Zoos Use Animal Acupuncture to Help Penguins Feel Their Best

PetMD Editorial
Published: June 20, 2018
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There are a lot of things we will do for the animals we care about, and that doesn’t end with just pet owners. Zoos are also taking extra steps to ensure that the animals they care for are living their best and most comfortable lives.

Two zoos in particular, the Denver Zoo and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, are working to make sure some of their senior residents feel their most limber and agile through the use of animal acupuncture.

At the Denver Zoo, a 25-year-old penguin named Dancer receives animal acupuncture treatments for her arthritis. As 9news.com reports, Dr. Gwen Jankowksi, the veterinarian at the Denver Zoo, says that since starting her acupuncture treatments, Dancer the penguin has definitely seen an increase in her quality of life. Dr. Jankowksi also says that they have been able to reduce her medication by half since within the six months of starting the animal acupuncture treatments.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas also enlists an animal acupuncturist, veterinarian Dr. Cyndi Benbow, to help one of their penguin citizens.

Ernie, a 36-year-old African penguin, is the third-oldest penguin currently living in captivity. He was hatched on January 1, 1982 in California. Time has taken its toll on this elderly penguin—not only is he blind in one eye, but he is also suffering from very painful arthritis.

The acupuncture is used to help ease Ernie’s aching muscles and provide him with better mobility. The San Francisco Chronicle explains, “Ernie's rapid improvement resulted from having needles inserted into his nerve clusters, leading to increased blood flow to the joints and improved circulation. They also decrease muscle tension in his back, which he has been overworking to compensate for his bad legs and ankles.”

Both Ernie and Dancer are finding their transition into their golden years eased through the use of animal acupuncture. What lucky penguins!

Video via YouTube: 9News.com

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