It’s about the dog.


I was recently invited to speak to a group of veterinary students about acupuncture and integrative medicine. So I talked about the wonders of fascia (the glad wrap of the body) and how acupuncture meridians travelled along these super highways and their close relationship with osteopathic and chiropractic techniques.

Along the way, I was also hoping to instill some heart into the science of the veterinary degree. Throughout my nearly 30 years of being a veterinarian, I have been fortunate to learn from the best.

One of my most recent lessons, was from Digby. He had had spinal surgery for a disc prolapse and was brought to me for acupuncture, rehabilitation and integrative therapy. There was no two ways about it, Digby had a mind of his own. If he liked you, he cooperated. If he decided a particular exercise was not in his vocabulary, nothing on earth was going to shift his viewpoint. Some of you might guess that Digby was a Dachshund and you would be 100% correct.

The specialist visit

Digby was making baby steps in his rehabilitation progress when he made a follow up visit to the specialist. His poor owners came back very distressed. Digby had no deep pain, no responses and the specialist thought he would never walk again and maybe they should think about getting a doggy wheelchair. I looked at Digby and Digby glared at me. I propped his back end up and he half wobbled on his back legs, still grumbling to the world. How could he have such a contrasting response at the different clinics?

Then the penny dropped, I wondered if Digby had not liked the other clinic and had decided not to cooperate. The owner agreed, unfortunately Digby did not like the other place. Now, reflexes are meant to be automatic, the deep pain reflex involves squeezing sensitive toes so hard to invoke a growl or flinch. Digby was made of tougher stuff than that. Zilch, nada, no response whatsoever. Yep, that was Digby’s personality through and through. Therefore by reading the dog and not the disease, we persevered with our treatment plan and today, Digby is able to walk 90% of the time. He is still not a pretty sight as there is quite a bit of staggering and falling over but most importantly he is improving gradually.

Full credit to his dedicated owners for the amazing work they have done.

Digby recently

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