Though there are many potential sources of discomfort for our furry friends, one of the most common sources, especially in older pets, is osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease is characterised by stiffness and painful joints. It causes lameness, slowing down, and other mobility issues.

Another telltale sign of arthritis can be that acupressure helps your dog to get pain relief! Despite relief from acupressure, every pet suffering from acute or chronic pain needs veterinary care and a personalised pain management plan. Importantly, if you suspect back pain or a disk problem, don’t use any acupoints on the back. 

Symptoms of arthritis can be treated most effectively when the underlying pattern of disharmony has been identified. It takes a bit of practice to make a correct TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) diagnosis that includes pattern differentiation. When you’re not sure what pattern affects your dog, use our Facebook group or contact a veterinary acupuncturist near you for help

Here is a list of the different TCVM patterns causing osteoarthritis (Bi Syndrome):

  • Cold: worse in cold weather; stiffness & pain; cold legs & ears; severe stabbing pain in joints; alleviated by warmth.
  • Damp: worse in wet weather; heavy & swollen extremities; less painful.
  • Kidney Qi & Yang Deficiency: difficulty getting up; weakness in hindlegs; cold extremities; warmth-seeking.
  • Kidney Qi & Yin Deficiency: difficulties getting up; cold-seeking behaviour; warm legs; increased thirst; red & dry tongue.

The following selection of points should be combined with point prescriptions for specific joint problems.

Acupressure – Cold Pattern
  • LI 04 – between the 1st (dewclaw) & 2nd finger.
  • LIV 3 – between the 2nd & 3rd toe.
  • GV 14 – on the midline in front of the first (easily palpable) 1st thoracic vertebra.
  • Bai Hui – on the mindline over the lumbosacral space.
cold bi dog

Rear Paw
Further Recommendations – Cold Pattern
  • Avoid exposure to cold.
  • Provide comfortable bedding in a warm place.
  • Rub over the major muscle groups (gluteal, upper legs, neck & shoulder) for 2 minutes 2x daily.
  • Home & Exercise modification

Acupressure – Damp Pattern
  • SP 06 – 3 cun proximal to hock joint, on the caudal aspect of the tibia (bone).
  • ST 36 – just distal to the knee joint, on the cranial border of the leg.
  • LIV 3 – between the 2nd & 3rd toe.
  • BL 20 – 1.5 cun away from the midline, just cranial to the last rib.

Please also refer to “Cold Pattern” for localisation of LIV 03.

Acupressure Kidney Qi Deficiency
  • BL 23 – 1,5 cun away from the midline, between 2nd & 3rd lumbar vertebra.
  • ST 36 – just distal to the knee joint, on the cranial border of the leg.
  • KI 07 – just cranial to the (calcaneal) tendon, 2 cun above the hock joint.
  • GV 04 – on the dorsal midline caudal to the 2nd lumbar vertebra (palpable).

Use KI 03 for Yin Deficiency and KI 07 in Yang Deficiency

Further Recommendations – Kidney Qi Deficiency
  • Rubbing over the major muscles groups for 2 minutes.
  • Keep stiff & painful joints warm and do passive range of motion exercises.
  • consider general guidelines for arthritis.

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