Acupuncture to treat several ailments – an article from Finland

I am grateful to Minna Hagan for translating this article from a recent Finnish Dachshund Club Newsletter:

Acupuncture has been studied extensively over the last few decades. Its mechanisms have been scientifically studied via neurological studies, as well as studying MRI scans of the brain. According to the general definition of acupuncture is to place set of needles into the skin to enhance the effect of well-being. The man-like animal acupuncture roots go back to China, where it has been practiced for several thousand years, as part of traditional Chinese medicine.

As a form of care, acupuncture is used as a treatment for dogs and for supportive treatment in dozens of diagnoses, and the results has been very encouraging.

The most commonly acupuncture is used to treat the support and musculoskeletal diseases and painful conditions resulting from the above mentioned such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of the tendon, muscle tensions and back pains. In chronic pain conditions it is possible to achieve a pain-free period for up to 6 – 8 months. This type of treatment results give hope and extends the quality of life, especially to those young dogs who are suffering from chronic pain. Acupuncture is also a good rehabilitation therapy after surgery.

As a form of treatment, acupuncture is also used in many neurological disorders such as IVDD, diseases of the intermediate plate and even the treatment of epilepsy. Acupuncture, may also help when the animal has reproductive problems, pseudo pregnancy, problems with the length or periodicity of season, as well as chronic intestinal diseases, skin diseases, as well as some of the endocronlogical conditions.

In addition to being a veterinary medicine graduate, acupuncture veterinarian student Iina Valkeisenmäki’s interest in the treatment began when she studied basic acupuncture at the Helsinki University. Since the early days Iina has completed acupuncture courses in South China Agricultural University as well as Chi Institute in the US. She also continued her studies in the Chi Institute Madrid and she is currently preparing for her final exams late in 2015. She is also going to start her thesis on using acupuncture for canine phantom pregnancies.

The treatments are done in a neutral and calm environment. As with any treatment it is important to establish any underlying conditions as well as any medical history, especially if there has been a history of serious conditions.

The dog is then thoroughly examined, muscles, coat, gums, tongue and eyes. Also the pulse is checked before any treatment is started.

Usually the first needle is placed on top of the skull into a spot which is known to calm the dog. After this, needles are strategically placed on both sides of the body. Usually 12 needles are placed and they stay in place normally for about 15 minutes, depending on the treatment required. Normally, the whole process does not take more than an hour. Usually, at this stage the dog is totally relaxed and wanting to lie down.

In addition to the normal acupuncture it is also possible to use injections, static acupuncture and laser treatment. Normally, the animals are not afraid of the treatments and the release of endorphins and serotonin causes them to relax and calm down.

Treatment frequency

If a dog has a more serious painful condition or illness it is recommended 1 visit per week over 3 weeks and after that a review to see how they are reacting to the treatment. E.g. a patient suffering from arthritis would not necessarily see any improvement after the first treatment. Usually treatments are more frequent in the beginning and after a few months the gap is extended until such time that the patient is comfortable for long periods of time.

After treatment, the dog should relax at home and have no exercise for at least the rest of the afternoon as they can feel very relaxed and dozy. In some cases an animal which has painful conditions can feel worse after the first treatment, but should return back to normal within 24 hours.


Daily Mail 2013: Chocolate the dachshund turns guinea pig as vets use acupuncture to cure his back problem


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