San Diego Zoo Uses Acupuncture

Last Updated on April 4, 2024

Acupuncture and animals

At the San Diego zoo a variety of the animals receive acupuncture.  As zoos have improved facilities and care of animals. Animal life spans have increased and so have the chronic pain issues like arthritis that affect aging populations.
In an effort to effectively reduce pain in a non-invasive way senior veterinarian, Dr. Beth Bicknese has been studying and practicing Medical Acupuncture. Medical Acupuncture is an evidence-based style of acupuncture focused on neuro-anatomy.
Kiki is a 10-year-old Koala. She has significant hip arthritis. Dr. Beth explains, “We administer acupuncture every two weeks, to lessen her lameness and maximize her comfort.” Dr. Beth administers acupuncture, after 10 minutes she removes the needles and sets Kiki gently on the ground. The koala who’s walk was described as a “crumbling gait” only 10 minutes ago walks with more comfort and agility and climbs easily into a nearby tree.
Acupuncture needles stimulate specific body points rich in nerve endings. This stimulation affects the nerves that transmit information from the body to the spinal cord and on to the brain. By disrupting the messages of chronic pain the acupuncture needle can increase comfort and improve quality of life without the side effects of medications. 

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