Not Afraid of Needles

An acupuncturist places red-tipped needles in Cali's backIn addition to her swim therapy, Cali has had a few acupuncture treatments. These, along with her new pain meds, are intended to help Cali deal with her painful muscles and readjust her gait.

Fortunately, Cali is not bothered by needles. I’m not sure she even notices when she gets a shot at the vet’s; she’s too focused on the treats.

an orange cup-shaped Toppl toyThat must be the case at acupuncture, too. The first time we went, Cali got a Toppl toy filled with … I am not sure what, but Cali loved it. I’m not sure she noticed the acupuncture; she was deeply engrossed in licking clean this wonderful new treat toy.

The Toppl is a cup-shaped toy made by West Paw, a Montana company that makes indestructible dog toys. I have since gotten her her own Toppl, which I fill with Greek yogurt and freeze. She gets that after each swim therapy session, since we all know how hungry one gets after swimming.

But I digress.

Acupuncture. Cali gets needled in her back. Both times, one muscle twitched strongly several times when the needles went in. This is apparently a sign that the muscle is releasing tension.

The second time we went, the Toppl toys had all been emptied by some hungry Labs (I wonder if they also swim), so Cali had to make do with regular treats. She was a little more restless and at one point, she stood up and gave a big shake.

Once a muscle relaxes, the needles become loose and can just fall out. So … well. Needles went flying! Fortunately, they have bright red tops, so we quickly found them all.

The combination of swimming, acupuncture, and meds seems to be working. Cali has been energetic and playful to the point of constantly asking me to go outside with her and throw the ball. She even brings it back (sometimes)! And we’re taking longer walks in the neighborhood and along the river, too.

Pain Relief from CBD

Like many golden retrievers, Cali has some arthritis pain. And like a growing number of dogs (and humans) she’s trying CBD for relief.

CBD is derived from hemp but, unlike medical (or recreational) marijuana, it has no THC and Cali does not get a “high” from her Special cookies.

According to a recent study, the benefits are real and measurable — dogs getting CBD, vs. a placebo, had reduced inflammation and pain and greater mobility. Owners and veterinarians reported on the dogs’ condition and any changes in their gait. All the dogs had bloodwork done before and after the treatment. No ill effects were recorded — but the study lasted only 4 weeks. Nine out of 10 dogs who got the CBD showed improvement that lasted for a couple of weeks after the treatments ended.

The participating dogs got daily treatments, though, and Cali is probably taking far less CBD. She may need more of her CBD treats… a prescription she will be delighted to follow!

She’s also getting chiropractic adjustments and laser therapy. She is cheerful, playful, and happy, and eager to run and jump for a tennis ball, so I don’t think she’s in a lot of pain. But she’s still young, and her arthritis is likely to get worse, so I am learning what I can about available therapies.

This small, short-term study is promising. It could lead to studies with humans. CBD is popping up everywhere, including local pet stores. It’s great to have some indication that it could be effective.