Acupuncture for dogs and cats is a form of alternative or complementary medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and alleviate various conditions.

Here are some key points about acupuncture for pets:


  • Pain Management: Acupuncture is often used to manage chronic pain conditions in pets, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or back pain.
  • Illness and Disease: It can be applied as part of a holistic treatment plan for various illnesses and diseases, including neurological disorders, respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Behavioral Issues: Acupuncture may also be considered for behavioral issues and stress-related conditions.

How it Works:

  • Energy Flow: Acupuncture is based on the concept of energy flow (Qi) along pathways known as meridians. By stimulating specific points, acupuncturists aim to balance the flow of energy and promote healing.
  • Endorphin Release: The insertion of needles stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, providing relief from pain and promoting a sense of well-being.


  • Needle Insertion: Fine, sterile needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points on the pet's body. The needles are usually left in place for a short duration.
  • Minimal Discomfort: Most animals tolerate acupuncture well, and many even find it relaxing. It is generally considered a low-risk procedure with minimal discomfort.

Qualified Practitioners:

  • Veterinary Acupuncturists: Acupuncture for pets should be performed by a qualified veterinary acupuncturist. These professionals have specific training in both traditional veterinary medicine and acupuncture.

Conditions Treated:

  • Musculoskeletal Issues: Arthritis, muscle soreness, and joint problems.
  • Neurological Disorders: Nerve issues and paralysis.
  • Digestive Disorders: Vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Respiratory Conditions: Asthma and other respiratory issues.
  • Behavioral Problems: Anxiety, stress, and certain behavioral disorders.

Integration with Conventional Medicine:

  • Holistic Approach: Acupuncture is often used as part of a holistic approach to veterinary care, complementing conventional medicine.
  • Consultation with Veterinarian: Before starting acupuncture, it's important for pet owners to consult with their regular veterinarian to ensure a proper diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.

It's essential to have a comprehensive understanding of your pet's overall health and any existing medical issues before incorporating acupuncture into their care plan.

About Dr. Novarr, DVM, IVAS Certified

Dr. Novarr became passionate about pain management as he witnessed his own dog’s struggle with arthritis as she aged. Additionally, he found that acupuncture was successful in alleviating his back pain when traditional approaches had not helped.

With these experiences in mind, Dr Novarr took an intensive year-long class with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society to become certified in veterinary acupuncture.

Using his 15 years of experience with Western medicine and his knowledge of Acupuncture has helped to provide more tools to help with discomfort in our aging pets.

Contact us on (703) 256-8414 to discuss your options.