Meridian Veterinary Services - Acupuncture and Complementary Veterinary Medicine

About Veterinary Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a method of health care that has been used and developed for over 3000 years for humans and horses, with roots in ancient China. Acupuncture is now used throughout the world and is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a safe and effective treatment for animals. Today, Olympic competitors, horses in racing, endurance, dressage, reining, Western or English pleasure, barrel racers, hunter jumpers, and backyard and trail horses all benefit from acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture developed more recently in dogs and cats in the 1970's and continues to gain in popularity because of it's effectiveness in treating diseases and restoring health. 

Veterinary acupuncture can be done legally only by licensed veterinarians in the United States. Dr. Sarah Quentin is a licensed veterinarian with advanced training in veterinary acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and the Chi Institute's Advanced Equine studies.

How Acupuncture Works:
-From a western medical perpective

Scientific research has contributed to our understanding of how acupuncture works. The very small needles placed at specific acupuncture points create physiological effects  that are measurable. The acupuncture points are areas of increased vascularity and nerve endings in the body and are located along channels, called meridians. Stimulation of these points cause a production of hormones called endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. In addition, acupuncture causes the release of other hormones, including cortisol from the pituitary and other glands, and inhibits pain transmission along a specific type of pain transmitting nerve fiber, called C-fibers.  In short, acupuncture works by stimulating the body's own natural ability to heal, decreasing pain and inflammation, and restoring balance.

 -From an eastern medical perspective

Traditional Chinese Medicine states that acupuncture works by adjusting the flow of vital energy in the body. This energy, called "Qi", (pronounced "chee"), flows throughout 14 pathways, called meridians in the body and can be accessed by more than 365 acupuncture points.  Disease results when the flow of Qi is disrupted. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, we can restore the balance to the internal organs as well as the musculoskeletal system and help to resolve or prevent disease.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of animal health problems. It is also used to prevent disease and keep animals in the best of health. 

Here is a partial list:

For horses:

*Acute Inflammation, injuries
*Tying up
*Back Pain
*Gastric Ulcers/EGUS
*Chronic cough/heaves/COPD/RAO
*Performance Problems
*Reproductive Problems
*Behavioral Problems
*Chronic diarrhea
*Immune support 

For Dogs and Cats:

*Musculoskeletal problems
*Acute or Chronic Vomiting             *Neck and Back pain
*Arthritis/Hip Dysplasia
*Allergies and skin problems
*Cancer therapy
*Neurological disorders
*Immune support
*Chronic kidney or liver disease

How is a Treatment Done?

An evaluation is done before treatment can begin. Through a systematic process of history, observation, and palpation, a diagnosis and treatment plan is initiated. A specific group of acupuncture points is chosen to correct imbalances. Through a series of acupuncture treatments, the patient, in effect, heals itself, not through palliation or suppression of symptoms, but by correcting what is fundamentally wrong.

Treatment is done with very small sterile acupuncture needles. The needles are used only once, then disposed of. Several needles are placed at prescribed acupuncture points for 10-30 minutes. Occasionally, photonic therapy with a red light is employed at specific acupuncture points, or acupressure is done.

Most animals go through a typical sequence of reactions during a treatment. Most tolerate the needles well. After the needles are placed, many experience a deep relaxation and will act sedated and sleepy after a few minutes of treatment, with heads lowered and eyes half closed. Some animals are fatigued for a day after treatment, so for horses lighter riding or a day off is recommended during this time. Allow dogs and cats a day of rest. 

The frequency and duration of treatments depends on the individual. A treatment plan will be developed by Dr. Quentin, since each animal heals at a different rate. Typically two to six treatments is recommended. They may be anywhere from two to fourteen days apart. Follow up treatments as preventative maintenance may be recommended.

Types of Acupuncture:

There are several ways to stimulate acupuncture points. Some of the methods used by Dr. Quentin are sterile dry needles, acupressure, photonic/light, injection of solutions (aquapuncture), and electroacupuncture (applying a mild electrical current).

"The aim of science is, on the one hand, as complete a comprehension as possible of the connection between perceptible experiences in their totality, and, on the other hand, the achievement of this aim by employing a minimum of primary concepts and relations."

                                                              Albert Einstein

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