Acupuncture for your dog or cat

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into certain pressure points on the body to stimulate healing. It is an alternative therapy that is growing in popularity as a complementary treatment for dogs and other pets.  It is widely recognised that acupuncture is a minimally invasive and very low-risk treatment option. 

Acupuncture has been around, in some form or another, for thousands of years, originating in China.  The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy is a holistic one and it is believed that, as a part of this, acupuncture can restore an imbalance created between an individual’s physical, emotional and spiritual elements.  Restoring this balance is then said to help promote healing.  

The Western medicine approach to acupuncture is more science-based and relates to the studies that show that the specific nerve stimulation occurring during treatment will have a neurophysiologic impact that can then benefit the patient, particularly when it comes to pain relief.

What conditions can acupuncture be used for?

The most widely recognised reason for administering acupuncture treatment is for pain relief and management, but it is also often used for a variety of conditions.  

  • Musculoskeletal Problems

Acupuncture is used for musculoskeletal problems for its potential anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxing and pain relief benefits. It therefore is a popular treatment option for dogs or cats suffering from arthritis or other painful joint conditions or injuries that can limit the range of movement.  

  • Working Dogs

It is believed acupuncture can help alleviate issues with cramp, muscle twinges and other sports-related strain that can be put on your dog’s body.

  • Helping to Alleviate Stress and Fear

Acupuncture is something used, alongside more conventional training and behaviour programmes, to help dogs and cats that are particularly anxious or fearful.

  • Dogs undergoing Cancer Treatments

Acupuncture is sometimes used as a complementary therapy for dogs undergoing cancer treatment.  It can possibly help to control the nausea that can sometimes be caused by chemotherapy and provide additional, but natural, pain relief.

  • Any other conditions

Acupuncture is also sometimes tried for helping with conditions like epilepsy, kidney disease, skin allergies or granulomas, issues with the immune system, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory issues, urinary tract problems, reproductive conditions and to aid rehabilitation and recovery after injury or surgery.

What happens in an acupuncture session?

Kate, who is a trained veterinary acupuncturist, inserts fine, sterilised needles into a number of specific pressure points where the blood vessels and nerve bundles intersect which is believed to have a positive effect on nerve function, stimulate the release of hormones and improve the circulation – all of which can help pain management and healing.  

Kate says, “Needles can stay in the body for between 5 - 30 minutes, and the treatment is both safe and painless.” Some animals feel a gentle tingling during the treatment, while others don’t feel anything at all, and many find the procedure relaxing.

Kate recommends that you book several sessions as the benefits from acupuncture are often shown to be cumulative.

Need more info?

For expert advice on the benefits of acupuncture for your cat or dog please give us a call and ask to speak to Kate.