As a pet professional focusing on raising my pets naturally, my goal is to use as many natural and holistic treatments as possible with my own pets. Using pharmaceuticals on my pets is something I do my best to avoid. I always turn to natural therapies first, but unfortunately, that is not always possible.
I always have to consider my pet’s health, behavior, and quality of life. Let’s take a look at my best friend, Dexter The Dog. Just before Dexter’s third birthday, he was diagnosed with chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM). CM is basically when the skull is too small to hold the brain, causing pressure on the cerebellum and medulla and obstructing normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. You can compare this to holding your finger over half of the opening of a hose; that pressure then causes fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord, SM. This is a very painful, progressive and incurable disease in both dogs and humans.
This was before Dexter’s diagnosis.
There are, of course, natural ways I help manage Dexter’s pain. One is by monitoring and limiting his exercise and excitement. Being too active, physical, or rowdy can increase the pressure build up in his spinal cord, enhancing pain, or creating what I call “episodes,” when he’s a little more fidgety and uncomfortable.
Food therapy has been our saving grace. Looking at food from a Traditional Chinese Medicine standpoint, diet can help decrease the fluid build-up, which will, in turn, decrease pain. Foods that are draining such as sardines, shiitake mushrooms, celery, turnips and radishes are great for draining fluid. Herbs such as marjoram and parsley are also draining. These are items I rotate in Dexter’s home cooked meals.
During Dexter’s first year after diagnosis, he received weekly acupuncture, eventually weaning off. Dexter’s acupuncture treatments were targeted to unblock stagnation in Dexter’s Qi (energy) and resolve phlegm. Dexter also receives cold laser therapy to stimulate cell healing if he has multiple bad days in a row. This works wonders to help him feel better.
Because his disease causes inflammation in the skull and spinal area, I work hard at controlling inflammation with not only the right food and herbs, but additional supplements. Currently, Dexter is on omega-3s, CoQ1030 and MicroLactin to help reduce inflammation.
Unfortunately, even with all these natural remedies in place, they alone are not enough to provide Dexter with a good quality of life. In addition, Dexter does have to be on a pharmaceutical cocktail to be as pain-free and playful as he possibly can. Because of this, Dexter is also on probiotics and has quarterly physicals, blood work, urinalysis and a thyroid test to monitor his body for any signs of failure.
My goal is to help Dexter be as pain-free and free-spirited as he possibly can. His quality of life is extremely important to me, and I do not take any of his medical choices lightly. Every day, I make an effort to spend quality time with him and tell him I love and appreciate him. I know our days are limited, so I always try to make each one count.
Do you have a pet with ongoing medical issues? Tell me in the comments.
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