Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Alternative Treatment Remedies to Relieve Docked Tail Pain - Acupuncture

Chronic nerve pain is a vicious thing to deal with, and it can be difficult to fully handle with just traditional medication, especially in animals. They cannot tell you in words exactly what is going on when they are in despair and seeking comfort. Dogs often try to hide their pain, deal with it themselves (licking or gnawing at a pain site which then only creates an additional issue) or they show pain in unusual ways that might initially appear to be "behavioral issues", such as refusing to 'come' when called, hiding, not sitting on command, or growling, snarling, snapping when touched in a certain area of the body. So, when one traditional form of pain relief treatment is not relieving the chronic pain flair ups on its own, sometimes additional treatment remedies need to be added to the mix.

For Pixel, I wanted to try acupuncture as part of her treatment plan for her docked tail pain, because her regular medicine regimen was not always giving her the relief she needed. Even after corrective surgery and her daily medications which include Neurontin, Tramadol, and specific supplements for nerve pain that includes Valerian Root and Chamomile, she still has terrible attacks of neuropathy and stinging nerve pain in her tail nub that just tortured her to no end. She can still chew her tail bald at times when the nerve pain gets really bad and I'm out of the room for a short period of time, as seen in the photo above.

Acupuncture is a centuries old Chinese therapy that has long been used as a way to help block/relieve pain or to "intercept" the pain signals from the nerves to the brain. To help you become more familiar with acupuncture, please read a history of this ancient Chinese medicine at the site, and read a story in Time magazine about a recent study proving that acupuncture really does relieve chronic pain. Years ago I was extremely wary of it and doubted its efficacy for anything, but as I've dealt with Pixel's chronic pain and sought to find every possible way to bring her relief, I gave acupuncture my full attention, researched about its benefits and sought out opinions and experiences from other pet parents who have used it as a treatment option for their own dogs' pain needs.

I started taking Pixel for acupuncture treatments in June, 2015 and she's had very good results with it. The veterinarian I found came by recommendation of a friend. He is trained specifically as a small animal acupuncturist (he does large animals too), Dr. G has a wonderful way with Pixel. He speaks directly to her so gentle and sweet, as if she was his own. He is very gentle when touching on her body, which is also extremely important, and he truly understands what is going on with her tail nub nerve pain. We've talked extensively about tail docking, about what happens to the nerves when the tail is cut off of a puppy and a dab of glue or a couple of stitches are sewn at the tip, and he knows that thousands of others dogs are suffering out there just like Pixel because of tail docking.

Dr. G starts Pixel out with a relaxation needle that goes at the top of her skull between her ears. This calms her down almost immediately as she always arrives stressed out because we are at a vet's office. She also gets acupuncture for her disc and spine issues, so she gets needles down her spine, in her hind legs, which are weak from the compressed disc spaces she has, and then he places several needles in for her tail nub. He has this all mapped out and follows it each time. He double counts each one, and then Pixel and I are left in the room to relax while they stay in her for approximately 30 minutes.

After each session, she's so calm on the drive home. She sleeps a lot, then she she's ready to play later with her sisters. I've seen marked improvement in Pixel's tail pain episodes when she's been able to get the acupuncture regularly. The effects, after a few sessions, last a very long time for Pixel. It's been pretty extraordinary! So I am a firm believer now in acupuncture treatment for docked tail nerve pain and any kind of chronic pain in dogs.

Have you ever used acupuncture, either for your pet or yourself? Was it effective? Please share your thoughts and views in a comment below.

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