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Written by a Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians course graduate.  Author’s name available upon request.  Signed release obtained from client/author/4999.

Abstract : 

Charlie is a 12 year old Spayed Female Labrador Retriever Mix with bilateral coxofemoral osteoarthritis treated with acupuncture. Charlie showed improvement in mobility and quality of life.


Charlie is a 12 year old Spayed Female Labrador Retriever Mix diagnosed with bilateral coxofemoral osteoarthritis in 2011. Charlie was managed with Deramaxx 75miligrams every 24 hours orally as needed. She is up to date on recommended vaccinations, heartworm, flea and tick prevention. She has a normal appetite and water consumption. She is defecating and urinating normally. Charlie was presented for progressive hind limb weakness and frequently falling on stairs for two weeks prior to presentation. There is no known trauma and Idexx heartworm/lyme/erlichia test was negative. Owner decline radiographs at this time, due to finances.

Physical Examination and Clinical Assessments: 

On presentation, Charlie was anxious, bright alert and responsive with a body condition score of 6 out of 9. She had slight bilateral hind limb lameness and muscle atrophy along her thighs bilaterally. She had normal conscious proprioception, pain perception and withdrawal reflexes were normal. Charlie responded to gentle palpation of lumbar region and coxofemoral joints by sitting down, looking at the lumbar region and growling. The same response was elicited on gentle palpation of the pelvic region.

Medical decision Making

Treatment goal is to decrease anxiety, decrease pain and improve mobility and quality of life.  

Points are selected with the aim of inhibition of the nocioceptive pathway at the dorsal horn by activating the descending inhibitory pathways and by local or segmental effects on myofascial trigger points.

Acupuncture Treatment:  Using Seirin J type 0.20 X 30mm needles

Points selection include

GV20- neuromodulate cranial cervical spinal nerves to decrease agitation.

GV4 –neuromodulate cranial lumbar nerves to provide pelvic analgesia.

BL23 [bilateral] and BL25 [bilateral] – neuromodulate spinal nerves to reduce pelvic pain.

BL54 [bilateral] and GB30 [bilateral] – stimulate sciatic nerve to reduce pelvic pain.

Bai Hui – neuromodulate lumbar spinal nerves to reduce pelvic limb pain.

GB29 [bilateral] – neuromodulate cranial gluteal nerve to reduce pelvic pain. 

Needles were manually stimulated and the needles were left in place for 10- 20minutes.

Acupuncture treatment was done twice a week for 2 weeks, followed by once weekly for two treatments. Treatment is currently once monthly. Owner has noted improved mobility and Charlie appears to be happier and has not fallen since starting acupuncture treatment

Outcome, Discussions and References:  

Owner reported improvement in Charlie mobility since after the first treatment. Owner noted that Charlie has been showing more interest in his environment and is playing more. Owner is very happy with Charlie progress.

It was recommended to take Charlie for walks, increase gentle exercise and control food intake to get body condition score to 5 out of 9.

Xie H, M, Wedemeyer L. The Validity of Acupuncture in Veterinary Medicine . American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. 2012; 7(1): 35-40

Staud R,Price DD. Mechanisms of Acupuncture Analgesia for Clinical and Experimental Pain. Expert Rev Neurother. 2006; 6:661-7