Ask the Vet - Vallard C. Forsythe, DVM


Getting right to the point

Dear Dr. Forsythe: I saw that you offer acupuncture at your hospital but I just don’t understand how a pet could ever hold still while someone is putting needles into him.  It seems like they could roll over and break a needle or cause some other damage.  Does that ever happen?  Please let me know, I want to believe it could help but it just seems so far fetched.  Sign me, - A skeptic

Dear Skeptic: Thanks for your question. You certainly are not the first person to question how in the world a dog or cat could or (or would) put up with the insertion of acupuncture needles under the skin.

My first response is that animals, unlike people, do not have the cognitive self-doubt or negativity that humans possess to “get in their own way” most of the time. This means that they tend to be very amenable to treatments, both traditional and eastern.

There are some dogs and cats that are difficult to work with, but often these pets are the most transformative once we start treatment.  In other words, pets generally “get it”.  It has been my experience that animals often exist on a very high spiritual plane, so when they are being massaged and assessed for treatments, they are keenly aware that the doctor is in “help” mode.  I have seen some stubborn and unwilling dogs and cats relinquish their willfulness and resign themselves to accept the manipulation and relief that comes with manual therapy and acupuncture.

There are always going to be patents with a personal history or fears and worries that prevent them from accepting veterinary treatment, whether conventional or alternative.  But the incidence of complications with acupuncture is extremely low — and the benefits are surprisingly vast.  Perhaps you should consider looking into this if you are curious about the benefits your pet could receive.

Thanks for being open-minded enough to ask the questions you have and for being willing to reach out for information.  We veterinarians are grateful for clients who are willing to go the distance for their pets, and being a skeptic only means that you need information and want to make sure you are doing the right thing for your pet.  Good job! - Dr. F

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