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.