Pearl: An Integrated Approach to Kidney Failure

Pearl at home and thirsty!
Pearl at home and thirsty!

Pearl is a 3 year old, domestic shorthair cat who joined her owner’s family by crying at their back door during Hurricane Earl. Her caregivers came home from travelling to discover that Pearl had suddenly become listless, had poor appetite and was urinating and drinking a lot. Pearl went to her conventional veterinarian in Truro and was discovered to be in kidney failure, to have a heart murmur and weight loss.  She was treated with iv fluids, phosphorus binders and antibiotics. She remained in hospital for about 5 days. She did have appetite improvement as soon as she received fluids and her abdominal pain began to resolve once the antibiotics were on board.

Pearl’s caretakers contacted Dr. Bishop at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives in Dartmouth early in Pearl’s treatment and were given a chinese herbal remedy called Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and two combination homeopathics, Reneel and Lyphosot to augment her conventional treatment. These were given over the weekend when Pearl was in emergency, suspended for a few days by her conventional practice and restarted as soon as she returned home.  On Pearl’s discharge, she was given a very poor prognosis because her kidney parameters were so elevated even after 5 days of fluids. Her owners were instructed to give subcutaneous fluids every day.

Parameter Normal March 15 March 17 March 19
BUN 3.6-10.7 mmol/l 59 59 43
Creat 27-186umol/l 800 600 481
P 1.10-2.74 mmol/l 2.84 4.08 3.32
K 3.7-5.8 mmol/l 3.8 4.4

At home, Pearl’s appetite was intermittent and she made some visits into Dartmouth to see us at Full Circle Vets.  We began acupuncture treatments and Dr. McPherson performed an ultrasound which showed a grossly dilated right kidney  and a stone in the other. Pearl’s caretakers were given a moxa stick to warm her Kidney acupoints at home.  Pearl loved her acupuncture treatments and was much better after each treatment, first sleeping well, then eating more and being more active. She would come and loudly demand moxa treatments at home.

I love acupuncture with moxibustion
I love acupuncture with moxibustion

Gradually, Pearl began to need less intensive fluid therapy and began to eat normal volumes and gain weight.   Currently, Pearl still takes her herbal formula, rarely demands moxa anymore, and is clinically quite normal.  She has been off antibiotic therapy for 8 weeks and we are all awaiting the results of her next blood work and ultrasound.

Parameter Normal March 28 April 11-16 May 3 June 10
BUN 3.6-10.7mmol/l 37 26.5 23 24
Crea 7-186 umol/l 392 286 291 220
P 1.10-2.74  mmol/l 2.36 1.84 2.1 1.8
K 3.7-5.8 mmol/l 4.4 3.5 3.8
SpGr 1.035-1.060* 1.017 1.024

Pearl is an excellent example of how different medical models can be melded together to provide optimum care.  Her Chinese herbal contains rehmannia which increases renal blood flow directly, and promotes red blood cell synthesis from stem cell lines in the bone marrow. The result of  using rehmannia containing formulas are  decreases in BUN, Creatinine, and improved red cell counts. Acupuncture stimulates points on the body to have effect on organs like the kidneys via a cutaneous visceral reflex.


Feeling well enough to play with Luther
Feeling well enough to play with Luther

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