Vet-Acupuncture-Patient with Shelagh Tubby

Book appointments with Shelagh Tubby

I offer you and your pet an initial consultation lasting approximately one hour. I take time to fully understand your pet and their lifestyle, including all of their previous medical and surgical history. 

I will work alongside, and not instead of, your normal vet, with reports and recommendations to you and your vet every time I see your pet.

I also liaise with your veterinary physiotherapist and hydrotherapist by sharing reports (with your permission) to help integrate the care of your pet. 

At each appointment I will begin by assessing gait in the garden, often using Freework, and talk to you about how your pet is doing. Then I examine your pet by gently palpating (feeling) the muscles and joints,  and watching your pet move in the house. Then I place the needles which remain in place for several minutes. More severe conditions may be treated using electroacupuncture and the tickly feet points are usually treated using a Laser Acupuncture device. 
After the needling,  I massage the area which most animals enjoy. 

I teach owners step by step how to massage their own pet at home, adding a new massage technique each visit. 

I educate each owner about lifestyle changes and home adaptations they can make to make your pet more comfortable #morerugslessdrugs is a hashtag used by CAM – a fantastic resource for owners of arthritic pets.

Most animals require an initial course of between four and six acupuncture treatments, at weekly intervals. Animals with long-standing problems then have top-up sessions as needed, often once every four weeks, sometimes at longer intervals. 

For those interested in herbal medicine, I can offer a bespoke herbal formula to your pet, which will be mailed out to you after your appointment, as time is needed to select the right tinctures for your pet, blend them and prepare the instructions and reports necessary to be sent to you and your first opinion vet. 

I work from home, which helps to keep the overheads, and hence my charges, down. Most animals feel more comfortable in a  home environment rather than in a noisy veterinary surgery. I am located in Thorpe St Andrew, on the East side of Norwich – easily accessible from the A47 trunk road, the new Northern Distributor Road,  and the city itself. 

Pet Insurance companies now often include acupuncture and herbal medicine in their complementary cover. Check your policy for excesses.  The consultation fee is claimable under the ordinary part of the policy. I provide itemised receipts and can assist with claims.

This complementary cover is sometimes a separate “pot” of money to regular veterinary claims, so can be used without impacting your “pot” for accidents, emergencies and illness. Use it every year if you have it! 

Contact me

To make an enquiry as to whether acupuncture, chronic pain management and herbal medicine may help your pet, please email me on or use the contact form.

I charge £110 for the first, hour long appointment. This includes full assessment of your pet, review of the history, the first acupuncture treatment and a written report.  This fee is split into £90 Veterinary Consultation, £20 Acupuncture treatment. 

Subsequent appointments are charged at £45 consultation fee and £20 acupuncture treatment and last about 30 minutes. 

Herbal medicines are charged out separately, and depend upon the size of the pet, starting price about £60.

My appointment times run from 08:30 til 15:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 



Please tell me a little about you, your pet and their problem

Answers to questions you may want to know

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine needles into the body for pain relief or to help the body deal with certain diseases.

How does acupuncture work?

It works through the nervous system. The needles block the pain messages and encourage the brain and central nervous system to produce more of the body’s natural painkillers. In conditions that are not painful, acupuncture may help to reset the body’s normal functioning.

Will it hurt my pet?

Acupuncture needles stimulate nerves that don’t cause the feelings of pain that we are trying to treat.  Initially some animals react to this sensation as they are expecting pain, but then relax because pain does not occur.  Usually the owner is more apprehensive than their pet!  Most of the time animals accept the fine needles very well and often become relaxed and sleepy during the treatment. Often they appear to look forward to the next treatment when they come back to see me.

Would my pet need to be sedated for this treatment?

It is uncommon for animals to need sedation. This would only happen if they were already in such pain that any touch or stimulus would be painful. Perhaps surprisingly, cats often accept acupuncture treatment very well.

How often would my pet be treated?

The usual course is once a week for four to six weeks. After four weeks we will know whether acupuncture is working for your pet and then, depending on the condition and how they have responded, we will work out a plan that usually involves tailing off the treatment so that the effect is maintained for as long as possible.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe, in the right hands. Legally it must be performed by a veterinary surgeon in the UK. There have been no official reports of problems in animals. There are a very few cases in which we would be cautious about using acupuncture, but your veterinary acupuncturist can advise you of these.  Severe skin disease may preclude treatment, as I cannot place needles through dirty or infected skin.

What about my regular vet?

Your pet remains under the care of your own vet, with whom I will liaise. Before I can see your pet, I must have your animal’s notes from your vet.  I provide a written report to your vet at the end of the initial course of treatment, and periodically thereafter.

Acupuncture is not an alternative to your pet’s regular medical treatment, it is used alongside.  There is no need to stop any of your pet’s medications before a course of acupuncture. 

What animals can you treat?

Most pets respond to acupuncture well, but I only treat cats and dogs because sadly I am too allergic to work with rabbits and horses!

What kinds of conditions are treated with acupuncture?

Pain is the most common reason for pet owners to try acupuncture. Usually this is pain associated with arthritis, but also muscle strains, pain caused by disc disease and bony changes of the spine. Other kinds of pain may also respond.  Functional conditions such as constipation in cats and bowel problems in dogs may also respond.

What can I expect during treatment?

After examination, needles will be put into various parts of the body and moved or stimulated a few times. There is not a set ‘dose’ of acupuncture as there is for medication, so your vet will judge how much to do based on your pet’s response both at the time and after the treatment.

And after the treatment?

It is not uncommon for pets to go home and sleep very soundly for a long time. This is a good sign and shows that your pet will probably respond well to acupuncture. But do not worry if they are not sleepy, this does not mean that they will not respond. Sometimes your pet may seem a little more euphoric than usual; this is also a good sign, but keep them quiet for the rest of the day or they may overdo things.

Otherwise treat your pet normally after acupuncture. Do not change exercise, diet or medication unless it has been discussed with your vet.

What about response?

Your pet may show one of three responses to treatment:

  1. They may seem a little stiffer or more uncomfortable. This just means that the dose was a bit too much, but also shows that they should respond to treatment. After a day or two they will improve again and should be better than before. However, you must tell your acupuncturist so that they can adjust the treatment next time.
  2. You may see no response. This is always disappointing but does not mean your pet will not respond; it may just be that they will take a little longer or that their improvement after the first treatment was too brief or small for you to see. We cannot say that they will not respond until after the fourth treatment. Not all animals or humans are acupuncture “responders”, but about 80% will be.
  3. You may see an improvement. This may occur any time in the three days after treatment. The signs that we are trying to treat may then return before the next treatment, but this is fine. After each subsequent treatment the effects should last for longer, so that your pet may eventually not need more treatments for some time.

Before I can see your pet, I must have signed consent from your pet’s primary care clinician (aka your normal vet) using the form attached. Please email the form to your normal veterinary practice and ask that they fill it out and send it onto me, email is fine.

These pets benefitted from acupuncture - Could yours?