Acupuncture for senior pets


I am a qualified veterinary acupuncturist and have been for the last 7 years. The majority of my acupuncture patients are senior pets. There are many benefits to your pet by treating them with acupuncture. It can significantly improve their quality of life particularly when it comes to controlling their pain associated with arthritis without affecting their other organs.


My oldest patient was a 21 year old cat named Misty (pictured above) who bless her soul would hiss and carry on every single time I placed the acupuncture needles and would then drift off to sleep for the next 20 minutes whilst she waited for her treatment to finish. She was being medicated for high blood pressure and kidney failure so traditional Western Medicine treatments were not an option. Fortunately she responded beautifully to acupuncture as she had quite severe arthritis in her hips. So she was a perfect example of using acupuncture for senior pets.


5 reasons to look into acupuncture for senior pets

  1. First do no harm – acupuncture will not harm your pet’s liver, kidneys or gastrointestinal system unlike some medications
  2. After a few “loading” treatments they often only need “top ups” every 3-6 months depending on the severity of the condition
  3. Western medicine has its limits, acupuncture is something else that can help to improve your pet’s quality of life.
  4. Senior pets often have concurrent conditions that can preclude the use of traditional arthritis medications such as anti-inflammatories. By offering acupuncture it gives your pet the opportunity to escape some of their discomfort without further compromising their liver/kidney function
  5. Acupuncture does more than just alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, it can be used to stimulate appetite, help relieve urinary incontinence, control nausea, resolve trigger points (muscle knots) and increase your pet’s general vitality.


5 reasons to consider acupuncture for senior pets


So, if you haven’t considered acupuncture for your pet, I hope this might change your mind. Acupuncture is not for all pets. Some pets like people don’t tolerate the needles well. Some get too stressed by the vet visit and any benefit from the treatment is lost due to anxiety taking over. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try, you’ll know pretty quickly if acupuncture is or isn’t a good option for your pet. Acupuncture for senior pets to me just makes sense.


For more information about acupuncture why not read my previous blog post here.


6 Responses

  1. This is something that I’m interested in for our pets, but I’m going to do it for myself first so that I can know what to expect. We’re lucky to live in an area where it’s not only available for pets, but we can have it done at home.

    Thanks for the great article.

    • That’s fantastic that you’ve got acupuncture available to you and your pets. Even nicer that they can have it done at home! I find a lot of my acupuncture patients if they were anxious initially coming into the clinic they soon relate the visit with being relaxed and feeling better so their anxiety levels drop significantly on return visits as well which is great. Keep me posted on how you go. I’d love to hear about your experience, I’ll keep an eye out on your blog.
      Big pats to your four!

  2. Acupuncture is great. It was one of the treatments Jasmine benefited the most. We used it for Cookie too – it’s not just for senior dogs.

  3. Great info on acupuncture. I must admit it is an area I know little about (definitely wasn’t covered at vet school!). Does your practice of acupuncture give you better appreciation of subtle musculoskeletal problems by feel? Since seeing a vet chiro examine a dog’s back once and the sensitivity she had with her fingertips I’ve felt like my abilities in this area are seriously lacking!

  4. Hey Belinda, I”m keen to find out if acupuncture could help relieve arthritis in my 18+ yr old staffy. How do I go about finding a good practitioner on the Gold Coast – even better one that would visit our home as Isabel now gets quite distressed during car rides? As usual – love your blog posts!

    • Hi Judy. I think that’s a fantastic idea for your staffy. The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group has a list of members who are practicing in Australia. It won’t have all of the veterinary acupuncturists on their site as you have to be a member to be listed. I’m not listed on their website because I’m not a member of the AVA, and so I can’t be a member of the AVAG. I hope you can find a vet that comes to you, we got quite a few in Sydney but that doesn’t really help you! Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

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