Canine Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy dating back many thousands of years. It is also one of the most intensely researched areas of complementary medicine in modern times.

Many dog owner’s will have had personal experience with the benefits of acupuncture or dry needling. They may often have found that the acupuncture treatment was quite comfortable and perhaps even relaxing or invigorating.  

At Aligning Canine Chiropractic, we focus on acupuncture treatment for musculoskeletal and some neuro-musculoskeletal problems.

The aim of musculoskeletal & neuro-musculoskeletal acupuncture is not only to reduce pain, although yes this is often an objective, but also to help promote healing and improve the function of effected joints, muscles and nerves. 

At this practice, canine acupuncture is generally used in conjunction with other tactile and manual therapies such as soft tissue massage, and mobilization & manipulation, providing a constellation of therapies that may complement each other.



Canine acupuncture-overview of how it works

Acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine is often explained as stimulating various points along channels or meridians to restore or normalize the flow of energy (chi/Qi) moving through them, and for other effects that promote healing.



In the traditional Chinese system, this is may be metaphorically or poetically described as being based on the flow of ancient irrigation channels. Where a blockage to the flow of water in an irrigation channel may result in flooding or stagnation of water above the blockage, and a lack of vital water below the blockage. Acupuncture is aimed at removing this blockage and restoring flow.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture is often described and researched from a neuro- biological view point, where stimulation of specific points may have both local and more distant central nervous system, spinal cord and brain mediated, reflexogenic effects.

There may also be hormonal, immunological & anti-inflammatory mediated effects from acupuncture, an example being endorphin release.


Canine musculoskeletal acupuncture-Ashi or Myofascial trigger points

In musculoskeletal acupuncture, a very important aspect is the targeting of Ashi points. These points are not at a specific location on a meridian, but are often very tender points located in muscles, fascia or around joints. Western therapists utilizing dry needling will often interchangeably describe these Ashi acupuncture points as muscle or myofascial trigger points.


Conditions treated

Back (lumbopelvic) joint & muscle problems      Mid-back (thoracic) joint & muscle problems

Neck (cervical) joint & muscle problems              Osteoarthritis-joint degeneration

Myofascial trigger point syndromes                      Muscle tightness & strain

Lameness / limping-muscle & biomechanical     Hip & gluteal muscle problems

Shoulder & lateral scapula problems                    Sciatica & brachial neuralgia

Intervertebral Disc disease (IVDD)-mild to moderate forms



Aligning Canine Chiropractic


The principal canine musculoskeletal therapist at Aligning Canine Chiropractic is Dr. Shane Watterson (Animal Chiropractor).


Shane has 10 years of experience providing tactile soft tissue massage / techniques and joint biomechanical care to dogs. He also has 28 years of experience in human musculoskeletal care.

He also has additional training in canine acupuncture.

Extra Masters degrees-in Animal chiropractic

Dr. Watterson is the only human chiropractor in the world with a Masters Degree specifically in Animal Chiropractic.

He is also one of the few animal chiropractors in Australia who focuses exclusively on dogs.


8-year university program

The university ‘Animal Chiropractic Degree’ is a significantly more advanced qualification than that required for a human only practitioner.

All up, the Masters of Animal Chiropractic is in effect an 8-year university program, first is the 5-year full time university human qualification, then an additional 3 years for the post-graduate Animal Chiropractic Masters Degree.