Select Page

Written by a Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians course graduate.  Author’s name available upon request.  Signed release obtained by client/author/4975.

Abstract:

Camper was presented for chronic constipation, passing hard and large feces with straining. He had tried multiple types of food that were recommended for constipation with no benefit. He had been on a wet food based diet mixed with water and Miralax which had maintained him being able to pass feces, however his fecal production was far from normal. Dry needle acupuncture was performed to stimulate the parasympathetic system and target nerves that stimulate peristalsis. Following acupuncture therapy, abdominal and lumbar epaxial muscle massage was provided. The owner was encouraged to provide abdominal massage at home as well, which was performed daily with enjoyment by the patient. After two sessions, one week apart, Camper was passing nearly normal size feces without straining. Overall, his owner reported an improvement and she will continue to bring Camper in for acupuncture treatments.

History:

Camper is an approximately 10 year old neutered male DSH feline. He was found as a stray in camping grounds in the summer of 2008. He was underweight but otherwise seemingly healthy. In August of 2014, he was seen on emergency for a urinary blockage and at that time was also noted to be constipated. Since that visit, he has been seen 3 times for enemas and once for manual de-obstipation. He has not had urinary issues since being blocked. At-home treatment for constipation includes a primarily wet food diet mixed with water and Miralax. He is doing well overall but still struggles to defecate and produces very large feces.

Physical Exams and Treatments:

Acupuncture treatments for this patient focused on stimulating the parasympathetic system and neuro-modulation specifically targeting the large intestine. Additional points were used for calming

1/26/17 Acupuncture Treatment #1:

  • Heart rate was 180bpm. Respiratory rate was 28rpm. Myofacial palpation revealed a small tension band in lateral left neck with no other noted tension bands. Abdominal palpation revealed a colon full of large, firm feces. No pain or discomfort was noted on palpation. No other notable abnormalities were found on abdominal palpation. Camper’s owner reported that he passed small amount of hard feces with some effort prior to his appointment.
  • Dry needle acupuncture treatment #1:
    • Acupuncture treatment focused on stimulating parasympathetic system and neuro-modulation specifically targeting the large intestine. Points used for calming
    • Size 0.16 seirin needles: GV 20, tension band in lateral left neck ST 36 bilateral
    • Size 0.18 seirin needles: Bai Hui and BL 20, 21, 25 bilateral. Needles were rotated after 10 minutes for extra stimulation.
  • Following acupuncture treatment, gentle massage was implemented using long strokes along the epaxial muscles in the lumbar region and massage of the abdomen to stimulate peristalsis and decrease colonic transit time.
  • I discussed with Camper’s owner that she can also provide gentle massage at home to encourage GI movement.

2/1/17 Acupuncture Treatment #2

  • Patient update: Camper’s feces are less bulky since last week. His owner has not seen him in the litterbox and therefore cannot report on effort to defecate.
  • Heart rate was 160bpm and respiratory rate was 24rpm. Today’s myofascial exam did not reveal any notable tension bands. On abdominal palpation, the colon was full of formed feces. The abdomen was comfortable on palpation with no noted organomegaly or masses.
  • Dry needle acupuncture treatment #2:
    • Size 0.16 seirin needles: GV 20, ST 36 bilateral
    • Size 0.18 seirin needles: Bai Hui and BL 20, 21, 23, 25 bilateral. Needles were rotated after 10 minutes for extra stimulation.
  • Following acupuncture treatment, gentle massage was implemented using long strokes along the epaxial muscles in the lumbar region and massage of the abdomen.

2/8/17 Acupuncture Treatment #3

  • Patient update: Camper was sore the day following his last acupuncture treatment but has been normal otherwise. His owner noted softer, more normal feces with no straining to defecate. Overall improvement.
  • Heart rate was 140bpm and respiratory rate was 24rpm. Myofascial exam did not reveal any abnormalities. On abdominal palpation, colon was full of formed feces; arguable less distended than previous visits and feces were more segmented than on previous exams. The abdomen was comfortable on palpation with no noted organomegaly or masses.
  • Dry needle acupuncture treatment #3
    • Size 0.16 seirin needles: GV 20, ST 36 bilateral
    • Size 0.18 seirin needles: Bai Hui and BL 21, 23, 25 bilateral. Needles were rotated after 10 minutes for extra stimulation.
  • Following acupuncture treatment, gentle massage was implemented using long strokes along the epaxial muscles in the lumbar region and massage of the abdomen.

Outcome and Discussion:

One week following the first acupuncture treatment, Camper’s owner noted the size of feces had decreased and Camper was not straining as much to defecate. After the second treatment, Camper was noted to produce softer, more normal feces without straining. He enjoys abdominal massage at home daily with his owner. His owner is planning to continue dry needle acupuncture treatments weekly. Eventually we will attempt to do treatments every two weeks and see how the patient responds.

References:

  • Kenefick NJ. Sacral nerve neuromodulation for the treatment of lower bowel motility disorders. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2006;88(7):617-623.
  • Robinson N. CuraCore Lectures.
  • Schoen A. Veterinary Acupuncture Ancient Art to Modern Medicine 2nd 2001. Pages 254-255
  • Sinclair M. The use of abdominal massage to treat chronic constipation. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. 2011;15:436-445