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Animal Acupuncture


How Veterinary Acupuncture Can Help

Healing Tails is proud to be one of only a few veterinary clinics in the Chicagoland area offering acupuncture for pets. Acupuncture is an effective, non-invasive treatment which has been used in China for thousands of years. Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your pet’s body. These acupuncture points help to enhance blood circulation and the release of endorphins - the body's "natural pain-killing hormones" with the goal of encouraging the body to correct imbalances.  Many pets with pain are able to  reduce or eliminate the use of chronic pain medications with the help of acupuncture.


Acupuncture in pets can be used for:

Natural pain relief


Hip dysplasia

Back pain

Intervertebral disc disease

Larygneal parlaysis

Neurological disorders

Degenerative joint disease


Pets with acute or chronic pain conditions can benefit from acupuncture

Pet Acupuncture for Pain Management:

Acupuncture in pets can be used as a sole source of pain management. It can also be combined with conventional medications to achieve optimal pain relief.  


Response to Acupuncture Treatment:

Most patients respond favorably to acupuncture treatments and show improvement over the course of 4-6 treatments.


Although some patients experience improvement sooner, most patients need to commit to sessions 1-2 times per week for 4-6 treatments. Treatments are then tapered according to the pet's response (maintenance visits are usually scheduled every 1-2 months).


Acupuncture in pets has both immediate and cumulative pain management effects following repeated treatments. Strong medical treatments like chemotherapy can cause discomfort and pairing those treatments with acupuncture can help make your pet more comfortable and equipped to fight their illness. Musculoskeletal pain such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, back pain, intervertebral disc disease or nerve injuries can also respond to acupuncture. In some patients, we also incorporate acupuncture as part of their postoperative physical rehabilitation recovery program.

Conditions Acupuncture Can Help:

  • Arthritis 

  • Back Pain

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

  • Paralysis 

  • Post surgical Pain

  • Cancer Pain 

  • Degenerative Myelopathy

  • Laryngeal Paralysis

  • Urinary or Fecal Incontinence

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens during a visit for acupuncture?
    During your pet's assessment prior to the acupuncture treatmetn, the doctor may assess your pet for pain in addition to checking their tongue and pulse. While it may seem a little strange to check the tongue and pulse, checking both of these can provide information about your pet’s condition and can help the doctor determine the best acupuncture prescription for your pet. The needles are thin and push the skin out of the way rather than cut it. While some acupuncture points may be sensitive and cause slight discomfort once the needles are inserted, typically this discomfort quickly subsides. Some people worry that their pets may not tolerate the treatment, but most pets sit still for their treatments and some even fall asleep. We incorporate calming sounds, mood lighting and licky mats with peanut butter if needed to help keep your pet calm during their treatment.
  • What are side effects of acupuncture in pets?
    When performed by a trained and certified veterinary acupuncturist, acupuncture is generally safe with minimal side effects. Some patients may have a temporary worsening of their symptoms or may be a little sore for 24-28 hours following the treatment. Bruising, breaking of the needle, needle ingestion or puncture of internal organs are all extremely rare but possible side effects which owner's should be made aware of.
  • How long are the acupuncture treatments for my pet?
    Our acupuncture appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes. Depending on the pet, the acupuncture needles may remain in place anywhere for 12- 25 minutes.
  • Who can perform the acupuncture treatments for my pet?
    Acupuncture treatments should only peformed by a licensed veterinarian who is trained in acupunture treatments for pets. Dr. Arielle performs all of the acupuncture treatments for pets at Healing Tails. She received her training through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
  • Should acupuncture be used instead of western medicine?
    Acupuncture should be used in conjunction with traditional western medical diagnostics, work-ups and treatments. In some cases clients are able to reduce the dose of pain medications or eliminate them altogether under the guidance of their veterinarian. It is important to discuss your goals for your pet's treatment during their intial exam.
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