Posts Tagged ‘Integrative Veterinary Medicine’

Genetic Roulette Health Awareness

I would like to share some of the most important news that I have come across for disease prevention in both our animal friends and ourselves.  For most of my veterinary career I have been expounding the belief that we should feed our animal friends as naturally and organically as possible. I have seen so many diseases improve with simple dietary changes from allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, immune mediated diseases and cancer.  I have been well aware of doing my best to avoid genetically modified foods (GMO’s) in myself, my family and for my animal patients.  I just came across this new documentary, “Genetic Roulette” which is a free online movie that explains and summarizes all the potential hazardous effects of GMO’s on our food producing animals, our companion animals and humans.

Please watch this documentary, Genetic Roulette, and share it with as many people as you can.  We can all make this shift in awareness and improve the health of countless animals and people. I wish to keep this blog post brief, so you can spend your time watching this movie and spreading the word.  We can all help countless beings to quickly improve their health and happiness right now and that is what the Kindred Spirits Project is all about.  This is a key to preventive medicine for all beings.   Thank you for watching this and sharing it and spreading the word.  Let us create a healthier, happier world where compassion, health and happiness are more important than corporate greed and government corruption.

 

 

A Healthy Home for All Beings

A healthy home is an essential part of  preventive health care for us and our animal companions.  A friend and client suggested that I watch this video with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Myron Wentz,  knowing that many of my foundational teachings and belief were encapsulated and visualized so well in this Health and Happiness summit.  I could not agree with him more after watching it.  These helpful suggestions are truly a foundation for our own preventive health care.  Certain cliche’s are cliche’s because they are so true.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is certainly one of these essential truths.  Many of the suggestions in this video pertain to our animal friends as well.   Though animals are not exposed to mercury in dental fillings, but they are exposed through thimerisol in vaccines.

As Dr. Wentz states regarding fluoride outgassing from frying pans, often times our animal friends are truly the canary in the cage.  This is quite evident more often than we might realize.  A relative of mine inquired about the sudden onset of asthma in her beloved cat.  Their veterinarian made the correct diagnosis and prescribed the correct medications.  However, too often, one does not question why the animal developed this condition suddenly in the first place.  My first question was what was different in the environment and had them review any changes in the house.  When I was visiting them and slept in the guestroom, I actually began to cough as I smelled something that was sickeningly sweet and toxic.  It was there new fabric fresheners that they put in the wash.  When discussing this with them, her husband actually said that he was coughing ever since that new freshener was used as well.  I suggested to stop using them and see how the cat and her husband were doing.  That solved the problem and they were able to stop using an inhaler medication and oral medication for the cat and her husband stopped coughing as well.  So often, we assume that many of these chemicals that permeate our environment are deemed healthy.  Often times, it is the exact opposite.  As my readers know, I am a huge proponent of the “Precautionary Principle”.  Science cannot possibly keep up with all the new chemicals we are exposed to.  Let us try to keep our environments as simple, back to basics and healthy as possible.  In the textbook I edited on Complementary and Alternative Medicine back in 1998, I had presented an environmental questionnaire developed by a human physician and one of the founders of the American College of Environmental Medicine  that I felt should be part of every veterinarians toolkit.  Instead of a life on hazardous pharmaceuticals, my relative’s cat is happy and free of asthma simply by figuring out the environmental cause of the asthma.  This is just one small example.

I was also thrilled to see that Dr. Wentz discussed electromagnetic pollution as I have written a number of blog posts about this ever increasing risk. I suggest that you read Dr. Wentz’s book and conduct an evaluation of your home and remove any toxins that can be hazardous to you and your animal companion’s health.  We will discuss more of the environmental triggers and potential health concerns in future blog posts.

May you and your kindred spirits live in a healthy, happy, toxin free environment.

 

Natural Cancer Therapies

Exposure to Toxins

Cancer has quickly become one of the top causes of death in our companion animals.  It is well accepted now that the primary cause of many diseases is inflammation, from heart disease, to allergies, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease to cancer.  Over the decades of pioneering holistic integrative veterinary care, I have witnessed a tremendous increase in the incidence of cancer.  I believe it is naive to believe that it is just because we have better diagnostics.  Certainly there is a genetic predisposition for certain types of cancer in certain dog breeds, yet, a large percentage is secondary to all the toxic environmental exposures stimulating a chronic inflammation as well as the build up of toxins in the body.   There is a great deal of debate as to what role overvaccination, poor quality pet foods, chronic exposure to pesticides, herbicides etc. have on the body often then manifesting as cancer.  Personally, I am of the belief there is a tipping point of a toxic overload that then can result in the development of cancer.  This article on the use of baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, as a possible treatment for cancer stimulated the writing of this post.

Throughout my career I have been studying, searching and evaluating various natural, nontoxic therapies for cancer.  I have found that a combination of appropriate dietary management, nutraceuticals, chinese herbal formula’s, medicinal mushrooms and vitamins can cause a significant improvement in cancer, sometimes leading to complete remission or at least improving the quality and length of an animal’s life.  Recently I came across this interesting article on the use of baking soda in the treatment of Cancer.  The study is actually being conducted at the University of Arizona Medical School.  I have been aware of this treatment approach, but have not used it extensively in animals.  After reviewing the article, I find that there is indeed some merit in exploring the use of sodium bicarbonate, baking soda in the treatment of cancer in animals.  I will be exploring this approach more and discuss possible studies in animals.  I will keep you posted.

As with many conditions, the ideal is prevention rather than treatment.  The more we can optimize an animals nutrition and minimize exposure to toxins, the better the odds that one will not develop cancer.  Unfortunately with the increased exposure to more and more toxins, pesticides, poor quality food, and the so called “elephant in the living room”, the exposure to the increased radiation from the Fukushima diseaster, we will have to deal with cancer in animals as well as humans more frequently.  I will continue my commitment to explore natural, nontoxic approaches to help all of us live longer, happier, healthier lives.

Kindred Cats, Natural Care and Cancer

Healing Cats

Unique Help for Cats

I always like to share helpful blogs that focus specifically on different areas of my broader blog focus.  Recently I came across the natural cat care blog and was impressed with its content.  I found one particular post on an innovative approach to cancer in cats that fascinated me.  It describes a hands on healing technique developed by a Professor Bengston.  I am also searching for innovative, natural, nontoxic approaches to cancer, but  I must admit I am also a bit of a skeptic when it comes to hands on healing techniques that claim to heal cancer.  I would love to see them work, as the saying goes “the proof is in the pudding”.  I would like to see reproducible, documented results.  That said, the study conducted by Dr. Bengston is quite interesting.  His research titled “The Effect of the “Laying on of Hands” on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice”,  was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration.

When a client asks me about my approach to cancer in cats, I offer them different options depending upon the type of cancer, the age and condition of the cat, the cat’s appetite and ease of administering supplements (liquids, capsules, powders, tablets), the client’s preferences regarding conventional approaches of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy vs. more natural approaches including diet, supplements, herbs, acupuncture and other complementary approaches or an integrative approach combining the best of conventional and complementary therapies.  I also share the importance of a human caretaker’s attitude and thoughts when around their cat and the impact that that may have on their immune system.  I  also suggest that they get the opinion of an integrative oncologist or at least one that is open to a more integrative approach and ask them about the specific success rate of the conventional approaches for that particular type of cancer in cats as well as the potential side effects.  I suggest that they inquire specifically what success means, living one month or one year.  The question based on all of these options is what is there quality of life like.  Cat’s really do live more in the moment and don’t think into the future “oy….I wanted to live till my next birthday or to some unknown future date.  Quality of life to me is more important that the length of time.

In addition to all these approaches, I would love nothing more than to see Dr. Bengston’s approach work either in conjunction with more traditional approaches or on it’s own.  I think that Liz’s description and perspective regarding this approach is valuable as well.  If you choose to try this approach,  alone or in conjunction with conventional and complementary therapies, please let me know what your experience is.  I always like to keep an open mind and hope to integrate more successful approaches into cancer care.

In addition, keep tabs on the natural cat care blog and see what their readers have to say.

The best prevention is minimizing exposure to carcinogens, feeding a well balanced, natural, organic diet and lots of love.

 

Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants and More: How Do I Choose?

One of the most frequent questions I hear in my small animal integrative medicine practice is “Which supplements should I give my animal friends?”  There are so many pet foods, supplements etc. on the market it can be quite challenging for the nutritionally aware animal caretaker to know which ones they need and which ones to choose.  As the pet nutraceutical, supplement and food industry continues to boom, more and more companies are producing supplements and foods of questionable quality.  It is challenging even for veterinarians keep abreast of all the different companies and to know which ones are best.  Being a pioneer in this field for over thirty years, I have seen many supplements come and go.  It is not uncommon for a client to bring in a basket full of supplements that they have purchased either from other veterinarians, the internet or a pet food store.  They would pour them out on my exam table and ask me to review them for me.  Sometimes they will have even forgotten why they purchased them.  Sometimes they were out of date.  Sometimes they would not even list the ingredients!  As much as I love the natural health movement, I must admit, I have become somewhat disillusioned over the years as to how it has been usurped by profiteers, scam marketers, questionable companies and all the challenges of the marketplace. Amidst the onslaught of new companies and products, in order to assist my readers and clients,  I am in the midst of reviewing the latest products available.  Fortunately there are some out there that are of superior quality.  I will review these with you over the next few months.

A few general comments are in order now though.  The classic statement, “buyer beware” is appropriate for the field of pet foods and supplements as well.  If a product just makes claims on the labels and does not even list the ingredients, consider that one to go into the proverbial trash basket.  Know your manufacturer.  Quality is essential. It is not uncommon for a product to simply be labeled natural, healthy, or with a common title such as probiotic or arthritis supplement and have poor quality ingredients in them that somehow vaguely fit under those labels.   It is sad to say that even some veterinarians who have not received any additional training in nutritional supplements are not aware of all the challenges in choosing appropriate ones.  I must humbly admit that before I became more educated, I fell into that category as well.  It is beneficial for animal lovers to become more educated as to the quality of the products they feed their animal friends.  It is funny to hear sometimes when clients will begin to read labels for their animals supplements, they chuckle and often say “wow, I did not even know what to look for for my own supplements”.   It is a continual learning process.  I too continue to learn as I discuss supplements with colleagues, human nutritional supplement experts and review the cutting edge articles on nutrition.  We are living in a more and more polluted, toxic world and good nutrition and supplements are becoming more essential to maintain our health and prevent disease.  As Hippocrates said “Let your food be your medicine”.  I may spend more on quality organic supplements and some may question that benefit, but I believe judicious awareness and choice of appropriate quality natural nutrition and supplements is some of the best preventive medicine available.  It is so much wiser than treating disease.  The old cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is more true today than ever before.

The entire field of nutrigenomics is becoming more widespread in veterinary health care as well as human health care.  Essentially, this is evaluating and recommending nutrition based on one’s genetic predispositions.  For instance, if you have a breed of dog that is prone to arthritis, it may not be unreasonable for you to begin nutritional preventive supplements earlier in their life, hopefully to prevent future progression of degenerative joint disease.  This is just one simple example.

Over the next few months I will share my thoughts on specific approaches to integrative health care and which supplements I find to be beneficial. In the meantime, do your homework, and do the best you can to keep your animal friends and you as healthy and happy as possible!

Lyme Disease in Horses and Dogs: Part 1

Tick

Tick

It seems like the incidence of Lyme Disease (Borrelliosis) (LD) and other tick born infections continues to rise and are flourishing this autumn.  I hear from clients about how their horses, dogs as well as themselves are just getting covered in ticks more than ever this season.  Tick born diseases have been increasing in the northeast and throughout North America for more than two decades.  In 1992, I published on one hundred horses that I diagnosed with Equine Lyme Disease based on my acupuncture physical evaluation.  I correlated my clinical findings with the horses laboratory diagnostic tests, response to antibiotic treatment as well as their behavioral history.  It seemed that  there was about  an 82% correlation of my physical examination with response to antibiotics and the laboratory tests.  I have diagnosed hundreds of horses and dogs with Lyme disease since then in the past two decades.  If left untreated it can cause severe debilitating disease and even death.  If not treated appropriately and quickly, it is not uncommon to see it reoccur and become a chronic disease with potentially devastating consequences.

Lyme Disease can be ubiquitous and quite challenging to diagnose.  It has commonly been termed “the great imitator” since it can mimic so many other common conditions.  Whenever I lecture on LD, I state that it is both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed.  In  the past, it had only been considered part of a differential diagnosis if classic signs such as an acute onset of swollen joints and a fever were evident.  Clinically, I have found that it is not uncommon that the first signs may actually manifest as various sudden behavioral aberrations due to an immune mediated myofascial inflammatory reaction to the spirochaete.  In horses,  some of the first signs that my clients and I notice are a sudden reticence to being touched, groomed, being saddled up or ridden.  The horses may occasionally become aggressive to people when being touched or handled in anyway.     At this point, results from diagnostic blood tests may be negative since it is too early to develop a blood titer.  Unfortunately, too many veterinarians still base their diagnosis solely on the blood tests (Elisa and Western Blot blood tests) despite the reminders by the laboratories that they are not definitively diagnostic.  There is rarely one specific sign that is definitely diagnostic for just Lyme disease.  I use a checklist of criteria to decide if I think Lyme disease may be the cause of the animals signs. (more…)

Veterinarians Beyond Borders Help Himalayan Earthquake Victims

Veterinarians Beyond Borders

Veterinarians Beyond Borders

It is always great to hear from my dear friend and colleage, Dr.Catherine Schuetze, one of the key veterinarians in Veterinarians Beyond Borders of Asia.  In the midst of climatic and environmental shifts throughout the world, after the devastating earthquake in the  eastern Himalaya’s, Dr. Schuetze and her team switched roles from spaying, neutering and vaccinating dogs and cats to treating injured animals.  The epicenter, in Gangtok was right near where they happened to be working.  You can read the rest of the story in the vets beyond borders recent newsletter.

In addition, they are doing tremendous work in harsh environments controlling rampant stray dog and cat populations and helping find homes for them.  They offer programs for volunteer veterinarians, veterinary technicians and others.  Check them out online at www.vetsbeyondborders.org.

Often times, one can get overwhelmed by all the seemingly catastrophic news throughout the world. Yet, little by little, animal by animal, we can make a difference and assist in creating a more compassionate, happier, healthier world.  Dr. Schuetz is an excellent example of that.

We can all make a difference in our own way where we live.  There are many animals that can use a touching, loving hand.  More to come……

World Small Animal Veterinary Congress

Dr. Schoen guided by Korean Hostess in Traditional Korean DressI just returned from the lecturing at the World Small Animal Veterinary Congress on Jeju Island in South Korea.  It was a joy to reconnect with old colleagues and friends throughout the world.  I saw veterinary friends from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand,  Australia, New Zealand, China, as well as from the U.S. and Canada.  It was fascinating to hear from them about all the changes over the past few years in each of their countries amidst all the environmental, economic, political, social and conscious events of the past few years.

One story that was common throughout all the discussions was how essential animal companions had become in the midst of the massive shifts and changes throughout the world.  The unconditional love shared by our kindred spirits was becoming even more vital to help support the human soul as we maneuver through the accelerated earth changes.  As cities throughout Asia increase in population density, increase in busyness, noise, financial abundance, it seems the desire to share the small apartments with animal companions increases.  Why is this I pondered.  My feelings are that with increased emphasis on financial success, a super efficient, multi-tasking mind stream, never-ending to do lists, the heart continues to shut down.  The stress with other families members heightens and the one and only place one’s heart can receive solace, comfort, loving kindness and compassion is from our kindred spirits, dogs, cats, and other animals that we can share our homes with.  I hear this over and over again wherever I travel to teach and share about the human animal bond and integrative animal health care.

With the increase in the number of companion animals, veterinary medicine, pharmaceuticals, pet foods, supplements, new, innovative diagnostic and therapeutic modalities also are on the rise.  The quality of veterinary care improves and inadvertently so do the costs.  The dance between quality and expense must be continually evaluated and balanced based on the financial ability of the human caretaker and the life of their  animal.  The questions inevitably arise such as what price is too much to save an animal’s life.  There is no black and white answer to this and it varies from patient to patient, human to human, situation to situation.  This can be an emotional roller coaster for the veterinarian as well as clients.  It is then an opportunity for veterinarians to keep an open, compassionate heart in the midst of economic realities.  Not always easy.

One partial solution that I lecture on is the benefit of integrative animal health care and true prevention through proper, healthy, natural, balanced, nutrition along with appropriate nutritional supplements.  In addition, the importance of regular exercise and heart to heart, loving connections that both help support a healthy immune system, thereby preventing disease and expensive intervention.  These messages seem to reverberate well with most veterinarians, whereby they often have an “aha” moment on how these holistic preventive measures are truly the essence of health and happiness for all beings.

These messages seemed to especially resonate with the veterinary students that attended my lectures and I interacted with afterwards.  The Korean veterinary students reminded me  that my last book, “Kindred Spirits, How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live”, had been translated into Korean and shared how it nourished their souls as they worked their way through the academic rigor of veterinary studies.  As four idealistic and excited veterinary students proudly  showed me around their beautiful island, Jeju, the Island of Peace, as it is known,  I was able to guide them through different mind/body exercises and meditations that might help them balance their lives as they entered this noble, yet challenging profession.  We sat by the beach, by waterfalls and discussed how natural health care, mind body medicine, loving kindness and compassion can be integrated into modern conventional medicine and surgery.  It was nice to see, that these messages were so well received by new up and coming veterinarians, the future of veterinary medicine and health care.

In addition,  I was happy to hear from professors at Korean and other Asian veterinary schools how my textbook, “Veterinary Acupuncture, Ancient Art to Modern Medicine” was used as the essential text on Veterinary Acupuncture  throughout the region.  After taking a self-created six month sabbatical from teaching, writing and veterinary practice, it was heartening to see that veterinary students and veterinarians throughout the world are continuing to recognize the importance of natural health care and the human animal bond in the healing of the world as we all meander through these intriguing global changes.  Loving kindness and compassion  through the support of our animal companions are essential in the planetary re-adjustments and healing.

 

 

Natural, Innovative Approaches to Cancer

Cancer in animals is increasing dramatically and in some area’s it is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats.  There is great speculation on all the potential causes.  In my practice I have treated hundreds of animals with cancer with an integrative approach over twenty years.  My attitude has always been to present to clients all the different therapeutic options in order to allow them to make an educated decision based on their own attitudes and perspectives on treatment.  I find some clients prefer a conventional approach based on their personal beliefs and positive experiences with family and friends who had responded well to chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.  Other clients prefer a completely natural approach based on their own personal beliefs and negative experiences with family and friends who did not respond well to chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.  I honor all people’s opinions and then offer an integrative approach based on the research results regarding a particular tumor type, the age of the animal, quality of life and the individual animal and the family situation.  Taking all of this into consideration is a more holistic approach. I have always stated that no one form of medicine has all the answers and it just seems reasonable to offer a more integrative approach.

Ideally, I also try to find the cause of the cancer wherever it is possible and see if there is something we can do based on the cause.  Some cancers in animals have a definitive genetic predisposition with all the inbreeding.  Others appear to be environmental or nutritional or possibly medication induced.

I have always searched for complementary, natural, nontoxic approaches wherever possible.  Recently, there was a documentary on Dr. Burzynski and his approach with antineoplastins in humans.  I remember working with Dr. Burzynski almost twenty years ago looking at the potential of using his approach based on proteins in the urine that were killed cancer cells.  I also explored antiangiogenic approaches as well as different nutritional and nutraceutical approaches. I have also used different Oriental medical herbal approaches with great success.   In most cases animals were able to live a longer, happier, healthier life with few if any side effects, though I cannot say that we ever cured cancer.  Clients were quite happy that there animals lived a quality life for a longer period of time.

I continue to look at for new innovative, nontoxic approaches.  I have recently been reviewing a number of these approaches and will share them with you periodically.  I recently came across this fascinating article on a bacteria found naturally in soil that unlike current chemotherapy, the natural bacteria treatment causes only the cancer cells to be destroyed while healthy cells are left unharmed.  This is the goal with most of the approaches that I search for.   You can learn more at:http://www.naturalnews.com/033505_soil_bacteria_cancer_tumors.html#ixzz1aUXuXR

As we work together to create a more compassionate society, offering an integrative approach to cancer care is an essential component to allow our animal friends a quality life as they get older and confront health care crises.  It allows us to confront our own choices on what we might do if confronted with our own personal crisis like this.  It allows us to develop a more compassionate approach to death and dying.  It also allows us an opportunity to develop a more compassionate approach to life with all other beings and for being in the moment and appreciating each moment.

Prevention of course is a key to cancer care.  Nutrition and nutraceuticals are a key component in preventive cancer care.  We will discuss this in more detail in future posts.

Be well, Be happy, Be peaceful, calm and alert!

Support Nutritional Supplements for Your Kindred Spirits and You

Nutritional supplements are an essential component to an integrative approach your animal’s  and your health care.  I have been using nutritional supplements in my integrative veterinary practice for 30 years.  I feel that are indispensable in keeping your animal healthy and in treating many disease conditions.  Periodically different organizations such as the FDA attempt to control and limit access to these supplements.  They state their concern about quality control, misrepresentation, scams, fraud, etc.  These concerns are certainly valid.  I too have these concerns.  I always try to find sources of the highest quality supplements with the best evidence based research behind them.  I have seen them help so many dogs, cats, horses and other species daily in my practice.  I feel that the FDA, DSHEA guidelines the way that they have used for the past decade has addressed many of these concerns.

Yet, sometimes, different organizations may try to restrict freedom of choice and access to supplements in an effort to overreach and create impossible financial barriers to small businesses that provide these supplements.  It seems like one of those times is now.

Dr. Mercola, a world renowned natural health practitioner presents in this video on  Nutritional Supplements the current attempt to limit access to supplements.  All practitioners interested in integrative and natural health care for all beings need come together to stand up for the ability to offer these supplements to our clients and patients in order to do what we can to keep them healthy and happy.  I invite you to watch this video, contact your government representatives to help preserve our right to natural health care.

May the force be with us!

 

Dr. Mercola..Nutritional Supplements