What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a natural method of healing that has been used in both animals and veterinary practice for thousands of years. It can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments and some acupuncture practitioners also believe it can be used as a preventative medicine.
There is some clinical evidence showing positive results in the treatment of humans and animals, and acupuncture usage is on the rise.
Is it safe for use on animals?
Veterinary acupuncture must be carried out by a qualified veterinarian who has experience in animal acupuncture.
After the initial treatment your animal may appear a little worse or particularly lethargic/sleepy and this could last up to 48 hours whilst physiological changes are happening in his body. This period is almost always followed by visible improvement in the condition of your pet.
Some side effects have been reported, but they are rare. Speak to your veterinarian for a comprehensive list of side effects, plus any signs or symptoms that are an immediate cause for concern.
Will my pet experience any pain?
Smaller animals will be given their therapy using smaller needles which should be virtually painless.
Some larger animals will require larger needs and these may cause a short sharp scratch as they enter the skin. However once they are in placed your animal should feel no pain.
Your animal may experience some strange sensations including tingling or numbness as the needles redirect the flow of qi around your body. There have also been reports of some animals falling asleep.
What conditions can acupuncture help to treat?
Acupuncture can be used effectively to treat a wide range of conditions including but not limited to:
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Chronic pain and mobility problems, for example from back conditions or arthritis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Neurological conditions
- Urinary incontinence and recurrent urinary tract infections
- Improving the pain and recovery time post-surgery
Acupuncture and Cancer
It is believed that effective acupuncture can increase a patient’s immunity to certain cancers, lower their pain, improve their appetite and slow down the progression of spreading cancer cells.
Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy to boost a patient’s white blood cells and help them fight infection.
How does it work?
Acupuncture comes from an ancient medicine which is based on the philosophy that there are meridians of qi (energy) flowing through our bodies and it is when these channels become blocked or disrupted that sickness occurs. The insertion of acupuncture needles balances and redirects the flow of qi around the body, stimulates the immune system and increases blood flow to the vital organs leaving us feeling well and our bodily functions harmonious.
Many scientific studies have also identified that the insertion of acupuncture needles actually blocks pain receptors from transmitting which is why the patient feels substantially less pain after an acupuncture session.
How many sessions of acupuncture will my pet need?
The number of sessions your pet will need will vary depending on the condition being treated, how long the sessions will need to last and the skill of your veterinary acupuncturist.
As with most natural healing techniques, multiple or ongoing appointments are usually necessary for dealing with chronic or ongoing ailments such as arthritis. However your vet should be able to give you an approximation on request.
How much does acupuncture cost?
As with many veterinary treatments, the first consultation is usually more expensive and could cost between $100 and $200. The actual cost of treatment will vary depending on your veterinary surgery, the length of the sessions and the number of sessions needed, but subsequent visits could vary between $50 and $100 each time.
If your pet has been referred for acupuncture by your veterinarian, part or all of the cost of the treatment may be met by your pet insurance. Please contact your insurer for more information.