Is the sky falling down? Fireworks and your animal friend.

June 23rd, 2014

Soon we will celebrate July 4th. Unfortunately for many of our animal friends this can also be a stressful time because of the loud fireworks that many people set off. For many animals, fireworks can seem like the world is ending and every year animals injury themselves by trying to escape out of houses or by running away and getting lost or hit by cars.

If you have an animal who is afraid of fireworks or a new animal in your household this is a good time to be home with them if at all possible. Here are some things you can do to avoid stress and injury to your furry companion. Not everything works for every animal and many of these suggestions can be used in combination. Some animals get such severe anxiety that they need to be sedated with medication, so if your animal falls under that category this is the time to call your veterinarian. Most of the suggested products below can be purchased at natural pet supply stores or online by clicking on the links.

  1. Put on loud music or turn up the television to cancel out the noise. If your animal is prone to stress I would suggest classical or other calming music.
  2. Use pheromone sprays such as Feliway for cats and D.A.P. aka Dog Appeasing Pheromone for dogs to calm them down. The comfort zone products are the same as the vet products that are called just Feliway and DAP but are cheaper and can be bought at pet supply stores.
  3. Spray a natural lavender product around the house. Lavender can be very calming but make sure you use a natural product and not one full of chemicals. Do not spray directly on your animal.
  4. Bach flower remedies such as Rescue Remedy can be very helpful for stressed animals. These are homeopathic in nature and very safe for even the oldest of animals. Put a few drops in their mouth or on the ear and a few drops in all the drinking bowls in the house.
  5. My Kingdom of Basil Calm and Peaceful formula is great for taking the edge off anxiety in dogs. Animals’ Apawthecary’s Tranquility Blend works well for anxiety in both cats and dogs. However check with your veterinarian if your animal is on any medications or has any major health issues before using these.
  6. Wearing a T-shirt, Thundershirt , or Anxiety Wrap can help your dog if they have problems with anxiety from fireworks. It sounds weird I know, but it actually does work.

    It is based around the ideas from Tellington TTouch of using an ace bandage. Wearing the shirt enhances your dog’s sense of their own body and makes them feel more confident in their movements and behavior. You can use a snug fitting human T-shirt, a Thundershirt , or an anxiety wrap.

  7. If you are home, talk to your animal calmly and rub them gently. If they become agitated try to stay calm. Your stress will only make them more stressed.
  8. Make sure all windows and doors are closed. Do not leave your animal outside.

Have a wonderful new year and thank you for visiting!

You are invited to an open house!

June 8th, 2014
kob_butterfly_logo_med_transparent

Please join us for an
Open House at
Kingdom of Basil Wellness Clinic
for people and their companion animals
June 22nd Sunday 3-5pm

 

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We believe that families can include many species and that good holistic health should not be limited to just people. We provide holistic health for the whole family through acupuncture, massage and naturopathic medicine.

Our new clinic is located in the south end of West Seattle. Please come and see our new clinic, meet our practitioners, and learn about our herbal business. Animals welcome as long as they can get along with others and are on leash.

We are located at 9431 17th Ave SW Seattle, WA right between Delridge and Roxbury. For questions please call 206-937-6288 or email contact (at) kingdomofbasil (dot) com

For more information also see our website Kingdomofbasil.com

Natural Pet Pantry – yummy food for cats and dogs in the Pacific Northwest

May 27th, 2014

Natural Pet Pantry has long been somewhere I recommend to clients for food but I have yet to actually make it there myself. Today Randi dropped off some samples for me and my clients and who better to try them on than my own fur kids. Everything is made fresh at their kitchen in the south park neighborhood in Seattle. They are a great locally owned company with retail locations in Burien and Kirkland and sell at many of the local pet supply stores. They also do some home delivery in the Seattle area.

While they make a great raw product, they are one of the only companies that offered cooked stews for cats and dogs.

There cat food is made with fresh ingredients and is mostly meat, as it should be.  This is the raw turkey.

Their cat food is made with fresh ingredients and is mostly meat, as it should be. This is the raw turkey.

I have four kitties with difference preferences.  Three of them jumped in immediately, the forth had to sniff for about 30 seconds and then went to town.  Rating - four cat approval!

I have four kitties with difference preferences. Three of them jumped in immediately, the forth had to sniff for about 30 seconds and then went to town. Rating – four cat approval!

Melody got left out of the first photo.  She is my toothless little girl and had no problems eating this.

Melody got left out of the first photo. She is my toothless little girl and had no problems eating this.

Alli has been on a raw diet since I got her but I decided to try her on NPP's turkey cooked stew.  There are so few good options for prepared fresh cooked foods for dogs.

Alli has been on a raw diet since I got her but decided to try her on NPP’s turkey cooked stew. There are so few good options for cooked homemade foods for dogs.

Alli was in love with this food!

Alli was in love with this food!

More food love!  It disappears in about a minute.

More food love. It disappears in about a minute. Overall Natural Pet Pantry Rating – 5/5!

Why I can’t

May 26th, 2014

lenaspencerI hold no special magic that others can’t have. I do write a lot, I try to write articles that others can follow and that give good solid information. There are many vets out there that do what I do and do it well but don’t write articles. I don’t know them all. Many of them don’t know me.

Part of why I started writing is that I was one person and only one person. I could not help everyone who needed my help, even just in my city of Seattle. There was only so much of me. I received calls and I had no appointments for weeks or months. Peoples’ animals were dying and I had no time to help.

So I began to write and I found in writing I could help more people and I was able to use a talent that I have had since I was young. The ability to share part of who I am through words on paper.

I do hold magic, its just not unique to me. I know how to put love into what I do. I know how to appreciate animals and people for who they are and where they are at. And I’ve learned to use the incredible brain I was given that processes medical and botanical information well (but can’t spell the most simple of words – thank good for spell check) and combine that with the intuition that comes from my heart. I’m grateful for this.

The more I write, the more emails and phone calls I get asking me to help specific animals. I can’t help them all. I know that every animal out there is unique and loved. And it pains me that I am not able to help every furry companion and family member. My main magic lies in those animals I can see in person, with people I can look in the eye and guide. I can’t do what I do best on a phone, over distance.

When I write an article it helps thousands of animals. I need to keep my blogging work on articles and my local practice on seeing animals.

I know people will continue to ask, I know I will continue to hurt that I can’t reach out to everyone individually.

But there are other great veterinarians out there that can guide. Nothing compares to having someone in your community to guide you through your animals’ chronic illnesses. It is not a one stop visit with chronic disease. Sometimes that guide is a great western veterinarian, more and more I find that my profession is opening to some of the holistic medical options. Many times it is a wonderful holistic practitioner.

I know there are those who will be their our guides, those that live 500 miles from the nearest holistic veterinarian. I have tried to make my articles the most straight forward yet detailed I can. Consider taking them to your western veterinarian and discussing. We need to get more veterinarians interested in holistic medicine. There is nothing as frustrating as having a chronic disease without options. If there are no good western options many vets will be open to something more unconventional.

larkfeetI know this article doesn’t help animals. It helps me. I have tried in so many ways to express this to everyone who asks for help. I can’t type it any more. Thank you for listening.

To find a holistic vet in your community
How To Find a Good Holistic Vet To Work With

If you are working with an animal with cancer
Integrative and Holistic Treatments for Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Some ramblings about love and involvement in chronic disease

May 25th, 2014

Treating and stabilizing cancer and chronic disease long term is sometimes like learning how to ride a bike. At first it feels impossible and every small setback or fall you think I can’t do this, this is the end. However at one point you realize that you are going on your own and that you actually have a lot of power in this process.

Ok so maybe a bad comparison. Bikes don’t normally kill you and most of us learn to ride them eventually. But I have found one of the hardest things for people with companion animals with cancer is that they have no control over the process. They see their animal suffering. They are told they are going to die. And then they are left trying to figure out what direction to go and that becomes extremely difficult to decide with someone you love.

In addition when they turn to the Internet they are blasted with an amazing amount of articles, supplements, stories about what you should do for an animal with cancer and chronic illness. It is almost impossible to find a right course. I have seen that even when people have their dogs or cats on multiple cancer supplements/treatments that they go back again and again to the internet hoping for a new article, a new cure.

There is no solid cure for cancer and many other chronic diseases. However there are many things that help to control the pain and symptoms and sometimes we get cures.

But one of the most important things for any practitioner working with people who are facing cancer or chronic illness in a loved animal is to make these wonderful people part of the cure. It is only natural that when we see our animals suffer that we want to help. We don’t want to be the one in control but we do want to have something we can do that gives us some control and some power over suffering. This eases anxiety and turns worry into actions.

I find it is different client to client but I try to add in some treatments they can do at home. Acupressure points that help with stimulating the immune system. A diet or additives they can cook to help with health. Topical treatments that can be applied at home. Medication for when there is pain or nausea or other difficulties. Herbals that they can lovingly mix in with their dogs’ food, that actually help and work. While I do have people use capsules if an animal will not eat the herbs I provide, my preference is for the whole herbs I make that smell good and fresh. If people do use capsules they are filling them on their own which also involves them in the healing process.

In my own herb business we have a rule that herbs can only be made if you are in a good place. If anyone is in a particularly bad mood they cannot make herbs, because their energy can effect the herbs. The funny flip side of that is that the herbs seem to make all of our moods better. If I am in a bad place I simply go sit with the herbs for a while and the world seems better. Every herbal we make gets a hand drawn heart on the package. That is the love that is added. I learned that years ago from my first herbal teacher’s wife. Always add love, it does make a difference.

I know that was a bit off topic but I guess what I am trying to say is that in medicine we have worked so hard to remove the connection between medicine and love. Love can be medicine and when we involve people in their animals’ treatments, we are adding love. And that is no small thing.

We are all connected, let’s use that connection to heal!

Further reading

My favorite products for cats and dogs

April 27th, 2014

Those of you that follow my writing know that I am not a huge supplement pusher. I believe that whole good quality food goes a long way in our cats and dogs and if you feed a great diet you really don’t need a lot of powders and liquids.

That being said I often get questions about what are the best supplements and you will notice in my homemade food recipes that I often add supplements. See Diets for cancer in cats and dogs. By the way these diets are great for animals without cancer as well.

So for those of you out there that want to add in a little extra to your dog or cat’s food here are my favorites. And yes there are only three.

  • Healthforce’s Vitamineral Green Powder is one of those truly great supplements. I first learned about this powder after getting an amazingly good smoothie at our local Chaco Canyon cafe. Everytime I would order it I felt like I had a little more energy and my digestion was a little better. It contained this product and I soon ordered it and not only took it myself but also added it to the homemade cat food I made instead of kelp. My cats’ digestion also improved and the volume in the litter boxes decreased. Clearly they were utilizing their food better. I highly recommend this for any animals with digestive issues or as an extra health tonic in healthy animals (or humans)
  • I often get questions about medical mushroom supplements for our companion animals. Fungi Perfecti is my favorite company by far. They have a great reputation in the holistic community and really know their stuff. They also make a great companion animal product called MUSH.If you have a breed that is prone to cancers adding in a mushroom supplement can be highly beneficial. Mushrooms are also a wonderful immune booster and unusual that they can be safely used in animals with autoimmune disease or on immune suppressing drugs.
  • Not all fish oils are created equal. In my opinion all liquid products should be refrigerated once opened, if they aren’t that is a problem. I don’t trust many of the animal fish oil products and prefer going with companies that also make human products that regulate for heavy metals, contaminants, and quality. My favorite company, Nordic Naturals, makes a pet products which has the same high quality of their human grade oils. I prefer their Cod Liver Oil for Pets above all other products. Fish oils and cod liver oils help with skin issues, support immune help, decrease joint inflammation in dogs and help with weight loss in older and sick animals. They can also be an added health booster for healthy dogs and cats and because of the stinky fishy taste are usually not only tolerated but liked by our animals.

Kingdom of Basil tinctures now available for cats (and smaller dogs)!

April 20th, 2014

tinctureMy cat clients have long had the benefit of being able to use my specially made herbal tinctures. For the first time they are now available on etsy! While any of my herbal mixes can be made into a tea for the kitties, the tinctures come made to give. All my tinctures are made with love and with glycerin instead of alcohol so they are not too strong on the tongue. I can’t say that cats like my tinctures because they do still have a herbal taste and let’s face it, cats don’t like anything that is put in their mouths by someone else. However, they go down easier than most of the medications out there.

I am starting with offering my four most commonly used tinctures in the one ounce size.

I often times combine kidney support and anemia support for cats with both kidney disease and anemia. Many cats with kidney disease also have high blood pressure, so sometimes kidney support gets combined with the hawthorn/ginkgo combo. I can also make either of these combinations. The constipation support I always use as a separate tincture.

I hope these tinctures additions are able to help more of the kitties out there! And I’ll be adding more formulas and sizes as we move along.

Izzy’s joy

March 19th, 2014

izzy1Izzy has one of the best noses of any dog I know. I usually have a treat jar in my office and when Izzy comes I have to hide it, otherwise he is obsessed with getting into it the whole appointment. I usually give one treat before an acupuncture treatment and one after and usually I can hide the treat for after on top of one of my picture frames but not from Izzy. The one time I tried he was climbing the walls, he knew it was there.

March 7th was a special day this year. It was the day that Izzy made it to two years after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called lymphoma. It is rare to get two years after lymphoma diagnosis and I always feel like if we can reach this milestone that the future ahead is much brighter.

If you want to talk about dogs with boundless energy Izzy would be up there. He often comes to see me after running or swimming at one of the local dog parks and he still has energy. A whirlwind of it all contained in a poodle body. But he is also one of the sweetest dogs out there, he can snuggle up to you with love, give you kisses and one look into his beautiful eyes and he has captured you.

I work with a lot of dogs with cancer, or in Izzy’s case who have had cancer, but Izzy is unusual in that he was only three years old when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. His wonderful people, Pete and Elise, made the decision to pursue chemotherapy for him because he was so young and lymphoma is quite an aggressive cancer.

izzy3However almost immediately after starting chemo Izzy’s energy dropped. He was no longer a happy, energetic dog but was instead lethargic and sick and his people, who loved him so much, felt like they could not continue the treatments that could help him but also were making him so sick. Luckily he was working with one of my favorite veterinarians, Dr. Tim Kraabel and he made a recommendation to try some acupuncture. I had briefly worked with Izzy’s people with another elderly dog who had since passed and they jumped right on board with that recommendation. Between Dr. Kraabel and Pete and Elise they identified that the prednisone that was part of his chemo protocol was a large part of what was making him ill. Dr. Kraabel recommended stopping it permanently and also stopping all the chemotherapy for a short time until we could get Izzy to a better place.

And so Izzy came to my practice.

From the first acupuncture treatment, Izzy was back to his normal energy. We also started him on a few different herbal formulas and supplements to both support his body and immune system and also to help fight the cancer. He did so well that we made a decision to continue his chemotherapy, although with longer intervals between the different drugs and he went through the full course without any major issues.

We have had one small setback when Izzy developed a second form of cancer in the form of a small skin tumor. Luckily it was removable and with one herbal addition it has not come back. Chemotherapy can predispose a dog to secondary cancers and while we knew there was a risk of that, you still hope that it doesn’t happen.

Izzy is such a wonderful illustration of what can happen when you get a team of people working together. Without Izzy’s people and their dedication to him and openness to explore and pursue all avenues of treatment for him he would not be here. Without the herbal and acupuncture treatments he would not have made it through chemotherapy and most likely would not have done so well after it. Without the chemotherapy he would not be here. And without Izzy’s determination to fight this fight none of this would have happened. We had a team where we could all communicate and trusted each other. We each had a part that we did well which came together in a way to give Izzy life.

I’m hoping that Izzy will have many years ahead of him to swim and run and love. To be a normal dog who can move through the world with joy and excitement. Perhaps he will finally slow down when he is in his golden years and maybe sleep a little more and run a little less and maybe come back to see me so I can treat him for arthritis.

No one knows what Izzy’s future holds but we do know that he is here now and by everyone’s prediction he shouldn’t be. But I always wonder, who are we to decide such things, especially when Izzy still has so much joy to show the world.
izzy2

Mast Cell Tumors Grade 3 and internal mast cell cancer – finding the right herbal treatments for your dog

March 8th, 2014

I told myself I couldn’t write an article on the more aggressive mast cell tumors (grade 3) and internal mast cell cancers. Yes, but sometimes you realize that you need to try to get the information out there even if it is difficult. For lower grade 1 and 2 tumors and prevention see Mast Cell Tumors of the Skin – holistic approaches.

Why are more aggressive mast cell cancers difficult to write about? The main reason is that they present very differently dog to dog, they spread differently and the herbals I use to treat them can vary quite a bit dog to dog.

Before I start one quick comment. Grading of disease is subjective. There are certain signs that pathologist look at to grade tumors but it doesn’t always carry with it how aggressive a tumor will be. I have seen grade three mast cells where removal was cure and grade 1 mast cells that went on to spread through the body. So all is not lost if your dog is diagnosed with a more aggressive grade of this cancer. Each dog’s cancer is individual, like the herbals used.

So the must dos for these cancers

  1. I always recommend that grade three tumors be removed if possible and your dog’s health will allow. Because there tumors are usually more highly aggressive, it is better to not watch and wait. And herbals are going to work so much better if the tumor can be reduced to microscopic levels.
  2. Acupuncture – you know me, I’m the acupuncturist. However, I am the acupuncturist who has seen so many dogs with cancer live wonderful full lives in spite of diagnosis and those who only had a few months live them better and without pain.
  3. Cancer Diet – this is a must for these guys. No grain, least processed and lots of meat. See You are what you eat a fighting cancer machine.
  4. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang with E Zhu and San Leng – this is my main go to herbal for lower grade disease. I also use it for most of the more aggressive tumors as well (although not all). If the tumor is in the skin or may or has traveled to the lungs this is a must
  5. Artemisinin – once again a must in almost all the disease I treat. If you have read any of my other articles you will know this is one of my favorite supplements to fight cancer.

From here it gets tricky but please continue along – the following I mix and match depending on how they fit the dog and how the cancer presents.

  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang – this is a must for any dog with internal mast cell cancer in the organs. It can also be helpful for cancer which has traveled into the lymphatic system, the more aggressive grade three tumors, cancer in the lungs and/or any dog who has a disconnect between their front and back end. Click on the link for more information about this supplement
  • Si Miao San – I don’t use a lot of Si Miao San for cancer but I get animals I treat where it fits very well and then it is useful. It works best for dogs who are prone to inflammation and inflammatory diseases, sun seekers who run hot and pant a lot, dogs who are prone to itchy red bellies and dogs who carry a lot of dampness like the pits and bulldogs. This one will also help for cancer in the lymphatics.
  • Hoxsey Like Formula/Cancer Detox Support – A must if the tumor can not be removed or is highly aggressive and there are signs of spread after removal.
  • IP-6 -one of the supplements I sometimes use. This one seems to work well for mast cell cancer that is grade three, internal, or where grade 2s can not be removed completely.
  • Yunnan Baiyao A must for any internal cancer with a risk of bleeding

I highly recommend finding an herbalist to work with. I see dogs that don’t match exactly what I have written above, acupuncture is awesome and there is nothing to replace having a guide in all this.

As with all supplements and herbals, please check with your animal’s regular vet before using this herbal.

Return to Integrative and Holistic Methods for Treating Cancer in Cats and Dogs

We did it, we bought a building!! Welcome Kingdom of Basil Wellness Clinic for animals and their people

February 26th, 2014

I have long wanted to expand my practice and have a clinic where not just animals but also their people could go for excellent holistic health care. Today we bought a building in West Seattle where that dream can come to life!

I am very excited to introduce you to Kingdom of Basil – a wellness clinic for companion animals and their people and a small herb shop for animals. I have long believed that our healing between people and their animals is connected. Good health for us helps our animals and good health for our animals helps us.

I have a wonderful group of practitioners who are going to be part of this adventure. In addition to my own practice, we will have massage and acupuncture for people and animals and naturopathic medicine for people. I’m hoping to expand the herbal shop to people in the future and be able to offer some classes and support groups as well.

Diane will be with us full time running the office and will be able to meet and help many of you in person that she has only been able to meet over the phone. She will still work on Saturdays at Lien Animal Clinic.

We are hoping to move in April 1st and begin our journey. This date may change as we get the clinic ready to open. In the meantime please check out Kingdom of Basil’s website for information on some of our practitioners. There are a couple people who will be involved without profiles up yet.


If you are a facebook user please like our Kingdom of Basil page to get updates on our progress.

I promise to send our more updates to you as we move along in getting things ready to move in including directions to the clinic.

For those of you that are wondering, our new address will be 9431 17th Ave SW, 98106. We are excited to join a part of West Seattle that I feel like is rapidly changing and growing!