In this episode we take on the question of can you use acupuncture for pets?

Today’s Everyday Acupuncture Podcast question is answered by

Neal Sivula, Dancing Paws Animal Wellness Center in Richfield, Ohio


This is Dr. Neal Sivula. I’m a veterinarian and owner of Dancing Paws Animal Wellness Center, a holistic veterinary practice located in beautiful Richfield, Ohio. Today I’ll answer the question- “I love acupuncture for myself, can I get it for my pet?” Of course, you can! The basic acupuncture certification program for Veterinarians in the United States is a post-graduate course, usually around 200 hours in length. We learn Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, acupuncture point locations, case management, and in some courses, students study herbal medicine as well. Some courses only teach TCM, others teach a combination of TCM and Medical Acupuncture, and some teach Medical Acupuncture exclusively. All courses offer a certification examination upon completion of the course and most require internship hours with a certified doctor and the submission of a few case reports to verify that the candidate can think logically through an acupuncture case. 

Like our human acupuncture colleagues, the basic training is only the start of our journey in acupuncture. Our certifications require that we participate in approved continuing education courses in acupuncture. These range in topic from refresher courses on basic acupuncture theory all the way to instruction in other techniques like the Balance Method or Scalp Acupuncture, or in other philosophies like Classical Chinese Medicine. Certification is just a jumping off point for every acupuncturist I know, continual education makes us better acupuncturists. 

Once trained, veterinarians use acupuncture in all sorts of ways in their practice. I am fortunate in that I am able to limit my practice to holistic medicine, while other doctors may offer acupuncture as something that they provide alongside their allopathic services.

So how should one find an acupuncturist for their pet? That can be a little complicated, as we don’t have a centralized database for all veterinary acupuncturists.  Resources that provide practitioner location services include the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, Chi University, Curacore Academy, the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, and the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies.  Of course, doctors that are seeking acupuncture patients will have that service listed on their practice websites as well.

If you’re interested in hearing more about holistic veterinary medicine, I host “The Integrative Veterinarian” podcast where I have conversations with veterinarians and discuss their training and their lives as holistic practitioners.

Acupuncture is as powerful in our animal friends as it is in humans, so don’t forget to consider acupuncture when thinking about your pet’s health! 

Thanks for listening and be sure to tune in next week for the next Essential Point. 


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