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Can acupuncture treat animals?

Veterinary Surgeon Philip Elliott has been offering acupuncture since 2008 and has successfully treated many of our client’s pets. Acupuncture appointments take place at our Maidstone clinic and are available to our Langley Park clients .

Acupuncture is recogni sed as an integral part of traditional Chinese Medicine and involves piercing the skin with fine metal needles in order to relieve symptoms, cure disease and promote health. The Chinese philosophy involves placing needles in certain specific points along meridians (channels in the body) to influence the flow of chi (life-force/energy)

Recently, scientific investigation of acupuncture has revealed a sound neuro - physical basis to this approach and has shown that stimulation of certain nerves or muscles (acupuncture points) causes a blockage of pain. It also stimulates the release of pain-relieving chemicals in the brain (endorphins), which produce more generali sed pain relief.

Acupuncture may be particularly effective in the treatment of chronic disease, either to complement orthodox treatments or when orthodox medicine fails.

In the UK, acupuncture for animals is classified as an act of veterinary surgery and can only be legally performed by a veterinary surgeon.

Most insurance companies recogni se the benefits of acupuncture and will cover the cost of treatments, although it does pay to check with your individual insurer prior to starting treatment.

All animals can potentially be treated with acupuncture, although we mainly treat dogs and cats. Rabbits have been treated and often respond very well.

It is mainly used to treat musculo-skeletal pain, such as occurs with arthritis. But can also be used to help :

  • chronic gastro-intestinal disease, such as chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • chronic skin disease like atopy (allergic skin disease) and non-healing wounds

The first treatment involves an initial assessment of the animal and problem being treated, a detailed history is taken and full clinical examination performed, paying particular attention to muscles and joints.