Two veterinary surgeries in Yorkshire are now treating poorly pets with the ancient practice of acupuncture.
The procedure works by stimulating nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue, prompting the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins and healing chemicals.
Acupuncture is increasingly common for treating aches and pains, such as osteoarthritis, muscular pain and digestive problems, in humans - but it is still relatively unheard of for treating pets.
Now, two Beechwood Group practices in Leeds will offer the service, after vet Nadine Headley completed a training course.
So far, her patients include arthritic 14-year-old cat Eebooboo, who regained the ability to run and play after just one session, as well as dogs and rabbits.
Animals enjoy the relaxing sessions so much that they often fall asleep on the treatment table.
Nadine 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 skepticism 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.
“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 that animals are happier in themselves again once they’ve had the treatment.”