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  • October: Awareness Month for Lung and Liver Health

October: Awareness Month for Lung and Liver Health

Thursday, 01 October 2020 16:35

This October is Lung and Liver Health Awareness Month.  We are excited to share some TVCM information about the Zhang organs Lung and Liver. A nice quick review and an inside look to potential cases our TCVM vets might see in their clinics.

Lung (Zang) partners with Large Intestine (Fu), and its element is Metal. Respiration and Qi is regulated by the Lung, which also regulates the body’s water balance, and maintains skin and coat. Lung leads the ascending and descending movement of fluids and Qi.  Respiratory disorders such as asthma or cough, stem from Lung Qi Stagnation while generalized lethargy and shortness of breath stems from Lung Qi Deficiency.

The Lung nourishes and warms the skin-hair by distributing Wei-Qi and Body Fluids. It controls sweat to help the body regulate its temperature by opening the pores while closing the pores to prevent loss of heat when the body is cold. The body’s surface (Pi-mao), “skin-hair”, has a protective screen consisting of skin, hair, and sweat glands and prevents Xie Qi invasions however if the Lung has an illness and any pathogenic factors (Xie Qi) invaded the body surface then the skin-hair maybe exhibit signs of illness.


Species: feline, Himalayan
Age: 9
Gender: female spayed
Tongue: dry red
Pulse L/R: thin, weaker on the left
Clinical Signs: asthma patient, recently dry coughing and wheezing increased, increased thirst and no longer sleeping with mom in bed, instead staying on tile floor in bathroom
TCVM Pattern: Lung Yin Deficiency
Treatment Options: offer cooling foods like rabbit, fish based diets; start on Lily Formula to moisten airways and reduce cough

Liver (Zhang) partners with Gallbladder (Fu) and has an Exterior-Interior relationship. Liver is a Wood element, maintains the flow of Qi, the health of tendons, hooves, nails, and ligaments, and stores Blood. Liver adjusts the amount of Blood in circulation which changes depending on physical activity.  If there is insufficient Blood in the Liver, the pet will become tire easily, this is known as Liver Blood Deficiency.

In order for Liver to regulate the flow of Qi there are three things Liver controls: assisting in Water metabolism procedure, ensuring the Spleen and Stomach digest food properly, and sustaining the vital activities of the entire body. If Liver Qi Stagnation interrupts the flow of Qi it may prevent proper food transportation and transformation which can cause GI upset including diarrhea or poor appetite. Emotional changes could occur when Liver Qi stagnates such as mental depression, aggression, or anger. Stagnant Liver Qi that affects the Triple Heater could result in ascites or edema from the obstruction of the water metabolism pathways.

Limb weakness and tremors can be associated with Deficient Liver Blood, in which, the Blood does not nourish or moisten the connective tissue properly. Jin (tissues linking joint and muscles) relays on Liver Blood to provide moisture and nourishment to ensure proper tissue function.  The eyes are connected to the Liver by the Liver Meridian, and Excessive Liver Heat could present itself with swelling, redness, or pain of the eyes.


Species: canine, terrier mix
Age: 2
Gender: male neutered
Tongue: lilac
Pulse L/R: superficial, full and fast
Clinical Signs: new companion in home, resource guarding and increasingly aggressive towards new dog
TCVM Pattern: Liver Qi Stagnation
Treatment Options: Liver Happy herbal formula to relief Qi Stagnation, acupuncture points liv3, liv10

Edited by Alex Kintz-Konegger, DVM, CVA, CVTP. Hypothetical Cases by Alex Kintz-Konegger, DVM, CVA, CVTP