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Acupuncture: A benefit to veterinary patients & practice
A case study in acupuncture and Western medicine at a forward-thinking Nebraska practice.
Dr. Ann Kramer, a certified veterinary acupuncturist and co-owner of the Columbus Small Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb., with husband Dr. Jim Kramer, CVPM, and Dr. Stephanie Wesely, has been practicing this Chinese art for six years. Interested in it yourself? She says that while it does take special training, it is not necessary for a veterinarian to attain certification in order to perform acupuncture in practice.
Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions, including pain, degenerative joint disease, endocrine diseases, megaesophagus and more. Kramer notes that some applications are work better than others, especially those involving nerve pain or dysfunction, and that the risk of causing harm is low.
Here Dr. Ann Kramer performs an acupuncture treatment on Bogie, a 12-year-old labrador who presented down and unable to stand a week prior. After a weekend stay with several treatments, he went home walking and is continuing to do well with weekly maintenence treatments. (PHOTO COURTESY ANN AND JIM KRAMER)
Many clients of the Kramers' hospital were skeptical at first, but as time has gone on the response has been positive. Early treatment success helped boost client acceptance, and Ann Kramer says that some of the clients who thought the idea was crazy have become their biggest believers and promoters. In addition to word-of-mouth, acupuncture is promoted with signage at the hospital, through testimonials on the hospital's Facebook page, on a dedicated acupuncture section on their website, in YouTube videos, in an online acupuncturist directory, in their Yellow Pages ads and via staff recomendations.
When discussing treatment, Dr. Ann Kramer typically starts with a bundle of three treatments at an interval that is appropriate for the case, and clients stay with the pet for the duration of the treatment or can pay for a staff member to stay with the pet.
"We often tell our clients that there is no placebo effect in animals—they get better or they don't; and the results we have seen following the treatments have been amazing. In most cases, surpass our initial expectations," she says. "Many patients who come in paralyzed they go home walking. It's been a wonderful adventure for me as a healer," she says.