What do you do when your four-legged friend is having serious health issues? What do you do when the specialists give you little hope of recovery, and euthanasia is fast becoming an option? You throw a Hail Mary, and cross your fingers. That’s just what we did for Red.
Red’s falling issue had become constant, his quality of life now in question. I decided to call my vet for a recommendation for an acupuncturist. I was skeptical, but it was worth a try before the final decision was made. He deserved to have all options explored.
Red’s veterinary records were available to the acupuncturist before his first appointment. At the initial consultation, Red’s neck area was radiographed. From the film we could see that he does have compressed vertebrae in his neck in two places. Without an MRI we couldn’t see the discs, but the vet confirmed that this could cause Red’s knuckling and falling. She also reviewed the report from the neurologist, did we know Red had Wobbler’s? This means that he is having compression in his spine. This is a condition frequently seen in large breed dogs, and rarely in small breeds like Italian Greyhounds. I showed the vet videos of Red at his worst, and they were difficult to watch. I explained to her that I wasn’t expecting a miracle, his days of running through the yard long over. I just wanted enough of an improvement to spare him from euthanasia. Luckily, Red was a candidate for acupuncture.
He would lay on the table as eight small needles were inserted into various pressure points on his body. Ideally he would be still for 15-20 minutes to get the full effect of the treatment. It all seemed so simple, yet I still doubted it would help him at all.
Fast forward weeks later, and I am very pleased to see a marked improvement. He no longer falls over constantly. In fact, his mobility has improved. If he does fall, he often quickly rights himself. He can eat and drink on his own, standing on his paws, rather than his knuckles. He can also potty without assistance as long as he is carried down the stairs. He will even stroll around the yard now. He is no longer taking prednisone, but now takes a joint supplement containing chondroitin and glucosamine.
So I basically work to afford what we call his spa treatments. He is on a bi-weekly acupuncture protocol, with a trip to Starbucks for Puppacino (a cup of whipped cream) following his appointment. You can’t put a price tag on unconditional love.