The Animal Hospital of Sussex County is very proud and enthusiastic to announce that Dr. Lori Walker has completed the extensive course in veterinary acupuncture at the prestigious Chi Institute in Florida.  She is already seeing some amazing results in her work with both dog acupuncture and cat acupuncture as well as equine acupuncture!

Acupuncture has been central to medical practice in China for thousands of years.  What began in prehistoric times as trial and error, now has scientific evidence explaining how and why these modalities work.  Acupuncture and other “TCVM” (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) techniques are now more and more being accepted by the main stream. In conjunction with the fantastic advances of modern Western medicine, together they are the foundation of “Integrative Medicine,” utilizing the best of both worlds. This has carried over into the veterinary world with the benefits of acupuncture for dogs and cats, and even horses. We are thrilled that this is now a part of our practice.

Understanding Veterinary Acupuncture

The basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that everything exists in balance, and it is the upset of balance that results in disease.  Our goal is to restore balance.

TCVM starts with a different way of approaching the patients’ issues.  Rather than see a dog with diarrhea and treat the intestines, it looks at the whole dog.  Why does the dog have this symptom, how can we help the body to resolve it, and how can we make the dog resistant to it recurring?   A skin problem does not exist in a vacuum; the animal’s body is out of balance and manifesting that imbalance in the skin.

The TCVM exam begins with some questions and observations that may seem quite foreign to those unfamiliar with it.  Personality, habits, diet, warmth or coolness preferences, pecking order in the household or herd all become important diagnostic clues.  Tongue color, temperature of ears and feet, and quality of pulses are taken into account as well as the age of the pet and duration of illness.  These “clues” are all taken into consideration in order for the TCVM practitioner to create a Bian Zheng, or TCVM diagnosis.  Treatment then consists of undoing the imbalance.

What to Expect with Acupuncture for Pets 

Tiny needles are used, about the thickness of a hair.  Most pets react very mildly to veterinary acupuncture.  Sometimes an electroacupuncture machine is indicated to optimize results.  The needles themselves are in usually around twenty minutes.  You can usually expect to spend around an hour in your appointment, or longer the first time, as the information gathering is crucial to the degree of success.

A video put out by the Chi Institute does an excellent job of explaining veterinary acupuncture and TCVM in general. 


For additional information, PetMD also discusses the benefits of acupuncture for dogs and cats that includes stimulated blood flow and oxygenation of the muscles, relaxation of the pet’s muscles, and much more. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Walker, call the Animal Hospital of Sussex County at (973)579-1155.