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  • April: Acupuncture and Herbals for Global Treatment of Damp Heat

April: Acupuncture and Herbals for Global Treatment of Damp Heat

Saturday, 01 April 2023 09:00

Acupuncture and Herbals for Global Treatment of Damp Heat

Stacey Sheahan VMD, MS-TCVM


Beda is an 8-year-old female spay black Labrador retriever that presented for TCVM after failure of Western medicine to manage Horner’s syndrome, otitis externa, recurrent urinary tract infections, diabetes, and interdigital cysts.  Her medications initial on presentation included forty units twice daily of Novalin N, Enrofloxacin as needed for urinary tract infection, ophthalmic cyclosporine, Pilocarpine and Loradatine. Beda’s quality of life over the past year had become significantly decreased due to compounding illnesses and lack of response to conventional treatments. TCVM care was sought to determine if her chronic conditions could be managed versus if euthanasia should be considered.  

Western Evaluation:

Beda had drooping eyelids with right being worse than the left, miosis of both pupils, and elevated third eyelids with increased ocular discharge. Dry, crusted nose worse on the right potentially indicating neurogenic KCS and bilateral suspected otitis media. Enrofloxacin at the time of her initial consultation was started for a four-week duration due to otitis media. Interdigital cysts were present on all four feet that were being treated with Epsom salt soaks.

TCVM Evaluation:

Beda is a loyal, calm, and relaxed Earth personality. Her temperature preferences were for cold areas. On presentation, her Shen seemed reduced for her age and her tongue was pink, cracked and had a thick white coating.  Her pulses were superficial and slippery bilaterally and her haircoat had a damp texture. Painful, ulcerated, interdigital cysts were present on all four feet.

TCVM Treatment:

Beda’s initial treatment was to clear heat, damp and phlegm focusing primarily on treating Horner’s syndrome. Dry needle treatment consisted of GV20, GV14, LI4,11, GB14,1, BL1,2, Bi-tong, SP6, ST40, BL20,21, Wei-jian, LIV2,3, KID3. Improved heat and brightness of eyes over course of treatment. Started Damp Heat Skin and topical Coptis powder for the open lesions on her feet.

Beda prior to treatment:

 before treatment

Beda during first treatment:

during 1st treatment

After first treatment:

after first treatment

After Fifth Treatment:

after 5th treatment

Treatment Outcome:

Response to initial treatment was profound. Beda vomited large piles of phlegm the night and next day after her first treatment. Her eyes showed dramatic improvement in the drooping and she was less painful on her feet.

Treatments have continued with changes in needles varying depending on sensitivities. Overall her pattern has remained consistently Damp Heat. By the third treatment her miosis resolved, the fourth treatment her KCS and nasal crusting was resolved. Her glucose levels have remained in the low 300s as compared to her previous normal of 400-500. By the fifth treatment the interdigital cysts on the back feet resolved with persistence on the front feet. Herbals were changed at that time to Four Paws Damp Heat resulting in recurrence of all previous clinical signs. An addition 2 weeks of Enrofloxacin had to be reintroduced, the Four Paws Damp Heat discontinued and the Damp Heat Skin restarted. Progression toward resolution of clinical signs has been much faster with improvement in the front feet. Laser treatment and honey wraps with Coptis have been introduced.  


Beda’s quality of life has improved dramatically within the two months that she has been receiving treatment for a process that had been going for over a year prior. Beda continues to make improvements with every other week acupuncture treatments and continued used of Damp Heat Skin. The use of laser treatment on the front feet will be continued as needed to facilitate healing of the interdigital lesions. Other considerations given to potentially adding Damp Heat Ear or Four Paws Damp Heat. Additionally, as Beda continues to improve would be to treat her underlying pattern and continue to improve her diabetic control.  



Xie, Huisheng. Chinese Veterinary Herbal Handbook. Jing Tang Publishing: Reddick, FL. 2012.