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Acupuncture gives ill animals 2nd jab at life

MUMBAI: Lying on a doctor's couch, Savalee barely flinches or mews as the veterinarian gingerly tacks needles along his spine. By now, the six-month-old kitten is used to the acupuncture jabs-a therapy it has been undergoing since it was barely two months old. Back then, Savalee was "completely paralysed" and a doctor had said he would have to be put down.

Acupuncture saved my pet. It has given him a new life," says Ghatkopar resident Pallavi Kharat, as she gently pins the kitten down on the couch at Dr Deepa Katyal's clinic in Chembur. An accident -a family member stepped on the tiny creature-rendering him paralytic."Crushed, the kitten was bleeding at the mouth and its limbs were crossed. It remained in a curled-up position, head lolling to the left," said Kharat, a zoologist, adding that this left the entire family in a state of shock.Savalee was initially taken to a local vet who said he could have suffered a brain injury and suggested the kitten may have to be put down. But Kharat's heart refused to heed that advice. A bit of searching on the internet led her to Dr Katyal.

"At first I was sceptical, but I thought I should take a chance as Savalee was in acute pain," says Kharat. Five days after the accident, diagnostic tests and a few rounds of acupuncture, Savalee's posture began to straighten. "A fortnight of acupuncture and he had recovered so well. It was like a miracle," says Kharat, adding the acupuncture sessions continue, although their frequency has reduced. From a state of complete paralysis, the kitten now prances around the house.

Acupuncture, says Dr Katyal, has helped many of her patients, especially those suffering from spinal disorders. The therapy, relatively new with animals, is part of pain management says Dr Katyal, who is a member of the board of directors of the US-based International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.Agrees Dr Prathmesh Deshmukh, a veterinary acupuncturist, adding that the therapy is a comparatively new development in India. Dr Deshmukh, who has his clinic in Kandivli, says acupuncture is largely used to treat spinal problems, especially cases in which an animal is unable to walk. "It is largely effective with all chronic diseases. Something like chronic kidney disease can be managed though not cured," he says.

Dr Leila Fernandez, a specialist in acupuncture for horses, has been practising the therapy for nearly 20 years. "Yes, acupuncture does work in animals and birds too. But you need to combine western medicine with oriental therapy," says Dr Fernandez, who is based in Pune but often visits Mumbai to treat horses at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. "I try to get a complete diagnosis before incorporating acupuncture and using it in conjunction with physiotherapy when required," she says.

Acupuncture also came as a life-saver for Jenny, a five-year-old Labrador. Jenny, who was obese at 95kg, was paralysed after she suddenly jumped off her owner's slow-moving car on a stony path near Pune. "She had a bloody nose, rolled back her eyes and collapsed," says Nisha Bhosale.

She was taken to a veterinary hospital where Bhosale was told her condition was serious and she would have to be euthanized. "We were told there was a twist in her stomach. Her platelet count had dropped and surgery in such a condition was risky," says Bhosale, adding Jenny's bladder was also infected. "But acupuncture improved her condition. Today, after over a year of treatment, though she can't move around very easily, she is much more active and lively. Her weight has now reduced to 67kg," says Bhosale. Jenny woofs in agreement.

- Original article from The Time of India- Link- http://bit.ly/25sKVsw