Dr Jean-Paul Ly is an acupuncturist who has an 80 percent success rate in treating sporting injuries. But don’t bother rushing off and asking him to stick a needle into you to fix up that torn ligament, because he only treat animals.
Most of his patients are racehorses and greyhounds, but he’ll also treat domestic dogs and cats, and occasionally the odd unhappy bird.
Saigon-born Dr Ly grew up in Singapore, but 15 years ago he came to Australia to study vet science. A return trip home to Singapore led to him combining the age-old art of acupuncture with the veterinary skills he learned here.
“I’d always been interested in acupuncture because my father had a friend who’d been paralyzed with a stroke and acupuncture had cured him.” Dr Ly explained.
In Singapore hospital, Dr Ly joined an acupuncture research team for 12 months. When he returned to Australia he continued studying it on his own and developed the first effective system for dogs, cats and horses.
“In China, they had treated horses but never cats or dogs because they don’t regard them very highly there- in fact they eat them.” Added Dr Ly with a smile.
Today Dr Ly is an expert in animal acupuncture and lectures in animal care and veterinary nursing at the Sydney Institute of Technology, as well as being a travelling consultant to other veterinary practices.
“People only ask for acupuncture on their animals after the more conventional forms of treatment have failed. This is a pity because we have an extremely high improvement rate.” claimed Dr Ly.
Patients treated successfully with acupuncture include racehorses with aches and pains from muscular or skeletal conditions, dogs with arthritis and respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis, and dachshunds who’ve become paralysed from slipped discs.
And how do animals feel about having therapeutic needles stuck into them?
“Horses usually don’t mind.” said Dr Ly. “But cats aren’t very good patients because of the difficulty in restraining them once you’ve put the needle in. Dogs are easier to handle because you can bluff them. And the orang-utan I treated in Singapore Zoo didn’t mind at all. He even posed for a photograph while he was being treated!”
Story by Carolyn Dunne
Photo by David Raffan
Source: Straits Times