The alternative means of healing that I wanted to talk about this month is acupuncture. A recurring theme that you will probably notice is that a lot of these things I have at least tried out on Heffner. I really believe that all of these alternative methods are a great means of preventative maintenance as well as helping other issues that may already be there. As such, Bess hasn't had some of this stuff done on her, but you will see me mention having tried it out on Heffner. It's not that I'm favoring one dog over the other, but Heffner had a neck injury about two years ago that has pretty much made me paranoid with him ever since. Neither of my dogs are couch potatoes. They are very active, happy danes and I want to keep them that way. However, they're huge. And as the saying goes, the bigger they are the harder they fall. For whatever reason, I don't worry about Bess injuring herself as much (probably because she hasn't done it yet, and knock on wood won't!) as I do Heffner.
About two years ago Heffner tweaked his neck. It was a really odd and mundane manner in which he did it. He was turning around on the futon that we have and I guess he sort of caught one of his front feet weird or something, yelped, and got off the futon favoring his front right foot. I didn't think too much of it because occasionally he would tweak a front leg, favor it for a bit, and then be fine. He did this right before I left for work. My husband, Adam wasn't up yet, so I asked him to just sort of keep an eye on Heffner to see how he was doing, and then didn't really think too much of it. I figured that if I didn't get a phone call all would be fine. When I got home from work, he was still favoring the leg some, but seemed to be doing relatively fine. I thougth that he could probably use the night to rest and be fine in the morning. By morning, he definitely was in a fair amount of pain and still favoring the leg. So I called the vet and got him in. It took both Adam and I to get him into and out of our vehicle. After the vet checked him out, she realized that he wasn't lifting his head above a certain level and realized it was actually his neck that was bothering him. He was put on pain meds and anti inflamatories for a couple of weeks in the hopes that it was just a pinched nerve and not a herniated disc. Thankfully, it was just a pinched nerve. After two weeks of bed rest he was back to his old self, but still on restricted exercise. For the first month I could only take him on walks using a harness. After that it was another month of using just a collar. And after that I could go back to using the gentle leader. I never want to see one of my babies go through that much pain again, so I'm doing what I can to prevent that.
Along with massage, Heffner has had some acupuncture done. I actually want to get him in for another session soon, but I think I'm going to wait until the end of the summer, before I go back to trialing him. The acupuncturist that we saw was Becca Seitz at To the Point Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic (she also has a blog!!). She was fantastic and I can't wait to get Heffner back there and get Bess started as well! You do need to have a veterinary referral, but most vets seem to be pretty good about clients wanting to try out alternative means of health. I just called our vet up and explained to her that there wasn't anything wrong with him, but I just wanted to do it for preventative purposes. Since she already knew about his neck injury, she was more than happy to fax over the referral form!
And I gotta tell you, the change in Heffner was amazing!! He had a massage with Rubi the day before, then the acupuncture the next day, and the following day I took him for a hike with Bess and he was like a puppy again! It was like all this puppy energy was released in him because he felt sooooo good! It was really awesome to see! And as hoaky as it sounds, there was just all this positive energy coming from him! It just made my heart feel so good to see my baby so happy and feeling so good!
If you're curious about the different ways that acupuncture can help your dog or you, check out Becca's web site and blog! You can also check out these sites:
And the next time I get Heffner in for an appointment I'll try to take some pictures!