Acupuncture 101

Since welcoming Dr. Shaw to our team in late 2018, City Way Animal Clinics has been excited to implement new Integrative Health Services to provide a more balanced approach to your pet’s care by joining conventional and alternative medicine practices. Acupuncture has the potential to provide relief and healing to a variety of ailments and diseases.

What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

  • Acupuncture involves inserting fine, sterilized needles into specific points (acupoints) in order to create a physiologic response by stimulating the nervous system and manipulating Qi flows (pronounced “chee” – energy) through specific channels.
  • Many acupoints are located in areas where there is a high density of nerve endings. Stimulating these points cause a hormonal cascade throughout the body that impact pain relief, organ systems, and promotes the healing process.
  • Acupuncture has developed from ancient and traditional Chinese medicine practices.

“Many of us in this field refer to ourselves as the doctors of last resort, the final purveyors of hope, because people feel as though they have exhausted all other avenues. Many times they aren’t getting where they want with Western medicine. They are seeking an adjunct or a completely different approach to a disease process. I think being able to meld the two together makes a huge difference for quality of life, for both preventative care and in chronic conditions.”

Dr. Shaw

What can acupuncture help?

Musculoskeletal issues: nerve injury, arthritis, trauma recovery, muscle soreness or atrophy, back pain, degenerative joint disease

Gastrointestinal disorders: gastric ulcers, impactions, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea

Respiratory issues: asthma, sinusitis, chronic coughing

Metabolic diseases: Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, liver failure, chronic kidney disease

Urinary issues: cystitis, incontinence, urine retention

Skin disorders: allergies, inflammation, chronic skin conditions

Neurological disorders: seizures, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), epilepsy, nerve paralysis, laryngeal hemiplegia

Oncology treatment: pain relief, inflammation, quality of life improvement, adjunct tumor reduction

Other: infertility, anxiety, geriatric weakness, uveitis, immune system modulation

“Acupuncture works against pain or any condition that has heat. It works great for acute conditions like fevers, spider bites, bruising and soft tissue injuries. It really helps speed up that healing process. As far as chronic problems, it helps with those things we don’t have fantastic medications for or ‘idiopathic’ is in the title because we don’t really know what’s going on. We can approach it by finding the pattern of the disease process, and then treat the pet accordingly to get them back into balance.”

Dr. Shaw


Is acupuncture safe?
Yes! Few negative effects have been found in clinical cases. Acupuncture should always be administered by a qualified practitioner. Dr. Shaw is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and board member for the World Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.

Is it painful for the pet?
Most of the time pets show no reaction to needle insertion. Occasionally there may be a point that causes momentary discomfort, but the needles are very small and thin. Once the needles are placed, your pet will be more relaxed and might even fall asleep!

How do you keep them still?
Pets don’t have to be completely still during the procedure. Fidgeting and moving is normal, although we do want them in a relaxed state. We will have them lay on the floor or exam table with you during the appointment. If you have an energetic or anxious animal, the doctor will work with you to come up with a suitable plan of action that best fits your pet.

Should I be worried about infection from the needles?
Sterile needles are used and are never placed in an infected area, so infection is very rare.

Why is my pet lethargic after their acupuncture appointment?
Acupuncture can put your pet in a relaxed state, which can be misinterpreted as lethargy or a worsening condition.  This is normal and indicates that the animal is sensitive to the acupuncture.

“I think the thing I would really like for people to realize about acupuncture is that it’s not a one and done procedure. The style of traditional Chinese medicine and veterinary medicine is to reassess the pattern at each appointment and the pattern can change between sessions. You may start to control one problem and as you are starting to fix that, you are finding another, deeper set of problems. Sometimes people get frustrated that problems that have been there for awhile can’t just be fixed in one session. It’s a learning situation between the pet, the parent, and me so that we can be a team to provide the pet with the best care as possible.”

Dr. Shaw

What’s the next step?

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture or any of our other Integrative Health Services, call Fall Creek Place Animal Clinic at 317-854-7447 to make a consultation appointment with Dr. Shaw.

Your acupuncture experience begins with an hour long consultation where Dr. Shaw will talk to you about your pet’s medical history and issues. She’ll talk about your concerns and goals, and make a treatment plan together for your pet. You will go over how many sessions your pet may need, and at what frequency. Dr. Shaw may also combine conventional medications, herbals, nutraceuticals, and food therapy to better manage and improve your pets health.


Monday . 7:30 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday . 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday . 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday . 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Friday . 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday . 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sunday . Closed


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