Pet health: Acupuncture is not just pins and needles

Can acupuncture benefit animals, asks Darren Storey?
Can acupuncture benefit animals, asks Darren Storey?

Vet Darren Storey brings you the latest news from Northlands Veterinary Hospital.

The art of acupuncture has been around for centuries, originating from traditional Chinese medicine.

Can acupuncture benefit animals, asks Darren Storey?

Can acupuncture benefit animals, asks Darren Storey?

The philosophy and aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore equilibrium between physical, emotional and spiritual factors – thus restoring and maintaining health.

It addressed any imbalances in Yin and Yang as well as improving the flow of Qi and blood.

Treatment involves using needles in specific acupuncture points (often in combination with herbal therapy) to address imbalances in Yin and Yang as well as improving the flow of Qi and blood.

Does it work?

This is an ongoing debate in both human and animal medicine, and many studies have been done to try and prove its worth.

In humans the placebo affect needs to be considered where people “think” it has made a positive impact on them.

In animals this does not occur; their health either improves or it doesn’t.

However, science does know that this form of treatment does change certain homeostatic processes in the body.

It makes use of the body’s ability to produce chemicals that have a natural analgesic (pain relief) effect, reduce inflammation, stimulate relaxation and balance the system.

Remember, as with any treatment/medication it is case dependent and there are no guarantees.

Although for those animals it does work in then less medication may be needed to manage their problems.

Can it be done in any animal?

For most this is true, but it is most common in dogs, cats and birds.

What can it be used for?

It has a wide range of uses but some of the most common are:

Chronic pain

Arthritis

Mobility problems

Muscle/joint disease

Neurological problems

At Northlands we do offer this service, through our senior vet Mrs Rukaber.

However, no matter which practice you are with, if you are interested in this treatment speak to your vet.

For more information we advise you look at the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists website, or call us on 01536 485543.

Remember though; consult the register of acupuncturists for a trained surgeon before proceeding with treatment.