Moxibustion and Herbal Therapy for Damp-Cold invading the Spleen with Liver Qi Stagnation in a Harsh Winter Climate
Kerry Pride, DVM, MPH, CVA, CVMMP, DACVPM
Blue was an 8-year-old quarter horse mare that presented for traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) because of softer than normal manure with excess water at the end of defecation and an increased frequency of defecation. The mare lived in Montana where this winter had been particularly long, damp, and cold. The mare was housed with two companions and was blanketed. She had free choice grass hay and a heated water bowl. She had not had any prior medical issues except a corneal ulcer as a 4-year-old. She was also fed one pound of Triple Crown Senior once a day with a mineral and oil supplement.
Her heart and lungs ausculted within normal limits and her temperature was also normal. Her body condition was within normal limits with no muscle loss noted. She had no visible lameness. The only abnormality found was the presence of fecal material on her tail and softer than normal feces. A Succeed Fecal Occult Blood test was performed, which was negative for gastric and colonic ulcers. Probiotics were added to her diet in a pelleted form.
Blue was a Wood mare who was very opinionated about things. She was the boss of the other two herd mates and was showing some increased aggression. Her Shen was great, but she demonstrated some anger. Her pulses were deep, but also slightly wiry. Her tongue was pale to slightly purple with red sides. Her ear temperature was slightly cold, but her back temperature was normal. TCVM Diagnostic Scan showed reactivity at the following points: 1+ LIV 13, 3+ LIV14.
Exogenous Pathogenic Cold leading to Damp-Cold invading the Spleen with Liver Qi Stagnation.
The treatment focused on warming the middle burner, expelling cold, supporting Spleen Qi, and moving the Liver Qi Stagnation. Blue would not tolerate needles being placed at the first treatment, so Moxibustion was used on Bai-hui, GV4, BL 20/21, CV 5, and ST36. She was started one Equine GIa to tonify the Spleen Qi, stimulate Qi, and dry Damp. She was also started on Xiao Yao Sana to address the Liver Qi Stagnation and Liver Spleen Disharmony. She was treated twice with Moxibustion one week apart. The third visit she allowed needles to be placed. Dry needles were placed in Bai-hua, LIV3, ST 40, and GB44. Electroacupuncture was done at 30 Hz for 10 minutes at BL20 to BL20, BL21 to BL21, ST36 to ST36, and BL22 to BL22.
Within the first two Moxibustion treatments, her manure returned to normal consistency and frequency. The reactivity of the Alarm Points also resolved. The herbal therapies were continued for a total of 6 weeks with complete resolution of the clinical signs including the increased anger.
The treatment resolved the Exogenous Pathogenic Cold leading to Damp-Cold invading the Spleen with Liver Qi Stagnation. The Cold was able to invade the Spleen in this mare most likely because of the underlying Liver Qi Stagnation that was leading to overcontrolling of the Spleen. Moxibustion in this case had the dual effects of tonification and purgation. Because of the Liver Qi Stagnation the mare wouldn’t tolerate needles, so Moxibustion offered another method of treatment. Moxibustion functioned to warm the Yang, dispel Damp, and eliminate stagnation. The two herbal therapies were added to address the underlying patterns. The combination therapy resolved the clinical signs which also made the mare more amenable to needle placement on the third visit. Moxibustion should be considered as an alternative for horses rejecting needle placement if no signs of Heat are present. In addition, Moxibustion should be considered a routine therapy in the winter for horses living in cold climates.
Acupoint: GV5 Acupoint: BL 20/21
One (1) Week after First Treatment,
Before Treatment at Second Treatment
- Xie’s Jing Tang Herbal, Inc., Ocala, FL, USA
- Xie H, Wedemeyer L, Chrisman CL, Kim MS. Pratical Guide to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Equine Practice. Chi Institute Press, Reddick FL; 2015:164-166.