Leech therapy in dogs: areas of application and benefits

Leech therapy has been used in humans to treat various ailments for centuries. Your dog may also benefit from this method. Leech therapy can help a dog with joint problems, for example - Shutterstock / foto ARts

Leeches are small organisms that are attached to the body during medical treatments and are attached to the skin. They ensure that there is a small bloodletting, which should stimulate the blood circulation and the metabolism. In the meantime, the animals release their saliva into the resulting wound. This contains both anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving substances that can provide relief from various symptoms of the disease.

In humans, leech therapy is used by naturopaths primarily for osteoarthritis, leg vein problems or high blood pressure. It can also be used on dogs under certain conditions. You should definitely discuss with a veterinarian beforehand whether this is recommended for your four-legged friend.

When is leech therapy used in dogs?

There are also many possible uses for leech therapy in dogs: arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscle hardening, nerve irritation and spinal disorders can be treated with it if the veterinarian considers it useful. However, caution is advised if your four-legged friend has diabetes or anemia, has tumors or is taking blood-thinning medication. In such cases, such therapy is strongly discouraged.

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What happens in leech therapy?

Depending on the size of your four-legged friend, the doctor places one or more leeches on the affected part of your dog's body. When they are soaked, they fall off on their own. This can take between 20 and 60 minutes. The wound continues to bleed for a while and is bandaged to protect against infection. Leech therapy can be used once or, in the case of chronic illnesses, several times.

The vet uses specially bred leeches that are free of pathogens. Under no circumstances should you start this type of treatment on your own - especially not with leeches from the wild, as these can be infected with pathogens under certain circumstances. Leech therapy must always be carried out by a specialist so that your four-legged friend can really benefit from it.