Rescue Horse Helped with TCVM

Rescue Horse Helped with TCVM

by Beth Hirsch, DVM

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

Robinson is a rescue horse, who is living in retirement. He initially presented for intermittent wet "squirts" of water following fecal production. He is always lame due to an old injury resulting in advanced arthritis in his left knee and old injury near the left front coronary band. He has difficulty lying down and getting back up, worse when it is damp and cold outside. "Robbie" is somewhat friendly and laid back, but seems to prefer routine and can be a bit reserved. He gets along with his pasture-mates for the most part, but sometimes gets grumpy and bites the cow who lives with him. Robbie’s owner’s goal is to improve his quality of life and comfort level. Robinson was seen four times over 2 months. The first treatment focused on the Spleen Qi deficiency and diarrhea, which resolved completely after the first treatment. Remaining visits focused on treating his TCVM pattern by tonifying Kidney Qi and Yang, tonifying the spleen to help eliminate damp and moving Qi to relieve pain associated with the arthritis in his left front knee and lower limb. By his last treatment obbie was doing very well, with barely noticeable lameness some days, good attitude and no diarrhea. At this time herbal treatment was chosen to extend his comfort and time between acupuncture treatments.

His personality appears to be a mixture of Metal and Earth. His ears are a normal temperature, but his back is cooler in the lumbo-sacral area.


Tongue: Very swollen and pale. Pulse: Weaker on right, soft on the left with weakest left pulse position 3rd.


TCVM diagnosis: Damp Bony Bi with Kidney Qi/Yang Deficiency

Herbal Treatment: Prescribed Equine Du Huo at 15 grams BID.


Follow-up: Upon a phone consultation with the owner around 6 weeks after his last treatment, Robbie was continuing to do very well. He eats his Chinese herbs without complaint. I have refilled her prescription for Equine Du Huo the last several months, and last spoke with her the first week of February 2010. She reports he is continuing to do well despite the cold and snow in the area, and he gets up and down without a problem and seems very happy.


Case Summary: This case initially presented with diarrhea as the main complaint. That problem was resolved with the initial acupuncture treatment session. The longer term issue is his bony bi syndrome in the left front leg. Further treatment sessions focused not only on his underlying Kidney Qi/Yang deficiency but also on local treatment to address the comfort level of his arthritis. Along the way some local stagnation was found and addressed in the right hip. Due to owner financial constraints, herbs were used after the initial series of acupuncture sessions. So far the Chinese herbal treatment has greatly extended Robbie’s comfort level. A checkup / tune-up acupuncture session will be recommended within the next 6 months.

Latest Update: Robbie was seen again on February 13, 2010. The owner had forgotten to call for her refill on the Equine Du Huo as quickly as normal, which meant Robbie was without his medication for about 7 days. The owner noticed that he was not lying down and getting up as much as he had been, and most significantly, that he had started attacking the cow that he lives with and biting her. He was treated with aqua-acupuncture, and the Equine Du Huo arrived. Within 2 days of starting back on the herbs, he has stopped attacking the cow and is more comfortable.

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