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Pain Management & Acupuncture

Susanna Alwen MA Cantab, VetMB, MRCVS, GP Cert Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management, CCRT, Dip HSA, RCH

Susanna graduated from Cambridge University Vet School in 2002 and went into general practice to learn a broad range of veterinary skills. After four years she became a technical veterinary advisor for a veterinary pharmaceutical company. In this role she was given the opportunity to attend veterinary orthopaedic conferences around Europe where she developed a keen interest in rehabilitation, pain management and osteoarthritis. After six years in this position she decided to return to clinical practice to put her knowledge to practical use.

Susanna attended a hydrotherapy course at Greyfriars in 2011 and joined the team in 2012 offering a veterinary referral service comprising pain management, hydrotherapy and acupuncture.

Susanna has completed a certificate in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management and a further qualification in rehabilitation to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT). She has completed the Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals and is a Registered Canine Hydrotherapist. Susanna works both as part of the hydrotherapy team and provides inpatient and outpatient clinics for pain and rehabilitation. 

As well as being our resident vet, Susanna is also a part of our lecturing team. She lectures in First Aid, Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Rehabilitation and Pain Management and provides CPD for vets.

Susanna is a member of the following organisations:

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association
British Veterinary Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Association
Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists
Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group

Pain Management

Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as “… an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage.”

Our pets experience pain in a similar way to us; as a negative emotional experience which can seriously alter demeanour and affect quality of life. Diagnosing pain in animals, particularly chronic pain, can be very difficult. It is easy to think that stiff movements or slowing down is a normal part of the ageing process.

Signs of pain may be expressed as a new behaviour such as a limp or a different walking style; alternatively it may be an absence of a normal behaviour such as jumping into the car that may aid us in diagnosing pain.

During the 45 minute consultation Susanna will perform a clinical examination of your pet and discuss their behaviour. In combination with a thorough medical history from your referring vet she will then be able to advise on options to manage the pain and tailor a programme to your pet.

There are different options available for pain management including conventional veterinary pharmaceuticals and complimentary therapies such as acupuncture. These will be discussed in the consultation taking into account what is suitable for both you and your pet.


Acupuncture is a therapy based on insertion of very fine needles into specific areas of the body in order to relieve pain and improve health. There are two broad approaches to acupuncture; the western approach and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Western veterinary acupuncture uses many of the same acupuncture points as TCM but explains point selection according to veterinary knowledge of anatomy of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system in animals. TCM uses specific acupuncture points to address imbalances in energy flow “Qi” along channels through the body.

Practitioners may use one or other or a combination of the two approaches to achieve optimal results.

Acupuncture has been used successfully in animals to treat the following:

Musculoskeletal pain (pain originating from muscles and bone)
Visceral pain (pain from internal organs such as the gut or bladder or reproductive organs)
Urinary problems such as incontinence or retention
Skin complaints such as wound healing, itchiness and compulsive licking

For a more in depth description of acupuncture and what to expect during and after treatment please request an information pack.

How to Book

For all these services we require a referral from your vet and a full medical history. Please contact us for further information.

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"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated."

- Mahatma Ghandi
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