By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Acupuncture — for pets?

Although Turlock veterinarian Robert Santos is afraid of needles, he gives shots to his patients every day. In fact, he recently spent some time in China studying the art of needlework in acupuncture courses, but the patients on whom he is performing this progressive practice aren’t stressed adults – they’re animals.

Behind Monte Vista Avenue Small Animal Hospital in Turlock is the Center for Pet Longevity where Santos brings animals to a private room to perform the acupuncture practices.

“I mainly perform it for pain relief and seizure control,” said Santos, noting that elevating an animal’s quality of life is the predominant reason owners bring their pets to him.

Dating back to roughly 5000 B.C., acupuncture is an alternative medicine created by the Chinese who discovered that putting pressure on something created relief. In an effort to expand his services and stay abreast of developments in the veterinary industry, Santos found that the pet community in the Central Valley was receptive to the progressive practice. However, it does have its limitations.

“If your leg is broken I’m not going to fix it through acupuncture. I’m going to fix it through Western medicine, but acupuncture could take over for pain control or to help the immune system,” Santos explained.

The practice is also becoming increasingly common as Santos said roughly 50 to 60 percent of veterinary students he has seen while searching for prospective hires are showing an interest in the field.

“When I was in class we never talked about it and that was 23 years ago,” said Santos.

A pet's need for treatment varies though it is common for an owner to bring their pet once a week for about a month before transitioning to monthly sessions and then to yearly tune-ups, said Santos.

For more information about the Center for Pet Longevity, visit