Monday, August 25, 2008

A Weekend of Plant Love!

Wow! I just got back from the New England Woman's Herbal Conference in Peterborough, NH. 48 hours of herbs! It was very inspiring. Probably more about inspiration than education this weekend, actually. It's always hard to choose what workshops to attend when you have so many overlapping. Unfortunately the two animal-focused ones were profoundly disappointing, adding nothing to my knowledge. In fact, it solidified my belief in the need for my continuing my education and becoming a better dog practitioner and advocate.

I did attend a great session about adrenal fatigue, and how stress can, through this physical issue it causes, be the cause then of further health problems. It was really educational to learn the science of that. I wished I'd done more of those advanced workshops.

It was a fun weekend, lots of food, evening dips in the pond before dinner, nighttime performances, and an exhibition tent full of intriguing products. I bought a set of nine flower essences made from at-risk medicinal plants that seemed to be a good set of traumatized and troubled animals (weird how that worked out). Everyone should hear about United Plant Savers, by the way, which advocates for endangered and at-risk medicinal plants.

I really hope I can attend this conference again (and maybe even teach at it some day).

I'll be updating folks with my new learning, don't worry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Visual Records.... Visual Art

I know, more clinical photos of my dogs front teeth.... but now I'm kinda gettin' into these mouth photos.

Today's kinda came out cool. The one on the right especially.

The artist side of me is coming out. And really, that's not so unusual - make art out of what you're faced with (probably why I like them so much is that they're a little blurry.

I took these because I won't see Vida for two weeks, and I want to have a visual record of how things look. That's really the only way over time to be sure what's going on, if something starts growing back abnormally.

She was very nice about letting me take them too - lips squished up, camera close-up in her face, waiting patiently for me to finish.

I'm going to our camp in New Hampshire for two weeks. I'm also going to the New England Women's Herbal Conference a couple days after I arrive. Three days of herbal learning, including two pet specific workshops. I'll post about that as soon as I can - internet via the local library when I'm in NH.

Vida'll be hangin' here with my mom, who has to follow this list of diet guidelines (which really is easier than it looks:

only dried fish skins or the dried turkey heart of buffalo liver pieces that are in the treat jar (had to discuss again the issue of starving cancer cells by avoiding sugars, even in fruit).

Each Meal:
two patties (8 oz total) Bravo Balance, turkey or beef
Half-tablespoon Wholistic Pet Canine Complete
Half-tablet In Clover Connectin
8 Drops (strictly!) Quantum Herbal A/T Blood Cleanser
2 teaspoons (approx) Liquid Health Glucosamine
1 tablespoon (approx) Animal Essentials Omega 3 Oil (Fish, E, Borage)

That, and I'm forcing my mom to take her to the dog park (my dog is much more social than my mom). Not that she plays a lot, but it's still a good social visit.

I guess Vida takes after me with the worrying thing, hehe.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wooly Balls!

Vida's 1st flock of wool balls. Yes, flock. She likes to collect them back together after they've been flung about the room, and takes pride in ownership.

The white one is a bit bigger than a tennis ball. Some of the others are a bit smaller than I like - I forgot about shrinkage (though of course that's how they're made all tidy).

They're 100% wool, the colors are natural wool colors, no dyes or bleach. Some of them have squeakers (though it's harder to get those ones made just right).

She hasn't gone beyond a little textural exploration with them yet, but if she does destroy them I can just save the wool and reuse it as stuffing for a sewn or crocheted toy.

No more synthetic plushies in her mouth, oh no!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A nice non-clinical photo

I figured I should post a nice non-clinical photo of Vida. Here she is hanging out at the dog park today - not looking at the camera.

For those who don't know her she's 8 years old, just over 40 pounds (she looks like a big dog without a person there for context).

Anyway, not a super action photo (there are a couple swimming ones on her Dogster page, where you can get all the 411 on her, in decorative Dogster style), but more of a reiki-dog one.

Is West Nile A Danger to Dogs?

It seems that we've got another scare on our hands. People are asking about how to protect their dogs from West Nile Virus. Though I don't consider this a threat for my dog, I decided I'd go looking for the official word.

People need to remember to put things in perspective - risk from nature vs. risk from chemicals. Science can bridge this gap if (a) people are willing to learn a little bit and (b) are aware enough to see the propaganda of the chemical industry that wants to sell you toxins to "protect" your pet.

You can see how this can apply to many other issues - fleas (which now are seen as some super-danger), food, vaccines, snakes, mosquitos, etc., etc. But I digress.

Here's my take on West Nile. It poses very little risk to dogs (a tiny bit more to cats). The main reason is that most dogs will show no ill effects at all, and the rest will show only slight ones. They seem to absorb the virus and develop antibodies easily.

And there is no risk of you or your horse contracting it from your dog, so rest easy on that account.

The following is from Contra Costa County Health Services:

Can West Nile Virus cause illness in dogs or cats?
Yes, West Nile Virus can cause illness in dogs or cats. Most dogs or cats infected with West Nile Virus do not show signs of illness and most will recover from the infection. Experimentally infected dogs showed no symptoms after being infected with WNV, and some infected cats exhibited mild, nonspecific symptoms during the first week after infection.

Can an infected dog or cat become a carrier of the disease?
The evidence suggests that dogs do not develop enough virus in their bloodstream to infect more mosquitoes. Cats develop slightly higher levels of virus in their bloodstream, but it is unclear if this would be enough to infect mosquitoes. It is very unlikely that cats would be important in furthering the spread of the virus.

The information closely matches that from the CDC website.

I find it funny that they say the animals can get sick when they then go on to describe pretty much nothing, especially for dogs. They manage to plant that seed of doubt that people latch onto when they are not comfortable dealing with health naturally.

I'd be way more concerned in my area about Ehrlichiosis, which is much more common (and passed by ticks, by the way). Never heard of it? Yep, neither had I, until last year! This is your chance to do a little internet research, ok. Teach yourself.

So do the usual - fresh food diet, supplements (antioxidents, trace minerals, EFAs, aromatics), and natural pest deterrents and controls as needed (I spray with essential oils when going on a trail in warm months). Don't freak out!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Killer Herb, dude!

Cheesy, I know - what can I say, I live in Leucadia.

Last night I started Vida on the blood tonic from Quantum Herbs. The dosage for her is about 10 drops each meal (twice a day), so I started her on 3 drops last night, 4 this morning, 5 this evening..... it's important to give the body an adjustment period.

Here are the ingredients: Red Clover, Graviola, Venus Fly Trap, Burdock root and seed, Oregon Grape root, Blood root, Poke root, Yellow Dock, Chaparral, Lobelia herb and seed, Periwinkle, Prickly Ash bark and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Wow, right! Lots of stuff. You'd really need to look each one up to get the picture of how it works (maybe I'll add that one of these days, or to the next issue of my zine, Radical Pet). Basically it's designed to help the body remove toxins, and create an environment in the body that's unfriendly to cancer cells.

This same idea is behind feeding dogs diets that are high in protein and fat, and low in carbs. Fat in particular provides energy to the dog, yet starves cancer cells. So Vida's already on a good diet with raw. I just increased her fish oil a bit (back to where it used to be actually), and cut out the biscuits and pancakes. Here treat jar is now filled with freeze-dried turkey heart and buffalo liver.

I'm not expecting an herbal cure, but wouldn't it be a nice surprise if nothing weird grows back! I do think this will slow down progress, maybe even a lot. I'm definitely feeling confident about this for the next little while.

I'll post a new photo in a few days, it's healing up well, though still a bit tender.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Gone for now (photo)

Here she is, 3 days post surgery. The spit bubbles are obscuring the emptiness where the vet cauterized the flesh between the teeth.

She's a little pink today, and seems a little sore there, but no real swelling. Not interested in having it exposed - this photo was the third try to get one without the tongue flicking out.

Bad News....

It's a Plasma Cell Tumor, or Plasmacytoma.

Excision works well for these, apparently, but I'm not jumping into that quite yet. Removing a few small front teeth and the gums would be ok, really, but not more than that.

First I'm going to start her ASAP on a blood tonic. I'm going to use one from Quantum Herbal called A/T Blood Cleanser Formula for pets. I don't expect a "cure", but it's a start at slowing the whole thing down.

It can't be helped I guess sometimes. Raw food, all the "right stuff" and still cancer. Ugh.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Growth Be Gone

Vida had her yucky little tumor thing removed this morning. Her mouth looks lovely now, but I thought I'd spare her and haven't taken a photo yet of it sans bulge.

She still feels pretty cruddy. I think it's because, despite our conversation about no i.v. sedatives, the vet slipped her a sub-cutaneous ACE shot ("just a kiss" as he put it) right before we started her on the gas. They were worried about her going down on gas-only, but I can't see how the sub-cu shot could've taken effect so quickly as to have any effect on how easily she did go down.

They cut out the offending tissue and cauterized, and even cauterized on either side of the tooth to try and get what they could without it being too much to sustain her tooth (in the event it's benign.... getting all this?). They also gave her sub-cu fluids as a precaution against dehydration.

They were very nice, letting me help hold her to go down, and letting me sit with her in the pen while she woke up. By then the ACE had taken effect, and she was super woozy. I sprayed Five Flower Formula on her paw every few minutes, and a homeopathic liquid called "Accident/Rescue" from Newton Labs (has arnica, hypericum, etc), and did a little bit of acupressure, tui na, and of course reiki.

She was pretty much napping, but after about 20 minutes I took the leash out of my pocket and the sight of that got her up on her feet. She wobbled out to the car.

That is the thing about sedatives and mixed breeds - you may not get the result you expect. This may point to her having sighthound in her, more sensitive to sedatives. I hope they make a note of it.

Once she got home she didn't want me out of her sight for the first hour or so, despite her wobbly-ness. She's been napping since then, with a little walking around in between. It's been several hours so I put her water bowl down, but she's not interested yet. Nauseous still, I guess. (her water has a collodial silver and melissa hydrosol additive in it made by AromaDog - called Lickity Spritzer)

I'll be doing a couple liver points tonight to start her detoxifying the anesthesia, and will give a homeopathic detox tomorrow.

Then we wait a few days for lab results, grrrr.