My reading on the subject of acupuncture as a treatment for domestic cats indicates to me that it is an alternative treatment which should not be ignored. In the online version of the Dorset Echo newspaper, a veterinarian explains that at their surgery there are two veterinarians who use acupuncture. They say that acupuncture can be useful in cases of lameness, back pain, hip pain and much more.
She also says that cats and dogs tolerate acupuncture surprisingly well partly because the needles are much thinner than the usual injection needles that veterinarians use.
A complication is ensuring that the needles remain in place for 5 to 10 minutes. This can be a challenge, she says for some patients who tend to be fidgety. However, acupuncture appears to make feline patients a little sleepy which helps them to remain still. This veterinarian says that only a handful of patients have not tolerated acupuncture over the years. She has seen a significant number tolerate acupuncture well and be “markedly improved by the treatment”.
The books that I have on veterinary treatments for cat companions indicate to me that musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis in domestic cats can be treated with acupuncture. This form of treatment may be helpful for many cats. Dr Bruce Fogle, a well-known author and veterinarian, is unsure as to what to think about acupuncture. He says that if a cat hates visiting the vet then the owner should avoid it. Likewise, if a cat hates strangers and needles then acupuncture should also be avoided. This would apply, he says, to the majority of domestic cats but he does say that a veterinary colleague of hers who practices acupuncture claims that it is useful when used selectively.
My conclusion is that despite the slightly conflicting views of the veterinarians referred to, acupuncture is a treatment that should not be ignored as a possible treatment for musculoskeletal problems in domestic cats.
Books referred to: Dr Bruce Fogle’s Complete Cat Care and Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook at page 534 (several American veterinarians wrote this book).