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Acupuncture for pets

Acupuncture is recognised as an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves piercing the skin with fine metal needles in order to relieve symptoms, disease and promote health. In the United Kingdom acupuncture for animals is an act of veterinary surgery and can only be legally performed by a veterinary surgeon. 

The technique is most commonly applied to treat pain and is frequently used for joint problems and arthritis. However, it has also been used for skin problems (atopy), urinary problems and gastro-intestinal disease with varying degrees of success.

Acupuncture is generally considered as safe and there are very few reports of adverse effects in animals. Reactions can occur and these may take the form of either an exacerbation of symptoms, or a quite profound feeling of malaise or exhaustion, but both of these are only temporary. About 10% of patients (“strong reactors”) will prove to be very sensitive to acupuncture but another 10% seem to respond very poorly, which leaves 80% who will have a normal and predictable response.

One of our vets, Caroline Cutmore has now been carrying out acupuncture for several years with the vast majority of cases showing improvement. Most of her patients are dogs but she has treated some cats and even  rabbits! She generally recommends an initial course of four acupuncture sessions at weekly intervals (each lasting about 20 minutes) and then top-up treatments as needed (usually at intervals of around 1 to 3 months).

Caroline most often uses acupuncture as an additional treatment to conventional medicine but it can be very useful in cases where traditional drugs cannot be used because of potential side effects.

Please call if you would like further advice.

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