The Honolulu Pet Clinic
1115 Young St
Honolulu, HI 96814

For Pet Emergencies
After 5pm Call

(808) 988-2188


Veterinary Medical Acupuncture At The Honolulu Pet Clinic

The use of acupuncture for pets is increasing as more people recognize the value of integrated medicine for their own health as well as for the health of their beloved cats and dogs. Most people think of acupuncture as a pain reliever, but it's more than that. Acupuncture can modulate the nervous system, boost the immune system, improve organ functions, and more. It can complement conventional medicines and procedures without dangerous side effects. No single form of medicine has all the answers. We must look at the individual needs of each animal. Sometimes the best answer is medication; sometimes it's surgery; sometimes it's acupuncture; sometimes it's a combination.

veterinarian with dog

Acupuncture Is Used Most Commonly To Treat Orthopedic And Neurologic Conditions, Such As:

  • Arthritis and sore joints
  • Back pain
  • Muscle spasms or weakness
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Paralysis
  • Epilepsy

Acupuncture Can Also Be Useful For Treating:

  • Digestive problems (constipation, irritable bowel disease)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cancer-associated pain

How Does It Work?

Sterile acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points on an animal's body. The needles stimulate the nervous system and have effects locally, peripherally, and centrally. Acupuncture can do more than simply relieve pain. How it works depends on what condition we are treating and which points are used.

Acupuncture increases circulation; reduces inflammation; causes the release of neurotransmitters from the brain - some of which are endorphins & enkephalins – the body’s “natural pain-killing” hormones; relieves muscle spasms; stimulates nerves; stimulates the body’s immune system; as well as numerous other beneficial effects.

When Should I Try Acupuncture For My Pet?

Acupuncture is often most effective when used in conjunction with conventional therapy. Acupuncture can also be used as an alternative to conventional therapy, but shouldn’t be expected to be a cure-all. Acupuncture can be used to help speed recovery from some types of surgery.

Are There Different Types Of Needles For Cats And Dogs?

Yes. Generally, cats receive thinner and shorter needles, about 1/2 inch in length and slightly thicker than a whisker. Dogs receive needles of 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long, depending on their body size.

Does Acupuncture Work Effectively On Both Cats And Dogs?

Yes. Cats are sometimes less tolerant of being in a veterinary clinic than dogs. If your pet resists treatment, don't push it. Small mammals including rabbits, and large animals including horses and livestock, can also benefit from acupuncture.

Will The Needles Hurt My Pet?

Usually no. Your pet may feel some pain if there is a knot or spasm at the insertion point. More commonly, though, your pet may experience a sensation as the needle enters the top layer of skin. Most needles slide out near the end of the session. It's not unusual for a dog or cat to relax or even fall asleep during acupuncture.

How Long Are The Sessions, And How Much Do They Cost?

Acupuncture appointments are for one hour. The initial visit is $150. This includes a complete myofascial examination to assess the patient for pain and dysfunction in order to target treatment and have a clear baseline in order to assess progress. Follow up visits can be purchased in a package (5 sessions for $325 = $65 each), or individually ($75). Pets generally have frequent appointments to start (once - twice a week for 1-3 weeks) and can taper to a maintenance schedule (every 2 weeks - once a month), and if the condition resolves treatments may no longer be needed.

Laser Therapy : Is often used in conjunction with acupuncture as the two modalities complement each other well to improve pain, inflammation and circulation. Laser can be used during your acupuncture appointment to increase the efficacy of the treatment. A single treatment costs $50 and a package of 5 can be purchased for $200 ($40 each). Ask us for more information about laser therapy if you have questions!

Are There Side Effects?

Acupuncture is a safe therapy, but on rare occasions, a needle can break or an infection can develop at the place where the needle was inserted. There is also a risk of lung puncture if needling in the chest area. We do everything we can to minimize risks, and complications from this treatment are very uncommon.

Will I See Immediate Improvement?

Acupuncture is not a cure-all, and the results vary with each animal. It usually takes multiple sessions to stimulate the body to heal.

Schedule An Appointment With The Honolulu Pet Clinic Today!

Dr. Meghan Barrett performs veterinary medical acupuncture for companion animals at The Honolulu Pet Clinic. To contact us for more information, please call 808-593-9336. We look forward to hearing from you!