Pet Acupuncture

Our skilled veterinarians offer drug-free, personalized acupuncture sessions to manage pain, reduce stress, and enhance overall quality of life.

a person holding a dog with acupuncture needles

Harmony and Healing: Pet Acupuncture at Pumpkin Hill Veterinary Clinic

At Pumpkin Hill Veterinary Clinic in Byron, NY, we understand that holistic approaches to pet care can play a vital role in your pet’s well-being. Our skilled veterinarians offer pet acupuncture services, harnessing the power of this ancient practice to promote balance and healing in your cherished furry companion. Pet acupuncture is a holistic therapy that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on your pet’s body.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3000 years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine against such problems as flounder and colic in horses. Acupuncture is used worldwide, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat various mill and ease in every species of domestic and exotic animals. Modern veterinary acupuncture uses solid needles, hypodermic needles, bleeding hands, electricity, heat, massage, and lower-power lasers to stimulate acupuncture points. Acupuncture is not a cure-all but can work well when indicated.

For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is indicated mainly for functional problems, such as paralysis, noninfectious inflammation parentheses, allergies, and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:

-Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis or vertebral disc pathology

-Skin problems, such as lick granuloma

-Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma

-Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea

-Selected reproductive problems

For large animals’ acupuncture is again commonly used for functional problems. Some of the general conditions where it might be applied are the following:

-Musculoskeletal problems, such as sore backs or Downer Cow syndrome

-Nervous system problems, such as facial nerve paralysis

-Skin problems, such as allergic dermatitis

-Respiratory problems, such as heaves and “bleeders”

-Gastrointestinal problems, such as non-surgical colic

-Selective reproductive disorders

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries and help keep muscles and tendons resistant to damage. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.

How does acupuncture work?
According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease results from an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and, thereby, assist the body to heal disease. In Western terms, acupuncture can help the body heal by affecting specific physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain-control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be done to discover acupuncture products and their proper uses in veterinary medicine.
Is acupuncture painful?

For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. The larger hands necessary for large animals may cause pain as the needle passes through the skin. Once the needles are in place, there should be no pain in all animals. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensations, such as tingles, cramps, or numbness, which can occur in humans and may be uncomfortable for some animals.

Is acupuncture safe for animals?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of animal medical treatment when administered by a professionally trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. Ian’s animals’ condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals may become sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture. These effects indicate that some physiological changes are developing, and an improvement most often follows them in the animals’ condition.

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

The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depend on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation used by the veterinary acupuncture IST. 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 or several dozen treatments.

When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficiency. Patients often start with one to three weekly treatments for four to six weeks. Positive response is generally seen after the first to third treatments. Once a maximum positive response is achieved (usually after 4 to 8 treatments), medicines are tapered off so that the most significant amount of symptom-free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to two to four treatments yearly.

Animals undergoing athletic training can benefit from acupuncture as often as twice a week to once a month. The frequency depends on the intensity of the training and the athlete’s condition.

How should I choose an acupuncturist for my animals?

There are two critical criteria you should look for in a veterinary acupuncturist:

  1. Your veterinary acupuncturist must be a licensed veterinarian.

  2. Your veterinary acupuncture should have formal training in practicing acupuncture for animals. (For example, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society is the only accredited certification program for veterinary acupuncturists.)

In most countries, states, and Providence, veterinary acupuncture is a surgical procedure only licensed veterinarians may legally administer to animals. A veterinarian is in the best position to diagnose an animal’s health problem and determine whether it is likely to benefit from an acupuncture treatment or whether its problem requires chemical, surgical, or no intervention.

In the USA, the American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine in surgery. However, extensive educational programs should be undertaken before a veterinarian is considered competent to practice acupuncture. Ask your veterinarian about their training period. The more your veterinarian knows about the traditional Chinese philosophies and Western scientific basis for acupuncture, the more sure you can be that your animals will be adequately treated.

The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in veterinary acupuncture as an integral part of the total veterinary healthcare delivery system. The society endeavors to establish uniformly high standards of veterinary acupuncture through its educational programs and accreditation examinations. IVAS seeks to integrate veterinary acupuncture into Western veterinary science while noting that the science of veterinary acupuncture does not overlook allied health systems, such as chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, herbology, nutrition, kinesiology, etc.

IVAS was formed and chartered in 1974. It is the only international veterinary acupuncture organization and has members in many countries. Consequently, it serves a networking and communication function. There are now veterinary acupuncture associations in several countries. However, each state or principality must develop local veterinary acupuncture societies to respond to local issues.

(IVAS gratefully acknowledges the writings of Richard Panzer, DVM, MS, in preparing this pamphlet.)

© 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 IVAS

For more information, write or call:

Richard A. Mathes, D.V.M.

6265 Tower Hill Road

Byron, NY 14422

(585) 548-9097

Benefits of Pet Acupuncture

Drug-Free Healing:

Acupuncture provides relief without the need for medications, reducing potential side effects.

Personalized Care:

Each acupuncture session is tailored to your pet’s needs, ensuring a customized approach to healing.

Stress Reduction:

Many pets find acupuncture sessions relaxing, which can help ease anxiety or nervousness.

Enhanced Mobility:

Pets with mobility issues can experience improved movement and comfort through acupuncture.

Balancing Energy: The Power of Pet Acupuncture

Choosing Pumpkin Hill Veterinary Clinic means choosing harmony and healing for your beloved pet. Contact us today to schedule a pet acupuncture appointment and experience the Pumpkin Hill difference.