Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pins & Needles


Aside from monthly chiropractic and massage therapy sessions, Popeye also currently has acupuncture performed on him. Dr. Rettig of Alternatives for Animals is a holistic vet.

The first time I took Popeye to see her, I brought Phoebe with us. Phoebe loves people, and she loves going to the vet. She also has the most good-natured temperament you could imagine in a dog. So of course she was the guinea pig. I had never seen acupuncture performed on an animal before and I wasn't sure, with Popeye's quirks and minor bouts of viciousness, whether he would be a good candidate. So I had the procedure performed on Phoebe first just to see what it was like.

Needless to say, Phoebe did very well, and the acupuncture procedure did not appear daunting at all. So I started taking Popeye in for it. Originally, it was to see if it would help with his incontinence or year-round allergies. Despite several sessions, it didn't seem to have any effect unfortunately. Since an acupuncture visit used up at least 3 hours of my already busy schedule, I eventually stopped taking him.

But now we're resumed the visits on a once a month basis. Not for any specific reason, but more as part of a general maintenance program in conjunction with his chiropractic and massage sessions.

During the acupuncture session, Dr Rettig quickly sticks each needle in him. The needles are hair thin and pliable. Popeye is always happy to see Dr Rettig, so he doesn't mind when she examines, pokes, and prods him. On a rare occasion, he might flinch when a needle is inserted, depending on whether that particular area of his body is more stressed, but most of the time, it doesn't seem like he even feels it. Sometimes some of the needles fall out if he moves around too much. For the most part though, after they've been inserted, he just lays down and rests. Of course, I am right there next to him on the floor, usually in a very bad posture, petting his head the entire time so that he remains calm. And then after about 20 minutes, the needles are removed.

I've heard from many people how acupuncture helped their pets as well as themselves, and I believe them. However, I also realize that not everyone will benefit from it. So right now, the jury is still out on whether it will help Popeye in the long run. Since Dr Rettig is a genuinely caring practitioner, and Popeye does not mind these visits at all, I'm not opposed to giving them another try. (Dr Rettig is also one of the few vets that supports raw feeding, so that's a plus too.)


Don't forget to cast your vote today for Walkin' the Bark Rescue in Concord, CA in the Shelter Challenge. Vote every day through December 19, 2010. Anything we win will help pay for a wheelchair for handicapped pets whose guardians cannot afford to purchase one on their own.


Wild Dingo said...

i found accupuncture hit or miss depending upon the condition. years and years ago, i had a dog with a slipped disk and it worked right away then over time it did not. the dog was very old and after years of jumping on and off furniture, well, it was his time.

then i had maggie. she had liver cancer. the accupuncture worked mireaculously to relieve pain and inflamation associated with the cancer so that she could walk normally. it wasn't a cure. obviously.

then i had juno. again, used accupuncuture to relieve pain and inflamation associated with sore muscles that are over stressed from hip displaysia. it won't cure hip displaysia but it relieves pain.

I look at accupuncture as a way to deal with inflamation mainly but not a cure or a way to reverse something already in the system. I look at it as a natural "tylonol" but way better and way more effective. tylonol wouldn't cure inconteniance i don't think. but sometimes inflamation really IS the source of many symptoms. so it's good to do it.

Juno responds amazingly to accupuncture. when she is very sore she will start to release her anal glands in weird times. normally when dogs go "poo" the anal glands are squeezed. Only becuase of her hip displaysia, she cannot squat like a normal dog and hence not squeeze glands during poo releasing. sometimes she even poos and walks at the same time. that's not normal for most dogs i'd say where they'd squat and finish. when juno is poo-ing in a normal position, i know she's not in pain. when she's not and when she's releasing her glands at unusual times (in the car for example when stressed or in the house) then I know she may be in pain. also when she won't let me touch her too much. that's when i have gone to accupuncture. i'll go for 5 or 6 visits in a row. usually by the 2nd, 3rd or 4th visit she's really in great shape and the needles go in easily. and then we don't go for a while. we use it like a pain medicine. when she's in pain, it's becuase she's strained other muscles due to her problem. the accupuncture relieves the pain and she's acting normal again.

a once a month visit maybe great for popeye too. it can't hurt. it is a great antinflamatory... and if you have the time for 1x/month, it can't hurt.

one thing I learned is that not all accupunturists are alike and to be quite certain about who you go to. I don't know yours obviously. but i do know it's more of an art than a science. one time i had a vet tell me "ya i can do accupuncture, i had a vet tell me where to stick the needles." um that is not accupuncture as you know. my Los Gatos vet (who treated maggie and juno) is IVAS certified which is a pretty big deal. i'm trying to find one here w/same certification but no luck. they do have accupuncture here but not that certification. I really did see a change in Maggie with my LG IVAS vet and a change in Juno too. thank dog for her. whereas the one i used in SF years ago was hit and miss.

anyway, you may want to try different accupuncturists too. each may have a different approach.

Wild Dingo said...
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