Chronic pain related to osteoarthritis is a common problem in older dogs and cats seen by Joplin Veterinarians. Typically more than seventy-five percent of the older pets suffer from joint pain involving the hips, knees, or lower back. Often cats and small dogs do not show recognizable signs of pain to their owners. Frequently, the only signs associated with these pets is less activity and decreased jumping. This is perceived as a normal aging change by the owner. Larger dogs will display more symptoms like being slow to arise from the floor or totally unwilling/unable to arise. There are several medications to help these patients with their pain. However, many older patients are unable to take these medications because of adverse side effects or insults to their major organ systems. An excellent alternative therapy is the use of acupuncture.
Olivia, a 10 year old female German Shepherd, was referred to Cornerstone Animal Hospital by another Joplin veterinarian for acupuncture because her kidneys would not tolerate pain medications without severe side effects. When acupuncture was initiated, Olivia weighed eighty-two pounds( a bit heavy),and had decreased range of motion in her hips. She walked with a very short stride. There was severe pain with extension of the hip joints. Muscles in the rear legs were smaller because she used her legs less due to pain involved in movement.
Olivia was started on a course of acupuncture to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and and improve muscle mass. No pain medications were used during the acupuncture treatment protocol, which involved two treatment sessions per week for six weeks. After six weeks, Olivia had notably increased activity at home and appeared happier. The hips had an improved range of motion and she would allow partial extension of her hips. Her stride had improved to near normal. Olivia was placed on a maintenance treatment protocol, receiving acupuncture treatments as needed to help her stay pain free.
After one year, Olivia is active and energetic. She weighs seventy-six pounds, a normal weight for Olivia. The range of motion in her hips is nearly normal. The hips may be manipulated without signs of pain. The muscle mass in the rear legs has returned to normal. Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for many of our painful patients to return them to normal function. Call your Joplin veterinarian about the potential benefits of acupuncture for your pet.