As I am a qualified vet I am allowed to practice acupuncture in animals (only veterinary surgeons are legally allowed to do so). I have practised acupuncture successfully in many species for over eight years, mostly dogs and cats but I have also treated rabbits, rats and even a tame skunk!
Acupuncture has evolved from the ancient art of placing needles into special locations on the body to alleviate pain, improve recovery rates and increase resistance to disease. It has been practiced by the Chinese and other Eastern cultures for thousands of years and may be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
The western approach to acupuncture is used predominantly in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and, in particular, chronic pain states in animals. The effect of acupuncture is largely segmental, that is nerves, muscles and acupuncture points are needled in the same spinal segments as the affected or painful areas. "Pain gating", as well as descending pain inhibition (via brain and spinal cord pathways), are involved.
Acupuncture also stimulates the release of pain relieving chemicals in the brain and spinal cord( endorphins, serotonin, noradrenalin etc) which produce more generalised analgesia. These effects, combined with local needling of painful trigger points in taut muscle bands, result in exceptional relief of pain.
Therefore acupuncture can be used to complement orthodox veterinary treatment.
The treatment involves a full musculoskeletal assessment of the patient and then placement of very fine, pre-sterilised, stainless steel needles into specific points on the body.
Often after treatment animals exhibit behavioural changes, with improved appetite and demeanour, as well as obvious pain relief. Some individuals are very responsive to acupuncture and will show dramatic improvement after one treatment. The majority however will respond gradually over a period of time. On average 4-6 treatments are required for the primary course. These are given weekly initially with gradually increasing intervals, until the desired effect is achieved. The frequency of treatments depends on the individual animals needs but regular top ups are usually required to maintain the therapeutic effect. The needles are left in for 10-20 minutes. In most cases there is little objection to the placement.
As each treatment is specifically tailored to an individual animal, the protocol will vary. As in human medicine, approximately 20% of animals do not respond to acupuncture.
This service is provided by a fully qualified and experienced veterinary surgeon.
Back Pain e.g. spondylitis/spondylosis & disc disease
Spondylosis – A degenerative condition of the spine that may lead to ankylosis (joint restriction due to adhesions/bone union)
Spondylitis – Inflammation of a vertebra, due to trauma or infection
Arthritis e.g. hips, stifles, hocks, elbows, shoulders
Inflammation of a joint
Myofascial Pain Syndrome & Myofascial Trigger Points
Hip Dysplasia - An abnormal condition of the acetabulum and femoral head (hip joint).
Muscle & Ligament sprains/strains and spasms
Strain – Overstretching of muscle fibres, ligaments or tendons.
Sprain – Inflammation of a tendon, ligament or muscle due to excessive stretching of its fibres. May be acute(inflammation, pain, heat, swelling) or chronic.
Chronic gastrointestinal disease
Any unresolved diarrhoea or constipation
Lick granulomas and other chronic skin conditions
Lick granulomas – A skin mass of granulation tissue which forms as a result of incessant licking of a wound, ulcer, or even unbroken skin-in which there may be a local neuritis causing itching of the spot, and resultant licking.
Stress related disorders , particularly in cats e.g. Overgrooming and cystitis