Rocky Mountain Mobile Veterinary Clinic

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Acupuncture needle stuck in a clothAcupuncture for the Relief of Pain and as an Aid in Healing


Just like their human counterparts, animals can suffer long-term pain that can often be debilitating lessening your pet’s quality of life.  While many conditions are easily treated by medication, short term / long term side effects, cost or lifestyle needs often make medication therapy an unattractive solution.


The idea of using needles to help alleviate pain and treat certain conditions is nothing new – the Chinese have used acupuncture on both humans and animals for well over 4,000 years. While many people might be skeptical, acupuncture is an accepted form of therapeutic treatment recognized by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). Recent clinical research shows positive results in treating a wide variety of conditions in both animals and people. While not the perfect solution for every condition, acupuncture can bring much needed relief to your pet while aiding in the healing process.




What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?


Acupuncture is best used to provide relief for noninfectious inflammation and pain. Examples of conditions we treat using acupuncture include:


  • Musculoskeletal issues such as arthritis, Hip dysplasia
  • Neurological issues : disk disease, nerve injury
  • Injuries such as sprains, muscle pulls or tendonitis
  • Lick granulomas
  • Pain and nausea related to cancer
  • Digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation
  • General pain issues/ chronic pain
  • Behavior issues: anxiety, stress disorders, nervousness


How Does Acupuncture Work and is it Effective?


Though rooted in Eastern medicine, clinical studies show acupuncture assists the body’s ability to heal by affecting physiologic change. The results of 29 case studies, with over 18,000 participants, indicated acupuncture was effective in relieving pain by about 50%.   In Eastern terms, acupuncture is thought to “correct imbalances in the flow of energy in the body (called Qi).”  In Western terms, “the effect of acupuncture is to adjust the body’s neurotransmitters, hormone levels or immune system”.


While acupuncture is not a silver-bullet for all conditions or all patients, Dr. Dugger has found it to be an extremely beneficial addition to the pain management regiment often providing relief when medication alone is not effective and/or, not desired.


How is Acupuncture Performed and Does it Hurt?


The idea of sticking needles in the body is scary, but actually, Dr. Dugger’s found that most patients easily accept the procedure – often becoming so relaxed they fall asleep on the exam table. Even the smallest cats & dogs tolerate the procedure well.


Treatment is best done in a soothing and calm environment.  In the home, we recommend a quiet room with no distractions.  Treatment lasts anywhere from 10  to 30 minutes depending on the condition and any other treatments currently in use. Pets may be treated one to three times a week depending on the severity of their condition, but typically, the procedure is repeated weekly over a period of four to six weeks.  Maintenance care will then continue as needed.


Relief is usually seen after the first 24 to 48 hours of treatment.  Though not all pets will respond and it is recommended if no response is seen by the 4th – 6th appointment, we re-evaluate our options for treatment.


Treatment by a Formally Trained Acupuncturist


Like any form of medical treatment, animal acupuncture is best done by a qualified veterinarian specially trained in the specific needs and conditions of animals.


Dr. Dugger is a formally trained technician of veterinary acupuncture through OneHealth Sim – in partnership with CSU and CVMA, and has been providing acupuncture as a treatment option for her patients for well over 10 years.


If you’d like more information on this option, please contact Dr. Dugger’s office at 303.257.0202.





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