animal acupuncture metairie, la

Integrative Veterinary Medicine

Our integrative approach to veterinary treatment incorporates both Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and western medicine. The most common form of TCVM is Acupuncture.

Acupuncture is the insertion of small sterilized needles into specific points (acupoints) to treat imbalances or disease in the body. There are 361 acupoints in most animals. Acupoints are areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles, or lymphatic vessels. Each point has a specific action to help the body heal itself. The acupoints are chosen based on a thorough physical exam and a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis. Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood flow, relieve muscle spasms, and release beta-endorphins and serotonin.

Numerous studies indicate that acupuncture induces the following effects:

  • Pain relief
  • Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
  • Anti-inflammatory effect
  • Immunoregulation
  • Hormone and reproductive regulation
  • Anti-febrile effect
  • Circulation and nerve promotion

Acupuncture helps balances the body, and a balanced body will naturally heal itself.

Conditions That Can Be Treated With Veterinary Acupuncture


  • Injury
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-surgical pain


  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Nerve paralysis
  • Paralysis
  • Peripheral nerve disease
  • Urinary & fecal incontinence
  • Vestibular problems

Gastrointestinal Issues

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal stasis
  • Nausea
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting

Other Chronic Conditions

  • Asthma
  • Behavioral problems
  • Cancer
  • Coughing
  • Eye problems
  • Geriatric weakness
  • Heart disease
  • Immune disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Skin problems

What to Expect

As a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA), Dr. Pence administers the safest acupuncture procedures. The needles are very small, and most pets do not even realize the needles are being placed. Some may even fall asleep during treatment! Each session lasts about 30-45 minutes. During the first 10-15 minutes, your pet’s health is assessed, along with a medical and behavioral history, TCVM exam, and a full physical exam. The following 20-30 minutes is dedicated to needle placement and treatment time.

The number of acupuncture treatments (or other advanced procedures) needed depends on the condition being managed. A single treatment may be enough for minor, acute conditions. Weekly to every 2-3 week sessions may be needed to resolve more long term issues. However, some chronic conditions may need lifelong management. A pet will typically be mildly lethargic or drowsy for 24–48 hours after an acupuncture session.

rabbit and phone

Advanced Integrative Procedures


Tui-na (“twee-na”) is a branch of TCVM combining acupressure, conventional massage, and chiropractic therapy to regulate imbalances in the body. “Tui-na” means to push and lift. This hands-on therapy soothes aching muscles and joints, relaxes strained tendons and ligaments, and also promotes the circulation of Qi (energy) and blood. It is most commonly used to treat acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as to strengthen the immune system. Many treatments can also be prescribed for owners to do at home!


To stimulate acupoints for a longer duration, Dr. Pence may inject supportive liquids that include saline, vitamin B12, or chondroprotectants. This is referred to as aquapuncture. The liquid exerts an energetic change by pushing tissue out of the way and continuing to stimulate the acupoints.

Electrostimulation (E-Stim)

E-stim is used to push an electrical current into the body between needles inserted in acupoints. E-stim relaxes spasming muscles and can aid the body in re-establishing nervous impulses when nerve damage has occurred. E-Stim can also enhance and increase the stimulation of the needles in the acupoints.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is the application of infrared light at specific wavelengths to stimulate damaged cells to heal faster. It also has the added benefit of increasing circulation to the damaged tissue. Laser therapy is best used for painful, inflammatory conditions, as well as wound healing. The Class IV laser used at Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana is cool, and does not generate enough significant heat to burn. Dr. Pence may also use cold laser therapy to perform “needle-less” acupuncture treatments, especially on patients that do not readily tolerate needle insertion.