Dr. Kate Woo provides Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) at Dana Niguel Veterinary Hospital. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine includes veterinary acupuncture for dogs and cats. TCVM has been used to treat animals for thousands of years, and it is most effective when used in conjunction with traditional Western veterinary medicine. TCVM treatments, like acupuncture and herbal medicine, promote overall wellness and can help ease pain and other symptoms from chronic conditions like allergies and arthritis.

Acupuncture therapy is one of the foundations of TCVM. Acupuncture involves stimulating points on the body with small, specialized needles. Acupuncture therapy is especially effective on inflammatory or pain-related chronic disease such as arthritis, degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc disease and can ease back and neck pain. We generally provide acupuncture treatment alongside laser therapy and PEMP (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy.

Another aspect of TCVM is herbal medicine, which is administered in pill or capsule form to pets.

Dr. Woo is certified by the Chi Institute, a leading education provider of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Florida. A typical visit with Dr. Woo involves a Western and Traditional Chinese physical exam and treatment with Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. We strongly suggest at least four consecutive visits, typically once a week, to get the best outcome.  What is included in each visit will depend on the patient and the specific goals of treatment.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Woo, and to learn more about our TCVM appointment packages, contact Dana Niguel Veterinary Hospital by calling (949) 558-3646.

Frequently Asked Questions: TCVM and Acupuncture

What conditions do you treat with TCVM and acupuncture?
Acupuncture therapy is especially effective on inflammatory or pain-related chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc disease (back pain, neck pain). It is also effective for treating acute muscle injury or for providing post-operative care after orthopedic surgery. TCVM can also be an alternative or additional treatment for chronic medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease and seizures.

How does acupuncture work on my pet’s body?
Acupuncture stimulates the brain to release endogenous hormones, like beta endorphin, to relieve pain, stimulates local nerve reflexes to reduce muscle spasm, reduces inflammation and promotes tissue healing.

Will acupuncture needles bother or hurt my pet?
Acupuncture needles are very fine and not irritating. We only use disposable sterile needles. Most pets are nervous at the beginning of their acupuncture appointments but eventually get comfortable. Many even take naps during treatments.

How often should my pet receive TCVM treatments, and what happens during every session?
The frequency and length of the treatments will depend on the nature and severity of the disease affecting your pet. We strongly recommend at least four weekly sessions. The acupuncture package includes therapeutic laser therapy or PEMP (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy, which will further relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

How long does each session last?
Your pet’s first visit will take about an hour. The follow-up sessions will take 30 to 40 minutes. The long-term routine recheck will take 25 to 30 minutes.

How can I help my pet prepare for a session?
You shouldn’t need to prepare anything. However, if your pet tends to be nervous at the vet, walk your pet or play with your pet before the visit and bring your pet’s favorite treats to give during the treatment.



  • It was once asked, “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, did it make any noise?” While the answer to that question may, or may not, be up for debate, it is debated as to whether or not acupuncture is an effective treatment to what ails you, or whether it is simply the placebo effect that people “believe” it is helping, and therefore it does. However, how does an animal know what is going on? How does an animal differentiate between feeling better, and the placebo effect of having treatment and therefore “I must be feeling better”. Simply put, they cannot. All we can see as owners/parents is increased vitality, increased playfulness, increased appetite and a general increase in quality of life for our “little patient”. There is no way to tell an animal that they have had treatment. There is no way to tell an animal that they have had a pill. There is no way to tell an animal that they “should” feel better. There is no sugar pill, there is no placebo effect. All that is left is positive, or negative results from treatments administered. We can wholeheartedly say, without a doubt, that our little patient’s quality of life from Dr. Woo’s acupuncture treatments has increased. Hamish is our 15-year-old Lhasa Apso mix who has been receiving acupuncture treatment for arthritis for the past 6 months. His playfulness has increased, his interest in going on walks has increased, and his appetite has increased. These positive changes can only be attributed to a reduction in his pain, an increase in his flexibility, and a general feeling of well-being. While no one treatment is the cure for all ailments, we do believe that the acupuncture treatments that Dr. Woo has been administering to our “little boy” are a key component of his overall wellness plan. We have seen a noticeable improvement in his quality of life since we added the treatments. We would, therefore, recommend adding these treatments to anyone else’s wellness plan to provide the best “whole health” possible for anyone’s loved family member. Their well-being can be measured in smiles, happy walks, and waggy tails ­ and they are worth every penny. Sincerely,
    Jason and Fiona Smith