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Herbs Ease Arthritic Pain

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Dear Dr Goldberg: Our dog Suzi is a 13 and a half-year-old black lab mix, recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylosis (arthritic changes along the vertebrae, spinal fusion and stiffness).

Dear Dr Goldberg:
Our dog Suzi is a 13 and a half-year-old black lab mix, recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylosis (arthritic changes along the vertebrae, spinal fusion and stiffness). She has had to go off Metacam (a non steroidal anti-inflammatory), which had worked well for her pain. Now she has developed renal failure and non-regenerative anemia.
--PD


There are a number of homeopathic remedies that may help with the pain in her joints. There are, however, some other recommendations I would make in your case. The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy is a good place to start your search < theavh.org > for a homeopathic veterinarian in your area. I generally prescribe homeopathic remedies based on how each case is presented, combined with my knowledge of the patient's previous medical history. The practitioner will take into account the pain from the arthritis and the kidney disease. He will also focus on Suzi's emotional and mental sphere.

Possible remedies in treating Suzi's arthritis are:

  • Aconite--This is for treating the rapid onset of symptoms. It's also good to use if there is soreness after motion.

  • Apis--Use this if there is restlessness and no position is comfortable; she is very sensitive if you touch the sore area; her symptoms are usually better in the open air and worse in a warm room; she feels better sitting up erect.

  • Belladonna--Use this herb if her pupils are dilated from the pain; there is a rapid onset of symptoms; she is sensitive to touch, or has a hot head and cool limbs.

  • Bryonia--This is useful for times where Suzi absolutely does not want to move; if the mood is irritable; if Suzi is better with pressure on the sore area; if there is any predisposition to constipation.

  • Rhus tox--This is useful if Suzi is slow to rise, but feels better if she gets up and moves around. The patient who needs this remedy is always worse in the cold, wet weather and improves greatly in warm dry weather.


All of these remedies can be used in 30C potency and should be used, as needed, one at a time. If there is any improvement in her condition, do not give a second dose, but wait until the symptoms return before dosing again.

For treating kidney disease, I usually begin administering nutritional supplements that target the kidney. I also recommend an increase in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically fish oil and flax oil, which contain anti-inflammatory properties. These are potentially useful for both kidney and joint inflammation. To treat the arthritis, I recommend glucosamine and MSM supplements, about 500 mg each. Give the dosages four to six weeks to see if there is an improvement in her condition. I usually use calcium ascorbate or ester-C supplements for cases of arthritis at about 250 to 500 mg daily.

Dear Dr Goldberg:
What are homeopathic nosodes, how are they used and where can I get them?
--KH


Nosode is from the Greek words nosos, meaning "disease" and eidos meaning "from." These are homeopathic remedies that are made from diseased tissue or are the product of disease. They are generally used to prevent or to treat the disease from which they are made. As an example, the veterinary nosode called Parvo--a homeopathic remedy made from the diarrhea of a dog who has been infected with the parvovirus. Theoretically, this nosode can be used to prevent the disease parvo if given as prevention during an outbreak of the disease. There are also nosodes made of canine distemper, kennel cough, rabies and feline diseases.

Studies are lacking, although Dr Christopher Day, a British veterinary homeopath, has had good results with a nosode used in the prevention of kennel cough. This is available for pet owners who choose not to vaccinate and wish to try an alternative approach for disease prevention. If the pet has been vaccinated and has developed antibodies to the disease, I don't recommend nosodes because the pet is already protected against that disease. If you're interested in this approach, talk to a homeopathic veterinarian.

Address letters to The Pet Vet, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5J 5B9.

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