Acupuncture & Herbal Therapy



“Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies to prevent and treat disease, and most importantly, to promote optimal health. This condition of holistic health is defined as the unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit.”
~American Holistic Health Association
The term “holistic medicine” has evolved so much in our common dialect that few people understand its actual meaning. Although holistic medicine embraces both traditional and alternative therapies, it is often misused to describe only nonconventional medicine. In an effort to continue providing the best care and medicine to our patients, the Burlington Veterinary Center has introduced new therapies to complement our strong foundation of conventional western medicine. Despite common perception, traditional western medicine and alternative therapies have been known to work synergistically rather than conflict with each other. It is our goal to take advantage of this relationship in a way that will provide the greatest benefit to our patients. Please continue reading for more information about acupuncture and holistic medicine at the Burlington Veterinary Center.
What is Acupuncture?
Veterinary acupuncture has been practiced for over 3000 years in China! Broadly, acupuncture is the practice of using fine needles to stimulate specific points on the body to achieve a desired therapeutic effect. In eastern medicine, it is believed that a life force energy or “Qi” flows through the body along specific pathways known as meridians. Pathology occurs when there is an imbalance caused by an excess, deficiency, or stagnation of Qi. Stimulation of specific points along these meridians is used to correct the imbalance. In western medicine, doctors have recognized that these designated points have an abundance of nerve endings, lymphatics, and blood vessels, likely facilitating their actions. 

Why use Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is different from traditional western medicine. Profound therapeutic effects can be achieved without the adverse effects often associated with conventional medicine. Acupuncture is particularly valuable when medications are poorly tolerated or contraindicated in a patient.

Acupuncture can also compliment the effects of western medicine, especially in the treatment of chronic conditions. The addition of acupuncture to an established treatment regimen can improve clinical outcome. Acupuncture can potentiate the positive effects of western medicine in conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and osteoarthritis. It can also be used to palliate the adverse effects of western medications, such as antibiotic-induced diarrhea or side effects from chemotherapy.

Acupuncture is also a great option for patients with more than one condition. A single acupuncture session can be used to treat musculoskeletal pain in multiple areas, as well as concurrent systemic diseases.

How in the world do you perform acupuncture on a dog or cat?

Most dogs and cats are extremely tolerant of acupuncture therapy. In fact, many patients enjoy their sessions as they associate them with relaxation and pain relief. The needles used for acupuncture are very fine and we work with the patient to create the most comfortable experience possible. It is common for owners to notice that their pets are more relaxed and even enthusiastic about coming into the hospital because of their positive experience with acupuncture.

How many treatments does my pet need?

The treatment schedule for acupuncture usually depends on the patient and pathology that we are treating. In general, most patients start with 1-2 treatments per week for 3-4 weeks. Then treatment intervals are gradually increased to once per month or once every few months.

What is Herbal Therapy?

Herbal therapy is the use of a plant or plant extract to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease. Herbal therapy is often used in combination with acupuncture or even western pharmaceuticals. The major difference between herbal medicines and western pharmaceuticals is the lack of significant alteration from its natural form. For example, consider the effects of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning versus taking a caffeine pill. Your cup of coffee is more like herbal therapy, while a caffeine pill is more like a pharmaceutical medication. Supporters of herbal therapy argue that the cup of coffee has less adverse effects because it is in its naturally occurring state. Herbal therapy is often necessary to compliment the effects of acupuncture, especially for internal conditions.
What can you treat with acupuncture?

People usually associate acupuncture with the treatment of orthopedic and neurologic conditions. However, acupuncture can be used for so much more!

Here are just some of the diseases acupuncture can help:
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Sinusitis
  • Asthma
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Lymphoma
  • Allergies
  • Renal Failure

Meet some of our patients who have benefited from acupuncture:
Savy.AcupunctureSavy: Savy is a sweet year 11 old kitty. Savy has been diagnosed with severe periodontal disease, asthma, chronic renal failure, osteoarthritis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a tumor in his ear. Savy’s renal failure and heart disease do not make him a good candidate for anesthesia to address his tumor and dental disease so we used a combination of medication and acupuncture to treat him. Savy loves coming in for acupuncture and nearly falls asleep every time!
Fozzie AcupunctureFozzie: Fozzie is a handsome 12 year old Golden Retriever with arthritis and a myelopathy. Fozzie loves going for long hikes with his owner and four-legged sister, Mokey. When Fozzie’s his arthritis and neurologic deficiencies started to interfere with his hikes, Fozzie’s owner was ready for some help from the Burlington Veterinary Center. After three treatments, Fozzie was feeling more like himself on the trails! Electroacupuncture was used for Fozzie to help amplify the effects of the needles, provide additional pain relief, and to provide neurologic stimulation. Fozzie continues to receive acupuncture treatment for maintenance.
Leo AcupunctureLeo: Leo is a beautiful 7 year old black shepherd. Leo has idiopathic epilepsy and a torn ACL. He started receiving acupuncture when he tore his ACL. Due to his positive response to Chinese medicine, we initiated herbal therapy and continued acupuncture to help treat his epilepsy as well. Leo has been completely tapered off of his western seizure medications and feels good enough to chase the bears in his back yard!!

Burlington Veterinary Center

 17 Covey Rd. Burlington, CT 06013 / USA  1-860-675-6009

Office hours

  • Monday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Thursday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Saturday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Sunday Closed


Emergencies during office hours will be seen right away. Please call ahead. After hours please contact either:

Veterinary Emergency Center
135 Dowd Ave, Canton, CT 06019
Open 24/7/365
Avon Veterinary Emergency Referral
9 Avonwood Road Avon, CT 06001
Open Mon – Thurs 5 pm–8 am
Fri 5 pm – Mon 8 am
24 Hours on Holidays

About Us

Our facility is conveniently located in Hartford County and is easy to get to by interstate highway and major state roads while maintaining its pet friendly and relaxing rural setting.