Pet Acupuncture

Veterinary Acupuncture is part of a whole system of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine which involves diet, Chinese herbs and other techniques to encourage the flow of Qi ('chi') or energy through the body to nourish the organs, muscles, tissue and bones. It is used to diagnose, prevent and treat disease by stimulating the body to balance and regulate itself. Veterinary Acupuncture should only be performed on animals in Australia by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon who is practicing member of the Veterinary Practitioners’ Board.

How Does It Work?

Acupuncture uses very fine needles that pierce the skin at specific points in order to affect certain physiological changes which stimulate natural healing powers.
Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins and cortisol (a natural steroid). In animals, there is no Placebo effect, and in many patients, acupuncture makes a significant difference after the first treatment.


The acupuncture needles simultaneously reduce the overactivity of the Sympathetic Nervous system and stimulate the reduced activity of the Parasympathetic nervous system allowing the body to restore balance and wellbeing.

Studies using functional MRI, while stimulating certain acupuncture points, have been proven to show specific, desired changes in the central nervous system to relieve pain. The National Institute of Health support the use of acupuncture in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.

Common conditions:

Dr Ward will examine your pet and make a diagnosis before treating with acupuncture alone, or in combination with traditional Chinese medicine (herbs, diet), or conventional medicine and surgery. Acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself.

·      Respiratory conditions. eg. feline asthma, chronic sneezing, nasal discharge, chronic bronchitis, coughing

·      Dermatological problems, eg. lick granulomas, allergic dermatitis

·      Gastrointestinal disorders, eg. diarrhoea, regurgitation, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS/IBD), constipation

·      Immune-mediated disorders

·      Urogenital disorders, eg.  cystitis, incontinence, kidney problems (cats) 

·      Musculoskeletal disorders, eg. Arthritis, lameness, back pain, hip dysplasia, sprains, bruising

·      Neurological disorders, eg. intervertebral disc disease, traumatic nerve injury, epilepsy

·      Post-surgery rehabilitation and pain relief eg. patella luxation, cranial cruciate rupture

·      Cardiovascular disorders eg. Congestive heart failure

How many treatments are required?

A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment. For more chronic conditions there are usually a couple of treatments 1 to 2 times a week, or weekly for a few weeks, followed by regular ‘top ups’ every few months or as needed. Acupuncture effects may be seen instantly or take a few days depending on the condition.

Usually needles are inserted and left for 10-20 minutes. Sometimes Dr Ward will inject a vitamin B12 solution into the acupuncture points to encourage prolonged stimulation or he may use a Chinese herb called moxa to bring warmth into the area by heating the acupuncture point. Alternatively, lasers can be used to stimulate the points.

Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs are predominantly natural plant extracts that allow the body to heal itself by cooling or warming to prolong the effects of acupuncture. Chinese Herbs are considered fundamental therapy for many acute and chronic conditions in traditional Chinese Medicine. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbs can address unhealthy body patterns that manifest in a variety of symptoms and complaints.

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