Which Five Element Constitution Is Your Pet?

Which Five Element Constitution Is Your Pet?

The Chinese developed the five element theory over 3000 years ago. The theories of Yin/Yang and the five elements are two of the most important principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The theories evolved as the ancient Chinese observed the ever changing dynamics of their natural surroundings. They observed similar dynamics existed between the natural world around them and the functioning of the body. This observation evolved into the five-element theory.

The five elements are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These elements are all related through a naturally interacting cycle of nurturing and support. It is poetically stated that fire burned and created earthen ash; which gave rise to mountains containing metal; which parted making way for the water; which gave nourishment to the wood; which continuing the cycle kindled the fire.

The five-element theory relates the enhancing, restraining, and promoting interactions which naturally occur between these elements. Each element is represented by a distinctive set of characteristics such as color, emotion, direction, season, as well as body organs and tissues among many others. The properties and relationships which exist between the elements, and their corresponding organs, are utilized to explore and demonstrate medical conditions. The five element interacting relationship helps to guide the traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) practitioner in diagnosing and treating medical problems.

The five-element theory is also utilized to describe human and animal personalities or constitutional type. By identifying the most dominant element constitution of the pet, the TCVM practitioner can address possible imbalances which might occur with that constitutional type. Based on any imbalances detected in the flow of Qi, or energy, the TCVM practitioner can select the proper acupuncture points to stimulate and help restore the body’s own natural balance. These points may be stimulated with dry needle, electro-acupuncture, aqua-acupuncture, laser acupuncture, moxibustion, and other techniques.

Examples of the five element constitutions and disease predispositions are:

The Wood Constitution

  • Dominant behavior, enjoys being first
  • Quick, fast movement
  • Impatient
  • Athletic, competitive
  • Easy to anger
  • Alert, very responsive to stimuli
  • Adapts to change quickly
  • Thin body type
  • Big eyes

Disease Predispositions:

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Allergy
  • Neurosis
  • Depression
  • Eye problems

The Fire Constitution

  • High energy
  • Easily excited, extroverted
  • Enjoys physical contact
  • Tends to be center of party
  • Difficult to calm down
  • Proficient in competition
  • Likes stimulating environments
  • Strong body
  • Small head
  • Small, bright eyes

Disease Predispositions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Restlessness
  • Stroke
  • Sudden death
  • Separation anxiety

The Earth Constitution

  • Nurturing, supportive
  • Loyal
  • Easy going
  • Easily satisfied
  • Slow response to stimuli
  • Kind
  • Short sturdy body
  • Big head
  • Prominent musculature

Disease Predispositions:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Edema
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Obesity
  • Masses

The Metal Constitution

  • Aloof
  • Good vision
  • Confident
  • Leader
  • Neat
  • Good self control
  • Broad forehead
  • Broad chest
  • Good haircoat

Disease Predispositions

  • Nasal Congestion
  • Frequent colds
  • Cough
  • Skin lesions

The Water Constitution

  • Fearful
  • Cautious
  • Introverted
  • Quiet
  • Slow
  • Fear biter
  • Thin, middle size body
  • Big eyes

Disease Predispositions:

  • Back/hip pain
  • Infertility
  • Edema
  • Depression
  • Urinary infections
  • Deafness/Tinnitus

The Chinese have utilized acupuncture therapy in both animals and humans for thousands of years. They identified 173 acupoints in animals. Modern research reveals these acupoints are associated with areas of the body which contain a high density of free nerve endings, small arterioles, lymphatics, and mast cells.

The goal of acupuncture therapy is to restore the natural Qi, or energy flow, and allow for the return of balance. TCVM techniques of acupuncture, herbal therapy, food therapy, and Tui-na (a Chinese therapeutic massage-like technique) are utilized in both the prevention and treatment of animal disease. Only licensed veterinarians are eligible to practice acupuncture for animals. It is a very safe medical procedure, which can be performed on a wide variety of animal species.

Dr. Carson received her DVM from the University of Florida and recently completed the acupuncture internship program at the UF Veterinary Medical Center. She is certified in both acupuncture and tui-na TCVM techniques by the Chi Institute. She currently operates an equine acupuncture practice in Orlando, Florida and also practices small animal integrative medicine in Orlando and Lake Mary, Florida. She can be contacted at [email protected].