It is not provocative to suggest that we can treat cancer in pets using acupuncture. The National Cancer Institute advocates the practice of acupuncture for human cancer patients and documents that it can be utilized to control pain and relieve nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, and more.  Additionally, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Consensus Statement on Acupuncture in 1997 highlighted the efficacy of acupuncture for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and other ailments in humans (1).


Is it surprising that we would discover similar results for our four-legged friends?


There are two methods to treat cancer in pets using acupuncture:

  1. As the primary and only treatment
  2. In combination with conventional treatments (such as chemotherapy or radiation and/or surgery)


Why should I consider acupuncture as a treatment for my pet?

  1. Reduced the potential side effects (such as decreased eating, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, etc.) accompanying chemotherapy or radiation, or during the advanced stages of cancer (1)
  2. Support the immune system (increased number of white blood cells, lymphocytes, natural killer cells) (2, 3)
  3. Increased the quality of life – By allowing for the two previously mentioned outcomes, your pet’s health will be improved and he/she will feel better overall!


Moreover, acupuncture is a safe therapy to relieve some of the most distressing side effects of cancer treatments and remedies. 


How often will my pet need treatment?


The frequency of acupuncture therapy will vary with every patient.  In some cases, patients will have treatments twice a week; in others, patients are seen once every two or three weeks.

My pet was just diagnosed with cancer.  When should we start acupuncture treatments?


I recommend starting acupuncture treatments as soon as possible.  My goal is to maintain a great quality of life for your pet.


Works cited:

  1. NIH Consensus Conference.   J Am Medical Assoc.  1998. 280: 1518 – 24.  n
  2. Kim SK, Bae H. Acupuncture and immune modulation. Auton Neuroscience 2010; 157 (1-2): 38-41.
  3. Johnston MF, Ortiz Sanchez E, Vujanovic NL et al. Acupuncture May stimulate anticancer immunity via activation of natural killer cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011; Epub Mar 10.

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