Meet Azhagi, a German Shepherd whose bouts of diarrhea went from bad to worse. Six months after following the medication prescribed by the vet, but seeing the problem continue to worsen, with Azhagi now weak and dependent on medication to manage her loose stools, her owner Aparna Hari decided it was time to give it a try. something new. She contacted Dr DT Kaarthick of Saisha Pet Specialty Hospital in Ambattur, who was recommended to her by word of mouth – as a veterinarian also trained in the alternative Chinese practice of acupuncture. Azhagi, we are informed, was quite calm and relaxed during the process. Six sessions and a follow-up blood test later, her irritable bowel syndrome was completely cured.
“It’s not always the case of course,” says Kaarthick, 37, with whom we are talking on the occasion of World Veterinary Day (April 24). “Patients are often brought to me when their problems have already progressed to a chronic nature and in these cases acupuncture works more as a supportive therapy to their existing medications,” says the veterinarian trained at the Belgian Veterinary Society for Acupuncture. (BVAS). The sessions, which vary from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the nature of the condition, however, make it possible to considerably reduce the intake of necessary allopathic medicines, the effects of which over time can be detrimental to the functioning of organs such as the liver and the kidneys. Take, for example, the case of three-year-old Labrador retriever, Simba, who was recently brought to the clinic with hip dysplasia. “With a few acupuncture sessions, we were able to reduce his mandatory four pills a day to one,” Kaarthick says.
We are very curious to know how these furry patients react when they see a needle. Are they nervous, like some adults, who are just dreading an injection, we ask? According to Dr. Kaarthik, the sight of a needle often causes no reaction. “In fact, the needles are so thin that the patient barely feels them,” he replies. “In the case of a cat, which may resort to scratching, we sometimes use a blindfold,” he tells us. “Also it can get a bit tricky with a horse because they are big animals and so you need capable handlers to prevent them from sitting still during the session,” he adds.
But in most cases, we are told, given the pain relief provided once the first needle is inserted, the animal is generally in a state of calm. Common conditions that acupuncture therapy can help manage and treat include kidney problems, gastritis, back pain, thrombocytopenia (when the platelet count is low), and splenomegaly (enlarged spleen). “It’s also great for relief during post-operative care and for avoiding surgery altogether in elderly patients,” he tells us, adding that even healthy animals could benefit from a session or two.
Sessions from INR 500.