Acu in Practice: Getting Creative with a Crabby Cat

Welcome to Acu in Practice! This week Ginger is joining us to illustrate that even crabby cats will accept acupuncture if we get creative. Ginger is 15 with renal insufficiency, arthritis and muscle wasting. We use a multimodal treatment plan that includes multiple types of acu in order to get results for her. Our goal is comfort and stable weight

Ginger’s TCM diagnosis:

Kidney Qi and Yin Deficient Bony Bi syndrome with Wei

Treatment Principles:

Nourish Kidney (Qi and Yin), move Stagnation in the affected Channels (pain and tension in back and hips), Support the Spleen/Stomach (digestive organs).

Ginger’s acupuncture plan:

First, we weigh Ginger. Then, we let her stay in the bottom of her carrier on her own towel or blanket for the treatments. This helps to keep her calm because it is familiar and comfortable. Next, I use the Multiradiance Activet Pro laser to help her “unwind” – there is literally an “unwind” protocol, and my patients love it! (I apply for 3 minutes) While Ginger is still settling in, we block her vision because visual stimulus seems to aggravate her. Then, I’m able to place acu needles in the core points for the Kidney, Spleen and low back. BL 20, BL 23, GV 4 and/or 3, and Lumbar Ba Hui. Ginger is sensitive for needles in the hip area or lower limbs, so I change the applicator on the laser and do laser acu on those points. A typical combo for her would be: BL 54, ST 36 and if GB 21. Lastly, we administer vitamin B12 aquapressure and Adequan, usually in LIV 13. (1 injection each side). The Adequan is a conventional medication that treats inflammation associated with arthritis while also acting as a chondro (joint) protectant. Vitamin B12 is frequently low in cats with renal disease and has been shown to help both pets and people who have kidney dysfunction. Lastly, we take out the needles and by that time, Ginger is usually fast asleep!

Ginger returns monthly for her treatments. Her owner is happy with the results and thankful that we have found a way to work with her crabby cat!


You can see below the collage of Ginger's treatment photos as well as a video of me performing the "unwind" protocol prior to placing her acupuncture needles. A second video shows how relaxed she is when I'm using the laser to treat the points that she does not like needled! I'm not so annoying anymore...she's fast asleep.








Dr. Nell, Integrative Vet, DVM, CVA, FAAVA has created this post for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

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