Canine and Feline Patients Referred Exclusively for Acupuncture and Herbs: A Two-Year Retrospective Analysis

Abstract

Acupuncture and the administration of herbal supplements are increasingly used in veterinary practice, but no retrospective studies have examined patient characteristics and treatment interventions in a population of dogs and cats presenting exclusively for such therapies. This two-year retrospective analysis of 161 referrals to an integrative medicine service at an academic teaching hospital found that dogs were more frequently treated than cats (91.9% vs. 8.1%, respectively) and that small animal patients most frequently were presented for musculoskeletal (26.7%), neurologic (16.8%), oncologic (14.9%), and dermatologic (10.6%) conditions. Cats were older than treated dogs (12.7 ± 3.7 vs. 9.5 ± 4.3 years) and more likely to be treated for oncologic complaints (odds ratio = 5.6). Patients received acupuncture (95.4%), herbal supplements (76.4%), acupuncture with percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (electroacupuncture, 26.1%), and/or cyanocobalamin injections in acupuncture points (pharmacopuncture, 23.6%). Some differences were detected between treatment groups. This retrospective analysis provides a foundation for designing future prospective studies using acupuncture and herbs in dogs and cats.

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