A veterinary surgeon has launched an acupuncture service with the aim of helping a plethora of pets overcome pain.
Nadine Headley, from Beechwood Veterinary Group in Leeds, offers the service to pets with a range of conditions, including osteoarthritis, muscular pain and digestive problems.
Acupuncture works by stimulating nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue, prompting the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins and healing chemicals.
The procedure has increased in popularity as a means of treating aches and pains in humans, but it thought to be uncommon for treating pets.
Miss Headley completed a Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group course and is now offering the service at two of Beechwood’s surgeries in Crossgates and Chapel Allerton.
She said: “Acupuncture goes hand-in-hand with other veterinary treatments, as we don’t want to discourage people from using conventional medicine. It has helped humans for thousands of years, but there is still some scepticism about it in the veterinary world.
“A lot of pet owners don’t realise it can be used to help their pets, and pet health insurance companies will even pay out for acupuncture.
“Acupuncture is very safe in the right hands. Legally it must be performed by a veterinary surgeon and must never be carried out without proper training and experience.”
Patients given acupuncture treatment by Miss Headley include arthritic 14-year-old cat Eebooboo, who has regular acupuncture and was able to run and play with his toys again after just one session.
Miss Headley added: “Depending on how severe the problem is, the benefits of acupuncture can be seen quite quickly.
“I’ve treated rabbits with digestive problems and dogs with muscular pain, osteoarthritis and aggression issues related to abdominal pain.
“The needles are very fine and once you’ve put in a couple of needles, pets start to relax. The sensation is like a tiny prick and then they get a warm, fuzzy feeling. Sometimes they become very sleepy or go home and have a good sleep.
“The improvement can be anything from mild improvement in mobility to a dramatic improvement in mobility and activity. The biggest benefit is animals are happier in themselves again once they’ve had the treatment.”