Walker, a 12 year-old Black poodle weighing 25 pounds, first came to see me for acupuncture six days after he started limping while going down the stairs. He was non-weight bearing lame on his right-hind leg.
Walker’s physical exam: He had a positive draw sign on the right hind leg and slight effusion at his stifle, indicating a torn cruciate ligament. His owner did not want him to have surgery. Also noted during the exam: his left eye had chronic red sclera and was non-visual from cataract. His right eye had a moderate cataract but was still visual. He had a history of a seizure following vaccination. For 2-3 months he had soft, loose stool, sometimes with mucus, no blood. His stool symptoms were palliated with Science Diet. He had a good appetite and no history of vomiting. The hair on his rump tended to get dry and changed to the color of the dry kibble. He had moderate dental tartar. Walker was very friendly and cooperative.
Western Diagnosis: Torn cruciate ligament.
TCVM Examination: Tongue pink, a bit lavender, moist. Pulses – a bit wiry. History of liver disharmony—ligament tear, red sclera, cataract, seizure following vaccination. History of loose stool – Earth weakened by Wood, Ke cycle. Walker has an Earth personality.
TCVM Diagnosis: Qi-blood stagnation, liver blood or Yin deficiency. Disorder of Jin (tendons, ligaments, fascia). Injury blocks flow of Qi, leading to local stagnation (pain and lameness).
TCVM Treatment: Change diet. The primary focus of Walker’s treatment was to move Qi to stop pain (Qi-blood stagnation causes pain), and nourish liver blood and tonify liver Yin deficiency to strengthen Jin (tendons, ligaments, fascia).
Walker had four acupuncture treatments, one month apart and was on Jing Tang Tendon Ligament Formula, BID with food for six months.
Walker had both DN and EA. The following acupuncture points were chosen:
For Qi-Blood stagnation
LIV 3 to smooth liver Qi, circulate Liver Blood and relieve stagnation (pain)
BL 54 as Master point for hind limbs
BL 60 to relax muscles and provide pain reliefGB 33 for stifle pain
GB 34 is Influential point for tendons and ligaments, LIV Qi stagnation, stifle pain
ST 36 for pain and general Qi tonification
For Liver Yin deficiency: LIV 3, SP 9
To nourish Liver Blood: SP 10, BL 17, BL 18
Other points used: Bai hui as master point for overall condition; Shen-shu for hindquarter pain; ST 34 for stifle pain and swelling; ST 36 for general Qi tonification and stifle pain; BL 23 for pelvic limb weakness; and SP 3 as brief prick after initial acupuncture treatment for stifle pain and also as Yuan-source point for his personality
Walker responded very well to his diet change and TCVM treatment. The next day after his first acupuncture was the first day Walker came out of his kennel on his own since he hurt his leg. One month later his right hind-leg was toe-touching. Two months after his initial treatment, he was using his leg more and starting to stand on right hind leg to urinate. By the third month, he was continuing to improve slowly, but was showing atrophy of the hind muscles. By the following month, muscle mass was returning with controlled exercise and he was balancing on both hind legs when he had a bowel movement.
Eight months after his initial injury, Walker was walking significantly better and was able to stand on his right hind leg and lift his left hind to urinate. Ten month follow up: Walker is walking evenly on all four legs and able to stand up (rear) on hind legs.