Food Therapy in Treatment of Chronic Anemia

Food Therapy in Treatment of Chronic Anemia

by Liz Fernandez, DVM, CVA

Author: Chi Institute/Friday, August 28, 2015/Categories: Student Case Reports, TCVM Articles, 2015 Summer/Fall Issue

“Kobe” was an M/N 80 lbs Yellow Labrador with a Fire personality. His DOB was 12/30/97. He had been on maintenance TCVM treatments since he was 12 years-old for lumbosacral arthritis, spondylosis, and cervical IVDD (diagnosed with MRI). TCVM diagnosis was Kidney Qi and Yin Deficiency, Liver Yin Deficiency, Jing Deficiency as well as Bi and Wei Syndrome. Treatment included acupuncture and Tui-na. This treatment was on going every 2-4 weeks. Herbal formulas included Body Sore 8 Teapills BID and Hindquarter Weakness 8 Teapills BID. Tramadol 50mg 1/2-1 pill BID was used for pain as needed, and Adequan 1.5cc Q 2 weeks for joint support. He was also given Thyroid Support (Standard Process) for low thyroid1 tsp BID, Normalizer 3 1 BID (digestive enzyme/probiotic supplement for Immune support)

2.5 years later (~14.5 years ) a routine laboratory panel indicated a borderline non- regenerative anemia. [HGB 11.6 (LOW)] and low T4. Suspect low T4 is due to euthyroid sick syndrome. All other Chemistry & Electrolyte values were WNL. His general orthopedic condition had continued to slowly progress. There was increased generalized muscle weakness, atrophy and moderate ataxia. Otherwise he was still full of life.The updated TCVM diagnosis was Liver Blood Deficiency and mild Kidney Yin Deficiency, Jing Deficiency, Chronic Wei and Bi Syndrome. TCVM treatment included continued acupuncture, Tui-Na and herbs plus food therapy to address the anemia.

Honest Kitchen beef and grains, beets (Blood tonic), beef liver (Blood tonic), ground beef (Blood tonic), avocados (Yin/Blood tonic), tuna (Blood tonic), spinach (Yin/ Blood tonic) and hard boiled eggs (Yin/Blood tonic). Some combinations of these were added to the diet on a rotating basis at client’s discretion. (Client did not feel she had time to make marrow soup, though it was highly recommended) Additionally Vitamin B12 1.5 cc Q 2 weeks and Ferrafood (Standard Process) for low hemoglobin 2 BID were started.

10/20/12(15yr): TCVM EXAM: Tongue: pale lavender. Pulses: deep, weak, slow, thin. Feet were neutral. Back: cool, ear tips neutral, nose cool & wet. Anemia was worsening. RBC 4.4 (LOW), HGB 10.8 (LOW), HCT 30 (LOW). Started on Marrow Soup 1/2 - 1 cup daily and Gui Pi Tea Pills started 25% of dose x 2 days (2 pills BID), then 50% x 2 days(4 pills BID), 75% x 2 days (6 pills BID), then 100% 8 pills BID.

3/1/2013: CBC indicated anemia was resolved, RBC =5.5, HGB =13.6, HCT=39. TCVM exam still indicated Blood Deficiency symptoms (pale tongue & cool body). All treatments remained the same. 

8/12/2013: Kobe had been unable to walk for 4 months, although he was able to swim daily. He had an acute episode of shoulder pain. Blood work was unremarkable except the CBC values had dropped slightly indicating a borderline anemia. A diagnosis of acute local Qi/Blood Stagnation in the shoulders was made. Treatment included Tui-na, laser, & electroacupuncture in the shoulder area.  The client was instructed to do Tui-na daily and she leased a cold laser to also use over the shoulders daily. The tramadol was increased PRN for 2 days. The stagnation cleared in 48 hours. These daily laser/Tui-na treatments by client continued. 

12/27/13: Kobe was again very painful over his shoulders, would not eat or sit up at all and was drinking very little. His gums were pale and dry, his nose was cool and dry, his pulses were thin weak and slow, his body was cool to the touch including ears, feet, back and abdomen. TCVM DX = severe blood deficiency with Worsening global Qi/Jing Deficiency & local Qi/Blood Stagnation in shoulders). A CBC showed a moderate macrocytic anemia. (RBC =3.4, HGB =8.5, PCV=28, MCV =80). In spite of acupuncture, Tui-na, and SQ fluids Kobe worsened over the next 2 days, never lifting his head without assistance.
12/30/13: He was given the opportunity to get in the pool. He would not move his legs and showed none of his usual excitement or interest. Due to his age, level of discomfort, lack of Shen, diminished Jing and appetite he was euthanized on his 16th birthday. This case is a wonderful example of using TCVM for Palliative Care. Kobe had a good quality of life even after he could no longer walk. It was rewarding to use food as therapy especially when the patient enjoys the treatment so much. It was also validating to demonstrate herbs and food improved and sustained objective laboratory values (RBC, HGB, PCV) in this geriatric patient without any negative side effects.

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