Electro-acupuncture can be used no matter what treatment route you take.
Electro-acupuncture can be used in combination with what ever treatment option you opt for. Your vet will likely inform you of two treatment options: surgery or conservative treatment. Surgery is the fastest and most effective treatment. It’s usually recommended for more severe stages of IVDD. Conservative treatment is usually recommended during early stages for which it is also very effective. Even many dogs with more severe symptoms can recover with conservative treatment. Surgery has a pretty good prognosis when performed less than 48 hours after the initial injury. However, it’s very expensive and not everyone can afford it.
Not everyone can afford surgery…
When I brought my dog in to see the neurologist I was quoted about $11,000 for an MRI and surgery. The cost varies pretty greatly depending on where you are. While I would definitely recommend it for those who can afford it, surgery does not guarantee that your dog will recover. For many it’s a huge investment for a questionable outcome. Additionally, some dogs may not be considered a candidate for surgery, depending on their situation. My dog was not a candidate for surgery because her clinical symptoms and MRI showed that she’d developed myelomalacia. This was four days after her IVDD diagnosis.
Some vets won’t tell you about other treatment options like electro-acupuncture.
Many people will opt for conservative treatment. Your vet will likely prescribe crate rest and various medications. A lot of times that’s all the vet will tell you. I was not told of any other options I had that may help my dog have a better chance of recovery. Did you know there are other treatment/therapy options that you may not be aware of either? I’m here to tell you about one of those treatment options, and that is electro-acupuncture.
What is electro-acupuncture?
It’s a form of acupuncture. Very thin needles are inserted in specific points along the body and hooked up to a device that sends small electrical currents between the needles. The electrical stimulation enhances the therapeutic effects. It helps promote nerve function and restoration of neural pathways. It also helps treat pain, inflammation and bladder function. This practice is safe and usually painless, making it a viable option to use in combination with medication and crate rest.
Why didn’t your vet tell you about this treatment?
Electro-acupuncture has been utilized for many years in eastern medicine, but is not as widely accepted in modern western medicine. This is due to the lack of scientific understanding. I highly recommend looking for a vet near you that specialized in rehabilitation. They are more likely to be experienced in acupuncture and other forms of treatments that may help your dog.
As time goes by, more vets are learning and using this method, and we are seeing more documented proof that it really works. There are many cases of dogs recovering partial to full mobility from paralysis with the help of electro-acupuncture. Even some dogs that had lost all deep pain perception have been able to recover their mobility. It is definitely something that I recommend at least trying regularly for an extended period of time.
Does it really work?
There are studies that show dogs recover more quickly when electro-acupuncture is combined with western medicine. Even if your dog has been paralyzed for a substantial amount of time, electro-acupuncture is still proven to be effective in many cases. Though, there are never any guarantees with this disease. Every situation is different. More and more documented cases are proving that it’s helping many dogs on their journey to recovery.
It seems that this method really can be helpful for dogs with spinal chord injuries either caused by IVDD or by other trauma. Hopefully more research will be done to definitively prove that electro-acupuncture is an effective form of treatment so that neurologists will recommend it to their patients routinely. Until then, all we can do is try everything that we can to give our dogs the best possible chance of recovery.