Foundation Course in Western Veterinary Acupuncture

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About the course

The course is divided into two sessions:

Session 1. This is the first two days, which accustom the participant to needle handling and instil the principles of safe needling; introduce the principles of point selection and the neurophysiological justification for these principles; the application of the principles to common pain conditions; and point finding on animals.

Session 2. During the second two days the approach is broadened and covers other conditions that may be treated with acupuncture, e.g. visceral and dermatological conditions, along with the introduction of electroacupuncture and further selected points, paper cases and live case demonstrations.

The course can be taken as a single four-day course, or as two x two days separated by a month. The former is convenient for those who wish to minimize travelling and weekday time off (Friday to Monday inclusive); the latter option allows for some needling practice in between sessions and a discussion of this experience during the second session.


This includes a mix of:

  • didactic lecturing,
  • practical sessions where delegates practice needling their colleagues. This will allow delegates to understand the different sensations resulting from acupuncture at different sites of the body and also the sensations of delivering a needle into different tissues.
  • Live animal sessions with horses and dogs, to demonstrate and practice the palpation and topography of different acupuncture points. Clearly, on ethical grounds, these healthy animals will not be needled. On most courses local vet practices will refer in animals with pain for treatment, when the lecturers will demonstrate acupuncture.
  • There are also group seminars where cases are presented for problem-oriented discussion of treatment approaches

Delegate expectations

  • Skills: Delegates can expect to finish the course with the confidence to use acupuncture safely and competently in a wide range of conditions. They will also be equipped to make decisions about whether acupuncture is a suitable treatment for a given patient.
  • Materials: Each delegate will be provided with a set of course notes, a portfolio and a box of acupuncture needles so they will be able to get started on their first day back at the practice.
  • Support: Delegates are also given membership of an e-group, where they can discuss cases and get advice and support from the lecturers and other members.

 The legal status of veterinary acupuncture

The treatment of animals with acupuncture is an act of veterinary surgery and can therefore only be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon. 

Qualified VNs can perform acupuncture as a Schedule 3 procedure and therefore the course is open to VNs. However, VNs should be aware that, given the nature and practise of acupuncture, they will be restricted by the limitations of Schedule 3. Current RCVS guidelines state that the VN must be directed by a veterinary surgeon qualified in acupuncture and that depth and position of needling should be part of that direction. They advise that the directing veterinary surgeon should be on the premises when the VN carries out the acupuncture.  
Please note that these guidelines are always open to change, and it is the VNs' responsibility to update themselves as to current advice. 


Start date Location / delivery
10 May 2019 Wiltshire Book now
13 Sep 2019 Scotland Book now
08 Nov 2019 Wiltshire Book now

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