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Acupuncture for Animals

About Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine theory holds that Qi (vital energy) flows throughout the body along energetic channels called meridians. Each meridian is also associated with a specific internal organ which reflects the physiological and pathological conditions of that organ. The meridians connect the exterior of the body with the interior.

Acupuncture points are located along these meridians, and when stimulated can relieve pain and restore normal body functions. Acupuncture points have specific locations and effects and have been documented over millennia. From a Western perspective, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate a variety of sensory nerves in the body that transmit the signal through the nervous system to the brain, which then releases various chemicals that produce multiple physiologic effects that activate the body’s homeostatic regulatory mechanisms.

Acupuncture FAQs

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a professionally trained veterinary acupuncturist. Side effects are rare, and are usually seen in the form of lethargy and or sleepiness for 24 hours following a treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt?

No, most animals pay little attention to the needles being placed, and often get sleepy during treatment especially during electro-acupuncture treatment.  Acupuncture points can also be stimulated without the use of needles for extra-sensitive little ones, using techniques known as acupressure, moxibustion, laser/light stimulation, or by the injection of fluid into the acupuncture points known as aquapuncture. 

How long does an acupuncture treatment last?

Stimulation of an individual acupoint can take as little as 10 seconds or can last up to 60 minutes. It depends on the technique used and the condition treated. A typical treatment lasts 15-20 minutes.

How often will my pet need acupuncture?

The length and frequency of acupuncture depends on the condition and the technique of acupuncture used. Typically, most animals need acupuncture at least once weekly for 4-6 treatments as a minimum.

How long does it take to see the beneficial effects of acupuncture?

This varies from animal to animal. In some cases a response can be seen after one to two treatments; however to achieve a maximal positive response it typically will take approximately 4-6 weekly treatments. Acupuncture treatments build on each other and a series of treatments is necessary. After a maximum response is achieved acupuncture treatments are tapered to a maintenance schedule depending on the individual animal.

Does my pet need maintenance acupuncture?

For chronic cases yes. Acupuncture is typically done weekly until a maximum therapeutic response is achieved and then tapered off to the least number of treatments necessary to maintain the animal’s condition.

Why are acupuncture and herbal medicine used together?

Because clinical results can be obtained more quickly by using Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture together. The combined effects are also stronger which is especially important in the treatment of difficult cases.