets can get relief from conditions like arthritis, chronic pain from disc disease, seizure disorders, lick granulomas, nerve injuries and dry eye. It also is sometimes effective with some behavioral problems in cats.

"The needles start the release of hormones from the central nervous system and regulate blood flow, promoting healing," Hanna said.

Fewer side effects

What's good about acupuncture is that there are fewer side effects than with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, according to Hanna.

"The downside is that you have to make more frequent visits to the office and they can take up to 30 minutes, It's easier to have a vet give you a pill for your pet, but that is only treating the symptoms. With acupuncture you are promoting the healing of their bodies," she said.

Although an ancient practice, acupuncture is new to the veterinary world in the West. It was only in the 1990's that the American Veterinary Medical Association admitted the acupuncture group as an allied veterinary organization.

If your pet has chronic pain and you are open-minded it might be something to consider. Talk it over with your veterinarian.

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