A Winning Hunter, Severely Injured, Makes a Strong Comeback with Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Therapy
Maverick, a three-year-old German short-haired pointer, fulfilled Mariah Walker’s vision of a companion and Brandon Kyle’s dream of a bird-hunting partner. Maverick and Brandon began participating in hunting competitions before Maverick was a year old.
“First, he’s a pet. Second, he’s a hunting dog. We taught each other to hunt. We started with quail when he was 13 weeks old. He’d lift a paw, his tail would go up in the air, body would become stiff, he wouldn’t move until I shot the bird,” Brandon said.
They expanded to hunting chuckar partridge, quail, and pheasant, often traveling to other states from their home in Missouri.
Then, tragedy struck when Maverick was hit by a car in February 2020. According to Brandon, Maverick was true-to-breed characteristics, athletic, high-strung, and fast like a Lamborghini. Running 10 miles was easy for him. Brandon thinks Maverick may have been chasing a deer when he ran across a gravel road and was hit.
“He was hit on his left side. We took him to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine because his injuries were complex. He was in the ICU there for 10 days,” Brandon said.
Maverick sustained damage to his spinal cord, specifically, to T 12 and T 13 vertebrae. There was nerve damage. The prize-winning hunter lost mobility in his back legs and had no control over his bowels and bladder.
“They let us know he would make it through and that is when we started planning for our move to Baton Rouge. After researching and from the suggestions of the university hospital in Missouri, we were able to get everything lined up for him to get treatment down here at LSU. That’s where we saw major improvements just from the first few weeks of acupuncture and rehab,” Mariah said.
When the couple brought Maverick to the LSU SVM in March 2020 he was barely able to walk, even when supported with a sling. They consulted with Lorrie Hale, DVM, CTCVMP. Dr. Hale is certified in veterinary acupuncture, Tui-na (massage to realign the body), Chinese herbal medicine, and food therapy. She has earned the title of Certified Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Practitioner, one of only three certified in Louisiana and one of the first 60 in the world. Brandon and Mariah opted to have Maverick receive a series of acupuncture and rehabilitation treatments.
He underwent rehabilitation, which included an underwater treadmill, acupuncture, and electrode stimulation. He continued weekly treatments, eventually going to every two weeks, and took herbal supplements every day. Altogether, he had five treatments of acupuncture and 10 sessions of rehabilitation over three months.
“We saw lots of improvement. Within ten weeks he went from kennel-bound to being able to jump up on the bed. His motor skills are back,” Brandon said.
“Maverick is now walking without support. It’s not perfect, but he’s walking on his own, and we don’t know how much more he will improve,” Dr. Hale said.
“We go out to the mailbox and he runs back. Plus, he’s regained control of his bodily functions—he can hold it for 12 hours again,” Brandon said.
Brandon and Maverick have started hunting again.
“It almost makes you tear up seeing him run and come back with a bird,” Brandon said.
They traveled to South Dakota in early November 2020 on their annual pheasant-hunting trip. Maverick did very well, and even though he’s not 100 percent recovered, he can still outrun a four-wheeler and loves running from their house to a nearby river.
“He’s our first dog and holds a special place in our hearts. We’re so glad the LSU vet school provided health and wellness back for Maverick,” he said.