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AR vet gives owl acupuncture therapy to heal injured leg

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 4:41pm

Vets at an animal rescue in Arkansas try an unconventional treatment to help an owl that was hit by a car.

"We take these animals that have human caused injuries and when there is a human caused injury we feel the obligation to do something," Lynne Slater said, who is the Executive Director of The Hawk Center.

They call her Enola, after the town where she was hit by a car.

"When she came in she I honestly thought she was dead in the box she was comatose, she was knocked out cold," Director Slater said.

Enola is a very lucky barred owl, who found her way to The Hawk Center and Executive Director Lynne Slater.

"I noted that she could not move one leg and yet she could move her wings and she could use the other leg so it was just time, just let’s wait and see what happens. So after a week she had a little bit of response to one foot the paralyzed foot and then there was no further progress at which point you know and owl that can't move a foot cannot survive in the wild," Slater explained.

With no progress, it seemed the only option left was euthanasia, until a veterinarian friend suggested acupuncture.

"I said well it can’t hurt. So I contacted Dr. Hooks in little rock and i said i got this really weird situation you want to give it a try and she said sure let’s try it," Slater told CNN.

Believe it or not, Enola lies there on her own free will. Dr. Karen Hooks, who performs the acupuncture, doesn't give Enola any anesthesia for the treatments.

"We went for our first treatment and about a week after our first treatment i saw the foot move a little bit and that I said hey we have some response. Is it because of the acupuncture who knows? Is it because its just time, there is no way to prove it. From her being unable to stand and her falling over on one side now she can stand and perch on a branch and she can actually move her foot some she’s even self-feeding she wasn't even able to feed herself," Slater explained.

Hooks says it takes time for the nerves to regenerate or to be re-stimulated, but at this rate, they expect Enola to be releasable in just a few months.

"Some people will be naysayers and say that’s just time of healing and that would have happened normally but then there’s no way to test it. There’s no way to prove its one way or another but its worth a try," Slater said.


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