De­pressed dog that’s hav­ing acupunc­ture

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By James Tozer

When Al­fie the labradoo­dle be­gan mop­ing around and strug­gling with lame­ness, owner Sue Thomas feared her dog would need risky surgery. As the six-year-old’s pain wors­ened, he be­came in­creas­ingly de­pressed.

But then Miss Thomas was given a help­ful tip by a fel­low dog owner about a pos­si­ble rem­edy – acupunc­ture.

She took Al­fie to the vet, who has been in­sert­ing 20 nee­dles into his back dur­ing reg­u­lar £40 ses­sions.

The an­cient Chinese ther­apy has seen Al­fie make re­mark­able im­prove­ments in his mo­bil­ity – and his mood.

‘His per­son­al­ity has come back,’ Miss Thomas, 58, said yes­ter­day. ‘He has gone from stum­bling about like Bambi to bound­ing around like Tig­ger.

‘I no­ticed a change in him within a month of him start­ing the ses­sions. Al­fie is so much hap­pier and when he’s happy, I’m happy.’

Miss Thomas, a re­tail man­ager from Kel­sall, Cheshire, said: ‘I’ve had Al­fie since he was a puppy and ev­ery­thing seemed fine at first.

‘But when he got to five months old, he be­came very wob­bly on his paws and so he was re­ferred for tests. An MRI scan re­vealed he had an un­sta­ble ver­te­brae in his neck. It was ad­vised not to op­er­ate on him until he was a lit­tle older but when he was eight months he de­vel­oped other move­ment prob­lems. He was limp­ing and be­came very de­pressed and was put on re­stricted ex­er­cise.’

Af­ter a brief im­prove­ment, around two years ago Al­fie be­gan to appear de­pressed again. ‘He wasn’t run­ning around with the other dogs, he wasn’t happy and he was sen­si­tive around the lower part of his back,’ Miss Thomas said.

Fur­ther X-rays re­vealed he had hip dys­pla­sia and she was wor­ried the only hope of im­prov­ing Al­fie’s mo­bil­ity and re­duc­ing his pain would be surgery – which car­ries a risk of paral­y­sis.

She was out with Al­fie one day when an­other dog owner com­mented on the way he walked. ‘The man told me his dog used to walk ex­actly the same way be­fore hav­ing acupunc­ture,’ she said.

‘That was when I de­cided, be­fore go­ing down any other route, that it was worth giv­ing it a go.’ Vet Fiona Wall, who has now been us­ing acupunc­ture on Al­fie for 18 months, said: ‘We place small nee­dles into painful parts of the body to trig­ger the brain into re­leas­ing nat­u­ral chem­i­cals to try to block the pain path­ways. It’s a nat­u­ral pain re­lief with very few side­ef­fects. In Al­fie’s case, he was very de­pressed, he was slow to rise from his hind end and had com­pres­sion of his spinal cord in his neck, and a his­tory of hip dys­pla­sia. He was no­tice­ably wob­bly when he stood and walked.

‘We started acupunc­ture and his move­ment be­gan to im­prove. He went from a dog with a poor qual­ity of life to a much hap­pier dog in such a short space of time. We will con­tinue with it for as long as he’s ben­e­fit­ing.

‘He knows what’s go­ing on, he’s re­ally re­laxed, he ac­cepts the treat­ment read­ily and he loves the at­ten­tion.’

‘Now he’s bound­ing around like Tig­ger’

Pa­tient pet: Al­fie has nee­dles put in by vet Fiona Wall, as owner Sue Thomas looks on

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