• Cuyamaca Animal Hospital

The Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture For Your Pets

With the rise in popularity of alternative medicine, acupuncture for pets can seem like just another fleeting trend. What skeptics might not know, however, is that veterinary acupuncture is considered a traditional form of Chinese medicine, in practice for thousands of years to prevent and treat a variety of ailments. Acupuncture is now a globally practiced form of healthcare, both as a supplement to Western medicine and as a stand-alone treatment.


At Cuyamaca Animal Hospital, we strive to ensure our clients are as fully informed as possible when determining what’s right for their pet. So, on today’s blog, we’re delving into the five most commonly asked questions regarding veterinarian-delivered acupuncture. 


What is acupuncture for pets, and how does it work?

Acupuncture is the insertion of tiny needles into specific healing points of the body, which stimulates blood flow to the area and encourages the activation of neurotransmitters.  


The interaction of neurotransmitters and other cell signaling molecules decreases the pain signals sent through the body, which can then produce healing responses to treat a variety of ailments. 


In other words, pet acupuncture encourages self-healing in the body by naturally correcting imbalances. In fact, clinical research has shown positive results when acupuncture is administered, in both humans and their pets. 


Treatments are typically done weekly for a period of 2 months, then can continue as needed. Acupuncture is commonly used in conjunction with prescription medications to make your pet as comfortable as possible (depending on the ailment).


What does acupuncture for pets treat? 

Veterinary acupuncture can be administered to treat functional issues and diseases. If your pet is suffering from any of the following issues, acupuncture might bring some relief.  

  • Chronic and acute pain

  • Behavioral problems

  • Musculoskeletal problems

  • Gastrointestinal problems

  • Traumatic nerve injury

  • Intervertebral disk disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma, heaves, or “bleeders”

  • Skin problems, such as allergic dermatitis, or lick granulomas

Additionally, acupuncture is commonly administered to athletes—this includes animals, too. Minor sports injuries can be treated with acupuncture, and can be an effective method of maintaining your pets’ athletic performance.


Does it Hurt?

Acupuncture needles are thin and lightweight, causing little to no pain for small animals. Larger animals may experience some pain or discomfort due to the larger size of the needle. Big or small, your companion should not experience any pain or discomfort once the acupuncture needles are in place. Just like in humans, most animals will experience a release of endorphins after just the first needle. Unless your companion generally tends to suffer from severe anxiety, there is even a chance he or she will fall asleep during the procedure!


As a reminder, at Cuyamaca Animal Hospital, our licensed veterinarians uphold the emotional well-being of every animal while they are in our care. Veterinary visits can be stressful on your companion—that’s why we have Fear-Free certified professionals on our staff dedicated to ensuring that your pet’s visit is as comfortable and happy as possible. 


Are there any side effects?

Side effects of pet acupuncture are rare but may occur. In cases where side effects do occur,  the symptoms of the patient’s condition may seem to worsen for up to 2 days after treatment, while other animals may simply appear lethargic or drowsy for up to 24 hours. Typically, these symptoms are followed by signs of progress in your animal’s condition.


Pet acupuncture has virtually no side effects on the internal organs, and will not react adversely to other medications your companion may be taking. 


Is acupuncture right for my pet? 

Our licensed veterinarians will never administer acupuncture without a proper medical diagnosis and ongoing assessment of your companion’s condition. To see if acupuncture is right for your dog or cat, call or schedule an appointment with us at (619) 448-0707.

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F: (619) 873-0288

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