Beijing’s pet lovers turn to acupuncture

A dog receives acupuncture treatment at an animal clinic in Beijing on April 12.

BEIJING (AFP-Jiji) — Strapped in tight, the prone poodle nervously eyes the vet as he gently sticks fine needles into its back and paws, summoning the ancient art of acupuncture to treat the pet’s aches and pains.

Duniu is just one of a growing number of animals being signed up for traditional medicine in China — care their masters said is less invasive and comes with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

In one Beijing practice, pets of all shapes and sizes come for treatments.

“The advantage of traditional Chinese medicine is that there is no surgery,” 38-year-old Zhai Chunyu told AFP, accompanied by Duniu, his poodle.

“So the animal’s suffering is reduced.”

At just 3 years old, Duniu suffers from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which affects the thigh bone and can lead to painful osteoarthritis.

“He was in so much pain that he could no longer put his paw on the ground” and “had no appetite,” said Zhai, who works in finance.

“A doctor advised me to have the head of the femur removed. But I didn’t want to because I have another poodle who has been there and he suffered a lot from the operation and the aftereffects.”

But then a friend advised him to try acupuncture.

“After five to six sessions, we saw the results. Duniu manages to walk and even run a little now,” Zhai said.