Vet Tails Excerpt – Truda’s Dogged Determination Pays off
As a vet I sometimes face some very difficult situations helping my patients. Some animals are seriously injured or diseased and face a high likelihood of a dire outcome but thankfully there are some incredible therapies like Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, NIS, herbal medicines, neutraceuticals, homeopathic remedies and intra-venous vitamin C that can be lifesaving. Here are a few memorable animals that benefitted from this array of tools.
Truda was a determined old girl and at twelve years old, this labrador with a mind of her own came to see us for the first time. Her loving owners were concerned about her multiple problems: arthritis which was being treated with anti-inflammatories and an injectable form of glucosamine, recurrent skin infections that needed regular courses of anti-biotics, obesity as well, but most concerning to her owners was a large tumour on the side of her chest about three quarters of the size of a rugby ball and it had been growing quickly!
The tumour was a cancerous growth called a spindle cell tumour which means that it was locally invasive and to remove it completely by surgery would be a huge operation. At her age, with all of her health issues Truda’s Mum and Dad weren’t too keen on putting her through surgery. They wanted our help to treat Truda with complementary therapies so that surgery wouldn’t be necessary.
When I examined Truda I found that she was overweight, her skin had a low grade infection, she had obvious pain and inco-ordination of her back legs and spine due to her arthritis and muscle weakness and her eyes looked tired. Each time she lay down or got up it was a huge effort and her large tumour hung from her side adding to her discomfort. Although the tumour was a big issue, at that stage it was the least of her worries given that she was so sore and run down.
Cancer in our pets, as with us humans, is a fairly common occurrence nowadays. There are many factors which contribute to this increasing trend including poor nutrition, genetics, pollution in our environment and infections, to name but a few.
Cancer develops when a cell begins to grow and divide out of control and isn’t stopped and contained by the immune system. From a holistic point of view we recognize the multifactorial nature of cancer. The development of this serious condition reflects that the body has been damaged and the immune system has failed to recognize and stop the cancer process from progressing.
We devised a treatment plan for Truda making use of herbal medicine, neutraceuticals, NIS (neurological integration system), acupuncture and bicarbonate therapy. We also changed her diet to be more balanced and which included more natural food and some raw meat which she loved! Our aim was to support her health and vitality, help strengthen her muscles and joints, boost her immune system and ideally help it to recognise the tumour and destroy it.
Each time Truda visited she showed amazing determination and progress. She would reluctantly come into the clinic, preferring to rather be out having a walk at the park, get her treatments and in true labrador style, appreciate being given doggy treats. She displayed an improvement in her general health, she was brighter, moving around more easily and her skin and coat were much healthier. Unfortunately there had been no change in the tumour size and we were coming to a point where there was no other option except surgery but could she manage such a big operation?
We ran a panel of blood tests to check that her liver and kidneys were ok. Her results were impressive for an old girl. There were no abnormalities, which gave us peace of mind that she would be likely to cope with the anaesthetic. To help her through the procedure, we began the day of her surgery with a session in our hyperbaric oxygen chamber to pre-oxygenate her body. Her operation went well and we removed as much of the tumour as we could.
That afternoon we had her snoozing soundly on some powerful drugs. Not much roused her until we offered her some food. Her nose twitched acknowledging the food and as it registered in her brain that food was present she immediately sat up and wolfed it all down! A couple of hours later we took her out for toileting and with amazing strength she dragged me at the other end of her drip line and lead to the car park looking for her Mum and Dad and her way home! She went on to make a full recovery.
A year after her surgery, she was a happy dog, although she was slow and her walks in the park were more about “smelling the roses” and greeting passers-by in her very social manner. She had good quality of life and continued to age gracefully until she was fifteen and a half years old when her devoted Mum and Dad had to make the decision to put her to sleep. We’re sure she’s in doggy heaven smelling the roses and eating as many treats as she wants without putting on weight!
To read more about my adventures, read Vet Tails available as a book or e-book from https://www.drliza.co.nz/shop/