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February 2015 VMC Pain Management Patient of the Month

Somehow, February got by us and we forgot to post our Patient of the Month!  Mickey has been a happy and welcome “fixture” at VMC for many years (as his family describes below), and we would certainly be remiss if we didn’t get his story out there!


PACH Amera’s Grand Slam, Am. TD, RA, OA, OAJ, MXP3, MJP5, PAX, NFP, Can. TD


Mickey’s Story

Mickey (who is named after Mickey Mantle) started his Acupuncture journey when he was only 6 months old after his right ankle was fractured when he was flipped in the air by an older dog. Dr. Jan Mac Donald, DVM, ACVS, from Stack Veterinary Hospital, treated him conservatively and his right ankle was casted. He did not have surgery. He was started on acupuncture at 6 months of age for pain control at Clear Lakes Animal Wellness in Brewerton where he saw Dr. Young and Dr. Polly Fleckenstein. Dr. Young left the clinic to go to Watertown and Dr. Polly went to the Emergency Clinic on Erie Blvd. then to the VMC where we followed her. Mickey had started agility training before he was injured and resumed when around 2 ½ years old only to have his good side break down when 3 years old. He was then started on rehab with Lis Conarton in 2008 for quality of life. At that time his physical rehabilitation included underwater treadmill therapy, an extensive exercise program and acupuncture once a month. Mickey wouldn’t stay away from the agility equipment in my yard so he was brought back to Dr. Jan Mac Donald who cleared him to do agility competition because of how his ankle restructured with the rehabilitation. So, after about 4-5 years of being away from agility at the age of 8, he started showing in preferred agility which is the same as regular agility but at a lower jump height. Mickey went on to earn his PAX (Preferred Agility Excellent) title on 3/20/11, one year, one month after he started showing in the Excellent B classes. He then met the requirements for his PACH (Preferred Agility Champion) one month later on 4/22/11 when he turned 10 years old. He qualified for the 2011 National Agility Championships in Virginia and came out # 6 overall out of an entry of 30 in his Preferred 16 inch division beating Border Collies. Even though he only trialed for 6 months in 2011, being retired in July, he was listed as the #1 Dalmatian in the AKC PACH Stats for 2011. He has never been given pain meds for his ankle to this day but has received acupuncture monthly throughout his life. Mickey has a zest for life, a lot of heart, and loved the sport of agility. I am so grateful and thankful he was able to do agility and accomplished this fantastic lifetime achievement for both of us. He is my Heart dog. I want to thank Dr. Polly Fleckenstein and Lis Conarton of the VMC for being such a huge part of Team Mickey. Without them he would not have achieved all he did. He is now retired from showing and continues his laser and acupuncture treatments on a monthly basis to maintain his quality of life. He has experienced the power of acupuncture for 13 years.
~Mickey’s Family

Mickey’s issues:

  • Right ankle fracture at 6 months of age
  • Various compensatory issues with left limbs
  • Cushing’s Disease since 2011

Current Treatments:

  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy
  • Home Exercise Program
  • Nutrition and Supplements


  • VMC Pain Management Service's Patient of the Month November 2014 Coco CoCo: 17 year old Shih-Tzu Cervical Pain and Right Forelimb Lameness Current Treatments: Multi Modal Pain Management Program Acupuncture Mobilization & Massage Laser Therapy Home Exercise Program Nutrition & Supplements In August of 2013 we thought we would have to put down our beloved Coco. He was suffering from severe back pain. At times he could not lie down. Coco was in a great deal of pain. Walking was very difficult also, so much so that we would carry him around. We had Coco on many medications for the pain, however, it was not enough. At times he was still barely able to walk. We were recommended to the Veterinary Medical Center by our veterinarian Dr. Megan Williams from Animal Wellness of Skaneateles. Dr. Williams thought that with a good evaluation by their Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Robinson, they could make some recommendations for other therapies that Coco may benefit from.  Those therapies turned out to be acupuncture with Dr. Michelle Burnett and Physical Rehabilitation with laser treatments with Lis Conarton. Lis showed my husband and I how to work through Coco's exercises. Dr. Burnett was so patient with Coco while trying to get his needles in place for his acupuncture. Who knew that a 10 lb dog needed two people to hold him in place at times? The first month brought very good results. Coco was 17 yrs. old at this time. His gait became much stronger and more balanced and his pain was much less. We have worked with Dr. Burnett on his pain management medications. This took some trial and error, but we were fortunate to get the right combination of meds to help manage Coco’s pain. At first we started coming every 2 weeks for treatments and after a few months were able to taper off to once a month which is where he continues today. All this hard work paid off. Over one year later we are still going once a month.  Coco will be 18 years young in February. He is able to get around fine now: at times he will even attempt to sit up on his hind legs which he used to do all the time. When he is feeling really good (which is most days now) he will run around  the back yard like he used to. Without all the hard work of Dr. Burnett and Lis, Coco would not have the quality of life he has gotten back. Like for all of us it is all about the quality of life and being able to enjoy it. You can tell from his picture he has it back!!!! Thank You Dr. Burnett & Lis                                                                                                          ~ Coco’s Family “Education may be key in understanding the link between species, however one will learn the most while quietly observing.” ~Lis Conarton



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