Most people will have heard of acupuncture in human medicine, but did you know how helpful it can be to our animal friends too? Acupuncture is now available to veterinary patients and it can be used for variety of conditions. You may have a pet at home that could benefit! Here you will find you some information on acupuncture in pets. Only vets can perform acupuncture therapy on animals. Phoenix Animal Wellness are able to offer acupuncture at our clinic with vet Annie Bramall.
If you are already registered at our practice, please ask our staff in reception about booking an initial consultation and assessment with vet Annie. If you are registered at another practice you can ask your vet to refer your pet to us for acupuncture treatment. We will keep your vet updated with the acupuncture therapy. Medications and treatment for anything other than acupuncture is still provided by your own vet.
What is Acupuncture?
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.
Acupuncture treatment should always follow an accurate diagnosis of the problem and a full appraisal of all treatment options. In many cases acupuncture is best used in conjunction with conventional medicine however, in some situations, it can be used as a sole treatment.
Adding acupuncture to a treatment plan can help to reduce the patient’s requirements for medications which may have undesirable side effects. Most importantly, acupuncture is extremely safe when practiced correctly and is well accepted by the majority of animals.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Chinese approach to disease is very holistic. The philosophy and aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore equilibrium between physical, emotional and spiritual factors – thus restoring and maintaining health. Treatment involves using needles to address imbalances in Yin and Yang as well as improving the flow of Qi and blood.
Western Scientific Acupuncture
Scientific research into acupuncture has made enormous progress over the past 40 years and now explains much of acupuncture’s actions which had previously only been understood in the ancient concepts of health described in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This has brought about the greater recognition and acceptance of acupuncture within the scientific community. This has opened the understanding of its use in all manner of internal medical disorders including respiratory, digestive, and reproductive problems. The Yin and Yang balance paradigm can now be explained by the correlations with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system and this helps bring the holistic view of health back into focus.
A Combined Approach
By combining TCM and western science, acupuncture may be particularly effective in the treatment of chronic disease states – either to complement orthodox treatments or when orthodox medicine fails. Combining the holistic with the scientific very much embodies the philosophy at Phoenix Animal Wellness!
What conditions can it treat?
Pain is one of the most common indications for acupuncture. Very often, in cats and dogs, this is chronic (long term) pain due to arthritis, but muscular strains and spinal problems can also respond well. Acupuncture can also be a great asset to the rehabilitation of pets following orthopaedic or spinal surgeries. The use of acupuncture alone or in combination with other therapies can improve the speed and quality of recovery and reduce or sometimes avoid the need for medications.
As each treatment is specifically tailored to an individual through extensive history taking and detailed examination, the protocol used will vary from animal to animal. Be aware that, as with any treatment, there are a small percentage of animals that will not respond to acupuncture.
What happens during the treatment?
Most animals will accept acupuncture treatment without any distress or discomfort. The needles used are very thin and the majority are inserted into points on the animal that are not painful. The needles can be left in for 5 to 20 minutes depending on the case. During treatment, animals may become more relaxed and even sleepy. This may continue for the rest of the day. Occasionally, pets will seem slightly euphoric.
What response can I expect?
How often will my pet have treatment?
On average, 4-6 treatments are required to start with, but acupuncture can be continued long term. Individual acupuncturists vary in their protocol, but as a rule, these are given weekly initially with gradually increasing intervals, until the desired effect is achieved. The frequency of treatments depends on the individual animal’s needs, but often top-ups are required to maintain the therapeutic effect in the long term. Every pet will have a treatment plan tailored to their individual needs.