Archived from 5elements4animals.com
originally posted on May 30, 2010
The first step in understanding Chinese medicine is to understand the theory of the Tao and the principle of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang is the interrelationship between 2 polar energies. The dark vs. light, inside vs. outside, man vs. woman. Neither can exists without the other and must be in balance to exist in harmony. The Yang Ming, is the brightest Yang (the white kitty) and the Great Yin is the black kitty. To be in harmony, there must be a little yin in the yang and a little yang in the yin (the paws and tail).
To apply this theory to health....
The Yin is your air-conditioner...it is cool and moist, while your Yang is the furnace. A Yin deficiency will show as false heat, or inability to cool down or deal with a hot environment or dryness which may show as cracked paws and dandruff. A Yin excess may have symptoms of extreme cold, slow pulse, depressed attitude and edema (too much fluid). A Yang excess will have symptoms of too much heat, red eyes, high metabolism, anxious, rapid heart rate, fever. While a Yang deficiency will show signs of extreme weakness and cold. Poor circulation, slow heart rate, the common symptoms of old age. Classifying the Yin/Yang imbalance helps us find the root of the problem.
Chinese medicine treatment involves treating not only the symptoms of heat/cold (yang/yin) imbalance but also the root of the problem causing the imbalance with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, tui na, diet and/or environment change.
Arthritis is treated differently if it is associated with a yin or yang deficiency or excess.
An old male dog with arthritis that is weak and warm seeking has a yang deficiency. His treatment would involve pain management and joint therapy with acupuncture, herbal and food therapy to support his yang (warm him). It may also include moxa treatments, back on track blankets and a heating pad on his bed in the winter. Treating the root of the problem with TCVM and a few environmental changes can provide a better quality of life than symptom management of alone.
An old female dog with arthritis that pants all the time, is cool seeking, restless at night, has stinky urine and has frequent bladder infections, may have hot, red, flaky skin has yin deficiency arthritis. Her treatment would also involve pain management but would include treatments to nourish the yin to help treat the root of the problem and hopefully soothe the heat signs.
Western medicine treatment for both these dogs would involve NSAID, steroids and joint therapy such as oral or injectable glucosamine and Hyaluronic Acid.
In my practice, I would treat the dogs yin def. or yang def with different TCVM treatments and would add joint therapy of injectable Gluc. and HA plus vitamin C and vitamin B but try to avoid NSAID and steroid use or be able to keep them comfortable on a smaller dose because of the side effects such as ulcers, liver damage, immune system damage, ect.
Food therapy can also be a powerful treatment for these dogs. Most commercial dog foods contain corn or chicken as the main ingredient. Switching to a home cooked diet or adding fresh foods to supplement the diet can make a big difference. The addition of omega fatty acids such as fish oil or ground flax seed also has natural anti-inflammatory properties.