Diesel the elderly dog is enjoying walks with his owner again thanks to a treatment based on ancient Chinese medicine – acupuncture.
Jacqui Dally from Thursby was worried that arthritis pain was going to stop her 14-year-old Labrador cross from exercising after he had to be taken off painkillers.
But regular acupuncture treatments at Paragon vets in Dalston have proved a helpful alternative.
Jacqui said: “He doesn’t chase the rabbits like he used to, but he can go for a walk for an hour.”
Diesel received pain killers for his arthritis until blood tests showed the drug was affecting his kidneys.
“He had borderline renal failure, so we stopped it,” said Jacqui.
“He was slowing down and a bit arthritic and unsure on his back end at times. When our vet Laura mentioned acupuncture I said yes, let’s give it a whirl.
“The improvement wasn’t immediate, but I see a big difference now. He is moving easier, and up and going forward instead of trailing behind. It took about four or five sessions before I noticed the change.”
Paragon vet Laura Binnie has been treating dogs with acupuncture for nine years and is a qualified animal acupuncturist.
She said: “Acupuncture is a Far Eastern treatment. There is evidence of it having been used 3,000 years ago. We use it with a more Western approach.”
It involves inserting needles into the body for up to 10 minutes, stimulating pain relief and the release of ‘feelgood’ hormones.
“What I’m targeting with the needles are trigger points, tense nodules you can get in the muscles such as when you have been sitting at a computer all day,” says Laura. “I can put a needle in the centre of a trigger point and I can melt it away so that the muscle fibres relax and it boosts blood flow.”
Laura has had acupuncture treatments herself. “I had it for a sporting injury when I lived in Hong Kong where acupuncture is really common,” she said.
“I had always been a bit of sceptic because I’m a scientist at heart, but I did think it helped and I still get it now and again.”
The duration of the pain-relieving effect varies with different patients.
Jacqui takes Diesel for acupuncture every two weeks. “I certainly think it has been worthwhile,” she said.