Jake Masterson, a 12-year-old black lab, spent about 20 minutes at the Park Street Veterinary Clinic last Friday getting acupuncture. Yes, it heals pets, too.
Jake started developing arthritis in his hips about five years ago. His adopted parents Les and Danielle Masterson first noticed that Jake was having a problem when he started scuffing his feet along the floor while walking. They recently started taking Jake to the Park Street vet for acupuncture, and are pleased with the results. They only wish they'd started taking him sooner.
Before acupuncture, Jake was taking doggie pain killers to help with his arthritis. They initially helped, but over time he needed something more. He was already a patient at Park Street Veterinary Clinic and the Mastersons asked Jake's vet, Dr. Tali Kastner, about acupuncture.
Since he started acupuncture treatments, his parents have noticed a difference. At $70 a treatment every two to three weeks, it has stabilized the progression of his arthritis, said Les Masterson, who is a senior regional editor at Patch.
Jake still takes some pain killers for his hips and joints and has a supplemental herb sprinkled over his food. He is treated both traditionally and non-traditionally, the reason his parents love going to the Park Street vet.
"She's so well rounded, she can treat him two different ways," Danielle Masterson said of Dr. Tali Kastner. "That's why we love her," said Danielle, who is community editor for North Reading Patch.
Kastner is certified in acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. She spent months studying acupuncture, four months observing a licensed acupuncturist, passed a test and wrote a paper on what she'd learned. She treats dogs, cats and rabbits right now, but she can treat other animals as well. Acupuncture helps with things like vertigo, arthritis, kidney failure and liver disease. It even helps treat cancer.
Before she started Jake's treatment, she felt for hot spots on his body. She also looked at the shape and color of his tongue and felt his pulse, which tell her about his energy, she said. Then, she stuck tiny needles into his body at different points starting with his head to calm him, although he did not seem bothered at all. It may have been due to the fact that his favorite veterinary technician, Amy, was feeding him treats.
Each point correlates to a diagnosis in Chinese medicine, Kastner said. She used about 20 needles on Jake, which is the average, but it differs for each case. The whole idea is to stimulate the nerve or blood point, she explained. For Jake, the acupuncture is intended to strengthen his back legs and ease any discomfort he is feeling due to his arthritis.
Jake will go back in another two to three weeks for his next treatment and his parents hope that he will progress so he can go longer between treatments.
"Jake loves coming to the vet. He jumps into the car when he knows he's going to the vet. His acupuncture is all about him. He sits on the floor and gets plenty of attention. To him, it's a great time," said Les Masterson.
"We love coming to Park Street Vet, too, because we know he's getting great care and Dr. Kastner and her staff are always looking out for him," he said.
Take a look at the video attached to see part of Jake's treatment.