What happens when I bring my dog or cat to Acupet?

A thorough veterinary examination is initially conducted and any history from your previous vet including blood tests and x-rays are reviewed. If the initial veterinary examination carried out reveals the need for further diagnostic imaging or a follow up on other problems that are found during the examination ( e.g. a skin mass) you will be referred back to your usual general practice for this.

Following a conventional examination, your cat or dog is then examined using the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine approach which involves particular attention to the tongue and the pulse. Muscles and joints are given full attention as changes in muscle size, stiffness and pain can indicate which meridians are affected and what points need to be included in treatment. An important part of the consultation involves questions about your pet which focus on his or her emotional state, diet and the environmental conditions which make the condition worse (i.e. worse in hot, cold or damp conditions?) Anything you can think of related to your animals condition, whether it be different smells about your pet you have noticed or particular times of the day his or her condition may be worse, is worth mentioning to help ascertain the cause of disharmony in the body.

Please click here to access the Acupet History Form and complete it online for your pet.

How many treatments will be needed?

Once a treatment plan is established there can be anywhere from one to three treatments weekly for four to six weeks. Chronic conditions can respond more slowly and it may take six to eight treatments before real differences start to be seen. Treatments generally end once no further improvements are seen and then maintenance sessions are used every one to three months to keep symptoms at bay.

Sessions will usually take about 90 minutes. It is vital that a calm and positive environment is created for your companion so that they can relax during treatment and allow needles to be maintained for the correct time period.

Fine gauge needles are inserted but other modalities such as moxa cigars (burnt to release warmth) and laser therapy for more needle-phobic patients may be used.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture is relatively painless. There may be a brief moment of sensitivity as the needles penetrate the skin but most animals relax during treatment to the point of falling asleep. The very fine gauge needles are non-cutting and simply part tissues when placed. Acupuncture points are also known to be less reactive to pain. Most animals start to love the “feel good” effect of acupuncture but it usually takes a couple of sessions for animals to feel very relaxed with needle insertion. But, as with some people, some animals may just not take to it at all. In this case laser therapy may be trialled and in time the dog or cat may be more accepting of needles. Also during therapy, moxa may be used. Moxa is a warming herb used to stimultate acupuncture points and animals find this very soothing.

What changes will I see in my dog or cat?

A few things may occur after treatment:

  • There may be no obvious changes but your animal seems brighter with possibly more energy.
  • The symptoms may worsen over 24-48 hours before improving.
  • The symptoms improve directly after treatment.

The more chronic the condition generally the more treatments will be needed to see relief from symptoms.

It is always good to keep a record of changes in your animal at home. It can be interesting to see how far they come and to see changes you never expected i.e. increased energy levels, a more lustrous coat and brighter eyes are common effects. Also when new symptoms develop knowing when and under what conditions they appeared is helpful for adjusting treatment where needed.