What is acupuncture?

 

Acupuncture is the practise of inserting fine, solid needles into the body for pain relief or, in some cases, to help the body deal with other diseases.

 

Legally, acupuncture on animals must be carried out by a suitably qualified Veterinary Surgeon.

Tigger, who is 18years old, has got a new lease of life since having acupuncture.

When do we use acupuncture?

 

In Veterinary medicine the most common use of acupuncture is as a part of a pain management plan.  Often this is pain from chronic conditions such as arthritis, hip or elbow dysplasia, cruciate and disc disease.  

 

Acupuncture can be especially helpful with primary and secondary muscle pain.  Primary pain within the muscle and fascia is often noted soon after trauma has occurred.  Secondary muscle pain (sometimes referred to as compensatory muscle pain) can be a more insidious pain that builds up over time in areas away from the original source of pain and may be more painful than the original cause.

 

Acupuncture is most often used in addition to orthodox treatment and can sometimes be helpful when that treatment is no longer as effective as it once was.

 

Sometimes we use acupuncture for other types of pain and to help functional conditions such as constipation and wound healing.  It is sometimes necessary to use electroacupuncture when the response does not last as long as we would like.

 

How does acupuncture work?

 

Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, increases circulation and relieves muscle spasms. The needles block some of the pain messages sent and encourage the brain and central nervous system to produce more of the body’s natural painkillers. In conditions that are not painful, acupuncture may help to reset the body’s normal functioning.

 

Will it hurt?

As acupuncture needles are very small and inserting them is virtually painless, most of the time animals accept the treatment very well and often become relaxed and sleepy. 

 

Sometimes animals may react to the initial sensation as though they are expecting pain, but then relax because it does not occur.  If the area being treated is very sensitive we may use different or less needles.  

How often would my pet be treated?

 

The usual course is usually once a week for four to six weeks.

After four weeks we should know whether acupuncture is working for your pet and then, depending on the condition and how they have responded, we will work out an individually tailored plan that usually involves adjusting the frequency of the treatment so that the effect is maintained for as long as possible.

Tigger snoozing after an acupuncture treatment

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