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Acupuncture on a Tiger: Cool New Procedure or Endangerment?

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The most common among these ailments are pneumothoraces that impair breathing, and bacterial and viral infections. This is not meant to scaremonger, but rather to illuminate the fact that acupuncture can and does go wrong, a fact that is not often mentioned.

It also serves us to point out that while many humans will readily attest to feeling better following an acupuncture session, it is unlikely other animals can glean the same placebo benefit, and whether other animals experience the placebo effect and to what extent is a subject of ongoing research.

Nor is there any evidence beyond the anecdotal that shows there is a medical benefit for animals subjected to acupuncture, and this includes those applications such as in cases of canine arthritis and equine health.

With that in mind, we have to ask whether subjecting other animals to this unproven practice is really worth it.

Could Acupuncture Risk More Harm Than Good?

If we accept that Pedang’s treatment was administered without risk of medical complication, and it appears it was, it will not directly harm the animal, so what’s the big deal?

Here’s the thing: in order to administer acupuncture to a 220 to 310 lb tiger you must, for obvious safety reasons, first anesthetize it. Anesthetic carries certain risks, and Pedang is 14 and approaching his twilight years.

It is unclear whether the team specifically sedated Pedang to administer the treatment as they may have needed to clean his infected ear anyway, but certainly this is a concern. Regardless, the main point is this: Pedang may now recover marvelously from his ear infection but given that he has already had presumably several courses of antibiotics, this attempt to “prove” the efficacy of acupuncture, as Mosinzon is quoted as saying she intends to do, is flawed.

What’s more, waiting to treat the infection and withholding further rounds of medical treatment as Mosinzon has said will now happen could undermine Pedang’s recovery and ultimately seriously compromise his health.

This is something that, for anyone concerned with animal welfare and regardless of their position on holistic medicine, should be a serious point of protest.

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6:28PM PDT on Oct 21, 2013

This post is awesome, would it be okay if I ask question? Acupuncture Thank you so much and so glad I found your site..

8:23AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

thanks for sharing

2:05AM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

Sonal, you've obviously never tried to do anything with an adult tiger if you think this could be done without sedation.

2:03AM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

Funny how the "scientists" never want to believe that anything other than drugs works... is this because they're all in the pocket of Big Pharma?? time to ditch the skepticism and the prejucide against any natural remedy that, in general, seems to come when people have letters after their name and think they know it all.

1:47AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Sorry, Steve, I have to add my voice to those defending acupuncture, a sophisticated and complex system of medicine, proven effective over thousands of years with millions of case studies. It has been scientifically proven with double-blind, randomised, controlled tests in China but, in the Western scientific community, a prejudice still remains - could it be racist?

I have witnessed many cures bordering on the miraclous with Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a natural, healing method and works brilliantly on animals - less toxic than drugs!

Incidentally, orthodox Western medicineis responsible for thousands of deaths each year - a far worse track record than TCM.

12:02PM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Yes, I wish it well for the tiger's sake! Time will tell.

7:33AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Hope this works for this magnificent creature. I know several cases where acupuncture has helped pets.

12:00AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Seems they would be damned if they did or damned if they didn't. A years conventional treatment and no effect so why not try the acupuncture? I assume the author is advocating euthanasia for the tiger as the "normal" treatments have failed?

12:37PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

Hope he makes a speedy recovery & shows acupuncture to work even on tigers Grrr.

9:25AM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

Poor tiger. I'm glad that they are caring for him and trying to treat him. Instead of criticizing these people, we should be thankful that this elderly tiger has value in their eyes and that they are trying to relieve his pain and extend his life. Save criticisms for those who poach them and raise them for their body parts. China comes to mind...(ironic that acupuncture is Chinese medicine).

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