Acupuncture for ER and Critical Care 1

I am often asked if acupuncture can be applied in emergency and/or critical situations. The answer is ...YES! Acupuncture can help to stabilize patients, relieve their pain, and speed healing time. All of these are desirable in ER and CC cases and I’m planning to feature examples over the next few weeks. This week we’ll start with nausea, gastrointestinal disturbance and liver dysfunction/illness.

There are many, many diseases, malfunctions and illnesses that can lead to reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and an unhappy liver. In cats, they often develop a syndrome called hepatic lipidosis when they stop eating suddenly or for a sustained period of time. This is usually a secondary problem to gastrointestinal disturbances which vary (gastritis, enteritis, pancreatitis, IBD, foreign object ingestion, cancers) but they all cause our feline friends to feel terrible and not want to eat. Once the syndrome starts, they build up bilirubin in the body because the liver is breaking down fat too quickly for the body to keep up and it becomes toxic. This makes them even sicker and their skin turn yellow. The only way to break the cycle is to get the cat eating/receiving enough calories to stop losing weight and mobilizing the fat, so that the liver can settle down.


This is Macy, a patient of mine who developed hepatic lipidosis and presented in critical condition. She needed Western diagnostics and treatments as part of her integrative plan, but I used acupuncture as a complementary therapy. My main goals with the acupuncture were to make her FEEL better, stimulate her appetite, and to get the congestion in her liver and the toxins in the bloodstream moving out. Within minutes of receiving the treatment and starting IV fluids, Macy was already nibbling at canned food. It would be a long haul to get out of the woods, but at least she was on her way and we had made some headway in breaking the cycle.

For vets, her points were: GV 20, BL 17, BL 20, BL 23, GV 4, Lumbar BH, ST 36 right, SP 6 left, LIV 13.


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 tidbits about integrative medicine on her FB and IG sites: @people.and.pet


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