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Arthritis in Dogs

Pet Advise

While we recognise arthritis as painful in ourselves and in dogs we sometimes don’t realise cats can suffer too. Where we see cats living to well beyond their expected ages we will see pain from arthritic changes. This might show as a reduction in jumping on and off furniture. Finding new ways to access high points. Sleeping more. Heat seeking more. These are all possibly signs of pain. So what can you do?

Just as for dogs there is medication available at your vets. If your worried about giving tablets a popular and effective pain relief medication is in the form of a flavoured syrup. My cat LB eats the syringe it’s in she likes it so much. But she’s been on it for five years now and it’s not always enough. LB has a comfy bed and a heat pad. What more can we do?

I’ve been using acupuncture on LB for sometime. Shes now 19 years old and she’s at a tricky stage. Arthritic, elderly, but blood tests so far are not showing any problems. She is eating and happy. But I wanted to do more. I had been aware of pet acupuncture and have used acupuncture on myself. I decided it was time to give it a try for her.

LB  gets acupuncture at a local vet practice. There are several around Muswell Hill that provide it. The vet has further qualifications in animal acupuncture. It’s around a 45 minute appointment and she gets a comfy bed to sit or lie on. The needles are placed and then she settles for 15-20 minutes while they do their thing.

Contrary to popular belief cats sit really well for acupuncture. She sits on the vets table in the bed with no restraint, even purring. Last time she was feeling better and stronger and the vet said how pleased she was with her progress. We’ve even progressed to larger needles and more needles in new places. She lies down and she purrs. Sometimes she has a little nap.

While all treatments work differently on the individual I can see an improvement in her. She walks better, jumps more and has returned to her normal activities. As she doesn’t understand why we’re doing the treatment I can only attribute her improvement to the acupuncture.


In fact her ongoing eye problem has even improved with the acupuncture. It really shows how it treats holistically and may not just treat the area you want to treat. While veterinary acupuncture can only be used for specific clinical signs such as pain many animals over eight years of age suffer from arthritis, that means many will be in pain.

Please don’t just put your animal ‘slowing down’ as a sign of old age. Age isn’t a disease. It just means they are more likely to have health problems. Let’s make sure pain isn’t one of them.

You can find a veterinary acupuncturist here: