(image courtesy of The Way of Least Resistance)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the natural world is divided into five systems, known as the five elements. The elements are an important component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each element correlates to a season, organ system, and a number of other characteristics. The elements are interconnected in a specific order that produces balance within the body. 

Each individual has a core constitution associated with one of the five elements. An animal’s constitution can influence their tendency towards particular types of imbalances, and is therefor important to identify when determining a treatment plan.

  • Wood- “The General”
    • Wood types are born leaders. They tend to be confident and fearless, and like to dominate and command control. They are athletic and competitive. Wood personalities adapt well to change because they are always alert and responsive. They are quick to form ideas, but can be narrow-minded and intolerant to other viewpoints.
    • When unbalanced, Wood constitutions are prone to aggression and anger. Diseases that Wood types are predisposed to include liver or gallbladder problems, ligament/tendon issues, eye issues, seizures, allergies, hypertension, stroke and neurosis.
  • Fire- “The Emperor”
    • Fire types are the social butterflies of the world. They are friendly, persuasive, and relish being the center of attention. An individual with a Fire constitution is a true extrovert- they are noisy and talkative and can be difficult to calm down.
    • An unbalanced Fire type can become hyperactive and show signs of Shen disturbance (behavioral problems) such as separation anxiety or restlessness. They are predisposed to cardiovascular disease.
  • Earth- “The Mother”
    • Earth personalities are warm and caring. They are easy going and friendly, tolerant of others, sweet, and tend to be slow moving. Earth types make excellent companions.
    • Excessive worry is a sign of imbalance in an individual with an Earth constitution. They are prone to obesity, muscle atrophy, weakness, appetite issues, vomiting / diarrhea, and stomach pain. 
  • Metal- “The Prime Minister”
    • Metal constitutions are the visionaries- they have foresight and wisdom. Metal types thrive on rules and order. They tend to be somewhat aloof and independent, but are consistent and confident in their actions. They are quiet, ordered, and organized.
    • Sadness and grief plague an unbalanced Metal personality. They are prone to nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, asthma and other lung diseases. 
  • Water- “The Water Manager”
    • Water types are philosophers. They stand back while observing and analyzing the events around them. They are introverted and shy, but think deeply and make well-thought out plans. They tend to be more fearful and timid.
    • In an unbalanced state, Water personalities are fearful and can lash out in panic. They are prone to kidney or bladder problems, arthritis and intervertebral disc disease, premature aging and infertility. 

What constitution is your pet? What constitution are you? Remember that we can be combinations of several types. 

Emily Falk, DVM