Poking Pets

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 10:17am

Pet acupuncture is gaining popularity.

You may have heard about acupuncture for people, but how about for your four-legged friends?

13-year-old miniature Pinscher Alexis is dealing with some major health problems.

She's battling bladder cancer, kidney failure and arthritis, but her owners are trying a different kind of approach to help her conditions.

"My first reaction was let's try acupuncture," Keri Hammel said. "We've actually both have had acupuncture in the past and we try holistic approaches to medicine for ourselves, so we're trying that for our animals as well."

"Acupuncture is a way to take care of the pain in her knee and give her more mobility without causing side effects," said Dr. Randy Barbour, a veterinarian who works with Alexis.

Alexis comes to Yellow Springs Veterinary Clinic in Frederick, Maryland every other week for acupuncture.

The needles stay in her for about 20 minutes while she relaxes in her owner's lap.

Jerry and Keri Hammel say they've seen a world of difference since she's been getting the treatments.

"We weren't expecting her to leave here doing handstands, but once we got home in the ensuing days after, we saw some improvement in her being able to get up off the floor by herself," Jerry Hammel said.

Acupuncture has helped Alexis regain some of her old personality.

"She definitely has more spunk," Keri Hammel said.

Alexis gets very relaxed after her treatments.

She takes a nap on the way home and spends the day trying to ignore her brother Gilly.

Dr. Barbour says he sees several dogs and cats each week.

"Anything as a condition that ends in "itis," like arthritis, gastritis, colitis, that sort of thing, I think those are benefited by acupuncture," he explained.

"Try it. Try it first before you make any assumptions," Keri Hammel said.

The Hammels will continue trying out acupuncture with Alexis with the hope of relieving her pain.

This is something she gives two paws up.

They may bring in their other miniature Pinscher Gilly for acupuncture as well.

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