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Welcome to the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture (ACVA).
The College is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing high level continuing education to veterinarians in Australasia. The College is the pre-eminent school delivering online acupuncture training to qualified veterinarians in the Asia Pacific region.

Endorsed by:

  • Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group (AVAG), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association
  • International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) – the largest and longest established professional society upholding consistent standards of veterinary acupuncture education and examination.

ACVA Mission

  • Provide gold standard, internationally-accredited foundational training in veterinary acupuncture through teaching of the IVAS Certification Course
  • Offer advanced and continuing education for veterinarians in the clinical application of acupuncture using scientific and traditional acupuncture theories
  • Promote veterinary acupuncture research.

Research into veterinary acupuncture is currently very limited and in addition to teaching acupuncture,  the ACVA Foundation aims to raise money to fund research into veterinary acupuncture. It is our aim that the ACVA Foundation will establish research projects within a number of Australian universities over the coming years.

The People Behind… The Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture (ACVA)

People with passion can achieve amazing things – and this is exactly the story behind behind the ACVA.  Many of the founding members have been passionate about veterinary acupuncture since 1986 and with the 2018 IVAS Course almost finalised (with excellent examination results), this enthusiasm and education continues. The ACVA tell us their story……  

The Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture (ACVA) was formed in 2012 by a group of veterinary acupuncturists who had been teaching acupuncture to veterinarians from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Japan since 1991.  But it all really began in 1986 when a group of like-minded veterinarians, some of whom had studied human acupuncture, got together to exchange ideas, because at that time there was very little veterinary acupuncture literature available in English.  A few years later this group became a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association.  During this time the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) was also formed.

It was at the suggestion of Dr Allen Schoen, a member of IVAS and now our esteemed Patron, that the first Australian IVAS Certification Course was organised by Dr Chris Robinson with the educational components and lectures organised by Drs Ulrike Wurth and Carl Muller with overseas guest lecturers. The first course had 50 students and was taught in 3 parts, each section a gruelling week of lectures and practical sessions.

Fast forward to 2012 and seven acupuncture courses later, each with approximately 50 students in each course, the eighth course became the first hybrid course with on line lectures, quizzes and other interactive activities and three face to face, hands on workshops which made the course more manageable.   These eight courses were taught in conjunction with the Australian Veterinary Acupuncture Group (AVAG), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, however after 2012, this arrangement was no longer possible.  Of necessity the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture Ltd was formed as Trustee for the ACVA Foundation.

The start of the ACVA ….

The ACVA Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was established to promote veterinary acupuncture education and research within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Its mission is to educate veterinarians in the clinical application of acupuncture using scientific and traditional acupuncture theories and to promote veterinary acupuncture research.

The original course organisers and presenters Drs Christopher Robinson, Ulrike Wurth and Carl Muller became the founding Directors of the ACVA joined by a number of other IVAS graduates who are passionate about promoting acupuncture to the veterinary profession.  The current Directors are Drs Lisa Walters, Jennifer Robinson, Bob Clippingdale, Elissa Marriott, Belinda Parsons and Susan Peden, all IVAS Certified veterinarians who are keen to share their expertise and non-veterinarians Graham Hobbs and Bill Rae who bring their legal and administrative skills to the Board.

What makes us so passionate about teaching acupuncture to other veterinarians? 

Acupuncture is drug free and it works by stimulating the body’s innate capacity to heal itself. Because it is based on a different philosophy of health and disease, it adds to your diagnostic and treatment abilities and enables you to diagnose and treat those “mystery” patients.  It can be used as a primary treatment or in addition to current therapies.

Scientific studies have shown an increase in endorphins, an increase in red and white cell counts and an increase in cortisol levels in the blood stream after an acupuncture treatment.   Acupuncture also relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerve regeneration and stimulates the body’s defence mechanisms.  Recently the use of MRI to study the changes in the brain during acupuncture has shown that it affects the limbic system and restores homeostasis.  Stimulation of acupuncture points results in specific changes in the central nervous system. For example, acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties tend to activate specific pain-association areas in the brainstem.   These studies have shown that changes in the brain depend on the point selected, the method of stimulation and the duration of stimulation.   This correlates with the traditional use of acupuncture points and stimulation methods.

Innovation in teaching…

Throughout the years Australian IVAS Course has always been innovative in their approach to teaching the course and we are very proud of the fact that many of these initiatives have been adopted into the IVAS Course.   The online component of the course has an interactive learning platform with a number of interactive activities including on-line discussion forums to help with any course questions and also clinical cases.

Our students are our first priority

During the course our students are our first priority and we only take veterinarians that have had at least 2 years of clinical experience as we think it is important that those taking the course are comfortable with their veterinary skills before learning a completely different system of medicine.  Each student has a tutor to help them throughout the course and at the face to face workshops there is a wonderful camaraderie that happens when like-minded people work together in small groups, share their knowledge and have great discussions over dinner.

Take on the challenge in 2022

The ACVA is currently training students in the 2020 Australian IVAS Course which was approved by IVAS and will be administered by The Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE).  This structured program allows you to rapidly integrate acupuncture into your veterinary practice and on completion of all requirements you will receive the IVAS Certification of Veterinary Acupuncture (CVA).

We anticipate enrolments for the 2022 Australian IVAS Course will commence mid 2021.  Watch this site and contact Bill Rae to register interest and enrol to enjoy the Early Bird Registration benefits.

Alternatively register your interest with CVE at

Opportunities for previous IVAS Graduates to review & refresh knowledge 

Previous IVAS graduates who completed the course in the past, can review the course by taking the on line lectures and participating in the Chat Rooms and Discussion Forums, in their own time to update their knowledge and refresh their approach to clinical cases.  Some may also like to refresh their practical skills as well by attending the workshops. The on-line lectures have been granted 72 CE points by the AVA in the past.  For more details check our website

Make a difference to your patient’s healthcare

The course gives you the ability to approach a clinical case in another way and choose the most appropriate treatment.  Mentally stimulating, this course will expand your understanding of health and disease.  Each year there are more and more veterinary acupuncturists world-wide who are making a difference to their patients’ healthcare by integrating acupuncture into their diagnosis and treatment. These veterinarians are meeting their clients’ expectations for better healthcare for their animals and are able to integrate acupuncture into their daily practice of medicine and surgery.

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