An Introduction to Veterinary Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Needles used for acupuncure

Rooted in the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is an ancient medical art dating back to approximately 1000 B.C. (depending on which sources you reference). The practice is based on the idea that there are channels or “meridians” of energy that flow through the body and, by stimulating points on these channels, we can treat disease.

What are the effects of acupuncture?

The Meridians

Acupuncture points for dogs
  • Pain relief
  • Stimulating the nervous system
  • Immune regulation
  • Gastrointestinal regulation
  • Anti-fever
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Stress relief

How does acupuncture work?

acupuncture points for cats

Acupuncture causes the release of natural painkillers produced by the body itself, increases blood flow and circulation (many points are located at microvascular densities), and also stimulates nerve endings (many points are located at nerve bundles).

The Chinese Medicine Approach

black and white cat getting acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine’s focus is on restoring the balance of Qi to the body. Patients with the same presenting complaint may have different TCVM diagnoses and a different treatment plan based on the observations of the practitioner. Acupuncture points are selected based on determining the individual patient’s needs and figuring out the best way to restore balance in their body.

What is Qi?

“Qi” is the energy that flows through the body, connecting all of the meridians. Health and well-being is rooted in the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. Blockage of Qi flow leads to pain and, in chronic cases, leads to imbalance in the body resulting in disease.

What can we use acupuncture to treat?

french bulldog getting acupuncture
  • Arthritis
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Immune-mediated conditions
  • Skin allergies
  • Asthma
  • Behavioral problems
  • Hypertension
  • And much more!

Dr. Jeanine Tweed, DVM