I am on the verge of getting acupuncture treatments for my 18 year old cat. He has severe arthritis in his back, hips and legs. He sits weird, groans when he lays down (because of the pressure it puts on his front legs to get down) and kind of bobbles when he walks (which he avoids doing). He can still get up and down stairs but I try to lift him up every chance I get. I know it's not best because he needs to keep walking, but I know it hurts him and I'm nervous about him falling if his legs give out. He has gone outside all his life and still does this. He is a very unhappy kitty if he doesn't go outside, and I keep a close eye on him because I hate him being out there. He's very smart and knows staying on our back porch/nearby is best.
He won't take any pain medicine. We've tried several: Gabapentin, which made him constipated more than he is from getting older. Another capsule that he refused to take when we mixed it with anything. We got this one compounded and he had an awful reaction to it and was drooling everywhere. He doesn't enjoy fish oil but I try to sneak it in his food every once in awhile. Metacam is out of the question - it sent him through kidney failure.
I'm thinking about compounding a medicine to taste like chicken, but I'm not sure he'll take it even that way. He hates all medicine. I also don't like how he acts when he's on it. His eye become super dilated and he lays around and behaves as though he's high. I don't want to prolong his life with pain meds if it's going to make him feel/act weird. I don't see the quality of life there.
My question is - how much does acupuncture help cats? Specifically, older ones with severe arthritis? It's an expensive procedure and I will have to rework my work schedule to get him to the appointments, but I am willing to do anything to get him out of this pain. I'm looking into house calls right now. Will this just stress him out more than he should be? Does it really work for older cats?