Blast from the Past at New Skete

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Laser Therapy

Laser therapy also known as laser acupuncture is a noninvasive procedure that uses light to stimulate cell regeneration, reduce inflammation and increase blood circulation.

During this session, a laser will be used to stimulate acupuncture points on the body that are specific for reducing pain, promoting circulation and boosting the immune system. It does not require the animal to be still. Most dogs love it. (Sometimes cats want to chase it!)

While visiting the Monks of New Skete and their Divine Canine companions, I was honored to be able to treat Boris who hurt his paw. with the laser. We miss seeing the monks and their gorgeous German Shepherds now that we have moved south to Alexandria VA.

Learn more about the Monks of New Skete, their dogs, books and training programs: https://www.newskete.org/our-dogs.html

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Treating Canine Arthritis with Traditional Chinese Medicine

This is another article written several years ago when I had my veterinary acupuncture practice on the North Shore of MA.

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Treating Canine Arthritis with Traditional Chinese Medicine
By: Jeanie Mossa Kraft, L.Ac.

Just like humans, many dogs suffer from arthritis pain and inflammation as they age. Joints and bones naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can often be managed with the help of acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, supplements and nutrition.

Acupuncture & Arthritis
Study after study have shown that acupuncture and Chinese herbs are effective to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis in both humans and dogs. Canine acupuncture is also an effective treatment for hip and elbow dysplasia, ligament and tendon injuries, and many
other ailments. Acupuncture helps to increase circulation to the muscles and joint capsules, providing more oxygen and slowing cell degeneration. It also relieves painful muscle spasms and releases endorphins to make your dog feel better.

Most humans and dogs feel relaxed and pain free after an acupuncture session. Don’t expect an instant one-treatment miracle, though. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect. Over time, the treatments build on one another, giving better results with each successive treatment.
Natural and alternative therapies are generally safe, effective and can be used in conjunction with western medicine.  If your dog suffers from arthritis, these are a few natural remedies that are helpful:
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) will help protect and lubricate joints. Research has shown that MSM has an strong anti-inflammatory effect. Glucosamine has been studied for over 20 years in humans, and has been proven effective to relieve arthritic joint pain. Please note that it may take four to six weeks before your dog feels the results from these supplements.

An Omega 3 essential fatty acid supplement from fish oil or flaxseed oil also works as an anti-inflammatory. These help to lubricate the joints and help with inflammation. Omega 3 oils will also improve the health and appearance of your dog’s coat. Omega 3 oils have been proven to help reduce excess weight in people and dogs.

Nutritional supplements containing enzymes and antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation, promote healthy joints, increase circulation and support immune function. One product of this type in Wobenzym(r), a nutritional product for humans. I’ve received good
reports from people using this supplement with arthritic dogs.

Do the Math: Supplement Dosages for Dogs
When you purchase nutritional supplements for your dog, you may only be able to find human versions of the products. That’s okay, but be careful about using recommended dosages. Dosage information for most supplements is based on the needs of an average person of about 125 pounds in weight. To calculate your dog’s needs, consult with your pet health practitioner, or do the math yourself:
Divide your dog’s weight by 125. For example: 40/125 = .32
Multiply the recommended dosage by this number: For example: 3
tablets, twice per day. 3 X .32 = .96.
So, rounding the final number a bit, the dosage of this supplement for
a 40 pound dog would be 1 tablet, twice per day.

Diet plays an essential role in decreasing the symptoms of arthritis. Studies have indicated that wheat can exacerbate pain and cause inflammation in both humans and animals. Cooking for your dog is the best option. However if you cannot make the time to cook, then make sure you are feeding your dog the best food you can find. Choose a safe brand that is organic, and
contains free-range meat. Unfortunately most grocery stores do not carry the best pet food brands. It is the smaller independently owned pet supply shops and on-line shops that carry the better quality brands.

Your dog’s food should also be wheat, corn and soy free. These filler ingredients may exacerbate arthritis and often are involved in weight gain. Wheat, soy and corn products have also been linked to allergies and skin problems in animals. Make sure the treats you feed your dog are also free of wheat, corn and soy, especially if your dog is overweight, as this puts more pressure on already weakened joints. One of my favorite dog treats is Cinna-bones made by Solid Gold. These cookies are not only free of wheat, soy or corn but they also contain cinnamon which is very effective in relieving pain in arthritis made worse with cold damp weather.

These natural approaches to treating canine arthritis are generally safe and effective, but you should check with your pet health care provider before using a new supplement.

About the Author: Jeanie Mossa Kraft, is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist living in the Old Town, Alexandria VA Area.  Owner of Four Paws Healing. She is a former faculty member of the Canadian College of Oriental Medicine (Toronto, Canada) and has published four books on traditional Chinese herbal medicine and theory, as well as authoritative articles on Oriental Medicine. She has been treating dogs (and humans) with acupuncture for more than 25 years.

Jeanie is author of the book The Woof & Warp of Canine Pain and the NCCAOM approved continuing education course Treating Painful Canine Disorders with TCM.

Jeanie also treats humans in the Old Town Alexandria VA area! Visit www.jeaniemossa.com

TCM and Canine Injured Cruciate Ligament

This article was written several years ago when I had my veterinary acupuncture practice, Four Paws Acupuncture on the North Shore of MA. Since that time, Nikki has passed away. We miss her dearly.

Using Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Canine Injured Cruciate Ligament
By: Jeanie Mossa Kraft, L.Ac.

Nikki is an 9 year old Schnauzer who just recently celebrated her ninth birthday. During the summer of 2005, Nikki somehow managed to injure her rear cruciate ligament and began limping. Her owner, Maria, took her to see her regular vet as well as a specialist who recommended surgery and anti-inflammatory medication, such as Metcam, aspirin and Rimydal.
Nikki had an strong adverse reaction to all the medication with symptoms of diarrhea and hematemesis (vomiting blood). Nikki was then seen by a veterinarian who practices holistic medicine. This doctor recommended putting her on a natural diet. Maria began feeding Nikki a diet of organic turkey, oats with fresh vegetables. She no longer ate any canned or packaged dog food or grocery store pet treats. Though eating better was good for Nikki, it did not improve her symptoms.
With Nikki’s symptoms worsening, her owner was running out of hope. Nikki’s muscles had begun to shrink, and she was no longer able to take walks around the block. She was lame and in pain, and Maria reached a point that she was seriously considering euthanization. She contacted me in the Spring of 2006,with hopes that acupuncture would help and delay that final decision.
The first acupuncture treatment with Nikki was intense! She is a feisty little dog with a big personality. She was curious and wanted to watch every move I made. She would not allow me to needle many of the points I had selected, however we did manage to get a few needles in the most important spots. Maria, still very skeptical, did not see much change in Nikki’s walking on the next day, however she did notice that she had much more energy and slept without changing positions.
Treating dogs with acupuncture is like a dance. Unlike humans, for whom I can explain why certain points benefit the body, dogs need a bit more pampering. Not every human acupuncture point can be needled on a dog, nor should it. Needling a point that may cause pain is never forgotten by a dog and they usually will not allow you near that spot ever again.
Gaining the dog’s trust is very important. Using the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy in all my treatments helps my patients relax.
Since Nikki was still a bit leery of acupuncture, I also incorporated magnet therapy and laser acupuncture during her follow-up acupuncture treatments. By using these therapies I could stimulate points that she would not allow me to needle. A Chinese herbal liniment was also used externally over the site of the torn cruciate ligament with massage to help ease the pain and promote blood circulation. After the fourth acupuncture treatment Nikki was sleeping much more soundly, her walking had improved and she seemed less stressed.
By the eight treatment Nikki had improved and she was able to take short walks with Maria. A year later Nikki’s muscles have filled out again, she is walking, playing and doing well.
I continue to treat Nikki on an on-call basis. Every so often she gets into a bit of trouble jumping on furniture and needs a tune-up. I believe that acupuncture was only part of the solution for Nikki. The fact she is fed a home cooked meal every day maintains her health and speeds healing, and she has the unconditional love of her owner, Maria.

Jeanie Mossa is author of the book The Woof & Warp of Canine Pain and the NCCAOM approved continuing education course Treating Painful Canine Disorders with TCM. She is now accepting new dog and cat patients in the Old Town, Alexandria Area. Visit Four Paws Healing for more info.