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Canine & Feline Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture for Pets? Medical Acupuncture is a modern, science-based approach to addressing musculoskeletal pain and injury as well as neurologic dysfunction.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

  • Acupuncture works through stimulation of the nervous system (neuromodulation) to promote homeostasis within the body.
  • Needle insertion creates local changes in the soft tissue leading to reduced muscle tension and pain.
  • Acupuncture creates an analgesic effect through the release of pain relievers naturally occurring in the body, also known as endogenous opioids.
  • Communication between neural pathways and the spinal cord allows internal organs to be impacted through stimulation of acupuncture points.
  • Other acupuncture mechanisms include: Immune modulation, anti-inflammatory effects, promotion of circulation and tissue healing, neuroprotection, and connective tissue remodeling

Acupuncture FAQs

  • Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disc disease and other neurologic disorders such as peripheral nerve injury, degenerative myelopathy, and seizure disorders
  • Orthopedic injuries such as cranial cruciate ligament tears, amputations, fractures, and tendinopathies
  • Side effects associated with cancer, medication, and radiation therapy
  • Acute or chronic pain secondary to injury, disease, or surgery
  • GI disturbances such as inappetence, fecal incontinence, irritable bowel disease (IBD), and constipation
  • Urinary incontinence and organ dysfunction such as renal and hepatic disease
  • Other conditions that may benefit:
    • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS/dry eye) and glaucoma
    • Facial nerve injury, dental pain, and dysphagia
    • Dermatologic conditions such as lick granulomas
    • Reproductive, respiratory, and cardiac dysfunction

Most pets are very comfortable during an acupuncture session.  This is based on efforts to create a fear free environment that encourages your pet to participate in the session rather than being restrained.  We achieve this by providing positive reinforcements such as massage and treats as well as a calming environment. Also, needle size, which is significantly smaller than what is used for blood draw, is carefully selected with a patient’s size, comfort, and treatment goal in mind.

While dry needling (the insertion of acupuncture needles into skin and musculature) is a great treatment option alone, best results may be achieved by pairing other treatments with it:

  • Therapeutic laser is a form of light therapy that enhances cellular functions to promote healing.  This form of therapy assists with pain management, reduces inflammation, and accelerates tissue, wound, and nerve repair. It is one of the most common modalities used in combination with acupuncture.
  • Electroacupuncture is the use of electrical current in combination with acupuncture needles to induce both quick onset and long-lasting analgesia.  It is a great option for treating either acute or chronic pain due to the ability to select multiple frequencies that impact different analgesic mechanisms.  It can also be a valuable tool in patients with neurologic deficits and nerve dysfunction.
  • Therapeutic exercise is a combination of strengthening and balance exercises along with range of motion and stretching.  It can be very useful in combination with acupuncture as the movement of muscles and joints allows for increased blood flow and decreased tissue adhesions allowing for more comfortable motion.  Using controlled exercise to increase muscle mass also results in improved strength and endurance and can make a positive impact on a pet’s quality of life.
  • Rehabilitation therapy techniques: Please visit our rehabilitation page for more information on treatment options for your pet.
Our Affiliations
AVMF affiliated emergency veterinary hospital
CareCredit affiliated emergency veterinary hospital
Cat Friendly Practice affiliated emergency veterinary hospital
Prescription Refill Request

**Medication refills may take up to 48 hours

IndyVet does not accept patients for routine/general medical care