Electro-Acupuncture Treatment: What Is It and Is My Pet a Candidate?

Posted by Stacey Venzel
horse electroacpuncture
The Horse

Electro-acupuncture is gaining popularity in vet clinics, but what is it exactly?

Sticking needles in animals to stimulate healing, pain relief, and energy flow is already hard enough for some people to grapple with, but there's an even more hands-on acupuncture treatment that is raising eyebrows.

Electro-acupuncture, also call electro-stimulation or e-stim for short, utilizes electric currents to stimulate nerve endings beyond just acupressure points.

During an e-stim session, needles are placed along meridians like a regular acupuncture appointment, but then electrode wires are hooked up to metal parts of some needles. Frequencies are manipulated on a machine, set low for roughly 10 minutes before increasing for the remainder of the treatment.

horse acupuncture

While humans with neuromuscular disorders have been getting e-stim for decades, it is only recently becoming more common in veterinary clinics, as many animal hospitals are adding alternative medicine to their list of services.

Though most pets are candidates for acupuncture, or at the very least cold laser therapy, not every animal is well-suited for electro-acupuncture. The currents give an impressive boost to medical recoveries that need it, but it can be an overload for others. Many feel exhausted the next day because their muscles have just been hyper-stimulated.

dog electroacpuncture
Pets Referral Center

The most common injuries, illnesses, and diseases in pets treated by means of e-stim include neuromuscular disorders like Wobbler's syndrome, and spinal fractures or injuries, especially those that cause some form of paralysis or ataxia.

E-stim is also beneficial for pain and nausea relief, as well as for muscle spasm management. Sending electrical waves throughout the body also moves stagnant blood flow, increasing circulation.

Dogs, cats, and even horses can receive e-stim--though equine electrodes require extra long wires.

If you think your pet might be a good candidate for electro-acupuncture, talk to your veterinarian about it, particularly one who specializes in holistic and alternative treatments in alignment with Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).

What do you think of this treatment? Let us know in the comments below.

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Electro-Acupuncture Treatment: What Is It and Is My Pet a Candidate?