Acupuncture is a very powerful healing tool that we frequently think of for treating pain related to muscles and boney problems; however, it can also be an excellent treatment for respiratory, some cardiac problems and gastrointestinal disease. Some animals with epilepsy have benefited from acupuncture as well. At Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives in Dartmouth, we are fortunate to have two IVAS certified veterinary acupuncturists and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners, Dr. Bishop and Dr. Fisher.
The following is the story of Aussie’s adventures with acupuncture.
Aussie came to visit Dr. Bishop at Full Circle Vets about a month ago. At that time he was experiencing frequent deep coughing episodes throughout the day and night. No one in the family was sleeping very well! In the office he coughed loudly with a honking and sometimes phlegmy sound. Aussie’s problems may have begun after a dental cleaning last July. His conventional veterinarian reviewed the common causes of coughing; bronchitis and heart disease. He prescribed two drugs that reduce inflammation and open the airways to improve breathing (prednisolone and theophylline). Aussie was already on a medication to lower his blood pressure and he was still coughing uncontrollably. Aussie’s human Mom has been using acupuncture successfully and wondered if we could help Aussie’s cough.
Whenever we do a Chinese medicine examination, we evaluate the current health picture and take into account all aspects of the patient’s history. Aussie’s had a number of other problems besides his honky, phlegmy cough including episodes of stiffening and collapsing, itchiness in the summer, gum infections, abdominal rumbling and gas, and retinal bleeding. We put this together with the current symptoms, evidence of a reddish pink tongue with a white surface, tight thin pulses and assigned a diagnosis of Lung Wind Heat invasion with Phlegm accumulation. We decided to use both herbs and acupuncture to help Aussie.
We began acupuncture treatment with points important for supporting the Lungs, clearing Lung Phlegm, and stopping cough. We also treated the Kidneys so the Lung Qi would be drawn down into the Lungs instead of being coughed out. Because Aussie’s problem was dramatically affecting everyone in the family, we treated him twice on the first week. After his first treatment he was like a puppy playing with his teddy bear and had very little coughing for the first day afterward. He still coughed at night but the time between coughing episodes had decreased enough that everyone was sleeping some again!
After his second treatment, Aussie slept through the night for two consecutive nights, played with his toys and when he did cough it was for a short time. At that point we decided to try leaving a full week between treatments. Very little coughing was heard at home that week, in fact the most coughing he had done was in the clinic reception area! He was continuing to be livelier and had not had any of his probable mini-seizures that week either.
Aussie’s story will continue as he comes for regular treatment and we adjust the frequency of treatment needed. Thank you to Aussie for the permission to share his case and perhaps his parents will keep us updated on Facebook?