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Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Normally the Healthy Living segment of our blog is devoted to issues related to humans. Today we have something a bit different, a visit from Grayce Walters to discuss acupuncture for pets. Grayce is the brainchild of aspiring author Jacki Delecki who is neither an animal acupuncturist nor a veterinarian but has a vivid imagination. Learn more about Jacki at her website. 

Animal Acupuncture
By Grayce Walters

I’m very glad to have the opportunity to discuss animal acupuncture with you. And hopefully I can answer any questions you may have. I’m a veterinarian and practice animal acupuncture in Seattle. In the state of Washington only a licensed veterinarian can practice animal acupuncture. State requirements for animal acupuncture vary from state to state so it behooves you to research the training of the person you’re considering for your pet.

Because I live in an urban area, I treat mainly of dogs and cats. Animal acupuncture can be very helpful for large animals especially horses who by their level of activity often sustain injuries. I’ve experience in treating horses. I’ve also treated various large animals at Seattle’s zoo with good results.

What are indications for seeking acupuncture for your pet?

The most frequent reason for pet owners to seek acupuncture is relief of pain. There are many reasons for pain. Your pet should be evaluated by your veterinarian to determine the cause of the pain before you seek acupuncture treatment. If your pet is suffering from arthritis, arthritic joints, acute pain following a surgery, pain from disease such as cancer or leukemia, acupuncture can help relieve the pain and the subsequent stress associated with pain.

The treatment involves placement of filiform needles at sites along the meridians, the path or channel as it is called in Chinese medicine in which the qi/chi, the life energy flows. The needles may be placed in various parts of the animal’s body.

Acupuncture has been studied and practiced for over 2000 years in China. The Chinese are responsible for bringing acupuncture forward into the modern world. There is also Korean and Japanese acupuncture. The three variations use different meridian points and different techniques for needle placement.

As with most American practitioners, my practice is based on the Chinese method of acupuncture. I studied in China after finishing my veterinarian education.

Will your pet be upset or stressed by the placement of the needles thus negating the benefits of the treatment?

There is mild pain/discomfort with the insertion of the needle, like the bite of a mosquito. The amount of stress your animal will experience with acupuncture is related to many factors. First, there is the level of pain that your pet is having and how defensive their pain makes them. Next there can be additional stress by having to go into an office setting. The last factor to consider is how your pet reacts to new experiences and new people.

I’ve found it most beneficial to make home visits for treatment of very stressed pets. A safe environment is less upsetting to the pet and its owner. The skill and patience of the practitioner is the critical part of the equation for the treatment to be successful.

The practitioner needs to have an understanding of animal behavior and pain mechanisms to make an animal comfortable and trusting. The intangible part of the practitioner’s skill is the ability to empathize and communicate with animals. It’s a unique gift that can be enhanced but requires a certain intuitive ability mixed with a deep need to heal.

In my own practice, I believe that I must be in a quiet state to enable me to communicate and calm animals. I meditate and practice yoga to keep my qi/chi in balance. Animals pick up on the stress of their owners and the people around them. I find it very important to be centered before I treat my patients.

My patients usually become relaxed and often sleep through their acupuncture treatment as soon as I place the first needle. You must keep in mind that every pet and every practitioner is different.

I’d look for a change in attitude by your pet toward the practitioner over several visits to judge whether your pet’s acupuncturist is the right match for your pet and for you. 

In An Inner Fire, Grayce Walters, veterinarian and animal acupuncturist, possesses a powerful gift--the ability to communicate with animals. Sensing fear and agitation in a fire investigator’s poodle, Grayce discovers clues to arson, murder, and drug smuggling on Seattle’s Waterfront.


Kim Hornsby said...

My dog had acupuncture for a knee injury and arthritis and it was the only thing that worked! She'd sit quietly while the vet (on Maui) put the tiny needles in her leg. He had great success with horses too and it was when he was on the nightly news, we said "we have to try that!"

Kim Hornsby

jacki said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for coming over. I appreciate. Didn't know about your dog having acupuncture treatment. Guess, with all our writerly conversations never got to it.

Anonymous said...

Great looking dogs! How old are they? Related?
How did you get them to smile for the picture :)

jacki said...

They are sisters, Gus and Talley. They are 13 and half years old and are featured in both of my novels. Gus,on the left plays a vital role in my historical A Code of Love. They smile a lot especially when food is involved.
Thanks for stopping by.

Jo Anne said...

Gus & Talley look fabulous & healthy for 13 1/2 year old pups, Jacki. Acupuncture has definitely paid off for the charmers. None of my kitties need the help right now. One has been blind since birth, but she's NOT disabled. She's a little terror, and chases the other cats around. But if mine ever need it, they'll be off to the pet acupuncturist, that's for sure. :-)

Sandi said...

As my pets aged I had them do acupuncture. They really liked the moxi and were very calm. But my current crop is not showing any signs of needing it. Thank goodness.

jacki said...

Hi JoAnne,

Thank you for taking the time come over. Glad to hear you kitties don't need treatment. My abandoned kitty's only health problem is lack of teeth...but she seems to be doing fine maintaining her statuesque shape...or should I say roundesque shape?
Congratulations again on the contest final. Yeah!!

jacki said...

Hey Sandi,

Great of you to come over. And you're right about your pets not needing acupuncture at this time. They are all very spunky.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grayce. Great info on acupuncture. What do you think about for acupuncture for a dog who will bite strangers? Any suggestions. Thanks. Karuna

jacki said...

Great question, Karuna. Grayce does begin to treat a long haired dachshund for the exact problem in AN INNER FIRE. Acupuncture can help raise the dog's threshold to prevent the animal's aggressive reaction when confronted with over stimulating situations. Acupuncture can be very beneficial for these pets.
Thank you for stopping by today.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting piece! Thanks for sharing all the valuable information about animal acupuncture, looking forward to reading the book!!