An abandoned dog diagnosed with clinical depression has been nursed back to health – thanks to a course of acupuncture.
Amber, a six-year-old mastiff cross, was emaciated and missing patches of fur with her eyes and ears covered in sores when her owner handed her to an animal rescue centre.
Staff at K9 Crusaders in Bissoe, Cornwall, managed to treat her visible wounds but found the dejected pet’s acute anxiety and depression far harder to fix.
They then decided to call on the services of vet Jennifer Williamson who specialises in animal acupuncture. Amber improved immediately with the first treatment and just six sessions later was a changed animal.
‘Amber thankfully responded instantly, so much so in fact that when the first needle went in she dropped like a stone to the floor.
‘Me and my colleague were so shocked we thought something was wrong – but she just relaxed immediately.
‘From the first session she has continued to pick up and she is no longer on steroids or antibiotics.
‘Not only did we see a vast improvement in her skin condition, but also in her demeanour and wellbeing.
‘She’s almost reverted to puppy-hood. She’s gone from being a completely sad and dejected lost soul to a happy and excitable dog.
‘She has the most gorgeous personality. She’s a sensitive soul who craves affection.’
Amber’s acupuncture cost the charity £300, which was paid for with money from a grant from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust donated to help with vet’s bills.
The remainder of the money went to pay fees relating to the other 50 dogs in the centre’s care.
Animal acupuncture has been popular for years in Japan and is just starting to take off in the UK.
Ms Williamson, of AcuVets in Redruth, Cornwall, says she uses the traditional Chinese treatment to cure depression in animals, and has also been successful with cats and horses as well as other dogs.
She said: ‘Amber was depressed, itchy and miserable. I recommended acupuncture as a way of boosting her immune system and calming the painful itching.
‘I put one fine needle into the back of her neck and she immediately relaxed – so much so that she fell asleep for the rest of the session.
‘Within four treatments Amber was off the drugs, her system supporting itself.
‘By six treatments her skin and coat were beautifully healthy, and Amber herself, no longer so depressed, was having a second puppy-hood – lively, playing, running.’
K9 crusaders, which looks after around 50 dogs at any one time, are now looking for a new home for Amber. Mrs Smith added: ‘Amber’s the first dog we’ve treated with acupuncture but the results have been fantastic.
‘We get many dogs coming in who suffer from depression or psychological damage so we’ll definitely be using acupuncture as a treatment more often. ‘Amber’s a one person dog – when someone shows her affection or kindness she gets exceptionally clingy. She would make a lovely dog for someone.’
Following her dramatic recovery they plan to regularly use acupuncture which can only be carried out on animals by a qualified vet.
The treatment has evolved from the ancient art of placing needles into special locations on the body and is used to alleviate pain, improve recovery rates and increase resistance to disease.