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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Making It Count

Tuesday, June 14 2016

a woman sitting next to her beagle dog

Dani Martin of Newalla, Okla., doesn’t know how much longer she’ll have Daisy, her 15 ½ year-old beagle, but she’s doing all that she can to ensure Daisy has a good quality of life.

“It was the week before finals in December 2015 when I came home and Daisy’s eye was significantly swollen,” recalled Martin, a second year veterinary student at Oklahoma State’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. “We came to the Veterinary Medical Hospital and learned that she has a retro bulbar mass, which is probably cancerous, behind her right eye. She immediately lost sight in that eye and within the next three weeks, she slowly lost sight in her left eye.”

Martin has had Daisy since she was a 7-week-old puppy. Surgery wasn’t an option. Martin wanted to keep her dog comfortable and pain free. And Dr. Lara Sypniewski had a way to help achieve that.

Sypniewski, a clinical associate professor in OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital, recommended acupuncture as part of Daisy’s protocol. Under Sypniewski’s supervision, fourth year veterinary student, Danielle Llan de Rosos of Oklahoma City, stepped up to help Daisy.

“When I met Daisy, I knew she had her chronic issues with the retro bulbar mass,” explained Llan de Rosos. “I was really interested to see if we could just use acupuncture as a non-invasive way to make her feel a lot better so Dani could get some really good quality time with her. I wanted to really see if I could make a difference.”

And what a difference it has made.

“Daisy is a wonderful patient,” said Llan de Rosos. “I’m very happy with how she’s responded. She really blew me away with how quickly and how positively she responded to the treatment. After the first treatment Dani was telling me that she visibly was acting happier and walking around more and I’m really pleased with the results.”

“Daisy is doing amazingly well,” said Sypniewski. “We know she has a terminal disease. We know that she’s blind. I don’t know how much longer we have with her but it’s amazing to see the change from a dull, lethargic, quiet, unhappy dog—with I’m sure quite the headache—to a happy-go-lucky lady who goes out in the yard and enjoys the sun.”

“Dr. Syp and Danielle have given me my Daisy back,” added Martin. “We started pain medication and anti-inflammatories immediately after her diagnosis. The drugs did help to keep her pain free but she did not have any energy. She was not a happy dog anymore. She would stay on the couch and not do anything. About the second week that Danielle was working on her, she was my old dog again. Daisy is exactly the way she was before all of this happened except that she can’t see now.”

“Danielle has had a lot of training in acupuncture,” added Sypniewski. “She has learned the foundational aspects of it, learned how to apply that information and she’s gone through hours and hours of course training. When Daisy came along, I thought this would be a great opportunity for Danielle to use her as a case in order to complete her acupuncture studies with the Chi institute (Tradition Chinese Veterinary Medicine provider) and become a certified veterinary acupuncturist.”

In May 2016, Llan de Rosos graduated with her DVM degree. She has known since a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian and looks forward to what comes next.

“I will be doing a rotating small animal internship at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in the Denver, Colo., area,” said Llan de Rosos. “I would love for everyone to consider acupuncture in treatment of any patient that has any pain, discomfort or weakness. It can really make a big difference.”

“If you have the opportunity to meet with somebody who practices integrative medicine, other therapies like acupuncture, I would encourage you to definitely give it a try,” said Martin. “It’s given me my dog back and given her her quality of life back and I think it’s a great way to approach medicine.”

“I give a lot of credit to Danielle and to Daisy’s mom. Dani got very bad news. She knows the prognosis is poor but she allowed us to step in and try to do the best we could for Daisy,” explained Sypniewski. “The big take home is that here at OSU we work very hard to be collaborative with each other and to not only utilize one specialty service. We find that if we can look at a patient through a whole animal approach that we are oftentimes much more successful. And I think that’s what’s great about OSU is the opportunity for collaboration and working on being leaders in the veterinary community. I’m glad we could help.”

Sypniewski typically sees an average of between 16 and 18 acupuncture patients a week at OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital. For more information about integrative medicine, visit OSU Rehab/Integrative Medicine.

Sadly, Daisy passed away in May 2016. Martin said, “Even though Daisy has left us, my family and I would still be thrilled to see the story run in hopes that other pet owners can be informed about integrative medicine options available at OSU to help their pets live more happily.” That’s making it count.