Acupuncture for dogs a growing treatment

Acupuncture for dogs a growing treatment

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC CHARLOTTE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 5:22 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Most of us would do anything for the family pet.  But acupuncture?  Yep, it's becoming more and more popular as a way to treat animals.

Like most dogs, Henry is almost always up for a game of catch.  Just a few days ago, though, his owner says he wasn't up for much.

“It’s heartbreaking but he’s doing well, like I said, he’s 14 and he still walks a mile-and-a-half every week.  But when he starts to slow down I bring him in.  I jokingly call this a tune up,” said Lisa Johnson, Henry’s owner.

The tune up? Doggie acupuncture.

Dr. Kim Hombs has been doing acupuncture on pets for years and says it’s becoming more and more common.  She spends a few minutes inserting strategically placed needles in the patient.

“For instance, there’s one that is two behind the ribcage called the kidney points, which doesn't sound like it would have to do with the back but in Chinese medicine kidney meridian has to do with bone strength back strength,” Dr Hombs said.

She says the ancient Chinese medicine can be used to treat all kinds of issues, from anxiety to hip and bone problems.

“We let those needles sit for 20 minutes then we come back and take them out,” she explained.

And though it looks like it hurts, she says it really doesn't.

Charlene Mangione actually gets acupuncture for herself and for her cocker spaniel Tigger.

“He’s like a different dog and he’s almost 13 years old,” Mangione said.  “He’s an old man.”

She said the effects are almost immediate.

“When I get home today he’ll want to drag me around the neighborhood.”

Kind of like Henry.

“The goal is quality of life,” Henry’s owner said.  “We want him to be as happy and healthy as long as he can.”

The treatment typically costs about $70 for each session and the number of sessions varies on a case-to-case basis.
 
Critics, however, say there is no scientific proof acupuncture works.

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