Suffering pet? When your vet has run out of options - try acupuncture

By Dr Rinnert van den Bergh DVM MRCVS, March 20, 2019

Working as a vet for many years I saw that something was not right. There where many cases where conventional treatments were not enough. I couldn’t ease their pain and suffering. I realised there was something missing.

One example is a dog in constant pain due to arthritis, even though the vets had tried everything. Acupuncture finally made it possible for him to have a happy life. Dr. Rinnert has founded Restore Veterinary Acupuncture, to make acupuncture available to pet owners who have lost hope.

Although acupuncture is now more popular than ever before, you may not know how much it can help your pet. Treatments prescribed by your regular vet are not always enough to solve the problem. Also, medication such as steroids can cause serious side effects, especially when used long-term on old or fragile animals.

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What can acupuncture do for your pet?

Vets using acupuncture can ease your pet’s illness where conventional treatments fall short. Examples include hip, knee or elbow arthritis and behavioural issues. And it also helps with skin problems such as allergies or lick granuloma.

Acupuncture may seem new, but many people have been using it with great results for over 5,000 years. Now being integrated with Western medicine, there is increasing evidence showing its extraordinary effects. In fact, many insurers will now cover your pet for acupuncture.

How it works

Acupuncture works in the same way as in people and is just as effective. Treatment is safe and involves placing fine needles in strategic points on the body. Placing the needles is gentle and pain free. In fact, pets often feel so relaxed they fall asleep during treatments.

cat receiving acupuncture treatment

Behavioural problems and stress

Acupuncture is also great for behavioural problems. Research shows that acupuncture affects the limbic system, a part of the brain involved in the memory of fear and trauma. In this way, it can help rewire the brain, aiding behavioural therapy. Dr. Rinnert believes that stress prevention is key for successful therapy. This is why he treats your pet at home, making a stressful trip to the vet unnecessary.

Organ function and vitality

Acupuncture can also regulate the autonomic nervous system. This improves organ function and restores vitality. Like in humans, many animals appear to have more energy and feel better in themselves, after treatment. It is thought that acupuncture can improve intestinal, lung and heart related issues via autonomic nerves.

A natural painkiller


Research shows that acupuncture changes gene expression. It induces the release of locally active painkillers such as adenosine. Acupuncture also reduces pain by releasing the body’s natural opioids such as endorphins and serotonin. These substances, also called “happy hormones”, are extremely potent and natural painkillers.

The truth about chronic pain

Chronic pain arises due to mechanisms occurring in the nerves, spinal cord and brain. Because acupuncture has an effect on all of these, it is a very potent method for preventing it. The name “chronic pain” is deceptive because it can start as early as 20 minutes after injury and when left too long will become very hard to treat. For this reason, it’s key that acupuncture is used in the early stages of your pet’s pain management. Don’t leave it as a last resort.

dog in pain
vet treating dog with acupuncture


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old dog who received acupuncture treatment


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