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Dear Dr Goldberg:Two summers ago, my dog was diagnosed with panniculitis and developed abscesses under his ski.

Dear Dr Goldberg:Two summers ago, my dog was diagnosed with panniculitis and developed abscesses under his skin.

After the sores were surgically drained, my dog was put on steroids, which seemed to stop any further continuation of this condition. About a year later, there was a recurrence just after his annual checkup and vaccinations. He is currently on a tapering dose of prednisone but has had the initial relapse symptoms two times over this summer.

I’ve had my dog for the past 4 years, and as a young pup he seemed to be in an abusive situation. Now he has various fears that we cannot understand. Is there anything we can do?
YM


Panniculitis is an inflammatory condition of the fat under the skin. There can be deep nodules that often become cystic and ulcerated and develop draining tracts. The potential "causes" for this condition are: bacterial or fungal; immune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis; physicochemical causes such as injections of bulky, oily, or insoluble liquids or nutritional deficiencies such as a vitamin E deficiency. Quite often the cause is not established and that leaves only speculation and treatment as the options.

I don’t know the specifics of this case although the first thing I would recommend is to begin a diet according to Dr Pitcairn’s "Natural Health of Dogs and Cats" (Rodale Press). I would also supplement his diet with a good quality vitamin E at 400 IU twice daily.

There is chronic disease in your dog’s case and I would highly recommend constitutional homeopathic treatment. This is best done with a homeopathic veterinarian in your area. In approaching a case of this type, it is important to look at the potential for inciting causes such as vaccination or emotional stresses. The constitutional treatment takes into account the mental and emotional aspects of disease as well as the physical aspects of the disease. During the constitutional interview, the symptoms that are specific to your pet are used to decide what remedy best suits him.

Together with improved nutrition and supplements of vitamin E, there may be hope to avoid the recurrence of this condition.

Dear Dr Goldberg:
My dog has been experiencing joint stiffness in the mornings over the past few years. The vet says it’s arthritis and aspirin may help. I find that aspirin does help but now he tends to vomit quite regularly. Are there any supplements or homeopathic remedies that my help him?
SI


Aspirin can certainly help with the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain although it does seem to contribute to stomach upset in a significant number of pets. It is very dangerous for cats as they cannot metabolize it that well.

There are a certain number of supplements that seem to be well suited to the majority of pets that I see with arthritis. Glucosamine hydrochloride is an effective supplement that has been shown to improve joint pain and has a healing effect on the cartilage. For small dogs and cats I usually start at 250 mg daily and for large dogs I begin at 1500 mg daily.

There are also a number of products currently available that have a combination of ingredients that may help in this condition. These include glucosamine, MSM, vitamins and minerals aimed at joint nutrition. I have found that calcium ascorbate works well in the reduction of pain in arthritic joints as well. As for acute relief of arthritic symptoms, I have found Rhus tox useful for the pets that are sore on beginning to move but better with motion. The pains are worse in cold, wet weather.

Another remedy that may be useful is Lycopodium when the pet seems stiff on the right side of the body. Pulsatilla may be helpful if the pain is worse indoors in a warm room and seems better outside. Bryonia may be helpful if there is irritability and the pet seems to be worse whenever it moves therefore prefers to lie still.

Again, as a homeopath, I consider arthritis a chronic disease and tend to treat constitutionally (taking all of the pet’s symptoms into account). This method seems to work best for me in conjunction with the above mentioned supplements and periodically using homeopathic remedies as needed.

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

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