Find out more about Acupuncture and how it could help your pet...
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine, solid needles into the body for pain relief or, in some cases, to help the body deal with other diseases.
Pain is the most common indication for acupuncture, usually associated with arthritis, but also muscle strains, pain secondary to disc disease and bony changes of the spine. Acupuncture is often referred to as an ‘alternative’ medicine but complementary therapy is more appropriate as it is used alongside pain relieving medication that your pet will likely already be receiving.
How does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture works by blocking the pain messages and encourages the brain and central nervous system to produce more of the body’s natural painkillers. The acupuncture needles stimulate other nerves that send a more important message to the brain, blocking the ‘original’ pain message. Sometimes animals may initially react to the sensation of placing the fine needles as though they are expecting pain but then relax because it does not occur. Most of the time they accept the needles very well and often become relaxed and sleepy during the treatment.
The usual course is once a week or fortnight for four treatments. After this time we will know whether acupuncture is working for your pet.
As with any treatment, there is no guarantee of a response but about 80% of animals or humans are acupuncture ‘responders’. Following treatment your pet may show one of three responses:
(1) They may seem a little stiffer or more uncomfortable. This just means that the ‘dose’ was a bit too much, but also shows that they should respond to treatment. After a day or two, they will improve again and should be better than before.
(2) You may see no response. This is always disappointing but does not mean that your pet will not respond, it may just be that they will take a little longer. We cannot say that they will not respond until after the fourth treatment.
(3) You may see an improvement. This may occur anytime in the three days after treatment. The signs that we are trying to treat may then return before the next treatment, but this is fine. After each subsequent treatment, the effects should last longer.
Acupuncture can be used in both dogs and cats for both chronic pain and acute injuries. If you are unsure if acupuncture is appropriate for your pet, please call 01260 273449 for a discussion or book in for an assessment.