Acupuncture is commonly recognised as a Traditional Chinese Medicine which can be dated back more than 3000 years and one which is becoming more popular in the up-to-date world of veterinary medicine. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific “acupuncture points” on the body in order to relieve pain or inflammation and to promote health in various other organs.
Who can perform it?
Acupuncture on animals is considered to be an act of veterinary surgery and so can only be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon who has undergone the appropriate training. One of our vets, Alan Wilson, has been a member of The Association for British Veterinary Acupuncturists since 2007.
Which animals can be treated?
In theory, any species could be treated but it is mainly used on domestic animals, i.e. dogs, cats, horses and farm animals.
How does it work?
Some humans relieve pain by applying pressure to “knots” in their muscles and acupuncture works in a similar way. The insertion of needles causes the release of specific inhibitory substances which reduce inflammation and the perception of pain by the brain and spinal cord.
Which conditions can be treated?
Acupuncture is mainly used to treat conditions causing pain. It is especially useful for muscular spasms and strains and also for osteoarthritis. Other conditions which can benefit from acupuncture include skin problems and abnormalities of the bladder, intestines and stomach.
Are there any side-effects, does it hurt?
Animals generally tolerate the insertion of these extremely fine needles very well. Some may be more sensitive than others.
Your pet may become very relaxed during treatment or may become sleepy afterwards. In a few animals symptoms may actually get temporarily worse before they start to improve.
How many needles will my pet need?
This depends on the type and severity of the condition to be treated. It can range from 4 - 20.
How long does a session last?
Again, this depends on the condition but a normal session is between 10 and 20 minutes.
How many sessions will my animal need?
We usually recommend weekly sessions for a period of 4 weeks. After this we assess the response to treatment.
If you think your animal could benefit from acupuncture please make an appointment to see Alan who will be happy to discuss your pet’s needs.