Our Florida spring is almost here and beautiful flowers and trees and grasses are synonymous with renewal, lush green growth, rebirth, and pollen. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine (TCVM), Spring is the season of the
Wood Element, which is associated with growth, the color green, the sour taste, the emotion anger, and susceptibility to the External Pathogen Wind. The Liver and its husband, the Gallbladder, are the Zang-
fu organs of the Wood Element. The Spring is definitively when the Liver Meridian is most influenced and so it is vulnerable to imbalances of energy.
Some of the traits of the Wood constitutions include leadership ( like to be in charge), fearlessness,
and dominance. Woods are competitive when they are balanced but very grouchy, aggressive, and destructive if unbalanced. Some notable breeds that have many Wood constitutions include Chihuahuas, Dobermans, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers.
The Liver can also be stressed by drugs like NSAIDS and antibiotics because it is responsible for metabolizing many medications and filtering toxins and bacteria. Liver functions include storing Blood and nourishing
tendons, ligaments, toenails, paw pads, and hooves.
The Liver ensures the smooth flow of Qi and is associated with the eye. When the energy of the Liver Meridian is blocked it is called Liver Qi stagnation. This condition creates internal heat that can manifest in abnormally reactive behavior and/or red eyes or issues with inflammation of the eyes.
Liver Qi Stagnation can also cause digestive problems with Inflammatory bowel disease or chronic otitis externa, foul skin infections, and pododermatitis. If Liver nourishment is not proper, then the tendons, ligaments, nails, and hoofs are brittle and weak.
When the Liver is unbalanced, External Wind can invade and lead to pruritic skin conditions. If the Wind penetrates and becomes internal it can manifest as seizures and tremors.
The treatment of an unstable Wood element is to soothe the Liver energy using acupuncture and herbal formulas. In our practice, we use the Balance method of acupuncture to balance the liver meridian energy which includes using distal points. The most common herbals prescribed in the spring are Liver happy followed by External wind. We see an increase in ligament tears and prescribe other herbal formulas as well. The foods that help nourish the liver include carrots, green apples, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, green algae, celery, aloe, spinach, tomatoes, and egg whites.
We also see an increase in seizure activity due to the internal Wind and the Liver energy imbalance. Using the appropriate herbal and acupuncture we have been able to help many pets control their seizure activity.
If your pet is usually a bossy, dominant one then they are at risk to develop the above issues in the spring season, contact an integrative practitioner to help you find the root cause and soothe that Liver energy. The integrative approach can definitively make springtime a lot more enjoyable for your Woody pets.