Alleviate your pet’s pain with acupuncture at Twickenham Veterinary Surgery
Have you ever thought, ‘surely there is a different way to control my pet’s pain rather than feeding them pill after pill’? Traditional forms of medicine definitely have their place in treating chronic pain, but they also carry potential side effects, especially if they have been given over a long period of time.
The answer is acupuncture. The demand for acupuncture has dramatically increased over the past few years as it is a cost-effective and beneficial form of pain management.
Acupuncture is a great form of therapy, especially for conditions that do not respond well to traditional methods.
It is not a cure-all, but this form of therapy can successfully treat conditions either on its own, or together with conventional therapy.
If you think your pet could benefit from acupuncture, then read a little bit more about the treatment or call a member of our friendly team on 020 8898 0528 to book an appointment.
Where did acupuncture come from?
Veterinary acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture for humans, which was developed up to 4,000 years ago in China. It forms part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which treats the body as a whole rather than just treating the affected parts or symptoms.
Disease is considered to be the result of abnormal or disordered energy flow in the body. The Chinese charted the normal flow of energy in the body several thousand years ago as the Meridians or Channels.
There are 12 major Meridians which correlate to the Chinese classification of organs, and 8 extra Meridians, which channel the energy through the body.
According to the ancient Chinese, health depends on the regular rhythmic flow of energy and on the balance between Yin and Yang, the ‘eternal opposites’. Disease is therefore a state of imbalance or blockage in the normal energy flows of the body.
The mechanism involved in acupuncture is obscure to Western minds. Every living animal is thought to be born with life energy (Qi or chi). This energy is used up by the body with everyday tasks and is replenished by eating and breathing. Imbalance in the flow of Qi through the Meridians can be caused by internal or external factors and results in disease or illness.
Acupuncture can be practised from the TCM – or Eastern – way, or from the more modern Western method, which concentrates on ‘trigger points’ in the body.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture attempts to rebalance the flow of energy through the body. This is achieved by inserting needles into certain points on the body’s surface.
Sometimes these points may be far from the actual area of the illness. By inserting the needles into certain predetermined points on the Meridians, the energy channels, which have shut down due to disease, are encouraged to reopen.
In this way, acupuncture stimulates the body’s own healing powers and enables it to maintain the equilibrium of its internal environment.
Needles are placed into muscles which stimulates certain nerve fibres, sending a message up to a part of the brain called the periaqueductal grey (PAG), from which the neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit signals) which are involved in the perception of pain are released. By blocking the pathway, these neurotransmitters are not released and therefore the pain pathway is interrupted.
What can acupuncture be used for?
Modern research has shown that acupuncture can affect most of the body systems.
The success of acupuncture depends on the body’s ability to heal, and how this healing is stimulated by acupuncture.
Acupuncture treatments have produced some spectacular success stories, yet there are some cases where only temporary relief has been achieved.
Acupuncture is especially useful in the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Chronic catarrh
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Spinal disc problems
- Hip dysplasia
- Injuries involving ligaments, tendons and muscles
- Some skin conditions
- Trapped nerves
It can also help any chronic pain which is not being controlled by conventional treatments, or when a pet is suffering from side effects.
When your pet comes into our practice to have acupuncture, they will have a varying number of needles inserted at points in their body, which are left in place for varying periods of between 5 and 45 minutes.
Your pet will need around four treatments on average before any improvements are likely to show. If your pet has a severe problem, they may need more treatments before any signs of improvement start to show.
Generally if there is no improvement at all after four treatments, it is unlikely that acupuncture will have an effect. Approximately 5% of cases will not respond to acupuncture.
Your pet will normally receive treatment once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals, according to progress they are showing.
Acute conditions may need more frequent treatments and chronic conditions may require booster treatments at varying intervals.
Does my pet need to be sedated?
No. We find most pets will accept needles fairly well. Most animals find it quite relaxing and some even fall asleep during the treatment.
For this type of treatment we kindly ask you to stay with your pet until their treatment has finished.
What are the risks?
There is hardly any risk associated with acupuncture when performed by a competent acupuncturist.
Sometimes your pet will feel temporary aggravation, but this is quickly followed by substantial pain relief.
Acupuncture has no side effects compared to some traditional forms of medicine.
**Please be aware that due to the length of your pet’s treatment, we kindly ask you to be on time. If you miss your appointment, unfortunately a fee of £30 will be charged**