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Acupuncture for nerve regrowth following operation - worthwhile?

(5 Posts)
ComtesseDeSpair Fri 09-Jan-15 13:57:10

Our boy was hit by a car on Boxing Day, shattering his right femur. It was too badly damaged to plaster, so he had a femoral head ostectomy (basically, the head and neck of the femur where they join the pelvis have been removed entirely, and a "false joint" of cartilage will grow. It's usually very successful in cats and should give him 95% of his original mobility back.)

The operation itself was successful and cat is healing well. However, he's still knuckling over with the foot, dragging it behind him rather than placing it properly - although he will sometimes place it correctly and try to bear a little weight. The vet has examined him several times since the op and concluded that he does have some feeling in the foot though perhaps not as much as he should, so he doesn't properly recognise that he's dragging his foot. She suspects that a fragment of the femur may have compressed the sciatic nerve after the accident.

The vet has referred for physio, which seems a good idea to build up the strength of the leg and help mobility, but also for acupuncture, which I'm less sure about. She said that sometimes it can be very helpful for nerve re growth and may help the brain "remember" that the foot exists. But it's not cheap, and I'm wary of paying possibly hundreds of pounds for a therapy which is no better than a placebo.

Has anyone's cat (or other pet) undergone acupuncture with positive results? Or any experience of femoral head ostectomy/other leg surgery and recovery afterwards?

Thanks - from me and limpy boy smile

LastingLight Fri 09-Jan-15 16:39:02

I was always sceptical of acupuncture. Then my horse had a back injury that physio and chiro couldn't fix, and I got in a vet who does acupuncture. It was hellishly expensive but the improvement was amazing. I also couldn't believe how calmly he took to having needles stuck into him... he would barely flinch, and just about went to sleep during the treatment.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 09-Jan-15 18:37:25

I've had acupuncture and it reduced my back pain.

Will your insurance cover part of it?.

Poor cat. Nerves can recover from compression injuries but it takes a fair while. I expect the physio will help lots & you'll have exercises to do at home.

HansieLove Fri 09-Jan-15 22:45:35

Two points. I had a cat who had a leg amputated and she got on fine, lived for ten more years. It sounds as if your cat is in pain, from sciatic nerve being compressed.

I had a dachshund with a bad back. That was Hansie, part of my name here. I took him to an acupuncturist vet. Hansie would just relax as the needles were inserted, and afterwards. I think it helped his back. We wanted to help Hansie, and acupuncture did help. I miss little Hansie, and TripodBob, our cat. Bob was a girl.

ComtesseDeSpair Sat 10-Jan-15 21:45:32

Thanks for everyone's replies, and I'm pleasantly surprised to hear 3 positive results for acupuncture. I feel a lot more confident now about going ahead with it, at least for a couple of sessions and alongside regular physiotherapy and massage. We aren't insured, but I'm more than willing to pay for anything with a decent chance of a positive result.

Hansie- our vet doesn't believe he's in pain due to the nerve and I'd probably agree with her - he's not showing any signs of pain beyond the expected discomfort when I do his "range of motion" rehab exercises and is perfectly content and chirpy. He's happy to put a small amount of weight on the leg but struggles to keep the foot in position - hence why the vet thinks it's a bit numb and feels that full amputation should only be considered if nothing improves following time, physio and acupuncture.

Hoping wee boy is back on all four of his feet soon!

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