Lakeside Veterinary Clinic

88 Libby Hill Road
Oakland, ME 04963


Most simply stated, acupuncture (acus=needle, punctura=puncture) is the stimulation of specific points on the body with a very small needle. This tiny needle has the ability to affect biochemical and physiological changes at that site and throughout the body. 

It is a means of helping the body heal itself. It can modulate pain, help improve nerve function, balance the body’s stress, help the immune system, and more.


Dr Sabean uses a contemporary neuroanatomical approach to acupuncture, reflecting the idea that needle placement must be guided by a practitioner's detailed knowledge of veterinary anatomy and neurology (nerves).“First do no harm” is a key part of the veterinary oath.  A thorough myofascial exam is done each time medical acupuncture is planned.

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

Many of the points used help the nervous system access the“rest and digest” mode (called parasympathetic response) instead of the “fight or flee” mode (also known as sympathetic response).  Sympathetic “overdrive” is often a component of diseases and problems with the body. We, and our animals, often live in a high state of stress these days.


Treatments may last from 10 seconds to 30 minutes, depending upon the condition treated and the method employed. There are many ways of stimulating acupuncture points, including the use of dry needles (we may use from 3 to 30 needles), electro-acupuncture, as well as low level light laser-acupuncture. Patients are often treated 1-2 times a week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is often noticed within the first 2-4 treatments, even earlier, depending upon the condition treated.


Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available, when practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Occasionally an animal’s condition may deteriorate temporarily before improving;  this phenomenon is quite rare and 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.


Much of the pain felt by animals does not come from bones or joints, but from muscles and connective tissues. Dr Sabean bases her treatments on the problems described by owners, as well as a careful systematic palpation of the pet’s entire body, muscles, joints and fascia (connective tissues).


Often after acupuncture, owners notice that their animals seem relaxed,energetic and even playful. Pain modulation is one of the most common results,but increase in appetite, better rest patterns, more consistent elimination and better/stronger gait, with more freedom of movement often result.