Friday, March 20, 2015

Adventures of Sheldon: Acupuncture Saves The Day

It has been quite some time since an installment of The Adventures of Sheldon appeared here, but this week qualified as blog-worthy.  On Monday, March 16th, I noticed Sheldon was not his usual happy outgoing self. He was quiet, not moving around much and didn't have that spring in his step. He is aged seven, which technically makes him a "senior" in dog years, but this change in behavior was sudden. It wasn't until later that evening when I returned home from a dinner that I noticed Sheldon was breathing heavily, in a still position and did not want to go out for his nightly walk. I knew something was amiss. I watched, waited, spoke to him, gazing into his eyes in a desperate attempt to try to get a glimmer of insights to what was wrong. Dogs have an amazing tolerance for pain and adapt exceptionally well, out of necessity he kept his body stiff and still. 

Sometime around 9:45 pm I decided I couldn't wait any more, and brought Sheldon to an emergency after hours veterinary hospital. When I arrived, it was packed. No good things are happening at an emergency vet hospital. Virtually every dog or cat is in some sad situation, and their human parents are nearly always weepy, stressed and visibly concerned. I was intermittently in those states the entire 3 hours we waited for his turn to be seen. We waited in my car for most of the duration, where Sheldon would be more comfortable and not around all the other sad people and sick dogs in the waiting area. 

Midway through the waiting period, I asked the vet to just perform a quick X-Ray to ensure there was not internal blockage or life threatening risk, such as bloat where minutes matter. The X-Ray ruled out bloat or anything where an immediate surgery was obviously required. This was some consolation to me, and we continued to wait our turn. Eventually as the wee hours of the morning approached, I met with the Veterinarian who diagnosed Sheldon with back pain, due to narrowed disk space between several vertebrae. The pain he was suffering was very real, and was now limiting his movement. The Vet administered a dose of the narcotic Buprenex through IV to help with pain management. He was prescribed a series of other meds and anti-inflammatory pills, as well as Gabapentin to treat nerve pain. Sheldon was finally released with strict orders for two weeks of very limited movement-- no playing, walking, jumping and suggested confinement to a kennel or crate. I was mentally exhausted and drained from a long evening of waiting and worrying. Close to 2:30 am I brought my best friend home, carefully carrying him into the car. He was under slight sedation, drooling heavily from the meds and just out of it. He slumped into the back seat and barely moved.

Back at home, I placed Sheldon into a spot on the floor with a soft blanket (he could not go onto my bed as usual). Stroking his head and body, I wept for hours as I watched my best friend in the whole world lay helplessly in pain. I slept on the floor next to him all night long to be with him. For the next 24 hours Sheldon barely ate or drank much water. He took his meds but had no desire to do much else. I consulted his regular doctor, who advised getting Sheldon some acupuncture treatment as soon as possible. I did not know any acupuncture vets but decided to search for one in the next day or so. By an interesting happen-stance, that very evening, while having a glass of wine with a friend, I chatted with someone who mentioned in conversation--with no knowledge of Sheldon's situation that she had brought her cat to an acupuncturist earlier that day. Ah-ha! It would seem the Universe was bringing me what I needed. She shared the vet's name and contact info and the very next morning I managed to get a same-day appointment for Sheldon.
Taking Sheldon to a certified, Holistic Veterinarian seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I am a believer of a combination of Eastern and Western medicine practices, particularly Eastern methods for preventative care and wellness health programs. In this case, I felt that just treating Sheldon's back pain with drugs to manage pain were nothing more than a short-term solution and would be bad for his liver and kidneys long term. He certainly needed those to get relief and enable his body to rest and heal, but once he was past the severe pain, a holistic approach to address the nerve and vertebrae pain points made sense. Upon meeting the doctor, I immediately warmed to her bedside manner. After reviewing his X Rays and giving a physical exam, she explained the treatment he would need. Acupuncture, laser light therapy and a massage, with a bit of aromatherapy to relax him. He would also begin a regimen of herbal medicine to help his organ functions. We began treatment immediately, with some aromatherapy oils and a massage to relax him as much as possible.
A series of acupuncture needles were placed along the spine at specific intervals and along his head, neck, hips and hind quarters
The treatment went for 15 minutes, and Sheldon was totally calm and relaxed.
Relaxing music filled the treatment room, and Sheldon was very relaxed in a Zen-like mood. He didn't mind the needles at all. When the acupuncture treatment concluded, he then had the laser-light therapy which he also seemed to enjoy very much. Here is a quick video clip of Sheldon while he had the acupuncture needles in him. You can see how relaxed he was from this video...
Sheldon slept so well that night!
The holistic doctor explained that Sheldon would likely sleep well later and be very relaxed. When we returned home, that is exactly what he did! Sheldon's facial expression was very calm and happy,
he had a great night of sleep that day. He will have several more acupuncture and laser therapy treatments to help him heal, but he is definitely feeling and looking better. 

In the meantime he is not allowed to climb stairs, run or jump, just to be sure his back has a chance to heal. I've been supplementing his normal dog food with some home cooked ground turkey with pumpkin and green peas, just for love. Additionally, I started Sheldon on Cosequin D5, maximum strength for proper dose levels of Glucosamine/Chondroitin, to help lubricate his joints. To help boost his bodily functions, he is now on
These applicators make it easy to squeeze the correct dose!
Caninedophilus, a pharmaceutical grade refrigerated probiotics gel made by Natren, the probiotics experts. While the probiotics are not intended to help his back, I believe that proper gut and digestive health will ensure his organs function optimally, which will help his entire body's immune system and reduce toxins and ultimately be able to minimize inflammation. Sheldon is on the mend...he is benefiting from the great treatment by the regular vet and the holistic vet, along with proper diet and supplements to help boost his system. None of us- human or canine can live forever, but my hope is that we live our lives fully and as healthy as possible. That is what I intend to provide for my best friend in the world, Mr Sheldon Gryffindor. These Adventures of Sheldon were a bit more dramatic that I would have preferred, but looking back on this past week, it was indeed an adventure.

As a reminder, this is not a paid post, despite my product mentions here, I wrote this entirely of my own desire to share what I believe is helping Sheldon return to good health.

PS- I wish to thank all the pet bloggers, who shared positive energy with our #pawcircle prayers. It made a difference for Sheldon.

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