Columbia, SC (WLTX) - While most people have heard of acupuncture for humans, the treatment is growing in popularity for animals.

Liz Cuttino is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist with Seven Oaks Animal Hospital. We asked her to answer some of the questions most people have about medical acupuncture.

What is medical acupuncture?

According to Dr. Cuttino, medical acupuncture is the use of needles in specific points on the body in combination with a thorough veterinary physical exam to achieve healing and pain control. She said, "Acupuncture is a significant part of managing pain.It is a multimodal field meaning meaning that we need not just medications to manage pain. We need medication. We need therapy. We need laser therapy. We need lots of different tools in our toolbox in order to manage pain successfully and keep our pets happy and healthy and in our lives."

Who can benefit from acupuncture?

  • Sick pets
  • Animal athletes
  • Geriatric pets
  • Cancer patients
  • Pets with lameness
  • Pets with behavioral issues that could be caused by physical discomfort.
  • Surgical and post-surgical pets

You can find out if your pet can be an acupuncture candidate HERE

Does acupuncture hurt?

Dr. Cuttino says the needles are not much bigger than a human hair and are not very painful. "Infact, it's a pretty pleasant sensation and you may not feel them going through the skin at times. Does it hurt? Usually no. Every once in a while there may be one you feel a prick on, but most of the time there is not a pain response" Dr. Cuttino said.

Does acupuncture really work?

Every animal is different, but Dr. Cuttino says it works in large percentage of pets and is low to no risk.

Dan the Cat was brought to Seven Oaks Animal Hospital in December 2017 for hind end paralysis.He had little use of his back legs and was unable to walk. Over the course of about three months, he had a combination of medical therapy and acupuncture. In February 2018, he was able to walk again.

See Dan's journey with acupuncture HERE

Dan is ready to be adopted. He is at the rescue organization For The Love Of A Paw in Orangeburg.

How long has veterinary acupuncture been around?

According to Dr. Cuttino, the first official veterinary acupuncturist were on the scene in the 1970's however, modern veterinary acupuncture really started evolving in the 1990's.