Chiropractic and Acupuncture
Taking the work of touch to the next level, the use of chiropractic techniques and acupuncture on dogs (and other animals) are also becoming more widely used.
The term chiropractic comes from two Greek words — cheira and praktikos — and means “done by hand.” It is the practice of assessing mechanical abnormalities of the spine and musculoskeletal system to effect relief through the nervous system. The premise is that pain is the result of an impaired nervous system as influenced by the position of the spine. Once adjustments are made to the spine and the surrounding musculature, the pain is relieved. Treatment depends on the condition being addressed.
Chiropractic is more and more commonly practiced on horses and companion animals — particularly those involved in competitive sports such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing for horses, and agility and other physically demanding sports for dogs. It's not always easy to find a canine chiropractor near you. Practitioners need to be trained just as human chiropractors do, but as success stories emerge, demand grows. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) provides, “public educational, social, credentialing, and professional services to the animal chiropractic community and the community at large.” Through its website, the association lists referrals as well as other information. Find them at www.animalchiropractic.org.
The ancient practice of acupuncture takes stimulation to yet another level: through needles applied directly to “meridians” in the body that correspond to the area(s) that need(s) relief. Acupuncture can benefit circulation, respiration, urinary problems, joint pain, and much more. It is an ancient healing procedure that dates back some 7,000 years but is only now becoming more mainstream. In fact, it wasn't until 1998 that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) finally gave the nod to acupuncture, stating in its Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Medicine that acupuncture and acutherapy were integral parts of veterinary medicine. It's doubtful your young puppy would need these kinds of treatments, but it's nice to know there are more and more veterinary acupuncturists in the United States.