What is Veterinary Acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), although relatively new to the Western world, is a medical system that has been used in China to treat animals for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese discovered over 173 acupoints in animals. It is an extension of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used to treat humans. Though it can be traced back over two millennia in recorded history, it, like any medical system, continues to evolve today, and current research on acupuncture is beginning to shed light on how and why it works.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles into specific points on channels on the body in order to cause a therapeutic effect. Commonly, it uses other methods like electronic stimulation, aqua-acupuncture, and moxibustion in addition to needling. Acupoints are areas on the body where there is a high density of nerve endings and blood and lymphatic vessels. Research has shown that stimulating these acupoints releases substances that have anti-inflammatory and restorative effects in the body.


In Chinese Medicine theory, the disease is understood as an imbalance in the body, and diagnosis proceeds through identifying the underlying pattern of disharmony. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) practitioners will consider the temperament, sex, age, activity, and environment of an animal along with the animal’s particular disease signs. This approach stems from the belief that the body is an interconnected system of forces and functions so that disease and disharmony must be examined with respect to the whole patient. I am sure that you have heard the Chinese terms, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang, in addition to Qi, are Chinese theories that play a prominent role in acupuncture. Acupuncture is used to restore harmony in the body; an equal balance of Yin and Yang (opposing forces that can upset the balance of the body’s functions). This harmony keeps the Qi (vital life force) from being blocked and causing pain and disease processes.

Integrative Medicine: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine


Here at SPAH, Dr. Nevotti recommends and offers integrative medicine. Integrative medicine is a term that describes the combination of Western medicine and Chinese medicine to provide the best approach to treating disease processes in animals. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is often viewed as a form of complementary therapy and is best when used in conjunction with Western Veterinary Medicine (WVM). Both TCVM and WVM have their own strengths and weaknesses. TCVM is a holistic approach that is suited to assessing the well-being of the whole patient, and treatments are generally non-invasive with few side effects. However, TCVM lacks the tools necessary to pinpoint illness to specific disease-causing agents like pathogenic bacteria or viruses, and treatments are better suited for chronic conditions than acute ones. On the other hand, WVM utilizes the tools of modern science to diagnose disease with great precision, and Western drugs and procedures are powerful and fast-acting. However, its insistence on a detailed diagnosis may come at the expense of getting the larger picture. Furthermore, while modern medicine can perform miracles for trauma and acute injuries, it has little to offer chronic conditions like liver failure and atopy which can be treated effectively with acupuncture and herbal medicine. In many ways, TCVM and WVM each have what the other lacks. Thus, the best medical system involves the integration of the two systems, so that the strengths of one can compensate for the weaknesses of the other.


Acupuncture FAQ


How much does veterinary acupuncture cost at SPAH?

The initial consult and first acupuncture treatment with Dr. Nevotti are $150. Each additional session is $80. Xrays are required prior to treatment.


How long does each session take?


Each treatment session may take 20-45min.


How soon can I expect to see results?


Some results can be seen immediately, but others will require multiple sessions. Generally, a minimum of 4-6 sessions 1-2 weeks apart are needed before one can expect a notable improvement.


Does acupuncture hurt?


Rarely! Acupuncture is not painful because acupuncture points are stimulated using very fine needles, almost as thin as a hair. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture, and some even relax so much they fall asleep!


When is acupuncture recommended?


Studies show that acupuncture is useful in treating many conditions including arthritis, muscle soreness and pain, back problems like IVDD, seizures, diarrhea, constipation, skin problems, asthma, chronic liver and kidney disease, geriatric weakness, Cushing’s disease, reproductive problems and pain relief in hospice situations.


Who is qualified to perform Veterinary Acupuncture?


Only licensed veterinarians are qualified to practice veterinary acupuncture in the US. Dr. Nevotti is taking courses to become certified in acupuncture and will obtain her certification in December of 2020.


Please contact SPAH to schedule a consult or to get more information today!