Ask The Vet

Cancer, Raw Diet

Pets that are are sick with cancer or other illnesses, I have read that a species appropriate raw diet is the best diet for them. Is the true? Thank you.

~ Fern

Jennifer RamelmeierDear Fern,

It is true that there are some important guidelines to follow regarding diets for cancer patients. The most important is that the diet be organic, as cancer is a disease caused by toxicity and one of the big sources of toxins is from our pet”s food. Non organic food is full of pesticides, antibiotics , and artificial hormones. The next important guideline is to remove all grains, potatoes and sugary vegies or fruits, as cancer cells feed on simple carbohydrates. And lastly strive to feed raw as this is the most energetically healing of all diets and is more bio-available since all the enzymes that help break down the food for assimilation are still present.

Sincerely yours,
Dr Ramelmeier DVM CVH

Early Vaccination, Roundworms, Reflux, GI Immune Health

My 14 month old Border Collie has had an on and off history of roundworms, SEVERE reflux esophagits, lots of gagging and regurgitation, low albumin and high neutrophils – finally blood work came back in ok range at age of 1 – and bad reactions to vaccines including HOD. I have gone the western vet route in ICU quite a few times times to save his life and get food into him, very alternative NAET and others approaches, tried Standard Process products – he couldn’t tolerate them, medium alternative approaches with 2 different vets and lots of dietary explorations. In this last episode that we are still in, he has chewed off fur from tail and legs. Currently on Andanestron, reglan, pepsid, prilosec, sucralafate, aloe and gave him his first dose of Thuja today- though goofed and put in his food. I bought some great products from Dr Dobias and Standard Process including Canine Enteric Support, though I don’t think he will be able to tolerate any of them right now.

He has been scoped 2 times though next time they want to go down lower and he has been screened for Addisons. I really believe it all started with an overload of roundworms and his DHPP vaccines. I only gave THuja once last year and didn’t continue because of what was going on. Is it too late now almost a year after vaccines to do any good? Was gonna try it for 3 -5 days from my reading on the web. Any other suggestions? I have tried alot of alternative things like ginger last year which helped, and apple cider vinegar which I think hurt. I blend all his food for easier swallowing. He has had segments of time where he did well though after a month or more started having raspy breathing and roaring with heavy exercise over 5 – 10 minutes. Diagnosis in May for the breathing issue, was the inflammation of the esophagus. He is currently on Honest Kitchen Beef and starting Stella and Chewy’s Beef and because he quickly gets a distaste for food after a few days of regurging, his old salmon canned Nature’s Variety Instinct is what gets him to eat the other. I do want to get him totally on Stella and Chewys and off the potatoes and flaxseed though.

~ Cherie

Dr Jeff FeinmanDear Cherie,

I am very sorry to hear about the problems that your pup is having. He’s very lucky to have such a dedicated human companion. I agree with you that the early history of recurrent roundworm infestation is indication that his gastrointestinal (GI) immune system is not up to snuff. The worms may also have predisposed him to future problems including his current dis-ordered motility. Recurrent parasitism is commonly seen in pets with other GI issues.

As you probably realize, all of his problems are interrelated. Even the HOD. Early age vaccination is a huge cause of problems in the patients that I see. Unfortunately, there is no one remedy that can address the energetic imbalance that may result from vaccination (or any stressor). For example, Thuja is not an antidote to vaccination. Homeopathic remedies are chosen by the individual’s response to a stimulus. Not the stimulus itself. There are a few exceptions and these are often called “specifics”. These remedies are used commonly in many similar clinical situations, e.g. Arnica after an injury and Ignatia after a loss However, not every pet develops a bruised sensation after an injury or feels grief after a loss so these remedies would not be indicated. In general, the sooner that an imbalance is treated, the better. No matter what the cause. However even years after a triggering stimulus, like a vaccine or injury, homeopathic remedies can help the body restore harmony.

But I digress. Most important is to improve your dog’s quality of life. If his symptoms are currently well controlled on his medications, then the best place to start is with his diet. Fresh food and meat based. As simple as possible. No fillers. Ideally, gluten free (check the Honest Kitchen ingredients). I find eggs to often work wonderfully in this situation and many consider them to be nature’s perfect food. If he can tolerate them that is. I suspect that you have already tried many foods, but novel proteins are often best. Rabbit, venison, pheasant, etc. Avoid foods with high histamine levels. This includes many fish like tuna, mackerel, amberjack, etc. Also avoid high fat foods that will slow emptying of stomach contents and may predispose him to reflux.

Physically reduce his regurgitation and aid emptying of his stomach by feeding from an elevated surface. Many bigger dogs can be taught to eat off of a baby’s high chair. A dog named Bailey even had his severe regurgitation from a megaesophagus managed this way. It worked so well, that he helped design a feeding station that is named after him.

You’ve tried various supplements and some can indeed be very helpful. The liquid aloe vera that you are already using is a fantastic choice. Make sure that it is a pure, preferably organic, aloe vera juice. A good prebiotic/probiotic supplement is essential. There are many on the market. I use several in my practice including Rx Biotic and Nutrigest from Rx Vitamins for Pets. Other important supplements in management of GI reflux and sensitivity include deglcyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), marshmallow root extract and slippery elm. The human supplement GlutAloeMine from Xymogen can be very helpful and contains a synergistic blend of aloe, DGL and glutamine.

Of course, my bias is to treat based on his present and past history, laboratory findings and examination using Hahnemannian homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies like Nux vomica, Colocynthis, Phosphorus, Arsenicum and Sulphur are among many that may be very useful in the management and improvement of his signs and symptoms. Proper potency and dosing are as important as remedy selection. Ideally you would work with a vet who both is well trained in vet homeopathy/holistic treatment and understands pathophysiology and pharmacology.

Be well.
Dr. Jeff

Treating Allergies Holistically

In June 2013, we moved out of the city core to a more green residential area. A month after we moved, my normally healthy pups (male Siberian-husky, female Siberian-mix) both had conjunctivitis. The vet gave us eye drops and it cleared up.

A few weeks later, the male started occasionally sounding a little congested when it was humid and hot during the day (Southern Ontario). His appetite, energy level, behaviour was normal and I tried giving him a holistic allergy medication (Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals Homeopathic Allergies Formula). By the 2nd day the congestion stopped.

He seemed better until the last week. At night his breathing is fine, but I noticed during the afternoon walks he sounds a bit congested again when breathing through his mouth from time to time. At times his “roo roo” sounds a bit strained, like its “nasally” and he has a cold.

Also, after giving starting him on the Allergy liquid, the reddish-orange stains on his elbows faded and are almost gone. (he had these stains last summer, the vet couldn’t diagnose cause). It seems like allergies, but I want to make sure there is nothing else that may cause the congestion. Since he sounds fine at night or when its cooler out. Or if there is something else I should include in his diet to strengthen his resistance to allergens.

Side note, the female is perfectly fine, no congestion. Both pups are on raw diet and receive herring oil.

Unfortunately the vet is a last resort and we don’t have a holistic vet nearby. The vet does not support my choice to feed raw and has been very vocal about it.

~ Melissa

Dr Sara ChapmanDear Melissa,

I am glad that you are following your convictions in treating your dogs. Unfortunately, many vets are not well educated about the benefits of raw feeding and pressure people to discontinue.

I looked at the allergy drops you describe, and this is the list of ingredients:

HPUS Active ingredients: Equal volumes of each ingredient in 12X, 30X, LM1 Adenosinum cyclophosphoricum, Adrenocorticotrophin, Allium cepa, Ambrosia artemisiaefolia, Arsenicum album, Arum triphyllum, Arundo mauritanica, Cortisone aceticum, Euphrasia officinalis, Galphimia glauca, Histaminum hydrochloricum, Kali muriaticum, Mucosa nasalis suis, Naphthalinum, Natrum muriatcum, RNA, Sabadilla, Sulphur, Wyethia helenioides.

This is what we call a homeopathic combination. Classical homeopathy chooses the best remedy to suit all of an individual’s signs, and just gives one remedy at a time. This combination contains 19 different remedies, each in 3 potencies. Each remedy in this combination is one which can be useful in an allergy situation, unfortunately, there is no individualisation to the patient. In addition, this number of remedies will result in interaction between the remedies. Classical homeopaths do not use combinations of so many remedies because we want to stimulate long lasting, permanent healing.

As you have seen, combination remedies can help animals feel better. However, they can not act as deeply as well chosen, single remedies, because they do not address an individual’s needs. The ideal treatment for your husky would be to consult a competent veterinary homeopath to assess his case, and prescribe specifically for him. I would be sure to discuss your use of this product with the homeopath, as your boy’s response to it may indicate that one of the remedies in it, or a remedy related to one of those remedies, could be important to providing permanent relief from his allergy problems.

Your dog’s noisy breathing and congestion is most likely related to allergies, especially as he breathes normally at night. In older dogs, abnormal breathing, voice changes, and congestion can also be caused by heart or lung problems, so you would want to be sure that his chest auscults normally with a stethoscope.

There are some safe supplements that can be given to help with allergies:

Vitamin E (only the d-alpha tocopherol form), 10 IU / # : Anti-oxidant, decreases inflammation
Omega 3 fatty acids, such as are found in fish or krill oil, EPA 30 mg / #, DHA 20 mg / # : Decreases inflammation and itchiness
Quercetin, 5-10 mg / #, two or three times daily : Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Bromelain, 10-30mg / # : Anti-inflammatory, disrupts antigen/antibody complexes

You are already giving fish oil; check your dose and see if a slightly higher dose is in order. Gradually increase the amount of fish oil, as some animals get loose stools if the dose is too high. Quercetin is especially helpful in allergies with nasal congestion, so I would add that to your dog’s diet first, and see how he does.

S.F. Chapman DVM, MRCVS, VetMFHom

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