Woodview Veterinary Clinic
Animal Wellness Center


What is it?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years and successfully used to treat a wide variety of veterinary conditions. More recently scientific studies have shown positive results in the treatment of animals of many species, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture is not a magic bullet that will cure all ills but it is another tool in our toolbox that is often very useful, especially when conventional treatments have failed or are not an option due to patient factors.

What is it good for?

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are athletes, such as racers, jumpers, high level agility dogs, or animals heavily shown, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.

How does it work?

Acupuncture helps the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate free nerve endings, increase blood flow, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s natural pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Numerous studies have proven that stimulation of specific acupuncture points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association regions in the brain. The National Institute of Health (NIH) developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. The NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.

Don't those needles hurt?

For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Most needles used for cats and dogs are 32 gauge or smaller, needles used to draw blood are generally 22 gauge (the larger the number the smaller the needle). The larger needles (although still very small at 28 gauge) necessary for horses animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and some even fall asleep. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment often causes sensation when the specific acupuncture point is stimulated, presumed to be those such as tingles, or numbness which may be uncomfortable to some animals.

What kind of success should I expect?

The success of the treatment will vary according to the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments, and to some degree on the individual animal. The length and frequency of the treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation (dry needle, electroacupuncture, or aquapuncture) that is used. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments. All animals respond differently to treatment, some do very well after just one treatment and others may need three treatments before a response is seen. Also as a general rule, the longer the condition has been going on, the more treatments it will take to make improvements.

Dr Murack was trained at The Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida. You can check out their website for more details.

Woodview Veterinary Clinic
3284 Lighthouse Ln.
West Bend, WI 53090
(262)338-4146 (fax)