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Acupuncture – What is it?

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), developed in China over 3000 years ago. It involves the insertion of small needles into specific points on the body, in order to reduce pain and stimulate healing. Most widely known for its use in joint and back pain, many people don’t realise that acupuncture can also influence the function of internal organs and of the immune and endocrine (hormone) system.

Veterinary acupuncture:

Animals receiving acupuncture tolerate the needles very well, with many cats also accepting treatment. It is not uncommon for patients to become relaxed once the needles are in place and resting during their session.

Acupuncture sessions generally last 30-40minutes, and are repeated on average weekly for 4-6 weeks. Sometimes moxa (a source of heat) and electro-acupuncture are utilised to enhance the effect of acupuncture in certain cases

Acupuncture is compatible and is often used alongside conventional medicine in the management of pain and arthritis.

Some of the conditions for which acupuncture can be helpful:

  • Arthritis (of any joint)
  • Spondylosis (spinal arthritis).
  • Weakness (often accompanied by arthritis and affecting the back end).
  • Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (for smaller dogs where a conservative non surgical approach is appropriate, and also for post operative rehabilitation for those that undergo surgery).
  • Spinal injury (herniated discs – results depend on the severity of the nerve damage).
  • Nerve injury (radial nerve paralysis, sciatic nerve paralysis – results depend on severity of nerve damage).
  • Neck pain.
  • Lick granulomas.
  • Epilepsy (ear acupuncture)
  • Vertigo due to vestibular syndrome.

Other treatments:

In keeping with the tradition of TCM often changes in lifestyle, diet and the use herbal preparations will also be used alongside acupuncture treatments where indicated to enhance the affect.


Content reviewed: 17.11.2020

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