List of Common & Rare Dog Diseases

Here we describe various dog diseases (canine diseases), with reference to acupuncture, herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, chiropractic manipulation etc., where appropriate. We invite and accept referrals for complimentary and alternative medicine treatments.

See also: Dog Cases

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Table of Contents

Dog Disease List

Hip Dysplasia with secondary arthritis

Homeopathy Acupuncture Herbs Chiropractic Natural Feeding
Abscess Achropachia Addisons Disease AIHA Allergy – Allergies
Alopecia Anaemia – Anemia Anal Furunculosis Arthritis Aopy
Auto-immune Back & Neck Problems Behavioural Problems Bloat Borreliosis
Botulism Campylobacter Cancer Canine Stroke – Stroke Carcinoma
Cardiomyopathy Cataract CDRM Chronic Diarrhoea Colitis, IBD, IBS
Conjunctivitis Coprophagy Corneal Lipidosis Corneal Ulceration Cough
Craniomandibular OsteopathyCMO Cruciate Ligament Cryptorchidism Cushing's Disease Cushings Disease
Cutaneous Vasculitis Cutaneous Vasculopathy Cystitis Demodectic Mange Dermatitis
Diabetes Insipidus Diabetes Mellitus Diarrhoea Disc Disease – PID – IVD Distemper
DJD Dry Eye Ear Problems Eczema Elbow Dysplasia
Encephalitis Epilepsy Epistaxis Epulis – Epulid Equine Influenza
Eye Problems Fading Puppy Syndrome False Lactation False Pregnancy Fears
Fibrosarcoma Fibrous Dysplasia Fleas Food Poisoning Foreign Body
Fracture Gastro-Enteritis Glaucoma Grass Seed Gums – Gingivitis
Haematoma Head Gland Disease Heart Disease Heat Stress Heat Stroke
Hepatitis Hepatocutaneous syndrome Hepatopathy Herpes Virus Hip Dysplasia
Histiocytoma HODHypertrophic Osteodystrophy Hormonal Alopecia Hormonal Skin Problems Horners Syndrome
Hyperthyroid Hypothyroid Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis IMHA Incontinence
Infertility & Hormones Interdigital cysts IPF Kennel Cough Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Kidney Problems Laryngeal Paralysis Legg-Perthes      Legg-Calvé-Perthes Leishmaniasis (Leishmaniosis) Leptospirosis
Leucosis Leukaemia Ligament Injury Liver Disease Lungworm
Lupus Luxating Patella Lyme Disease Malar Abscess Mange
Marie's Disease Mast Cell Tumour Melanoma Meningitis Metaphyseal Osteopathy
Moller Barlow Disease Monorchidism MRSA Myositis Myxoedema
Nose Bleed Obesity OCD Osteoarthritis Osteodystrophies
Osteodystrophy II Osteomalacia Osteomyelitis Osteosarcoma Pancreatic Insufficiency
Pancreatitis Panosteitis Paralysis Parvovirus Patella Luxation
Pemphigus Perianal Fistula Pseudopregnancy Pulmonary Fibrosis Pyoderma
Pyometra – Pyometritis Rabies Vaccine Induced Ischaemic Dermatopathy Renal Failure (CRF) Retained Testicle Reverse Sneezing
Rickets Sinusitis Sarcoptic Mange SARDS – Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome SIBO
Skeletal Scurvy Skin Problems SLE Smoking Spondylitis
Spondylosis Syringomyelia Teeth & Gums Testicle Retained Thyroid
Ticks Travel Sickness Ulcers Undescended Testicle Urolithiasis
Urticaria (Hives) Vaccination Problems Vestibular Syndrome Warts Westie Lung Disease
Wobbler Syndrome Wounds

See also: Articles in .pdf format on Dog DiseasesClick

In addition to the above links, we have a suite of brief introductory pages for quick reference on the following:

AllergyArthritisAtopyAutoimmune DisordersBack ProblemsBehavioural ProblemsCancerCDRMColitisCushingsDisc DiseaseDisc ProlapseDry EyeEpilepsyHeart DiseaseIBDIBSKCSKeratitis SiccaKeratoconjunctivitis SiccaKidney DiseaseParalysisProlapsed Intervertebral DiscSkin Problems

If these prove useful to readers and if we receive requests for others, we shall try to oblige as soon as possible.


ABSCESS

An abscess forms where infection and damaged tissue are confined by the body to a defined zone and surrounded by a defensive inflammatory barrier. Within this zone, dead tissue and bacterial invaders are ‘eaten' by white blood cells (Leucocytes) and pus is formed. Eventually, the purulent material is expelled as the abscess bursts and then the area heals hopefully uneventfully.

This is a normal process and part of the body's defense strategy. Because it can be so painful, we tend to be tempted to intervene. This, although understandable, is not always wise and can lead to chronic complications. Cutting into or ‘lancing' the abscess prematurely can abort the natural defence process, leaving ‘unfinished business'. Likewise, antibiotics can abort the process or be totally ineffective. Pain killers may be used but there is often a penalty from the anti-inflammatory effect (risking breakdown of the defensive barrier). All these things must be weighed up and the risks set against the benefit.

In homeopathy, we usually manage to control the pain and accelerate the process, without causing premature cessation. First-aid medicines such as homeopathic Silicea (in chronic abscesses) and Hepar sulphurisin acute abscesses can often bring enormous relief and optimise the outcome. Belladonna may be appropriate in a really acute and painful situation. Other homeopathic medicines are available and can be deployed as needed.

We would also foment and soothe the abscess by bathing with with warm salty water. If a poultice is considered necessary, at the AVMC we would normally opt for the very effective (and cheap) Mag. Sulph. Paste (aka Morisons Paste).

Abscesses can arise from a foreign body (e.g. grass seed). Using antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs in such cases can be very likely to lead to chronic problems. Homeopathic treatment usually results in a good outcome, without need for surgery.

Another common site for an abscess is in the anal gland. Similar considerations apply.

See also: Foreign Body

See also: First Aid

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ADDISONS DISEASE

Hypoadrenocorticism

We are currently awaiting a case report for an Addisons Disease patient. It is being prepared for publication. It is a case in which the requirement for conventional therapy has been massively reduced and in which the patient has survived many years, after homeopathic treatment (homeopathy).

It is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks'/'favorites', for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.

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AIHA – Auto Immune Haemolytic Anaemia

aka Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA)

Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA) is a disease commonly referred to as ‘idiopathic' (i.e. ‘of unknown aetiology or origin' or ‘arising spontaneously'). However, at the AVMC, we believe that any calamitous disturbance of immune function can lead to it and possible candidates are viruses and vaccination.

AIHA (IMHA) is an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder, in which the red blood cells are the target of the misdirected or deranged immune process. Red cells are destroyed by this process more rapidly than the body can generate new ones, hence the onset of anaemia. Springer Spaniels appear to have a particular susceptibility to this type of autoimmune disturbance.

The pale membranes typical of an anaemic patient, along with signs of illness or lethargy, are often the only clinical clues.

Homeopathic treatment is directed at stimulation of more normal immune activity and restoration of red blood cell numbers.

While a gloomy prognosis* is often given, in conventional circles, we have been fortunate enough to see what appears to be full recovery, coincidental with homeopathic and holistic intervention in a significant number of cases. We certainly don't embark on treatment with pessimism, based on this fortunate experience. However, we do respect the fact that it is a potentially deadly disease and we can offer no promise of success in any single case undertaken. To steal and adapt part of a quotation by John Allen Paulos, we would state that the only certainty in medicine is uncertainty but we cannot be pessimistic in the face of the experience we have enjoyed to date.

*For example, the Morris Animal Foundation states on its website: “Scientists estimate more than 50 percent of dogs with AIHA/IMHA will die from the condition, usually within weeks of diagnosis”

A study: Reimer ME, Troy GC, Warnick LD – Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia: 70 cases (1988-1996) – Journal American Animal Hospital Assoc. 1999 Sep-Oct;35(5):384-91 – reported a 70% mortality rate.

Conventional treatment is usually by steroids and immuno-suppressants.

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ALLERGY – ALLERGIES

What is it?

The term ‘allergy’ implies a malfunction of the immune system. The word is derived from Ancient Greek, to mean ‘other function’, so it is one of the few modern disease names that accurately and meaningfully describes the fundamental dysfunction, rather than simply describing signs and symptoms.

In allergy, the immune system responds inappropriately to ‘allergens’, which are materials that ‘trigger’ the reaction. These may be pollens, house dust, flea saliva, moulds, grass proteins, garden plants, house plants, food components, household reagents or certain chemicals. Removing or reducing these allergens from the environment or diet of the dog may reduce the symptoms but will not cure the problem.

What causes it?

This is not known with certainty but any powerful immune challenges that are capable of perverting immune function and balance, such as virus or vaccination, are likely candidates.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the allergic reaction with anti-inflammatory drugs (such as steroid/cortisone) or with anti-histamines. This is a life-time task and can, in fact, lead to a worsening of the disease in the longer term. A course of desensitising vaccines may be offered, which are based on the result of specific allergy tests. This technique seems to be aimed to ‘tire', to ‘exhaust’ or to ‘wear out' the immune system into non-reactivity, but only helps in a few cases.

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Vet, we try to rebalance the immune system, such that the allergic reaction ceases to occur. This may require homeopathic constitutional prescribing and/or a remedy based more on specific troublesome symptoms. In addition to homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture can play a part in treatment.

In either case, it is wise to try to reduce the allergenic challenge from the environment in the meantime but, whereas in conventional medicine this is a permanent requirement, in natural medicine, a normal tolerance for the allergen may be re-established.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much faster and more effectively if given a natural, healthy, unprocessed diet. Furthermore, some allergies occur to chemicals in the diet for which the dog has no need but which may be harmful anyway.

See also: Skin problems, Atopy

See also: Immunotherapy (Desensitising Injections) FAQ

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ALOPECIA (& ALOPECIA X)

hair loss in dogs including ‘hormonal alopecia'

The term alopecia refers to hair loss or failure to replace hair. There may be a multitude of causes behind the condition. One prominent known cause is hypothyroidism. Many cases of alopecia seem to respond well to homeopathic treatment (homeopathy).

The seemingly specific syndrome known as ‘Alopecia X‘ but a.k.a. ‘Adult Onset Growth Hormone Deficiency', ‘Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia', ‘Hair Cycle Arrest', ‘Castration-Responsive Alopecia', ‘Adrenal Hyperplasia-Like Syndrome', ‘Coat Funk of Malamutes' or ‘Black Skin Disease of Pomeranians' affects primarily Nordic breeds and Toy or Miniature Poodles. It is little understood at this time. The hair loss is not accompanied by other signs of ill health. It may possibly be worth trying treatment using natural medicine and holistic methodolgy.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks'/'favorites', for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.

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ANAEMIA – ANEMIA

This term anaemia is usually applied to reduced red cells or haemoglobin (hemoglobin) pigment in the blood. It can occur as a result of haemorrhage (hemorrhage) or blood loss, damage to red cells or failure of production of red cells or combinations of these. It can also result from a shortage or deficiency of the raw materials required for haemoglobin production (viz. Iron, Folic acid and Vitamin B12), from viral disease and from adverse reaction to vaccination (vaccinosis). There is a rarer cause, from autoimmune processes (Auto Immune Haemolytic Anaemia – AIHA – aka Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia – IMHA).

In the case of haemorrhage or blood loss, the loss must be stopped, as a matter of urgency. For instance, if the blood loss is due to worm infestation, that must be treated. If due to injury, the bleeding must be prevented by pressure or other appropriate intervention.

Poisoning by rat poison (rodenticide) can be a possible cause of blood loss and anaemia in dogs and cats.

Diagnosis is usually by a combination of the pale appearance of mucous membranes, slow capillary refill, lethargy, altered heart beat or blood sample.

Holistic treatment is usually very effective. We establish the cause, as best we can, eliminating any ongoing cause and providing a correct diet. We then use homeopathy, as a stimulus to optimum red blood cell and haemoglobin production. In the case of autoimmune (or immune-mediated) anaemia, homeopathic constitutional treatment is usually successful.

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ANAL FURUNCULOSIS – PERIANAL FISTULA

seen in German Shepherds

Anal Furunculosis is a deep ‘infection' of the anal gland, which becomes a chronic fistula, with infected discharge. It is generally quite painful. Early stages are detected by a moist under-tail and perineum, with reddening of the anal area, to one or other side or both. The tail is often clamped firmly down.

Anal Furunculosis is almost exclusively confined to the German Shepherd breed but no one has suggested it to be an inherited disease. It is more likely that it is one of the many manifestations of the immune problems so common in that breed. It may be of autoimmune origin (immune mediated). This makes vaccination one of the possible triggers to consider.

In conventional medicine it is generally nowadays treated with heavy immunosuppressant drugs. In natural medicine at the AVMC, we use a combined homeopathic (to help rebalance the immune system) and LASER approach (local healing stimulus), with natural feeding. However, despite this, a proportion of cases have apparently still required surgical removal of the anal gland, which is an eventuality we work hard to try to prevent.

See also: Autoimmune Problems

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ARTHRITIS

What is it?

The term ‘arthritis’ implies inflammation of a joint or joints. Taken literally, this can include a simple sprain but it is more often used to describe osteo-arthritis, in which long-term bony changes occur in the skeleton, around the joints. These changes can result in swelling and deformation of the joint, with reduced range of flexion and extension. The resultant pain and altered movement can cause lameness or can, in bad cases, be quite crippling. This is possibly the most common reason for a lame dog (limping dog).

What causes it?

Arthritis can result from a poorly healed injury, ruptured ligaments (e.g. cruciate), developmental problems such as OCD, elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia, infective damage, surgery, repetitive strain injury, degenerative joint disease (DJD) or auto-immunity (e.g. SLE). The chronic inflammation around the joint stimulates new bone formation, which alters the shape of the joint, restricts the range of movement and gives rise to pain. Diet itself may play a part in aetiology.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes. A cure may not be possible but positive responses can result in reduced symptoms or even apparent disappearance of symptoms in the best cases. Mobility and quality of life can generally be improved or restored and drug usage can be reduced or removed.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the inflammatory reaction and block the pain response with pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), steroid/cortisone or a combination of these). This is a life-time task and not every dog can tolerate these drugs. Progression of the disease is not altered by these drugs. Surgery may be offered, to alter the structure of the joint or to stabilise the increased movement (e.g. in cruciate damage).

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Vet, we try to stimulate healthier and more normal skeletal remodelling, aiming for long-term improvement in joint shape and structure. This is achieved using homeopathy and diet. We try to rebalance the body’s inflammatory responses, thus reducing or removing pain. In difficult cases, lameness and pain may be more directly controlled by acupuncture or by specific homeopathic or herbal medication. LASER therapy may also play a part. Magnet therapy shows great promise, in some cases (it is not usually possible to predict which cases) and can alter the whole situation over a period.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much more quickly and more effectively if given a natural, healthy, unprocessed diet. Healthy skeletal structure depends upon feeding healthy raw materials, thus exploiting the opportunity presented by the inevitable constant recycling and replacement of the skeleton. The activity of inflammatory mediators can be modified through diet. Certain supplements may have a beneficial effect (e.g. vitamins, essential fatty acids and cartilage precursors (best supplied by the provision of raw knuckle bones), alfalfa etc.). Furthermore, some arthritis occurs solely as a result of an unhealthy processed diet.

In order to try to optimise the way in which the dog uses his skeleton, we use chiropractic manipulation in each case. There are usually multiple skeletal misalignments in arthritis cases. Some of these may be part of the ‘cause’ and some may be part of the ‘effect’ of the disease. In either case, better movement results in better healing capability.

Many cases attest to the benefits of this approach.

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ATOPY

What is it?

Atopy is a ‘diagnosis of exclusion'. It is a condition in which there is a ‘type 1 hypersensitivity’ (allergy). In type 1, also called ‘immediate hypersensitivity’, there are cell-fixed antibodies (e.g. IgE), in basophils or mast cells (immune system cells)), which, when combined with ‘allergens’, release histamines and other vaso-active components, which give rise to inflammation and ‘pruritus’ (itching). There is said by some to be a hereditary component, but this is not a key factor, in our opinion.

The characteristic itchiness of atopy is often seasonal, at first. If the signs are ‘suppressed’, e.g. by steroids, it can extend to all-year-round after one or two seasons, as a result of the suppression and exacerbation cycle. Feet, underside and face are most affected, with self-trauma superimposing further signs. Ears may be affected. There may be secondary pyoderma.

The term ‘allergy’ implies a malfunction of the immune system. The word is derived from Ancient Greek, to mean ‘other function’, so it is one of the few modern disease names that accurately and meaningfully describes the fundamental dysfunction, rather than simply describing signs and symptoms. There is a state of ‘altered reactivity’.

In allergy, the immune system responds inappropriately to ‘allergens’, which are materials that ‘trigger’ the reaction. These may be pollens, house dust, moulds, grass proteins, food components, flea saliva or certain chemicals. Removing or reducing these allergens from the environment or diet of the dog may reduce the symptoms but will not cure the problem.

What causes it?

This is not known with certainty but any powerful immune challenges, such as virus or vaccination, are likely candidates. Any hereditary component is restricted, in our opinion, to a hereditary predisposition, rather than a hereditary disease. Thus, certain breeds and certain lines may show greater susceptibility and be more likely to develop atopy in response to appropriate noxious stimuli.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the allergic reaction with anti-inflammatory drugs (such as steroid/cortisone) or with anti-histamines. This is a life-time task and usually results in deepening or worsening of the problem, as a result of the suppression/exacerbation cycle. Desensitising vaccines (immunotherapy) may be offered, which are based on the result of specific allergy tests. This technique seems to ‘tire’ the immune system into non-reactivity, but only appears to help in a few cases.

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Vet, we try to rebalance the immune system, such that the allergic reaction ceases to occur. This may require homeopathic constitutional prescribing and/or a remedy based more on specific troublesome symptoms. In addition to homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture can play a part in treatment.

In either case, it is wise to try to reduce the allergenic challenge from the environment in the meantime but, whereas in conventional medicine this is a permanent requirement, in natural medicine, a normal tolerance for the allergen may be re-established.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much faster and more effectively if given a natural, healthy, unprocessed diet. Furthermore, some allergies occur to chemicals in the diet for which the dog has no need but which may be harmful anyway.

See also: Skin problems

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AURAL HAEMATOMA

See: Haematoma

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AUTOIMMUNE (AUTO-IMMUNE) DISORDER

Autoimmune disorder is the subject of a .pdf document (Autoimmune Disease).

We also have an introductory page on Autoimmune Disorders

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body's own tissues. This aberration can be triggered by viral, chemical or vaccination challenge. Because some breeds appear more susceptible than others, there is a tendency to ‘blame' heredity. However, it is likely that what is inherited is the susceptibility or tendency. A trigger is still required to set the process in train.

Happily homeopathy is able to bring many of these conditions under control. In VKH, LASER therapy or Acupuncture-by-Laser may be required, particularly in treating the associated eye problems. In CDRM, acupuncture is also used alongside homeopathy, in an integrated program.

Examples of autoimmune conditions in dogs are:

  • Addison's Disease (click)
  • Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA) (click)
  • CDRM (click)
  • Chronic Degenerative Radiculo-Myelopathy (CDRM aka DM) (click)
  • Cutaneous Vasculitis – Cutaneous Vasculopathy (click)
  • DLE (click)
  • DM (click)
  • Dry Eye (Kerato-Conjunctivitis Sicca – KCS) (click)
  • Eosinophilic Myositis (see Myositis)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA) (click)
  • Lupus (SLE & DLE) (click)
  • Myositis
  • Pemphigus (click)
  • Purpura
  • SARD (SARDS) (click)
  • SLE (click)
  • Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARD, SARDS) (click)
  • Temporal Myositis
  • Uveodermatologic Syndrome (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like Syndrome – VKH)

Other possible candidates are:

  • Anal Furunculosis (Perianal Fistula) (click)
  • Cardiomyopathy (click)
  • Diabetes Mellitus (click)
  • Heart Valve Disease of Cavaliers (click)
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)
  • Moller Barlow Disease
  • Pancreatic Insufficiency (click)
  • Rabies Vaccine Induced Ischaemic Dermatopathy (click)
  • Skeletal Scurvy

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BACK PROBLEMS – NECK PROBLEMS

What is it?

Back pain can be extremely disabling and painful for a dog. Back problems can vary from simple soreness, with sensitivity to pressure, through spinal and pelvic misalignments to a full-blown injury  (e.g. to intervertebral disc) or to serious chronic pathology (e.g. spondylosis). The early signs can be easy to miss, as we can so easily write off the reduced activity and altered movement to ‘age’.

How does it occur?

Life’s wear and tear, in the complex and unnatural environment and lifestyle a dog shares with us, can lead to misalignments of the back (spine). If these are not corrected in a timely fashion, secondary longer-term damage can ensue. Neck injuries can occur from pulling on the lead, from falls, from collisions and other traumas. Lameness can lead to uneven stresses on the spine, resulting in misalignments. There may be dietary or hereditary predispositions to and causes of chronic pathological changes. Disc problems are described separately.

Is it responsive to treatment?

Simple misalignments are usually easy to correct by chiropractic manipulation. The immediate results of this work can be astonishing. Any pain, resulting from the muscle spasm caused by long-term misalignment, can usually be additionally helped by acupuncture and homeopathy. At the AVMC, we have a special interest in dog back problems and we integrate these therapies to try to achieve optimum healing.

Even the independent NHS watchdog, NICE (N.I.C.E. – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), has recognised the potential benefit from acupuncture and manipulation in the relief of human back pain (as of May 2009 –

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6368290.ece).

However, many conventional vets appear to be very suspicious of the practice, to the potential detriment of many of their patients.

Long-term pathology, such as spondylosis, is treated in a similar way to arthritis.

Back People

There are many ‘back people’ who ply their trade. Animal-qualified chiropractors are examined by the McTimoney Chiropractic Association. These are genuine. Of those without this qualification, some will, of course, also be genuine but caution is advised in using someone without the qualification. Some self-appointed back people are dangerous.

Physiotherapists work on the musculature, which can be very valuable in suitable cases, but most with whom we have had contact do not acknowledge spinal misalignment.

All chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and other manipulators are required, by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, to work only on the recommendation of a vet and under the supervision of a vet.

Gadgets

Many pieces of equipment are recommended, by salespersons or practitioners, for back problems. Ultra-sound, LASER therapy, Magnet, Faradic and TENS are but a few of these. Before embarking on such programs, which can be expensive quite apart from safety and welfare considerations, please consult your vet, to enquire about suitability or safety for the particular dog. You may need to consult a vet who is experienced in a full range of holistic therapies for dogs, to access the necessary expertise to evaluate these tools.

Swimming

If there is no pathology, which could be damaged by this activity, this can be a useful way to exercise the spine and its musculature, without the effects of gravity or concussion. Be advised by your vet, whether swimming could help your dog, since some cases are entirely unsuitable.

Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Homeopathy can make a useful contribution to integrated pain management (integrative pain management).

N.B.: We do not advise hydrotherapy for cases of CDRM.

See also: Pelvic misalignment article

See also: http://www.chiropractic-vet.co.uk

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BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS – BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

Behavioural problems are commonly presented for homeopathic treatment. Not all are strictly behavioural in nature, in that there may be an underlying physical cause, dietary cause or even some internal disease, an extreme example of which can be low-grade meningitis or encephalitis.

As some problems are purely behavioural in origin, resulting perhaps from hereditary or learned causes, behavioural therapy is worth considering. However, the possibility of a more organic cause must not be overlooked.

If the problem is curable, which not all are, then the holistic approach provided by homeopathy, including close attention to dietary, nutritional and environmental detail, should be able to bring about a positive result.

Common so-called behavioural problems treated at the AVMC include:

  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Barking
  • Bereavement
  • Coprophagy
  • Depression
  • Excitability
  • Fears (darkness, alone, thunder, noises etc.)
  • House training
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hypersexuality
  • Hysteria
  • Insecurity
  • Irritability
  • Jealousy
  • Nervousness
  • Possessiveness
  • Resentment
  • Roaming
  • Sadness
  • Sexual behavioural problems
  • Urine marking (inappropriate)

It is worth remembering that, while insurance companies tend to exclude treatment for purely behavioural problems from their benefits, those problems which have an underlying physical or dietary cause are claimable.

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BLOAT – BLOATING

Bloating can present as an emergency, in which case no time should be lost from first noticing the warning signs to obtaining emergency veterinary help and possibly surgery. Alternatively, it can be a chronic, debilitating, troublesome and even life-threatening condition (see the case of Fern, the Flatcoated Retriever). In the non-emergency cases, homeopathy and natural dietary measures usually appear to help.

Bloat is mostly a problem for the larger breeds of dog.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks'/'favorites', for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.

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BORRELIOSIS (LYME DISEASE)

We have not knowingly had a case of Lyme Disease to treat at the AVMC. We are therefore unable to pass on experiences.

There is no prima facie reason to expect that Lyme Disease should behave differently from other infectious diseases and we would therefore consider nosode treatment alongside more usual homeopathic methods.

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks'/'favorites', for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.

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BOTULISM

Botulism can present as an emergency, in which case no time should be lost from first noticing the warning signs to obtaining emergency veterinary help and possibly surgery.

Botulism is a condition that is related to food poisoning but generally arises from swallowing stagnant, putrid water (e.g. standing water with rotting vegetation, esp. after a long hot spell). Canals and ponds can be a danger.

We have also seen the condition in a pack of fox hounds, when the freezer was damaged without anyone noticing and the meat partially thawed a while before consumption. The meat in such situations is rarely fresh when frozen, usually coming from fallen livestock, so presents a much higher risk.

The agent of the signs and symptoms is Botulinum Toxin, from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Ascending paralysis and paralysis of smooth muscle such as bowel can occur, with fatal consequences if appropriate care cannot be obtained rapidly after onset.

Assuming the disease has not been immediately fatal, treatment using homeopathy would be our favoured option in our efforts to enhance chances of survival.

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CAMPYLOBACTER

Homeopathic treatment for campylobacter has usually been successful in helping a patient to throw off this otherwise troublesome infection. We combine homeopathy with dietary advice and sometimes with a high-quality probiotic. It should be borne in mind that this is a zoonosis.

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CANCER

Cancer is the subject of a .pdf document (Cancer – Neoplasia)

The dreaded word, cancer, is deeply feared by most of us. In the USA, once dogs are past 3 years-old, they have a 50% risk of developing cancer. This is a horrifying statistic. When cancer strikes, however, it is important to try to look dispassionately at it, despite the emotional pressures, in order to see it for what it is and to be able to stand a chance of beating it.

Cancer is, by and large, a disease of our times. It is a function of immune aberration. It is, unsurprisingly, those animals that are close to us that have the most cancer. This implies that human influence or interventions must be high on the list of possible underlying causes. We pollute our air, water and food with so many chemicals and unknown and unquantified cocktails of chemicals, that the earth has never met before in its millions of years of existence. Yet we expect it to cope. We blast our planet and our bodies with electromagnetic pollution (e.g. mobile ‘phones, cordless telephones, Wi-Fi). We bombard our bodies and those of our animals with so much adverse material and influence that it should not be surprising when the system yields to this pressure on occasions.

Vaccinations (vaccination problems), pollution, food additives, agrochemicals, manufactured diets and suppression of simpler diseases are all possible potent causes, behind the general state of cancer. Vaccination itself may be a powerful cancer-predisposing influence, owing to its action on the immune system and its introduction of biological material and even cancer DNA (vaccination problems).

How can we beat it? Firstly, it is important to realise that some individuals can definitely do so, especially with the help and support offered by natural medicine (usually homeopathy) and holistic diet work. At the AVMC, we have examples of success with most of the worst forms of cancer and malignancy. Previous successful cases include osteosarcoma, mammary carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, fibrosarcoma, leukaemia, liver cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, histiocytoma, lymphoma and mast cell tumours. Liver tumours appear to be the most responsive to date. Spleen tumours (including haemangiosarcoma) are usually treated with homeopathy and simultaneously referred for precise ultrasound diagnosis and possible surgery.  Secondly, it is important to face the opponent and accept that much of cancer is brought about by our lifestyle and habits, both as individuals and as a race. Some of these bad practices are, happily, reversible, if we recognise them. Thirdly, it requires an all-out, no half-measures approach.

Diet, holistic medicine, change of lifestyle and love can turn around some very powerful diseases. While we sadly lose a significant proportion of our canine cancer cases, many do survive, to lead a happy and long life. We can only do our best and we can only promise effort. In treating cancers, we adopt an uncompromising, pedantic and detailed approach to health management and treatment, which is the best way we know to stand a chance of beating this most formidable of foes. We have only one crack at it, with no ‘dress rehearsals'.

The main weapons in our fight against cancer are: homeopathy, diet, herbs, supplements and management changes.

Some easy dietary leads to aid your own researches are: the Budwig Diet (Cottage Cheese and Flaxseed oil) and low carbohydrate content (esp. low or zero grain starch content).

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CARCINOMA

See ‘Cancer‘.

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CARDIOMYOPATHY

Cardiomyopathy patients can usually be helped by homeopathy, with a good proportion of cases showing improvement in heart rhythm, heart strength, pulse strength, exercise tolerance and general well being.

The causes of cardiomyopathy are not clear. In some cases, we have seen coincidence in timing between onset of signs and recent vaccination (possibly implying an autoimmune component), viral disease or exposure to agro-chemicals.

N.B.: If considering an appointment for problems related to the heart and possibly requiring an ECG examination, we can offer this service but please make a longer appointment.

See also: Heart disease

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CATARACT

Cataract can sometimes appear to be helped by homeopathy. We are not certain, in most cases, since it is difficult to evaluate slowing of progress. We have been advised by clients that we have resolved cataract in some early cases but have not had the opportunity to re-examine the eyes.

See also: Diabetes

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CDRM

Chronic Degenerative Radiculo Myelopathy

aka DM

CDRM is the subject of a .pdf document (CDRM). It appears that a good proportion of cases that occur in dogs aged 9 or over can respond to homeopathic treatment and acupuncture treatment, combined and carefully  integrated..

We have seen relative successes with CDRM, using a carefully-integrated acupuncture, homeopathic (homeopathy) and nutritional approach. The unexplained paradox is that we appear to be able to hold out more hope for those dogs that contract the disease later in life (nine years-old and over).

This appears to be a disease of autoimmune origin and a worrying proportion start a short time after vaccination, particularly after ‘double' boosters (often recommended by vets, albeit without scientific justification, after a period of lapsed boosters).

N.B.: We do not recommend hydrotherapy for dogs with CDRM.

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COLITIS, IBD, IBS & CHRONIC DIARRHOEA

Colitis, IBD and IBS are the subject of an article .pdf file

While IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are not necessarily equivalent, they can usefully be discussed under a single heading.

Colitis is characterised by signs of abdominal pain, straining (tenesmus) at a soft, mucoid and sometimes bloody stool and notorious dietary sensitivity. The condition has its roots in immune malfunction. The usual treatment offered is antibiotic and steroid.

A common treatment is with sulphasalazine (sulfasalazine), a sulphur-drug which has the known side-effect of giving rise to dry eye in a number of unfortunate cases.

Colitis, IBD and IBS are usually successfully treated by homeopathy, aimed at restoration of more normal immune balance and function. Successful outcome depends upon a rigorous homeopathic constitutional and miasmatic approach and careful management during the early phase of treatment. Happily, most cases appear to be able to tolerate most normal (non-manufactured) foods, after such treatment.

Some cases of chronic diarrhoea are colitis cases. Others may be a result of chronic bacterial imbalance in the bowel, following a historical disturbance from which the patient has failed to recover. At the AVMC, we aim to restore normal microflora in the bowel, using homeopathic constitutional prescribing (homeopathy), intensive probiotics and careful dietary management during the early phases of treatment.

In refractory cases, we recommend testing a faeces sample at a veterinary laboratory, for such problems as Campylobacter. This is usually amenable to more targeted homeopathic treatment.

An extract of a client letter can be found here.

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COPROPHAGY

Coprophagy (eating of faeces – other dogs' faeces or even own faeces) can often be helped by homeopathy and dietary work. Diet work, involving natural feeding, can often bring about very positive changes.

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COUGH

Cough is a sign that can arise from a multitude of different causes. Depending upon the cause, homeopathy can be a very successful line of therapy. Herbs may also help.

Common problems leading to a cough are: allergy, heart, kennel cough (canine tracheobronchitis) about which we have provided information elsewhere on this page.

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CRANIOMANDIBULAR OSTEOPATHY (CMO)

Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO) is a very painful condition of the skull and jaw of young puppies, particularly seen in Westies (West Highland Terriers). It is thought that there is a hereditary component, a theory reinforced by the fact that several puppies in a litter may be affected.

It is our experience that homeopathic treatment (homeopathy) of CMO has been followed by rapid relief of symptoms and signs of pain and by sustained improvement in the development of the pup, with the result that puppies have mostly developed into normal, healthy, happy dogs.

A healthy natural diet would be a good support to treatment.

As this is a potentially serious disease, we recommend consulting a fully qualified and experienced homeopathic vet.


CRUCIATE LIGAMENT

Damage to the cruciate ligament is a common injury to the ‘stifle' joint (which is analogous to the ‘knee' of a human). The usual conventional approach is surgical, with ligament replacement or, in more recent times, the ‘TPLO' (Tibial Plate Levelling Operation).

Depending upon circumstance, a more conservative approach can give rise to a satisfactory outcome without the need for surgery. This approach uses an integrated program, including Homeopathy (e.g. Ruta), LASER therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic manipulation and dietary/nutritional input. At the AVMC, we usually try this more conservative approach as a first line, prior to considering surgery, at the same time offering an assessment with a respected veterinary orthopaedic specialist.

In this way, responsive cases can be monitored, during the healing process (which may not be smooth in every case) and unsuccessful cases can be dealt with by the orthopaedic specialist in a timely fashion.

N.B.: We do not advise the use of strenuous joint laxity testing methods, such as the Drawer Test, to confirm cruciate ligament damage, because of the threat to joint stability and the already damaged joint structures.

Note: It has long been our belief that the results witnessed following Acupuncture and LASER treatment can best be explained by the stem cell phenomenon. There is a body of evidence developing which now lends support to the notion that LASER and Acupuncture can stimulate the mobilisation and activation of stem cells.

See also: Ligament injury


CRYPTORCHIDISM

Monorchidism, Retained Testicle, Undescended Testicle

There are varying degrees of abnormality of descent of the testicles in the young dog and the condition can be unilateral or bilateral. Having tried many methodologies over the years, we now feel able to say that we consider the best chances of success in treating this condition come from the use of integrated homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and diet. It also seems to be the case that we have a reasonable chance of success if the testicle is palpable in the canal but much less so if it cannot be felt at all from outside. After eight months of age, we would not usually recommend trying further medical options.


CUSHINGS DISEASE

Hyperadrenocorticism

Cushings Disease (aka Cushings Syndrome) is the subject of a .pdf document (Cushings Disease)

Homeopathic medication  (homeopathy) can usually control Cushings syndrome. However, total cure is unlikely except, perhaps, in very early cases.

Sadly, many cases are induced by prolonged use of steroid (corticosteroid, cortisone) drugs (an example of iatrogenic disease). We have a suspicion that some cases may be induced by treatment with drugs for urinary incontinence.

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CUTANEOUS VASCULITIS – CUTANEOUS VASCULOPATHY

FAMILIAL CUTANEOUS VASCULOPATHY

Cutaneous Vasculitis is usually seen in German Shepherd puppies and is usually responsive to homeopathic medication.

Cutaneous Vasculitis is generally described as a hereditary disease (genodermatosis), passed on in an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern, inferred from pedigree analysis. It is a disease characterised by puffy, inflamed, ulcerated pads, focally depigmented nasal planum, ulcerated ear tips and ulcerated tail tip. It usually starts with fever, lethargy and peripheral lymphadenopathy, at around eight to ten weeks of age. There are other findings, including blood picture, histology and bone marrow changes that suggest an immune aberration.

In our opinion, this shows a classic ‘vaccinosis‘ pattern, usually occurring 7 to 10 days after vaccination. The familial tendency can be explained as a hereditary susceptibility to such adverse influences as vaccination. German Shepherds generally have a less stable immune balance than most breeds. However, this theory is not proven and is unlikely to gain credence in the ‘conventional' world.

It is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

The following links to papers give more detailed information on the disease.

http://en.scientificcommons.org/19784401

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&uid=9551382&cmd=showdetailview&indexed=google

See also: Rabies Vaccine Induced Ischaemic Dermatopathy


CYSTITIS

Cystitis is usually very responsive to homeopathic or herbal medication, preferably supported by diet work for long-term help.

If presenting a dog for treatment, be sure to collect a fresh urine sample on the day, ensuring that it is not contaminated by material from the environment or by a dirty container.

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DEMODECTIC MANGE

see ‘Mange


DERMATITiS

See ‘Skin Problems


DIABETES INSIPIDUS

The best we can usually expect with homeopathic treatment of Diabetes Insipidus is a reasonable level of control.

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DIABETES MELLITUS

Diabetes mellitus can usually be helped by homeopathy. Cases vary in their responses, the best responses leading to the need for insulin being markedly reduced or even abolished. Moderate responses enable patients to be more easily and more reliably stabilised.

Diabetes mellitus can give rise to cataracts, if not controlled in a timely fashion.

Diabetes mellitus is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

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DIARRHOEA

Diarrhoea is a sign that can arise from a multitude of different causes. Depending upon the cause, homeopathy can be a very successful line of therapy. Antibiotic is usually contra-indicated.

Chronic diarrhoea also usually responds well to homeopathy. (see also: SIBO)

In persistent cases of diarrhoea, we recommend testing a faeces sample at a veterinary laboratory, for such problems as Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella or Giardia. Such infections are usually amenable to more targeted homeopathic and holistic treatment.

Gastroenteritis is an acute condition which is usually accompanied by diarrhoea. Homeopathic medicines that are frequently used for this condition are: Arsenicum album, Mercurius corrosivus or Mercurius solubilis, prescribed according to the signs shown by the individual patient.

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See also ‘Colitis and Chronic Diarrhoea‘ and ‘Gastro-Enteritis


DISC DISEASE & PARALYSIS

(Intervertebral disc disease – IVD – IVDD – Degenerative disc disease – disk disease)

Disc disease and paralysis are the subject of a .pdf document (Disc Disease)

Lumbar disc disease, thoraco-lumbar disc disease or, for that matter, any disc disease, is a very distressing condition. It is characterised by a great degree of pain (back pain) and by greater or lesser loss of mobility. Human companions are, quite understandably, horrified when it happens. It is usually sudden and generally leaves a dog paraplegic (paralysed) in the hind quarters. It may or may not cause problems with urination or defaecation.

In its extreme form, the lesion is usually caused by a sudden and forceful rupture of the ‘pulp’ of an intervertebral disc, into the spinal canal. The spinal cord has nowhere to go, being enclosed in a bony channel, so it is subjected to a forceful concussion.

Pressure on the spinal cord is probably not the cause of the signs, rather that the spinal cord has been severely damaged by the impact described above. Oedema of the spinal cord follows injury, resulting in further damage if not prevented.

The treatment of choice for this problem is prompt acupuncture, which has been shown to have the best success rate of all the usual interventions, even surgery, whatever the ‘grade’ of damage. At the Alternative Vet, we use acupuncture, supported by homeopathy and LASER therapy, which integrated program enhances the benefits that would be provided by acupuncture alone. The homeopathy can both reduce or prevent oedema in the early stages and speed healing of the spinal cord damage in the medium term. In this way, treating with an integrated combination of therapies, more normal function gradually returns within the coming weeks.

It has long been our belief that the results witnessed following Acupuncture and LASER treatment can best be explained by the stem cell phenomenon. There is a body of evidence developing which now lends support to the notion that LASER and Acupuncture can stimulate the mobilisation and activation of stem cells.

If high quality integrated acupuncture and homeopathy cannot be obtained promptly, an injection of short-acting steroid may prove beneficial in minimising resultant oedema of the spinal cord, in the early stages.

At the Alternative Vet, we have seen only one case in which very beneficial help did not follow on the line of therapy described. If we see cases after surgery has been performed, however, we do not have such good results. We therefore cannot recommend surgery for disc lesions.

If a disc has ruptured in this way, it cannot cause further damage, since it cannot rupture for a second time. There may be other discs, however, which have been similarly weakened by whatever process weakened the first one. For this reason, we put in place a long-term homeopathic and dietary regimen, designed to lessen that risk.

To summarise, therapy has to answer four main challenges:

  • To reduce or prevent initial oedema
  • To control the initial pain phase
  • To promote healing of the spinal cord injury
  • To lessen or nullify the risk of further disc incidents.

If this frightening condition affects your dog, take heart from the objective and realistic optimism that is based on past positive results. Most dogs come through this very well.

See also ‘Back and Neck Problems‘ & ‘Paralysis


DISTEMPER

Prevention of distemper virus infection, using nosodes, in the place of conventional vaccination, is a controversial issue. There is no absolute proof that homeoprophylaxis is effective but many people up and down the UK are satisfied that it does work. My own dog has only been protected by nosodes and has met active distemper infection on several occasions to my knowledge. She has never shown any sign of illness, following such exposure.

If a dog should contract distemper, homeopathy can be helpful to aid chances of recovery, especially in early stages.

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DJD

Cases of DJD usually respond positively to homeopathic, nutritional and acupuncture intervention.

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DRY EYE – KERATO-CONJUNCTIVITIS SICCA – KCS – KERATITIS SICCA

Dry eye (KCS) is the subject of a .pdf document (Dry Eye)

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca, kerato-conjunctivitis sicca, KCS, keratitis sicca) is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, affecting tear production. Because there are insufficient tears or in severe cases no tears, the cornea becomes very vulnerable. The conventional approach used to be surgical, diverting a salivary gland duct to the eye. Nowadays, cases are usually given artificial tears (essential) and put on eye drops containing antibiotics and steroids or on an immunosuppressive drug (cyclosporine).

The cause has been blamed on the patient's own immune system, by some sources. At the AVMC we ask why the immune system may have lost its way, in this manner. In some cases where an association is clear, the condition has followed sulphur-drug treatment for colitis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, IBD). It is an acknowledged side-effect of that particular drug (sulphasalazine, sulfasalazine) (an example of iatrogenic disease). In some cases, we have seen rapid onset dry eye following the administration of a double booster vaccination, following lapsed vaccination. Since vaccination is designed to disturb the immune system, making such a connection does not seem so improbable. The thyroid gland may also be implicated in some cases (hypothyroidism), but that begs the question why the thyroid gland should fail to function correctly. Again, vaccination can be part of the picture where autoimmune thyroid disease is suspected.

At the AVMC, we believe the medical aim must be to restore balance to the immune system, rather than suppressing it. Some cases of ‘dry eye' appear to respond well to homeopathic prescribing (homeopathy), along with LASER therapy and acupuncture. Some cases are more easily managed, when this approach is used, some appear resolved and a proportion have failed to respond.

Breeds that appear to have a special predisposition to this serious condition are: Bull Dogs, Cavaliers, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Labradors, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Springer Spaniels, West Highland Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers.


EAR PROBLEMS – EAR INFECTION

Otitis externa – Otitis media – Canker

We are frequently called upon to treat ear infections and other ear problems in dogs. Happily, most dogs experience a positive outcome. We mostly use homeopathy and aromatherapy, to overcome the problem.

It is common for dogs to suffer problems with their ears. The usual conventional treatment is to use antibiotic-with-steroid ointments or lotions. These are, of course, suppressive and in most cases cannot permanently resolve the problem. Surgery to remove all or part of the ear canal is often recommended in long-term cases.

At the AVMC, we have a tiered approach, using Aromatherapy as a first line in mild cases. We back this up with Homeopathy, if we believe the problem to be constitutional or chronic.

We also have several powder-type topical treatments, which must be used very carefully according to instructions, in order to prevent accumulation or deposits in the ear.

While we are unable to claim 100% success, results have been very rewarding overall, in avoiding antibiotic, steroid or surgery.

See also: Vestibular Syndrome : Haematoma


ECZEMA

Homeopathy is the treatment of choice for eczema, which usually responds well. See ‘Skin Problems


ELBOW DYSPLASIA

When the elbow joint develops wrongly, during puppyhood, this is referred to as ‘Elbow Dysplasia'. There may be defects in the proximal ulna and/or the distal humerus and possibly an ununited anconeal process.

This problem is more common in medium to larger breeds of dog but we do not necessarily accept that every case is directly inherited. It may be the result of inherited breed susceptibility, aggravated during puppyhood by unsuitable or over-abundant food, over-exertion, excessive exercise, physical trauma and other acquired triggers. Vaccination during the development period may also contribute to development of this disease, since the process of vaccination represents a violent disruption of the body's delicate balance at a very sensitive time, when the immature skeleton is forming.

In all cases, secondary arthritis is a strong likelihood, progressing over the years. Homeopathy and Acupuncture may help to alleviate pain and to minimise secondary arthritic changes. Herbs may also help. Such holistic and integrated input may even reduce or prevent the need for NSAID drugs. When diagnosed in puppyhood, homeopathic medication may be able to help the body to re-organise the lesion, thus minimising long term arthritis consequences. Some cases may be amenable to surgery but holistic input may avoid the need.

In all cases seen by AVMC, we would offer natural feeding advice and perform a Chiropractic check.

See also – Hip Dysplasia


ENCEPHALITIS

Encephalitis cases can respond to homeopathy, provided physical damage to the brain is not too extensive.

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EPILEPSY – CANINE EPILEPSY

Cases presented to the AVMC as ‘epilepsy' respond well to homeopathy and possibly acupuncture, in the great majority of cases treated. It is, in most cases, simply a malfunction of the central nervous system, which is amenable to correction and rebalancing via the homeopathic method. In a minority of cases, it appears to be hereditary and not amenable to treatment. Experience dictates that if a patient appears to respond to phenobarbitone treatment (reduced frequency or severity), then it is very likely that it is curable by homeopathy.

The terminology is unfortunate, in that it is both imprecise and unhelpful, often having a negative effect on the household, when the diagnosis is pronounced. The terms ‘convulsions‘, ‘seizures‘ or ‘fits‘ are more appropriate than ‘epilepsy', since they are both descriptive and accurate.

We do not recognise the diagnosis of ‘primary idiopathic epilepsy' (a label put on cases wherein no obvious cause has been found), since the majority of these cases resolve and appear to be secondary to an immune disturbance.

We are concerned that many cases start soon after vaccination.

This condition is the subject of a .pdf document (Epilepsy).


EPISTAXIS

 

(Nose Bleed)

Some cases of epistaxis (nosebleed) can respond well to homeopathy, depending upon the cause.

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EPULIS

Epulis is a non-cancerous (and usually non-serious) condition that has usually resolved coincidentally with homeopathic intervention. In homeopathic terms, epulis is an indication of the ‘sycotic' miasm.

Epulis is manifest by a very firm, fleshy swelling (epulid) of the gum, between the teeth, that can be bigger than the teeth. It can interfere with normal chewing and can accumulated food and hair, leading to gum disorder (gingivitis) and possible tooth loss.

What is usually offered is surgical excision (removal) but the condition is notorious for rapid regrowth. At the AVMC, we prefer the medical option first, treating the dog with homeopathy to try to eliminate the tendency. We have been rewarded by the subsequent disappearance of many such growths.


EQUINE INFLUENZA VIRUS

 

There have been reported outbreaks of Equine Influenza Virus in dogs (specifically packs of fox hounds). While we have not so far been asked at the AVMC to offer treatment or advice for this condition, we have no personal experience to share. However, experience with other viral conditions of dogs and Influenza Virus problems in other species, we would expect that homeopathy could offer a valuable contribution to the treatment of affected dogs and could also offer realistic hope of protection (prevention – prophylaxis) for unaffected in-contact animals, using a nosode.


EYE PROBLEMS

  • Cataract
  • Cherry Eye: see Harderian Gland
  • Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the membranes around the eye. This usually responds well to homeopathy. Remedies commonly used are: Aconitum, Arsenicum, Euphrasia, Mercurius solubilis and Pulsatilla. These and others are selected according to the signs expressed by the individual patient.
  • Corneal Lipidosis: This is characterised by a grey spot or grey area in the centre of the front of the cornea of the eye, containing cholesterol crystals. It is more disfiguring than damaging and can follow corneal ulceration. It usually responds well to homeopathy but can be self-limiting in a small proportion of cases, anyway. It is a result of disturbed fat metabolism and may be seen in Cushings Disease. It is not uncommon in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed.
  • Corneal Ulcer: Injury to the front of the eye can result in a corneal ulcer. This is usually very painful. In extreme cases, the membrane on the inside of the cornea (Descemet's membrane) can bulge through the ulcer (keratocoele). The conventional approach to severe or chronic eye ulcers is often surgery, including conjunctival flaps and grafting. In all the years of using homeopathy, sometimes for extremely severe and sometimes for extremely stubborn and refractory ulcers, we have so far never had to resort to surgical intervention. Some of the cases treated had already failed to respond to intensive drug treatments and/or surgery.
  • Dry Eye
  • Entropion: This is an in-turning of one or more eyelids. It can vary widely in its severity. In some cases, it can be of hereditary origins. Many cases have responded well to homeopathy, with a common medicine being Borax. If homeopathic treatment fails, decisions must be made whether the case merits surgical correction of the problem.
  • Epiphora: This is an overflow of tears, resulting from overproduction of tears (e.g. in conjunctivitis) or from prevention of normal drainage (blocked tear duct).
  • Eyelid Wart: Warts on the eyelids of dogs rarely cause trouble. If they do, quick extrusion without anaesthetic is usually a pragmatic and practical approach but is rather out-of-fashion in the modern veterinary profession. Complex surgery is usually offered in conventional practice, involving removal of part of the eyelid under general anaesthetic. At the AVMC, we generally prefer a medical approach in the first instance, using homeopathic medicines such as Causticum, Thuja, Nit. ac., Staphisagria or others, chosen according to the individual patient. This is not always effective, in which case simple extrusion is the next favoured option, avoiding the dangers of general anaesthetic. In the rare cases in which the wart returns after this procedure, we simply repeat the procedure.
  • Glaucoma
  • Harderian Gland Prolapse: This can be a stubborn condition, in which the gland at the medial canthus of the eye prolapses and shows as a firm, angry-looking oval swelling. Homeopathy is sometimes effective in resolving this problem, without the need for surgery.
  • Keratitis Sicca (KCS)
  • Ophthalmia: see Uveitis
  • Pannus: This is chronic inflammation of the cornea and starts as a greyish discolouration. In more extreme cases, there can be pigmentation of the cornea and blood vessels showing on the surface of the cornea. Homeopathy and acupuncture-by-laser will help in some cases. It could be an autoimmune disease.
  • SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome): This is an autoimmune condition, that may be triggered by vaccination or accompanied by Cushings Syndrome. It causes blindness. We have only dealt with one case to date – sadly, treatment failed to restore sight.
  • Tear Duct: The tear duct (that drains tears from the eye) can become blocked, whether from injury or inflammation. In the case of injury, treating in an appropriate way, according to the ‘first-aid‘ section, may prevent the scarring which could block the duct. If there is inflammation, using homeopathy according to the individual signs displayed should result in success. In chronic cases, homeopathic Silica may help.
  • Uveitis: This is inflammation of the deep structures of the eye and can not only be painful but also dangerous to the eye itself and to vision. Timely intervention is important and integrated homeopathy with acupuncture, in skilled hands, can be very effective. See also: Autoimmune and VKH
  • Wart (eyelid): see Eyelid Wart

See also: Article: ‘Eye Problems'https://www.alternativevet.org/WS110-07.pdf


FADING PUPPY SYNDROME

Some cases of fading puppy syndrome can respond to homeopathy, provided there is timely intervention.

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FALSE PREGNANCY & LACTATION (MILK)

 

 

The condition known as False Pregnancy is a hormonal problem, in which a normal bitch tendency is exaggerated. Many cases are amenable to homeopathic treatment.

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FEARS

This section is in preparation. However, it may be useful to know that many fears, if we can define the mechanisms involved, will respond to homeopathy and holistic work.

Common fears treated at the AVMC are:

  • Being approached
  • Being left alone
  • Children
  • Closed spaces
  • Dogs
  • Fireworks
  • Mating/Coition
  • Men
  • Noise
  • Open spaces
  • Thunder
  • Touch/Contact
  • Travel

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FIBROSARCOMA

See ‘Cancer


FIBROUS DYSPLASIA

 

 

The term fibrous dysplasia applies to a rare lesion of unknown aetiology, affecting one or more bones. It is characterised by a non-neoplastic, radio-translucent ‘growth' on the bone, that feels hard but resilient, rather than stony. It can weaken the bone.

We have never knowingly treated such a case at the AVMC but would expect homeopathy to stand a reasonable chance of helping in treatment. The usual conventional approach to such a lesion is surgical removal but that is not always practical and is not always an attractive option, depending upon the site of the lesion.

Signs and symptoms, apart from the presence of an abnormal swelling, are site-dependant.


FLEAS & FLEA CONTROL

There are natural methods of flea control which do not involve harsh chemicals. The AVMC can advise clients on this issue.

Visit Flea Control, for a general article on the subject.

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FOOD POISONING

 

 

Happily, dogs are generally very resistant to food poisoning, unlike cats. Botulism, happily rare, can be an exception.

Food poisoning cases will usually respond well to homeopathy, provided intervention is timely. Again, Botulism cases may prove less fortunate.

Highest risks for food poisoning come from poor meat hygiene, where Salmonella, E. coli or other pathogenic organisms contaminate the meat, rotten meat and badly stored cooked rice.

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FRACTURE of BONE

When a bone is fractured, whether by uncoordinated sudden movement or traumatic injury from an external  blow, it is important to immobilise the broken part promptly and carefully. This may be performed by splint, plaster or surgery.

Conventional medicine has no method of encouraging or enhancing healing but experience has shown that homeopathic prescribing, e.g. with Arnica, Symphytum and/or Calcarea fluorica, can usually serve to speed healing, strengthen healing and make ‘non-union' far less likely. Herbal Comfrey is also beneficial.

Experience has also shown that so-called ‘non-union' fractures treated in this way usually proceed to heal rapidly and without complications.

Of course, healthy nutrition is essential to good healing.

See also: First-Aid


FOREIGN BODY – e.g. GRASS SEED, THORN

 

When a dog is affected by a penetrating foreign body, e.g. grass seed, the typical signs are sore and inflamed areas on the legs and body which leak pink, watery pus.

At the AVMC, we have never had to resort to surgery, to remove foreign bodies (e.g. grass seeds, splinters, thorns, glass fibre, sand). On the contrary, surgical intervention can often be unwise and lead to greater complications. It also inevitably damages healthy tissues.

In the case of spiky grass seeds, e.g. sterile brome (Bromus sterilis) or wall barley grass (Hordeum murinum), which can burrow in at any site but are mostly found in feet, legs or flanks, the offending article has often migrated away from the site of the discharge, prior to surgery, so eluding detection. In the case of splinters of wood or glass fibre, detection and removal of every morsel is almost impossible.

The healthy body is usually perfectly capable of rejecting foreign bodies itself, with the help of appropriate homeopathic stimulation. One of the remedies that we might use is Silicea. There are others, depending upon individual circumstances.

If, however, a grass seed goes down the ear (a favourite trick with spaniels), it is an acutely painful, distressing and potentially dangerous condition, necessitating prompt location and removal by your vet. Some dogs require a general anaesthetic for this. Similar advice applies if such a grass seed becomes lodged beneath the lower eyelid. If the eye ulcerates after this, homeopathic treatment will usually clear it in days. Clipping long coats, especially belly, legs, feet and ears, is a wise precaution in the summer months. The seeds are especially dangerous when dry, e.g. after cutting, spraying or in late summer, when mature and shedding the seeds for dissemination.

If poultice is required, to aid and hasten the process of rejection, a traditional bread poultice can be very effective and cheap but the best poultice material that we have found is Morison's Paste (Magnesium Sulphate Paste).

See also: Abscess


GASTRO-ENTERITIS – GASTROENTERITIS

Cases of gastroenteritis usually respond very rapidly and effectively to homeopathic intervention. It is usually non-serious, in a robust constitution but can be hazardous to the old and frail. It is characterised by vomiting, diarrhoea, trembling, drooling and a nauseous appearance.

If it is an uncomplicated gastro-enteritis (meaning inflammation of stomach and bowel) we have learned from experience that giving the correct homeopathic medicine will cause vomiting to cease immediately, in the vast majority of cases. Of course, we also institute sensible management precautions, such as reducing the volume of water that can be taken in at any one time (while ensuring dehydration doesn't follow) and temporarily reducing the intake of food. Confidence in this very rapid effect has enabled us to correct an incorrect prescription within hours (i.e. in the rare cases in which vomiting has persisted, despite the remedy).

Homeopathic medicines most often used by the AVMC for this condition are: Arsenicum album, Mercurius corrosivus or Mercurius solubilis, prescribed carefully according to the individual picture presented.

See also ‘Diarrhoea


GLAUCOMA

 

 

Homeopathic treatment can usually provide very helpful control of the troublesome and dangerous condition named glaucoma. In some cases, both homeopathy and drugs can be used together.

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HAEMATOMA – AURAL HAEMATOMA

The term haematoma (hematoma) refers to a ‘blood blister' in the ear flap. It can become quite large and is usually the result of trauma, whether from external injury or self-inflicted injury from violent ear shaking or scratching, as a result of an underlying ear problem. The usual conventional way of dealing with this is surgery but there are other options, which we discuss at AVMC. Of course, any underlying ear problem also requires attention. Whatever course of action is desired, homeopathic Arnica and Hamamelis should be given anyway, from the outset.

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HEAD GLAND DISEASE

(Juvenile Pyoderma)

Homeopathy is generally well able to bring such a troublesome condition as head gland disease under control, without undue delay. Head gland disease or juvenile pyoderma can occur in a single pup or in a whole litter. Timely intervention brings best results.

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HEART DISEASE

 

 

Heart disease (cardiopathy) is a very large subject of many facets, often with serious implications. Nonetheless, homeopathy and herbal medicine can usually offer very helpful support for the heart's various problems, often without the aid of conventional drugs. Diet is also important. When patients are already on conventional drugs when they are presented for homeopathic treatment, a cautious reduction in drug input has often proved possible but we counsel only attempting this after ensuring a positive response to homeopathic input has occurred. Many such cases have taught us that the body's innate healing capability, given the correct guidance, is often able to heal or compensate sufficiently well to restore more or less normal life quality and activity, often in cases where a very serious prognosis has been offered.

Heart conditions (cardiopathies) regularly presented:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Ascites
  • Bradycardia
  • Cardiomegaly
  • Cardiomyopathy (click)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • Dropsy
  • Endocarditis
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fast heart rate
  • Heart cough
  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmur
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Slow heart rate
  • Tachycardia
  • Valve disease
  • Valvular endocarditis

Cardiomyopathy and Cavalier heart valve problems may be related to vaccination, in some instances.

N.B.: If considering an appointment for problems related to the heart and possibly requiring an ECG examination, we can offer this service but please make a longer appointment.

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See also: Cardiomyopathy


HEAT STROKE – HEAT EXHAUSTION – HEAT STRESS

Happily, we do not have to attend to many cases of heat stroke or heat stress. It is a potentially fatal disease, most commonly arising from leaving a dog in a car, on a sunny day. It can even occur on cold but sunny days and even when there is only filtered sunlight, as the car is a very effective heat trap. It does not have to be a cloudless sky with relentless sun.

WARNING: Open windows or sun roof are not always adequate preventive measures.

Cases that are not actually killed by heat exposure can usually respond well to homeopathy. It is a medical emergency.

Hot weather

Old dogs and those with breathing problems or heart disease suffer very badly from a high ambient temperature, especially if it is also humid. Hot summers can deprive us of our old friends.

We supply clients with simple homeopathic first aid medication (see below), to give their animals in times of heat stress, as a preventive. This helps dogs (especially the older dog) to cope with hot conditions. We also offer advice on how to limit the stress heat causes and how to try to overcome ill effects.

See also ‘Summer Issues

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HEPATOCUTANEOUS SYNDROME

 

 

In hepatocutaneous syndrome, there is severe liver pathology with associated skin lesions, which can reach distressing proportions. In conventional terms, the prognosis is very poor indeed. However, cases can usually respond well to homeopathy, although the positive results are usually achieved over a period, not immediately. At the AVMC, we have had occasion to treat several cases and none has proved refractory to treatment.

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HERPES VIRUS

Both treatment and prevention using homeopathic methods appear to have been successful in cases of canine herpes virus infection.

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HIP DYSPLASIA

 

 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that hip dysplasia cases can often respond well to integrated homeopathic, nutritional, herbal and acupuncture intervention. While not expecting to bring about a complete cure, we usually expect to see restoration of decent lifestyle, well-being and comfort, with expectancy of attaining a good age with retained mobility. Results have been especially encouraging when treatment is started in the young dog. If chiropractic manipulation is indicated (i.e. if there is skeletal misalignment), marked alleviation of signs/symptoms has often been noted after treatment.

We do not necessarily accept that every case is directly inherited. It may be the result of inherited breed susceptibility, aggravated during puppyhood by unsuitable or over-abundant food, over-exertion, excessive exercise, physical trauma and other acquired triggers. Vaccination during the development period may also contribute to development of this disease, since the process of vaccination represents a violent disruption of the body's delicate balance at a very sensitive time, when the immature skeleton is forming.

In all cases, secondary arthritis is a strong likelihood, progressing over the years. Homeopathy and Acupuncture may help to alleviate pain and to minimise secondary arthritic changes. Herbs may also help. Such holistic and integrated input may even reduce or prevent the need for NSAID drugs. When diagnosed in puppyhood, homeopathic medication may be able to help the body to re-organise the lesion, thus minimising long term arthritis consequences. Some cases may be amenable to surgery but holistic input may avoid the need.

In all cases seen by AVMC, we would offer natural feeding advice and perform a Chiropractic check.

N.B.: We do not advise the use of strenuous joint laxity testing methods, such as the Ortolani Test, to confirm Hip Dysplasia, because of the dangers to the already poor joint structure and joint stability.

Furthermore, we do not recommend surgery in most cases.

This report (7th August 2011) was very heartening, in the case of a dog (young Labrador) with severe X-Ray signs of Hip Dysplasia:

I am sorry that I have not sent you a report on our dog recently but it is all good news! She is a happy lively dog and no one can believe how much she has improved over the last couple of months.  I am taking her swimming in local ponds and lakes a couple of times a week.  She plays around and chases other dogs, ducks and fish for 10 minutes or so and thoroughly enjoys herself.  I don't let her play any longer so that she does not over-tire herself.  She is a thorough little water baby and does not hesitate to duck her head under water to see below if she wants.  This exercise has helped to build her back end muscles and she now looks a lot stronger there. Generally as you predicted the pills are giving her a much better quality of life and she is so much happier on them.  She still does not always walk straight but she rarely limps and only occasionally have we seen her a little stiff in the morning after doing a little too much the day before.  Compared to what she was like before, even on the other vet's painkillers, she is a new dog.  It is lovely to see.  So we are very pleased with her progress and so grateful that we brought her to see you and thank you so much for your help.

This was followed by a report on 2nd January 2012:

We continue to be very pleased with her condition.  I am back to taking her out for walks in the morning and she happily takes herself off around the woods chasing squirrels at a gallop.  She seems quite fit and thanks to your excellent diet is still quite slim and trim.  Over the Christmas holidays I was able to take her swimming in the local ponds on the days it was quite mild and she just loves it.  We take her out in the afternoons and she enjoys playing with a variety of friends in the other local park.  Generally she continues to be well, active and happy.  Many people say that they cannot believe she is the same dog with the extent of problems that she has.  So we continue to have nothing but good to report.  She continues, touch wood, on an even keel and we have not noticed any off days.  The only noticeable thing is that when she wees she splays one leg out further than the other.  Otherwise you would not know she has any problems. As ever we are very grateful for your help and time.


HISTIOCYTOMA

See ‘Cancer‘.


HORMONAL SKIN PROBLEMS

Many previous cases of hormonal skin disorders have responded well to homeopathic input.

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HORNERS SYNDROME

 

 

Horners syndrome is a characteristic combination of signs affecting either eye. Both upper and lower lids droop and the third eyelid comes across, because the eyeball is retracted deeply into the socket. Cases will usually respond well to homeopathy, combined and carefully-integrated with acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation. It is a medical emergency. It may arise from facial, head or neck injury or is of unknown origin in some cases. Spontaneous recovery (with no treatment) is not unknown.

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INCONTINENCE (FAECAL & URINARY)

Enuresis

Cases of urinary incontinence (enuresis) or faecal incontinence can respond to homeopathy and acupuncture.

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See also ‘Kidney Stones/Urolithiasis


INFERTILITY & HORMONAL DISTURBANCE

Hormones

Infertility usually responds well to homeopathic prescribing. Irregular seasons (irregular heats) can also respond. Bitches that will not accept the dog are also usually amenable to homeopathic constitutional prescribing. Homeopathy acts as a stimulus to auto-regulation, thus making it eminently suitable for such problems of hormonal imbalance.

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INTERDIGITAL CYSTS

Homeopathic intervention is often very successful in the treatment of interdigital cysts, both in the short term and long term. Some cases have proved troublesome.

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KENNEL COUGH

 

 

Kennel cough cases usually respond rapidly (usually within three days) and thoroughly to homeopathic medication, if the correct remedy is selected.

Some of the homeopathic medicines that we have used in the past, depending upon the individual case, are: Bryonia, Causticum, Coccus, Drosera, Ipecacuanha, Mercurius solubilis, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Silicea, Spongia and Sticta.

N.B.: Kennel Cough is usually a non-serious disease but can disrupt the life of the household for three to four weeks, in cases not given the correct treatment. Sadly, antibiotics rarely provide any relief.

See also: Kennel Cough Clinical Trial

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KERATO-CONJUNCTIVITIS SICCA – KERATOCONJUNCTIVITIS SICCA

See ‘Dry Eye‘.


KIDNEY PROBLEMS & CHRONIC RENAL FAILURE

While not able to offer a cure of chronic renal failure (CRF), homeopathy can provide a means of maintaining a good quality of life, even in many quite severe cases and often for what appears to be a normal lifespan. We also consider a natural diet, tailored to the special needs of the kidney patient, is very important. Many cases so treated appear to have lived better and longer than predicted.

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See also ‘Kidney Stones/Urolithiasis


LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS

 

 

When dogs are affected by laryngeal paralysis, their breathing becomes very noisy (raspy), their bark alters, they snore in their sleep, they can become short of breath and they are less able to cope with hot weather, owing to the reduction in air flow for cooling. All this is because the loose vocal cord obstructs the airway.

It quite commonly affects Labradors and Retrievers. The cause is not known but there may be nerve damage by viruses, toxins, vaccination or injury. There may even be an autoimmune component.

Homeopathic treatment can usually be partially successful, using remedies such as Causticum to cite one example. Success may be sufficient to avoid the usual surgical option. In some cases, we have also used Acupuncture and/or LASER treatment.


LEGG CALVÉ PERTHES DISEASE

also known as

LEGG PERTHES, LEGG'S DISEASE, CALVÉ PERTHES DISEASE, COXA PLANA, OSTEOCHONDRITIS JUVENILIS, AVASCULAR NECROSIS OF THE FEMORAL HEAD

In Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, the femoral head loses its blood supply and begins to degenerate. It usually affects only one hip joint and suspicions should be aroused in a young small-breed dog with acute hind limb lameness originating in the hip. The disease seems to have more names than therapeutic options.

If caught early (diagnosed by X-Ray), the disease may be reversible using homeopathy and the pain and lameness may also be further helped by acupuncture. If there is to be hope for a medical solution, an experienced holistic vet should be sought, as this is a complex condition.

In more advanced cases, Femoral Head Arthroplasty (surgical removal of the femoral head) sadly appears to be the best option. This operation may also be known as: Excision Arthroplasty of the Femoral Head and Neck, Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy or Girdlestone's Operation. Dogs do surprisingly well after removal of the femoral head and neck, forming a sort of ‘false joint' in place of the original, with the hip muscles performing the supporting function.


LEISHMANIASIS – LEISHMANIOSIS

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LEPTOSPIROSIS

Prevention of Leptospirosis infection, using nosodes, in the place of conventional vaccination, is a controversial issue. There is no absolute proof that homeoprophylaxis is effective but many people up and down the UK are satisfied that it does work. My own dog has only been protected by nosodes and has met rats and mice, swum in floods, rivers, canals and ditches, been in contact with jaundiced dogs. She has never shown any sign of illness, following such exposure (likewise our previous dog).

In the extremely rare cases treated, outcome has been good, using homeopathy.

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LEUCOSIS

See ‘Cancer


LEUKAEMIA – LEUKEMIA

See ‘Cancer


LIGAMENTS

Ligament injury

Dogs can damage ligaments in their legs. The most common one is the cruciate ligament. The condition is known as a sprain.

It is important to check that predisposing factors are eliminated, at the outset of the healing process. Pelvic and spinal alignment must be checked at the outset and regularly during the healing phase. Pelvic and spinal misalignment may be a contributory factor in many cases of ligament injury. Most cases that the AVMC has attended show pelvic misalignment, which we correct immediately.

Diet should be light, as befits a dog on restricted exercise and should be in accordance with the dietary advice given elsewhere on this site.

We apply regular LASER therapy, in the initial phase. This is a powerful stimulus to the healing of fibrous structures, such as tendons and ligaments.

We use homeopathic Ruta, as an important stimulus to the healing of tendon and ligamentar tissue. Other remedies may be necessary, according to both the particular injury and the particular dog's symptoms.

The prognosis is usually good, at least for ordinary activity. The earlier this program is started, after the injury, the better.

It has long been our belief that the results witnessed following Acupuncture and LASER treatment can best be explained by the stem cell phenomenon. There is a body of evidence developing which now lends support to the notion that LASER and Acupuncture can stimulate the mobilisation and activation of stem cells.

See also Cruciate Injury.


LIVER DISEASE – HEPATOPATHY & HEPATITIS

 

Dogs diagnosed with serious liver disease have usually gone on to live what appears to be a normal lifespan, following homeopathic treatment.

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And see ‘Cancer‘ – Hepatocutaneous syndrome


LUNGWORM

Lungworm is a parasitic disease in which roundworms (nematodes) of the species Angiostrongylus vasorum infest the pulmonary artery and right ventricle (heart) of the dog. Foxes and badgers can also be affected.

The disease is acquired through the ingestion of infected slugs or snails, so there is a greater risk of a dog contracting this disease in a wet summer. Larvae migrate to the liver and, via the portal system to the heart and pulmonary artery. Here, as adults, they mate and produce larvae which travel to the alveolar capillaries of the lungs, are coughed up and swallowed, thus infecting the dog's faeces.

Affected dogs may show no symptoms or may suffer respiratory impairment, poor exercise tolerance, coughing and dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing). The parasite does damage the lungs and can also damage the heart.

Another facet of the parasite's capability is to cause blood clotting disorder, which can result in excessive bleeding of wounds and the formation of haematoma. In extremely rare cases, neurological signs have been recorded, resulting from bleeding (haemorrhage) in or around the brain or spinal cord.

Dogs most at risk appear to be those under 18 months of age.

Diagnosis: a blood test is available (serology) and the Baermann faeces test.

At the AVMC, we have not been asked to treat a case so can report no experience with natural treatments. The disease is not common and therefore, while advising vigilance, we do not encourage scaremongering.


LUPUS

see ‘Autoimmune


LYME DISEASE (BORRELIOSIS)

See: Borreliosis


MALAR ABSCESS (TOOTH ABSCESS)

Carnassial tooth root abscess

This usually manifests as a swelling on the face, just below the eye. The third eyelid (nictitating membrane) is also usually prominent. It is a painful condition. It is the result of infection of one of the roots of the large carnassial tooth of the upper jaw.

While removal of the offending tooth is an obvious option, there are many older dogs in which the anaesthetic risk is considered too high to take that invasive step. In conventional medicine, antibiotics are usually offered by a vet, for such a problem but it can prove very refractory to antibiotic treatment or can recur with great alacrity. However, we have treated many cases of malar abscess, using homeopathy alone. In general, we would expect to see rapid and sustainable drainage of the abscess, under homeopathic treatment, with concomitant reduction or removal of pain.

N.B.: This condition would not be expected to occur in a dog consistently fed from a young age on fresh food, with some raw mat and bones as part of the diet.


MANGE

Sarcoptic Mange or Demodectic Mange

Homeopathy and herbal preparations can usually help a dog to throw off the mange infestation but treatment with chemicals appears to be necessary in some cases of Sarcoptic Mange, to achieve total clearance.

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MARIE'S DISEASE

also known as

 

Achropachia, Hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteopathy, Osteoporosis Deformans and Hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteoarthritis

As there is usually no evidence of arthritis in Maries Disease, the last above-listed name is a misnomer. Maries disease is characterised by the appearance of soft swellings around the long bones of the legs, followed by ossification. Sometimes this new bone can restrict the range of movement of a limb joint.

Maries disease is usually associated with lung lesions (e.g. cancer) or other space occupying lesions of the chest. If such bone lesions are found, it is therefore important also to check the chest for pathology by X-Ray investigation.

If the chest lesion is removed or resolved (if that is possible), the bone lesions will regress.

The latest case of this condition that we saw at AVMC (at time of writing) was a 7½ year-old Border Collie who had multiple focal lesions in the lung fields on CT Scan and new bone on ribs and front leg bones (July 2011). The lung lesions looked like secondary tumours but no primary was found. He was treated using homeopathy. As of March 2012, he is doing very well and is bright, very active and very alert. He has received only homeopathic treatment for this problem, so far.


MAST CELL TUMOUR

See ‘Cancer


MELANOMA

See ‘Cancer


MENINGITIS

Homeopathy is usually able to help cases of meningitis. The name means ‘inflammation of the meninges', i.e. inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. We see a worrying number of such patients at the AVMC. In our experience, the condition usually arises soon after vaccination, making vaccination a possible cause or trigger.

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    MRSA

We have not knowingly treated a case of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) at the AVMC. However, we would expect the use of homeopathy to add a useful dimension to treatment. It is theoretically able to stimulate an effective immune response in such a disease. We have treated with good outcome a great many patients carrying bacterial infections that were not cleared by intensive antibiotic therapy.

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MYOSITIS

(Eosinophilic Myositis)

Cases of myositis seen at the AVMC have usually shown a positive response to homeopathic treatment. It appears to be a type of auto-immune process.

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OBESITY

See also: Thyroid Problems

Obesity is the word used to describe serious overweight. It can arise from overfeeding, incorrect diet and thyroid problems (i.e. thyroid insufficiency, a.k.a. myxoedema, hypothyroidism). If reduction of food intake fails to solve the problem, one of the other two factors is likely to be at work. In the case of hypothyroidism, the dog is usually also quite sluggish, chilly and lazy. Another cause of obesity is long-term steroid (cortisone, corticosteroid) treatment.

Incorrect diet: It is now well-accepted that incorrect diet can lead to obesity in humans (children and adults), which is reaching epidemic proportions in the UK and USA. For some reason, it is less well-accepted that similar factors operate with dogs and cats. Modern, processed, high-carbohydrate foods are leading to a serious overweight problem in the UK's dog population, so much so that the RSPCA has issued a public notice, warning people of the welfare aspect of this. They also state that obesity can lead to other diseases, such as arthritis, heart problems and diabetes (“Pet obesity can cause arthritis, high blood pressure, poor liver function and diabetes, amongst other conditions.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4939082.stm). A more scientific and objective appraisal might suggest that these diseases may share a common causality with obesity ( e.g. unsuitable diets), rather than being 'caused by' obesity.

Why do they not also condemn the unsuitable manufactured foods? The link is clear. Obesity is on the march and the sale of manufactured pet foods, in supermarkets and veterinary practices, is a massive and growing market and highly profitable sector. Instead, the RSPCA has ‘teamed up' with Joe Inglis (vet), who markets his own range of foods, under the guise of fresh food. Of course, this may be a step in the right direction, but it is far from fresh food. This is sadly still commerciality, under a subtle disguise. I would be happier if any commercial links between the RSPCA and others were absolutely transparent.

Dogs have no dietary requirement for carbohydrate foods and, in some cases, feeding those foods will lead to serious overweight problems. Furthermore, the processing alters various nutrients, in a negative way which, along with undesirable additives, can add to the obesity problem. At the AVMC, we advocate the feeding of fresh, home-prepared foods and a low carbohydrate diet, in which case, obesity does not arise.

Homeopathic prescribing, along with dietary advice, can help many cases of dietary obesity.

A stark illustration of the powerful negative effect of unsuitable diets was provided in September 2007, from a surprising quarter. A trip to the Rock of Gibraltar presented Barbary Apes (Macaca sylvanus) of two distinct ‘varieties'. Around the tourist shop, pickings of cake, ice cream, biscuits and sweets had led to obesity, whereas those on the rock proper, fed copious quantities of fresh fruit, were athletic, muscular and slim.

See also: http://chris-day.live-blog.net (‘Obesity – where's the mystery? 11th October 2007′).

Other causes: Some cases of thyroid problems may also be helped by homeopathy. For steroid-induced obesity, the remedy has to be to find another (e.g. homeopathy or acupuncture) treatment for the disease for which the steroid was prescribed and to wean the patient gradually off the steroid (under veterinary guidance). However we have found that, if too much steroid has been given, over a period, the damage can sadly be irreparable.


OCD

 

 

Homeopathy is usually able to help in cases of OCD. LASER therapy or acupuncture may be important, in the early phases of treatment. Dietary modification is an important adjunct to treatment.

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OSTEOARTHRITIS – OSTEO-ARTHRITIS

See ‘Arthritis

 


OSTEODYSTROPHIES

Nutritional and otherwise

Homeopathy and diet are usually able to help cases of osteodystrophy (osteodystrophia).

See also: Legg-Calvé-Perthes DiseaseMarie's DiseaseCraniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)

There is a plethora of separate conditions and a very confusion super-plethora of names to go with them. It is possibly simpler to deal with them all under a broad heading than to create a new section for each classification. Basically, they all share dysfunction of growth and development of bone, hence the justification for their entry under this heading.

RICKETS: also known as Rachitis is a condition seen in growing puppies as a result of a nutritional imbalance between Calcium, Phosphorus and Vitamin D.

We had not seen a case of rickets for a long time until, in March 2012, a Labrador puppy was presented with bowed front legs, enlarged joints and lameness. This puppy had been fed on a ‘scientific diet' especially for puppies and junior dogs. Nevertheless, the signs were clear. We put the pup onto a diet of fresh food, including fresh meat and bones. We also rapidly instituted homeopathic medication, which has usually served well in the past in such cases. In this particular case, because of the lameness and disability, we have started a course of Acupuncture-by-LASER, to provide extra help for the pain. Pain leads to abnormal gait, which leads in turn to secondary compensation, abnormal usage and damage elsewhere in the body.

Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary in the short term, in such cases.

OSTEOMALACIA: this is a condition of similar aetiology and appearance to rickets, but which affects older and adult animals. Likewise, homeopathy and diet are recommended for treatment.

HYPERTROPHIC OSTEODYSTROPHY (HOD): also known as Metaphyseal Osteopathy, Moller Barlow Disease, Osteodystrophy II and Skeletal Scurvy is a condition typically occurring in the 4 – 18 month age group, usually in larger breeds of dog. Its exact aetiology is not understood but it may be of autoimmune origin. Vaccination and feeding excess calories have variously been implicated by different writers. The signs of the disease are swelling of the growth plates of the long bones, heat, pain and lameness. This is a potentially damaging disease and we recommend the attention of a qualified and experienced homeopathic vet, to try to resolve it as rapidly as possible. Supplementing the diet with Vitamin C may also help, although many claim that a dog makes all his own Vitamin C requirement.

See also: Legg-Calvé-Perthes DiseaseMarie's DiseaseCraniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)Elbow DysplasiaHip DysplasiaFibrous Dysplasia


OSTEOMYELITIS

Osteomyelitis is a deep infection (bacterial or fungal) in bone. It is very resistant to treatment with antibiotics. It is possible that it is difficult to achieve sufficient levels of antibiotics in such tissues.

Osteomyelitis occurs from injury, surgery or blood-borne infection. The most common source of infection is an open fracture or gunshot wound. It is a potentially very dangerous condition and can threaten a limb or even life itself.

Homeopathy and Osteomyelitis

We have treated many cases of osteomyelitis over the years and the vast majority have recovered, coincidental with homeopathic treatment.


OSTEOSARCOMA

See ‘Cancer‘.


PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY

Homeopathy has helped many past cases of pancreatic insufficiency to recover, doing away with the need for supplementation with pancreatic enzymes.

It is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

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PANCREATITIS

 

 

Pancreatitis (literally inflammation of the pancreas) can be an extremely painful and distressing condition. Happily, most cases treated with homeopathy appear to recover, without permanent disability.

It is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

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PANOSTEITIS

Panosteitis is a condition usually occurring in young dogs, usually of larger breeds. It is characterised by pain and inflammation in the bones of the legs, with lameness that comes and goes. There is usually a high fever, tonsillitis and an altered white blood cell count. Osteoblasts and fibroblasts are found in increased numbers and it affects periosteum, endosteum and bone marrow. Bone proliferation and remodelling occur.

Aetiology is as yet unknown but viral origin has been proposed. Also, the disease was first reported when modified live virus Distemper vaccine became available, making vaccination a distinct aetiological possibility.

The disease will usually run its course eventually but homeopathy ought to be able to speed it on its way and reduce distress en route to resolution. Certainly, the few cases seen by AVMC appear to have responded positively.

The conventional treatment that is usually offered is steroid.


PARALYSIS

 

 

Paralysis usually results from damage to the nerves (motor nerves) which supply muscles. It can affect any motor nerve and therefore any muscular part of the body. It is called hemiplegia when one side of the body is affected, paraplegia when both hind limbs are affected and quadriplegia when all four limbs are affected.

Nerves are generally able to heal more rapidly and more effectively than is generally believed. This capability is greatly enhanced by appropriately integrated homeopathic, acupuncture, LASER therapy and dietary input, resulting in some surprising successes, often long after the original injury has occurred and when hope had receded.

While promises of success cannot be guaranteed, at the AVMC we do not set out by giving cases a gloomy prognosis, in view of having experienced such consistently positive results of therapy.

The most common forms of paralysis that we have treated are: Disc Disease, Radial Paralysis, Tail Paralysis, Aortic Embolism (cats) and brachial plexus injury.

It has long been our belief that the results witnessed following Acupuncture and LASER treatment can best be explained by the stem cell phenomenon. There is a body of evidence developing which now lends support to the notion that LASER and Acupuncture can stimulate the mobilisation and activation of stem cells.


PATELLA LUXATION

(Luxating Patella – Slipping Patella)

We not infrequently encounter a luxating patella (dislocated or slipping knee cap in human terms) when examining dogs as an incidental finding and it can even be the primary reason for presentation at the clinic. It can vary in significance from nothing observed through a mild nuisance to a frank disability with increased arthritis risk. It is more commonly seen in ‘toy' breeds.

In cases that are symptom-free, we rarely recommend treatment but of course treatment can be started if desired. In dogs for whom it is a problem condition, we have generally seen good results after carefully integrated homeopathic, acupuncture, LASER therapy and dietary input. In some dogs, pelvic misalignment can exacerbate the condition or even give rise to its appearance. We use chiropractic-type manipulation to correct this when seen.

While promises of success cannot be guaranteed, at the AVMC we do not set out by giving cases a gloomy prognosis, in view of having experienced such consistently positive outcomes.

Surgery may be necessary in a few cases.


PARVOVIRUS – PARVO-VIRUS

 

 

Prevention of parvovirus infection, using nosodes, in the place of conventional vaccination, is a controversial issue. There is no absolute proof that homeoprophylaxis is effective but many people up and down the UK are satisfied that it does work. My own dog has only been protected by nosodes and has met parvovirus infection on several occasions to my knowledge. She has never shown any sign of illness, following such exposure.

In ill dogs, suffering from parvovirus disease, homeopathy has proved invaluable in enhancing chances of recovery, especially when used early.

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PEMPHIGUS

Pemphigus is an autoimmune skin disorder which, according to our experience at the AVMC, usually responds to homeopathic treatment. However, because of its seriousness and complexity, we recommend seeking the opinion of an experienced qualified homeopathic vet.

Typical signs vary but include blisters, pustules, crusts, erosions and exfoliation. Lesions often start on face, head or underside of ear flaps.

Treatment of pemphigus with conventional steroids at best limits the lesions (only while the steroid or cortisone is being administered) and is fraught with the risk of serious side effects.

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PSEUDOPREGNANCY

See ‘False Pregnancy‘.


PYODERMA

See ‘Skin Problems‘.


PYOMETRA – PYOMETRITIS

In early cases, homeopathy may be able to resolve the condition of pyometra. In more advanced cases, in which the patient is frankly ill, close supervision and regular revision of the prescription, in response to patient changes, will be necessary. This means that it is not something that can be handled ‘at range'. In such distant cases, prompt conventional surgery may be a safer option.

Pyometra is extremely rare in holistically-managed bitches. It becomes much more likely when a bitch has been given hormone treatment to alter her seasons, behaviour etc. or to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

The term is often loosely used in cases of juvenile vaginitis, which is usually non-serious and very responsive to appropriate homeopathic prescribing.

At the AVMC, we do not advise preventive spaying, unless unwanted pregnancies are likely as a result of difficult domestic circumstances.

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RABIES VACCINE INDUCED ISCHAEMIC DERMATOPATHY

 

aka Cutaneous Vasculitis

To date, we have never had to treat a dog affected by rabies but we would expect homeopathy to be helpful in redressing the immune imbalance. Web link

Happily, Rabies vaccination is not routinely used in the UK, except for the Pet Passport Scheme, which we do not recommend.

Here is an immune-related disease which is acknowledged to be an adverse response to vaccination. One can hope that its understanding can open the way to realisation that vaccine-induced or vaccine-triggered disease of many sorts is widespread.

It is possibly an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder.

We have a rabies nosode, that we use for prevention.

See ‘Skin Problems‘, Vaccine Problems


REVERSE SNEEZING

 

aka Pharyngeal Gag Reflex

We often receive requests for help with reverse sneezing. However, it is uncertain whether it is a sign of ‘disease' or not. The dog makes a spasmodic gagging noise, as if sneezing in reverse, hence the name.

It appears to result from temporary irritation of the rear portion of the soft palate or pharynx and involves excitation of reflexes to protect lung health. It is usually short-lived and the dog continues life as normal.

Triggers may be such things as: excitement, food particles, liquid (during drinking), collar pressure, lead-pulling, mites, pollens, fumes, perfumes and household chemicals.

If it is a frequent occurrence, it may merit homeopathic treatment, based on constitutional cues and signs/symptoms. If the throat and pharynx glands are swollen, then there is a need for treatment, as there is evidence of a disease process.


SARCOPTIC MANGE

See ‘Mange‘.


SARDS

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome is currently officially of unknown aetiology, although Cushings Disease has been mentioned as a possible predisposing factor. The ultimate end-point of the disease is blindness.

At the AVMC, the little experience we have of this happily rare condition leads us to suspect that vaccination may trigger the autoimmune response that occurs in the retina.

If homeopathic treatment is to stand a chance of being successful, time is of the essence. It is unlikely that the light activated receptors in the retina that have completely degenerated will recover their function under treatment. If cases can be seen early, it may be possible to save some of these vital cells.

Update 2009: Sadly, at the time of writing, the latest case we have seen occurred within days of a booster vaccine (a relatively new brand, claiming 4-year immunity) and the dog was ill for a few days after vaccination. Furthermore, a lump appeared at site of injection. When fears that vaccination may have been involved in the onset of SARDS were mentioned to the vet concerned, the possible link was dismissed and the opportunity to fill in an SARSS form was not seized. It stands to reason that, if no reports of ‘suspect' adverse reactions are sent to the VMD, the possible role of vaccination cannot be confirmed or ruled out. As vets and professionals, we have no business filtering this information at source. As this dog is showing clinical signs compatible with hypothyroidosis, the vaccine booster should not have been given anyway, according to the Data Sheet, which clearly states ‘only healthy animals should be vaccinated‘.


SIBO

(Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

This is a descriptive term, referring to the situation in which a dog's small intestine has become not only overpopulated with bacteria but also with the wrong bacteria (i.e. bacteria that are normally found lower down the intestinal tract).

It can follow on any digestive insult, that results in a temporary imbalance in the digestion and bacterial flora in the bowel. The ‘insult' can cause the intestine to absorb nutrients less efficiently, thus ‘over-indulging' the flora of the lower bowel. These then multiply and migrate up the bowel. This results in toxins being produced which damage the intestinal lining and cause reduction in the villi, resulting in worse absorption and even more nutrients reaching the lower bowel, resulting in further population expansion and upward migration of lower bowel flora. The sequel is a spiral of intestinal damage, poor digestion, malabsorption, further migration of lower bowel flora and a continually self-perpetuating but worsening situation.

This problem is almost invariably accompanied by poor or deteriorating body condition.

Reversal of this requires equal attention to stimulation of normal bacterial populations (via homeopathic prescribing), oversupply of ‘good' bacteria by mouth (probiotics) and stimulation of healing of the chronic bowel damage (usually by homeopathic medication). Results of this strategy have been very encouraging, even in very chronic and previously stubborn cases.


SINUSITIS

Sinusitis is not very common in dogs but we have seen cases, particularly those caused by infection, at the AVMC. Cases usually respond well to treatment with homeopathy. Aspergillus infection can be troublesome but a good proportion of those cases have also responded well.

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SKIN PROBLEMS

Skin disease is perhaps the most common problem suffered by dogs and represents a large proportion of the work at the Alternative Vet. A skin problem can be extremely distressing, for dog and human companion alike, although it is rarely life-threatening.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and the most visible, therefore disease in this organ is easy to see. This factor alone can make it worrying to human companions. The encouraging aspect, homeopathically, is that disease signs in the skin often demonstrate the body’s ability to exteriorise disease, a healthy ability. They also often indicate, conversely, the disease’s inability to gain deeper access to the body.

Skin signs can, however, also arise as a result of deeper, more internal disease, which danger must always be considered by the attending veterinary surgeon. In difficult cases, a vet will often suggest tests to check for such problems, including liver or kidney complaints.

Hormonal conditions can give rise to signs of skin disease. These are usually, however, free of signs of irritation or infection. Hair loss (alopecia) is the most common sign of this type of imbalance.

How does it arise?

There is a great variety of manifestations of skin trouble in dogs. It is not possible to cover every aspect in this short article. There is, however, usually a component of immune malfunction, with allergy, atopy, thyroid imbalance or bacterial infection (pyoderma) as a consequence. This fundamental basis for most skin disorders can arise through any stimulus which can disturb immune function. The most common procedure in the dog world, which can and does affect immune function (indeed it is designed to do so) is vaccination. In fact, 80% of the skin cases seen at AVMC, when it is possible to determine when first signs arose, started within three months of a vaccination event. If vaccination is not the cause of this frightening statistic, some other plausible explanation must be found.

Is it curable?

In conventional medicine, antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids (cortisone) are the most common treatments. In intractable cases, steroid is used permanently or semi-permanently. This is usually an admission of failure and often leads to increasing doses and frequency, over the years, with ever-increasing dangers to the whole body. These dangers can eventually become life-threatening in themselves. Sadly, such treatments can only, at best, alleviate some of the troubling symptoms. They cannot achieve a cure.

Happily, the large majority of skin cases will respond favourably to homeopathic treatment, which works by stimulating restoration of more normal immune function and balance. There is a small proportion that have received too much steroid, prior to homeopathic input, whose immune systems are too far suppressed to function normally again. There is another small proportion, in whom it has proved impossible to find the correct homeopathic medicine, for whatever reason. We believe, however, that homeopathy should be able to cure or massively ameliorate most cases, given the insight to prescribe correctly (i.e. human failing can play a part in failed cases).

Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own ability to heal and to ward off infection. The consequence of this is that any improvement that is seen under homeopathic treatment is the result of the body’s own efforts, rather than the product of suppression of symptoms or signs.

If an apparent cure is achieved, medication can be stopped and the benefits can last for the rest of the dog’s life, assuming that no further immune insult is sustained.

Holistic attention, to diet and all other aspects of a dog’s life, is an essential component of success.

Dog skin problems (atopy, allergy, allergic dermatitis, pyoderma, eczema, hot spots, pruritus or itchy dog, dermatitis, erythema or redness of the skin, interdigital cysts, warts) and ear problems (otitis externa, otitis media) are probably the most common challenge presented to us at the AVMC.

See also Allergy, Atopy, Head Gland Disease, Thyroid, Hormonal Skin Problems, Rabies Vaccine Induced Ischaemic Dermatopathy


SLE

See ‘Autoimmune‘.


SMOKING

See ‘Smoking


SPONDYLOSIS – SPONDYLITIS

Cases of spondylosis are usually helped by a carefully-integrated chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy and nutritional régime. Positive results can be achieved quite quickly in responsive cases but the regime must be a long term endeavour. However, it is a complex and potentially dangerous condition, so no-one should interfere with the back (i.e. manipulation etc.) without veterinary supervision.

The condition is characterised by new bone formation around the joints of the spine. It can occur in one location (e.g. lumbo-sacral), possibly as a result of injury. It can occur at multiple sites, with no obvious relationship to injury. It is not clear what the cause is, in such cases but diet, exercise regimes and vaccination must be considered as possible contributors.

The extent of new bone is vary variable, as is symptomatology. Some patients can experience a lot of pain, with relatively small bony changes seen on X-Ray. In others, very extensive new bone, forming apparently complete bridges between the vertebrae, can go unnoticed and be discovered ‘by accident', when an X-Ray picture is taken for another reason. All variations between these two ‘extremes' are seen.

When the problem is clinically evident, the result of the disease is loss of flexibility of the spine, back pain, nerve impingement and loss of muscle along the back and in the hind legs. The gait becomes rather ‘pinched' and unsteady, in more advanced cases.


SYRINGOMYELIA

Syringomyelia is a condition which is mainly seen in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is most usually suspected in dogs who are observed to scratch vigorously one or other side of the neck, often in response to excitement or disturbance. There may be pain involved. In more extreme cases, there may be problems with coordination of the hind limbs.

It is usually diagnosed by MRI examination but clinical signs can be a very strong indicator.

The condition results from abnormal pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) creating a cavity within the spinal cord. This increased pressure usually arises as a result of obstructed CSF circulation because of herniation of part of the cerebellar region of the brain through the natural opening in the back of the skull (foramen magnum). The abnormal anatomy may be referred to as the Chiari Malformation and is possibly an unwanted side effect of the domed head shape of Cavaliers (e.g.).

Conventional treatments offered are likely to be painkillers, corticosteroids, drugs to control production of CSF or surgery. Success of any of these routes is unpredictable.

We have treated many cases at the AVMC, using acupuncture and homeopathy, again with unpredictable results. It seems logical to suggest that the cases that appear to meet with success or partial success would be milder cases.


TEETH & GUMS

Tooth health – Tartar – Plaque – Gingivitis

Tooth and gum health are major problems in the dog world, mostly as a result of incorrect feeding (diet – nutrition). If a dog is not permitted to chew on his natural food (raw meat and bones), his gums and teeth will soon be threatened by plaque, tartar and gingivitis, with eventual disease and extraction as likely sequelae.

We use homeopathy to aid gum health and to treat gum disease (e.g. gingivitis, epulis).

Raw dried untreated tripe sticks will do a similar (but possibly lesser) job for the teeth and gums but they are VERY smelly. Hide (rawhide) chews may be a problem from the ingredient, source, processing and additives point of view. Until full ingredient and processing declarations are forthcoming, the AVMC cannot recommend them.

See also Teeth & Teething

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THYROID PROBLEMS

Hypothyroid – Hyperthyroid

Thyroid problems can arise from over-activity (hyper) or under-activity (hypo) of the thyroid gland. Dogs suffer hypothyroidism (a.k.a. myxoedema, myxedema) much more commonly than hyperthyroidism. There is evidence that vaccination can set up immune problems leading to hypothyroidism. Dogs suffering hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid activity, thyroid hypofunction) usually show weight gain beyond what would be expected from food intake, chilliness and hair loss (alopecia). In the UK, blood testing for thyroid activity is very unreliable. Short-coated breeds (e.g. Dachshund, Dobermann, Weimaraner, Rottweiler, German Short-Haired Pointer) may already be close to hypothyroidism, when normal.

Homeopathy can provide successful control of the problem, in some cases, by stimulation of more normal function of the thyroid gland. If successful, this is obviously an ideal solution. Others may require thyroid supplementation with thyroxine, which may need to be lifelong.

Thyroid disease (leading to hypothyroidism) may be an ‘autoimmune‘ disorder. Autoimmune thyroiditis has certainly been recognised, especially in Doberman Pinschers (Dobermann), Beagles, Golden Retrievers and Japanese Akitas.

See also: Obesity, Alopecia

Hyperthyroidism is very rare in the dog but can be seen in cases of over-enthusiastic Thyroxine treatment for hypothyroidism.


TICKS

Ticks are external parasites that will feed on dogs (among other species) once per year. There are autumn ticks and spring ticks.

Because they are avid feeders and because they climb rough vegetation and jump onto moving and usually warm-blooded creatures that pass by (i.e. they do not rely on scent), it is extremely difficult to deter them using such measures as aromatherapy, that may be effective for fleas.

Ticks are associated with diseases such as Lyme Disease (Borreliosis).


TRAVEL SICKNESS

Sadly, a great many dogs suffer distressing symptoms of travel sickness, during puppyhood. This may even spill over into adulthood and can result in a complete ‘car phobia’.

It is a good idea to try to accustom a pup to vehicular travel, especially if you are in a car-borne family. Even for dogs that are not expected to travel, if they are not used to car travel an unexpected visit to the vet can bring about severe symptoms.

It is advisable to give the pup a secure place in the car, perhaps even his or her own bed. This will lend both physical stability and mental security.

An anti-static cord can be purchased, to affix to the underside of the vehicle. This will undoubtedly help some dogs.

Do not smoke in the car or allow diesel or petrol fumes to enter the car. All of these items can induce nausea, that is aggravated by the motion of the vehicle.

Homeopathic remedies can be very effective, the best known of which is Cocculus 30c. This can be given before and during travel. Bach’s Rescue Remedy is also able to help some cases, to be used in a similar way.


ULCER – ULCERATION

Ulcers can be defined as lesions in which the superficial layers of skin or mucous membrane have been damaged or lost and have failed to heal.

They can occur on the skin, anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, including the mouth, any other mucous membrane and in the eye (see corneal ulcer).

LASER therapy has been very helpful in the treatment of skin ulceration. We believe that the results achieved in past cases may be explicable by the phenomenon of stem cell mobilisation and activation by LASER light. Homeopathic treatment and herbal applications are also very valuable.

Holistic management is essential to speedy recovery.

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UROLITHIASIS

The greatest strength of the holistic approach (usually with homeopathy and diet) to cases of urolithiasis is in prevention. If urine blockage has occurred by the time of examination, then it is a surgical emergency that we would follow up with holistic preventive measures. However, cats acutely blocked with sabulous plugs may respond to homeopathy alone, given in a timely manner.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks'/'favorites', for ease of revisiting.

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URTICARIA

 

Also known as Hives

Urticaria is characterised by discrete swellings appearing in the skin. These may be circular patches or pimply raised lesions, often noticeable by virtue of the raised fur over them.

There is an allergic component of this disease, hence we must consider vaccination as one of the possible underlying causes. Immediate triggers can be dietary, drug reaction, bedding, chemicals, plant contact etc.

Homeopathy is usually very effective indeed, at treating such problems and even at curing the majority of them. However, we can encounter extremely difficult cases on occasion. It requires skilled prescribing, for best results, since the signs, albeit usually non-painful, betray a deep underlying malfunction of the immune system. The approach is holistic, as with all chronic disease, taking into account diet, vaccination history etc., with homeopathic constitutional prescribing at the heart of the therapeutic strategy.


VACCINATION PROBLEMS

Vaccinosis

While the motivation for vaccination is easy to see and is highly commendable, the possibility of harmful effects are rarely openly discussed. Since the positive side of vaccination needs no further explanation, this paper will look briefly at the ‘down’ side.

Vaccination usually implies the introduction to the body, usually by injection, of antigenic material (proteins from viruses or bacteria), which may be live or inactivated. It is not often understood that it may also include preservatives, foreign tissue of the same or a different species and other chemicals.

While the assertion that vaccination can be harmful is generally not well-received in professional circles and often dismissed, there is a disease generally acknowledged to result from a specific vaccine: Rabies Vaccine Induced Ischaemic Dermatopathy. If one such disease can be officially accepted, it is not difficult to open one's mind to the possibility of others.

The stimulus to the immune system may be over harsh, especially in the case of repeated doses*, or in puppies that may not have been well-endowed with maternal immunity at the time of early vaccination. The science behind repeated dosing, usually annually, is not well developed and can be shown, in many cases, to be seriously flawed.

The route of administration is not natural, infective attack being expected by the body to occur via nose or mouth. This can therefore override the body’s normal immune responses.

The vaccinal challenge, in susceptible individuals, can result in a temporary or semi-permanent imbalance in immune function. We may see the possible effects of this in allergy, atopy, auto-immunity, pemphigus and perhaps in some, possibly unexpected areas, such as cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, CDRM, heart valve pathology, meningitis, epilepsy, developmental disorders etc.

The ill effects of vaccination can often be seen some time after the injection. Three months is not an untoward interval, for the chronic effects of immune imbalance finally to be expressed as visible signs. There are, however, rarer and more dramatic ‘immediate’ ill-effects. These include anaphyllaxis (a violent and life-threatening allergic response), abscessation at the site of injection, excessive pyrexia (fever), fits and convulsions.

*Do not permit a dog to receive a ‘double booster' after a period of lapsed vaccine boosters. We see many serious ill effects from this procedure, which has no basis or justification in science.

Homeopathy can often correct the imbalance caused by ill-effects of vaccination but this is in by no means every case.

The homeopathic alternative to vaccine, which appears to have served thousands of dogs well, is as yet unproven by conventional scientific parameters. This is the use of nosodes. The method of proof required by the conventional veterinary world involves animal experimentation, from which we recoil. Clinical trials, providing very promising results, have been undertaken and published (research) and more are under way. The method is far from conventional acceptance, however, as matters currently stand, so it does not satisfy Pet Passport requirements.

See also: ‘Vaccination Issues‘, Autoimmune Disorders, Nosodes, Nosodes for Protection & ‘Vaccination Problems.pdf‘ for wider discussion of the subject.


VESTIBULAR SYNDROME (Canine Vestibular Disease) – Homeopathic Remedies

Canine Stroke

Vestibular Syndrome is a disease usually of the older dog, characterised by head tilt and unusual eye movements. In more severe cases, there may be loss of balance.

A combined and integrated acupuncture and homeopathy approach is usually very successful in restoring normal life to a dog that suffers vestibular syndrome. In some extreme cases, head tilt will not completely recover but the patient is able to enjoy life to the full, despite that. The terms ‘stroke' and canine stroke' are misnomers. This condition is not analogous with the human condition of ‘stroke' (aka cerebro-vascular accident) but it has nonetheless become a common tag for vestibular syndrome in dogs.

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WARTS

 

Warts are small excrescences on the skin. They may occur at any position in the body and are usually harmless, unless they are in a position to be vulnerable to injury, bleed, cause irritation to the patient resulting in self-injury or become so large as to obstruct normal life. For this reason, we rarely advocate surgical removal.

Homeopathy and/or herbs can usually result in disappearance of warts. Homeopathic medicines such as Calcarea carbonica, Causticum, Lycopodium, Nitric acid and Thuja are commonly-indicated remedies, although there others, depending on the case.

Herbal preparations that can be applied, often with success, are; Caper Spurge milk (white), Dandelion milk (white), Greater Celandine milk (yellow). Thuja oil may also prove useful.

Warts should not be confused with histiocytoma, mast cell tumour or melanoma.

A troublesome wart may appear on the eyelid. Radical surgery is often offered for this (with general anaesthetic) but, at the AVMC, if homeopathic treatment fails to deal with it, we usually perform a very brief and quick extrusion of the wart (without recourse to general anaesthetic). The wart might return in a very few cases. If it does recur at some point, we simply repeat this very minor and non-traumatic procedure.


WESTIE LUNG DISEASE – IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS – IPF

The word ‘idiopathic‘ in the name of this disease indicates that the scientific community has not found an agreed cause for this distressing disease. It is characterised by coughing, shortness of breath, lack of stamina and fainting episodes. It occurs mostly in Westies (West Highland Terriers) but cases in Scotties (Scottish Terriers) and Cairns have also been recorded.

Because it occurs predominantly in one breed, we can be drawn to the idea that it is hereditary. However, at the AVMC, we believe that there is more likely to be an ‘inherited predisposition', which means that there needs to be a trigger. As it is an immune-related (immune-mediated) disease (it may even be autoimmune in nature), such triggers as vaccination, viruses and stress must be considered. The role of vaccination is not clear but we have experienced cases commence signs soon after the administration of kennel cough vaccine.

While there is generally much gloom and doom about this diagnosis, we have not learned to be pessimistic when treating such cases with homeopathy. We have seen a significant number of cases and results have generally been very rewarding.


WOBBLER SYNDROME – CANINE WOBBLER – CERVICAL SPONDYLOPATHY

 

What is it?

Wobbler is the name given to the condition in which young dogs (but also rarely older adults) lose co-ordination of their hind limbs. It usually results from a malformation / incorrect development of the cervical vertebrae. The dog will generally ‘float' or ‘sway' at the hind end, particularly when turning. X-ray pictures are very characteristic, usually showing misalignment of the cervical vertebrae, which causes pinching of the cervical spinal cord.

How does it occur?

The condition is usually triggered by inco-ordination of growth and development, manifesting itself particularly in the neck vertebrae. The other likely cause is direct injury or strain to the neck area. It is most common in Dobermanns and Great Danes, when they grow very quickly. There is likely to be a hereditary tendency.

Are there preventive measures to take?

It is wise to ensure that all possible measures are taken to ensure an non-traumatic and steady growth period for a puppy, avoiding over feeding or ‘pushing'. A healthy diet will also help.

We recommend using a harness rather than a collar or ‘halter', for large breeds. A halter places sudden and powerful twisting forces on the neck.

Is it responsive to treatment?

The conventional prognosis is hopeless.

The cases in which we have been successful (or partially so) have responded best to an integrated chiropractic, LASER Therapy, homeopathic and acupuncture strategy, along with diet work.


WOUNDS

Owing to their lifestyle and their nature, dogs suffer wounds not infrequently. These can vary from minor cuts and abrasions, not worthy of much concern and often healing uneventfully without any intervention, to severe and extensive wounds, which necessitate veterinary attention and often protracted care.

In 40 years of veterinary practice and twenty years of ‘seeing practice’ before that, it has been my dubious pleasure to see a massive variety of wounds and a plethora of wound management techniques.

Some basic principles should serve to guide us in our assessment and treatment of wounds.

See also:  Ulcer – Ulceration

Interfere as little as possible.
Avoid excessive cleaning, which can often do tissue damage in its own right.
Only stitch or staple if vital to a healing process.
If wound closure is required, leave good room for drainage of fluids and discharges.
Choose the simplest intervention possible.
Do not rush to antibiotics*.
Use natural healing stimulation and wound treatments, wherever possible (e.g. LASER therapy, homeopathy, herbs, acupuncture).
In cases of large areas of skin loss, skin grafting may be considered at some point***

*We do not appear to need antibiotics, in wounds treated naturally.
**In our experience, proud flesh does not occur in a wound treated holistically from the outset.
***Skin grafting is rarely necessary in wounds treated naturally, owing to the extensive degree of shrinkage of the ‘skinless’ area that occurs and the possibility that treatments may stimulate the mobilisation of stem cells.

N.B.: In cases of poor wound healing, homeopathic intervention has usually been followed by improved or accelerated healing.

See also: Treating Injury Naturally.pdf

 

Herbal Acupuncture Homeopathy Chiropractic Nutrition Natural Holistic