A very safe therapy for your dog

Acupuncture is a very safe therapy for your dog when given by a properly trained veterinarian. Always use a veterinarian who is a member of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists. Acupuncture can be performed at Therapaws, or in the comfort of our own home. A small visit charge is applicable for home visits, please contact Anna for more information. Acupuncture treatments are usually covered by your pet insurance company, please contact them directly for information on how to claim. Some dogs may benefit from a combination of acupuncture and myotherapy; please contact Anna for information.

Mainly used for pain relief, acupuncture is a traditional Eastern therapy that has been used for hundreds of years. In western terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by causing physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain relieving chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid and anti-inflammatory chemical). After acupuncture treatment there will be more blood flow to the muscles, which can then be utilised during hydrotherapy sessions to help build muscle strength and co-ordination. This means that performing acupuncture immediately prior to hydrotherapy can be particularly beneficial for rehabilitation.

The major conditions that acupuncture helps are musculoskeletal problems (eg. arthritis, hip/elbow dysplasia and other OCD problems, muscle soreness and strains), back pain (spondylosis, spondylitis and disc disease), myofascial pain and trigger points, paralysis and paresis (both limb and spinal in origin), urinary incontinence and epilepsy. 

The insertion of acupuncture needles is usually painless, as the needles are very fine. There may be an occasional moment of sensitivity as the needle is inserted, but in all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.

The length and frequency of the treatments depends on the condition of the patient. A simple acute problem, such as a muscle sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments. Many conditions benefit from once to twice weekly treatments for 3-6 weeks, and some chronic conditions may require ongoing treatments to give long-term relief from symptoms. 

Acupuncture should never be administered without a proper veterinary diagnosis and ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. This is critical because acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs and may delay proper veterinary diagnosis once treatment has begun. Elimination of pain may lead to increased activity on the part of the animal, thus delaying healing or causing the original condition to worsen.

Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times before modern scientific methods were available with which to study it, many important studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic mechanisms are involved in its actions. Using functional MRI (fMRI), to examine 15 different points, the basic facts of acupuncture have been proven. Those are that acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points results in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain-relieving properties associated with them activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.


For more information

Please contact us on 01344 222299 or email us at enquiries@therapaws.co.uk