Acu in Practice: Venus, an Anxious Cat with Red, Itchy Skin

Welcome to Acu in Practice! Meet Venus, an 11 year old spayed female cat who is anxious and experiences external symptoms related to emotional stress. She also has a tendency to gain weight and store the weight as unnecessary intraabdominal fat. Her external symptoms related to stress include ulcers on the upper lip and itchy, red dermatitis especially above her eyes and in front of her ears. She overgrooms her abdomen causing lesions, but does not have lesions prior to self-trauma. She accumulates more waxy exudate in her ears than average. Venus is a Metal constitution cat who likes routine and her own space. Currently, she is living in an environment that does not meet her expectations. Her guardian is planning to change living situations soon, but would like to start helping Venus now.


Tongue and Pulse: Red edges on tongue. Pulse is fast and choppy, not wiry as in pure excess Liver Qi stagnation cases without deficiencies.


TCM Diagnosis:

Liver Qi Stagnation (stress) – generating friction Heat that rises and overacting on Spleen

Spleen Deficiency with Damp Accumulation – secondary to long standing Liver Qi Stagnation

Treatment Principles:

Move Liver Qi, Clear Heat and Wind Heat

Tonify Spleen, Resolve damp

Nourish Yin due to long standing Heat and Nourish Kidney (at 10 or older we know cat's kidneys are aging)


Acupuncture Points:

GV 20 – calming point, meeting of Yang channels

GV 14 – Clear Heat, Wind Heat

BL 20 – Nourish Spleen (Vitamin B12 Aquapuncture)

BL 18 – Sedation technique

ST 36 right – Drain Damp, Move and Tonify Qi and Blood, harmonize Spleen Stomach

SP 6 left – Nourish Spleen, Tonify Yin and Blood

LIV 13 – Move Qi

BL 60-KID 3 – Clear Heat and Tonify Yin/Kidney


Other recommendations:

  • Venus is on 100% high quality canned food diet and owner rotates varieties. This visit we focused on feeding the correct amount of calories. Next visit we will discuss home-cooked toppings.

  • Herbal Formula – Because Venus’s environment cannot realistically be modified enough at this time to meet her expectations, she will begin Harmonize Metal and Wood by Kan Herb. It also moves Blood and Qi Stagnation as well as clears Wind and Heat.

  • Composure Pro Chews by Vetriscience for calming – 1 per day, 1 additional if anxiety level is high or prior to any situation that may cause additional anxiety.

  • CBC/Chemistry panel sent to the lab to assess internal organ status.


Venus will return in 4 weeks for another treatment and to assess progress on her new integrative plan.

This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

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