TODAY   |  December 07, 2013

Does acupuncture for pets really work?

Treatment for four-legged friends has come a long way, especially when it comes to alternative therapies like acupuncture and water therapy. Though the treatments can be costly, owners say it’s money well spent. TODAY’s Jill Rappaport reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on "today's" pets, we are taking a look at alternative medical treatments like medicine for people, healing pets has come a long way and comes in a lot of different forms. our animal advocate jill rap rappaport take a look at this. nice to see you.

>> nice to see you too. all of us animal owners know there is nothing more heartbreaking than having a sick pet because they can't tell us what is bothering them. in the past, some conditions were thought to be untreatable, until now. 7-year-old chloe is putting one paw in front of the other. amazing progress for a dog with a disc problem who was completely paralyzed just a few months ago.

>> when we first brought her in, she wasn't using her legs one bit.

>> reporter: her recovery? the result of alternative treatments at new york's animal medical center . dr. lay lani alvarez runs the rehab program.

>> it's not a voodoo medicine . there is a very legitimate medical effect these therapies are having.

>> reporter: water to increase mobility. laser treatments to help with pain. and acupuncture, complete with spa music and a zen fountain thichlt.

>> th>> they relax and get increased circulation and these are pressure points for the spine. they are known acupuncture points known for thousands of years.

>> reporter: chloe is so relaxed, she falls asleep. dr. alvarez say people are choosing more alternative therapies to treat their four-legged fans.

>> physical therapy and acupuncture and thermal therapies and have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

>> reporter: it offers a form of energy healing . therapeutic ultra sounds and ball exercises to help reduce pain and increase mobleility. the result can be remarkable.

>> owners have lost all hope and they are able to walk out and use their back legs and the full capacity they were before, that is the best thing!

>> oh!

>> reporter: giving hope.

>> the first time i saw her walk, i mean, i cried!

>> reporter: and helping ailing animals get back on their feet. so worth it. now these treatments can be costly. one acupuncture session can run up to a hundred dollars apiece but for the pet parents who have seen the result, erica, they say it is so worth it. i know i've tried the water therapy at home with one of my dogs with knee injury. i would hold her under her stomach and she would paddle around the water.

>> you call myself as a pet parent. not an owner. jill, nice to have you here. great piece. thanks.

>>> ahead this morning, she is not letting anything slow her down. lindsey vonn in her