Posts Tagged ‘health’

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang – Chemotherapy herbal support for dogs and cats

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is one of the formulas I take myself when I’ve been under too much stress and my adrenals are a little deficient. It has a deep root flavor with just a hint of citrus – yum!

In my practice, this is the main formula I use for chemotherapy support. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang helps to support digestion, the immune system, blood cell counts, and adrenal function in the body and at the same time has some strong anti-cancer herbs.

So what is in Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang?

  • Huang Qi – Astragulus
  • Bai Zhu – Atractylodes
  • Gan Cao (sometimes Zhi Gan Cao is used instead) – Licorice
  • Ren Shen – Ginseng
  • Chen Pi – Tangerine peel
  • Dang Gui – Chinese angelica root
  • Chai Hu – Bupleurum
  • Sheng Ma – Black cohosh

In 2007 a study was done out of the University of Minnesota by K. HWa Choi DVM. This study looked at dogs being treated with chemotherapy (including doxorubicin) for lymphoma and the side effects from treatment. It was found that dogs administered BZYQT had much less diarrhea and vomiting then dogs getting just chemotherapy. They also did much better than dogs getting chemotherapy and western drugs to control vomiting and diarrhea. In addition the dogs on BZYQT had better appetites. BZYQT also significantly raised white and red blood cell counts. Overall the dogs getting chemotherapy and Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang did much better than dogs just getting chemotherapy or those being treated with western drugs for the side effects.

Not bad for an herbal therapy!

There has also been some success in the herbal veterinary community with this herbal to help manage hemangiosarcoma.

So how does it work?

Bupleurum has some amazing cancer fighting abilities. Bupleurum can induce apoptosis or cell death in cancer cells and inhibit cancer cell growth and division. Many studies have been done on this plant especially for lung cancer.

Many of the herbs in this formula work in pairs. Astragulus and ginseng strongly support the immune system and have direct anti-cancer effects. Ginseng and licorice support adrenal function. Dang Gui with Huang Qi stimulates the bone marrow to increase blood cell production. Licorice and tangerine support digestion.

This formula also works to increase peripheral circulation and can help to prevent some skin and nail inflammatory disorders. Many animals with deficient immune function also do well on this formula. I also often use it to support animals with deficient adrenal function (Addison’s disease). Some of its other uses are for incontinence and prolapse.

In Chinese medicine terms Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang lifts up sinking qi, supports the liver and spleen and tonifies lung qi.

When do I use this formula?

Any dog or cat getting chemotherapy which includes the drug doxorubicin also known as adriamycin should be on this formula. This drug is one with the most potential for side effects and Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang can help reduce these.

I also use it for dogs or cats on other chemotherapeutic agents who are having side effects or problems maintaining cell counts.

In addition I will sometimes use this formula in very debilitated animals to help them gain strength and balance. I currently have one dog I treat who has a weakened immune system and is prone to getting nail bed infections that turn to cancer. He had lost three toes to this process before we found a protocol which included his formula.

How is Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang dosed?

I usually dose it twice a day and use powdered whole herbs in my patients. I use 1/8 teaspoon once or twice a day for cats and small dogs, 1/4 teaspoon twice a day for dogs up to 25 lbs, and 1/2-1 teaspoon twice day for larger dogs. For tea pills use 2,4, or 8 twice a day for the above sizes of animals.

If I am using a tincture I use 0.2ml per 5lb once a day.

Many companies will substitute Codonopsis (Dang Shen) for ginseng (Ren Shen). If at all possible use a product that has ginseng as it is a much stonger and more powerful herb than codonopsis.

You can now buy Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang from my etsy store, Kingdom of Basil or you can buy the Yama herb capsules from Amazon.com.

As with all articles on this site, please check with your animal’s vet before starting any herbal treatments.

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

Acupuncture for animals with cancer – stoking the healing power within

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Much of the year I am so booked up that I am not able to take new patients but my assistant Diane knows just the right thing to say to make me sneak in an extra special one. “Lena, there is this amazing dog I meet at the clinic who was just diagnosed with cancer, is there any way you think we can work them into the schedule?”

I can’t say enough about the power of acupuncture for animals with cancer! Of all the work I have done with this disease I am still amazed at how well acupuncture can help these wonderful animals live with cancer.

I love being able to make animals feel better and it brings tears to my eyes to be able to help the people I work with have their beloved animals for longer. Currently I have a number of animals who are living, and living well, more then a year out, with cancer that should have taken them in a matter of months.

When I first became an acupuncturist I took over doing acupuncture for an amazing dog named Rooney. Rooney had been diagnosed with bladder cancer about 4 months before I meet her and she was supposed to be gone within three months of her diagnosis, even with the chemotherapy she was getting. I started treating her every week and over that time was blessed to get to work with one of the most amazing dogs I would ever meet and her wonderful moms. Rooney was not supposed to live but she made it almost three years with chemotherapy and acupuncture. She was rarely sick during that time and she lived a very normal dog life up until her last month. See Rooney’s Wisdom.

Rooney is unusual in that I only worked with acupuncture with her and not herbs. For most of the animals I treat I recommend an integrated approach that combined acupuncture, herbs and often times some western treatments as well.

The wonderful thing about acupuncture is that there are not major side effects like with chemotherapy, surgery and even some of the herbs I use. Because of this, it can be used in some of the most sick and old animals. Although I find it works best if it can be started before an animal is severely debilitated.

So what are the main benefits of acupuncture?

  • Increased longevity – almost all the animals I treat for cancer end up living much longer than the normal prognosis, usually at least double prognosis time. In some animals this ends up being years beyond prognosis. For a treatment with no major side effects this is pretty amazing.
  • Increased well being and energy – acupuncture can increase energy and help to regulate the hormones in the body. Cancer can make animals feel sick – acupuncture helps to reverse this. This is the most important benefit I see with acupuncture treatments. Animals are happy again and people feel like they have had their beloved companion returned to them.
  • Decreased pain – cancer can be painful. Acupuncture can significantly reduce that pain and help to reduce side effects to some of the pain drugs. I had a dear little bunny I treated who had a very painful spinal tumor. With acupuncture every two weeks we were able to keep him happy for about six months.
  • Immune system support – cancer is a failure of the immune system. Acupuncture stimulates the immune system so that it can fight the cancer better.In some animals, I have actually seen tumors shrink with just acupuncture alone.
  • Increased blood circulation – to the cells you want to get blood. There is some thought that acupuncture can help to pull blood away from cancer cells and give it to the parts of the body that need it. Often times with cancer the body ends up without enough nutrients and energy because the cancer takes it all. Acupuncture helps to reverse this.
  • Increased appetite – some animals with cancer feel so sick that they don’t want to eat. Acupuncture can help to stimulate appetite.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation support – both these therapies are very hard on the immune system and body. Acupuncture helps to keep white blood cell numbers up during these therapies and helps decrease the side effects. If white blood cells drop too low, chemotherapy needs to be stopped. Acupuncture can usually raise blood cell numbers within a week.

How often should an animal with cancer be treated?

I recommend scheduling acupuncture treatments at least every two weeks. In some very sick animals I will recommend weekly treatments and I usually start with weekly treatments for a few weeks. I have a few animals I have treated every three weeks and I had one dog who did very well with monthly treatments but over all I have found animals do much better with weekly or every other week treatments. The acupuncturist you work with may have different experiences.

Where do I find a veterinary acupuncturist to treat my animals?

The best tool I have found is through the International Veterinary acupuncture Society’s website. Find a veterinary acupuncturist in your area.

I should note that all good veterinary acupuncturists are not on this list. I’m not because the certification program I went through is not recognized by IVAS. In addition someone being listed just means they are certified by IVAS or one of its recognized programs, not how experienced or good they are. Ask around in your area to see if there is someone that is highly recommended. Ask your vet, at the local pet store, at the dog park, at the local groomer or among friends and co-workers or search the Internet.

When is the best time to start acupuncture?

Now! Really as soon as possible is best. It is much easier for me to keep an animal from getting sick then try to make them better after they are very ill.

My normal vet or oncologist says I should not do acupuncture or alternative medicine with my animal? What should I do?

Most vets I have worked with are very open to what I do. In my state and in most states you need to be a veterinarian to do acupuncture on animals. I think that helps us have more support from the mainstream vet community. Since most vets don’t have training in acupuncture or herbal medicine sometimes they just need a little communication. I am always happy to talk to someone’s regular vet or oncologist if there is a conflict when I am working with their animal. Hopefully your veterinary acupuncturist will be willing to also. While I am not always as current on western treatments for cancer, I am usually much more current on the herbal studies and the studies about combining western and alternative medicine.

Should I use acupuncture with chemotherapy?

Yes! I have found that animals getting acupuncture with chemotherapy not only do better with fewer side effects, but also live longer.

But I don’t want my animal to suffer longer? What if acupuncture helps then to live longer but they are miserable during that time?

I have found that the animals I treat with acupuncture live well and die fast when it is their time. The quality of life while they are alive is usually quite good and they are happy. I have found that when it is time to go they tend to get sick quickly and the passing seems to be easier for both the people involved and the animals because it is so obviously time for them to pass on.

What if I can’t find a veterinary acupuncturist in my area?

While I do think acupuncture works better than acupressure, I think there is a lot of benefit to acupressure and it really can make a large difference in an animal’s health. See if you can find someone who does acupressure treatments or learn yourself. I will publish an article in the near future about how to do acupressure for cancer.

Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute has a tool to find a practitioner and offer classes in acupressure.
Find an animal acupressure practitioner.
There are also many good books out there on acupressure. Focus with stimulating the immune system and working with lung, kidneys and spleen. Here are some of my favorites:
Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure
The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure

I think there will come a time in my life where we will look back on some of the harsher treatments we use for cancer as being somewhat barbaric. Many of the new treatments emerging work by getting the body to fight cancer itself. There was an amazing article I just read about using modified white blood cells to get rid of leukemia. New leukemia treatment exceeds wildest expectations. Acupuncture fits nicely in with some of these emerging new therapies.

Acupuncture supports the body and helps it to do what it should have been able to in the first place, fight cancer. Most importantly it helps to support our animal friends in their journey through cancer treatment. It helps them to live and love living and gives us more time with them. For me there is no greater joy than seeing that sparkle come back into a dog’s eyes that says I choose life!

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

Managing Cushings disease in dogs holistically

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Over the years of practicing holistic medicine I was gone from thinking I could help control the symptoms of Cushings disease in dogs to now having dogs in my care who are completely controlled with diet, herbs and acupuncture.

What do you do if your dog has Cushings disease?

  1. Pull all grains and most of the carbohydrates out of their diet. Feed them the least processed diet that they can tolerate. Raw high protein diets are best. If raw is not possible feed them a grain free, potato free, high protein, high quality canned food such as Instinct. Home cooked diets like the diet I use for animals with cancer are also great. See Diets for cancer in cats and dogs. The same dietary approach to cancer is also good for Cushings disease. Do not feed these dogs dry food!

    I have found that changing diet alone can make a huge difference in these dogs so if you can only work with diet you can still help your animal friend.

  2. Treat the dampness and inflammation. This is the best way to get their endocrine system back to normal regulation. In most dogs, the best Chinese herbal formula for this is called Si Miao San. This formula helps to decrease inflammation in the body, regulates insulin, and improves digestion. I sometimes add corn silk to this formula to help with problems with insulin resistance. Not surprisingly this is also one of the main formulas I use for diabetes. Si Miao San is not always the best formula for all dogs with Cushings. Si Miao San works best for the hot, panting, overweight Cushings dog. When I work with thin, weak dogs there are other herbals that work better. If at all possible find a veterinary herbalist to help you with this.
  3. Acupuncture. I have so much more success in those dogs I can treat with needles. Acupuncture helps to regulate the endocrine system and reduce inflammation in the body. I have found that many dogs will only need acupuncture about every two months once we get them stable unless we are treating other health issues as well.
  4. Ginkgo biloba can be helpful in treating Cushings. Ginkgo slows the release adrenal hormone and can help to control Cushings disease. I do not use this herb with all the dogs I treat as I have found it not to be as effective as Si Miao San, acupuncture and diet change. However it does seem to be the herb that can be added to the protocol if you are not getting as much symptom control as you think you should be. It is very much my tipping point herb and sometimes it makes the difference between good control and mediocre control of this disease.

    Ginkgo is also a great herb for helping with dementia, high blood pressure, and protecting against heart disease and stroke. Because of this I often recommend it in my older animals. One of my favorite ginkgo product is made my Animal Apawthecary and also contains hawthorn. It is called Animals’ Apawthecary Hawthorn Plus
    . I also make a powder version of this formula called Heart and Brain Support through my etsy shop.

  5. Be aware that a natural approach can change the amount of Trilostane and other drugs that are needed to control this disease. Work with your vet to monitor signs of drug overdose if your dog is already on Trilostane or Lysodren, when they are being treated naturally. If your dog stops eating, becomes lethargic, or has sleep disturbance or vomiting and diarrhea contact your vet immediately. This could be a sign of overdose.

I have had a number of dogs who we have gotten completely off of Trilostane (the main drug to treat Cushings disease) or significantly reduced the dosage. If I can catch it early many dogs never need to use the western drugs.

One of my favorite dogs with Cushings disease is a cute little Cairn Terrier I treat named Clancy. He’s a fun little guy with a lot of spunk. We were able to catch his Cushings disease very early about a year and a half ago, just after he was diagnosed. His main symptoms were increase in weight, panting and that he was much more jumpy when touched and startled easily. He also drunk a lot of water and was always hungry. Through acupuncture, herbs and diet we have been able to keep Clancy happy and symptom free. Occasionally he will have a little flare up of symptoms but so far we have been able to treat those flare ups with acupuncture and some herbal and dietary changes. I’m hopeful that Clancy will never need Trilostane or other western drugs.

So what is Cushings disease?

If you have found this article you may already know about Cushings. For those of you that don’t here is a short explanation.

Cushings disease is caused by an overactive adrenal gland which produces too much adrenal hormone. Most of the time this is caused by a benign pituitary tumor in the brain which signals the adrenal to produce more hormone than it needs. Occasionally this is caused by an adrenal tumor in the actual gland. Usually with an adrenal tumor, removal is recommended. However with pituitary tumors removal is too difficult and the treatment of choice is to use a drug such as Lysodren or Trilostane which stop the production of adrenal hormone through destroying the cells that make it or blocking its release. This can be risky because if too much gland is destroyed or if too much hormone is blocked the animal can die, become seriously ill, or develop Addison’s disease (not enough adrenal hormone) which is much more dangerous. Both these drugs can permanently damage the adrenal glands.

The main symptoms of Cushings disease are a pot bellied appearance, excess hunger and water consumption, and hair loss on the sides. Many dogs have a tragic look to them. In addition Cushings disease can cause weakness and panting. These dogs have a weakened immune system and are prone to infections and cancers. People will often times describe their dogs with Cushings as more agitated and some dogs will have issues with sleeping through the night.

Here are a couple other good articles about Cushings disease and it’s treatment
Cushing disease
FDA cushings disease and Trilostane

An amazing things I recently learned about Cushings disease is that it appears to be closely related to type 2 diabetes. In fact there are those that believe that both diseases are the same syndrome, just manifesting differently. When brain scans were done of cats with insulin resistant type 2 diabetes, it was found that in those cats with insulin resistance had pituitary tumors characteristic of Cushings disease. Wow!
Prevelant of pituitary tumors among diabetic cats with insulin resistance

Both diseases seem to be induced by an overload of nutrients of the carbohydrate variety. Animals with Cushings disease and diabetes develop what is called metabolic syndrome. There body can not handle the amount of carbohydrates and high glycemic index ingredients in many of the processed diets we feed them. These high glycemic index diets cause high levels of inflammation in their bodies, which lead to problems in the endocrine system. This can lead to insulin resistance, development of pituitary tumors, or other inflammatory diseases.

You can pull up a great lecture on the subject of inflammation, diet and the endocrine system by one of my herbal teachers, Dr. Steve Marsden by following this link (brings up a PDF).
Management of inflammation using chinese herbs and diet

While I have not been able to get all dogs controlled without western drugs, usually we are at least able to significantly reduce clinical signs and/or reduce the dose of drugs needed to regulate this illness. In a disease with not many good safe options for treatment, I love having effective natural options to offer the animals I work with.

As with all advice offered on this website please check with your animal’s veterinarian before changing your animal’s medications or adding any herbals.

A magic vial of Yunnan Paiyao

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

As gunshots rang out, he fell from his horse bleeding from where the bullet had entered his chest. As blood ran from the wound, he could feel his life slowly slipping away. Images of his small daughter and wife, who were both far away, ran through his mind.

Quickly he reached for the vial, opening it to swallow the small red pill within and then taking the powder beneath it he quickly poured it in to the fresh wound. His breathing started to return to normal and he felt like he would be able to make it off the battlefield to find help. There was still some bleeding from the wound but no longer enough to take his life.

Sound like something from a fantasy movie? Surprisingly it isn’t.

Yunnan Baiyao, also known as Yunnan Paiyao, is a special formula know to every Chinese herbalist. It was developed in 1902 in China and has been an important remedy ever since. The formula is owned by the Chinese government and the secret of what exactly is in the magic red pill is highly guarded. It is rumored that it is made from gallstones cultivated in very special cows among other things but even the workers in the factories do not know exactly what is in it. We do know that pseudoginseng is probably the most important component of it. When pseudoginseng has been studied alone it has been shown to reduce bleeding times in half.

I use Yunnan Paiyao often in my patients and have been highly impressed with how well it works.

When my husband first moved in with me his cat, Sabutai, was suffering from horrible mouth cancer. One day which he was eating, the tumor in his mouth began to hemorrhage. In a matter of seconds there was blood all over the bathroom and he was just a small cat. Not knowing exactly what to do, I rushed to the medicine cabinet and grabbed one of the little red pills and pushed it down his throat. Within 60 seconds the bleeding had almost completely stopped and he did not hemorrhage again for the rest of his illness.

Another time I was at the vet clinic I used to work at and saw one of my old clients in the waiting room with their older dog, Alki. They quickly explained that they had just found out that Alki had a large tumor on her spleen that was bleeding into her abdomen and that she needed emergency surgery and most likely a blood transfusion. I quickly ran home and grabbed a vial of Yunnan Baiyao and brought it back. We administered the small red pill before she went into surgery and not only did she get through the surgery well and not need a blood transfusion but the surgeon was surprised at how little bleeding there was considering what was happening.

Also see Cosmo – star dog who was a wonderful dog I worked with who lived an extra year because of this herbal.

So why don’t we all have a vial of Yunnan Paiyao sitting around for emergencies? I’m not sure. I know I do! And the western vets I work with do as well.

In our family we often use the powder for any kind of cut or wound. It is not only good at stopping the bleeding but helps keep wounds from getting infected and is not painful to apply like many of the wound cleaning agents. It is safe and can be licked and eaten by cats and dogs without worry.

But isn’t it expensive you ask? Guarded by the Chinese government and that effective!

No! Usually you can buy Yunnan Baiyao for about $10 for a vial or a package of 16 pills of powder. You can even buy this on Amazon.com often.

Currently it has been a little harder to find Yunnan Baiyao. I recommend The Yunnan Baiyao Store or Root and Spring.

When are the best times to use it?

If an animal is going into surgery, especially if there is concern about excessive bleeding, I recommend giving the powder or capsules of powder for three days before and after the surgery. The little red pill can be given right before surgery but while the animal is still awake. Dosage depends on the size of your animal (except the red pill). Cats usually do better with the powder mixed with a little water in a syringe because the capsules are too larger for them to swallow where dogs usually do better with the capsules unless they are very small.

Nasal bleeding can be a very hard problem to control especially if there is a tumor or chronic condition which causes it. Yunnan Paiyao can be used to control nasal bleeding.

Yunnan Baiyao can also be used in many of the end stage diseases where surgery is not an option but there is bleeding in the body which can not be controlled. This is a great herbal to use with hemangiosarcoma and any other bleeding cancer or tumor. The powder capsules can be used daily for this and the red pill once again only for emergency.

There are also many reports of it clearing up existing infections and can be safely poured directly into wounds. Although if a wound is infected I usually reach for the antibiotics.

Yunnan Paiyao can safely be used in any cut or wound although deep wounds should be evaluated to see if sutures are needed. Yunnan Paiyao will actually promote healing and help a wound to close faster.

In addition pseudoginseng helps sensitive tumor cells to radiation treatments and can be used in animals with cancer that are undergoing radiation to make these therapies more effective.

With Yunnan Bai Yao in most dogs I dose at one pill twice a day unless they are very large and then I double that. In cats and very small dogs the pills can be opened and half the powder can be used. In hard to medicate animals the powder can also be mixed with water and syringed into the mouth.

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

Lymphoma in dogs and cats – integrative medicine – chemotherapy and herbs with a side of acupuncture

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Lymphoma is one of the fastest moving cancers out there. Because it is so fast moving, it is also the most responsive cancer to chemotherapy.

The prognosis with this disease can be very bad, especially if no treatment is used.

However the good news is, with chemotherapy and holistic medicine we can often get 18-24 months and occasionally ongoing remission. Integrative medicine clearly is the best way to go with this disease.

With no treatment I have seen animals die within one week of diagnosis. The average is 4 weeks with no treatment. With using natural medicine, I have found usually I can move that out to 2-4 months. Chemotherapy alone pushes that even further with average survival at around a year.

When a dog or cat comes to me with lymphoma, I highly recommend they consult with an oncologist or a vet who does a lot of chemotherapy work. If you want remission with this cancer you need to do chemotherapy.

The most widely used chemotherapy protocol for this cancer consisted of a multiple drug approach and is given over approximately six months for dogs. In cats the protocol is shorter and the main vet I work with believes that one to three chemo treatments can significantly slow down this disease in felines.

Full chemotherapy for dogs can also be quite expensive, around $4000. Shorter durations can be given for this cancer as well if cost or tolerance of chemotherapy is a concern.

Because so many people choice to do chemotherapy for this cancer I divided this article into four sections.

  • Treatments I recommend regardless of western treatment
  • Treatments I use with chemo
  • Treatments to give if no chemotherapy is used
  • Cats

So first what do I recommend for all cats and dogs with lymphoma? (Follow the links for more information on the supplements and dosing information.)

  1. Weekly or every other week acupuncture. I have seen this make a large difference in survival times and in keeping white blood cell levels within normal range during chemotherapy. Usually just with acupuncture alone I can double any prognosis. Please see Acupuncture for animals with cancer – stoking the healing power within
  2. Artemisinin can reduce node size and make animals feel better.
  3. A good cancer diet without grains. If you are using chemo do not feed raw food, make sure it is cooked. For more information on the diets I recommend seeDiets for cancer in cats and dogs.
  4. Xiao Chai Hu Tang – Sometimes I add indigo and others herbs to this formula for dogs I see in person to customize it but the straight formula works well also. If you are working with a holistic vet ask them about additions.

In addition to this protocol if no chemo is used I often recommend –

  1. Prednisone. Yes it is a western drug, but it will work as a chemotherapy drug and shrink the nodes. Every animal I have treated for lymphoma has been on prednisone and I highly recommend it. If you are considering chemo do not start the prednisone before consulting with an oncologist or vet who knows chemo. If given before chemo the prednisone can significantly reduce the outcome of the chemo.
  2. SanSheDan ChuanBeiYe is great at slowing this cancer down and keeping it out of the lungs.
  3. Hoxsey-like formula or Cancer Detox Support Hoxsey can make some dogs sick, I usually only recommend using it if you are working directly with a holistic vet who thinks it is appropriate. I also use a similar formula I call cancer detox which is less toxic but still has some great anti-cancer properties.
  4. Si Miao San I use a lot less of this these days but still sometimes if the lymphoma is mostly in the nodes or gastrointestinal system.

If chemotherapy is given I add to my main protocol:

  1. Mushrooms – I give a mushroom combo with shiitake, maitaki, reishi and cordyceps There are many of these products. Mushrooms not only have effects directly against cancer but stimulate the immune system and help keep white blood cell counts up.
  2. Milk thistle – improves the outcome of chemotherapy and decreases side effects
  3. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang – there is a great study out there at shows this herbal improves outcomes and reduces side effects during chemotherapy.

In cats

Cats have a hard time with multiple drugs and supplements. With cats I start them on my main protocol and then wait a week. If they are still eating well I will then add in one Chinese herbal formula in addition to my main protocol.

How do I decide which one?

The best I can tell you is usually this will either be Xiao Chai Hu Tang if this cancer is intestinal or centered in the spleen or liver, Hoxsey-like formula if the cancer is in the nodes, or Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang if they are getting chemotherapy.

If at all possible find a good holistic practitioner to work with your cat. Cats generally do really well with acupuncture so if at all possible find someone who also does acupuncture.

Cats can get a disease called small cell lymphoma which is very slow moving. I treat this differently and will try to put up another article on it.

As with all advice offered on this website please check in with your animal’s primary veterinarian before using any of these herbals and supplements.

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

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang – Fighting Mast Cell Tumors and supporting the lungs against cancer

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, otherwise known as Drive out Stasis in the Mansion of Blood Decoction, has a beautiful red color from the wonderful Hong Hua or safflower flowers it contains. This is the last of my top five cancer formulas and a very special one at that. Where Hoxsey is somewhat toxic and cooling, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is warming and nourishing. At the same time it is a quite strong cancer fighter.

The number one place I use this formula is for dogs with mast cell cancer. This is a cancer that often arises if there is impaired blood flow to the skin. Without good blood flow the immune system can not find and destroy the cancer cells that arise. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang helps promote blood flow to the skin so the immune system can reach mast cell cancer. In my experience this formula helps to reduce tumor size, occasionally shrink the small tumors completely and prevent formulation of new mast cell tumors. These dogs are often prone to reoccurrence, not necessarily because tumors spread, but because the underlying disease process still exists.

I also will use this formula topically mixed with a little DMSO Gel or with vitamin E or aloe if DMSO can not be purchased or the tumor is by the mouth. For DMSO I use about two tablespoons of herbs for 4 ounces of gel and mix it in the gel jar. The other carriers you just want to make a paste that will stick to the skin. I apply the herb/DMSO paste directly to the tumors. Please read about DMSO and discuss with your vet before using. Because mast cell tumors can cause a sudden release of histamine when irritated, especially with larger tumors this should not be applied without veterinary guidance. A good article on DMSO is DMSO – many uses, much controversy.

This is a formula that I use in any of the dogs and cats I treat with lung metastasis. It has an amazing ability to move blood away from tumors in the chest and out to the periphery of the body. This starves tumor cells in the lungs.

In addition it is good against any intra-thoracic tumor, thyroid adenocarcinomas, and salivary tumors. It can also be effective against some of the blood borne cancers like leukemia and myeloma.

This formula has been shown to increase immunity, kill cancer cells and enhance the effects of radiation therapy. It has strong anti-oxidant effects and helps to support the body and immune system in its fight against cancer.

It is a combination of the following herbs

  • Tao Ren (peach seed)
  • Dang Gui (angelica root)
  • Hong Hua (safflower flowers)
  • Chuan Niu Xi (cyathula root)
  • Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia)
  • Chi Shao (red peony root)
  • Zhi Ke (bitter orange)
  • Chuan Xiong (lovage root)
  • Jie Geng (platycodon root)
  • Chai Hu (bupleurum root)
  • Gan Cao (licorice root)

I usually add San Leng (scirpus rhizome) and E Zhu (turmeric) to this formula to enhance its effect against cancer. Studies done on these two herbs show that they have a significant effect in inducing apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.

The main effects of this formula involves taking blood away from tumor cells and moving it to the parts of the body which need it. However Chai Hu has direct effects in killing cancer cells as discussed in the article about Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Tao Ren contains the same bound form of cyanide found in apricot seeds, which has a strong effect on cancer cells but spares normal cells.

In addition to cancer I also use this formula for many forms of heart disease, hacking coughs, bronchitis, dry skin and itching, fear, and back pain.

This formula works best for tumors that are considered blood stasis in Chinese medicine and better for tumors in the cranial third of the body. There are slight modifications made to this formula for internal tumors in the middle and caudal body. See Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang and Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang.

If I use ground herbs, I usually dose this formula at 1/8 teaspoon twice a day for small dogs, ¼ teaspoon twice a day for dogs up to 30lb, ½ teaspoon twice a day for dogs up to 70lb and 1 teaspoon twice a day for dogs over 70 lbs. I will occasionally dose it just in the morning if I am giving Xiao Chai Hu Tang in the evening.

If using a tincture I dose it at 0.2ml per 5lb once or twice a day.

I sell powdered Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang with the added San Leng and E Zhu through my etsy store Kingdom of Basil.

If you want to buy the base formula, the teapill form is sold on Amazon.com.
Stasis In The Mansion Of Blood Teapills (Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang Wan) If you use tea pills I highly, highly recommend finding a way to add in San Leng and E Zhu. The formula just doesn’t work as well without these two ingredients.
To use tea pills I dose cats and very small dogs at two pills twice a day, medium sized dogs at 4-5 pills twice a day and large dogs at 8 pills twice a day.

Please check with you animal’s primary vet before using this formula.

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

How do I pick the best food for my cat’s health?

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

So what do I feed my cat? And how do I change their food?

Anyone who has been owned by a cat knows that changing their food can be one of the hardest projects to undertake. Of course there are those cats who will eat anything but they are rare.

So how do you choose what to feed your cat and how do you find something they will eat?

Many of these rules you will recognize from my dog food article but cats are still cats and there are differences.

Here are some rules of thumb to follow with the kitties:

  • 1. Always feed high quality food – So how do I tell what is high quality you ask
    • Ideally cats should be on a raw diet but if not…
    • Feed canned or homemade food or mostly canned or homemade food
    • Make sure meat is the first ingredient and that it is real meat. It should be chicken or turkey or some other recognizable meat or fish(not animal which can be euthanized cats and dogs- yuck!). There should be no by products which can be diseased meat, feathers, blood, pus, etc.

      In cats this is especially important. Cats are true carnivores meaning they will die without meat. Because of this meat should be most of their diet. They absolutely should not be on a grain heavy diet. And cats should never be on a vegetarian diet.

    • Stay away from corn and wheat. Many animals are allergic to these and usually only low quality foods have corn. The one exception I can think of to this is that Weruva has a couple foods that have chunks of corn in them. I still think this is a high quality food.
    • Learn how to read labels. You want to see a list of foods you recognize at the top (in cats this should be mostly meat), and then a list of vitamin and minerals you may not, closer to the bottom. Avoid dyes, preservatives like BHA, BHT, and erythoxyquin, food stabilizers like propylene glycol, and sugars and salt. For more information on how to read a label see the article What is really in pet food? from Born Free USA.
  • 2. Here is a list of my favorite brands There are other good foods out there also but these are the ones I recommend most often. Here is a good article from Rad Cat on Transitioning to Raw Food.
    • Rad Cat is one of the best raw foods out there. This company only focuses on cats and they make a great food!
    • Weruva This is the only cat food that looks good enough that I would eat it! Made with whole foods and there is no question when you open the can. There fish favorites are very yummy and a good starting food to switch over the picky cats.
    • Homestyle by Prairie, Instinct, Nature’s Variety raw foods are all made by Nature’s Variety. Prairie is their main line, Instinct is grain free and they also make a great raw line I recommend under the Nature’s Variety name. I have been happy with all their foods.
    • Merrick makes a great line of canned and dry foods. Their foods are yummy to many cats and they have a very cute marketing campaign.
    • Avoderm and Pinnacle are both solid good natural foods. Avoderm is marketed for animals with itchy skin and can make a difference in cats with environmental allergies.
    • Orijen My top choice if you have to feed dry food. Orijen is a great company with a tasty, very high quality grain free food. They locally source all their ingredients and package their own food.
    • Felidae is a good and solid food with some added cranberry for urinary health. Many cats really love it.
    • Evanger’s makes a mackerel and gravy that many sick cats will eat when they will not eat anything else.
    • Darwin’s Pet is a great northwest company which makes raw diets. If you live in the Seattle area they will deliver to your doorstep. They have a very good quality product and because they are a small company a lot of control on what goes into their food. Some cats seem to not tolerate their food as well as the Rad Cat because of the small pieces of bone in it. My cats would spit them out and leave them in the dish for me which made me wonder if they were getting enough calcium. However some cats do very well on their food.
    • Go! and Now!Moderate protein diets with grain free varieties, these two foods are good solid options. Tasty options if the higher protein Orijen doesn’t work and a very good canned option
    • The Natural Pet Pantry is located in Burien, Washington. They have a great cooked and raw product and will make to order if your cat needs a special diet.
    • Wellness is a good solid food with good ingredients.
    • Paw’s Cafe is another great local company in the Seattle area which makes homemade food, raw diets and custom diets. Great folks and very high quality diets. So far they only deliver to the Eastside but there is talk they may come over to Seattle soon. If they do they will be up there with Darwin’s.
    • Update 5/20/10 Because of the recent buyout of Natura pet by Proctor and Gamble I no longer recommend Innova, Evo and California Natural and will be switching my kitties over to Orijen for dry food.

    I used to feed multiple brands of food to my own cats and switch flavors and brands daily. If your cat’s stomach allows it I recommend switching brands and varieties of food. This also helps if you do need to switch their food for some health reason later in life. Now I make my own raw food and switch ingredients between meat sources.

    If I have missed the food you feed your cat add a comment and I will give you my opinion on it.

  • 3. Cats should not be on exclusively dry food ever and any cat over eight years of age (or a younger geriatric animal) should get no or very little dry food.

    Cats have a funny relationship with water. They don’t drink much of it. In fact cats on dry food only are always in a slightly dehydrated state. This can lead to kidney failure, urinary tract problems and other health issues.

    Dry food is cheapest and some people can not afford to feed anything but it. If dry food is all you can afford, adding a little water, chicken broth, wet food or good quality table scraps will help. There are also some animals that simply do not do well on anything but a dry food or will not eat anything but a dry food. If you feed only a dry diet make sure it is high quality and grain free.

    High quality dry food with water or broth is better than low quality wet food.

  • 4. Grain free foods vs foods with grain

    Our cats should be on a diet with a high protein content and should be eating almost all meat. I prefer cats to be on grain free diets. However, if they are feed a food with grain, meat should be at least 2/3 of the food.

    Animals with allergies, cancer, or epilepsy should absolutely be on a grain free diet. Many animals with chronic vomiting also do better on a grain free diet diet.

    If you feed a food with grain, oats, barley, quinoa, and brown rice are ideal grain sources. Corn and wheat should not be feed to cats.

    Healthy animals can be on a high quality diet with a little grain or without grain but I recommend dry food be grain free in cats.

  • 5. Senior diets, weight loss diets and overweight cats

    Just say no to senior diets! Senior diets usually reduce the amount of protein and add more grain. Older cats do not need this! Avoid anything labeled a senior diet unless it is grain free.

    Weight loss diets also reduce the protein and add more bulk in grain. This is not how you get a cat to loss weight. The best way to reduce weight on your overweight cat is to feed a high protein, no grain, raw, cooked or canned food only diet! Also know as the Catkins diet.

    Evo and some of the other good quality foods now have weight loss, grain free diets with reduced fat, high protein and no grain. These are ok but avoid any weight loss diet with grain.

  • 5. The least processed the food the better (also known as dry vs canned vs raw vs cooked)

    In the ideal world we would all have time to come home each day and cook for ourselves and our pets. However many people don’t have time to cook for themselves or their cats.

    If you do have time to cook for your cats see my article Making crazy awesome homemade cat food.

    If you can, start your cat on a raw diet or cook for them at home. There are also companies like Paw’s Cafe and Natural Pet Pantry that make homemade cat food. If you are against feeding raw food or your cat doesn’t tolerate it, raw foods can also be cooked. Crock pots and steamers are ideal for this. Although you can always throw it in a frying pan.

    If you feed a raw diet make sure you use a commercial product that is frozen or if you make your own freeze it before using it to kill of any potential parasites.

    In cats if you make a cooked food, you must add a supplement with taurine to it. Cats will die without taurine and while they get enough on raw food there is a debate on if they get enough from cooked. To be safe always add some to homemade cooked food. Commercial foods already add it.

    In general the less proceeded the food the better. With raw being on the top, followed by cooked, canned and finally dry. But do what works for your household.

    There are almost no overweight cats on raw diets. If your cat is overweight get them off the dry food.

    <Any cat who has had urinary tract problems should be on a diet without dry food and the best way to prevent urinary problems is to avoid dry food.

    My own cats cats used to eat high quality canned food with a little dry Orijen overnight. I only added the dry after I discovered that my older cat needed a little at night or he would vomit up bile. My older cat has since passed away but I have a new girl who loves her “crunchies” so I still feed little dry in the evening along with homemade raw.

    While I have a number of animals on homemade or raw diets, many of my clients feed their cats a mixture of high quality dry and wet because of convenience and cost.

  • 6. Pick the meat which is best for your cat. If possible rotate meat sources.

    If your animal has obvious allergies then this choice is made for you. If not, I am highly in favor of switching protein sources routinely. This reduces your animals chance of developing allergies and adds some variety to your their diet. Imagine if you had to eat the same thing over and over again. Boring!

    Chinese medicine also has an energetic system for working with food. See my article The dance of life and the energetics of food for more information.

    I do not recommend feeding pork to cats because of the way pigs are raised and the energetics that go along with that. Pork must never be eaten raw because of the diseases that pigs carry.

    Tuna should be limited to one can a week. For foods with just a little tuna for favor use your own judgement. Tuna is high in heavy metals and can also lead to problems with vitamin B deficiency. The exception to this is when you are working with a picky cat who doesn’t like canned food. Many times starting with the tuna flavors will help switch them over and then you can add in other canned foods. Never feed straight human tuna because without the added vitamins you end up with vitamin B and E deficiencies.

  • 7. Table scraps are ok

    No really, I know we as a veterinary community have told you they aren’t. But if you eat healthy food it is fine for your cat to have some. Just remember – no onions or chocolate.

  • 8. For animals in kidney failure, the quality of the protein is much more important than the amount of protein.

    For years the veterinary community has recommended low protein for cats in kidney failure. The new studies out however show that diets moderate in very high quality protein are best for these animals.

    The best thing you can do for your cat in kidney failure is to keep them off the dry food. Feed high quality canned or home cooked with moderate protein. I do not recommend switching a cat with kidney failure to a raw diet if they are not already on one.

    Avoid the low quality, low protein prescription kidney diets.

    For more information on kidney failure and cats see my article Kidney failure in cats – how Chinese medicine and diet can help

  • 9. Avoid the addictive grocery store brands like Friskies and Fancy Freast

    These foods are highly addictive to cats and it is very hard to get your cat off of them once they are on them.

    High in wheat, corn, soy, and salt and with animal by-product (euthanized cats and dogs with a little euthanasia solution in it) this is the last thing you want to feed your cat. Yuck!

    However many cats love these foods. The high salt and artificial flavors make them highly addictive. Stay away from these at all costs!

    Not only are they not good for your cat’s health but there also seems to be a higher rate of urinary tract disease in cats on these foods.

  • 10. How do I switch over my picky cat to a new food?

    Cats can be hard to switch over to a new food. Sometimes nothing can seem more impossible. Here is a few things that can help.

    • If you are switching to raw, cook it and salt it first. And then mix a little in with their normal food.
    • Get free samples at the pet store or buy many small cans of food to try. There may be one magic flavor that does it for your cat’s pallet.
    • If your cat likes fish and you are switching to a canned food try Weruva’s fish flavors or Evanger’s mackerel with gravy. If your cat is into poultry try Weruva’s chicken and gravy or Instinct’s chicken.
    • If your cat will not eat canned food, add a little salt. You can take it away slowly after they are eating the wet food.
    • Mix the new food in with their old food. Just add a little at first and then increase it
    • If they are not sick, give them three days not to eat. Most cats will eat what you offer on the third day. If your cat is overweight absolutely do not fast them for more than three days. If overweight cats do not eat for more than three days they are at risk of a disease called hepatic lipidosis which can be deadly!
    • If you are switching their dry, try Orijen – most cats like it’s flavor and will eat it, even the picky ones
    • Some cats get soft stools when being switched over to a new food. This should improve in a week. If it doesn’t try another food.
  • I hope this information helps. Do the best you can with it and try to have fun! After all, you know your cat better than anyone else!

    Helpful links
    Dog Aware’s dog food page More information than you could ever use about dog food!. While this is a dog site much of the information on it is also relative to cats.
    Born Free’s What’s Really In Pet Food A great article about pet food companies and processing.

    Books about cat food and diet
    Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
    The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
    The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care
    Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health
    Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food
    Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food
    Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative

    Update – Since writing this article I’ve gotten to participate in a great thread of questions about it on the West Seattle Blog. Please check out the post How to pick a good cat food where I also explain how to figure out the exact amount of food your cat needs.

    Also see How do I pick the best food for my dog’s health?.

    How do I pick the best food for my dog’s health?

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

    Gone are the days when we jumped at the chance to get a three cans for a dollar deal on Alpo at the local grocery store and a bag of Kibbles and Bits. Most dog folks know that feeding good quality food can be one of the most important decisions you can make for your animal friend. These days many people who come to my clinic are already feeding a high quality food.

    So how do you choose?

    While there are no set answers to this question, here are some rules of thumb to follow:

  • 1. Always feed high quality food – So how do I tell what is high quality you ask
    • Make sure meat is the first ingredient and that it is real meat. It should be chicken or turkey or some other recognizable meat (not animal which can be euthanized cats and dogs- yuck!) and it should not be by-product.
    • Make sure there is no corn, corn meal or other corn products. Many animals are allergic to corn and usually only low quality foods have corn. The one exception I can think of to this is that Weruva has a couple foods that have chunks of corn in them. I still think this is a high quality food.
    • Learn how to read labels. You want to see a list of foods you recognize at the top, and then a list of vitamin and minerals you may not, closer to the bottom. Avoid dyes, preservatives like BHA, BHT, and erythoxyquin, food stabilizers like propylene glycol and sugars. For more information on how to read a label see the article What is really in pet food? from Born Free USA.
  • 2. Here is a list of my favorite brands There are other good foods out there to but these are the ones I recommend most often.
    • Weruva This is the only dog food that looks good enough that I would eat it! Made with whole foods and there is no question when you open the can.
    • Wellness is a good solid food with good ingredients. In addition to their traditional and grain free lines, they have a simple ingredient line for dogs with food allergies which is a much better alternative to many of the expensive and low quality prescription diets
    • Homestyle by Prairie, Instinct, Nature’s Variety raw foods are all made by Nature’s Variety. Prairie is their main line, Instinct is grain free and they also make a great raw line I recommend under the Nature’s Variety name. I have been happy with all their foods.
    • Merrick makes a great line of canned and dry foods. I have used their canned line in many inflammatory bowl disease dogs with good success. And they have a very cute marketing campaign.
    • Avoderm and Pinnacle are both solid good natural foods. Avoderm is marketed for animals with itchy skin and can make a difference in dogs with environmental allergies.
    • Orijen and Acana are the best grain free dry foods out there for dogs. If you feed just a dry food or mostly a dry food these would be my top recommendations. They only make dry food but have their own packaging and processing plant for their food which gives them better control on keeping contaminates out of their food lines.
    • Darwin’s Pet is a great northwest company which makes raw diets. If you live in the Seattle area they will deliver to your doorstep. They have a very good quality product and because they are a small company a lot of control on what goes into their food. For raw diets in the Seattle area they are number one
    • Go! and Now! Moderate protein diets with grain free varieties, these two foods are good solid options. Tasty options if the higher protein Orijen doesn’t work and a very good canned option
    • Paw’s Cafe is another great local company in the Seattle area which makes homemade food, raw diets and custom diets. Great folks and very high quality diets. So far they only deliver to the Eastside but there is talk they may come over to Seattle soon. If they do they will be up there with Darwin’s.
    • Taste of the Wild is a newer food on the market. It is grain free with excellent ingredients and seems to be tasty.
    • The Natural Pet Pantry is located in Burien, Washington and makes a great product, both cooked and raw. They also will make special diets from scratch for your dog.
    • Update 5/20/10 Because of the recent buyout of Natura pet by Proctor and Gamble I no longer recommend Innova, Evo, California Natural, Karma, or Heathwise.

    I feed multiple brands of food to my own dog and switch flavors and brands daily. If your dog’s stomach allows it I recommend switching brands and varieties of food.

    If I have missed the food you feed your dog add a comment and I will give you my opinion on it.

  • 3. If you have an animal over eight years of age (or a younger geriatric animal) they should not be on an exclusively dry food. Ideally they should have little to no dry food. If your dog loses too much weight on a diet of no dry food try adding in an egg a day and canned sweet potato or pumpkin.

    Dry food can be hard on the kidneys of older animals. Home cooked and high quality canned food are the best option for these guys. Older animals can be on raw food although some older dogs have a hard time switching to raw late in life if they have been on processed food since puppy hood. If possible find a holistic vet to work with on diet for older dogs or move very slowly as you switch them.

    Dry food is cheapest and some people can not afford to feed anything but it. If dry food is all you can afford, adding a little water, chicken broth, wet food or good quality table scraps will help. There are also some animals that simply do not do well on anything but a dry food or will not eat anything but a dry food. If you feed only a dry diet make sure it is high quality.

    High quality dry food with water or broth is better than low quality wet food.

  • 4. Grain free foods vs foods with grain

    Our dogs should be on a diet with a high protein content and should be eating mostly meat.

    Animals with allergies, cancer, or epilepsy should ideally be on a grain free diet. Many animals with chronic vomiting also do better on a grain free diet or low grain diet.

    Some animals prone to diarrhea do better with a food with some grain.

    Healthy animals can be on a high quality diet with or without grain but if you feed just a dry food I highly recommend it being grain free.

  • 5. So if grain, how much grain?

    There should always be more meat than grain in the food you feed your animal.

    Meat should be the top ingredient but also beware of the multiple names for the same thing. If there are three corn or grain based ingredients right after meat then there is probably more grain in the food. Also stay away from foods with corn and wheat if possible.

    The more whole grain the better. Oats, barley, quinoa, and brown rice are ideal grain sources. Corn, wheat and white rice are not as good.

  • 5. The least processed the food the better (also known as dry vs canned vs raw vs cooked)

    In the ideal world we would all have time to come home each day and cook for ourselves and our pets. However many people don’t have time to cook for themselves or their dogs.

    If you have the time and/or money start your dog on a raw diet or cook for them at home. There are also companies like Paw’s Cafe which make homemade dog food. If you are against feeding raw food or your dog doesn’t tolerate it, raw foods can also be cooked. Crock pots and steamers are ideal for this. Although you can always throw it in a frying pan.

    If you feed a raw diet make sure it is a frozen commercial product or that you freeze the meat or the food before you feed it to kill of any parasites that may be in the food. Pork and fish should never be fed raw to dogs.

    In general the less proceeded the food the better. With raw being on the top, followed by cooked, canned and finally dry. But do what works for your household.

    There are almost no overweight dogs on raw diets. If your dog is overweight get them off the dry food.

    My own dog, who is a cancer survivor, eats high quality canned food. He doesn’t tolerate raw and I don’t have time to cook for him. We found that he also needed some grain to keep his digestion healthy.

    While I have a number of animals on homemade or raw diets, many of my clients feed their dogs a mixture of high quality dry and wet because of convenience and cost.

  • 6. Pick the meat which is best for your cat or dog. If possible rotate meat sources.

    If your animal has obvious allergies then this choice is made for you. If not, I am highly in favor of switching protein sources routinely. This reduces your animals chance of developing allergies and adds some variety to your their diet. Imagine if you had to eat the same thing over and over again. Boring!

    Chinese medicine also has an energetic system for working with food. See my article The dance of life and the energetics of food for more information.

    I do not recommend feeding pork to dogs because of the way pigs are raised and the energetics that go along with that. Pork must never be eaten raw because of the diseases that pigs carry.

  • 7. Table scraps are ok

    No really, I know we as a veterinary community have told you they aren’t. But if you eat healthy food it is fine for your dog to have some. Just remember – no grapes, no raisins, no onions, no chocolate.

  • 8. For animals in kidney failure, the quality of the protein is much more important than the amount of protein.

    For years the veterinary community has recommended low protein for dogs in kidney failure. The new studies out however show that diets moderate in very high quality protein are best for these animals.

    Avoid the low quality, low protein prescription kidney diets and feed a canned or whole cooked food diet with moderate protein and some grain or potato instead. Try your best to not feed dry food to these guys.

  • 9. Do what is best for your dog and you.

    If all the diets I recommend give your dog diarrhea, find something else to feed. If you can’t feed a raw diet it’s ok. If you don’t have time to cook, well you’re just like me. These are recommendations, not rules that are set in stone.

    Do the best you can and try to have fun with it! After all you know your dog better than anyone else!

  • Helpful links
    Dog Aware’s dog food page More information than you could ever use about dog food!.
    Born Free’s What’s Really In Pet Food A great article about pet food companies and processing.

    Books about dog food and diet
    Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
    The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
    The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious & Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love

    Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food
    Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food
    Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative

    Also see How do I pick the best food for my cat’s health?.

    My animal companion has to go under anesthesia – what can I do to help?

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

    If we are lucky our animal friends only have to go through surgery once, when they are spayed or neutered. However many animals do need to be under anethesia other times either for a dental cleaning, to get sutures, or to have surgery. Whatever the reason, surgery and anethesia are hard on our animal friends. But there are things you can do to help them recover faster and more comfortably.

    As always, check with your veterinarian on any supplements you use.

  • 1. Arnica
    Arnica is a homeopathic remedy which helps with bruising and trauma. Over the years I have been amazed and impressed at how much difference this very safe remedy can make in healing. I have seen incisions heal in half the time and dogs have very little bruising and swelling in situations you would normally expect to see it.

    I always recommend Arnica for all my animal patients who have to undergo surgery or any other procedure that there will be tissue or bone trauma. Because it is a homeopathic remedy it is very safe ever for old and debilitated animals.

    I use the Arnica 30c pellets and dose them at 2-3 pellets (usually 2 for cats/small dogs and 3 for dogs) the morning of surgery, the evening after surgery, and then three times a day for three days. Because the pellets are so small they can safely be given the morning of surgery.

    Arnica can be bought at most health and supplement stores or by clicking on Arnica.

  • 2. Acupuncture
    I highly recommend an acupuncture treatment right after surgery or anesthesia. Acupuncture can help with clearing anesthesia from an animal’s system and decrease the chance of them having a hard recovery. Acupuncture can also help ease pain and speed healing.

    If possible acupuncture can be performed the day of surgery after an animal has woken up. Many times this is not possible because of the hours acupuncturists work and I end up treating most animals the day after surgery.

    Acupuncture can also help dogs who have had bad recoveries to anesthesia in the past and and make it possible to perform dentals or surgeries on these sensitive animals.

  • 3.Yunnan Baiyao
    While I don’t recommend Yunnan Baiyao (also called Yunnan Paiyao) for all animals undergoing surgery or anethesia, it is still one of my most important herbal formulas. I mainly use it in any procedure or surgery where there is a concern about bleeding. This includes many tumor removal and abdominal surgeries. I have seen this wonderful herbal formula save animal’s lives before.

    Please see my article, A Magic Vial of Yunnan Baiyao and the wikipedia article.

    I usually dose Yunnan Baiyao at one capsule twice a day for a few days before and after surgery for your average sized dog. Cats and small dogs, I use the powder and put about a 1/8 of a teaspoon in their food twice a day.

    Yunnan Baiyao can be bought in most international districts and by clicking on Yunnan Baiyao above.

  • 4.Reiki
    If one of my animals need to undergo surgery I always give them a reiki session before to get them into a good place for surgery. I usually work with a local practitioner, Rose DeDan, who also does animal communication. She is able to help explain what is going to happen and put their body in the best possible place for surgery and/or anesthesia.
  • 5.Pain medication
    Enough can not be said about pain medication. Make sure your veterinarian gives your animal pain medication before surgery and sends you home with something you can give at home. Nothing is worse then seeing our animals in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Routine dentals do not usually need pain meds.
  • 6. Companionship and love!
    You are the safest person to your animal. They want to be with you after surgery and they want to feel loved and cared for. If possible consider taking a day off work after their surgery or plan your animal’s surgery or procedure on a Friday.
  • 7. Somewhere healing to recover
    It is so important to have somewhere safe, quiet, warm and soft to recover after surgery. Anesthesia can make the senses more sensitive and many animals get headaches coming out of surgery. Often times the drugs used also make our animal friends disoriented. Make sure that there is no access to stairs and nothing to fall off of. Keeping lights dim and sound to a minimum also helps. Sometimes classical music played softly will help relax our friends.
  • I hope these simple suggestions are helpful! I know they have helped many of the animals I work with and my own beloved animal companions.

    Introduction to Tellington TTouch Class offered in West Seattle

    Thursday, November 19th, 2009

    From Rose DeDan

    I became interested in Tellington TTouch, a long time ago, but that interest kind of got sidelined while focusing on my shamanic training.

    Recently I read some very impressive stories by a long-time animal communicator that fanned that interest back into action, especially since I have wanted some additional assistance for Puma, my wonderful dog companion, as he enters his senior years. And lo, and behold, Shannon Finch’s name crossed my path. So, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing is now hosting a TTouch class in Seattle for the very first time! (And I believe there will be a live demo with said dog, and perhaps one of my cats who is shy of being handled – I may borrow a video camera for that!)

    • Do you have a shy or aggressive dog?
    • A cat who is getting along in years?
    • A bird who squawks incessently?
    • Are you interested in enhancing the bond with your animals?

    Then this hands-on workshop is for you.

    For more information on TTouch see What is TTouch?

    When: Saturday, December 5, 2009, 9:30am-12:30pm
    Where: Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing Office, Alki (directions sent at time of registration)

    You’ll learn how to improve your animal’s health and wellbeing with several TTouch techniques
    that release the tension, fear and anxiety that lead to behavior problems.

    You’ll learn how to ease the ailments associated with aging as well as first aid measures that can
    save your animal’s life.

    And while TTouch can assist the healing of injuries and illness, and help change undesirable behaviors, it also builds a deeper rapport between humans and animals, so your critter doesn’t have to have a problem in order to benefit from this class.

    Please do not bring your animal to the workshop, we’ll be practicing on willing stuffies (stuffed animals) this time around!

    Registration: Fee $95/person. Class size is limited to a small number of participants. Call Rose De Dan at 206-933-7877 or email her at wildkingdomreiki (at) earthlink (dot) net for more information or to register.

    TEACHER BIO
    Shannon Finch is owner of The AnimalKind Company in Stanwood, focusing on positive training for all species. She is a certified Tellington Touch practitioner for both companion animals and horses. She has worked with of animals of many species, from dogs, cats, and horses, to birds, reptiles, rabbits and pocket pets, and even farm critters such as cows, goats, and chickens.

    Shannon has taught TTouch all over the west, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Hawaii Humane Society, has given presentations for numerous local animal welfare groups, including PAWS, the Alternative Humane Society of Bellingham, Hooterville, (now Homeward Bound), Canines for Citizens’ Independence, Pasado’s Safe Haven, Purrfect Pals, Skagit Humane Society, and the Monroe Pet Expo. She’s also taught animal behavior and TTouch classes for Everett Community College. She is currently working on her thesis for a Master’s Degree in Humane Education.