Acu in Practice: Cats with Stress Symptoms
Welcome to Acu in Practice! Meet Nelson, a senior cat who is an acu veteran of about 6 years. Nelson originally came for an integrative consult because he was having asthmatic episodes and urinating inappropriately, both triggered by stress. He was also very overweight. Nelson is one of the only true Earth constitution cats I have ever met. For pet owners, a constitution is similar to personality and genetic make up. Earth animals/people tend to worry a lot, gain unwanted weight easily, and stress when things seem out of order or less than harmonious. The Earth element is associated with the Spleen organ (also the pancreas and organs of digestion in Western terms) and when overwhelmed or stressed, the animal/human accumulates what we call Damp in TCM. Damp can show up in many ways – for Nelson, it showed up as Damp in the Lungs, Damp Heat in the Bladder, and accumulation of body fat. Also, because the Liver is a very dominating organ that processes stress, when Nelson would worry, the Liver would become stressed and contribute to an exacerbation of these symptoms and accumulation of Damp. In Western terms, his symptoms showed up as asthma, inappropriate urination and further weight gain. We have worked diligently with Nelson and have successfully helped him navigate multiple moves, roommate changes, and most recently a new baby in the household. He visits between every 4-8 weeks depending on what is going on with his life. We have resolved the asthma, he has very sporadic inappropriate urination episodes (only when triggered), and he has been able to reach a reasonable weight. Nelson’s plan includes acupuncture, a very low level of fluoxetine (Western pharmaceutical), herbs, a thunder shirt and environmental modifications to help keep stress as los as possible.
He has even been able to cope with the baby in his house becoming a toddler who wants to play a little more often than he would prefer!
GV 20 – general calming, influence over unsettled Yang
BL20, SP 6, ST 36 – Help to support the Spleen, ST 36/SP 6 move and tonify Qi
LIV 13 – move stagnant Liver Qi
BL 13 - support the Lung
LU 5, ST 40 – when asthma was active
BL 26/28 – local for Bladder
BL 23 – now that he is senior, support the Kidneys
Lumbar BH – he has developed some low back tension in his older age.
This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice. You can learn more about the author and additional cases in this blog and on social media.