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New Leash of Life

It might sound like a spiky issue but acupuncture for pets is hitting the right spot, according to a Carlisle vet. Laura McKirdy, a small animal vet at Paragon Pets in Dalston, is singing the praises of the alternative treatment. She began practising acupuncture last October and has already seen a string of success stories. One of her favourite features an elderly Border Collie named Meg who suffers from chronic arthritis.

50058969F004The creaking Collie had been prescribed various strong pain-killersbut they were upsetting her stomach and making her very drowsy. But after a series of acupuncture sessions Meg is transformed, she is lively and happy and even pulls her owner into the vets practice, Laura says. And now Laura is calling on other owners of pets with various ailments to give the acupuncture a try

She said: “It’s quite a new complementary treatment and it really helps with problems like chronic arthritis in animals. ”It involves targeting trigger points like tight knots in muscles and stimulating what’s called fast pain fibre. This makes the brain prepare for a traumatic event but when it realises there is no trauma the pain level is raised.”About 250 vets up and down the country offer the treatment. She also said it can be practiced on any type of animal, including dogs, cats, rabbits and even tortoises. “We are trying to incorporate it into every day medication rather than an animal relying on drugs to control pain,” Laura explained. “Since we started we are seeing a really good response and some very happy animals.”

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“There is a bit of a stigma surrounding it but I always ask people if they have had acupuncture themselves first. If they have they’re always more likely to consider it for their pets. We’re trying to get it away from being thought of as a hippy, airy-fairy kind of thing because there is a science behind it. I’ve had acupuncture myself for a bad back and felt great afterwards so I can give a first-hand testimony.”

Angela Dobson, of Bolton Low Houses, said the treatment has changed her dog Fudge’s life. She said: “We’ve found a big difference with her – she’s off her medication and has more life in her and is much more active.” Paragon Pets is hosting a pet talk to explain the benefits of acupuncture for animals at the Tithe Barn, Carlisle on Thursday at 7pm. For information call the surgery on 01228 710208.

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