Category Archives: Acupuncture

All aspects regarding the use of acupuncture in animals.

Acupuncture Can Work Miracles!

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Stoney was 14 years old when he was carried into my office by his owners. His rear legs had been paralyzed for seven weeks and conventional treatments had not helped. X-rays revealed severe arthritis of his spine but that alone did not explain his condition. Possible causes for his neurologic deficit included a spinal tumor, a ruptured disc, or even a blood clot to the spinal cord. An MRI or myelogram was needed to be sure of what the problem was, but his owners did not think it was in his best interest to put Stoney through those testes. Acupuncture was his last chance.

An aged pet with long standing rear leg paralysis does not warrant a rosy outlook and I was not optimistic about the ability of acupuncture to help him. After hearing about the acupuncture process and the poor prognosis, Stoney’s owners decided that they wanted to give him every chance they could and we proceeded with the treatment with hope in our hearts.

Stoney came to my office for weekly treatments; right on schedule. When his owners carried him in for his eighth session, I told them that I was seeing no improvement and suggested it was time to admit defeat. On the contrary, his owners were encouraged by the fact that he had begun to wag his tail so the treatments continued. You could have picked my jaw off the floor when Stoney walked into my office two treatments later.

We were able to taper his treatments to every three to four weeks and maintain Stoney’s mobility. He enjoyed another three years with his owners until his body finally gave out and we put him to sleep at the age of 17.

Have you experienced any miracles?

Holistic Treatment of an Allergic Reaction

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Any emergency brings to light the importance of being prepared for any pet emergency. The time to prepare for an emergency is NOT while in the midst of one. Every pet caregiver should have an emergency kit nearby at all times. You also need to have the phone number for, and directions to, the nearest 24-hour pet care facility.

A severe allergic reaction can cause death in a matter of minutes. Swelling of the face and eyes as well as hives all over the body can quickly evolve into swelling of the throat, respiratory distress, and death. Any home care for a pet suffering from a severe allergic reaction is just a stopgap measure until you can rush the animal to the nearest veterinary emergency facility.

I have seen animals have acute allergic reactions from something they ate but that is rare. In my experience, the most severe allergic reactions are caused by insects (bee stings or spider bites) or from vaccines and other injections. In general, the faster the onset of signs, the more severe the reaction will be. A pet that develops hives a couple of hours after a vaccine or bee sting is much less likely to get seriously sick than an animal that reacts within minutes of an incident.

In my experience, the most effective holistic mode of treatment for an allergic reaction is homeopathy. Choosing the correct homeopathic remedy requires matching the specific signs the pet is showing to those the remedy treats. Not every acute allergic reaction manifests exactly the same way in every pet.

The homeopathic remedy Apis mellifica (commonly shortened to Apis) is the main treatment for facial swelling and respiratory difficulty. This remedy is made from the venom of the honey bee.

Arsenicum album (Arsenicum), which is actually made from arsenic, may be helpful if the pet is restless and weak, with or without hives.

Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus tox) comes from poison ivy and is best for hives with severe itching that is relieved by warm applications and accompanied by great restlessness.

Urtica urens (Urtica) is made from the plant stinging nettle and is great for hives accompanied by red patches of skin and an increase in urinations.

For an allergic reaction I would suggest using the 30C potency of the homeopathic remedy of choice and giving a dose every 2-5 minutes until the signs begin to resolve. As soon as you notice improvement, stop giving the remedy and watch the pet closely. If the signs start to come back, give another dose of the remedy. If the remedy has no effect after 2-3 doses then choose another remedy that more closely matches your pet’s signs.

Any situation that causes extreme emotional upset can be helped by a dropper full of the Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Remedy given orally. However, in my experience, this general treatment is too mild to alleviate any severe situation. It actually may be more helpful for the pet caregiver to treat themselves with this remedy so they can maintain their wits while helping their pet.

If the animal loses consciousness from the allergic reaction, the acupressure point GV 26 may help. I talk about its use here.

Have you ever seen an allergic reaction?

5 Steps to a Healthy Pet

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I would like to start 2016 by keeping it simple. Over the years I’ve written about research and my own experience that informs my views on pet health care. I’ve been working in the veterinary field for over 30 years with more than 20 years of holistic/integrative practice. I would like to sum it up with 4 simple ideas that I think will give every pet the best chance for a long, healthy life.

  1. DIET – Nutrition is the basis for health. We simply cannot expect any animal to be healthy if they are not provided the raw materials needed to build a healthy body. Our pets evolved eating raw food. They retain the genetic programming for diets that are high in protein and low in carbs (the opposite profile of conventional diets). The high-heat processing of commercial pet foods destroys micronutrients and creates carcinogens. Pets benefit from a species-appropriate, balanced, raw diet.
  2. Healthy Weight – Speaking of diet, keeping your pet at a healthy weight will help him live a longer life with fewer chronic disease issues like arthritis. You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs along the side of the body and there should be a narrowing at the waist.
  3. VACCINES – Wile I am not against all vaccines I have found that the mainstream veterinary community tends to over-do it. Every pet does not need every vaccine every year. It is important to be sure your pet has immunity to distemper and parvo. Blood titers can be done to see if a pet needs the vaccine. Giving more vaccines than are needed does not increase immunity; it just screws up the immune system. The rabies vaccine is mandated by law and in my experience a healthy animal can handle a vaccine every 3 years. Other vaccines such as leptospirosis, lyme, and bordetella should be given on an as needed basis. DO NOT give more than one vaccine at a time.
  4. MEDICAL INTERVENTIONSWhenever possible, natural/holistic therapies such as herbs, supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathy should be used over conventional medications. My main concern with Western medicine is that there are often side effects from such medicines that can be avoided by using more natural treatments.
  5. SPAY/NEUTER – Recent research shows that sterilizing a pet before it is fully mature causes changes in bone growth. These alterations throw off the biomechanics of the joints and predispose the pet to hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament rupture. Spaying and neutering at any age appears to promote cancer. (Find research on this here) Depending on a pet caregiver’s lifestyle and tolerances and the pet’s behavior, it appears that it is best to hold off on spaying and neutering any pet until it is 2-3 years old. Consider Zeutering male dogs.

There you have it, pet health in a nutshell: feed raw, limit vaccines, go holistic, delay spay/neuter.

What have you found the most helpful for your pets?