Acupuncture involves stimulation of specific locations in the body, usually by fine needles. These points trigger nervous or hormonal responses which aid in pain relief, enhance rates of healing and promote disease resistance.
Acupuncture is intended to complement conventional therapy, not replace it, so your pet will be offered acupuncture alongside other investigations or treatments such as X-rays, operations and/or medication.
What will an acupuncture session involve?
At first consultation, your pet's clinical history and recent treatments will be reviewed and a full examination given. This will include location of points specific to your pet’s condition (acupoints), palpation of any sore or tender areas, tender (Chinese ‘Ah Shi’) points and identification of ‘trigger points’ within muscles or joints. Fine needles will then be placed in the area for a few moments or removed straight away (depending on clinical assessment and your pet’s response). You are welcome to stay with your pet during the session, or take a seat in the waiting room if you prefer.
How often will my pet need to come for treatment?
This depends entirely on the condition under treatment and your pet’s response. Post-operative treatment for improved rates of healing may only require one or two sessions. Treatment of chronic arthritis may need weekly sessions initially, but could be maintained at 4 to 6 week intervals.
Are there any side effects?
Most of the adverse reactions documented are from human acupuncture and include:
- Stuck needles
- Local infection
- Contact allergy
- Nerve damage
Most of these are temporary and easily resolved, but do ask if you have any specific concerns.
Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
Most companies will now honour claims for acupuncture courses, but we’d advise you to check with your own company before making a claim.
Are there any situations in which acupuncture would not be used?
Pregnant animals or those fitted with a cardiac pace-maker will need special assessment before proceeding with acupuncture. Some animals may not like the needling sensation. General anaesthetic or sedation may be used in some circumstances, but treatment should not be pursued if it is causing distress.