Effectiveness of combined acupuncture and manual therapy relative to no treatment for canine musculoskeletal pain



Despite the rise in popularity of both acupuncture and manual therapy in veterinary medicine, and the increasing number of Canadian veterinarians practising these techniques, there is little research demonstrating their effectiveness. In this repeated measures, therapeutic trial, 47 client-owned dogs with naturally occurring lameness were assessed for clinical response to treatment. Owners were blinded to the treatment schedule and completed questionnaires to assess their dogs’ comfort and mobility. Comparison between pre- and post-treatment results demonstrated that combined acupuncture and manual therapy provides immediate short-term improvement in comfort and mobility, as demonstrated by owner observed changes in play behavior (P = 0.015), walking (P < 0.001), trotting (P = 0.002), jumping (P < 0.001), descending stairs (P = 0.003), rising from a lying position (P < 0.001), and reduced stiffness after rest (P < 0.001) or following exercise (P < 0.001). Mood and attitude also improved, but did not attain statistical significance.