My Life With A Senior Dog: Bruiser


Early on in life, Bruiser, was diagnosed with disc disease. Our vet recommended we try Acupuncture and we’ve never looked back! Every three weeks, he receives his treatment from Dr. Jester at Natural Healing Veterinary Acupuncture. Now that he’s older and still really active, he needs tune-up’s every three-four weeks. It makes a big difference. We started these more regular sessions over a year ago as I noticed he was stiff and thought his arthritis was perhaps returning with the wet weather. For many years, we also visited our vet, Dr. Yung, who has been Bruiser’s lead veterinarian for almost ten years and practices Acupuncture as well.

More about Acupuncture:

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine sterile needles (0.16 to 0.3mm diameter) into specific points along the body.  The stimulation of these points causes local muscle relaxation, release of natural pain-relieving hormones such as serotonin and endorphins, increased local circulation, and blockage of pain signaling in the body. 

I pulled this quick fact from Dr. Jester’s Website. The needles are so fine Bruiser barely notices them at all and almost always falls asleep. What I didn’t know is that Acupuncture is great for not only back pain but liver disease, kidney disease and inflammatory bowel disease which Bruiser was also diagnosed with last year. If your dog is experiencing pain, talk to your vet about some other alternatives to pain medication as I’m confident Bruiser lives without pain as a result of these treatments and I don’t have to use drugs like Tramadol or Rimadyl. It’s worth a try, right?

Bruiser during last week's session

Bruiser during last week’s session


There are 29 Comments

  1. Awesome! Glad to hear Bruiser did great with acupuncture. I love how veterinary medicine is evolving.

  2. Kuba says:

    I would never have guessed acupuncture could work for a dog! I’m glad its working for Bruiser!

  3. Val Silver says:

    So glad Bruiser is doing well. My dog Lou got some acupuncture for disc disease. Curiously, it worked really well at first – he could even hike his leg. I knew intuitively we should stop for a while there, but continued treatment and each one diminished his function until I said no more.

    • Thanks so much – I’m so sorry that continued treatment didn’t work very well for Lou. Disc disease is really awful and while Bruiser’s condition was not good, he didn’t have to go under the knife after his MRI so perhaps his injury was’t as severe. I appreciate you sharing that. I hope he’s feeling better now.

  4. Robbi says:

    This is great information, especially as Henrietta ages and I want to do what I can to give her the highest quality of life possible.

  5. I’m so glad that you are joining the conversation about acupuncture! This alternative and all-natural modality helped us save our sweet Galileo’s life when he was a puppy with a fractured spine. He now walks, runs and is pain free. Keep telling us more!

    • Thanks! Acupuncture has been a big part of Bruisy’s life since he was about five. Your story is also amazing, a fractured spine – Oh my gosh. I’ve seen doxies with zero movement in the hind end – totally recover with Acupuncture. There was a great story in BARK that I’ll have to find. I will totally write a series about all the ways dogs can benefit!

  6. When Maggie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and as a result developed arthritis we were considering acupuncture. Since her supplements are working so well, we have decided to hold off but it’s good to know that it’s working for Bruiser! He looks like a trooper in the last photo! 🙂

    • Thanks! It’s amazing – he typically falls asleep! That’s great her supplements are working well. He also receives e-stim which attaches to each needle. It’s kind of crazy but he doesn’t really mind any of it.

  7. nichole says:

    Senior dogs rock! 🙂

  8. Kia says:

    Interesting…didn’t know dogs got acupuncture. That’s great that it’s effective and helping!

  9. That is terrific. Are you using a holistic vet for acupuncture?

    • Yes, BUT our regular vet also practices and Bruiser did Acupuncture with her for many years. Our holistic vet also provides consult for herbs for Shermie and for Bruisy’s IBD and she’s mobile. So the dogs do see a holistic vet but we have a lot of vets in the area that practice.

  10. Heather says:

    This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time! Chuleta is a senior, too, and I’ve been heavily considering acupuncture for her because her luxated patella is causing pain in her hind area and this blog has put many of my fears to bed. I think she definitely could use it and I’m glad to know it is helping Bruiser.

    • Thank you so much! I have to say – it’s worth trying at least a few times. I would find a vet you really like and get in for that initial consult. Let me know for sure if Chuleta benefits. It certainly helps me with back pain!

  11. I haven’t tried acupuncture with Mr. N but I’d be willing if he was in chronic pain!

  12. MattieDog says:

    Great post – and we’ve done acupuncture with our seniors too! The benefits have been astounding!

  13. […] will be an ongoing series so please subscribe if you want to hear more about Bruiser and his experiences with Acupuncture and […]

  14. […] for a variety of health and behavior issues. Our holistic vet, Dr. Becky Jester prepares herbs for Bruiser, who has irritable bowel disease. Dr. Jester’s company is Natural Healing Veterinary […]

  15. How wonderful to hear that you found a non-pill based treatment for Bruiser that works! So many dog owners are way too quick to reach for pill medication instead of trying out natural alternatives. ~K9sovercoffee

  16. Very good to know! Our dog has had three back surgeries for herniated discs. He also had a horrible reaction to Tramadol the first time. Acupuncture may be something we look into! ~threechattycats

    • I’m so sorry your dog has had three back surgeries due to IVDD – and some dogs just don’t do well with Tramadol as it’s hard on their stomachs I’ve found. Definitely look into Acupuncture as an alternative treatment!