Acupuncture has been practiced for over 4,000 years. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, including the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies, has been practiced on domestic animals, primarily horses and cows, since the Zhou (Chou) Dynasty (1046-221 B.C.). In 1873, Li Nan-Hui published Hou Shou Ci Zhou (Humane Care of Animals), detailing herbal formulas for various species including cattle, buffalo, pigs, horses, sheep, dogs and cats. In 1972, when president Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China, cultural and scientific information began to be shared between the two countries, bringing acupuncture, as a healing art, to the United States. The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) was then incorporated in 1974, and the first organized veterinary acupuncture course was held in North America in 1975.
Dogs are very amenable to acupuncture. They are generally tolerant during insertion of needles, and patient while the needles remain in them. Sometimes they fidget during an acupuncture treatment, but more often they relax and sometimes even fall asleep. The most common conditions for which dogs are treated for acupuncture include arthritis, neurological disorders (degenerative myelopathy, intervertebral disc disease, vestibular disease, seizures), dermatologic diseases, gastrointestinal conditions (pancreatitis, gastritis, diarrhea), urinary tract diseases, cardiac and liver diseases, side effects of cancer, and post-surgical/post-traumatic conditions.