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I Can't Give My Pet Pain Medication...What Now?

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

by Emari Yokota, DVM, CVA, ACVCHM

Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and Herbalist

What is the most common reason people seek out a veterinary acupuncturist? Often, their beloved family member is in pain, and they are out of good conventional options. Whether it is because their cat has mastered the art of cheeking her pills, or because their little buddy is just not himself on drugs, people search out better solutions.

The Top Reasons People Seek Out Acupuncture for Pain

  1. The medications make my pet a zombie

  2. The vet said my pet can't take certain medications due to an underlying condition

  3. We have run out of options for oral pain medications to give my pet

  4. My pet will not take the medicine

  5. I want to prolong the time before I put my pet on medications, which may cause side effects with long term use, for the rest of their lives

Acupuncture has been used for centuries as a natural pain relieving therapy in East Asia. Since its arrival to the US in the 1970s, it has become more and more accepted by the mainstream medical community as a valid pain relieving therapy.

Acupuncture is not magic. It is a medical therapy rooted in thousands of years of research. Much like with many medications, it takes time before the effects are able to be appreciated. Most acupuncturists recommend committing to at least 5 sessions, as some individuals take that long to respond. Although there are true non-responders to acupuncture, I find them to be relatively uncommon.

Many people seek acupuncturists for pain control for their loved one, what they don't realize is the other benefits that come with therapy. For many patients, the first change noted is a better sense of vitality. Common first anecdotes are, "My cat jumped over the baby gate, he hasn't done that in years!" or "My dog started barking at the mail carrier again."

Have you or your pet had acupuncture? What was your experience?

About the Author:

Dr. Yokota has been practicing in the Northern Virginia area for over 7 years. Her veterinary service, Well Whiskers, currently provides at home and in office holistic care to her patients.

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