Needles ease pets’ pain
By Ranny Green, Special to The Seattle Times
Imagine, for a minute, that you’ve been a healthy and highly competitive athlete for years, then suddenly find it difficult to stand or walk without pain. Plus, your adventurous spirit has done a disappearing act.
That’s what confronted Sue Fox when she began taking her graying, 12-½-year-old golden retriever, Quackers, to the VCA Animal Hospital in Kent about two years ago. “Quackers was just not herself,” said Fox, of Seattle. “She lost some of her zest for life and quit waking me up every morning with her squeaker toy.”
Quackers was diagnosed with arthritis — common in older dogs — and put on medications. But after several weeks, neither Fox nor Dr. Erika Olson saw noticeable improvement and found themselves in an emotional balancing act.
Eventually, Olson asked Fox if she would be willing to try acupuncture for Quackers. “I was getting frustrated and didn’t know acupuncture was an option,” Fox said. “I was willing to try anything that would give Quackers a jump-start.”
Olson said not every animal is a good candidate for acupuncture, but that Quackers certainly was. “It takes a while with any patient to gain its confidence when you put it on the floor and begin poking needles into its body,” Olson said.
For more than a year, Quackers has been Olson’s almost-weekly pin cushion for the 15- to 20-minute procedure. Within a couple of treatments, the “old Quackers” began to return, Fox said. “She was moving quicker, and I could see that twinkle returning to her eyes,” Fox said, smiling. “And when she started waking me up again with her squeaker toy, I knew she was feeling good.”