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Veterinary Acupuncture for Pets: What Is It & How Does It Work?

Veterinary Acupuncture for Pets: What Is It & How Does It Work?

If your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort, veterinary acupuncture can be an ideal treatment to relieve them of their symptoms. Acupuncture is not available at our hospital, but our Boulder County vets would like to share the advantages that this therapeutic treatment can have for your pet.

What is acupuncture for pets?

Similar to humans, acupuncture for pets is a form of alternative medicine intended to help treat and manage the symptoms of several illnesses and disorders. These techniques are performed by a veterinarian trained in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).

TCVM, which can also include the use of other therapies, is often combined with conventional medical care, resulting in a more inclusive approach to healing. As a treatment, acupuncture is beneficial at all stages of life (from puppies and kittens to adult and senior pets) and for a range of conditions. It is considered a safe and effective therapy that can provide long-lasting relief from pain or discomfort.

The Process

First, it is important to establish the underlying reasons for your pet's symptoms as a proper diagnosis can result in better health and a speedy recovery. Depending on the condition affecting your pet, your vet could recommend acupuncture as part of a treatment plan.

The use of veterinary acupuncture is intended to help your pet's body heal itself by resetting the balance of energy, known as "chi". A series of fine needles are inserted at specific points, where blood vessels and nerves come together. Endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers, are released, helping to relieve acute and chronic pain and discomfort.

The technique also stimulates the release of the chemical serotonin, which can positively impact happiness, mood, and anxiety levels.

Other forms of TCVM can include acupressure, aquapuncture, laser energy, electrostimulation, and other alternative therapies.

Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture

There are a variety of benefits of using TCVM for pets, the following are some of its advantages:

  • No negative side effects on internal organs, unlike some prescription medications.
  • Stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • The process of acupuncture creates elevated blood flow and increased oxygenation as well as improved metabolic and toxic waste removal.
  • There is no possibility of adverse interactions with other medications or supplements, making it a safe treatment for a range of illnesses and disorders.
  • The needle insertion site benefits from localized pain relief due to the relaxation of the muscles in that area.

Conditions That Can be Treated

A variety of illnesses and conditions seen in cats, dogs, and other pets can be treated and managed by the use of veterinary acupuncture. Conditions that involve inflammation or chronic pain tend to be especially responsive to this treatment type. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if acupuncture is the right option for your pet's illness, and if so, find an animal hospital that offers acupuncture services.


Acupuncture can help support the immune system, as well as stimulate blood flow, which naturally improves the body's ability to heal. It can not only help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer, it can do the same for cancer treatments which can be painful and uncomfortable.


Pain from arthritis can also be relieved with acupuncture due to the release of endorphins. This treatment may also reduce the need for other pain medications, lowering the chances of side effects or unwanted interactions between medications.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Joint disease, which is common in pets, can cause stiffness and pain with movement. Acupuncture can help to increase mobility while decreasing pain and tension.

Metabolic Diseases

Acupuncture can help with metabolic disorders by regulating your pet's endocrine system, improving digestion, and relieving oxidative stress. The treatment also improves blood flow to the tissues which boosts oxygenation and the removal of toxins and metabolic waste.


If your pet has suffered from injury or trauma, such as an accident, fall, or fight, inflammation and pain may result. TCVM can be used to treat these symptoms and help your pet recover from their injury.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes only and Lafayette Companion Animal Hospital does not provide acupuncture treatment.

Is standard treatment not successfully managing your pet's chronic pain, illness, or injury? Contact us for more information on pain relief options, or reach out to a veterinarian that offers this treatment.

New Patients Welcome

Lafayette Companion Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Boulder County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(720) 214-0270