What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Veterinary acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), which involves the stimulation of points, typically achieved through the insertion of specialized needles into the body. Acupuncture points typically lie along the body’s Meridian Channels where Qi flows. When there is a disturbance in the flow of Qi, or an imbalance, the result is pain and disease. Acupuncture restores this balance and promotes general wellness to the patient. It is perhaps one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. Science continues to understand the mechanisms of its success. Although the appreciation of its benefits in dogs and cats is relatively more recent, in China, people, horses, cows and pigs have been treated successfully for well over 3000 years. Clinical research has demonstrated positive results in the treatment of pets, and the use of acupuncture is on the rise in veterinary care. Although acupuncture will not cure every condition, it has proven effective when used as indicated for conditions such as:

  • Pain Management
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Urinary tract disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Behavioral
  • Cancer support
  • Ocular disorders

TCVM can be a form of complementary medicine that can accompany conventional, or “Western” Veterinary Medicine (WVM). This integrative approach with Eastern and Western medicine can optimize your pet’s care. In many ways, TCVM and WVM each has what the other lacks. Thus, the best medical system involves the integration of the two systems, so that the strength of one can compensate for the weaknesses of the other. Specialized training is required to administer veterinary acupuncture. We have two veterinary acupuncturists on our staff to ensure your pet will receive the highest quality care. Acupuncture treatments are performed at our hospital, in a calm and relaxed setting.

How do the needles feel?

The needles are very thin and the tips are very smooth and sharp allowing them to pass to the desired location readily and without pain. Sensation ranges from: not felt at all to “pinprick”. Sometimes a particular point may be more sensitive if it is associated with pathology. These may be uncomfortable to needle, but are important points to treat. Also, there may be a dull ache sensed during the treatment and there may be a sensation of an impulse traveling from the needle insertion site.

Generally speaking, pets LOVE their time receiving acupuncture. They are often relaxed during and sleep well post treatments. Many patients look forward to their acupuncture treatments evident by their excitement upon their return. Sometimes following treatments, a client will call concerned that their pet is sleeping more than normal. In general, this is likely a GOOD thing. Your pet is likely more comfortable and without pain and finally able to rest! As always, call us if you have concerns.