Here are some of the frequently asked questions about veterinary acupuncture:
Q. What animals can you treat?
A. In theory any animal can be treated with acupuncture, however the majority of work has been done on dogs, horses and cats so these are the most frequently treated species.
Q. What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
A. Very fine needles are inserted into your pet at carefully chosen sites, these may be local or distant to the problem area. Generally between five and fifteen needles are used depending on the condition being treated and the patient’s response. Animals can stand or lie down for treatment and even very excitable patients often calm down once the first needles are inserted.
Q. How do animals react to the needles?
A. There is usually no or very little reaction to the insertion of the needles, occasionally a patient may flinch slightly but the majority are completely comfortable during their treatment.
Q. How often are patients treated?
A. As a general rule patients are treated four times at 5-10 day intervals to start with. This may be enough for some patients depending on the chronicity of their condition and others will continue after this initial treatment but the time between treatments is gradually lengthened. The ongoing treatment of a patient is decided on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What response can I expect to see?
A. The response varies between patients as well as the type and duration of condition they are being treated for. Some respond after the first treatment and others are slower to respond, effects not being noticed until the third or fourth treatment. As well as an alleviation of the specific symptoms an animal is being seen for, owners also frequently report a general increase in demeanour, their pet seems happier and more interactive. As with any treatment including conventional medicine there will always be a few individuals who don’t respond as we’d expect but all patients are carefully monitored and their treatments amended accordingly.
Q. Are there any side effects with acupuncture?
A. Veterinary acupuncture should only be performed by qualified Veterinary Surgeons to ensure it is a safe treatment. Side effects of acupuncture are very rare but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to two days after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are temporary and are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.
Q. Can acupuncture be used at the same time as conventional treatment?
A. Absolutely! Many animals are successfully treated with medications for a wide range of conditions but the majority have some form of side-effects. Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional treatments and with the aim of reducing the levels of medications required and consequently reduce side effects.
Q. Can I claim on my pet insurance?
A. The majority of pet insurance companies will cover the costs of acupuncture. It is worth checking your policy or contacting your insurance company to clarify.