Luca was about 35 lbs when I found him on the streets of Memphis. He was in rough shape and limped badly for such a young dog. The vet prescribed a joint supplement and along with swimming about 3-4 times a week Luca seemed to do pretty well for a couple years.
Then we moved to Bismarck, ND where the swimming options are not so great for dogs and the weather is much colder, he gained weight quickly. Our first winter here it was clear that Luca would need more help than just a supplement but we weren’t sure what to do. It got to the point where he was in visible pain and unable to sit, lay or stand well. After extensive research and desperation to avoid heavy medication, I discovered a local vet that specialized in acupuncture.
The first morning that I took Luca for an acupuncture consultation he was so uncomfortable in the car that I was almost in tears as I watched him wince trying to get comfortable. I had hope the acupuncture would work but felt it would be a long treatment process and was fearing his pain would become unbearable.
The vet did an exam on Luca during which Luca cried out in pain and I again fought back tears. He took some x-rays then began to explain the situation to me. Essentially Luca has severe arthritis in his “knees.”
The vet told me how acupuncture could help and explained that he would like to do a series of 6 acupuncture treatments, 20 minutes every two weeks and then follow up with a 20 minute session every 3 or 4 months. I agreed to give it a try.
The whole experience was very calming, the vet put a rug on the exam table and Luca sat there while the needles were inserted. I winced but Luca started yawning immediately and laid down on his own to what seemed to be a blissful cat nap.
After the 20 minute treatment I was warned that he may be in some pain that day and the next so not to be surprised if he didn’t seem very active.
What I did not expect was my husband calling me a just a few short hours later to declare that Luca was running around the backyard like he was a new dog. I did not believe him.
When I arrived home after work Luca was indeed just as chipper as a 3 year old dog should be. I finally let the tears flow, this time from happiness, and was convinced this was a miracle. It was remarkable the difference only one acupuncture treatment made.
I can’t say that these results were normal but if there is any pet owner trying to decide if canine acupuncture is worth trying I would highly encourage you to give it a try.
Luca finished his 6 treatments and then every 3-4 months when he starts to slow down again we take him back for another treatment. Luca usually lays very still for the treatment, yawns often and occasionally shakes a few needles out but seems to enjoy the experience.
Unfortunately the vet moved out of state and we have yet to find another vet that offers canine acupuncture locally. Perhaps with enough pet owners requesting the service nationwide more vets will consider this as a valuable part of holistic health care.
Have you ever considered canine acupuncture or has your dog every had acupuncture? What did you think of the experience? I would love to know, please share in the comments below.