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Acupuncture for Dogs and Cats

Acupuncture can be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). There are more than 150 acupuncture points on a dog’s body, with 50-100 of these points being the most commonly used.

Acupuncture is a drug-free alternative to animals who may not be able to handle all of the prescriptions, and to the pet owners who may not be able to afford the expensive medications or surgery. Dr. Foreman received her certification in Veterinary Acupuncture in May of 2009. Please call if you have questions about how acupuncture may benefit your pet.

Acupuncture appointments are available Tuesdays and Thursdays. To allow us to focus solely on the animal in for treatment, we request no other animals or childeren under 10 years of age be present at the time of the appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture

  • For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?

  • Is acupuncture painful?

  • Are there side effects of acupuncture?

  • How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?

For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is indicated mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, inflammation and pain. In our practice, this would include:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis or vertebral disc pathology

  • Skin problems such as allergies or lick granulomas

  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea

  • Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma

Is acupuncture painful? 

For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Acupuncture needles are very fine, solid, flexible stainless steel. Each needle is new and comes wrapped in a sterile package. Most animals become very relaxed, and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, some acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingling, cramps or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.

Are there side effects of acupuncture?

Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals may become sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.

How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?

The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments.

When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficiency. Patients often start with 1-3 treatments per week for 4-6 weeks. Once a maximum positive response is achieved, treatments are tapered off so that the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.