Puss is an 8-year-old, male, desexed Domestic Shorthair, who after a bout of Cat Flu had chronic epiphora and blepharospasm in his right eye for several months before his owner brought him in to see if his condition could be treated. Fluorescein 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, 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).
Ongoing acupuncture treatment
Puss was treated weekly for 6 weeks. After the first treatment, the blepharospasm 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.
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. Find out more about the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture HERE.
More veterinary acupuncture success stories
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The many ways acupuncture can help your veterinary patients By Dr Belinda Parsons