Dr. Joy Harkins has been with Gahanna Animal Hospital since 2004. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University,  has a Master’s degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University and now, a Veterinary Medical Acupuncture certification from The Colorado State Veterinary School! We are very pleased that because of Dr. Harkins‘ hard work and dedication, we are now able to offer acupuncture to our clients!

What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is the act of placing a needle into the body at specific points. Dr. Harkins utilizes a contemporary neuroanatomical  approach to acupuncture, reflecting the idea that needle placement is guided by her detailed knowledge of veterinary anatomy and neurology. Acupuncture does more than relieve pain. How it works depends on what condition one is treating  and which points are utilized.

  • Acupuncture increases circulation
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Causes the release of the body’s natural pain killing hormones
  • Relieves muscles spasms
  • Stimulates nerves
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Numerous other beneficial effects

Acupuncture is performed with sterilized single-use thin stainless steel needles.

Acupuncture is performed with sterilized single-use thin stainless steel needles.

Is acupuncture safe?

  Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Occasionally an animal’s condition may deteriorate temporarily before improving but the phenomenon typically resolves in 24 – 48 hours. Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.

Is it painful? How will my pet react?

Acupuncture is performed with sterilized single-use thin stainless steel needles. There is occasionally a brief moment of sensitivity as the needles penetrates the skin in certain sensitive areas. Once the needles are in place, most animals relax and may even fall asleep during treatment!

How often and how long does one treat?

Treatment may last from 2 minutes to 30  minutes depending upon the condition treated and the method employed. Patients are often treated 1-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is often noticed within the first 4-6 treatments, sometimes earlier depending upon the condition treated. Dr. Harkins will be able to discuss with you a treatment plan for your pet’s specific needs at the first appointment.

What conditions respond to acupuncture?

Musculoskeletal problems

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Inter-vertebral disc disease

Nerve injuries/paralysis

  • Facial nerve paralysis

Respiratory issues

  • Asthma
  • Chronic upper respiratory infections

Skin conditions

  • Lick granulomas
  • Wound healing

Elimination disorders

  • Urinary tract disorder
  • Incontinence

Gastrointestinal upset

  • Diarrhea/vomiting
  • Chronic IBD

Ocular disorders

  • Dry eye
  • Corneal ulcers

What changes happen as a result?

  • Better control of chronic diseases
  • Achieve general wellness through preventative medicine
  • Speed healing time and pain control post operatively

For over 50 years, Gahanna Animal Hospital has offered an array of veterinary medical services. Our medical team is proud to provide many surgical procedures, wellness exams, digital radiography, digital dental radiography, behavioral medicine, grooming, boarding, day care and puppy training. We are very excited to now be able to offer Veterinary Medical Acupuncture!


Call our office to schedule your pet an appointment with Dr. Harkins today!