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Acupuncture for Dogs for Growth Plate Deformity

by Sari Grove
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

As you can see, the left paw is severely disfigured, and the right paw is beginning to compensate

As you can see, the left paw is severely disfigured, and the right paw is beginning to compensate

Could acupuncture (or any other holistic treatment) be an alternative to Distraction Osteogenesis for the deformed growth of a growth plate in the left paw due to trauma shock as a puppy?

Hello, I am looking for any information regarding using acupuncture for dogs as a veterinary therapy to correct a left front paw deformity. (Notice in the picture that the right paw is compensating now for the left paw's deformity) My dog, Lulu, is a 13 month old bichon frise shitsu cross female who apparently fractured her growth plate as a puppy, possibly 5-8 months ago.

My conventional veterinarian has diagnosed this as Distraction Osteogenesis and says that the only way to repair it is to re-break the bone, put pins in & allow the bone to regrow longer. If at all possible, I would really like to avoid this.

I am looking for any & all alternatives to pin surgery. (The reason I reference acupuncture as a possible solution is because I underwent acupuncture with electric stimulus therapy myself for years & successfully corrected mild scoliosis of the spine.)

Can you share any success stories about correcting a paw turning out too far without pin surgery?

Can surgery be postponed indefinitely?

Is lameness inevitable without surgery?

Can acupuncture or any other treatments be substituted for this type of surgery?

If so, where can I find veterinary practitioners who specifically know how to do acupuncture as alternative for distraction osteogenesis in a puppy paw to correct shortness compression caused by trauma shock fracture to the paw?

Comments for Acupuncture for Dogs for Growth Plate Deformity

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Nov 07, 2009
My Online Vet Response to Treat Growth Plate Deformity
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sari,
Lulu is such a cute little dog. That is a shame about the injury to the growth plate on her Left Front leg. I cannot make you a definite promise that any alternative treatment will help, but as a holistic veterinarian, I have seen acupuncture, homeopathy and good nutrition help cases that had seemed incurable with conventional therapy.

Therefore, I think that if Lulu is not in pain, or limping at this time, then I would recommend using alternative treatment before considering the more drastic surgery. Also, if you ask veterinary surgeons, they will not be able to promise you a perfect outcome either! Of course, a surgeon would want to do surgery as soon as possible. But all of her growth plates have closed now, at her age of 13 months, the damage has already been done. Certainly taking 6-8 months to use alternative treatment, would be the healthiest course of action at this time. Also, using Chinese herbs, and/or other supplements to help with any pain she may have would be much healthier than conventional drugs.

I have not personally treated a growth plate injury/deformity, but I have treated many other orthopedic problems, some from having had a poor surgical outcome, and many to avoid surgery, and all of them were improved. I have also seen cases of severe arthritis that had bone spurs and calcium deposits improve 'radiographically' with acupuncture. (Meaning that the before and after x-rays that were taken looked better after having had several weeks of acupuncture treatments!)

See the bottom of our Dog Vet Care page to find a veterinarian that does acupuncture in your area.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
Dog Acupuncture

Nov 08, 2009
Dear Dear Dr. Carol Jean Tillman !!!
by: Anonymous


Thank you...That is exactly what I needed to hear...

I just needed to know that it was alright to wait & think about the surgery before plunging in...

To try to solve this problem another way...

I absolutely know that acupuncture straightened out my curved spine & knowing this it had to be possible to try to correct Lulu's splayed foot in a similar fashion...

I do know that my treatments were over the course of a year & a half & that Lulu may need that kind of time frame too...

But your words seemed to really reflect what I was needing to hear...The confidence I needed to go forward & try something that might be more gentle to Lulu's spirit, less drastic, less invasive, & possibly helping to pioneer a new way of treating bone injuries that have already healed funny in young dogs...

Words cannot express the relief my husband & I both felt while reading what you wrote...

God bless you this Christmas for making Lulu's Christmas one where she is not recovering from a general anaesthetic with a re-broken paw & a metal pin inside...

I pray that we will find someone with good hands who can over the next 2 years help to correct her paw in a studied & precise use of acupuncture combined with the correct herbs & holistic & organic advice & methodology...

But now at least we have bought some time to research...Knowing that we are free from the intense pressure to rush the surgery allows the freedom to really think about what is best for Lulu...

What a wonderful service you have given us here...


from Sari Grove ( & Lulu & Joseph Grove & all of our friends & neighbours who love Lulu & thank you too...)

We all felt that the surgery seemed drastic but didn't have the veterinary authority to be able to get out of it with a viable answer...

Our guts have been saying no, but it is hard to translate that into a logical plausible answer...

Let's see if we can fix this thing...I bet we can...I just know that acupuncture is capable of doing this...I just know it...Sari

Nov 09, 2009
My On Line Vet Response for Growth Plate Deformity
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sari,
You are very welcome, and I am sure that any holistic veterinarian that you find will agree with my opinion, also.

Please keep us informed of Lulu's progress, she is a very precious little girl and I can tell that you love her very much.

Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

You can keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Nov 14, 2009
Dear Dr. Carol Jean Tillman
by: Sari Grove

After your wonderful supportive answer, we continued to get additional opinions...

Our vet, Dr. McCutcheon (whose book The Holistic Way is coming out Nov. 23rd) is at East York Animal Clinic, & has both 40 years regular & plus plus holistic training...(but wasn't available on the weekend online when we were angst ridden-hence how you got our question...)

A vet tech at who used to work for a holistic vet in newmarket here named Autumn...

A chiropractor & acupuncturist on Yorkville here in Toronto...(human patients, but he was helpful anyway)...

A man in the park with a dog named Trixie who had broken her leg 3 years ago & he had opted not to have surgery...trixie is fine...( alittle bowlegged, but fine...)

Our concierge, who had a dog of his father's break a leg a long time ago, & what they did...(can't go into details, but definitely Not surgery)...

So...with your positive support, soon after we got alot of people to support the decision to cancel the surgery...

So we did...I'll keep you posted here...

Sari Grove

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