Acupuncture for Pets

Happy summer, my friends!  Enjoying the warmer weather so far?  I know I am!  Well, at least from the window…  How about any fun summer vacationing yet?  I’ve been saving up for my summer cruise, which reminds me, I need to find out if they accept treats as payment.

Today I welcome a very special guest who just happens to be a good buddy of mine- Dr. Anne Garrood!  She is going to help me by talking about veterinary acupuncture.  For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Garrood, let me tell you a little bit about her.

Dr. Garrood holding dog

Dr. Garrood, originally from Cambridge, England, has been practicing veterinary medicine for about 26 years and actually started out in human medicine earning her Bachelors degree in nursing while working in Nottingham at a pharmaceutical company.  After a few years, she decided she wanted to see what the good ole’ USA had to offer and soon found herself living in Mississippi and beginning her journey of veterinary medicine.  In 1991, she not only graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine, but also became a United States citizen!  Fast forward to 1999, she joined our fabulous team at GFAH and has since been stuck with us! J  Following her interest in complementary medicine, she took the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) course in 1997 and has been practicing ever since.

For those who may not be familiar with acupuncture, it is essentially inserting needles into particular points of the body to help generate healing and “balance energy”.  I bet you probably didn’t know that it has been used in veterinary medicine in China for at least 3000 years!  Like humans, animals don’t always respond to acupuncture, but it has been proven to be very successful in many cases to help alleviate symptoms and pain from a variety of diseases and ailments.  Some of those include (but are not limited to): arthritis, skin problems, respiratory problems, reproductive issues, and nervous system, kidney and liver problems and gastrointestinal issues.  I think Dr. Garrood would agree that most of her acupuncture patients are receiving treatment due to issues with arthritis but she has had patients with other ailments as well. 

Dr. Garrood was kind enough to answer some questions for me relating to what she does with acupuncture on dogs and cats

Mason: When did you first become interested in doing acupuncture on dogs and cats?

Dr. Garrood: “When I was in vet school, I looked into taking the course but it was too expensive for a poor vet student.”

Mason: Was learning how to do acupuncture on animals difficult?  How long have you been doing it?

Dr. Garrood: “Yes.  It was very hard to switch my mind from Western scientific thinking (“left brain”) to the Chinese model which is more “right brain” driven.   Chinese medicine varies the treatment depending on the signs that a person shows, so 2 people, both with asthma, might receive very different treatments. 

I took the IVAS (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society) course from 1996-1997.”

Mason: I know you typically see more dogs than cats for acupuncture; do you think that dogs tend to respond better than cats in general?

Dr. Garrood: “Although cats usually don’t like insertion of the needles very much, they do seem to respond to acupuncture very well.  I have had some cats with very severe illness become completely well again with acupuncture, so I love doing acupuncture on kitties; it is very rewarding!”

Mason: Just like with people, acupuncture on animals is never guaranteed to work, however it looks like you have been fairly successful overall with patients responding to treatment.  Over the years that you have been practicing acupuncture, what percentage would you say were given a better quality of life because of it?

Dr. Garrood: “I generally expect 60-70% of patients to respond well.  Another 10-15% responds some, but maybe not responds well enough to continue with the acupuncture.  Unfortunately, I can’t tell beforehand who will respond and who won’t, so I have to try it to find out.”

Thank you Dr. Garrood for taking the time to sit down with me and answer some questions!  If you think that your dog or cat might benefit from acupuncture, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can put you in touch with Dr. Garrood.

For more information on veterinary acupuncture, here are a few resources to try:

International VeterinaryAcupuncture Society

American Academy of VeterinaryAcupuncture  

American Holistic VeterinaryMedical Association  

VeterinaryPartner- Acupuncture:  An AncientPractice

OK, all of this acupuncture talk suddenly has me very relaxed and “zen-ful” so I’m going to go nap it off! 

Til next meow,