PAINLESS treatment: Dr Renata Majka performs acupuncture on a dog at the Modern Veterinary Clinic XPRESS/Clint Egbert Image Credit: CLINT EGBERT/XPRESS

Dubai: Some people would do just about anything for the family pet. But acupuncture? Believe it or not, the ancient healing technique is fast emerging as a popular therapy for pets in Dubai and it’s raising fewer eyebrows from scepticals.

For three years Luna, a George Terrier-Shih Tzu Luna cross-breed, walked with a limp after a dog-attack left her with a badly injured leg.

“Someone suggested acupuncture,” recalled its owner Vivianna Akerlaund. “I started treatment and it was just amazing She started to walk perfectly. I saw signs of recovery after just the first session... in no time, she started running,” said Akerlaund.


Scientific treatment

Dr Renata Majka, Animal Acupuncturist, Modern Veterinary Clinic, said there is a whole science behind acupuncture. “When needles are pierced on the stress areas of a pet, they cause a micro-trauma. The brain releases neuro mediators and painkillers to heal the spot. It can treat stiffness and lumbosacral pain. Urinary incontinence, constipation, acral lick granuloma, dermatological conditions, stress, paralysis, vestibular diseases are other conditions.

When XPRESS visited the vet clinic, a 10-year-old dog, Cocoa, was being readied for its first acupuncture session.

“It’s suffering from spinal problems and finds it difficult to get up,” Dr Majka said, pricking the dog’s spinal vertebrae with needles.

After Cocoa, it was the turn of Antony, a 15-year-old cross Persian cat suffering from pelvic fracture caused by advancing age.

Dr Caroline Lamb, Veterinarian, German Veterinary Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said holistic treatments are mostly non-invasive and soothing for animals. “Some animals respond very well to holistic treatments, others don’t respond. Everything depends on the symptoms or problems and how comfortable the pets are with the treatments.”

Christine Abu Zahar is an owner of a five-year-old full-bred Pekingese dog. It had been suffering from congenital back problems. “We were going to put him down two years ago when he developed acute pain in his rear limb. He looked like he was paralysed and I was afraid he had been poisoned. The vet kept him in the clinic for a week where he was given oxygen as he was hyperventilating. Dr Majka then suggested acupuncture and within six to eight months the pain had gone and he was walking almost normally.”

French expat Christine Cariou said acupuncture worked wonders for her nine-year-old Somali cat diagnosed with acral lick granuloma, a complicated skin disorder which results typically from the animal’s urge to lick the lower portion of one of its legs.

“We took her for a 45-minute acupuncutre session. The results were instant. It stopped licking its paw altogether,” said Cariou.

Case of Oscar

Dr Majka recalled the case of Oscar, a dachshund. “He was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease as a result of which he could not walk or stand. After one acupuncture, Oscar showed improvement. “He has now started to use his rear limbs well.”

Dr Lamb said homeopathic medicines have also proven effective in pets.

“There are homeopathic treatments available in the UAE. The veterinary product range that we commonly use is used to treat the musculoskeletal system (Zeel), the immune system (Echinacea) and in the treatment of trauma, inflammation and infection (Traumeel). Holistic medicine can be used as an alternative medicine. Mild cases can be treated with holistic medicine alone,” she said.