Can acupuncture treat arthritis in dogs?
Acupuncture improves blood flow. This leads to increased oxygenation of tissues, and the reduction of accumulated waste products. Acupuncture also relaxes muscles and relieves pain.
Source: VCA Animal Hospital
If you don’t remember the original story, check out Canine Spondylosis: The Many Faces Of Arthritis—Viva’s Story article.
When Viva was adopted she was suffering from a number of health issues.
She was overweight, flea-infested, had a poor skin condition and was showing mobility issues. She was diagnosed with environmental allergies and spondylosis (a type of osteoarthritis that affects the spine). Viva’s spondylosis has been treated with acupuncture, physical therapy, and food supplements.
I admit. I am a very happy person. Although we knew Viva was neglected and in poor condition, it was still a shock to discover her many health issues.
Now, five months after we adopted her, we can see how much she improved. It is so much more then we could have hoped for!
Dealing with her weight was the easy part. Viva now weighs 86 lbs. Perfect for her size and body structure. She lost 14 lbs with a strict diet balancing everything from her meals as well as her treats and a daily exercise program. She must enjoy not having to drag along all those extra pounds on her already sore back.
The gravest of her conditions gave us a lot of worries.
Spondylosis cannot be cured. It leads to pain, stiffness, lameness, restricted mobility, and muscle weakness. Possibly also incontinence and an inability to coordinate placement of the feet.
We were so fortunate to find an excellent vet that studied Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). She suggested a treatment based on acupuncture, physical therapy, and a food supplement consisting of glucosamine, organic anti-inflammatories and Omega 3/6.
The acupuncture had an immediate effect. And after a month also the physical therapy and the glucosamine supplement started to pay of.
Viva is today clearly in less pain. She enjoys long walks and playtime with Kenzo. And she likes playing rough. When at first she sometimes whined and squealed because of (the anticipation of) pain, it is now Viva that initiates playtime and wrestling are her favorite. Her back is more agile. Where it first only moved up/down when she walked, it is now noticeably also moving left/right. This means she has become able to use the spine in her back!
We could have done better though, as Viva’s muscles are not strong enough yet. A daily work out is limited in its progress. When Viva becomes tired on the walk she adjusts her level of activity, meaning progress is slow.
We did join an underwater treadmill program but were not able to carry that through on a regular weekly basis. Viva stepped into something sharp and hurt her paw. Twice. Meaning a set back in the training program as we had to start over. But hey, it is great there is still room for improvement.
To treat her allergies Viva is only getting low-allergy kibble and for her dust mite allergy, we administer monthly shots of an allergy vaccine that is specifically developed for her. We also bath her regularly with a special dermatological shampoo.
Although progress was slow the allergies bother her a lot less. From a state of obvious discomfort, reddish skin, biting, itching and almost inflamed paws she now only has slightly reddish paws left. Biting and itching only returns incidentally and not so intense as before.
The vaccine is first fully active after nine months and we therefore still expect to make more progress. Her skin has such a beautiful pink color and dandruff has disappeared.
The years to come
Today we visited the vet for her regular acupuncture treatment. She was very pleased to see Viva.
The stiffness in her back is completely gone!
Her muscles are not tensed anymore. We can stop now with the regular acupuncture appointments and just see when we would need it again might the pain return. The vet added that she was especially happy with Viva’s progress and that she has a completely different aura now. Viva is one of her patients that made the most remarkable progress.
What will happen in the years to come we don’t know. But we are so hopeful for Viva’s future. We cannot win the battle with her spondylosis. But we can enjoy each day we are allowed to spend with her. In good health.
Viva’s story is shared with us by my good friend @Kenzo_HW. Check out his blog, it’s got awesome information on Hovawarts, tracking, nose work and lots of other great stuff.
The Many Faces of Arthritis: Viva Has Spondylosis