Pets are on pins and needles about acupuncture at MountainView Veterinary Hospital, and their dedicated owners have many questions about this new—but ancient—therapy. Our skilled team is excited to provide this timeless modality to our injured, ill, and painful pet patients throughout the Rockaway and Denville, New Jersey areas. Here are our answers to your most common veterinary acupuncture questions.

Question: What is acupuncture for pets?

Answer: Acupuncture is a healing therapy that originated in China and is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture has been performed on humans and pets for thousands of years. According to TCM practitioners, pets have 173 acupoints (i.e., meridians), which are specific locations and landmarks along the body that can be stimulated to create healing. Acupuncture triggers these areas through the insertion of sterile hair-thin needles in locations associated with the pet’s illness or discomfort. Needle stimulation reportedly creates an energy release and improves circulation, relieves pain, stimulates nerve function, and causes endorphin (i.e., feel-good hormone) release.

Q: What pet conditions can be treated or managed with acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture’s non-invasive nature, safety, and broad use make the therapy ideal for managing or treating countless pet conditions. Our team routinely recommends and uses acupuncture to assist dogs and cats with acute and chronic health issues, including:

  • Chronic pain — Arthritis, cancer, and nerve disorders
  • Orthopedic disease — Hip or elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and postoperative recovery for joint and bone repair
  • Neurologic disordersSeizures, back pain, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), Wobbler’s syndrome, and degenerative myelopathy
  • Digestive conditions — Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), constipation, and chronic diarrhea
  • Respiratory issues — Asthma, allergies, and bronchitis
  • Skin disorders — Lick granulomas and hot spots
  • Chronic disease — Kidney and liver diseases
  • Metabolic dysfunction and immune system weakness — Hormone imbalance and chronic illness 

This list is thorough, but not exhaustive. If your pet’s condition isn’t listed, contact our team to find out if acupuncture is an appropriate treatment option. 

Q: Is my pet’s veterinarian acupuncture-certified?

A: Dr. Boggier has completed advanced study and practical training in acupuncture theory and applications to become a certified acupuncturist. Dr. Boggier can perform thorough patient assessments and design customized acupuncture treatment plans to address your pet’s unique needs.

Q: Are there different acupuncture techniques for pets?

A: No two pets share the same acupuncture treatment plan. Depending on your pet’s condition, our veterinarian may use one or more acupuncture techniques to achieve the desired effect. These techniques include:

  • Traditional acupuncture  — Also known as dry needling, traditional acupuncture involves inserting plain acupuncture needles into key points along the body.
  • Electroacupuncture — This method applies electrical frequencies to and between specific points to generate a stronger nerve response, and is frequently used in pets experiencing neurologic dysfunction.
  • Aquapuncture — Aquapuncture involves injecting sterile saline or vitamin B12, which is known for its powerful health-boosting effects, into the acupuncture points. This technique enhances and extends positive acupuncture effects for a better, more potent healing experience.

Q: Is acupuncture well-tolerated by pets?

A: Despite its prickly appearance, most pets are cooperative, and seem to enjoy their acupuncture sessions. Many pets are unphased by the needle insertion, while others seem to experience brief and mild discomfort at specific acupoints. Once pets begin to experience the natural endorphin release, they enjoy deep relaxation and often fall asleep.

Q: How quickly will I notice improvements in my pet after acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture results are not instantaneous, and multiple sessions over several weeks may be required to see noticeable improvement. Fortunately, once your pet responds to therapy, the sessions can be tapered or reduced until resolution (i.e., for curable conditions) or steady relief and visible results (i.e., for chronic conditions) are achieved.

Q: Can acupuncture be combined with other pet therapies?

A: Although acupuncture can be used as a stand-alone therapy, the MountainView Veterinary Hospital veterinarians routinely combine the therapy with other modalities, such as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), laser therapy, herbal therapy, or traditional Western medicine treatments (e.g., medication, surgery).

Q: What should I expect from my pet’s first session?

A: Your pet’s first acupuncture session involves a 60-minute consultation that includes a thorough discussion about your pet’s condition, addressing your concerns about your pet’s health and wellbeing, and a full physical examination. The acupuncture exam varies from the traditional wellness exam, because your pet’s veterinarian is assessing your pet’s overall health and energy and determining which acupoints will benefit your pet most. After the exam, they will design a customized treatment plan that may begin immediately or be scheduled a few days later. Most sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes.

Before your pet’s initial consultation, you will be asked to complete our acupuncture intake form to ensure our team can maximize one-on-one time with your pet.

Q: How often are acupuncture sessions necessary for pets?

A: Your pet’s session schedule and frequency will depend on their condition, pain level, and treatment response. The early sessions are initially more frequent and then are slowly tapered as your pet improves or their condition stabilizes. Chronically-affected pets frequently require bi-monthly or monthly appointments to keep their clinical signs in check.

Are you curious whether your pet would benefit from acupuncture or laser therapy? Hint? We are sure your answer is likely a resounding “Yes!” MountainView Veterinary Hospital is dedicated to providing gold-standard care to the pets in the Rockaway and Denville, New Jersey, areas—including yours. Contact us to schedule your pet’s acupuncture or laser therapy consultation, or for any of your pet’s health and wellness needs.