Animal Hospital of Rye provides veterinary acupuncture. Acupuncture has many benefits for sick or injured pets, especially those with chronic conditions such as arthritis.

What Is Acupuncture?


Dr. Whalen performs acupuncture on dog Mia.


Dr. Whalen performs acupuncture on Mia, a 13-year-old golden retriever. (Photo by
Sean Simmers, The Patriot-News)

Acupuncture is one form of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that utilizes very thin, flexible needles inserted into an animal's body at specific points to treat and prevent disease. It is one of the oldest medical treatments in existence, originating more than 2.500 years ago. Acupuncture is believed to promote harmony or balance within the patient and the environment around them.

It is believed the body is filled with energy called Qi (pronounced chee) that flows through specific pathways called meridians functioning to link the body into a unified whole. This constant flow of Qi through the meridians is what keeps the body in balance or in good health. However, when flow of energy is blocked, disease sets in.

The meridians are channels of energy that course under the skin's surface, often following parts of the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular and nervous systems. Located on these meridians are very small areas where there is greatly increased electrical conductivity and decreased electrical resistance compared to the surrounding area, with a high density of nerve endings, arterioles, lymphatic vessels and mast cells. This is the acupuncture point.

Since every meridian is associated with an internal organ, acupuncture has the ability to access the internal organs through a surface contact setting off a biochemical cascade that enhances the body's natural healing process.

Veterinary Acupuncture Therapy — What To Expect

  • The first acupuncture visit is a longer appointment compared to follow up visits. Your pet is examined in a traditional manner requiring more information and sensory data. Then, based on the specific needs of your pet, acupuncture points are selected and the patient then rests with the needles in for 15-45 minutes.

  • The follow up visits are usually weekly for several weeks and then gradually spread out based on how each pet responds to therapy, owner observations, and repeat exams.

  • Clients can expect one to twenty needles placed anywhere on their pet's body from head to toe, for each treatment.

  • Most patients will see results in four to five visits. Animals will seem a little more tired or lethargic for a few days following treatments but other-wise tolerate the sessions very well. There can be slight reaction to placement of the needles. People will often describe a sensation of warmth, slight numbness or mild achiness.

  • Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in: fever reduction, GI regulation, reduction in inflammation, blood pressure regulation, painful conditions, and improvement in micro-circulation.

Acupuncture Is Safe and Well Tolerated

  • Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to improve health in humans and animals
  • Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective in treating chronic pain, helping 55% to 85% of cases
  • Acupuncture does not interfere with other treatments or therapies
  • Acupuncture promotes harmony and balance between the animal and its environment
  • Electro acupuncture is the use of a continuous electrical pulse attached to acupuncture needles. It can shorten the treatment time and is very useful in painful conditions, like intervertebral disc disease

Call (717) 957-3991 for more information on veterinary acupuncture or to make an appointment with Dr. Whalen.