Veterinary acupuncture is over 3000 years old and was developed by veterinarians in ancient China.
Acupuncture is increasingly becoming recognised as a useful addition to modern therapies in western veterinary and human medicine.
The basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine are holistic, to manage the balance between physical, emotional and spiritual factors and restore and maintain health. Acupuncture is using needles in specific points to correct imbalances of Yin & Yang and improve flow of energy through channels or meridians.
Modern research has shown acupuncture can assist the body in healing itself by stimulating blood flow, relieving muscle spasm and nerve stimulation. It also causes release of hormones and endorphins which relieve pain.
Acupuncture in animals, legally, can only be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon. Before it is undertaken, an accurate diagnosis is required and all options for treatment should be discussed. We frequently use acupuncture in conjunction with other conventional treatments, although in some cases it is used alone.
There are many conditions for which acupuncture is suggested. At Cathcart & Winn we mostly use it for pain relief in dogs with arthritis, back pain and hip dysplasia. These patients usually have conventional medicine initially then we introduce acupuncture and try to reduce the dose of medication. Some patients are able to come off the conventional medicines and continue with acupuncture alone, reducing the risks of side effects of medications.
Most commonly our acupuncture patients are dogs but we do occasionally use it in cats.
Acupuncture is safe and well tolerated in most patients, some seem to really enjoy it!! An acupuncture appointment lasts for 30 minutes. The patient is examined and needles inserted as appropriate. These remain in place for 10 minutes and are then removed. We aim to make the experience as enjoyable as possible and find treats really help!
Initially we usually do a course of three sessions at weekly intervals, and then assess response but this does depend on the requirement of each individual. The frequency of visits is then reduced and, for chronic conditions, can be as infrequent as every 2 or 3 months.
For more information about our acupuncture service, please contact the surgery.