Acupuncture involves the stimulation of certain points in the body, usually by the insertion of very fine needles.

The Chinese and other cultures have used acupuncture for thousands of years. The traditional Chinese approach to acupuncture is very holistic and explains it by altering and balancing the flow of energy or Qi. The Western approach focused initially on pain relief and endogenous endorphin release but more recent studies have shown effects on other systems such as the nervous and hormonal systems.

Acupuncture is extremely safe and generally very well tolerated, but it is not effective in all cases. It must be administered to animals either by trained vets or by other qualified practitioners in the presence of a vet. It is offered by top referral practices such as Willows and Fitzpatrick Referrals. Most good insurance companies also cover it.

Dirk having acupuncture to  relieve back pain. His owners found it more effective that the opiates and non-steroidals alone.

Dirk having acupuncture to relieve back pain. His owners found it more effective than the opiates and non-steroidals alone.

In our surgery Paula Bailey mainly uses it for pain relief and musculo-skeletal or neurological problems such as osteoarthritis, back pain and paresis, and also for lick granulomas.


” I took an introductory course in Traditional Chinese acupuncture in 2006 and followed it with ABVA Western courses on chronic pain management and use in the geriatric dog, so I use a combined approach.



Over the years I have offered acupuncture as an adjunct to traditional veterinary medicine and have been delighted with some of the responses seen. I have regularly used it to cut down drug doses or in some cases of back/neck pain it has allowed me to withdraw medication. It is very useful in older arthritic animals that are on maximum doses too and owners often report a general improvement in demeanour. I have treated dogs, cats and rabbits and even the occasional guinea pig. It is also useful when traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories cannot be used, for instance in gut ulceration or kidney failure.

Generally I start with three or four weekly treatments and then reassess to see whether to continue and if so at what interval. ” Paula

Dorothy was already on arthritis medication when she started collapsing.  Her back was found to be  painful. She has responded well to acupuncture, and rarely collapses now.

Dorothy was already on arthritis medication when she started collapsing. Her back was found to be painful. She has responded well to acupuncture, and rarely collapses now.


“Dorothy our elderly dog was starting show signs of back pain and also kept falling over.
Paula suggested we try acupuncture. From the first session the difference was amazing. Dot was able to move much more freely and stopped falling over. After a few treatments the improvement was profound, she now is happy to play and run around like a much younger dog.
We have used Paula as a vet for a few years now and have always been impressed at the quality of care and attention to detail when she’s looked after our pets.” Luke Carter

“We have a black Labrador called Oscar who when he was about three developed a sore place on his lower front leg which the vet diagnosed as Acral Lick Granuloma. He immediately put him on an antibiotic called Cephalexin but the sore patch on which the hair had now disappeared continued to develop.
We decided to obtain a second opinion and went to the Bristol Vetinary Hospital who confirmed the diagnosis and also confirmed that the treatment was the antibiotic we were using but suggested that we should put an antibiotic cream on the actual lesion as well. We continued this treatment and when he was around six the lesions spread to the other leg but then retreated from there to just the original place. When 11 Oscar still had a lesion about the size of a penny that showed no sign of healing. On the vets advice we used a regime of approximately one month on the antibiotic and then two weeks off and this certainly shrank the lesions when they had spread to the other leg but showed no sign of clearing up the problem altogether.
Last year we heard of a vet, Paul Bailey, who did acupuncture and as Oscar had bad arthritis on his left knee we decided to consult her to try and improve this. When she came to treat him she saw the Acral Lick Granuloma and asked if she could treat this as well as she had had some success with other dogs with this problem. Four sessions of acupuncture improved Oscar’s leg movement and general comfort and it completely cured the lesion which three months after the end of the treatment has now completely disappeared and the hair has grown back.
We are so grateful to Paula for this cure and I wish we had known earlier about the efficacy of acupuncture for this problem because it would have taken away a permanent irritation for Oscar and would have saved us many hundreds of pounds on antibiotics.” Richard Miles

“It was a tremendous help and turned her life around. I just couldn’t believe the difference. In the back of my mind I really didn’t expect it to work.” Barbara Altham. Her collie Jazz was treated for severe back pain several years ago.