What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of therapy performed by trained, qualified veterinarians usually for pain management.
It involves the placing of fine, disposable needles into trigger points which correspond to muscle spasms and points around the spine to block nerve transmissions.
There are several modes of action: directly needling trigger points will allow subsequent muscle relaxation; spinal point needling acts as a gateway blocker of chronic pain and stimulated overall endorphin release in the brain is the body’s natural pain negating ‘happy hormones’.
Which pets would benefit?
Acupuncture is mostly used for chronic pain especially associated with osteoarthritis. It can also be used for post-surgical recovery of function after a cruciate ligament repair for example and is sometimes used in acute pain especially if there are other factors such as medication intolerance.
It can be invaluable for pets who do not tolerate standard anti-inflammatory medications or for whom side effects are unmanageable. It is also a good additional pain control modality for pets who are already on medication but not responding as well as we would like.
Most dogs and cats tolerate the therapy well and most clients report that their pet is happier, more comfortable and has a renewed enthusiasm for exercise. Often there is reduced dependence on standard medications.
Sessions and timings
We advise an initial course of three sessions approximately one week apart, this is sufficient for us to establish your pet’s response and from there we space sessions on an individual basis. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative so the initial treatment may only provide relief for a few days but subsequent sessions elongate the effects. Chronic osteoarthritis cases often come for a monthly top up session.
There are very few risks associated with acupuncture, needles are sterile and single use only and rarely malfunction. Many pets are sleepy after a session, this actually means they are sensitive to the procedure and likely to benefit. As with humans, there is a subset of the pet population of approximately 10% which is unresponsive to acupuncture, we can identify these pets within the initial three sessions.
Please ask your vet if you think acupuncture would be suitable for your pet and we can book you in.
We are happy to accept referrals from other veterinary practices for Acupuncture. This will need to be organised by your current Vet. Referring vets should call us on 01904 643997 for further information.