February 2008 Issue

How Acupuncture Works

The veterinary community is recognizing the value of this ancient Chinese therapy. Here's how it can help your cat.

Three or four decades ago, few cat owners or veterinary practitioners in the U.S. knew anything whatsoever about acupuncture, the centuries-old Chinese system of health care that aims to treat physical disorders and their accompanying pain by inserting needles into specific points on a patientís body. Today, thousands of veterinarians throughout the nation routinely practice acupuncture in their clinics, and countless cats are benefiting from it. "Iím certainly an acupuncture advocate," says Andrea Looney, DVM, a lecturer in anesthesiology at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. "I use it in treating between 10 percent and 20 percent of the patients that I see ó not only cats, but dogs, horses and other animals as well." Dr. Looney stresses that she relies on acupuncture as a complementary technique, always using it in conjunction with the standard practices of Western veterinary medicine. "The fact that more veterinarians are skeptical and refuse to practice it," she says, "is a sad situation."

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