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Acupuncture is becoming more popular in the pet world. Similar to the hydrotherapy and the physiotherapy, it is used often alongside other treatments, another management to try and control pain and to improve mobility for pets. There are other reasons why you may use acupuncture. There are two approaches to the acupuncture, there is the traditional Chinese medicine approach and then the western approach. So the one that is most commonly used in the UK is the western approach and this is based on needling areas in response to where the pain or where the source of the problem is. So we use it, say, for example, in an arthritic dog who has arthritis in their hips. In those dogs, you'll often find that they are shifting their weight through the rest of their body to try and spare the hip that is painful for them. So we often find there is a little bit of tension along the back and maybe in the shoulders as well. So the beauty of the acupuncture is that we can do as little or as much as an animal will tolerate and we can needle just where the pain is.

So with a lot of the anti-inflammatory tablets, they are taking these anti-inflammatories and they are affecting the whole body, so there are side effects with certain anti-inflammatories, whereas with the acupuncture it is very, very safe and there are no adverse side effects with it. The aim is to get a response from the nerves around where you are needling and what these nerves do is send signals to the animal's brain to send out their natural painkillers, which is mainly the endorphins. So this natural release gives them pain relief which combines with medical medicines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and the joint supplements can really help improve their mobility.

We also find with some of these cases that we can reduce the amount of pain relief we are having to give them because the acupuncture is doing more or helping to reduce the amount. Acupuncture is also used for helping wounds to heal. And the reason this is because if you needle around an area around a wound, the body will try, it is like causing a small injury to that site and the body will try and help repair that site. So what will happen is the blood flow will improve to that site. So you will get a rush of all the healing agents through the blood to around where the wound is and that is how it can help promote wound healing.