Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Welcome to our first "Acu in Practice" case! 

Meet Mr. T, a 10-year old male neutered cat who presented in December 2013 for kidney disease with bloodworm and urinalysis (CRET 3.0/BUN 40/Phos 4.3/UA 1.020). He is introverted, laid back and does not prefer hot or cold. He has increased thirst and a good appetite. Mr. T has flaky skin, without lesions. When examined, he is sensitive to pressure on his low back.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis:  Kidney Qi and Yin Deficiency with mild Blood deficiency signs, mild low back pain.

Treatment plan: Acupuncture and 100% Canned food diet, monitor progress with bloodwork approximately every 6 months.

Outcome: Mr. T has been receiving acupuncture for 2 years and is still symptom-free for renal insufficiency, other than increased thirst.  His last lab report revealed CRET 3.8/BUN 50/PHOS 4.6.  He is still on his 100% canned diet with no evidence of nausea or muscle wasting.
Other treatments have been discussed and are available, but Mr. T has emphatically declined all other supplement and herbal options. However, he truly enjoys his monthly acu tune-up!*

Acupuncture, herbs, supplements and nutritional therapy combined with traditional veterinary treatments can greatly improve the health and happiness of your pets.  

Please contact us if you would like to learn more a schedule an appointment: 503.285.2337 +

*This information is not intended to replace medical advice.  This case is presented in an abbreviated format by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, IVAS certified veterinary acupuncturist.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nell Ostermeier, DVM 

IVAS certified veterinary acupuncturist


Lombard Animal Hospital   Portland, OR, USA

Dr. Nell is originally from a small farm in central Illinois where she developed her affinity for helping animals at a very young age. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 with a focus on small animal and exotic animal medicine. In 2007, she moved to Portland with her husband Dr. Preston and their faithful companions – 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 birds, a rabbit and a tortoise. Nell and Preston came to the Great Northwest in search of a veterinary practice to call their own and a chance to pursue the many outdoor activities that they enjoy. The pets agreed to come along for the ride!
Dr. Nell is a foodie and also believes in good, high quality nutrition for her patients. It was nutrition and whole food supplementation that actually led Dr. Nell to explore more advanced alternative medicine therapies such as acupuncture and herbal formulas for her patients. In 2010, Dr. Nell completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) Course including 150 hours of classroom work and 60 hours of internship, followed by a written and practical certification exam. Since that time, she has expanded on her education through attending international conferences and by becoming an educator for IVAS. She has been a teaching associate from 2013 – 2015 and will continue her involvement as an educator as well as an active member of this dynamic international organization. Dr. Nell leads the Integrative Medicine Program at Lombard Animal Hospital, offering a variety of traditional and natural veterinary modalities. She combines her original education in Western Medicine with her passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture to achieve the best results for her patients. She is happy to work with almost any companion pet including dogs, cats, rabbits, small mammals, reptiles, birds and the occasional barnyard species.
Outside of the hospital, Dr. Nell enjoys outdoor activities based on the seasons and loves to sit in a cafĂ© with a delicious cappuccino on rainy days – or really any day. She works hard to practice what she preaches by staying fit, eating healthy, and paying attention to her health and life balance. She has a terrible case of the travel bug and is always looking forward to her next adventure with Dr. Preston.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Molly's Adventures at LAH!

Molly is a 8 year old female pug who began acupuncture and laser treatments with Dr. Nell in February 2014 as treatment for the loss of hind limb function and incontinence that resulted from a spinal injury. Traditional medical treatments did not help Molly's condition.  After following a regular schedule of laser and acupuncture therapy for over a year our friend Molly now has strong control over her hind limbs and has even jumped into her mom's lap! Along the way her therapies have also helped to greatly decrease her digestive upset and ear infections and improve her overall quality of life. 

At Lombard Animal Hospital, in Portland, Oregon we strive to increase the quality of life for pets and their people through education, nutrition and wellness!
Give us a call -- We'd love to see you and your pets!

503.285.2337 | |

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mr. Fluffy's Story: Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs are used to treat Seizures and Back Pain in a Rabbit

A happy, healthy Mr. Fluffy
 Mr. Fluffy, about 4 years old, male Angora rabbit.

He had been experiencing seizures for more than 3 years when he first started seeing Dr. Nell. They were occurring 4-5 times per year and were mainly triggered by stress, especially when the owner tried to groom or trim his haircoat. Before the seizures occurred, he would begin twitching and scratching himself. The intensity would build until he had a full grand mal seizure. The patient was being treated with Metacam (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication used commonly for musculoskeletal pain and discomfort) and his owner felt that there was a positive response because he seemed to feel better.  

Conventional/Western: Mr. Fluffy was bright and alert on physical exam. He was reactive to palpation (applied pressure) of the area around L2/L3 vertebrae. He had some urine scald on his back feet because he was reluctant to move and would sit in the same place after urinating.  Mentation and reflexes were normal. He was eating a well-rounded diet and stools were normal. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)/Eastern: Mr. Fluffy has been recently adopted by his current owner. The patient did not like to be around other rabbits. He was territorial and marked his surroundings frequently. He is dominant with other rabbits. He is relaxed and easy going when he is only with his owner. However, he becomes stressed and seizures when she attempts to groom him. His conjunctiva are more red than expected. He is sensitive to palpation of the acupuncture point BL 23 on both sides. 
His tongue is pale pink and his pulses are deep, weak and thin. If the owner brings him water he will drink a lot. Appetite and stools are normal. Energy level seems low, but his owner reports that he is a low energy bunny and this may be normal for him. 

Conventional/Western: Low-back pain, possible arthritisand/or IVDD (intervertebral disc disease), Secondary urine scald (sores on feet), Seizures

Mr. Fluffy waits patiently while his needles work!
TCM/Eastern: Kidney Yin Deficiency and Liver Yin Deficiency leading to Liver Yang Rising.
Stagnation in the Bladder Channel, possible Phlegm or Bony Bi Syndrome.
Explanation of TCM diagnosis: 
Rabbits are inherently Yin animals and they are predisposed to Yin disturbances or deficiencies. Low back pain and increased thirst are signs of Kidney deficiency. When the Kidney Yin is deficient, it fails to nourish the Liver and the Liver may become deficient and angry. Then, the Liver Yang begins to rise, stirring an Internal Wind along the way, which rises to the head and results in a seizure episode.  
When the Liver is deficient, it is not able to move the Blood and Qi smoothly through the body resulting in Qi stagnation. Qi stagnation in the body may manifest as low energy and in the channels or muscles, as discomfort or pain. When Qi stagnates for too long in the channels, arthritis will eventually develop. This type of arthritis, with bony changes, is termed Bony Bi Syndrome.

Mr. Fluffy's Laser Treatment
Acupuncture points were needled to enhance the smooth flow of energy and blood through the body, to calm the spirit, and to thereby decrease the chance of seizure episodes. Points were also chosen to relieve stagnation or pain in the area of the low back.  Acupuncture was performed every 2 weeks for 3 treatments, then every 3 weeks for 3 treatments. The patient’s symptoms are currently maintained with acupuncture every 3 months or once per season. 

A Chinese Herbal formula, Calm Repose by Kan Herb, was prescribed based on the same treatment principles used during acupuncture. ***It is important to note that not all seizures are caused by the same problem or pattern. Thus, the herbal formula that was used for Mr. Fluffy’s seizures may not be the best formula for other pets experiencing similar signs.  Please seek veterinary advice if your pet is suffering from seizures or experiencing discomfort. 

Therapeutic laser was utilized on the areas of urine scald to speed healing.  The laser was also used on the lumbar spine to relieve pain and inflammation. 

Mr. Fluffy has been seizure-free since beginning acupuncture and the herbal formula! He is currently symptom free with a fantastic quality of life and receives acupuncture every 3 months and stays on his herbal formula in order to maintain his wellbeing, to prevent recurrence of the seizures, and to delay the onset of arthritis.  

I would like to thank Mr. Fluffy and his dedicated owner for their participation and for allowing me to use and build upon my knowledge of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 

***Click here to have a special look at Mr. Fluffy's owner's perspective, featured in The Rabbit Advocate Spring Newsletter***

At Lombard Animal Hospital, in Portland, Oregon we strive to increase the quality of life for pets and their people through education, nutrition and wellness!
Give us a call -- We'd love to see you and your pets!

503.285.2337 | |

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Toxins in your Garden

Spring has come early, and many of you have already been tending to your gardens. Please pay very close attention to what you are planting and how much access your pets have to your garden. Only a small percentage of plants are toxic to your pets, but you'd be surprised at how often you'll find them in your garden, or in your home.

CAUTION: many store-bought bouquets include lilies or tulips
Lilies: true lilies (Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies) are all highly toxic to cats, and should never be in a place your cat could have access to it. Other lilies are less toxic, but could still cause gastrointestinal upset for your furry friend. Seek emergency care for any amount of ingestion of this plant.

Sago Palm: usually in warmer climates, can be seen indoors or outdoors. This plant is extremely toxic to pets, and if ingestion is left untreated could result in death.  Seek emergency care for any amount of ingestion of this plant.

Many pets (especially cats) enjoy nibbling on nearby foliage
Tulip/Hyacinth: The bulb is the most toxic portion, so keep an eye out if your dog likes to dig in the garden. Though, ingestion of any part of these plants can be toxic to your pet. Seek emergency care or any amount of ingestion of this plant.

These are the most common and most toxic plants. Please check out to learn more about toxic plants that could be in your garden, or your home.

At Lombard Animal Hospital, in Portland, Oregon we strive to increase the quality of life for pets and their people through education, nutrition and wellness!
Give us a call -- We'd love to see you and your pets!

503.285.2337 | |

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Importance of Dental Radiographs: Behr's Story

Name: Behr
Breed: Mini Schnauzer
Age: 5 years, 8 months
At his first visit with us, it was noted in Behr's chart that he had severe periodontal disease and heavy tartar on his teeth. It was also noted that the doctor was unable to complete the full oral exam due to Behr being wiggly. 
A few weeks later, Behr came in for a dental procedure under general anesthesia. As you can see from this photo on the right, after the teeth were cleaned using dental tools, they look pretty clean. It almost looks like we're ready to polish the teeth and wake Behr! However, this was not the case.

We recommend full-mouth radiographs (x-rays) with every dental procedure at LAH. This allows us a complete view of the inside of your pet's mouth and shows any bone-loss or periodontal disease that is not evident by sight alone. Once the doctor had reviewed Behr's dental radiographs, it was apparent that there was a lot of bone loss and disease in Behr's mouth. In the end 28 teeth were extracted. 

Just like every pet, each dental procedure is unique. Dental radiographs help us find the root of your pet's dental problems, be it bone-loss or infection.

At Lombard Animal Hospital, in Portland, Oregon we strive to increase the quality of life for pets and their people through 
education, nutrition and wellness!
Give us a call -- We'd love to see you and your pets!
503.285.2337 | |

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Importance of Preventive Dental Care

PerioPowder: sprinkle onto pet's food;
assists with polishing teeth
For humans, preventive dental care is relatively easy - you brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis and see your dentist one-two times per year for a cleaning (or prophylaxis) and x-rays.  For our furry friends (dogs, cats and rabbits) preventive dental care is quite a challenge as they do not have the ability to brush and floss themselves, let alone get to the vet on their own for a cleaning. Along with recommending you brush your pet's teeth regularly (see our Dental Recommendations handout), LAH utilizes these supplements from Vetri-Science to assist in preventive dental care. 
PerioPlus Chews: chicken-liver flavored;
crunchy on the outside to polish teeth,
chewy inside neutralizes odors.
PerioPlus Dental Chews and Perio Support Powder are natural supplements designed to support your pet's periodontal health which leads to improved overall health. Both supplements contain: zeolites- unique minerals that prevent plaque from forming and sticking to teeth; antioxidants to support gum tissue and reduce undesirable bacteria; taurine and zinc, which also support gum tissue; friendly bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus and enterococcus faecium, which assist in restoring bacterial balance inside the mouth.

February is National Dental Month. Call 503-285-2337 or email to schedule an exam and receive 10% off your pet's dental procedure in February!

Behr's teeth look seemingly healthy to the naked eye
 but x-rays show marked bone-loss and decay which can cause pain infection.

At Lombard Animal Hospital, in Portland, Oregon we strive to increase the quality of life for pets and their people through education, nutrition and wellness!
Give us a call -- We'd love to see you and your pets!
503.285.2337 | |