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Acupuncture is a useful alternative treatment modality that has been in use in the East for thousands of years. More recently, its popularity has been growing in the West and is a valid, research-backed treatment option for many veterinary conditions as well. While certain conditions are much better treated with medicine and surgery, acupuncture provides an alternate option when classical medical treatment is not an option, if previous treatments have been unsuccessful, or in conjunction with conventional treatments.


What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture consists of placing needles in acupoints, which are points located on meridians or channels that run over the surface of the body. These points and channels highly correspond to superficial nerves, nerve plexuses, and neurovascular bundles, muscle/tendon junctions; and points at which motor nerves enter muscle bellies. Stimulation of these points therefore stimulates the peripheral nerves, which travel to the spinal cord, and relay information to the brain. It is through this that the body responds by releasing various different chemicals and cells (ex: endorphins, norepinephrine, white blood cells) that affect the body’s organs.


Does acupuncture really work?

Sometimes. Can it fix a broken bone? No. But it’s another tool in our toolbox to make your animal as comfortable as possible with as little side effects as possible. There are many different conditions that have been proven by peer-reviewed studies to show statistically significant improvement with acupuncture. Here is the Consensus Statement from The National Institute of Health on Acupuncture.


What conditions are acupuncture treatments useful for?

Just like the variety of medicines available in conventional medicine, there are hundreds of acupuncture points that can be selected to treat different diseases, allowing it to be useful for many different types of conditions.


Pain Relief

  • Arthritis

  • Post-Operative Pain

  • Cancer

  • Back Pain

  • Peripheral nerve pain

  • Tendonitis

  • Other lameness issues


Neurologic Issues

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

  • Wobbler’s Disease


Immune Regulation/Suppression

  • Heaves, Asthma

  • Skin allergies


Gastrointestinal motility disorders

  • Constipation/Impactions

  • Colitis/Diarrhea

  • Colic (must be used WITH conventional treatments)


Reproductive Disorders

  • Cycling and fertility issues in mares and cows

  • Endometritis


Geriatric Medicine

  • Overall improvement of quality of life

  • Pain relief

  • Chronic renal failure

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Chronic IBD

  • Behavioral problems

  • Cancer


How long does it take to see results?

Some patients see noticeable results after as little as one treatment, but we advise clients to please plan on at least three treatments to decide on its benefit for their pet’s specific situation. If no or minimal results are seen after three treatments, it is unlikely that continued treatments will show any improvement. Keep in mind that acupuncture is similar to medicine – with most medications, you will not see major results after one pill, but after several treatments, you should start seeing the benefits.



If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about whether your animal is a good candidate for acupuncture treatment, you can email us or call us at (843) 340-3329!



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