Cat with Spinal Injury Unable to Defecate

Cat with Spinal Injury Unable to Defecate

by Susan J. Colbassani, VMD

Author: Chi Institute/Sunday, August 1, 2010/Categories: Student Case Reports, TCVM Newsletter, 2010 Summer Issue

"Jack" is a 5 year old, 10 lb. neutered male domestic shorthair cat. In October of 2006 he presented, after being hit by a car, with a badly mangled right hind leg and spinal trauma. The turned him over to the veterinarian. It was necessary to amputate the injured leg, but even with neurologic deficits in the tail and remaining leg, he was able to ambulate well and live a normal life.


In April of 2009, he suddenly had difficulty emptying his bladder and colon. A perineal urethrostomy solved the bladder problem, but he still could not defecate, and required weekly enemas. Most likely due to his previous spinal injury, conventional treatment for mega colon, using cisipride and lactulose, did not help.


TCVM Exam:

Pulses could not be compared but the pulse in his remaining left leg was deep, thready, and weak. His tongue was pale and dry. His appetite was good. He has always preferred to sleep under covers on a soft bed. He is an Earth personality. Because of a history of chronic cystitis, he was eating Waltham S/O dry food.



TCVM Diagnosis:

  • Kidney Qi deficiency: the spine/marrow is governed by the Kidney, and weakness in the hind end and urinary problems are a Kidney Qi deficiency.
  • Qi Stagnation: due to blocked flow of Qi in the spine and colon.


Acupuncture treatment was focused on the spinal problem, and herbal treatment more for the megacolon.


Acupuncture Treatment

Hua Tuo Jai Ji was crossed with electro acupuncture to stimulate the spine. BL-17 was used for Blood deficiency, and BL-18 for Liver Qi stagnation, both with dry needle technique. This was done weekly for four weeks, until he was defecating well.


Herbal Therapy Treatment

Four Gentlemen, at 0.5 grams daily, for Qi deficiency Dang Gui Cong Rong, at 0.5 grams daily, for megacolon with Blood deficiency. The herbal treatment was started at the same time as the acupuncture and was continued after acupuncture was stopped.



Jack made a rapid and permanent recovery with these treatments, and has remained normal as of today, maintained only on these herbal formulas. In order to deliver the herbs to him, he now eats Hill’s C/D multicare canned.

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