What happens during the treatment?

What happens during the treatment?

Most animals, even cats and rabbits, will accept acupuncture treatment without any distress or discomfort. A very needle phobic horse can be sedated to reduce stress. The needles used are very thin and the majority are inserted into points on the animal that are not painful. The needles can be left in for 5 to up to 30 minutes depending on the case. In some cases, a small electric current is passed through the endless to intensify the treatment in a method called ‘electroacupuncture’. This is also very well accepted by patients. During treatment, many animals will become more relaxed and even sleepy and this may continue for the rest of the day.

Occasionally, pets will seem even slightly euphoric, so be careful not to let them overdo it! Do not change anything in your normal routine of feeding, exercise or medication unless strictly advised to by your veterinary acupuncturist. Horses should avoid any strenuous exercise on they day of acupuncture.

What response can I expect?

  •  Your dog or cat may initially be a little stiffer or uncomfortable. This may indicate that they need less stimulation at the next treatment, but does suggest that they are likely to respond well in the longer term. After a day or two this will improve, so just allow them to rest.
  • There may be no response. This does not mean that your animal will never respond, but it may take a little longer. Many animals can take up to the fourth treatment to show a significant improvement. There are a small percentage of pets (as with humans) who will not respond at all.
  • There may be an improvement – this may occur any time within a few days of the treatment. The improvement may not last until the next treatment but this is normal in the early stages. Later in the process, the effects should last for longer so there can gradually be longer between treatments.

How often, how much?

On average, 4-6 treatments are required to start with, but acupuncture can be continued long term. Individual acupuncturists vary in their protocol, but as a rule, these are given weekly initially with gradually increasing intervals, until the desired effect is achieved. The frequency of treatments depends on the individual animal’s needs, but often top-ups are required to maintain the therapeutic effect in the long term. Every pet will have a treatment plan tailored to their individual needs.

The cost of acupuncture treatment will vary depending on the practitioner and the area that you are in. As acupuncture is now recognised as a very successful treatment for many conditions, the majority of insurance companies will cover the costs involved. If you are in any doubt, check your policy or contact your individual company for more information.

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