Acupuncture points are chosen based on physical exam findings and specific desired changes in the central nervous system via the stimulation of the peripheral nerve system.  It has been shown that stimulation of certain acupuncture points activates regions in the brainstem associated with pain-relieving pathways. Acupuncture has been shown to increase local blood circulation via vasodilation, relieve muscle spasms, and release local endorphins and cortisol to reduce inflammation.  Many of the mechanisms are still being studied and are not fully understood.

Acupuncture Services

Conditions That May Benefit from Acupuncture Therapy:

  • Chronic Musculoskeletal Problems such as debilitating arthritis, IVDD, and chronic neck/back pain
  • Acute Post Surgical Pain
  • Chronic Pain
  • Acute Injuries, Pain Management
  • Acutely Down Dogs
  • Neuropathy
  • Post-operative or Functional Ileus (Slow Gastrointestinal Motility)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Skin Problems such as lick granulomas
  • Many others! Please schedule a consult or contact us if you think your pet has a condition that may benefit from acupuncture therapy.


How many treatments will my pet need?

For chronic conditions it is recommended to begin with 3-5 treatments before determining if your pet is showing beneficial effects of acupuncture.  Sometimes after the first treatment pets can feel slightly more tired for the next 24 hours, however this effect usually subsides by the second day.  We do not usually see this side effect on subsequent treatments.

If the patient benefits from acupuncture therapy we recommend life long treatments, as often as once weekly and as infrequent as once monthly.  The frequency will be determined by your pet’s response and duration of effect.

For acute conditions the number and frequency of treatments is dependent on the patient's severity and response to therapy.

Dr. Drinkhouse will help to create an individualized treatment plan for your pet at the initial consult based on evaluation of your pet’s medical history and physical exam.


What can my pet expect at their appointment?

Initial consult appointments last approximately 1 hour for history, physical exam and 20-30 minutes of treatment time.  As long as you feel comfortable, you will stay with your pet for the entire treatment.  If you have a fear of needles and prefer not to be present, please alert the nurses or Dr. Drinkhouse.

Recheck appointments last approximately 30-40 minutes.


Is Acupuncture painful or dangerous?

The needles are a very small gauge and are usually non-painful to very minimal discomfort on placement.  If an animal is sensitive, smaller or fewer needles will be used, as our goal is to create a pleasant experience for your pet during treatment.

Life threatening or severe side effects associated with acupuncture are extremely rare.  Patients can sometimes be lethargic for the first 24 hours after a treatment, particularly with the first treatment. This is often followed by an improvement in the pet’s condition.


Can cats have acupuncture?

Yes! Depending on temperament many cats actually enjoy and have similar benefits to humans from acupuncture.  We always want treatments to be a positive experience.  We suggest you bring your cat’s favorite bed, treats or food to make them most comfortable and feel safe during their treatment. You will be with your pet so you can comfort them as well.


What can I do if my pet is scared of coming to the vet?

Acupuncture treatments should always be a positive experience.  We suggest bringing things that will make your pet feel comfortable while in the exam room.  You can bring their favorite bed or toys.  Please also bring some tasty food or treats to feed them as positive reinforcement while they are being treated.  You will stay with your pet for the entirety of the visit (unless you are not comfortable with needles). Many patients relax while being treated, and even begin to enjoy coming to the vet for acupuncture treatments as they learn it is a place where they feel comfortable and safe!  Please alert the nurses if your pet has any particular needs to make them feel comfortable.


What are the Next Steps?

Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Caitlin Schmidt to discuss the case.

Care Center Cincinnati: 513.530.0911

Please feel free to also have your client reach out to schedule a consult appointment at their earliest convenience.