Welcome to the first in a series of articles that we plan to publish throughout the year to explore the nature of the different seasons from a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) point of view. We hope that with a better understanding of how the different times of year affect our animal’s health we can provide special considerations for their specific needs.

The season of Spring is a time of growth and renewal after a Winter of rest and retreat. In the Five Phase Theory of Chinese Medicine, Spring is represented by Wood and the associated organs of the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver’s main responsibility is to ensure the smooth flow of energy in the body. When there is disharmony in the liver we can see problems such as erratic movements like tremors or seizures, stiffness of muscles and tendons, or a slowing or stagnation of movement of Qi or Blood in the body leading to skin or digestive problems.

When the complementary forces that regulate the body are in harmony, Yin and Yang are in balance. If there is an underlying imbalance of Yin and Yang, that individual is more susceptible to the natural phenomena that are likely to occur during a given time of year. In Spring, that natural phenomenon is Wind. Wind is characterized by its sudden appearance and disappearance, moving from one part of the body to another quickly, itchiness, and atypical movements like the shaking of the leaves and branches of a tree in the wind.

Symptoms we see in our patients with Wind or Liver disharmonies include:

  • seizures
  • vestibular or balance problems
  • itchy skin and ear infections
  • behavioral problems
  • digestive upset
  • joint stiffness and pain

Treatment strategies that may help prevent or treat some of these conditions include:

  • Chinese Herbal therapy, Acupuncture, and conventional medications as needed for seizure disorders
  • Support for the joints with nutritional supplements, Chinese Herbs, Acupuncture and Chiropractic
  • Treating allergic skin disease with Chinese Herbs, Liver detoxification, and nutritional strategies
  • If related to an underlying Liver imbalance, using a harmonizing Chinese Herbal formula for recurring digestive upset
  • If related to an underlying Liver imbalance, using Chinese Herbs for mild to moderate anxiety and irritability

These symptoms and patterns can occur year round, of course. Remembering that there are natural cycles to our animal’s symptom patterns can help us develop strategies not only for the current season but also for planning ahead for anticipated symptoms for the next year. Please feel free to schedule an exam and consultation to keep your pet healthy throughout this Spring season.