Animal Acupuncture Certification Program | MUIH
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Animal Acupuncture Certification Program

Next Offered:  TBA

To join the list of acupuncturists who will be notified first for the next offering, contact the Office of Continuing Education at

Have you considered expanding your acupuncture practice to include animal patients?

For more than 17 years, Maryland University of Integrative Health has been teaching the nation’s only university-based, state approved certification program in animal acupuncture. This unique program is developed specifically for licensed acupuncturists and enables you to offer animal patients a powerful and complementary modality for health and healing.

More and more people are experiencing the extraordinary healing possibilities of Chinese medicine. It’s natural that they are now seeking the same treatment for their animal companions. This program gives you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and skill base for a growing niche market and is designed for people who have a passion for working with animals and their owners.

Learn more about animal acupuncture and this program by viewing "Treating Animals with Acupuncture: A Growing Trend," a recorded webinar presented by three MUIH instructors for “Acupuncture Today”.

Program Highlights

  • The most established animal acupuncture certification program for licensed acupuncturists in the nation and the only one on the east coast
  • Meets Maryland Board of Acupuncture Animal Acupuncture Certification requirements
  • Interdisciplinary faculty of seasoned animal acupuncturists and veterinarians
  • Rigorous small animal and equine veterinary curriculum includes anatomy, physiology, handling and restraint, veterinary emergencies, and diseases
  • Rich clinical experience that prepares participants to apply for state certification
  • Flexible weekend format designed for practicing acupuncturists
  • Payment plans available
  • Approved for 210 Continuing Education Units

Program Goals

  • Fosters the ability to formulate safe and effective responses with acupuncture treatments for animal-patients
  • Facilitates progress in clinical skills including diagnosis, formula planning, treatment delivery, and animal-patient management  
  • Manages progress from treating animals under close faculty supervision to working independently

Course Descriptions

Small Animal Veterinary Medicine
Small Animal Veterinary Medicine covers the comparative functional anatomy and physiology of small animals, animal handling, restraint, veterinary emergencies, and knowledge of the Maryland Animal Acupuncture Law. In addition, participants are introduced to small animal diseases and zoonotics and learn to recognize the presenting symptoms of conditions and diseases that require the immediate attention of a veterinary practitioner.

Equine Veterinary Medicine
Equine Veterinary Medicine covers the comparative functional anatomy and physiology of equines, equine handling, restraint, and veterinary emergencies. In addition, participants are introduced to equine animal diseases and zoonotics and learn to recognize the presenting symptoms of conditions and diseases that require the immediate attention of a veterinary practitioner.

Animal Acupuncture (Small Animal and Equine)
Animal Acupuncture describes and analyzes acupuncture theories and principles applicable to small animals and horses. Participants practice point location and begin to treat their own animal-patients with faculty supervision. Additionally, they observe treatment of other animals provided as class demonstrations.  

Licensure and Practice

This program meets the requirements for Maryland licensed acupuncturists to apply to the Maryland Board of Acupuncture for Animal Acupuncture Certification, and meets or exceeds the requirements for certification/licensing in other states (where applicable). In order to receive the certification from the state of Maryland, you must:

  • Pass the course examinations given in this program
  • Complete the clinical hours and number of treatments required for this program

If you are a licensed acupuncturist outside of Maryland, please check with your current state acupuncture board to determine whether animal acupuncture is in the scope of practice.

Instructors from the 2015 program included:

Randi Sobel, M.A., M.Ac., L.Ac., is a graduate of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) and its animal acupuncture program. She is the lead faculty for for the program. Randi completed her M.A. in Thanatology at Hood College. She maintains a full-time human and animal acupuncture practice in Baltimore, Maryland, and has been teaching in the MUIH animal acupuncture program since 2004.

Melissa L. Carlson, D.V.M., obtained her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Cornell University. She then completed two internships: one in equine medicine and surgery at Kansas State University and another in advanced reproductive technologies at a private facility in Virginia. Dr. Carlson settled in north-central Maryland as an equine ambulatory veterinarian and concurrently completed the I.V.A.S. course and certification in veterinary acupuncture. By the end of 2004, Dr. Carlson had started her own equine acupuncture practice. In 2006, she added chiropractic services as well, having completed her training through Options For Animals Chiropractic College. Dr. Carlson also has training in Tui-na through The Chi Institute. She sees mainly equine patients, but also the occasional farm and/or show dog, in Maryland and parts of Virginia.

Rebecca S. Douglass, L.Ac., C.Eq.D.T., has a strong background in equine science and animal behavior. In addition, she is a graduate of the Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Tai Sophia Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) animal acupuncture program, and the American School of Equine Dentistry. Rebecca has been practicing acupuncture on horses for 10 years, equine dentistry for 15 years, and riding and training horses for over 30 years. She has taught in the MUIH animal acupuncture program since 2008 and continues to immerse herself in all aspects of animal care.

Noreen Javornik, M.S., M.Ac., L.Ac., has a M.S. degree from Ohio State University and a M.Ac. from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health). Noreen is a national leader in the field of animal acupuncture and has taught in MUIH’s Master of Acupuncture program since 1997. She was involved in establishing the program and has taught since its inception. Noreen maintains a people and animal acupuncture practice in Laurel, Maryland.

Mikahla Insalaco Jestes, M.Ac., L.Ac., has a Master of Acupuncture and an animal acupuncture certificate from Tai Sophia Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health). She started riding horses at age four and continues today. From nine to 18 years of age, she was in 4-H, and at nine years old she bought her own horse and took the responsibility for her care. In adulthood she rode, trained, and competed professionally. Mikahla has also participated in many clinics with Olympic-level riders to further her horsemanship. She is currently in private practice at Points in Balance Acupuncture where she sees both animal and human patients.

Pema Choepel Mallu, M.Ac., D.V.M., C.V.A., L.Ac., has practiced veterinary medicine since graduating from Ohio State University in 1977. She was certified through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1988 and practices traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese herbology. During the 1980s, Pema also completed extensive training in energy healing. In December 2010, she completed the Master of Acupuncture from Tai Sophia Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Heath). Pema is a licensed acupuncturist and sees both human and animal patients. Through Holistic Veterinary Healing in Germantown, Maryland, she offers a variety of both holistic and conventional medical services in a caring environment.

Deborah S. Tyler, M. Ac., L.Ac., is a graduate of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) and it’s Animal Acupuncture certification program. She practices five-element acupuncture, community acupuncture and has spent several years treating large and small animals with acupuncture in private practice and as a volunteer at various Horse Rescue farms. She has had a life-long passion and commitment to the wellbeing of our furred and feathered relatives. She grew up on a horse farm teaching and tending horses and raising and working a full range of small and large animals. Her constant companion of 15 years, Scout Basil, a border collie mix was a frequent visitor to the animal acupuncture classes during her tenure there as a supervisor in the student clinics.

Program Format and Schedule

The program is offered in 13 two- and three-day weekend sessions over a seven month period. Classes are usually scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, or at the same times on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The certificate consists of a total of 210 hours and meets the format and length requirements for approval by the Maryland Board of Acupuncture. Note: Specific dates for the 2017 program are not yet determined.


Small Animal Veterinary Medicine
May 1, 2, and 3
May 16 and 17

Small Animal Acupuncture
May 30 and 31
June 13 and 14
June 27 and 28
July 11 and 12
July 25 and 26
August 7, 8 and 9
August 22 and 23

Equine Veterinary Medicine
August 28, 29, and 30

Equine Acupuncture
September 12 and 13
September 26 and 27


Participants in MUIH’s  Animal Acupuncture program must be currently licensed as an acupuncturist in the state in which they practice.

Participants are required to submit a copy of their license with their application. Submissions will be reviewed in order of receipt until the class fills and participants will be notified of their status within two weeks.

As you consider this program, it is important that you examine your comfort level with small animals and horses. In this program, you will work with animals in a healing way – and it is essential to do so in a manner that is safe for you, the animal, and the owner. You must be prepared to experience and handle all aspects of animal behavior.

Tuition and Fees

The tuition for the 2015 program was $6000 and there was an option to pay over four payments.  Additional course fees have not exceeded $500 and included several required and recommended books. Participants are also responsible for their own scrubs, acupuncture needles, towels, sheets, and other supplies needed for the clinical portion. Details of these expenses will be discussed prior to the start of clinical experiences. Please note: Tuition for the 2017 program has not yet been determined.


To apply for this program, you will complete an on-line application and include a brief essay, a copy of your current acupuncture license, and a tuition deposit (amount to be determined). In most cases, you will receive notification of your status within two weeks by email.



For Additional Information

Contact Patricia DeLorenzo, Director of Continuing Education and Alumni Affairs, at or 410-888-9048 ext. 6642.