Acupuncture - A Natural Pain Relief Option

Why might your pet need acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to provide a natural pain relief when introduced as part of a multimodal approach to manage pain. This can be particularly helpful if your pet is difficult to medicate, has side effects from medications or is refractory to medications.

This therapy is suitable for both cats and dogs.

Your pet may benefit from acupuncture if they have:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle sprain
  • Ligament damage
  • Neck and back pain
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Acral Lick Dermatitis
  • Anxiety/ behavioural issues

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the placement of fine needles through the skin at specific points of the animals’ body in order to alleviate pain.

Acupuncture can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon trained in acupuncture.

It has been practiced for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and is now widely understood by western science.

Acupuncture is known to:

  • Modify pain pathways in the brain and spinal cord to activate the central nervous systems natural pain blocking mechanisms.
  • Stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine which are important neurotransmitters involved in behaviour, cognition, sleep and well being.
  • Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to normalise processes and promote healing.

The identification and needling of myofascial trigger points (tight knots in muscle) can also relieve muscle spasm and target both local and referred pain.

Acupuncture treatment should always be used after an accurate diagnosis and usually in addition to conventional medicine.

Acupuncture therapy can help reduce the need for medications or allow reduced doses.

Will it hurt my pet?

Most animals tolerate acupuncture very well and hardly notice the needles being placed.

Occasionally a needle will provoke a mild reaction however this is short lived and then the animal commonly relaxes.

It is very safe! Most pets become very relaxed and may even fall asleep.

How do the sessions work?

The initial appointment lasts approximately 45 minutes and allows for a thorough evaluation of your pets history, current medications, clinical examination, gait analysis and building of acupuncture treatment plan.

In most cases the first acupuncture treatment will be given in the initial appointment.

Subsequent appointments usually last around 20-30minutes and each treatment is tailored to the individuals needs on that particular day.


Typically it is agreed to do 3 treatments at weekly intervals and then assess if your pet is benefiting.

The effect of acupuncture is cumulative, this means there is a greater effect seen after repeated sessions. If there is no benefit seen after three sessions then we will stop therapy.

Sessions usually run weekly for 4-6 weeks and depending on the pet and condition being treated we may reduce the frequency of sessions or revisit with a further course after a period of time.

How will I know it is working?

Approximately 75% of pets will respond to acupuncture.

Most commonly an improvement in demeanour and ability to move is often seen.

Initially the effect is short lived but with repeated sessions the effect should last longer and your animal will become more comfortable.

How much is it?

Initial appointment ......£75 (approximately 45 minutes)
Subsequent sessions ....£55 (approximately 20-30 minutes)

Acupuncture sessions are currently being offered in our Trowbridge branch.

We are happy to treat patients that are not registered with us but have consent from their own veterinary practice.

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Daisy, our elderly golden retriever, loves her acupuncture sessions and they make such a difference. After damaging a very arthritic elbow, leaving her groaning and immobile, acupuncture was suggested and she hasn’t looked back! Her fortnightly sessions mean her walks and quality of life are exactly as they should be at her age.

She’s back to being Dancing Daisy (albeit a little less energetically than in her youth!). She (and I) would heartily recommend it, most particularly as she has much less medication

Contact your Garston Small Animal Surgery for more info

01373 301 448
01985 213 350
01373 452 225
01225 617 779
01225 754 021


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