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Acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment that can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments to address numerous health issues in pets. However, only veterinarians who undergo specialized training and become certified as veterinary acupuncturists provide this service.

Veterinary acupuncture

Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that promotes healing by restoring the body’s energy balance. The veterinary acupuncturist inserts fine needles at specific acupuncture points where nerves and vessels converge. Inserting the needles guides the body’s chi, or vital energy, along meridians, which are passageways that connect acupuncture points.

Veterinary acupuncture benefits

Inserting needles in the appropriate acupuncture points affects the local tissues by improving circulation, increasing immune response, reducing inflammation, and improving tissue repair. In addition, acupuncture causes the body to release natural opioids, which help reduce pain and increase serotonin levels to help regulate different body systems. Acupuncture has no systemic side effects and can safely help reduce the amount of pain medication your pet needs. Acupuncture is especially beneficial for pets who can’t tolerate traditional therapies.

Common uses for veterinary acupuncture

Acupuncture can be used to treat numerous health conditions in pets, including:


Cruciate injuries

Intervertebral disc disease

Nerve pain or weakness

Lick granulomas

Cancer side effects

Anxiety issues

Delayed wound healing


What to expect at your pet’s veterinary acupuncture appointment

During an acupuncture session, our veterinary acupuncturist will insert needles in various areas along your pet’s limbs and body, and potentially their head. The needles may be left in place, rotated, or attached to electric current. Most pets seem to enjoy the treatment and relax once the needles have been placed, although you may be asked to brush your pet or provide treats to help distract them during the treatment.

Your pet’s acupuncture treatment schedule will depend on their specific condition—some pets need weekly treatments, while others need only monthly or quarterly sessions.

Contact our Northfield Veterinary Center team today if you think acupuncture could benefit your pet, or if you have any questions about this non-traditional treatment.