“Acupuncture for companion animals.” This phrase illustrates 21st-century cultural attitudes and perceptions. A generation ago, acupuncture was considered an ‘alternative’ therapy for humans, let alone dogs and cats. To call pets “companion animals” is to recognize what Dr. Shawna McCall witnesses in her rehab practice, “Animals are family members and best friends. People are willing to seek quality-of-life treatment. It’s an important cultural shift.”
McCall and partner Pat Werner provide animal therapy services. Pat, a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, utilizes therapies from massage to rehab on an underwater treadmill. McCall is a licensed veterinarian and certified in veterinary medical acupuncture.
“Many of the animals we see are from people who’ve been told by their vets that ‘it’s time,’” said McCall, “Clients bring animals to the clinic as a last resort.” Pets who have, for example, chronic pain from cancer, arthritis or degenerative spinal cord diseases generally benefit from treatment.
Acupuncture is not a one-time fix, though in her practice McCall has seen dramatic turnarounds. “We ask people to commit to at least three treatments, but the goal is to not need to come here at all.” The relaxed ambience of the treatment room creates a tranquil place for people and their companions. “Typically the dogs get a massage, and the room has no smells associated with a stressful environment.”
Since humans don’t speak the same language as pets, owner feedback is critical. “We rely on owners’ input,” McCall notes. “Clients often report a change in their pet’s energy levels, such as wanting to go on longer walks.”
Utah Pet Rehab and Acupuncture, by appointment
2896 East 3300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84109