(Photo credit to Dogs Naturally)

Chronic renal disease is a common ailment of older dogs and cats. Although it is often slowly progressive, there is no cure in our veterinary patients and it will eventually lead to renal failure. In Western medicine, treatment focuses on appropriate diet, fluids, and control of clinical signs. In later stages of disease, however, pets often have a poor appetite, making these traditional therapies difficult. An integrative approach to chronic kidney disease can offer hope to these patients.

In TCVM, renal insufficiency can fall under several different patterns. The Kidney is either deficient in Qi, Yin, Yang, or Jing. Proper pattern diagnosis helps tailor treatment to the individual patient. However, several specific points are helpful in all patients with kidney insufficiency.

  • BL-23: the association point for the Kidney. This is a very useful point for strengthening Kidney Qi. The bladder association points are located along the back, making them relatively easy points to access in most patients.
  • KID-3: a Yuan source point. “Yuan” means origin. These points serve as energy sources for the internal organs.
  • Bai-hui: a grounding point, and it supports the kidneys

Patients in early stages of disease benefit from enhanced kidney function, often slowing down progression to renal failure. Acupuncture can also be used later on in renal disease to address the common clinical signs of nausea, poor appetite, lethargy, and pain.

Dr. Emily Falk, DVM, CVA