What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the four branches of traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM). It is an ancient medical practice that has been used on people for over 3000 years. Acupuncture has become a more common practice in domestic animals in the last 30 years.

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect by balancing the energy or "Qi" (pronounced "chi") in the body.  Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system, endocrine system and immune systems in the body. Plain "dry" needles, electostimulation (electo-acupuncture), injection of substances into acupuncture points (aqua-acupuncture), or moxabustion (heat applied to needles or acupoints) can be used to stimulate acupoints.

By stimulating chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin to be released by the brain, acupuncture can help control and relieve pain. Acupuncture has also been shown to support the immune system, increase white blood cell counts, improve endocrine function, relax muscles, regulate the intestinal tract, reduce inflammation, improve local blood flow and speed healing.

Acupuncture can be used to treat many different problems in animals. It is especially useful to control chronic pain and disease. It can replace western pain medicine when animals cannot take them due to kidney, liver or stomach disease. Acupuncture can support and improve organ disease when western medicine has little to offer, or help western medicine regulate diseases such as diabetes or hypothryoidism.


Acupuncture is frequently combined with other traditional Chinese therapies such as Chinese Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui-na (Chinese meridian massage). I believe the results are improved when I use more of these therapies together.  Diet and nutritional supplements are also valuable and are included as needed.  I will integrate these therapies with the routine medical care provided by your regular veterinarian.

Uses of Acupuncture

Neurologic Disease:  Seizures, Geriatric Dementia (CCDS), Meningioencephalitis, Vestibular Disease, Cranial Nerve Disease (mastecetory myositis, optic neuritis),  Intravertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), Fibrocartilaginous Embolism, Periferal Nerve Disease (Brachial Plexus Avulsion), Degenerative Myelopathy, EPM (Equine Protozoal Myolitis).

Musculoskelatal Disease: Arthritis (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, spinal arthritis, knee arthritis), Tendon Sprains and partial tears (cranial cruciate injuries, achilles injuries), Luxating Patellas,  Geriatric Hind-end Weakness, and Laminitis

Gastrointestinal Disease: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Anorexia, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Megacolon, Gastric Reflux, and Equine Colic.

Endocrine Disease: Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Cushings Disease

Other Diseases: Skin Allergies, Feline Asthma, Equine COPD, Cancer, Liver Disease, Chronic Renal Failure, FLUTD, Urinary Incontinence, Chronic Infections, Uveitis, and Chronic Corneal Ulcers.

How Long is an Acupuncture Appointment?

The first appointment includes a consultation, western examination and TCVM examination followed by an acupuncture treatment if indicated. During a housecall, the first appointment typically lasts one and one half hours.  At the clinic (HarmonyVet Acupuncture and Spine Care) my first appointments are scheduled for one hour.  Followup acupuncture appointments are one hour for house calls or clinic appointments.

Please bring all medical records, xrays and current medications to your first appointment for my review.

How long does it take for acupuncture to work?

It can take 3 to 5 acupuncture treatments before significant changes are seen. It is important to commit to giving the treatments the time to work. If no significant changes are seen after the first 3 to 5 acupuncture treatments,I will recommend another approach for helping your companion.

Useful Acupuncture Links

The Chi Institute of Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine

The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Society


Website By ThayerNet