Comprehensive  Ways To Delightful Healthy Pets
There is a wealth of healing treasures, from allopathy to homeopathy.
BECAUSE OF THE MANY MODALITIES I routinely employ, I can treat an animal effectively even if I don’t have a diagnosis. The final arbiter of health and disease is not whether a group of symptoms has a name. From the standpoint of proper treatment, uncovering the onset of the disease is as important as making a diagnosis. Tracing the cascade of contributing factors and events can determine an effective plan of action.
Every animal preserves homeostasis, which is the maintenance of a dynamic, physiological equilibrium. Signs of disease are actually feedback provided by the healthy part of an organism in response to detrimental factors. When these factors reach a critical mass, the animal will exhibit signs of disease. The severity of signs will determine which changes must be made.
Does pain medication only suppress symptoms? No, is my answer. While painful areas in a pet alert us to an unhealthy condition, pain must be managed or it can further debilitate the animal. My goal is to relieve severe pain before an animal leaves my clinic. Pain meds are the first step on the road to healing. Extreme or chronic pain is debilitating and requires energy that would be better used for healing. Only when inflammation, nerve pain, and severe or chronic pain is addressed can the immune system instigate the body’s own healing mechanism.
Medications must be reevaluated as the animal gets better.
It makes sense to adjust the dosages of a medication as the animal comes into balance and begins healing. Be sure to ask your vet how long you should continue giving a medication before deciding if it is working or not. For instance, if a cat with an upper respiratory infection is not feeling better after weeks on a medication, the medication should be reevaluated. Or if your poodle is no longer itching, discuss weaning off steroids with your vet.
Starting new medications? Pay attention to your pet’s reactions.
Don’t go out of town, if possible, when your pet starts new medication or food. If you must leave your pet, please give detailed instructions to the pet sitter about possible side effects or negative reactions.
Finally, cortisone (steroids) as well as herbal combinations have a place on the healing curve. Sometimes serious medication is needed to alleviate inflammation or limit tissue damage.
HERBAL OPTIONS AND SUGGESTED USES
cooling for skin and GI
vitamin for skin function
soothing skin support
Apple cider vinegar
blood mover/decreases bruising
calms the mind
calms the mind
improves overall cardiac function
colon motility stimulant
GI motility stimulant
minerals and laxative
fiber and soothing
blood glucose regulation
blood glucose regulation
blood glucose regulation
tones GI lining
bladder stone dissolution
antispasmodic for bladder
improves fluid balance
normalizes liver function
ocular vascular support
GENERAL DOSING FOR HERBAL PREPARATIONS
UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF a vet, begin giving an herbal dose at or below the minimum dose. Try it for a few days, then increase to a midrange dose.
CANINE 1–15 LBS
1/8 –1/4 tsp
15 –30 LBS
1/4– 3/4 tsp
30 – 60 LBS
60LBS – GIANT
4 drops–1/2 ml
1/8 –1/4 tsp
You can also dose tinctures 1 drop per pound of body weight per day. The daily dose can be divided.
MARBLE THE RABBIT
I had never before been asked to treat a pasteurella sinus infection in a rabbit without antibiotics, but when I was, the request made sense. Pasteurella infections in rabbits are all too common and can be life-threatening, causing abscesses anywhere, including the brain. Pasteurella is managed, but usually not cured, by repeated courses of antibiotic treatment. The owners of Marble the rabbit were concerned about the effect of antibiotics on his delicate digestive system. Antibiotics can upset the stomach and the intestinal flora and pose serious health risks. Colic and GI upset in rabbits (as well as in horses) can quickly become life-threatening.
Marble’s owners were hoping for another way to treat his infection and upper respiratory signs. We devised a plan that would boost his immune system. I did insist that they take home a “just in case” course of antibiotics—which they still have, unused—but this integrative plan worked well.
Once a week this soft, sweet rabbit allowed me to place tiny needles around his face, ears, and body to stimulate circulation in the sinuses and to support his immune system. I also gave him periodic injections of vitamin B12. His herbs included echinacea, goldenseal, nettles, red clover, elecampane, oregano, and Oregon grape. Being a rabbit, Marble ate them with gusto. We also gave him vitamin C, cranberry, a good probiotic (Bene-Bac), and a homeopathic remedy for cough and upper respiratory signs (spongia tosta).
Armed with a healthy diet of fresh greens, timothy hay, vegetables, and our supplements, we gave his body the chance to fight back.
Over a year later, Marble hadn’t relapsed into any significant pasteurella episode. And he’d never had an upset stomach.
I often recommend these combination products:
Serenity (Gaia) is a calming herb mix for anxious dogs or cats.
Dog Gone Pain (DGP) (Harmony Company) is an herbal anti-inflammatory combo for dogs.
Cholodin (MVP Laboratories) enhances cognitive function in dogs and cats. It combines choline, lecithin, vitamins, minerals, and brain function enhancers. This is especially indicated for animals that walk into a room and seem to have forgotten why they are there.
Si Miao San (Natural Path) is a versatile Chinese combination for inflammation, arthritis, and allergies.
Hoxsey (Natural Path) is an elegant combination of anticancer/anti-inflammatory herbs.
Traumeel (Boiron) is a homeopathic combo for trauma, inflammation, and pain.
Cascara Combo (Natural Path) is a tincture combining herbs for constipation and poor GI motility in the colon.
Discus Compositum (Boiron) is a homeopathic remedy for disc disease.
D-Mannose is used to decrease incidence of chronic urinary tract infections.
Minor bupleurum is a Chinese herbal combo used often for hind end weakness.
Probiotics—Bacillus coagulans modulates GI microflora as well as GI immune responses.
Honey is used topically for wounds and orally for allergies.
Adequan, an injectable nutraceutical glycosaminoglycan, is used for arthritis or joint injury. It is a precursor for healthy joint fluid. Injected subcutaneously rather than in the muscle.
Home-Care Remedies and Tips (Yes, you can try these at home.)
Skunk odor remover recipe: 1–2 tbsp of dish detergent (I use Dawn), 1/4 cup baking soda, 4 cups of hydrogen peroxide. Don’t close mixture in a bottle—it will explode!
Administer topical flea medication if needed, spreading it sideways, high up on the neck, from left to right, rather than trying to part the hair down the middle.
Peanut butter or olive oil to dissolve sap/gum.
Place steeped, but cooled tea bags on hot wounds/lick granuloma/swelling/irritated eyelids.
Daily coconut oil can help with gastric reflux—1 tsp per meal for a 50-pound dog.
Use Murphy’s Oil Soap (yes, the same soap used for wood floors!) as a shampoo, to soothe itchy, scaly skin. It’s a gentle vegetable-based soap, and it has the proper pH.
Apply silver sulfadiazine, an ointment used to treat second-and third-degree burns, topically on hot spots/wounds.
Nail bleeding after a trim or being broken? Don’t have quick-stop powder? Apply cornstarch, soap shavings, tea bag, cotton gauze, and apply pressure while you elevate the limb. Do not use water or rub.
My good friend and colleague Dr. Richard Palmquist, a well-known integrative veterinarian in Los Angeles, is an expert practitioner of, among many other things, homeopathy. The basic principle of homeopathy is the idea that “like cures like.” This area of medicine uses small amounts of agents whose toxic symptoms match the symptoms and signs that are exhibited by the patient to cure them. Below is a homeopathic first-aid kit Dr. Palmquist recommends pet owners keep on hand.
A HOMEOPATHIC FIRST AID KIT FOR PETS
Insect sting: red, hot, and swollen
Insect sting: painful, swollen, and bruised
Insect sting: inflamed and blistered
Foxtails and other foreign bodies
Silicea, Myristica sebifera
Hot spots: sudden red and hot
Hot spots: yellow, oozing discharges
Hot spots: red with swelling, hive-like
Vomiting: small amounts of stool, angry
Cough: after wet weather
Early stages of illness with fever and fear
Traumeel, Aconitum napellus
Bleeding/bruising and resulting shock
Homeopathics I Use in My Practice
Ruta graveolens—for tendon circulation
Rhus toxicodendron—rusty gate syndrome, stiff when first moving
Spongia tosta—for dry cough
Aconitum napellus—for colds or flu
Asclepias tuberosa—for cough
Symphytum/comfrey—to “knit bone” for fractures
Arnica—for bruising, strokes, and blood congestion; it moves blood
Dosing for homeopathic pellets usually works out to be about one pellet per 10 pounds, up to three times a day.
IS THERE EVIDENCE FOR HOMEOPATHY?
POSITIVE RESEARCH EXISTS FOR homeopathy in both animals and people. A recent German trial showed that the homotoxicology agent Zeel worked as well as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication carprofen for arthritis of the knee. Both treatment regimens were well tolerated, with the three treatment-related adverse events all in the carprofen group.
A very important aspect of my work is encouraging veterinary research and scholarship in integrative medicine. Not surprisingly, big pharmaceutical companies do not support alternative research. As a board member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Foundation, I am proud to say that research and scholarships in integrative medicine are now being funded on a larger scale than ever before. Donations to this nonprofit organization have been used to support much-needed integrative medical research and veterinary student scholarships. A portion of my book sales will be donated to this organization. (To donate, visit the website: www.foundation.ahvma.org.)