Pain Relief: Acupuncture & Stem Cell Therapy

by Mary Haight on July 27, 2009

Dog Acupuncture
Image by sinosplice via Flickr

If you saw the CBS Sunday Morning program, one of the segments about pets in Japan showed them treating their 23 million pets to everything-hot springs baths, underwater treadmills for fitness, and acupuncture for the aches and pain of aging. What’s old is new again!

I laughed at all the pins sticking out from just everywhere on the Dachshund, remembering my own experiences with this useful pain management treatment–had a German Warmblood get rambunctious one winter morning…decided he’d rather kick up his heels instead of going back to the barn and I was suddenly hauled off my feet into the air when he reared…and there went my shoulder.

How veterinary medicine has changed here in America in this nearly first decade of the 21st century. Just a few short years ago, anything remotely connected to the words “holistic” or “alternative” seemed to verge on heresy.  What a relief it is to know that we can now help our dogs and cats with tools like acupuncture, and even stem cell treatments for often disabling chronic pain, arthritis and other ills.

While neither of these treatments promise long-lasting effects, there is a high success rate for both. And your animals will let you know how well the acupuncture works in the aftermath of treatment. Stem cell treatments take from 4 to 6 weeks to reveal how much improvement you’ll see. Pain relief for a period of time is better than none at all, and it can last for many months. Acupuncture hovers around $95 per treatment, while the stem cell solution starts in the thousands (read my first report from December on stem cell applications here).

 There are nearly 1000 vets who now practice acupuncture, and at the annual AVMA conference this month, the centuries old art was a prominent part of the program. The history was followed by a live demonstration of its efficacy, stated to be helpful in 80% of cases. I think I’d like to try the stem cell treatment on that shoulder…

For more, see Judy Maggio’s report.

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