Acupuncture has been used to treat disease for over 2000 years. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points in the body, mainly to alleviate pain but also to treat disease.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture enables the unimpeded flow of ‘qi’ or energy through the body. In Western acupuncture it has been shown to release endorphins (happy hormones), thereby positively affecting the autonomic nervous system.
Animals tolerate acupuncture extremely well and it is used predominantly in the treatment of musculoskeletal disease e.g. osteoarthritis. There are no side effects, which make it ideal for treating older patients with other underlying diseases.
Nazrene has been performing acupuncture on dogs and cats since 2008 and an appointment can be booked with her on 01293 884422
What Is It?
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.
It works through the nervous system. The needles block the pain messages and encourage the brain and the central nervous system to produce more of the body’s natural painkillers. In conditions that are not painful, acupuncture may be used help to reset the body’s normal functioning.
Does It Hurt?
Acupuncture needles stimulate nerves that do not cause the unpleasant feelings of pain that we are trying to treat. They stimulate other nerves that send a more important message that blocks the pain messages to the brain. Sometimes animals may react to this sensation as though they are expecting pain, but then relax because it does not occur. Most of the time they accept the fine needles very well and often become relaxed and sleepy during the treatment, Often they appear to look forward to the next treatment when they come back to the practice.
Is It Safe?
Acupuncture is very safe in the right hands. Legally in animals it can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon. Problems could occur if performed incorrectly but these are avoided with a veterinary surgeons knowledge of anatomy. There are a few cases where extreme caution is required but this is where the experience of the veterinary acupuncturist is essential.
Sedation of your pet is very rarely required and even cats or rabbits tolerate it very well.
The usual course is one a week for 4 to 6 weeks. After this time period we will know how well it is working and then can usually, depending on the condition and the response a plan can be formulated which usually requires decreasing the frequency so that the beneficial effects can be maintained for as long as is possible,
What Is Treated?
Pain is the most common condition treated with acupuncture. This is often associated with arthritis, back pain (particularly associated with disc disease) or muscle strains and sprains. Other forms of pain can also be treated.
Functional conditions such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome may also respond to acupuncture.
What Can I Expect?
After examination of your pet needles are put into various parts of the body and may be moved and stimulated a few times. There is not a set “dose” of acupuncture so Nazrene will judge how much to do based on your pets response both at the time and after treatment. They may become sleepy and relaxed during the treatment.
After treatment your pet may sleep well and for a long time. This is a good sign and shows that your pet will probably respond well to treatment. Sometimes they appear more euphoric. This is also a good sign but keep them quiet for the rest of the day in case they over do things.
Otherwise treat your pet as normal and do not change exercise, diet or medication unless it has been discussed with Nazrene.
And a Little Later:
Either: Your pet may appear a little stiffer than normal. This is sign that they will probably respond to acupuncture. After a day or two they should improve to better than they were before treatment. Please tell Nazrene and she will adjust the next treatment to reduce the stiffness.
Or: No response. This is always disappointing but does not always mean that they won’t respond at all. There may be just a delayed response. Some pets take 4 treatments before any response is noticed. Not all animals will respond to acupuncture but about 80% are expected to.
Or: Positive Improvement. This may take up to 3 days following treatment. The duration of this improvement will depend on a number of factors but tends to get longer with subsequent sessions. This hopefully leads to a long period between individual treatments.