Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of dry needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments.

Traditional Chinese medicine also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either alone or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal.

Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated. (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society)

Dr Amanda Tenne

Dr Amanda completed the Introduction to Acupuncture in Modern Veterinary Practice Workshop with The Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group in 2017. Inspired by her own dog who has osteoarthritis in all four legs and spine, Dr Amanda wanted to explore all options for her beloved Baitzee.

So impressed with the workshop, Dr Amanda went on to complete her certificate in Veterinary Acupuncture in 2020 with The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) – this took two years. Dr Amanda is currently undertaking further studies in acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, also through CIVT.

In addition to acupuncture, Dr Amanda also utilises herbs and food therapy to help her patients. Diet as medicine is an important concept in holistic medicine.

“I consider myself very blessed to be working at Lort Smith Animal Hospital where I am able to practice a high level of western veterinary medicine. I then combine this with other modalities to give the animal the best chance of a whole happy healthy life.” – Dr Amanda.

Common questions about veterinary acupuncture

Acupuncture can work well on all animal species. Dr Amanda predominantly treats dogs and cats, however she can also work on birds and rabbits in consultation with our exotic vet team. The only limitations on this modality would be the behaviour of some animals.

Acupuncture can be beneficial for a range of ailments including; musculoskeletal issues (osteoarthritis, pain, nerve injury, post-operative care and recovery); sinusitis; feline asthma; lick granulomas; incontinence, and some gastrointestinal conditions.

The most common side effect is animals going home and sleeping. In some instances animals are a little worse (for 24-48 hours) before they start to improve – as muscles relax and readjust.

Most cases are initially treated over four weekly sessions, and then again 2-4 weeks later for a follow-up treatment. Some animals in ICU or other circumstances may benefit from more frequent treatments.

Acupuncture involves the use of very small fine needles that do not cause much discomfort, if any. Dr Amanda chooses to use Seirin acupuncture needles – a Japanese facial needle which are very smooth and gentle to insert. For some larger dogs, a larger needle is used. If the acupoint is sensitive the animal may feel a short amount of discomfort, which normally settles quickly. If not, the needle is moved to a less sensitive point. It is thought that acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation like tingles, cramps or numbness – just as humans may experience.

All animals are fully awake while having acupuncture, and the treatment is performed however the animal and carer are most comfortable i.e. bigger dogs will be on the floor on a blanket, small animals on a table.

An initial appointment is 30 minutes but may run a little longer. You may be asked to fill in a questionnaire before your visit to aid in diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Amanda aims for 15-20 minutes of needle time. It is normal for some animals to want to shake and flick the needles out. Even if only five minutes of needle time is managed, the point has still been stimulated and if you are going to get a response, you will get it.