Sammy is a very playful Labrador Retriever. About 4 months ago he started limping on his right hind leg. Sammy’s mom took him to the veterinarian. Their family veterinarian did a full examination on Sammy and took radiographs of his back legs. Sammy was diagnosed with a Cranial Cruciate Rupture (similar to an ACL tear) and was referred to an orthopedic specialist. The specialist discussed with Sammy’s mom several surgical options and then scheduled surgery. Sammy’s surgery went great. Sammy’s mom made sure that Sammy followed all the rules after surgery. Sammy’s last recheck with the specialist was 1 month ago and everything looked fantastic! The specialist said that Sammy could resume normal activity. Sammy’s mom started him on glucosamine supplements that were recommended by their family veterinarian to help keep his joints healthy. Sammy’s mom remembers that the specialist said there is a possibility that Sammy could hurt the ligament in his other knee since he already had one injury. She wants Sammy to be active and playful, but she wants to do everything she can to avoid him having another surgery on his left knee.
Can Acupuncture help Sammy in this scenario?
Yes! Acupuncture works in a number of different ways. The insertion of acupuncture needles into specific points can locally stimulate good inflammatory cells and increase the blood supply to an area which helps with healing and local inflammation. So if we incorporate acupuncture in Sammy’s chronic pain management plan, we can help with continued healing of his right knee, while also strengthening his left knee to hopefully avoid a second knee surgery in the future! Sammy would first need to be evaluated by a Veterinary Acupuncturist, and based on Sammy’s history and exam findings, a plan would be made about how often acupuncture could be incorporated into Sammy’s routine.
Will it hurt Sammy to have all those needles put in his body?
Most dogs and cats tolerate acupuncture very well! Many pets don’t realize that needles are even being inserted. Typically 10-15 needles are inserted, and the needles are kept in between 10-30 minutes. Every dog and cat is different and the Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist will make recommendations to make this the most positive experience for both the pet and pet parent! Many pets like to chew a bone or lick some peanut butter while the needles are being inserted. Some pets get very excited for their acupuncture session because they know that they will be getting extra treats that day!!
Will acupuncture have any negative side effects on Sammy?
No. Acupuncture is very safe. Since Sammy is doing well, we probably won’t see big changes in his behavior with acupuncture. Our goal with Sammy is to help keep his joints healthy, so that he continues to feel playful and active! With dogs and cats that are seeking acupuncture because they have an area of pain or discomfort, typically we will see a good response within the first 4-6 weeks. The longer the problem area has been an issue, typically the longer it takes to see a positive response. A Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist can make a full assessment and give a pet parent a reasonable estimate of when we should see a positive response.
Do you know of any good Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists?
Yes! Dr. Tyler Carmack, Dr. Jeanette Schacher, and Dr. Sharon Cubelo are all Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists. The doctors at Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice & Integrative Medicine are able to come to your home! They would be happy to take a look at “Sammy” and make a good plan.
If you have a pet you think would benefit from an integrative medicine and acupuncture consultation, please contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, In-Home Euthanasia, and Integrative Medicine at 757-474-5968.