Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles through the skin into the body at specific points to treat a range of illnesses. These include:
- Muscle sprain/injury
- Spinal pain
- Nerve pain
- Post surgery rehabilitation
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Urinary tract disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
It works by stimulating the nervous system both locally and centrally. It stimulates small nerve fibres in the muscle where the needle is placed. These go on to stimulate the spinal cord and this stimulation ascends to the brain which causes a release of natural endorphins and opioids, which give a natural form of pain relief.
Acupuncture is very safe and well tolerated by most animals. The needles used are very fine. For the first session, only a few needles are applied initially for a few minutes. The length of time the needles are in, and the number of needles used may be increased gradually each session, up to 30 minutes, depending on the individual patient. However, some animals may only need a few minutes of acupuncture treatment for it to work. Mostly there may be an improvement in symptoms soon after treatment. This may fade after a few days, but with weekly sessions for at least 3-4 weeks, the positive effects should last longer and the treatment interval may be increased.
Effects that may follow an acupuncture session:
- Sedation – this is a good sign as it normally means they will respond well to the treatment. Sedation may happen either during or after the session, for up to a couple of days.
- Rarely, they might temporarily feel worse after treatment, depending on the individual. If this happens, it only lasts 1-2 days. It is not a bad thing if this happens. It actually suggests they will most likely respond to acupuncture well long term. We would use fewer needles for less time in the next session.
- Sometimes there may be no change after the first treatment. It doesn’t matter if there are no changes seen yet. It doesn’t mean acupuncture won’t work. The benefits may be seen after a few sessions.
- Euphoria – they may feel much better and brighter the next day. Just take care that they don’t overdo exercise. It is advised that they do not exercise after an acupuncture session as they may be too sleepy anyway, or feel better and so they may over-do exercise and feel worse after.
Acupuncture in animals can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon. If your pet is insured, you may be able to claim for the cost of the acupuncture treatment, depending on your policy.
Liz has been using acupuncture to treat animals since 2012 after completing a foundation course in veterinary acupuncture by the ABVA (Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists). She is an ABVA member. She completed the GP Cert in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management with Improve International in 2017, and is a member of the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group.
Please Contact Us for more information regarding our acupuncture service.