Veterinary Acupuncture – How it Can Help our Pets  

Jessica Puccetti, DVM

Dr. Jessica Puccetti with Isa, owned by our clients Heather and Scott Morley. Isa is a 13-year-old Lhasa-Pug mix. She had multiple acupuncture treatments after acute back pain. She did great and has not needed any additional treatments.



I have been practicing veterinary acupuncture since I graduated from vet school in 2014. It is a great modality that can be used in conjunction with Western medicine. It can alleviate pain, help with traumatic nerve injuries, slow the progression of kidney disease, and much, much more. But what exactly is acupuncture and how does it work? China has been using the technique of acupuncture for thousands of years, and veterinary acupuncture can actually be dated back to 4000-5000 BC. Acupuncture is currently being used all around the world to treat a wide variety of conditions in both humans and in almost every species of animals.

Acupuncture is the insertion of a needle into specific points.  The needles can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones.  These hormones include endorphins (a pain control chemical) and cortisol (a natural steroid).  Stimulating these physiologic changes assists the body in healing itself.  Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated and certain point combinations when used together, take advantage of synergistic reactions between them.

This is Maxwell who is owned by our veterinary assistant, Dani. Maxwell is currently being treated for chronic kidney disease, hip pain, and lumbosacral pain, and comes to our office for treatments about once a week.

Some general conditions that acupuncture can help with include:

  • Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis, muscle strains or sprains, tendon or ligament injuries
  • Neurological injuries such as intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), or traumatic nerve injury
  • Dermatological conditions like acral lick granulomas or allergic dermatitis
  • Metabolic disorders such as kidney disease
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea

The length and frequency of treatment is dependent on the condition of the patient. A pet with a simple sprain may only need one treatment, whereas an animal with a chronic condition may require several or several dozen treatments. A positive response is usually seen within the first to third treatment and once a maximum response is achieved, the treatments are tapered until the greatest amount of symptom-free time elapses.

Tank, a 5-year old Labrador Retriever owned by our client, Tamara Cain, is getting acupuncture treatment for arthritis after knee surgeries. Difficult to see in this picture, there are red acupuncture needles throughout his back and knees.  Held here by our veterinary assistant, Pia, Tank comes for treatments every 3-4 weeks.

Acupuncture is relatively painless. Once the needles are in place, there is usually no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy during treatment. However, some human patients relay that they may get some sensation in certain points such as tingling, cramping, or numbness. Animals can also get these types of feelings and may be uncomfortable during some points.

In general, veterinary acupuncture is a wonderful modality to use by itself or to combine with more conventional and alternate therapies. Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic is proud to offer acupuncture and would love to discuss if this would be suitable for your pet.



Dr. Jessica with Miku, owned by our clients, Eric and Catherine Andrews. Miku is a 21-year-old domestic short-haired cat and she is being treated using acupuncture to help her chronic kidney disease, back pain, and arthritis especially along her  right shoulder and elbow.  Miku has treatments every 3 weeks.

Quick Bites

  • Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic is pleased to announce that our current fundraiser for Sonny’s Sunshine Fund is the Pet Evacuation Team of Central Oregon. P.E.T., established in 2001, is a non-profit animal rescue group that works under the direction of Red Cross and emergency services during Central Oregon evacuations. Serving all of Central Oregon, more than 124 volunteers and resource P.E.T. members assist with local wildfire evacuations, flooding and providing community assistance in individual cases. It offers community presentations for disaster preparedness and training to other agencies. Donations are needed to rebuild equipment inventory, and a wish and needs list, along with more information can be found both on P.E.T.’s website: and also on the display in our front office. Cinder Rock’s fundraiser will run through the end of the year.
  • Sarah A and her husband Adam are excited to share the news that they are the parents of a brand-new baby boy! Tripp Jeffrey was born on September 4, 2019.  He was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and entered the world with a full head of dark hair.  Everyone in the family is doing well and Sarah said that the dogs act like Tripp has always been part of the family.
  • On September 7, 2019 Dr. Jessica and her fiancé Beau were married in a beautiful wedding ceremony at Black Butte Ranch.
  • Members of our front office staff went to Portland on September 22 to attend a one-day seminar on customer service designed specifically for veterinary hospitals, called It’s What’s Up Front that Counts.
  • Dr. Karen will be attending the annual Fetch dvm360 conference in San Diego in mid-December.
  • We’d like to introduce two new staff members, both of whom started working at Cinder Rock in July, 2019. Talie is a certified veterinary technician, and moved to Bend this past summer from Stowe, Vermont.  Talie had worked for a number of years at a small animal practice in Stowe, and is enjoying learning her way around Cinder Rock, getting to know our clients and their pets, and also exploring all that Central Oregon has to offer. Kristi is our new receptionist and lives in Redmond now, although she has said that she is originally from a little bit of everywhere.  She graduated from Kadena High School – Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan and has worked in veterinary clinics in Lewisville, TX and Charleston, South Carolina.  Welcome to both of these new staff members!