Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?

Acupuncture is a safe medical treatment for animals when conducted by a properly trained acupuncturist or veterinarian. The insertion of acupuncture needles can be painless and comfortable. Longer needles may be required for larger animals and they may feel some pain as the needle passes through layers of skin. Most animals respond positively and fall into a relaxed, restful state during acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture needling may cause sensations such as cramps, numbness, tingling and warmth. Some animals may become lethargic or energetic after treatment. Some animals may feel slightly sore while others may feel more fluid following treatment. All of these effects are normal and indicate that the treatment(s) are working and creating a physiological response.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is the insertion of thin sterile needles into specific points on the body to produce a systemic, healing response. There are 350+ acupuncture points, each with their own unique actions and indications. Stimulation of these points creates a response in the central nervous system and increases blood flow. Acupuncture is used individually or in conjunction with other medical modalities to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions in humans and animals. In Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used for preventative care and symptom relief. Acupuncture is indicated for functional and systemic problems such as inflammation, allergies and pain. Acupuncture can treat musculoskeletal problems, skin conditions, reproductive issues, respiratory difficulties, gastrointestinal problems and neurological conditions.

 Can My Pet Benefit from Acupuncture?

Treatment results will depend on the skill and training of the acupuncturist and the length and frequency of treatments. Some conditions may require more weekly or monthly treatments than others. Chronic conditions may require more treatments while acute conditions may only require a few treatments to achieve the desired results. Each animal has an individual physiologic response and pain tolerance. Thus, there are different methods of needle stimulation such as dry needling, contact needling and electroacupuncture. Treatments are customized according to an animal’s individual needs and tolerance to needling.

How Safe is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be safe and extremely effective when administered by a veterinarian or an acupuncturist trained in veterinary medicine. Seek animal care from veterinary acupuncturists that have had formal training in the practice of veterinary acupuncture. Acupuncture shouldn’t be conducted without a proper veterinary medical diagnosis and a continuous assessment of an animal’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. Acupuncture may be used in conjunction with most conventional and alternative therapies. The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.