Great Paws Veterinary Hospital

Great Falls
Great Falls, Va 22066



Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine


Dog relaxing on a rug Cat sitting in the sun on a chair Dog laying in the sun on a rug


Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is made up of four treatment modalities: Acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, Tui Na and food therapy.

Great Paws is known as an integrated practice. This means that we are able to offer your pet both western veterinary medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine. Having these expansive medical options allows us formulate a treatment plan that is specially tailored to suit your pet's needs. We care for each pet with a goal in mind to seek overall balance and promote longevity.


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture was first performed in China over 3000 years ago. This ancient technique involves placing fine needles into special points on the body to provoke a healing response. Aquapuncture is a similar technique where a small volume of fluid is injected over the acupuncture point to stimulate the point over a longer period of time.


What ailments can Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is perhaps best known for its pain relieving effects on conditions such as arthritis, acute soft tissue injuries, back pain, etc. Neurological conditions such as epilepsy and acute paralysis often respond well to acupuncture and may be added to Western techniques for an even stronger effect. Acupuncture also plays a large role in treating and supporting internal conditions such as digestive disturbances, kidney disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases.


What can I expect during a acupuncture session?

We like to choose a calm, quiet place for your pet during each session where they can relax and feel at ease. Most pets relax nicely with their needles in place and others enjoy being fed snacks while the session continues. Acupuncture treatments tend to last between 10-20 minutes per session. After the session, we recommend allowing your pet to rest and have an easy day to absorb the full benefit of this ancient technique.


How often does my pet need to get acupuncture?

Most patients require 4-6 weekly sessions. Some acutely painful and serious conditions may require 2-3 sessions in the first week. After the weekly sessions, if the pet has responded favorably, the goal is to prolong the time between visits and tailor each protocol to meet the needs of the individual. Some patients require 2-4 sessions per year once they have gone under the initial phase of treatment and essentially require a quarterly or semi-annual session to keep them feeling their best.


How fast will I see results?
Every patient and case is different. Typically most owners notice an effect within the first 3-5 sessions. Some owners see an immediate change after the initial visit, for others (especially those with pets suffering from more chronic conditions) it may take a bit longer to see the outward change.


What is herbal medicine and how can this help my pet?

Dr. Barker is also certified in Chinese Herbal Veterinary Medicine. Chinese herbal medicine dates back to the 3rd century B.C. Chinese herbal medicine implements a combination of special plant based ingredients to support the body and combat ailments. Chinese herbal formulas are typically made up of many herbs in small, balanced portions. The formulas are typically delivered by way of a pill or capsule.


Common conditions treated or supplemented with Chinese herbs may include the following:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic bladder infections
  • Cancer
  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cardiac disease
  • Lung disease
  • Behavioral problems