Acupunc­ture for pets

New treat­ments are be­ing used on cats and dogs to help ease pain and chronic con­di­tions

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE -

Acupunc­ture, the tra­di­tional Chi­nese ther­apy in which nee­dles are in­serted into spe­cific points on the body, has found a new mar­ket – pets.

A pet clinic in Shang­hai caused

a stir re­cently by us­ing acupunc­ture to help par­a­lyzed pets such as dogs and cats.

Guoguo Lit­tle An­i­mal Neu­rol­ogy and Acupunc­ture Health Cen­ter in Min­hang district in Shang­hai opened about five years ago.

Jin Ris­han, a vet at the cen­ter, said he learned about an­i­mal acupunc­ture in South Korea. He opened the clinic with the help of two oth­ers and im­ported equip­ment from South Korea at a cost of 3,800 yuan ($576).

“I re­ceive up to 20 pets a day,” Jin said. “The pets are mostly dogs and cats, but there are also other species, like rab­bits. Once there was even a marten.”

In Jin’s cen­ter, equip­ment such as dis­pos­able acupunc­ture nee­dles, elec­tric acupunc­ture ap­pa­ra­tus and in­frared phys­io­ther­apy lamps can be seen in op­er­a­tion.

An­i­mals are usu­ally strapped on the ap­pa­ra­tus and silver nee­dles are in­serted into their backs, legs and faces, while elec­tric wires are at­tached to their bod­ies.

A course of acupunc­ture treat­ments con­sist­ing of 10 ses­sions cost 220 yuan. If own­ers pre­fer to let their pets stay in the clinic, there are ex­tra costs.

Jin said the clinic has treated more than 2,000 pets.

Sav­ing lives

For Wang, the clinic of­fered hope for her 4-month-old dog “Lit­tle Sis­ter,” who was par­a­lyzed after an accident two months ago.

“Vets in other pet clin­ics told me that my dog could not be healed, and that the only way to help her feel less pain was eu­thana­sia,” Wang said. “She could not move or eat at all at first, and I had to give her liq­uid via a needle and tubes.”

With hope van­ish­ing, Wang took her puppy to the acupunc­ture clinic hop­ing the tra­di­tional Chi­nese ther­apy might work.

“I have al­ways be­lieved in acupunc­ture,” Wang said. “I be­lieve Lit­tle Sis­ter will stand up and walk again.”

Wang takes her to the clinic al­most ev­ery day ex­cept on Mon­day and Tuesday morn­ings when the clinic is closed. Each treat­ment ses­sion takes about 20 min­utes and in­cludes shots and mox­i­bus­tion. Chi­nese med­i­cal pow­der has also been pre­scribed for Lit­tle Sis­ter to take at home.

After a pe­riod of treat­ment, Wang’s dog can now eat by her­self, she said, although stand­ing up and walk­ing are still dif­fi­cult.

“Even if she can­not be healed, I will still stick with her,” Wang said.

An­other option for treat­ment

“Old Com­pan­ion” is a 3-year-old Sch­nauzer with lum­ber disc pro­tru­sion and in­con­ti­nence. The dog’s owner Zhu Yuhua took him to the clinic after find­ing out about it on­line.

“Old Com­pan­ion was al­ways scream­ing in pain in the past, but he slept very well after the first acupunc­ture ses­sion,” Zhu said. “After the 12th ses­sion, he was able to stand up.” Zhu lives in Shang­hai’s Jiad­ing district in the north of the city. Tak­ing Old Com­pan­ion to the clinic means two hours of travel, high taxi costs and ask­ing for sick leave from her com­pany. But Zhu is de­ter­mined to help her pet recover.

“Be­ing with my dog and see­ing him healthy makes me happy,” Zhu said.

Zhu said that re­cent me­dia ex­po­sure has drawn a large num­ber of peo­ple to the clinic, and that she has to stand in long queues to get her dog the ther­apy.

The prospect of pet acupunc­ture

For Jin, an in­crease in busi­ness does not mean he will open more branches just yet. He said that pet acupunc­ture was not easy to learn, and that he is fo­cus­ing on find­ing the ex­act acupunc­ture points for pets.

Jin said that acupunc­ture is mainly fo­cused on the hu­man body, and that acupunc­ture points could be dif­fer­ent for pets.

“My en­ergy is lim­ited, and I only have one as­sis­tant.” Jin said. “In ad­di­tion, pet acupunc­ture is not that easy to mas­ter.”

Rais­ing pets is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly popular in Shang­hai, which has more than 24 mil­lion peo­ple. The Shang­hai An­i­mal Health In­spec­tion In­sti­tute said that more than 170 pet clin­ics were in op­er­a­tion in the city as of 2016.

“Treat­ing an­i­mals’ ill­nesses with tra­di­tional Chi­nese ther­apy such as acupun­ture is not some­thing new. In Ja­pan, South Korea and some places in Europe and Amer­ica, it is even more wide-spread than China,” said Tian Haiyan, head of Beijing Guan­shang An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal in Beijing.

Photo: VCG

Acupunc­ture has be­come an in­creas­ingly popular treat­ment for an­i­mals as a way to ease their pain and lessen side ef­fects of medicine.

Photos: VCG

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