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Small Animal


Acupuncture has been practiced on both animals and humans for thousands of years in China, but has been introduced in the United States within the last century.  Acupuncture is defined as the stimulation of a specific point on the body with a specific method resulting in a therapeutic effect.  The acupoints largely fall along one of the 14 primary meridians and relate to the musculoskeletal system and internal organs.  Modern research shows that acupoints are located in the areas where there are a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles and lymphatic vessels.  Stimulation of these points induce release of beta-endorphins, serotonin and other neurotransmitters resulting in pain relief and decreasing inflammation.

The Ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (pronounced chee).  Pain is interpreted as the blockage of Qi flow and acupuncture stimulation resolves this blockage, enabling the body to heal itself and restore the balance of Yin and Yang.

Acupoints may be stimulated in a variety of ways.   These techniques include dry needling, moxibustion, aquapuncture, and electroacupuncture.  Whatever the tool used, the goal is always to restore balance in the body.


Research has proven that acupuncture is useful for pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, immune stimulation, reproductive regulation, and regulation of gastrointestinal motility.  In the small animal industry, acupuncture is most commonly used to optimize health.

In small animals, acupuncture is most commonly used for:

  • musculoskeletal problems
  • intervertebral disc disease
  • hip dysplasia
  • cruciate ligament tears
  • arthritis
  • skin conditions
  • dermatitis
  • lick granulomas
  • respiratory conditions
  • neoplasia



The patient will have a thorough physical examination and will be observed in motion.  A Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis will be made and certain acupoints will be chosen depending on that diagnosis.

Acupuncture needles range from 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ long and are very thin.  Most patients are very comfortable with acupuncture therapy.  Some will fall asleep during treatment and seem extremely relaxed.  Each session will last between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the case.  The number of treatments depends on the nature, severity, and duration of the disease.  A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition, but some chronic conditions require a series of treatments followed by maintenance treatments.  In addition, Chinese herbal medicine may be chosen as support for the acupuncture or on occasion, in lieu of it.

When acupuncture is performed by a licensed veterinarian, it can be an excellent modality to allow your animal to live a happy and healthy life, whatever your expectations may be.

For more information on acupuncture or to schedule and appointment, please contact us at 860-946-0160



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PO BOX 1997, Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: (860) 946-0160
Email: drpaula at litchfieldequine dot com