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Frequently asked questions

How is it done?

Most animals tolerate acupuncture very well. It is actually often easier to needle an animal than a human as they don’t experience the same anxiety and associated muscle tension that we do. We try to find a comfortable position for your pet and often the owner stays with them to help keep them relaxed. A slight reaction by the patient is often seen as the needles are inserted but once done, little pain is experienced. The number of acupuncture sites used varies from case to case and can change at each session depending on the response to the treatment. The needles are normally left in for about 10 minutes each time.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needling should not be adversely painful. To get the best results we try to insert needles as close as possible to the source of the pain. In some very painful cases, an ‘onion’ approach is used where sites away from the main source of pain are initially used. As these sites become less sensitive we can get closer to the main site, similar to peeling away the layers of an onion!

Most animals will feel slight pressure as the acupuncture needle is inserted but once placed it is tolerated very well and can sometimes even relax your pet.

Why try acupuncture?

It is great for pain relief without any of the adverse side effects that can accompany some medications. This makes it invaluable for pets who cannot tolerate other medications due to illnesses such as kidney or liver failure. It is also commonly used in combination with other medications and supplements to improve pain relief and therefore quality of life.

What is involved?

We normally book a 20 minute appointment, during which time we examine your pet and then insert the acupuncture needles which stay in for about 10 minutes. Most pets don’t require sedation. We encourage you to stay with your pet and sit with them where they are most comfortable, whether this is on a blanket on the floor, or on the consulting room table.

How many sessions will my pet need?

Each case is different and the number and frequency of sessions will be planned according to the condition being treated and the response. For example, a dog recovering from orthopaedic surgery may require more frequent sessions but for a shorter time than a dog where we are using acupuncture to help manage arthritis long term.

We book at least 20 minutes for each session so that we can examine and evaluate your pet before needling. It also provides time to discuss the overall plan in cases where acupuncture is being used as only part of the pain management.

Is acupuncture covered on pet insurance?

Most insurance companies will cover acupuncture as a complementary or alternative therapy. It is worth contacting your insurance to check.