A 2 year old, intact female, Portuguese water dog was brought in for loss of confidence and not performing well in high performance trials. When the dog was four months old she was very confident, out-going and the owner described her as being "a cock on the walk". At six months of age the dog started showing and did okay. At eight months of age, after some emotional trauma, the dog started acting fearful, running from strangers and acting very insecure, and loose, diarrheic stool. The dog was on Anxiety drops and was fed fish and meat-based kibble with fruits, veggies and grains. On a scale of 0-10 with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best, the dog rated a 3.
The owner filled out a Constitution Checklist and the evaluation showed the dog was of a Fire and Metal constitution. When the owner brought the dog in, she hid behind the owner and was extremely timid. Any movement towards the dog scared her. Eye contact was avoided and the dog was gently touched while the owner held her, and was very scared and frightened when touched. Very light mo-fa, then gentle ro-fa was done on An-shen and Da feng men. The dog’s tongue was deep red and dry, the ears were hot, and the pulses were fast, forceful and slightly weak on the left side. The gums and lips were red. A-shi point evaluation showed sensitivity at BL-15 the back-shu Association point for the Heart meridian.
Red, dry tongue, gums and lips, hot ears, fast, forceful pulse indicate Excess Heat or Deficient Heat. The Zang-Fu organ Heart indicated by the A-shi point and Shen disturbance. The loose, diarrheic stool indicated Spleen involvement. Weak pulse on the left side indicate a Yin deficiency. Emotional stress caused Liver Qi Stagnation leading to Heat/Fire in the Heart boiling the fluids causing a Heart Yin Deficiency with False Heat resulting in Shen Disturbance.
TCVM Diagnosis and Treatment Principles:
Excess Heat/Fire causing Heart Yin deficiency with Spleen Qi Deficiency. The treatment principles were to clear Heat, nourish/tonify Heart Yin, calm the Heart, and tranquilize the mind.
Acupuncture points selected were GV-20 for sedation and Shen disturbance, HT-7, PC-6 for Shen disturbance, BL-21 to tonify SP Qi, BL-17 to tonify Yin, 18/47 for LV Back-shu association and emotional points, 15/44 for HT Back-shu association and emotional points; KD-3, SP-6, 9 tonify Yin; LI-4, 11 to clear Heat.
The owner was instructed to feed 50% of a balanced base and supplement with cooling/cold food, foods to tonify Metal (mother) and Yin tonics.
Follow-up and progress:
On the second visit, the stool was normal and the dog was still extremely wary and nervous. The owner was very diligent with the homemade diet feeding a base kibble diet of duck (cooling) and potato to which several foods were added including: spinach, brown rice, kelp, strawberries and pineapple. After acupuncture the dog allowed me to pet the top of her head without the owner holding her. Shen Calmer was prescribed to tonify Heart Yin and for Shen disturbance, the owner was advised that dry dog kibble is heat producing and could dry out the fluids.
On the third visit, the dog’s quality score was 6-7 and she won second place in a competition. The owner stated the dog was no longer timid or scared and would have won first if she hadn’t been going after other dogs. The owner added herring, carrots, mango, peas and cantaloupe to the diet. Eleven weeks after the initial visit the dog walked calmly into a strange office and laid down on the floor in the exam room. She approached me and was happy to see me. The acupuncture needles were inserted and the dog laid on her side. In order to leave the exam room, I had to step over the dog. The dog did not even flinch and the owner was amazed. The owner said the dog was very friendly at the last show, was going up to people and was much more confident.