Kindred Souls Vet Offering Acupuncture for Pets & Livestock - TribPapers

Kindred Souls Vet Offering Acupuncture for Pets & Livestock

Older small animals, such as 16-year-old Ned, a Gordon Setter with a bulging disc in his neck, often need regular acupuncture treatments to prevent pain. Submitted photo.

Asheville – “I’ve seen acupuncture do amazing things,” said Kristi Sowers, DVM, of Kindred Souls Vet in Asheville. “There’e so much modern medicine and science doesn’t understand.”

Sowers originally trained in Western veterinary medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, then worked as an emergency vet from 2009 until 2017.

“I was working with two huskies that had lameness issues Western medicine couldn’t correct,” she said. “I knew a veterinary acupuncturist and thought it was worth a try. I was amazed with the results.”

Sowers said she was looking for a change and decided to attend the Chi University in Reddick, Fl. Since 2017 she has been helping both large and small animals, including equines in Asheville, Hendersonville, Tryon and surrounding areas. Sowers sees a lot of horses with problems in their hindquarters that stem from the horses’ sacrum or hips.

“There’s not really a good way to diagnose sacrum and hip problems using Western medicine,” she said. She added that acupuncture is very helpful in diagnosing hoof and leg problems that vets and farriers can’t find.

“Sometimes the rider picks up on a soreness issue the vet can’t see,” she explained. “I can use acupuncture to help pinpoint where the problem is and I then to treat the problem.”

Documented use of acupuncture in China dates back to 100 B.C. Many believe there is evidence of its use as long as 5000 to 6000 years ago. Sowers explained that it is designed to treat the energetic body. 

According to Chinese medicine humans and animals have an energetic body that operates the physical body. In China, this energetic body is called Qi, pronounced “chee.” Similar to electrical currents running through wires, the body’s energy currents, Qi, run along channels in the body, known as meridian lines.

Acupunture is an excellent treatment for problems in horses’ hindquarters that stem from the sacrum or hips. Kristi Sowers, DVM, has practiced acupunture in Asheville and the surrounding areas since 2017. Submitted photo.

“Along the meridian lines are acupoints, where the channel comes up closer to the surface and is closer to the exterior environment,” Sowers said. “These are the points where I put needles.”

Most of these points are located over dense concentrations of nerves, blood vessels lymphatic ducts and areas of immune cells. Acupuncture stimulates these points helping the body to release certain chemicals or substances that help the body heal itself.

“All diseases, except trauma, start in the energetic body,” Sowers explained. “If the imbalance is not corrected in the energetic body, it will move on to affect the physical body.”

She added that trauma, such as an injury affects not only the physical body, but the energetic as well. If trauma is not healed in the energetic channels, it can cause chronic illness.

Sowers said she has used acupuncture to diagnose and treat early signs of navicular, digestive problems, respiratory problems such as heaves, reproductive issues and neurologic symptoms in horses. In small animals she has seen acupuncture stop seizures, bring down fevers nothing else could touch, and solve lameness and mobility issues that Western medicine couldn’t help. She added that the treatment is very helpful in improving performance for horses.

Many of Sowers patients are older animals, especially arthritis in small animals such as dogs and cats. She also uses acupuncture very successfully for slipped or bulging discs, cancer, epilepsy seizures and kidney disease. 

“Acupuncture can treat anything from anything from eye disease to gastrointestinal problems in animals,” she said.

While sticking needles in a human or animal, looks painful, it actually is not. Sowers explained that unlike a hypodermic needle (used for vaccines, etc.), acupuncture needles are very tiny and flat on the ends. A hypodermic hurts because it is beveled and causes damage as it goes through the cells. Because they are flat, acupuncture needles actually slip between the cells, and therefore don’t cause any damage.

Unless the problem is chronic. Acupuncture is usually quiet effective in one to four or so treatments. For acute cases, such as a slip disc in dogs, or a pulled muscle, tendon, or colic in horses, the client can expect up to three to four treatments a couple of days apart. 

Formerly an emergency vet, Kristi Sowers, DVM, of Kindred Souls Vet, studied acupuncture at the Chi University in Reddick, Fl., then brought her mobile vet practice to Asheville in 2017. Submitted photo.

For chronic problems such as arthritis, or laminitis, the client can expect four to six treatments one to two weeks apart. Sowers then recommends maintenance acupuncture  every three weeks to every six months. Older dogs and cats typically receive maintenance treatments about once a month, depending on the problem.

Sowers uses other modalities to compliment the acupuncture. These options include electro acupuncture, food therapy, and a form of Chinese medical massage called Tui-na. She can also prescribe Chinese herbal medicine for some conditions. 

“The electro acupuncture is really good for neurological disease, performance and mobility, especially for horses,” Sowers said. “Similar to a tens unit, it sends an electrical signal between acupuncture needles.”

Sowers helps out part time at Riversong Veterinary, an integrative animal clinic in Brevard. The balance of her time is spent with her mobile service visiting animals in their homes, or making barn calls for horses. 

For more information about Sowers and acupuncture visit her Facebook page, Kindred Souls Mobile Veterinary Services in Asheville. She can also be reached through email at at or phone, 828-424-8733.

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