VCA Desert Animal Hospital


By Dr Gail Cuttler
Published: June 04, 2014

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Jackson, my 8 year old pug, has very weak back legs and periodically falls down. He is on medication, but not doing much better, and my friend says I should consider acupuncture. Does that work on dogs?
By Dr. Gail Cutler
Yes, it does. In fact, most pets seem to relax and enjoy acupuncture.
A month ago, I saw a Chihuahua with whose back legs were so weak that she was almost paralyzed, and was unable to walk. Medications were not working, and a back injury was suspected but the owner couldn’t afford back surgery. After three acupuncture treatments her dog is now taking walks around the block and is back to normal.
As a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, I have seen some remarkable results, including a dog that came into the clinic on a stretcher and walked out on her own after a single treatment. That was a very unusual case in that they usually require multiple treatments before a good response is seen.
Acupuncture is an approximately 5,000 year old practice. Medical research has shown that acupuncture points have more density of nerve bundles and inflammatory mediators than other parts of the body. This process is believed to adjust and alter the body’s energy and blood flow into healthier patterns. Very thin needles are placed at specific points in the body to accomplish this change.
Acupuncture can address pain as well as help improve neurological function and strengthen muscles. Acupuncture can also be used for skin issues, respiratory issues, nausea, and a host of other conditions.
Sometimes we need to think outside the box when western medicine isn’t giving all the results that we hope for. Acupuncture is a treatment that has no negative side effects and has the potential to help with Jackson’s situation.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours,

please contact either:

VCA Valley Animal Medical Hospital and Emergency Hospital

46920 Jefferson Street

Indio,  CA  92201               Phone: 760-342-4711

Website: VCA Valley Animal Medical Hospital and Emergency Hospital


VCA Central Animal Hospital

281 North Central Avenue

Upland,  CA  91786           Phone: 909-981-2855