clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pet got neck pain? Try traditional Chinese veterinary medicine

(MCT) — Lately I have made it a point of evaluating animals (in a Western exam) for pain in the neck by moving the head through a full range of motion. I have been surprised by the number of animals that do show some hesitation of movement indicative of pain.

In many cases the owner is not even aware that the pet is having some problems. I think of this as having a "crick in the neck" yet animals can't tell us. TCVM can help animals with relieving neck pain and balance a pet as illustrated in the following case.

The cutest little poodle came to see me several months ago for pain in its neck. The 9-year-old dog started having neck problems 18 months earlier when it had some trauma to the neck. Radiographs showed a possible collapse of the intervertebral space between C3-4.

Previous treatment had included steroids, muscle relaxers and pain killers. The dog improved with the medications but would relapse and recently the painful episodes were more frequent.

In addition, the dog was having recurrent conjunctivitis. The dog was very friendly, lively, easily excitable and very vocal.

These characteristics indicated a Fire constitution. On examination, her eyes were red, crusty and had slight hair loss on the upper eyelids. Her ears were red, crusty and had yellow wax. The dog was painful on moving the neck and she hurt whenever she barked. The tongue was purplish red, dry and had some small cracks. The pulses were deep, fast and weak on the left side in the kidney area. The gums and lips were red and dry. The ears were warm.

Since the dog's problems had been chronic this indicated a deficiency problem. The red tongue, lips and gums indicated false Heat (Yin deficiency). Purple tongue color indicated Stagnation. Pain is caused by Stagnation of Qi. Weakness of the pulse on the left side meant Yin deficiency.

In the five-element theory, the water element is associated with the kidney. Kidney is associated with bones. The eyes are associated with the liver and Wood element. The redness indicated yin deficiency or excess heat. Ear problems are associated with the Wood element/liver organ.

So the Zang-fu organs associated with these problems are the kidney and liver. The deficiency was a yin deficiency. Yin is the cooling aspect of the body and is also associated with body fluids. A common analogy is the "air conditioning" system of the body.

Menopausal "hot flashes" in humans are an indication of yin deficiency. The body temperature is normal but the woman feels like she is burning up.

The diagnosis was kidney and liver yin deficiency with local qi stagnation in the cervical area. The treatment principle was to tonify (build up) yin and resolve stagnation.

Dry needle acupuncture and laser were applied, a Chinese herbal formula was prescribed and food therapy with cooling foods was recommended. On the third visit the dog was back to normal and she could bark without pain. By the fourth visit the eyes were no longer red and the ears were 50 percent better. The fifth visit was five months from the initial visit and the dog had no pain, was not on any medications other than the Chinese herbs, the eyes were normal and the ears were normal.

With the dog responding so well, six month "tune up" visits, if needed, were recommended.

Dr. Connie Clemons-Chevis practices at Alternative Medicine for Pets, which offers Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine services in Bay St. Louis, Escatawpa and Pascagoula, Miss. (c) 2010, The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.).