CUVS offers acupuncture as adjunctive therapy in the comprehensive care of both inpatients and outpatients. Acupuncture is most often used in conjunction with other modalities, but can also be useful if the effects of medications alone are inadequate or undesirable, or when other treatment options are not feasible.
Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a complex system of medicine that’s been practiced in China for over 3,000 years, and has gained tremendous popularity in the U.S. and Europe over the last 20 years for use in companion animals.
Research continues to support the use of acupuncture in pain relief, and studies have shown that it can also be effective for a wide range of conditions. It is most often used for pain management or arthritis, in geriatric patients, or to manage the adverse effects of cancer or chemotherapy. We also may combine acupuncture with physical rehabilitation to facilitate exercise and muscle building. Pet owners commonly report that their pets seem to have more energy and become more playful following acupuncture treatment.
The Conditions We Treat
Acupuncture can be effective in reducing or relieving pain associated with:
- Arthritis, degenerative joint disease
- Back (spinal disc) disease
- Muscle injuries
Chronic conditions, especially in geriatric pets
Older pets frequently suffer from chronic conditions that affect their quality of life, including degenerative joint diseases (osteoarthritis) and muscle weakness. Acupuncture can provide relief, either alone or in conjunction with other conventional therapies. In some cases, the effects can facilitate physical exercise or rehabilitation to improve muscle mass, strength, flexibility and mobility.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation can experience digestive upset, nausea or fatigue. Acupuncture can often relieve or lessen some of these possible side effects and improve overall quality of life.
High-performance animals can suffer exercise-related conditions, including arthritis and muscle soreness that may benefit from acupuncture therapy as part of a sports medicine and rehabilitation/conditioning treatment regimen.
Acupuncture may provide relaxation, improved appetite, and decreased pain and anxiety for pets suffering from a terminal illness, or struggling with pain-related issues toward the end of life.
Acupuncture is performed by Dr. Juliette Hart, who leads the Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Service at CUVS. Dr. Hart is board-certified in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, and certified in acupuncture.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hart, please call 203.595.2777.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my pet would benefit from acupuncture?
Talk to your primary care veterinarian. If your pet has pain, arthritis, another chronic condition or is undergoing treatment for cancer, acupuncture could be helpful.
What does acupuncture treatment involve?
Acupuncture treatment involves inserting extremely thin, flexible, sterile, stainless steel needles that are from 0.5 to 1.5 inches long (sometimes even smaller) into specific sites on the skin. Needles may remain in place for 15 to 45 minutes. Rotating the needles, or attaching electrodes to deliver a very weak current (electroacupuncture), can enhance stimulation of the acupuncture points.
Is acupuncture painful?
Pets receiving acupuncture do not appear uncomfortable. Indeed, most relax and seem to enjoy it; some will even sleep during a treatment.
How long does a treatment session last, and how many sessions will my pet need?
Each session lasts approximately 30-45 minutes. Most pets treated for chronic conditions start with three or four treatments over two to four weeks. Following this initial course of therapy, a treatment schedule will be tailored for your pet depending on the response to acupuncture. Pets with acute problems may require more frequent treatments. Since the goal of acupuncture is not only to restore health but also to promote wellness, many pets continue treatment long term at regular intervals.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Simply call 203.595.2777. We’ll ask that medical records be sent from your primary care veterinarian at least 24 hours prior to your appointment so Dr. Hart can be as informed as possible regarding your pet's condition.