Friday, December 21, 2012

Does acupuncture really help cats?

Beorn the cat in a carrier
Beorn on his way to therapy.
An acupuncture session at my veterinary clinic costs about $50, and the staff usually asks clients to commit to three sessions, if not more. That's pretty far from chump change, and I'll admit that I was more than a little skeptical. I've read studies that suggest that acupuncture works in cats, and I know more than one human who's had the treatment with great results, but that little voice of doubt remains. I can't just ask Beorn if he feels better when the therapy is done, after all, and there are no blood tests or chemical profiles I can run at home to make sure he benefits from the expense. All I have are my eyes, and sometimes, looks can be a little deceiving.

A few weeks after his run-in with the car, Beorn is eating well, running at top speed, hopping on top of the hot tub with ease, and scaling a 3-foot fence with two short hops. His tail remains pretty limp, however, and I've seen him pee on that tail on more than one occasion. I'm not sure why he can't move that tail, and he doesn't seem painful, but he can't lift it. I had hoped acupuncture would help, but after one session, I saw no improvement at all.

Today, he went in for his second session and when my husband brought him back home, Beorn marched over to the fence at the back of the property, lifted that tail high up in the air, and peed more than I think I've ever seen him pee in his entire life. I have no idea what's going on here, as he's still holding that tail down when he walks, but it was pretty amazing to see him lift on up with ease as he used to do in order to pee. It's also a bit disturbing to think that perhaps he isn't peeing as much as he should, because he can't lift that tail as often as he'd like.

Session No. 3 is scheduled for next week. In each session, the doctor targets a slightly different place for the needles, and I think she focused on the bladder this week. Given what happened with this session, perhaps this session really did make a difference. I'll definitely have to share this little story, and see what our doctor has to say. Perhaps this is the evidence I can use to silence that voice of doubt once and for all.