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Acupuncture for Chronic Epiphora in a Cat - Case Study

Posted in Case Studies @ Sep 14th 2017 - By Dr Ulrike Wurth, ACVA
ACVA Cat Epiphora Image 1

The diagnosis

Puss is an 8 year old, male, desexed Domestic Shorthair, who after a bout of Cat Flu had chronic epiphora and blepherospasm in his right eye for several months before his owner brought him in to see if his condition could be treated.  Flurescein staining indicated that the tear duct was blocked.

The initial acupuncture treatment

Inserting needles into acupuncture points around the eye in a non- anaesthetised cat or dog can be tricky.

Puss was not the friendliest cat, but he was not aggressive and as he was going to need a series of treatments, a weekly anaesthesia was not a good option.  So I decided to try and see whether he would tolerate having needles inserted around his eye.

The point in the middle of his head (GV26) was inserted first and left for 5 minutes.  This point has a calming effect on most animals.  After 5 minutes the other needles were inserted in LI 4 as a distal point and then the points around the eye (BL 1, BL 2, ST 1, GB 1). 

The first picture (top right) taken immediately after the needles were inserted shows Puss with a grumpy look, in the second one taken 10 minutes later (below), he is more relaxed.


Ongoing acupuncture treatment

Puss was treated weekly for 6 weeks.  After the first treatment the blepherospasm eye remained dry for 2 days before the clear, watery discharge returned.  This interval increased with each treatment. 

It has now been 5 years since Puss was last treated and his eye has remained open and dry.

Cats are wonderful responders to acupuncture. 

I often find with cats that the first treatment is the hardest.  They love the endorphin release they experience which is part of acupuncture. Keeping them calm initially and keeping needles to a minimum does the trick.  Once they have experienced the endorphin release, they seem to make the association and then the subsequent treatments are much easier.  

More about veterinary acupuncture

Veterinary Acupuncture is an expanding field with more veterinarians taking up an intense 18 month post graduate training program with weekly online lectures and three practical face to face hands on workshops throughout the course, to qualify for the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) Certification in Veterinary Acupuncture.   This course is presented by the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture as the Trustee for the ACVA Foundation which is a non-profit organisation that was established to promote veterinary acupuncture education and research within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The mission of the College is to educate veterinarians in the clinical application of acupuncture using scientific and traditional acupuncture theories and to promote veterinary acupuncture research.

Interested in reading more veterinary acupuncture information & success stories?

This post was originally published in November 2015

About Ulrike

Dr Ulrike Wurth B.V.Sc., Dip Acup, CVA (IVAS) graduated from Melbourne University in 1972, she started her own practice in Highton Geelong in 1979.  In July 2010 she sold the practice and currently works part time treating patients with acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.

Ulrike’s first exposure to acupuncture was in 1982 for a cat with a paralysed bladder and amazed by the result, she commenced a part time human acupuncture course in 1984, graduating with a Diploma of (Human) Acupuncture in 1986.   In 1991 together with Drs Chris Robinson, Carl Muller and Ian Robertson, she helped organised the first Australian IVAS Course and has continued to lecture at each subsequent course.

Ulrike is currently the Executive Director of Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture Ltd, a not for profit company that aims to teach acupuncture to veterinary graduates, provide continuing education for IVAS graduates and promote much needed veterinary acupuncture research. She is also passionate about increasing the awareness of other veterinarians and the public of the benefits of acupuncture


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