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Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into the body for pain relief or, in some cases, to help the body deal with other diseases.

How it works

It works through the nervous system. The needles stimulate fast pain fibres and block the pain messages from slow pain fibres. They also encourage the brain and central nervous system to produce more of the body’s natural painkillers. In conditions that are not painful, acupuncture may help to reset the body’s normal functioning. About 80% of dogs, cats and people are acupuncture responders and will improve with treatment.

Will it hurt my pet?

Pets do not seem to resent the needles, which are very fine. Occasionally they will jump if a needle touches a very tender spot. The owner stays with the pet throughout the treatment (unless they would rather not!) and owners and pets often find the experience relaxing. 

The pet would only need to be sedated if they were in so much pain that any touch is painful. Anaesthesia is not used as it blocks nerve responses.

Conditions treated with acupuncture

Pain is the most common indication for acupuncture. Most commonly this means pain associated with arthritis, but acupuncture can be used to help muscle strains, pain secondary to disc disease and other bone conditions and also after orthopaedic surgery. Medical conditions such as constipation in cats and irritable bowel type problems in dogs may also respond.

Is acupuncture a substitute for medication?

No, acupuncture is complementary to other treatments and is used in a holistic approach to pain control. It can be used in combination with medicines, supplements and monitored exercise.

How often would my pet be treated?

The usual primary course is once a week for four to six weeks. Each session lasts around 30 minutes. After four weeks, we will know whether acupuncture is working for your pet and then, depending on the condition, and how they have responded, we will work out a plan that usually involves tailing off the treatment so that the effect is maintained for as long as possible. Some pets, especially elderly dogs with osteoarthritis, benefit from regular sessions, perhaps every month or six weeks, others have occasional courses of two-four sessions and some clients just book an appointment when they feel it would be beneficial. The frequency of treatment is always worked out in discussion with the owner.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe, in the right hands. Legally it must be performed by a veterinary surgeon. There have been no official reports of problems in animals, but there are some in humans. These can usually be avoided with care and a good knowledge of anatomy. There are a very few cases in which we would have to be cautious about using acupuncture, but your veterinary acupuncturist can advise you of these.

What can I expect during treatment?

After an inital examination, needles will be put into various parts of the body and moved or stimulated a few times. There is not a set “dose” of acupuncture as there is for medication, so your vet will judge how much to do based on your pet’s response both at the time and after the treatment. Patients may become sleepy and relaxed during the treatment.

And after the treatment?

It is not uncommon for pets to go home and sleep very soundly for a long time. This is a good sign and shows that your pet will probably respond well to acupuncture. But do not worry if they are not sleepy – this does not mean that they will not respond. Sometimes your pet may seem a little more euphoric than usual; this is also a good sign, but keep them quiet for the rest of the day or they may overdo things. 

Otherwise treat your pet normally after acupuncture. Do not change exercise, diet or medication unless it has been discussed with your vet. 

Response to acupuncture

Your pet may show one of three responses to treatment: 

  • They may seem a little stiffer or more uncomfortable after the first treatment, but this usually only lasts a day or two and can indicate that the pet will respond well to the course of treatment. Sometimes if this occurs we will reduce the time the needles are left in next time. 
  • You may see no response. This is disappointing but does not mean your pet will not respond to the course of treatment as it can take four sessions before an improvement is seen. 
  • You may see an improvement. This may be immediate or occur more slowly over the next 2-3 days. Often the improvement is seen as an increase in interacting with the family. 

How do I arrange an appointment?

Appointments can be made at Pershore and Bredon, please ask at reception or ring the surgery if you wish to discuss treatment or make an appointment.

How much does it cost?

The current cost is £36.86 a session including VAT. Many insurance companies will pay for acupuncture treatment if it is recommended by your vet.

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Practice information

Evesham Surgery (Counter Service & Pre-booked Appointments)*

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    8:30am - 6:00pm
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23 Lime Street, Evesham, WR11 3AH
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Bredon Surgery (No Appointments, Open Surgeries Only)

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    9:00am - 10:00am and 4:00pm - 4:30pm
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    9:00am - 10:00am and 4:00pm - 4:30pm
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    9:00am - 10:00am and 5:00pm - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 10:00am and 5:00pm - 6:00pm
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2 Station Drive, Bredon, GL20 7HH
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Pershore Surgery (Open Surgery and Appointments)**

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    9:00am - 10.00am, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 10.00am, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
  • Wed
    9:00am - 10.00am, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 10.00am, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 10.00am, 3:30pm - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 12:00pm
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    Emergencies only

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The Old Well, Station Approach, Pershore, Worcestershire, WR10 2DB
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