Riversong Veterinary Clinic

Benefits of acupuncture on your dogs

Riversong Veterinary Clinic specializes in acupuncture for your pet as an alternative to more widely-practiced general care. For felines we usually estimate about 20 minutes of treatment time once the needles are placed, while canines usually require about 40 minutes. Most pets are very comfortable with acupuncture and often fall asleep during treatment. Acupuncture can be effective for a wide range of conditions, such as neurological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and many chronic ailments. It is also effective for pain relief. Check out the following article taken from http://www.petconnection.com to learn more about how acupuncture can be an effective solution to your pets’ pain.

I see a lot of Dachshunds and other dogs with disk problems in my practice at Colorado State University. Since I focus on integrative medicine and the treatment of pain, dogs with disk disease naturally comprise a large segment of my patient population.

Because not all veterinarians are aware of what acupuncture can do or how it can help patients with disk disease, it is important for caregivers to empower themselves with the scientifically based information that veterinarians want before referring patients to a veterinarian acupuncturist.

Recent reports in the veterinary literature demonstrated that for dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease, acupuncture plus steroids accelerated return to walking and restoration of sensation over steroids alone. A recent review article from the Mayo Clinic reported that, in humans, there was a “much larger effect of electroacupuncture on ultimate neurologic recovery from acute spinal cord injury than any pharmacologic intervention to date.”

Dogs with disk disease usually exhibit back or neck pain as the connective tissue that holds the disk in place breaks down. The inflammation that ensues leads to swelling, tension and pain. Dogs with disk disease often limit the amount of movement they’ll engage in voluntarily, and as such may refuse to walk or jump into the car. They sometimes cry out suddenly if they move a certain way, or begin to show postural changes. That is, dogs with back pain arch up or sink down where they hurt, and those with neck pain tend to have stiffness in the neck. You’ll see that they tend to not turn their head to one side or the other, or they won’t extend their neck to look up, but rather just look up instead.


Ultimately, if the disk ruptures and compresses the spinal cord, you have an emergency on your hands, one that possibly requires surgery. Nerves hate pressure like that from a herniated disk, and when disks bulge or rupture, they can compress the spinal cord, leading to paralysis in the limbs. In order to salvage neurologic function, dogs experiencing this require veterinary attention ASAP!

Even if it does get to that point, however, acupuncture can assist dogs in their recovery in significant ways. It works best when started right away. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, choose between acupuncture and conventional approaches, because acupuncture does not interfere with the actions of either drugs or surgery. They work well together, as a team.

Acupuncture is a natural partner for nervous system problems. The points and channels coincide with nerve pathways, and stimulating acupuncture points changes nerve signaling throughout the body; this assists neurologic recovery. Pain and swelling subside, and nerve communication improves, facilitating return of ambulation. Acupuncture relaxes muscle tissue, which makes dogs more comfortable and may reduce the amount of pain medication they require. If your dog has urinary or fecal incontinence, acupuncture may help there as well.

Usually a dog needs twice weekly treatments to start, and after a week or two, weekly visits. I usually suggest starting the acupuncture as soon as the diagnosis is made. I may add electrical stimulation (i.e., electroacupuncture), gentle massage, and low level laser therapy.

I encourage clients to consult with a careful and well-trained canine rehabilitation expert as soon as it is prudent after the injury, in keeping with the referring veterinarian’s or neurologist’s recommendations. I steer clear of canine rehabilitation centers that move dogs through up to 10 modalities in an assembly line fashion, because one must pay close attention to each dog’s capabilities and restriction.


Finally, the outdated notion that dogs should be kept in a cage, in pain and off of pain medication in order to keep them inactive is now fortunately considered by most to be archaic and injurious for the long-term.

Office Hours:

Monday: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Tuesday: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Thursday: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Friday: 8:30am - 5:30pm

4 Market Street, Suite 4105
Brevard, NC 28712

PHONE: (828) 392-7296

FAX: (828) 862-8250