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Pet acupuncture a barking success in China


Lie down, have your skin sterilized by a doctor, before needles are carefully inserted into the skin. Sounds like a regular scene at a Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital. But surprisingly, this is at an animal hospital in Beijing, and the patient is a dog.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique, with origins from over 2,000 years ago. It has gained worldwide attention for pain relief and the treatment of various conditions.
Now, more than ever, it is being used to treat animals. According to a report from China News Service, a 12-year-old male paralyzed bichon was given a new lease on life recently - able to walk again - after receiving acupuncture treatment.
“It lost control in the lower part of the body before and could not walk. We came to the hospital for four months, and it can run pretty well again. We will continue the treatment,” said the pet owner Mr. Zhu.
Checks online found that it costs 30 yuan (about 4.3 US dollars ) for every acupoint, and it usually requires at least a dozen needles each session. Despite the high cost, acupuncturist Li Wen at Beijing Guangshang Animal Hospital said sometimes he receives about 10 patients a day, “The theory to give acupuncture to animals is the same to humans, which can also be used on cats and rabbits. At present, it is mainly used to cure the paralyzed, limb weakness and alleviate pain.”
But Li admitted that it is not easy to accurately to find the acupoint on an animal, “The thickness of furs and the sizes vary from species to species, so it requires accumulated experience to give acupuncture to animals.”
Tian Haiyan, Director of Beijing Guangshang Animal Hospital expects more pet owners to use acupuncture to treat their pets, as more people are now aware of it and receptive to the idea. “In fact, it is not something new to give animals acupuncture. It is more common in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States. It can also be used to cure pets’ tumors and gastroenteritis,” Tian explained. 
According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, about seven percent of Chinese urban households now have a dog, and two percent have a cat - prompting strong growth in the local pet industry in recent years.
Reports also suggest that Chinese now spend a total of 1.5 billion US dollars annually to pamper their pets. This includes services such as manicures, fur dye, massages and even yoga. Market research firm Euromonitor estimates that the market is expected to grow by more than half by 2019. 


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