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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine can be beneficial in treating many conditions. Today we’ll talk about how our pets diagnosed with cancer can benefit from acupuncture. Chemotherapy is very important for treating most types of cancer in our pets. However, traditional cancer treatments often have undesirable side effects including inappetance, diarrhea, vomiting, and myelosuppression (decreased bone marrow activity resulting in dangerously low white blood cell, red blood cell, and platelet counts). Acupuncture and herbal therapy can help reduce the side effects from chemotherapy and symptoms of the tumor itself. 

Acupuncture has been found to improve symptoms of pain, nausea, inflammation, and problems with the immune system in both human and veterinary studies. In veterinary oncology, chemotherapy treatments often have to be delayed due to patients not feeling well (vomiting/diarrhea) or a white blood cell count that is too low to permit safe administration of drugs. Better control of these symptoms means our veterinary cancer patients can experience a superior quality of life and are better able to receive therapy for their disease. 

Even if chemotherapy is not an option, supplemental acupuncture can benefits our pets dealing with cancer. By controlling pain, decreasing nausea, and increasing appetite, acupuncture can help pets living with cancer have a better quality of life. By stimulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation, acupuncture can help the body fight cancer cells. 

An integrative approach to cancer involves Western medicine to diagnose, monitor, and treat disease while using Eastern medicine to minimize side effects of treatment, improve quality of life, and support the body. 


Emily Falk, DVM