Acupuncture for analgesia is growing rapidly in popularity with veterinarians and pet owners. This article summarizes the mechanisms of analgesia derived from acupuncture and reviews current literature on the topic. Areas covered include the local effects at area of needle insertion, systemic effects secondary to circulating neurotransmitters and changes in cell signaling, central nervous system effects including the brain and spinal cord, and myofascial trigger point and pathology treatment. Clinical applications are discussed and suggested in each section. When used by appropriately trained professionals, acupuncture offers a compelling and safe method for pain management in our veterinary patients and should be strongly considered as a part of multimodal pain management plans.
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