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Acupuncture FAQ

Dog receiving acupuncture
cat receiving acupuncture
dog receiving acupuncture

What is veterinary acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCVM). Disposable, sterile needles are inserted in acupuncture points that lie along meridians to produce a potential healing response. Each point can produce individual responses or can work in concert with other selected points. The number of needles varies for each treatment and the location of the needles also varies depending on your pet’s symptoms and patterns noted during their exam.


How does acupuncture work?

Although acupuncture is rooted in ancient practices and techniques, there have been multiple studies helping to determine the underlying physiologic mechanisms involved. For example, stimulation of points associated with pain relief were shown to stimulate specific pain-association regions in the brainstem. Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms and change the release of endorphins, hormones and cortisol. 


Will it be uncomfortable for my pet? Will he need sedation?

Most pets are very comfortable during the appointment - we even have patients who pull their owners into the practice and a couple who refuse to leave when their session is over! While we may hit trigger points or need to place a needle in an area that is already uncomfortable, animals tend to tolerate acupuncture very well. We do not sedate patients for treatment, although if you have a dog who can be aggressive during physical handling, we may discuss the best options to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible during treatment.


Where does the session take place and how long does a treatment take?

We generally recommend seeing new acupuncture cases in the office, although we can arrange a housecall as well. Housecall slots are typically reserved for patients who cannot make it into the office and due to scheduling constraints, may take longer to schedule in. We do have a housecall fee that varies by location. 


The initial appointment typically lasts about 1 hour so that we can review medical records and look at radiographs if necessary. The initial treatment usually lasts 20-30 minutes. Follow up appointments are typically shorter - around 30-40 minutes with a similar treatment time.


What species can receive acupuncture?

Any species could benefit from acupuncture. While there may not be studies in one particular species, acupuncture points can be derived from general knowledge of anatomy.


See what our acupuncture clients say about their pets’ treatment. 


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