Veterinary Acupuncture

Veterinary Acupuncture in Oxford

Veterinary acupuncture has long been used in China to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Similar techniques are now being used by human practitioners throughout the Western world. In traditional Chinese, medical acupuncture is based on some concepts including balancing the flow of ‘Chi’ or energy in the body. Western scientific theories include the stimulation of endorphins and ’pain-gate’ effects on the nervous system.

The potential benefits of acupuncture therapy in animals are widely recognised and at Hilltop all sessions are carried out by our vet Julie Hutton, who has been treating pets with acupuncture since 2004.


What Is Veterinary Acupuncture Used For?

Veterinary acupuncture is used to reduce painful musculoskeletal conditions such as sprains & strains, arthritis, hip dysplasia and back pain. In these cases, after examination, sterile needles are introduced into specific acupuncture points in the muscle, at ‘Ah-Shi’ or trigger points. Specific points are also used in the treatment of a host of other conditions including incontinence, ear infections, epilepsy and many others.

How often will my pet need veterinary acupuncture?

This will depend on the condition being treated, how long it has been present and the sensitivity of the patient. Sessions are provided once or twice a week for around one month and then may be stopped or given less depending on the response. Although some conditions can be cured after just a few sessions others can require ongoing treatment at regular intervals. For example every 3-6 months.

How much does a veterinary acupuncture session costs?

Initial appointments, where the patient is examined and needles placed for the first time, last 30-60 minutes. Follow up sessions comprise a shorter check up and needle placement and are 15-20 minutes. The initial session costs £160 and follow up sessions are £80. If your pet is insured, check your policy – acupuncture is often covered.

How will I know if the veterinary acupuncture treatment is working?

In most cases, an effect will be seen after 2-3 sessions. You will be provided with a pain score sheet to check your animal’s progress. If there is no improvement then the symptoms and acupuncture points will be reviewed. In the small number of cases where there continues to be no response, treatment will be stopped.

What risks and side effects are associated with veterinary acupuncture?

In some animals, that are very sensitive to acupuncture, an initial worsening of symptoms may be seen. Needle placement can have a sedative effect ranging from relaxation to fainting. Certain conditions or medication may affect the effectiveness of treatment. Appropriate needle selection and placement will avoid any risk of damage to internal organs. Sterile needles are always used to prevent infection and needle breakage is very rare.

Will my pet dislike the needle placement procedure?

Needle placement can produce a warm, heavy, numb and uncomfortable feeling. Some animals will pant during treatment. Veterinary acupuncture can have a relaxing effect so that most animals tolerate and even enjoy the sessions.

Treatment takes place during an extended consultation or can be carried out in your own home. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other species can all be treated.

Rarely calming medication/sedation or a muzzle may be required – particularly painful or aggressive cases will be assessed on an individual basis.

How do I arrange an appointment?

Acupuncture in animals must always be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon. Julie has been performing this effective treatment since 2005. If you are already a client, you can book an appointment with the reception team or have a chat with Julie about your pet’s specific needs. Non-Hilltop clients will need to be referred by their regular veterinary surgeon. Telephone or email enquiries by owners or referring vets are welcomed.