Here at Attimore Veterinary Group, acupuncture is practiced by Veterinary Surgeon, Erica Thompson DrMedVet CertAVP MRCVS.
Acupuncture treatment should first follow an accurate diagnosis and appraisal of all treatment options. In many cases, acupuncture is best used in conjunction with conventional medicine, and in some conditions, it can be used as a sole treatment.
It helps minimize the requirements for medications (which may have undesirable side effects). Acupuncture is extremely safe when practiced correctly and is well accepted by the majority of animals. Under UK law animal acupuncture may only be administered by qualified veterinary surgeons.
What is it used for?
Acupuncture can have enormous benefits for animals with chronic (long-term) conditions, such as arthritis and back pain and can also help to improve conditions such as constipation and cystitis in cats and inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.
What happens during treatment?
Fine needles are inserted into your pet’s body at specific skin points. They are then moved a few times by your vet, depending on how your pet responds.
How does it work?
It works two ways. The needles block pain messages to the brain. In turn, this encourages the brain and central nervous system to produce endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is very safe, but must only be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon.
How long do sessions last?
Usually only between five and 30 minutes, depending on how your pet responds.
How many sessions will my pet need?
The usual course is once a week for four to six weeks. After four weeks we will know whether acupuncture is working for your pet and then, depending on the condition and how they have responded, we will work out a plan that usually involves tailing off the treatment so that the effect is maintained for as long as possible.
Does acupuncture hurt my pet?
No. Most animals accept the needles and even become very relaxed and sleepy. Because of this, it is very unusual for an animal to need to be sedated to undergo acupuncture (even cats and rabbits!).
What about after the treatment? Are there any side-effects to acupuncture?
Pets can be very sleepy after treatment or feel very happy. Either way, it is a good sign that the treatment has worked and we recommend they have a quiet time for the rest of the day.
How will I know if it has worked?
Watch your pet carefully after treatment – you will see one of three reactions.
- Your pet may seem stiffer at first but, after a couple of days, be better than before treatment. This suggests the treatment has worked but may have been a bit too much at the time. Tell your vet so they can adjust the treatment at the next session.
- No apparent change. Have faith – this may mean your pet may take longer or the improvement was not significant enough for you to see it. We recommend you stick with the course of treatment recommended by your vet, but while 80-90% of animals do respond to acupuncture, unfortunately there are no guarantees.
- Your pet is clearly happier and moving better within three days. Great. The improvement may not last through to the next treatment but that’s to be expected. As the course continues, the effects should last longer each time so eventually your pet will require more treatment less frequently.
While the majority of insurance policies now cover alternative therapies, we always recommend you check your policy.
Your pet deserves every chance to be pain free. Find out if acupuncture might be the answer by booking an initial consultation with Erica on 01707 331963.