Tommy is an 18-year-old male, neutered domestic shorthaired cat. He was brought in for "difficulty in jumping up on the couch" of a two-month duration. The cat also was falling when he tried to get up on a chair.
The cat was friendly, loved to be petted and was affectionate. On the exam table, the cat was reserved, quiet and self-contained. The tongue was red, small and dry with lots of tartar. He had flaky skin with sensitivity from the end of the ribs to the lumbosacral area along the spinal cord. He had decreased flexibility in the left hip. The pulse was fast and Tommy was deemed a Metal Constitution based on his presentation in the office with some Fire.
The tongue values and flaky skin were consistent with Yin deficiency. The sensitivity along the back and hip and indicated local Qi stagnation. The rear end weakness and bone involvement are associated with the Kidney element. The fast, bounding pulse indicated pain or Qi/Blood stagnation. The diagnosis was Kidney Yin/Qi deficiency with Qi/Blood stagnation along the spine and left hip. The Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine principles were to tonify Kidney Yin/Qi and clear stagnation.
Qi stagnation is analogous to a traffic jam. Energy is continuously moving along pathways called meridians. A healthy pet has no obstruction of the energy or Qi flow. If there is injury or arthritis then Qi can't flow normally and a traffic jam or stagnation occurs. The greater the stagnation, the greater the discomfort and pain. Acupoints are points along the meridians where energy can flow in or out, similar to an exit on an interstate highway. Acupuncture stimulates these points, balancing the energy and clearing the stagnation.
On the second visit, a week later, the owner said the cat did phenomenally during the week. He did not fall off the chair at all. Treatments were given weekly for six treatments then extended to bimonthly or monthly. By the seventh treatment the cat's arthritic issues were 90 percent improved.
Recently, the cat started showing some anger issues and pain along the sides. The Gall Bladder meridian runs along the side and the sensitivity indicated an imbalance with the Gall Bladder element. Anger is Liver Qi stagnation. He recently lost a playmate and this could be causing some stress. Emotional issues can cause stress and lead to Liver Qi stagnation which can cause many health imbalances. The treatment principles are to clear Liver Qi stagnation.
The arthritis issues appear resolved but the TCVM evaluation has identified another issue which, if left unresolved, could affect the animal's health. This case shows how acupuncture helps increase the quality of life for this cat by relieving the pain from arthritis. It also illustrated how emotional stress has caused an imbalance which was identified through TCVM diagnostic principles. Some people may think cats would object to acupuncture or having needles put in, but they do very well. Some even fall asleep during the treatment.
Dr. Connie Clemons-Chevis, has received certification in acupuncture, Tui-na and Chinese herbology through Chi Institute in Reddick, Fla., and China National Society of TCVM. Alternative Medicine for Pets offers TCVM services in Gulfport and Bay St. Louis.