The Story of Tamale- A Look at Feline Acupuncture

 

In a dark room, surrounded by the sounds of a calming symphony, a cat receives her sixth treatment of electroacupuncture. 

“I do electroacupuncture, which is a deeper stimulation of those acupuncture points,” Amanda Moore, veterinarian and practice owner of Lone Star Animal Hospital said. “I use needles that are all metal, they don't have a plastic handle and I can attach them to the electroacupuncture machine and set different wavelengths and frequencies of stimulation to elicit different neurotransmitters and hormones to be released. And those are pain-relieving.” 

In the city of Dripping Springs, Lone Star Animal Hospital is combining Eastern medicine with Western medicine by performing acupuncture as an alternative way to help heal animals through physiological changes in the body. 

“We found Tamale on the streets of the Indio Tamale Festival in California,” Kate Heyhoe owner of Tamale said. “She was about the size of my fist and she was just motoring along. She was tiny and she was really messed up. Her ears were chewed off, she had wounds all over her body and her tail was broken in two places.”

 

Lone Star Animal Hospital offers services like acupuncture to animals in situations like Tamale’s. They recommend attending at least six treatments initially in order to see if acupuncture is working effectively.

“There's some people that seek out acupuncture alone,” Moore said. “That's really what they're after, an Eastern medicine approach. And for other clients, perhaps I'm treating them in a Western medicine manner and we've hit a plateau. We feel like we could do more, and I'll make the suggestion.” 

Tamale, an 18-year-old cat, has trouble walking with her back legs. Her owner has already tried a plethora of medications to help her be more comfortable in her senior years, but each of them has been unsuccessful. 

“When you're looking at treating the animal holistically, there are people that don't want to reach for drugs exclusively and want to try more natural approaches like physical therapy, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture,” Bevin Duvall, Lone Star Animal Hospital Veterinary Technician said. “It just kind of fits neatly into that noninvasive, drug-free alternative therapy.”

The clinic combined traditional pain medication with acupuncture and electroacupuncture in Tamale’s treatment plan. Her new treatments have begun to help her be more alert and mobile.

 

“We don't expect her to run and play like a two-year-old cat at the end of this, but we want quality of life for her,” Moore said. “We want her to not be painful. We want her to be social like she was previously. We want her to be able to get to her food bowl, to her litter box, go wherever she wants to in the house comfortably. That's our goal with Tamale.” 

“She's had really good days where she's been more mobile than I've expected her to be and then she's also had days where she's hung out in the living room instead of hid in a dark, quiet room,” Moore said. 

The acupuncture treatments from Lone Star Animal Hospital have helped Tamale and her owners find a low-stress solution to her pain and immobility. The process has allowed them to have a hands on experience in their pet’s health care. 

 

Acupuncture is an alternative tool for pain management, rehabilitation, and physiological effects. Few veterinary clinics offer Eastern medical practices, despite their benefits. The city of Dripping Springs is now home to one of these clinics. 

 

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