acupressure for pancreatitis in dogs

Acupressure & Pancreatitis: Meet Ben

By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis, Tallgrass Founders

This is the true story of Ben. Ben is a 13-year old Golden Retriever with a lovely large frame and a fading red coat. His guardians were told by their veterinarian that his pancreas had failed and it was best to put him down. Ben’s guardians decided to take him home.

Let’s back up on Ben’s story. His guardians were feeding him a relatively high-quality, dry, manufactured food. After a week on a new bag, Ben vomited yellow sudsy bile. They fed him par-boiled meat and rice for a few days and his stomach went back to normal. His guardians assumed it was a temporary upset and they fed Ben the same dry, manufactured food. And again, Ben vomited yellow sudsy bile. For some reason, this rotation of par-boiled meat and rice with the manufactured food went on a few more times. Ben was sick each time they gave him the dry food. Believe it or not, this is really true; they kept feeding him the manufactured food!

Finally, Ben was very sick. He was completely lethargic and could not eat or defecate. His guardians rushed him to the veterinarian who thought it was time to put him down. Ben’s pancreatic function was zero. His guardians brought him home with the hope that natural therapies could bring him around. They live in Colorado very close to the Tallgrass offices and called us. I agreed to go over and see what I could do.

Before going to see Ben, Nancy gave me suggested acupoints for pancreatitis. When I got there, Ben was lying flat and not moving a muscle. He didn’t even pick up his head when I entered the living room. When I “Opened” Ben along the Bladder meridian my thumb dropped into deep, cold indents on both sides at the Stomach/Spleen Association points (Bladder 20 & 21). “OH MY!” was my only thought.

Because Ben’s energy level was so low, I decided to only show the guardians a few acupoints for this first session, and at that point, I wasn’t at all sure there would be a second session. The acupoints suggested for pancreatitis were in all: Stomach 36, Conception Vessel 12, Pericardium 6, Spleen 3, Liver 2, and Stomach 39. Rather than overwhelm Ben’s system, I decided to select acupoints Ben’s guardians could find easily. The points I selected were: Stomach 36, Conception Vessel 12, Bladder 20 & 21.

canine pancreatitis and acupressure

The next day Ben was up, walking, and eating small meals of meat and rice. By the second day, Ben had a bit of a bounce in his step, was interested in eating, and was defecating. Ben was back! “WHEW!” is all I could say.

I was so thankful to be going back for a second session. When I arrived, Ben came bouncing out the front door to greet me and Tilley. What a different dog. I added 2 more immune system strengthening acupoints to Ben’s acupressure session regime and strongly suggested they only feed Ben home cooked meals and consult with a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner specifically trained in food therapy.