By now it’s commonly accepted that acupuncture can help relieve chronic pain, yet when most of this conversation is had, it’s referring to humans.
What many people might not know about is that acupuncture has also been used with our animal counterparts for quite some time. Most recently, with an arthritic giraffe.
This NBC News video shows Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island using acupuncture on their 2,000-pound giraffe named Sukari. The tall, majestic giraffe is 22 years old, aging, and suffering from arthritis, a painful joint condition compounded by her massive height.
She began to show signs of getting older, and of limited mobility before the zookeepers and veterinarians decided to attempt acupuncture as a treatment.
In this NECN article, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the executive director of Roger Williams Park Zoo, explained ““There were a lot of things we had to consider,” continuing, “Will the giraffe tolerate it? Would it be effective? Would the keepers be able to administer it, and how safe would it be?”
And so, a former intern at the zoo who is a certified veterinary medical acupuncturist was brought in to begin treatment. Following a similar protocol to human acupuncture treatment, the 45-minute session used 14 needles around her hips, and received the treatment weekly.
As for results? NECN states that the zoo believes it is, in fact, working. It quoted, “‘We think it really is keeping her arthritis at bay,’” Goodman said. “‘We know eventually her time will come, but until that point, and we hope it’s not for a while, she’s going to have a great life here.”
Using acupuncture to improve quality of life, control pain, and hopefully increase mobility in animals follows the same beliefs as the practice in humans.
We’d just have to assume the acuneedles used on Sukari are a little bit bigger than those we use at NJ Acupuncture Center.