When Lola had her IVDD episode (slipped disc) and surgery in July of 2013, I swear I read up on every single thing that you could do to help with the healing. With IVDD, a bulging disc puts pressure on the spinal cord and causes loss of feeling and function to everything below that point. Lola’s was right in the middle of her back, so she couldn’t use her back legs or potty very well, even right after surgery. After surgery, dogs must be on crate-rest for 6 weeks. This means in a crate at all times except to potty and other treatments. One of the treatments I read about was acupuncture. Yes, they do that for dogs. Now, I have to be honest, the vet at the University of Illinois scoffed at me when I brought up the fact I was looking into acupuncture. It’s not considered “standard” practice by some, but I guess the same thing goes for doctors and people getting acupuncture.
The nearest vet that did acupuncture was Dr. Bortell in Bloomington, Illinois. I LOVE Dr. Bortell and his office. The staff is amazing and so attentive. They light up when Lola comes in for her treatment (which isn’t super often now). I’m going to get it out of the way: I think acupuncture was a huge factor in how much Lola recovered from her IVDD episode. The vets that did the surgery gave her a less than 10% chance of walking or having potty functions again. I’m happy to say she proved them wrong. She doesn’t have 100% function by any means. She can drunkenly walk and potty on her own, though. Nerves heal very, very slowly. It takes a lot of patience, love, and support. I appreciated having a support system at Dr. Bortell.
For the acupuncture treatment, Dr. Bortell would put needles down her spine and in her back legs to stimulate the nerves. We did acupuncture that was also hooked up to electricity so it’d extra stimulate Lola. She never acted like it hurt her, although she was a little confused during the first few treatments. Now she’s a pro and knows she’s going to get lots of treats during her visit. She doesn’t pay any attention while the needles are being put in. She cuddles up to me and relaxes for the 10-15 minutes we’re there.
Honestly, physical therapy and acupuncture have done wonders for Lola. A lot of vet offices are getting laser treatments, too, that can help with nerve stimulation. With Lola’s progress, I haven’t added that to her treatments, but it’s definitely something to look into. Acupuncture is great to treat all kinds of things with your pup and has almost no side-effects. PetMD has a great article going in-depth with everything you need to know about acupuncture. Check it out if your curious and decide for yourself. But, for my final thought – acupuncture has been 100% worth it for Lola and me.