Ailing animals, look to the East |

Ailing animals, look to the East

Julie Sutor

BRECKENRIDGE – Finster, an 8-year-old Dillon Valley mutt, has a spring in his step he owes to the medical discoveries of ancient China.In February, Finster’s owner, Laura Grogan, watched with worry as her pooch lost the use of his legs. “It’s kind of a mystery,” Grogan said. “One day, he couldn’t stand for 10 minutes. We thought it was maybe a tumor in his brain or a mini-stroke.”Grogan took Finster to the vet, where an MRI ruled out the initial theories, leading Dr. Christine Murphy to suspect some kind of neurological problem that would normally call for prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. However, Finster has a sensitive stomach and can’t tolerate such medications.So, Murphy suggested Grogan look east for help. And before long, Finster was up and running through Breckenridge Animal Clinic with more than a dozen acupuncture needles sticking out of his coat, spine and shoulder blades.”Acupuncture had the fewest side effects. He stopped having episodes for six weeks. It’s benefited him pretty well, and it’s good to be able to treat him with something other than a medication that’s going to make him sick,” Grogan said.Finster’s episodes of numbness used to range from three to 10 minutes. Now, they only last about 20 seconds and their frequency has been limited to once every week or two.For the first month of treatment, Grogan brought Finster in for Murphy’s acupuncture sessions once a week, but now he receives his dose of needles once every six to eight weeks.”It doesn’t seem to bother him, really. He seems pretty complacent. We go in, and she puts the needles in. They put a mat down, and he’ll just walk around and sniff everything,” Grogan said.Murphy was initially drawn to acupuncture because she had seen it work in animals and was seeking alternative treatment for her own dog afflicted with arthritis.”It’s a really good adjunct to all the other things we do, especially for pain and neurological problems,” Murphy said. “It works well for animals that can’t tolerate certain medications. There’s a solution for them in acupuncture.”Murphy has successfully used acupuncture to treat a whole host of ailments in dogs and cats: musculoskeletal problems, indiscriminate urination, gastrointestinal troubles, postoperative pain, sinus trouble and more. Currently, she uses the technique several times a week, sometimes alone, sometimes in combination with western veterinary medicine.”There are certain back problems for which I only use acupuncture. Some back and neck pains respond so well,” she said.Vail, Colorado

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