Acupuncture and Bloat - By C.A.
Krowzack, DVM This article is reprinted here with the
kind permission of the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound Association and
Dr. Chris Krowzack.
In February of 1998, the Great Lakes Irish Wolfhound
Association (GLIWA) held their annual meeting. The meeting is an occasion
for fellowship of the members; the club attends to business and also
hosts a speaker on a special topic. In the past it has been obedience,
therapy dog training, and this year the topic was acupuncture. Dr.
Debbie Mitchell gave an overview of what acupuncture is, its history
and its medical uses. Then, using a member's dog showed the participants
several acupuncture/acupressure points that they could utilize. One
point was to stimulate gastrointestinal motility to combat bloat.
This week at my clinic, a GLIWA member brought her wolfhound in for
an examination. During the night Quinn had begun experiencing discomfort.
He sleeps in the bedroom with his owners. The husband had worked a
long day and was asleep, but the wife was awakened by the restless
behavior of Quinn. When she petted him she found his abdomen severely
enlarged and hard to the touch. She knew it was bloat, but didn't
know what to do. She is a small woman, and Quinn a large dog. She
remembered the acupressure point Dr. Mitchell had shown and began
massaging it. Within a few minutes, Quinn began passing "a lot
of gas" and his abdomen became smaller and softer. The husband
and wife brought Quinn in the next morning to make sure he was all
right, and because he had diarrhea.
On examination, Quinn was completely normal. He was not experiencing
discomfort upon palpation, and no abnormalities beside the diarrhea
could be found. Because she remembered the acupressure point, the
wife had saved Quinn's life. The acupressure point is on the hind
leg. If you start at the hock, on the front of the leg (anterior)
you can feel the tibia. Move your hand up the leg along the tibia's
sharp crest; what in humans would be called the shin. As your hand
approaches the stifle, or the "knee" the crest becomes very
pronounced and then curls around to the outside (laterally). Just
inside this curve is a depression. The acupressure point is in this
depression. An acupuncturist might insert a needle into this spot,
or inject a liquid, but, as Quinn's owners will attest, massaging
also stimulates the point. The gastrointestinal tract starts to
contract and move (peristalsis) and expels the built up gas before
torsion can occur. If torsion has occurred, massaging the spot will
not help.I don't recommend this procedure instead of veterinary treatment,
but begun early, or on the way for veterinary treatment, can save
your hound's life!
A further note, Dr Krowzack has studied acupuncture at Colorado State
University Veterinary College this past year and is now a board certified