Acupuncture in Practice: Crash, A Senior Dog with Arthritis and Behavior Changes

Welcome to Acu in Practice! Say “Hello” to Crash, an almost 14 year old large breed dog who came for a visit primarily to address hind end instability and discomfort. His primary vet did not feel there was anything else in the toolbox to improve Crash’s situation. Crash has arthritis and associated muscle atrophy in his hind limbs. He pants a lot, has partial laryngeal paralysis, and is generally a cool seeker. When he first arrived, Crash had pretty much no hair on his hind end. Crash also has difficulty sleeping. Most recently, he has developed a preference to have the lights on at night. If they are not on, he gets really vocal and will not stop barking. He was already restless at night, but this is an escalation.


Crash comes every 3 weeks for acupuncture which is why I know when something escalates or changes. His pet parent is awesome and follows all recommendations. He is on a combination of Western medications, herbs, food therapy, and supplements. His multimodal plan is keeping him comfortable and allowing him to continue a good quality of life with his family.




Crash’s TCM Diagnosis:

Kidney Yin (primarily) and Qi Deficiency Bony Bi with Wei Syndrome

This translates to age related arthritis and muscle wasting. The Wei also accounts for the lar par. And the Yin deficiency for restlessness at night and heat intolerance.

His secondary syndrome is Blood Deficiency - this accounts for his odd hair loss pattern (NO - it is definitely not fleas!)

Acupuncture points:

GV 20 - permission, calm Shen

GV 14 - Clear Heat, open up spine

BL 17 - nourish Blood (see the yellow needles!)

BL 20 - Support Spleen (combat Wei and Blood def)

BL 23, GV 4, Lumbar BH - Support Kidneys, Treat pain in lumbar

BL 54, GB 29 - Lift hind end, treat pain in hips

ST 36 right, SP 6 left - move and tonify Qi and Blood, clear stagnation

*SP 6 = 3 yins crossing and tonify Blood

BL 60 - KID 3 - Support Kidney, move Stagnation

LIV 3 right, GB 34 left- nourish Liver Blood, move stagnation, relieve tension

HT 7 right, PC 6 left - calm Shen


We have made a lot of progress with the blood deficiency since beginning our multimodal approach. Food therapy is especially useful - I like beef and liver the best for blood building (there are other options too).

Now, we are really honing in on the Yin so that everyone in the house can get a good night’s sleep. Whole house happiness is a big goal for the integrative plans I create for my patient’s and their families! —Dr. Nell #integrativevet


This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA for informational use, not to replace medical advice. You can learn more about the author and integrative medicine for pets on her FB or IG pages: people.and.pet

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