animal acupuncture

Dr. Jones

Dr. Beth Hampton Jones is an Asheville native and has been a veterinarian for 23 years. A 1993 graduate of NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine, she started her career in Lenoir, NC. Thirteen years ago she received her training in veterinary acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS).

Dr. Jones is an Asheville High School graduate and grew up in the Beaverdam community. She has two teenage children, two dogs named Ebby and Gira, and two African Grey parrots. She especially enjoys working with her senior patients, both dogs and cats.

What is Veterinary Acupuncture?


Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either alone or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.

For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is often used for musculoskeletal and nerve problems. It can also be helpful with allergies, behavior issues, and many other conditions. I have the best results with:

  • Hip dysplasia/arthritis
  • Intervertebral disk disease
  • Knee pain (especially cruciate injuries)
  • Elbow arthritis
  • Spondylosis (fusing of vertebrae)
  • Spraying (in cats)
  • Megacolon (in cats)
  • Anxiety/fear issues
  • Post-surgical pain

How does Acupuncture work?

Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times before modern scientific methods were available with which to study it, many important studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic mechanisms are involved in its actions. Using functional MRI (fMRI), to examine 15 different points, the basic tenets of acupuncture have been proven. Those are that acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points results in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.

In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.

Is Acupuncture safe for animals?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.