Acupuncture is one of the most magical and intriguing modalities that Traditional Chinese Medicine offers. Both Dr. Chen and Dr. Chiu practice Integrative Veterinary Medicine that combines conventional medicine and Eastern medicine.
Do you know that acupuncture has been applied to animals for thousands of years as well? It was first utilized to treat lame horses used in the war in ancient China, and now we mainly use acupuncture needles to help our furry friends. Many large animals, zoo animals, marine animals, and even exotics/pocket pets are benefit from this amazing modality as well in the modern veterinary medicine.
Are you curious how it's done? Seeing is believing!
After losing our 19-year-and-11 month-old cat, my partner/husband-to-be and I started fostering shelter animals, as well as pet sitting for friends. Giving unconditional but not completely committal love seems to be helping us cope with the void of loss, the ache of grief.
We are currently hosting two kittens from WLA Shelter, as well as our friend’s dog Juelz. (Learn more about Juelz)
The kittens are brothers from the same litter, and they have been staying with us for the past 5 weeks since they were 3 weeks of age. They are so wonderful and we love having them around so much! Any forms of baby, human, cat, dog, others, are just the most fun-loving-energetic-joyful little creatures that melt everyone’s heart.
On my days off, there was a serious heat wave in Los Angeles. Everyone in our house was miserable, and even one of the kittens was panting while playing! (Note: Cats should never breath with their mouth open. If a cat does that consistently, that would be a medical emergency.) With less than 48 hours, two 8 week-old wild kittens, one easily overwhelmed dog, us two “heat-induced lazy” people, the trip must be easy and relaxing. That means, away from LA but not too far, close to the nature but not too remote, and modern/convenient but not too crowded.
I love California in general, and Central California is definitely special. It’s beautiful, laid back, great food, tasty wine; the atmosphere is amazingly friendly and people are ridiculously nice. Compared to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, Lompoc is not as well visited but it still certainly has all the getaway elements that we were looking for. We brought the kittens along with their large crate and a small carrier, Juelz’ tent which she already had, as well as our own tent. We hung out in town for late afternoon supper and some groceries, and then set up our tents at Jalama Beach. The campground is pet friendly and it’s right next to the beach. It was 95% full when we got there, but because people were all very respectful of each other’s space and privacy, it didn’t feel packed. Many people brought their pets as well, and Juelz even made a new bunny friend named Banana!
To my surprise, the trip was very stress free. Even though we consciously chose a mellow and easy place, the unpredictable nature of having this many “random” animals for camping itself seemed intense already. I contribute most of the smoothness to the people we encountered. It appeared that they were all animal lovers. They politely and genuinely wanted to meet Juelz and the kittens, and they were eager to share the stories of their own beloved pets, or the foster experience that they had.
At the end of our trip, not only we human were relaxed, but the kittens and Juelz also seemed happier, more playful, and ate better in spite of the heat.
For more information about Lompoc and Jalama Beach--
Kittens are ready to go home with the human love of their life! Please visit WLA Shelter website to see how you can help—-
The pet friendly restaurant where we had both great food and fun conversations—-
The article is written from Helen’s point of view and does not necessarily reflect the position of Vetcreations.
Billy is a 10 year-old male neutered Labrador Retriever mixed, who has been loved and well taken care of by his wonderful family. However, for the past few months, they have noticed that Billy seems to “slow down” a little bit. It takes him longer to get up from his bed in the morning, he sleeps more, and he doesn’t snuggle on the couch as often. His spirit is still high when taking a walk, but his gait is stiff, and he seems hesitate to play with his friends at the park. Two days ago, Billy started limping noticeably on his back legs and he is not getting better after restriction of activities. Therefore Billy is taken to the vet. After the exam, lab work and the X-ray, they learn that Billy has arthritis of his hip joints, a degenerative disease of the joints from chronic wear and tear. Arthritis is very common in older pets. The veterinarian recommends Billy to lose weight to help relieve some pressure from his joints, and to start taking joint supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin. With how sore Billy is, he is also prescribed with an anti-inflammatory medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, NSAID, similar to Advil in people) to relieve the severe discomfort. Even though the NSAID is an effective medication, there are some potential side effects, and therefore the owners were told to watch Billy closely for any changes of water consumption, appetite, behaviors, and/or tummy discomfort.
Billy’s humans are very dedicated owners. They start the weight management, the medication and the supplement. Billy is definitely a lot better once they started the new regimen! He is running around and acting like his old self again. Five months later, however, Billy seems to not be so excited about eating anymore. He still eats, but becomes picky. The owners are worried and take him for a follow up exam. The bloodwork shows that there is mild liver damage and early indication of underlying kidney diseases. It is not certain if the changes are directly related to the medications, but they were advised to discontinue the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication because it will further complicate the kidney and liver issues.
Being practicing veterinarians, Dr. Chen and I see so many “Billys” everyday. They can be a dog, large and small, or a cat. They are all so well loved, but the road to recovery is less straight forward. They have an inflammatory conditions that causes the constant discomfort. The conventional medication works great and offers an immediate strong pain relief. Sometimes that’s all the pet needs. An immediate relief, and the body takes care of the rest of the recovery with resting, good nutrition and regular exercise. However, more often than not, especially with senior patients like Billy, they need a long term plan that’s gentle and sustainable. A plan that fits that particular patient’s needs, as well as the lifestyle of the family that’s caring for him/her. We love our patients and their humans, and we feel for them. We understand how overwhelming and how lonely it gets when caring for a sick patient, and we are eager to help! With the knowledge and the experience we have, Vetcreations creates products that serve as powerful tools to complete the individual and personalized care regimens.
For future posts, we will talk more about besides conventional NSAIDs and pain medications, what other supplements and medical treatments can be considered for pain management. Please leave us a message on the comment section, if there are any subjects regarding holistic veterinary medicine that you are interested in learning more about.
---Helen Chiu, DVM, CVA