Prickly treat­ment for pets

> TCM prac­ti­tioner Jin Ris­han is us­ing his acupunc­ture skills to help his ca­nine pa­tients

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

LOOK­ING like a furry brown pin­cush­ion, eight­month-old French bull­dog Dan Jiao whim­pers ner­vously as he waits for the end of a Chi­nese acupunc­ture ses­sion aimed at cur­ing par­tial paral­y­sis caused by a pup­py­hood in­jury.

Dan Jiao (which means ‘egg dumpling’), would ob­vi­ously rather be chew­ing on a bone some­where than sit­ting strapped against his will into a har­ness that re­sem­bles a me­dieval tor­ture de­vice, and be­ing pricked by sev­eral long nee­dles hooked up to a mild elec­tric cur­rent.

But the min­is­tra­tions of Jin Ris­han, a tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine (TCM) prac­ti­tioner at his Shang­hai an­i­mal clinic, at least pro­vides hope­ful own­ers an al­ter­na­tive to putting down the beloved fam­ily dog or cat, the typ­i­cal fate of pets im­mo­bilised by se­vere spinal and ner­voussys­tem in­juries.

“We’re get­ting more and more cus­tomers,” said Jin, 53, whose Shang­hai TCM Neu­rol­ogy and Acupunc­ture An­i­mal Health Cen­tre is op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity of around 20 pa­tients per day, and grow­ing.

Many dogs suf­fer from toughto-treat back in­juries or spinal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, which can ren­der them un­able to walk.

A range of breeds in­clud­ing Bull­dogs, Ger­man Shep­herds, Col­lies, Bas­set Hounds, and Shih Tzus are par­tic­u­larly prone to these af­flic­tions.

“Seventy per cent of the an­i­mals here suf­fer from spinal disc her­ni­a­tion, lead­ing to paral­y­sis of the hind legs or all four legs,” Jin said, adding that acupunc­ture is more ef­fec­tive than mod­ern medicine.

“Western med­i­cal prac­tices can’t do much,” he said.

It ap­pears to be work­ing for Dan Jiao, who was com­pletely paral­ysed when his owner, Michael Xu, first brought him in for treat­ment af­ter a fall that broke his back.

Xu said: “Af­ter three days of acupunc­ture, he was slowly able to crawl on his front paws. By the sev­enth day, he was able to limp on all four legs.”

That day, pa­tients rang­ing from a gan­gly black Labrador to a tiny teacup poo­dle, were car­ried in by their own­ers or carted in baby prams.

They were even­tu­ally strapped into har­nesses be­fore the thin acupunc­ture nee­dles were in­serted into their prob­lem spots.

Oth­ers sniffed ner­vously as smok­ing mox­i­bus­tion cups – a form of heat therapy that in­volves burn­ing aro­matic plants – were ap­plied to their hides.

But the place had not com­pletely gone to the dogs.

The day’s sole fe­line pa­tient looked par­tic­u­larly put out, be­ing com­pletely strapped down to pre­vent it squirm­ing around.

Wang Ping, the owner of Mei Mei (which means Little Sis­ter), has fresh hope of get­ting the five-month-old teacup poo­dle back on her tiny feet, af­ter a paralysing neck in­jury suf­fered three months ago.

“I went to tra­di­tional clin­ics with Mei Mei, but the vets said she was too small for surgery,” Wang said.

Doc­tors ini­tially rec­om­mended eu­thana­sia be­fore re­fer­ring Wang to Jin’s clinic.

“So I came over and she’s much bet­ter, at least she can lift her head and crawl a bit now.”

Jin’s prac­tice is based on the feel­ing that a pet is like a hu­man mem­ber of the fam­ily, en­ti­tled to the same lov­ing care.

“In the past, Chi­nese peo­ple had a very weak no­tion of what a pet was,” he said.

“But now more and more fam­i­lies treat pets as a com­pan­ion or fam­ily mem­ber. So they care so much about their pets, it is not like in the past.” – AFP

(left and be­low) Jin is us­ing acupunc­ture as well as other tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine treat­ments to help an­i­mals, es­pe­cially dogs, re­cover from their af­flic­tions at his Shang­hai TCM an­i­mal health clinic.

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