Posts Tagged ‘paralysis’

The mysteries of nerves – paralysis, seizures and old age neurologic conditions Part 1 paralysis

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Did you know that one out of seven dachshunds will become paralyzed in their lifetime? That many older dogs and cats suffer from strokes and vestibular disease in their old age? That seizures are so common in some breeds that they can affect 15-20% of the breed?

Neurologic problems are quite common in our companion animals and are some of the most expensive and frustrating problems to deal with. Often times the only way to diagnose these problems is with a MRI, which can cost $1000 and requires your animal to be under anesthesia. Many times in older animals the risk of anesthesia to too great and these problems go undiagnosed.

I am often surprised that veterinarians do not offer alternative options for working with these neurologic problems. Many times the only things western medicine can offer are expensive surgeries, a lifetime of drugs, or steroids with their many side effects.

For example, traditionally a course of treatment for paralysis, back pain or paresis in a dachshund would include steroids, months of cage only confinement and possibly an expensive surgery. While surgery is a good option in some cases, especially if there is no deep pain, it has it’s own set of risks including that sometimes it does not solve the problem and can actually make things worse.

But there are other options out there!

Let’s talk about the dachshunds first! I love working with dachshunds!

They are some of the best responders to acupuncture out there. In fact I have never worked with a dachshund who did not respond to acupuncture. And they really seem to understand that you are helping them. I have been able to work with dachshunds who were completely paralyzed and with acupuncture and herbs have had them back to walking in as little as three acupuncture treatments! Wow!

OK just to be realistic, most take longer than that but the majority can be gotten back on there feet as long as they still have deep pain. Meaning that if you squeeze a back toe really hard with a surgical hemostat they can feel it. On average I would say it takes four to six months of weekly treatments.

Of course it’s not all dachshunds and I have worked with other animals with paralysis including cats and all breeds of dogs. Of these others, I would say about 90% have had a positive response. That’s still pretty good!

Most of these dogs I also put on a herbal I use called Back Support Formula.

Even better is if I can get these animals with paralysis to hydrotherapy. Swimming helps keep the muscles working well while we are getting the nerves to work again and helps keep the muscle mass from wasting away. Dachshunds and other dogs can be amazing little swimmers and it gives these animals a way to move on there own if they can’t support their weight on land.

Unfortunately for cats this is not an option as you can well imagine!

I often work with Wellsprings in Seattle, Washington but there are more and more hydrotherapy clinics opening up around the world.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to be able to work with these amazing creatures to help their body to heal and to see them be able to walk again.

Here are some wonderful resources on disabled pets

  • Handicapped Pets is a great site for disabled pet supplies and runs the best forums for people with special needs animals. I have had some time to hang out and participate on these forums and these folks not only are super educated on the options out there for working with these animals but have amazing stories about their own very loved handicapped companions. It is a great place to go for education and for support from others going through the same thing.
  • One of the dogs I treat has his own blog. Buddy’s blog is a great place to check out the story of a very cool little dachshund and one of my favorite patients.

Soon to come neurologic problems in older animals and seizure disorder.

Show me where to go, so I can walk there myself

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

serenaFrom my past notes-
Treating Serena today. She was very resistant, trying to get away and glaring at me. Finally I offered to take her static head energy away but I told her it was up to her how much to give me. She began to calm down and started purring. She was ok with that as long as she was in charge. She also didn’t want me to tell her mom what I was doing. Somehow it was important to her to not only be in charge but to not have me be viewed as the healer. This was about her not me.

When I came to visit her a month ago she was ready to leave. She had this amazing headache and was very open to me removing it because she had given up and just wanted the pain to end. Many times with animals they need to feel what it feels like not to have pain before they can get there themselves. This visit she felt better and was ready to be in charge again.

A few months after I wrote this Serena passed away from complications from her brain tumor. I’ll always remember her as being the spunky blond girl she was, very confident, loving, and opinioned.

frankieandbuddyAnother little dog I work with named Buddy came to see me a couple years ago, in extreme pain and desperation after re-injuring his back and becoming unable to move his back legs at all. He would have happily left this plane of existence at that point. After I was able to work with him and decrease the pain and get a little bit of sensation back in his legs he was a whole new dog. He was ready to live again and he knew he could get better. And he did in happy little steps along the path of healing until today he walks almost normally again. He believed what he felt and used that to heal himself.

Us humans are so focused on words that we don’t often pay attention to the real cues our bodies are sending us. These are the cues I work with when I do acupuncture treatments. We end up with thought patterns stuck in our heads which tell us what we should feel and believe. Many times these develop from what doctors or family members have told us and aren’t even our own thoughts. We tend to believe these thoughts more than the reality of what we are actually feeling. Often these thought patterns are harder to change than to just deal with the pain or disease. In humans, treating chronic pain involves both the body and the mind.

How many times have you been sick or hurt and not listened to your body telling you to slow down or do less? And then ended up getting sicker? Animals don’t argue with what their body is telling them, they just do it. I know I still have a lot to learn about this from the animals I work with.

With animals they believe what they feel so if you show them they can have decreased pain they will respond and believe that with their whole body and not just their minds. Animals don’t get stuck in their heads in the same way we do and because of this they can be present with the current moment and have no attachments to what the next moment will bring.

In my work, I help these animals find the healing energy that is already there. Their bodies know how to heal, but sometimes they need help in finding the way. Once they know the direction to go, they naturally travel there themselves, I just give them a hand to hold along the way.

Nick has the most beautiful toes

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

nicktoe2Nick has the most beautiful toes. They are white as snow and super fuzzy and every time I see them I just want to touch them. Of course he hates that. Part of the reason that his toes are so beautiful is that he doesn’t walk on them. Five years ago a car hit Nick and his pelvis was badly broken. After consulting with a surgeon, who was quite certain that there was no permanent nerve damage, his family decided to do the difficult surgery to put his bones back together. As he healed it became apparent that there was something wrong with Nick’s nerves and he was not able to control his legs or support his weight below the knees.

This doesn’t stop Nick from getting around however. He just pulls himself with his front half and bulging biceps and lets the back half come along. If you try to catch him it becomes clear that he can move incredibly fast and can even scale a fence. His litter box is a little shorter than the normal ones but he uses it like a normal cat and is clean and proper. Although he can’t jump he is able to pull himself up on furniture or use stairs to reach where he wants to be.nick1

If you ask Nick, he’ll tell you he’s just fine and wonder why you are looking at him strangely. After a moment though he will decide that you must be admiring his beauty. He is a beautiful cat with perfect stripes and deep big eyes. He wears his confidence well and is clearly the keeper of the house making sure that no other cats are allowed in.

I met Nick while treating the two dogs of the house and we had no intention of treating him initially. He of course thought this to be plain wrong, after all the cat is clearly the most important member of the house. One day while I was there he walked over and grabbed my box of needles between his front feet and stared at me, “excuse me but you seem to be forgetting the cat.” From that point on he started getting acupuncture treatments as well but only if he was given proper notice. If he was not told the day before that I was coming for his treatment he would disappear or hide under the bed.

Shortly before I started coming to his house he started to push off on one of his back legs which was amazing considering how much time had passed since his injury and the fact that he had shown no improvement up until that point. We started off treating him to try to encourage this improvement but also had the added benefit of getting him off of the steroids that he had needed for a very itchy neck. He’s still a little itchy these days but only to the point that he really, really likes it when you rub his neck. Which by the way helps to keep him still while he has needles in.

nickcloseWhile most people who don’t know Nick would see him as disabled, in Nick’s mind he sees himself as perfect and whole. He doesn’t dwell on the past when he could use his legs normally and jumps into life with excitement and attitude. Sometimes I wonder if Nick is here to teach us all that being whole has nothing to do with the physical body and all about the way we see life.