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Clinical history: Bailey is a senior female spayed medium sized mixed breed dog. She has a form of epilepsy that causes focal seizures (small tremors) and has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. She takes traditional Western medications to help control her epilepsy and blood pressure. Bailey also suffers from stiffness and pain, primarily in her hips. 

Bailey does not trust strangers and barks initially, but she quickly becomes more comfortable. She is a somewhat picky eater and occasionally skips meals. Occasionally, she will have episodes of loose stool and vomiting. 

Bailey’s caretaker adopted her as an older dog and wants to give her the best life possible in her senior years. She gets laser therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture on alternating weeks. The primary goal of acupuncture is to address her arthritis.

Western Diagnosis: Osteoarthritis of the hips; systemic hypertension; focal seizures secondary to epilepsy

TCVM Diagnosis: Kidney Yin Deficiency leading to Bony Bi Syndrome; Spleen Qi Deficiency; Liver Qi Stagnation leading to Internal Wind

Treatment Principles: Tonify Kidney Yin and clear local Stagnation; tonify Spleen Qi; clear Liver Qi Stagnation, dispel Wind

Example Treatment: 

  • Dry needles: 
    • Bai-hui – permission point, local point for hip
    • ST-36 – Qi tonic, rear “3 mile point”
    • BL-11 – master point for Bone
    • BL-60 – aspirin point for pain
    • Shen-shu/Shen-peng/Shen-jiao – local points for hips/lower back and support Kidney function
  • Aquapuncture: 
    • BL-20 – association point for Spleen
    • SP-6 – Yin tonic
    • LI-11 – boost immunity, control blood pressure
    • GB-20 – local point for seizures, clear wind
    • Nao-shu – classical point for epilepsy
  • Note: due to her history of seizures, we do not use electroacupuncture with Bailey

Outcome: Bailey receives acupuncture for maintenance. She can be anxious during her sessions and tends to do best away from her caretaker. With her current treatment regimen, Bailey is happy and relatively pain free at home. 

Discussion: Similar to Chaos, Bailey suffers from Bony Bi syndrome (osteoarthritis) secondary to a Kidney Yin Deficiency. In Chinese medicine, bony changes are always connected to the Kidney System. The Spleen System is responsible for digestion in TCVM theory. Because Bailey has chronic gastrointestinal issues, she has a Spleen deficiency. The Spleen is responsible for a large portion of the body’s Qi (energy). As we discussed in the previous blog post, seizures are considered Internal Wind in Chinese medicine. The most common cause of Internal Wind is due to energy stalling in the Liver (Liver Qi Stagnation). Treatment principles focus on supporting these common deficiencies (Kidney Yin, Spleen Qi) in older animals, and moving energy throughout the body to clear Stagnation.


Emily Falk, DVM, CVA