Students learn acupuncture on live animals during wet lab sessions.
Course Overview

The Small Animal Acupuncture Course is a 130-hour continuing education course approved by American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education (AAVSB RACE) that certifies students in veterinary acupuncture with an emphasis on small animals.  The course begins with an overview of fundamental aspects of Chinese Medicine, including Yin-Yang and Five Elements theory, which serve as a foundation for case diagnoses and treatment presented later in the class.  A variety of acupuncture techniques are taught, including electro-acupuncture and moxibustion, in addition to conventional "dry" needling.  Students will learn acupuncture points on small animals only, and primarily dogs are used for practice in the wet labs. 

The course is presented in five sessions (two online and three on-site) over a period of six months.  Online sessions are composed of  lectures that students can stream at their own convenience.  Afternoon wet-labs of on-site sessions give students the opportunity to learn acupuncture points on live animals in small lab groups of five to six students per instructor.  A spring class and a fall class are held each year.  Small Animal Acupuncture is offered to licensed veterinarians and veterinary school students only. 

Major Topics
  • Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM)  Principles: Five Elements, Yin-Yang, Eight Principles, Zang-Fu Physiology and Pathology, Meridians and Channels
  • Scientific Basis of Acupuncture
  • 126 Transpositional Canine Acupuncture Points (hands-on, wet-lab demos)
  • 40 Classical Canine Acupuncture Points (hands-on, wet-lab demos)
  • How to needle acupuncture points in dogs, cats and birds
  • TCVM Diagnostic Systems, including Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis
  • How to integrate acupuncture into your practice
  • How to use veterinary acupuncture to diagnose and treat:
      1. Musculoskeletal conditions, lameness and neurological disorders
      2. Cardiovascular diseases and respiratory disorders
      3. Gastrointestinal disorders and behavioral problems
      4. Dermatological problems and immune-mediated diseases
      5. Renal & urinary disorders and reproductive disorders
  • Veterinary acupuncture techniques:
      1. Dry needle (conventional needling)
      2. Aqua-acupuncture (point injection)
      3. Electro-acupuncture
      4. Hemo-acupuncture
      5. Moxibustion
Course Features
  • Limited seats, small lab groups (5-6 members with one TA per group) in 37 hours of wet labs
  • Learn from master TCVM practitioner Dr. Huisheng Xie, who has over 35 years of teaching experience in the U.S. and abroad
  • 130-hours approved by American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education (AAVSB RACE)
  • Combination of online and on-site learning, allowing for lower total cost and more schedule flexibility
  • Free case consultation with TCVM experts for all students
  • Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) certification from the Chi Institute after completion of course requirements
  • Clinical practice receives strong emphasis throughout the entire course.  The goal after each on-site session are listed below:
      1. Session 2 (first on-site session): begin incorporating acupuncture into your practice
      2. Session 4 (second on-site session): improve efficacy of acupuncture treatments
      3. Session 5 (final session): fully integrate acupuncture into daily practice
  • The Chi Campus offers a balanced learning environment: start each day with Tai-ji practice and enjoy fresh, healthy snacks and lunch in between lectures
  • Complimentary "goodies" to all our acupuncture students include:
Required Reading


  • Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine by Allen Schoen
  • Four Paws, Five Directions by Cheryl Schwartz
  • The Foundations of Chinese Medicine by Giovanni Maciocia
  • Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion by Cheng Xinnong
  • Chinese Veterinary Herbal Handbook by Huisheng Xie



  • Session 1:
    Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine-Fundamental Principles 2nd edition
    : Chapters 1, 2, 4, & 5
    Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture: Chapters 1 and 2
  • Session 2:
    Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine-Fundamental Principles 2nd edition: Chapter 3
    Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture: Chapters 5, 6, 7 & 8
  • Session 3:
    Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine-Fundamental Principles 2nd edition
    Chapters 6, 7, & 8
    Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture: Chapters 9, 10 & 11
  • Session 4: Review all assigned chapters and prepare for finals.
CVA Certification

Students of the Small Animal Acupuncture course are eligible for the Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist certification endorsed by the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. The CVA certification requirements are as follows:

  • Complete all five sessions of the course.
  • Pass three online quizzes (administered online after sessions 1-3) with scores above 75%.
  • Pass final written exam in the final on-site session with a score above 75%.
  • Pass the clinical acupoints exam in the final on-site session with a score above 75%.
  • Submit one veterinary acupuncture case report to be approved.
  • Complete 30-hours of advanced TCVM course training or internship with a certified veterinary acupuncturist. More information on completing the internship requirement can be found here.

    Please note that the Chi Institute cannot issue any certification to DVM students until their DVM has been obtained.
Lodging and Accommodations

For information about accommodations, travel, and what to pack, please visit our lodging and accommodations page.

Small Animal Acupuncture wet labs are capped at 5-6 students per instructor.

Dog receiving aqua-acupuncture
Students in the Veterinary Acupuncture course learn a variety of needling methods, including aqua-acupuncture.

Dr. Xie giving a lecture
Dr. Huisheng Xie is a key lecturer for the Veterinary Acupuncture course.


Complimentary lunches (with vegetarian options) are provided during all on-site sessions.