How to recognise that your pet may be suffering silently.

Our pets rarely vocalise pain – this would be seen as a sign of weakness in the wild. 
Vet-Acupuncture-Dog in silent pain
Is your dog suffering silently? Acupuncture works for most dogs.

Your dog may be in pain from joint or muscle problems if you see any of the following:

  • Wobbliness at the back end
  • Head held low
  • Tail tucked under
  • Running with both back legs landing together (called bunny hopping)
  • Leaving a trail when passing faeces – unable to squat in one position for long enough
  • Wobbling when cocking leg to pee
  • Pacing (trotting with both right legs moving together, then both left legs moving together instead of diagonally opposite legs moving in unison)
  • Head bobbing at trot
  • Stiffness upon rising
  • Reluctance to be groomed or stroked
  • Lameness
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Grumpiness
  • Playing less
  • Reluctance to interact with other dogs
  • Inability to jump in and out of the car
  • Reluctance to jump onto/off the sofa
  • Reluctance to climb/descend the stairs. 
  • Fear of crossing laminate floors/losing a leg from underneath when on laminate floor.
  • Grooming excessively over a joint
  • Trembling, especially a hind leg
  • Skipping a leg every now and again. This is common in terriers, and is not normal. 
Signs that your cat may be in pain and may benefit from acupuncture:
  • Unkempt coat – too stiff to groom properly
  • Over-grooming specific locations – can indicate a segment of pain from pressure on a nerve
  • Change in toilet location or habit – pain when squatting can lead to constipation
  • Pain when digging a hole will often lead to alternative location – e.g. middle of the lawn 
  • Sleeping more – chronic pain can lead to depression
  • Long overgrown nails, sometimes growing into the pads. Not using scratch posts any more
  • Feeling bony – muscles that aren’t used wither away
  • Stiffness upon rising
  • Clumsiness or hesitation when jumping up onto furniture
  • Inability to get up as high as when younger
  • No longer climbing over the fence/onto the shed roof etc.
  • Less hunting/playing behaviour
  • Moving with the elbows sticking out
  • An arched back
  • Reluctance to be touched or petted
  • Aggression in a previously friendly cat
  • Reluctance to use the cat flap – waiting for the servant to open the door instead
  • Grinding teeth
  • Slanty eyes and ears held low

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Electroacupuncture is a more powerful form of acupuncture.

I use electroacupuncture for animals that have previously been good responders to acupuncture but as they age and their underlying condition worsens more treatment is needed. Some older animals with severe arthritis need electroacupuncture early on in their treatment plan.

Electroacupuncture  involves connecting wires, from a battery operated unit, carrying a very small current to the acupuncture needles. The animals generally tolerate this very well. We build the current up gradually, sometimes we see a little muscle twitching but the animal usually doesn’t mind at all. Some pets become a little sleepy during the treatment. Electroacupuncture takes a bit longer than manual needling. 

The first time we use electroacupuncture I limit the time to 5 minutes. If the animal copes well with this then we increase the time each week until we reach 20-30 minutes. Some pets will seem stiff for a day or so after treatment so I advise that dogs take it easy for a couple of days.

Laser Acupuncture

My laser acupuncture unit delivers a very focussed fine beam of Class 3B laser through the skin when placed over an acupuncture point. Because there is no needle penetrating the skin, I often start with the laser. Once the animal has started to feel the effects, and calms a little, I can then more easily progress to using acupuncture needles. The laser acupuncture unit is especially useful treating sensitive areas like elbows, toes and feet. 

These pets benefitted from acupuncture - Could yours?