Acupuncture analgesia works by stimulating large myelinated nerve fibres which conduct the stimulus to the spinal cord and higher centres. The ascending pain impulses are blocked by a complicated interaction in which serotonin, endorphins, encephalin, norepinephrine and substance P all play important roles. The practical applications of acupuncture in small animal practice are limited and require the cooperation of the owner and the animal. It is useful especially in caesarian sections, in patients with high risk conditions such as gastric torsion and as a post-surgical analgesic. It can also be used to advantage in combination with conventional anaesthetic agents.