A Case for Choosing Integrative Veterinary Medicine
Alternative Complementary Healing Approach
Instead of Rimadyl
By Helen McKinnon
"We'll put her on Rimadyl" suggested the new, young, veterinarian while examining Maggie Mae. Yes, Maggie, was half Black Labrador Retriever and half Golden Retriever. She was 13 years old and, naturally her joints had experienced lots of wear. She strained her ACLs (Anterior Cruciate Ligaments) on both knees, and instead of surgery, I researched and opted for Integrative Veterinary Medical treatments, which is another story. Maggie was "no spring chicken", as my mom used to say. Although she didn't limp after what we chose for her treatment, she did noticeably slow down, and preferred to lie down when playing with our rambunctious pup, Anna Mae.
That was not always the case. Back in the fall of 2000, I noticed Maggie limping every so often. I knew that she had some arthritis from a compound leg fracture when she was only a year old and hit by a car (right after that I fenced in my yard!). Although, I also suspected that her limping could be Lyme Disease as we had recently moved from the tick-infested woods of western New Jersey, and she did have a high titer for it a couple of years prior. However, the short course of amoxicillin given in November was not effective as, by the following month, December, her limping was slowly getting progressively worse.
On Christmas night she was clearly in pain and trembling, unable to walk. Very concerned, we were at the vet's the next morning. My husband carried our poor girl in and gently placed her on the blanket I put on the tile floor.
I had the feeling that the vet would recommend Rimadyl. After all, that's what vets are told to do to help older dogs. She may have learned this in vet school, or it could have been the Pfizer salesperson "educating" his or her customers. My reply was, a flat "no" adding that I was all too aware of the serious risks in giving the drug, Rimadyl, especially with Labrador Retrievers (Maggie is half Labrador Retriever). I let her know that I'd be doing my research into using nutritional supplements, and other Integrative healing modalities, such as chiropractic with John Faherty, DC., Reiki healing, massage, and perhaps acupuncture. Now then, these Integrative, Complementary or Alternative healing modalities may take a little longer for results to be really noticeable, but at least I know that she will not run the risk of serious or fatal adverse reactions!
A word of caution for those whose dogs may be on Soloxine for a sluggish thyroid. Be certain to RE-TEST the FULL PANEL THYROID LEVELS before starting the drug. I learned the hard way, and it could have really been disastrous. Like many difficult times, there is something good to come out of it, and one instance was when I was at the vets with Maggie last December. We were trying to figure what was wrong, as I said, Maggie was suddenly, clearly not doing well -- trembling and having trouble walking. The vet gave her a tapering course of Prednisone for 9 days to relieve the inflammation, and it did seem to help my girl. It was troubling, though, as her usually normal annual blood tests were now way off track.
The blood tests were repeated and Dr. Jean Dodds confirmed the bad news -- pointing to serious kidney and liver problems. What was going on? Well, the only change was, that for the previous 6 weeks, Maggie was on the new Rx: Soloxine. The dosage was prescribed based only upon her weight. I researched and found that for every value on her blood test that was "out of normal range" it could be attributable to the thyroid or the prednisone.
So, I waited for her body to detoxify the prednisone and also get adjusted to the much lowered dose of Soloxine -- half of what was originally prescribed. As it later turned out, that was still too high a dose! I now realize that the dose should have been based upon several factors, including: a current Full Panel Thyroid Test, her age, sex, breed, and weight. Don Hamilton, DVM advises in his great book, Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs, on pages 346-348, that he prefers "underdosing" the thyroid hormone and including the glandular product to support the thyroid. He states, "thyroid illness should be treated by an experienced homeopathic veterinarian. These conditions are serious, sometimes life-threatening and warrant expert help". He goes on to say "it is important to provide good food such as a home-prepared diet. A few supplements may be useful. Kelp provides trace minerals including iodine an essential part of thyroid hormone". L-Tyrosine - give 125mg per 25 pound dog once or twice a day...Thyroid diseases have been associated with vaccination and drug use. Monthly heartworm preventives as well as 'sulfa' drugs are known to occasionally trigger autoimmune thyroid disease".
For more information on blood tests, see the pages for HEMOPET.HTM
I am happy to report Maggie did just fine for the last 6 months of her life. Her follow-up panel of blood tests were done in April 2001, and, as I expected, all values were back to normal -- except for the thyroid -- which was too high. So, her dose of Soloxine was further reduced to 0.1 mg. twice a day. And, following Dr. Hamilton's good advice in his book, she also received the thyroid supplement from the health food store and the raw thyroid glandular. She looked great, played with our pup, Anna Mae by the hour and no longer limped at all. I am so glad to say that the natural, or Alternative / Complementary approach for healing had given her renewed energy, and me -- Peace of Mind.
My method of giving pills on an empty stomach: I use a large plastic syringe for administering liquids, and in my dog's cheek pocket, gently squeeze a little water, and then she/he swallows it. This was to first wet the throat and allow the pills to be more easily swallowed. Then, one by one, I placed the pills are placed at the back of the throat and the rest of the water in the syringe is slowly squeezed into her/his cheek and my dog swallows a few times.
Another method which worked great, is to put the pill in some cream cheese - or you may prefer cherries - just remove the pit first. With the knife-point, I pierced the end of the cherry or other fruit.. I then slipped in the pill and gave it to Maggie. She just swallowed it - and loved it.
For medicine pills or capsules, it's great to put it into cheese or peanut butter, but the reason fruit is preferred with Wobenzym is because fruits are low in protein and easily digested. We want the Wobenzym to be utilized as an anti-inflammatory -- not for digesting protein foods such as cheeses.
The following would likely be helpful (no financial affiliation):
ORAL gel Supplement
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is the backbone of cartilage found in the ends of bone where they form joints. "Synovial fluid coats joints and facilitates smooth movement, much as oil would coat a squeaky junction of metal. When joints do not move smoothly, or are damaged by injury or disease, arthritis can occur1..."
Read this for a thorough explanation about cartilage and connective tissue:
Lecture 3. Connective Tissue (CT) Proper, and Special Connective Tissue, Cartilage, Bone, and Adipose Tissue -- scroll down to: " ... Cartilage & Bone Cartilage: semi-rigid matrix: extracellular material (ECM) of proteoglycan aggregates, massive; sulphated glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulfate and keratan sulfate [GAG]) with hyaluronic acid (nonsulfated GAG) as central backbone of complex, and collagen of various types; cells: chondroblasts (secrete matrix) and chondrocytes (embedded in matrix) within lacunae and frequently containing large fat droplets. Collagen type II: (except articular cartilage) not banded arranged interlacing network of fine fibrils
" ... Hyaline cartilage is semi-transparent and appears bluish-white in colour. It is extremely strong, but very flexible and elastic. Hyaline cartilage consists of living cells, chondrocytes, which are situated far apart in fluid-filled spaces, the lacunae. There is an extensive amount of rubbery matrix between the cells and the matrix contains a number of collagenous fibres. Hyaline cartilage occurs in trachea, the larynx, the tip of the nose, in the connection between the ribs and the breastbone and also the ends of bone where they form joints. Temporary cartilage in mammalian embryos also consists of hyaline cartilage. ..."
I have been very pleased with the results I've seen in my older Golden Retriever who injured his back on a slippery deck. Here he is at 9 1/2 years of age:
Photo courtesy of Robert W. Cauley
Supplementing Danny Boy, for about 8 months with Glucosamine didn't seem to help him. I also gave him the supplement, Ligaplex I & II (pdf -- specific nutritional support for ligaments), made by Standard Process, Inc.
Then, I learned about a new supplement, oral gel -- HYALURONAN, and I thought it'd be worth trying. Well, after about 6 weeks the improvement was remarkable!
Some dogs are also on MSM and my vet has recently suggested this too -- 1,000 mg./day (Danny was 78 lbs.).
Chiropractic adjustments by practitioners who are certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).
Adequan® injections (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan - PSGAG) (injectible - available from your veterinarian.)
by Allen M. Schoen, DVM, M.S.
[Excerpt - please click on the above Link to read the entire article]
Traditional Chinese (TCM) Herbal formula, Xue Fu Zhu Ye Tang, from D'Arcy Naturals Herbs for Pets. This helped assist Maggie's lymph system, as she was not as active as before, and as I understand it, the lymph system needs physical activity in order for adequate movement/drainage.
Wobenzym N (MisterGreenGenes.com had the best prices, and Health Food Stores carry them too.) These are systemic enzymes, and are not to be confused with digestive enzymes, as we do use Prozyme for that purpose. These systemic enzymes are to be given away from food and are intended to relieve inflammation. I gave Maggie Mae 3 tablets on an empty stomach. Also, because my husband loves to play golf, but his hands would sometimes be sore the next day from gripping the golf club. So, he started taking Wobenzym N (5 tablets a day), and right away, was symptom-free. Even if he skips a few days, his hands are fine.
I've been asked which formula I prefer -- 'human' vs 'pet'. Although the enzymes are basically the same in both of the Wobenzym products, after reading the "Ingredients" listing on each, I decided on WobenzymN (their 'human' formula) rather than their "Fido-Wobenzym", details are below.
Also, as with many 'pet' formulas vs 'human' formulas, there are similarities, and I generally buy the 'human' products for several reasons, one is that the human products are probably better as they are more scrutinized, and I only have to buy one product which is fine for my entire family (my companion animals, my husband and me).
Fido-Wobenzym® [feed 1-3 tablets depending upon size of dog]
[Each one of the] Tablets Contain:
Pancreatin 18670 USP-units protease 100mg
Papain 165 FIP-unit 60mg
Bromelain 225 FIP-unit 45mg
Trypsin 720 FIP-unit 24mg
Chrymotrypsin 300 FIP-unit 1mg
Rutosid• 1H20 50mg
Ingredients: Silica, Lactose, Magnesium Sterate, Corn Starch, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Calcium Carbonate, Kaolin, Sucrose, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow Orange S, pH resistant enteric coat.
Wobenzym®N – Clear [not the red-coated]: Serving Size: 3 Tablets [Contain:]
Pancreatin*** 56000 USP – units protease (p) Sus scrofa 300mg *
Papain *** 492 FIP-unit† Carica Papaya 180mg *
Bromelain*** 675 FIP-unit† Ananus comosus 135mg *
Trypsin*** 2,160 FIP-unit† (p) Sus scrofa 72mg *
Chymotrypsin*** 900 FIP-unit† (p) Bos taurus 3mg *
Rutosid***† 3H20 (Rutin) Sophora japonica 150mg *
Other Ingredients: Silica, Magnesium Stearate, Corn Polysaccharides, Microcrystalline Cellulose, pH Resistant Enteric Coat.
The other supplements that I've found to be good is the Bone & Joint Nutritional Supplement
Note: If you're taking or giving your dog MSM, you might want to consider adding the trace element Molybdenum (see info below). I bought the Solgar brand of Molybdenum at the local health food store, it's very inexpensive. The dramatic improvement was noticed within a few weeks of starting the above-mentioned program.
HOMOCYSTEINE REDUX vs MSM [See the Chart here for helpful explanation] "Sulfur supplementation has become popular, because sulfur is such an important element that is utilized in many reactions, especially those involved with joint/cartilage repair and liver detox pathways. The question is, what is the best source of sulfur?"
Other people have seen good results from the following:
Acupuncture, and gold bead implants. Here is the DIRECTORY of Veterinarians who do the Gold Bead Implants procedure "The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture as an integral part of the total veterinary health care delivery system. The Society endeavors to establish uniformly high standards of veterinary acupuncture through its educational programs and accreditation examination. IVAS seeks to integrate veterinary acupuncture and the practice of western veterinary science, while also noting that the science of veterinary acupuncture does not overlook allied health systems, such as homeopathy, herbology, nutrition, chiropractic, kinesiology, etc....Use the LOCATE A CERTIFIED VETERINARY ACUPUNCTURIST button to find a practitioner near you."
It's a WIN-WIN situation when buying Supplements from the Greyhound Gang Greyhound Adoption: "Dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of ex-racing greyhounds. The Greyhound Gang Greyhound Adoption is a volunteer, tax-exempt, non-profit organization (#87-0527948). All donations go to rescue, rehabilitate, and place ex-racing greyhounds." For more info on this WONDERFUL organization, see my Favorite Links page
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane): [see note above about adding trace mineral, Molybdenum] "MSM is a natural form of organic sulfur that supplies a dietary sulfur, which plays a major role in stabilizing and promoting numerous body functions. Most noted for its anti-inflammatory properties...."
CMO (Cetyl Myristoleate): "CMO is an ester made form adding a cetyl alcohol molecule to the 14-carbon chain fatty acid myristoleic acid. It lubricates, reduces inflammation, regulates the immune system and reduces pain. Recommended with Glucosamine HCL and Digestive Enzymes..."
Cetyl Myristoleate - "Label Information: (T) True CMO (Cetyl Myristoleate ), Jarrow Formulas, 380 mg, 60 Caps... True CMO contains concentrated extract of the fatty acid cerasomal-cis-9-acetyl-myristoleate from natural bovine source. CMO is not found in any vegetable oils or other common foods. CMO is found in low amounts in animal connective tissue.... True CMO contains the identical compound referenced in a published clinical trial, which is a bovine product and not from a vegetable source. Vegetable oils do not contain cetyl myristoleate."
ArthriSoothe® Liquid: "Veterinarian formulated Chondroitin & Glucosamine joint supplement formula.... "This Veterinarian formulated, all natural active ingredient joint formula, combines chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to make the ultimate joint formula for your dog or cat. Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine HCl are known to supply and build glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) and collagen. These are essential for rebuilding cartilage and synovial fluid. It also contains essential antioxidants. Antioxidants are know to remove damaging free radicals. ArthriSoothe® has a natural beef liver flavoring that makes it extremely palatable."
SynoviCre: "Glucosamine & Creatine provides Synovial joint maintenance, strength & mobility. Glucosamine is necessary for the production of key connective tissue components that replenish & maintain healthy articular cartilage. It returns consistency to the synovial fluid & enhances its ability to carry the vital nutrients necessary to rebuild cartilage, insulate the bone from friction & cushion the joint in movement. Creatine enhances the energy required to fuel the contraction of muscle, thus allowing the muscle to strengthen & provide support to the joint.... For pets up to 30 Lbs: Initial administration of 1/2 to 1 tab daily for pets under 15 Lbs & 2 tabs daily for pets up to 30 Lbs.... Initial administration for pets over 30 Lbs: 30-60 Lbs need 2 tabs daily, 60-100 Lbs need 3 tabs daily."
SynoviCre Granules: "Full strength combination of Glucosamine HCI, Perna Canaliculus & Creatine Monohydrate for enhanced joint maintenance, strength & mobility. Stimulates synovial fluid synthesis, as well as the production of essential connective tissues. Creatine Monohydrate elevates the energy & intramuscular phosphocreatine to allow for increased activity & mobility. (900mg Glucosamine HCI, 500mg Creatine Monohydrate, & 300mg Perna Canaliculus per scoop.) ...Dogs & cats. Palatable beef & liver granules; mix with the animal’s daily diet using 1-1.5 scoops per day for animals up to 60 Lbs."
Yucca Intensive by Holistic Animal Care: "Yucca Intensive is an outstanding, proven safe, all natural supplement. Yucca contains saponins, which are nature’s most powerful anit-inflammatory agents. Our product is pure concentrated extract, not powdered waste product (the result of extraction process) as found in capsules or other popular bulk products. Extract contains over 85% bio-available saponins versus only 3% to 7% left in waste powder. Therefore, our product has the highest therapeutic steroidal benefits available! Reduces pain as well as bute and aspirin without gastric side-effects. For arthritis bone and joint problems, soft tissue swelling, digestive, bowel problems and colic. Tissue swelling reduces the blood flow through injured areas, toxins build up, irritation the liver and kidneys. Yucca cleanses these organs, promotes blood flow and tissue repair, while preventing further degeneration of injured tissues. Reduces the “itch” of allergies. May reduce inflammation in brain areas responsible for seizure activity. Used topically for wound and hot spot treatment....Dosage: 1 drop per 10 pounds of body weight per day."
Internet Discussion & Support Groups:
Consider joining Helen's Internet Discussion Group, it's free and on occasion, features a Special Guest, answering Members' questions.
Our Mottos are:
"Make Informed Decisions"
:“There is usually More Than one Way of Doing Something Right.”
Discussion is on all aspects of caring for our companion animals, and the focus is on health, including: Feeding (raw/BARF, home-made cooked food) Supplements, Grooming, Exercise, Training, etc. Complementary Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM) as well as Conventional Vet Med -- AKA Integrative Veterinary Medicine.
Holistic Healing Modalities: Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Massage, Traditional Herbal Medicine (THM), Flower Essences, Essential Oils, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Reiki, Ayurvedic, Kinesiology, etc.
Nutrition is said to be the 'Foundation of Health', and is the most popular topic. Some dogs & cats are unable to tolerate a raw food diet, and this is a good forum to discuss home-made food. We are *all* learning - even the experts, the scientists and researchers who advise everyone about the BEST diets for staying healthy.
"If a diet is unnatural, disease will keep company
with those subjected to it."
ã Copyright 1995-2009 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved