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Can Acupuncture Help My Pet Feel Better?

Acupuncture is a well-known therapy for humans that has been in use for centuries. However, many people are not aware that this ancient Chinese therapy is also available for pets. Our veterinarians at Turlock are here to explain how acupuncture works for pets and the medical conditions it can be used to treat.

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM)

Acupuncture treatments have been used for centuries in China to relieve pain and treat a host of illnesses in people. Now, veterinarians are receiving training in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) too and are offering this therapy to our animal companions as well.

A trained TCVM veterinary professional performs acupuncture for dogs and cats and aims to treat and manage the symptoms of illnesses and disorders by inserting ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body where nerves and blood vessels intersect.

TCVM, which includes other therapies beyond acupuncture, may be combined with conventional veterinary care to provide a more holistic, full-body approach to treating health problems in our beloved pets.

Animals of all ages, from puppies and kittens to adult and senior pets, can receive acupuncture treatment to alleviate various health conditions. This form of therapy is regarded as both safe and effective and may provide relief from pain or discomfort caused by injury or illness.

The Acupuncture Process for Pets

Identifying the root cause of your pet's symptoms is important before starting any treatment. With the knowledge of the cause, treatment can be tailored to address the specific issue.

Veterinary acupuncture aims to help your pet's body heal itself by resetting the balance of energy, also known as "chi." This is achieved by inserting fine needles into specific points where blood vessels and nerves intersect. Although the process is virtually painless, it triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, which help to relieve acute and chronic pain or discomfort.

Furthermore, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the release of serotonin, which can help reduce anxiety levels and generate feelings of contentment and happiness.

Other forms of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) include acupressure, laser energy, electrostimulation, and other alternative therapies.

The Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture for Dogs & Cats

Veterinary acupuncture and other traditional Chinese treatments are believed to produce a number of health benefits while avoiding the negative side effects that some conventional medications and treatments can bring on. Benefits of veterinary acupuncture for pets include:

  • Stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • There are no negative side effects on internal organs, as can occur with some prescription medications.
  • There are no adverse interactions with other medications or supplements, making acupuncture a safe treatment for animals undergoing conventional treatments.
  • Acupuncture treatments are believed to create elevated blood flow, increased oxygenation, and improved metabolic and toxic waste removal.
  • Localized pain relief may be achieved at the site of needle insertion due to the relaxation of the muscles in that area.

Conditions That Can be Treated with Acupuncture 

Acupuncture is not only beneficial for humans but also for pets. It is a useful technique that can help manage and treat various illnesses and conditions in animals. The treatment is particularly useful for conditions involving inflammation or chronic pain. Veterinary acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions and illnesses, including those that are difficult to manage with traditional medicine.

Metabolic Diseases

Acupuncture is believed to help with metabolic disorders by regulating your pet's endocrine system, improving digestion, and relieving oxidative stress. Acupuncture treatment also aims to improve blood flow to the tissues, boost oxygenation, and remove toxins and metabolic waste.


The pain and discomfort from arthritis may also be relieved with acupuncture for pets due to the release of endorphins. In some cases, acupuncture treatment may reduce the need for conventional pain medications. Acupuncture can also relieve pain in pets who cannot tolerate conventional pain medications.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Joint disease is common in pets and can seriously impact your pet's quality of life. Acupuncture aims to decrease the pain and tension associated with joint issues, making movement easier for your cat or dog.


Acupuncture is used as a cancer treatment for pets. Its main goal is to enhance blood flow and boost the immune system, which can help improve the body's natural healing ability. Veterinary acupuncture can also be used to reduce the side effects of conventional cancer treatments and to treat the cancer itself.


If your pet has suffered an injury or trauma, like an accident, fall, or fight, they may experience inflammation and pain. To help your pet recover and return to good health, you can consider using acupuncture and other traditional Chinese veterinary medicines. These treatments effectively manage the symptoms and promote healing in your pet.

Pet Acupuncture Cost

The cost of pet acupuncture depends on various factors, such as the location, the experience of the veterinary acupuncturist or TCVM specialist, and the condition being treated. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of acupuncture treatments for your pet, you can speak to the staff at your veterinary clinic. Most vets are happy to provide clients with an estimate of treatment costs.

Many pet owners believe that acupuncture is a valuable investment in their pet's health and well-being. Some pet insurance policies may cover acupuncture, so check your pet's policy before booking treatments for your furry friend to avoid any unexpected costs.

Pet acupuncture is often used in combination with traditional veterinary care, and pet owners should consult with their vet to determine if acupuncture is a suitable option for their pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your furry friend experiencing discomfort? Please schedule an appointment with our vets in Turlock to learn more about veterinary acupuncture treatments.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

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