Colt enjoying his electroacupuncture treatment.

Pirate relaxing while acupuncture needles are being placed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Acupuncture

If your question isn’t answered here, please give us a call or send an email so that we can discuss what would be best for your pet!

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a method of treatment essential to Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used in people for over 3,000 years. This modality involves insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to promote a healing response. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is also considered preventative medicine as it promotes a whole-body balance. Acupuncture has been studied and utilized all over the world and can be used as a primary treatment modality (when used alone), a secondary treatment modality (when used in combination with other Eastern and Western treatment options), or as an alternative therapy (when other treatment methods have been tried and have failed).

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture works through the body’s neuroendocrine system. It is essentially controlled stimulation of a specific point on the body (called an acupoint). Modern studies have found that acupoints are bundles of high density nerves endings, mast cells (containing histamine), small blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. A number of these studies indicate that stimulation of these acupoints releases of endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters.We use a select set of points (called an acupuncture point prescription) to produce therapeutic and homeostatic (balancing) effects in the body. Acupuncture for pain relief is well supported by these scientific studies. As more and more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy for other conditions will be better understood.

Do Animals REALLY let you do that?

Yes! Acupuncture treatment sessions are usually very relaxing. The needles are generally inserted painlessly and left in place for 10-30 minutes. During the initial examination and the first few needles, animals may be confused or anxious (as are their owners!), but after the first few needles are inserted, many dogs and cats will become very relaxed and even sleepy. When it is time for the needles to be removed, animals may become a little more restless- letting us know that treatment time is over. Owners often report that animals may be very relaxed to sleepy for the following 1-2 days. It is recommended that animals be allowed to rest following treatment.

How Quickly Does Acupuncture Work?

The response to therapy generally depends on how long the condition has been going on and what the diagnosis is.
Acute conditions: For injuries and illnesses that have started suddenly, we can often see very swift responses to acupuncture therapy. I generally recommend that owners commit to 4 treatment sessions before deciding whether to continue acupuncture treatments. Intervertebral disc disease (responsible for neck & back pain), torn cruciate ligaments, musculoskeletal injuries, and other acute conditions can respond within 1-2 treatments. Treatments are prescribed based on the type of injury, but may start as often as once or twice a week.
Chronic conditions: For chronic arthritis pain (for example), I generally recommend that owners commit to 8 treatment sessions before deciding to continue acupuncture treatments. We usually start with once a week treatments for 4 weeks and then treat once every other week for 4 additional sessions. Often pet families see improvement well before this date, but treatments can be stopped at any point if the patient is not tolerating them well.

How Much Does Acupuncture Cost?

Our professional fees are very similar to acupuncture services offered in traditional veterinary hospitals, but can be performed in the comfort of your own home! Please visit our professional fees page for all information regarding the cost of acupuncture therapy.

Does Acupuncture Have Any Side Effects?

No! Acupuncture is a very safe treatment option. This is especially helpful for patients who are already on the maximum amount of their medications, patients who cannot tolerate medications, or patients that are very difficult to medicate.

Where Can You Do Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can performed in your home or at our office location! Acupuncture is a very flexible treatment tool and can be performed wherever you desire at home. We simply need enough space for you and your pet to sit comfortably together for approximately 30 minutes. We can also arrange for acupuncture appointments to be conducted at our Hospice Center, if that is more convenient.