Veterinary Acupuncture - a jab well done?
How the ancient art of acupuncture can help our pets...
Acupuncture has evolved from the ancient art of placing needles into special locations on the body to help control all manner of disease and alleviate pain and has been used by Eastern cultures for 1000s of years.
Complementary therapy Vet Surgeons will use acupuncture as part of their treatment plans for all manner of conditions, but myself and Jade use our acupuncture predominantly to help with the pain caused by musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions
In hospital pain clinics, acupuncture is often used for humans in the management of chronic pain, along with medications and other forms of complementary treatments such as physio or hydrotherapy and the modern pain clinics in veterinary referral centres incorporate this approach now too.
Quite a few pets having acupuncture do so because their owner has had the treatment themselves and benefited from it.
Pets and Acupuncture
As conventional practising vets with open scientific minds it's important that we are choosing treatments that have been shown to be of benefit. In humans there are some good studies to show that it's beneficial for lower back pain. There is on-going research into it's usefulness for other conditions and we probably see a good response in 60-70% of cases we use it on.
It is thought to help the local immune reponse and nerve pathways and release chemicals to help with pain-relief at the site.
The needles are left in place for 10-15 minutes and we will do a weekly session for four weeks to assess the response and then on an 'as and when needed' basis or perhaps on a regular repeat every six weeks or so.
Dogs and cats both tolerate the needles well on most occasions. The needles used are very fine compared to the needles we use for injections and many pets are quite relaxed at the end of their sessions.
This photo and the one in our header shows lovely Savannah, who is growing old very gracefully.
She's now in her 17th year and has been having acupuncture, in addition to pain relief for arthritis and lower back pain for two years now.
Despite the worried look on her face she always loves her liver treats during needling and and has a special extended trip home in the car to relax after the session.
If you would like to find out more about veterinary acupuncture or to discuss the options with us for your pet, please feel free to get in touch.
We do see a few hedgehogs at the surgery for a local hedgehog rescue client, but I promise we never use them in place of our needles!
Apologies that the quality of the photos in this blog aren't the best, but they were taken at the time of treatment.
Keith Moore BSc BVSc MRCVS
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