What Is Veterinary Acupuncture

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture has been used in the veterinary medicine in China for thousands of years to treat many diseases, and involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body. It can be used alone, or in conjunction with western medicine or Chinese herbs to treat an array of diseases.

Dr Audrey Loi, Mount Pleasant (East), with 14-year-old Vodka. Acupuncture needles are very fine. Most animals become very relaxed and sleepy during treatment.

how does acupuncture work?

All diseases cause a disruption of homeostasis, which refers to the body’s ability to regulate its internal environment, and most of the diseases involve a certain degree of pain and inflammation. Acupuncture essentially relieves pain, inflammation and restores homeostasis through the stimulation of the peripheral nervous system by the needles. A signal is sent from the acupuncture point to the spinal cord and up the brain, which results in the release of endorphins and cortisol, all of which alleviate pain and allows the patient to feel relaxed.

Acupuncture also heals the body by creating “micro traumas” that activates the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, which in turn stimulates the body’s ability to spontaneously heal tissue injuries. As the micro traumas heal, any surrounding damaged tissues from previous injuries will heal as well.

IS ACUPUNCTURE PAINFUL?

An acupuncture needle is very fine, and the tip of the needle is rounded. As such, insertion of an acupuncture needle is virtually painless. Acupuncture treatments may incite a sensation of numbness or tingling that some animals might find uncomfortable, but most of them tolerate the treatment very well. Some have even fallen asleep in the middle of a session.

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An acupuncture needle has a rounded (not beveled) tip to slide smoothly through tissues, making it less painful or traumatic.

IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?

Acupuncture is performed with sterile thin stainless steel needles. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s own system of healing. Needle placement is into the superficial muscles only, with depth up to 5mm in a large breed dog.

“Vodka has always been super active and so keen on swimming. It’s quite sad to see him losing mobility slowly.” ~ Jasmine

“Vodka still swims which is good for his muscles. Acupuncture seems to be helping him as he seems stronger and more stable after the treatments.”

HOW LONG & OFTEN ARE ACUPUNCTURE SESSIONS?

A typical acupuncture session takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The vet will ask a series of questions pertaining to the illness, as well as questions on the overall character and daily routine of your pet. The better you know your pet, the easier it is for the vet to make a diagnosis and treat it.

After a diagnosis is made, the vet will select the appropriate acupuncture points. The needles are left on the patient for about 15 to 20 minutes each time. Do not expect the patient to recover within one session. Depending on the disease, several sessions may be necessary for a satisfactory response. The vet will discuss your pet’s condition and draw up a treatment plan during the initial consultation.

Dr Kasey Tan, Mount Pleasant (North), firmly believes that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Dr Kasey pursued a Certification Course in Veterinary Chinese Herbal Medicine in 2012 and Veterinary Acupuncture in 2017, both certified by IVAS. He has since been offering the best of Western and Chinese therapeutics to his patients.

Sunshine recently turned 14 and is looking better than she did 6 months ago. “Sunshine came to us 9 years ago with many medical issues. She is currently receiving regular acupuncture treatments with Dr Jimson and Dr Kasey. We are forever grateful to the patient medical team at Mount Pleasant who has helped Sunshine with treatments as she ages.” ~ Jeanne

WHAT CONDITIONS RESPOND TO ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture can be used alone or in conjunction with western medicine or Chinese herbs to treat or manage an array of diseases such as osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc disease (e.g. slipped disc), common cold, conjunctivitis, gastritis, sprains or strains, skin problems, urinary incontinence, neurological disorders (e.g. tremors, seizures, paralysis).

“Buddy is 13 years old. He is my best friend since he was a puppy.”  ~ Claudia

“He used to be very active but recently developed arthritis due to his age and weight. He is currently receiving acupuncture treatment from Dr Audrey Loi once every fortnight.”

In electro-acupuncture, electrodes are attached to the needles to produce a gentle current to stimulate the flow of energy or Qi more aggressively.

Buddy with our receptionist Yi Min after one of his acupuncture treatments at Mount Pleasant (East). “Buddy’s well being is closely monitored by Dr Loi and her caring staff. Buddy is now limping less, he looks healthier and happier.” ~ Claudia

IS MY PET IN PAIN?

Our pets may feel pain when they are sick or injured. However, recognising pain can be challenging as animals instinctively hide their pain and exhibit symptoms differently from us. Pain can be caused by physical trauma, disease of internal organs (e.g. pancreatitis, blocked urethra), surgical procedures, spinal problems and degenerative changes (e.g. osteoarthritis).

  • Watch out for changes in behaviour: unusually quiet and withdrawn, restless, trembling, avoiding human interaction, whining, biting when touched, licking a body part excessively, limping, difficulty lying down or sleeping.
  • Regular dental checkups can help prevent the development of painful oral diseases.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the incidence and severity of osteoarthritis.
  • Schedule yearly health checks to detect any health issues early and give your beloved pet the best chance at a long, healthy and pain-free life.

“TCM recognises that there is a vital energy known as Qi that flows through the body. Qi is responsible for controlling harmony in the body (health) and maintaining the balance between body, mind & spirit. Disease is a result of an imbalance of Qi in the body. Acupuncture is believed to help balance this energy.” ~ Dr Audrey Loi of Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East) has an interest in traditional Chinese medicine and is one of the first International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) certified veterinarians in Singapore.


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Websiteand Facebook.

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