NEWS

Natural Animal Medicine

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

 

Natural animal medicine means using common sense and nature to restore health to animals rather than relying upon drugs or synthetic foods.

What needs to be cured, what is curative in medicines and how to apply them are the three fundamental pillars of natural medicine and can be understood best from a homeopathic perspective.  Integrative Veterinarians in Australia and elsewhere have a detailed understanding of this approach to health.

The problem as I see it, is that we do not realise that we are not necessarily getting cleverer just because we are discovering more and using more technology. In fact, in the matter of medicine we are seemingly and alarmingly becoming more stupid every day that we accept our shopping malls and food halls being taken over by discount chemist warehouses and pharmacy chains.

Food and Mother Nature are being sacked en masse in a world that does not appreciate that we are totally dependent upon them for our survival.

Large animal and production vets are better prepared to treat animal disease, as they have not lost sight so much of the true causes. Also because large animals are considered less to be members of our human family they have somewhat escaped the marketing trends and sales pitches for ‘better pain or reflux relief’ that are now dominating our human existence.

 

It is a painful and gut wrenching reality that rather than spending money on good food and rest that we rush to buy a pill for ourselves or our pets these days at the first signs of discomfort or something we don’t understand.

 

Most diseases are caused by poor management, husbandry, nutrition or by accident. The large majority of these causes are not adequately rectified by pharmaceutical or chemical intervention, irrespective of any new advancements or ‘better’, ‘safer’, products on offer.

Iatrogenic disease (caused by us, vets and owners ), is probably the commonest and idiopathic (unknown cause) disease can often also be shown to be iatrogenic.

 

Infectious diseases are now the very rarest forms of disease in small animals and humans in developed countries. No amount of vaccination and chemical assault will abate the wave of health problems being created by our own lifestyle choices in western societies and our abject failure to recognise this epidemic problem.

All veterinarians are trained to recognise and treat disease in animals but the majority of us in small animal practice are not seeing any of the above causes and consequently looking in the wrong place most of the time for practical and effective treatment options. There seems to be a complacency and surrender to the idea that we cant do anything about the way we are moving but this is simply not true. The best cures for most diseases plaguing our world are to be found in our gardens, green verges and diminishing wild places and forests coupled with the knowledge of how to prepare and administer them. Instead, we suffer the disgraceful self congratulation of influential members of our medical education system  as they close down schools of natural health. Fortunately there are animal owners, farmers and veterinarians who value natural health sufficiently to push back against those with this agenda and continue to use and prescribe effective, safe and affordable foods, supplements and natural animal medicines.

People who recognise that we get to enjoy the world we create by our choices rather than just blindly being led by those with different motives. The purest motive of medicine as a service has sadly long passed and we need to advocate for reinstating it as soon as possible. Our health and that of our animals does not and should not ever belong to a medical system that seeks to have a monopoly.

 

We need a new mission statement and advertisement for our veterinary profession if we are to survive the wave of scepticism we are bringing upon ourselves by our failure to recognise that we are being manipulated by corporate interests into selling products that are not necessarily aligned with the best interests of our patients.

 

Perhaps our highest priority needs to be advocating for animal welfare and moreover, making this known to be the prime objective of our profession.

Kudos to the Australian Veterinary Association for raising awareness of the need to change our direction, now we just have to see the action attending this decision.

 

Instead I see our professionalism being increasingly eroded by corporate interests that are driving the profession to sell goods and services that are not necessarily aligned with the purest motives of animal welfare. Being far from a perfect world in many areas these days, it is not surprising that veterinary science and medicine would be seen as yet another opportunity to market and capitalise. It is now legal for persons or corporations not trained in veterinary medicine to own and operate vet clinics in Australia. This has to be seen as a serious mistake or at least a warning of trending away from a veterinary welfare objective, however cleverly packaged it may appear.

 

Not wishing to move too far away from the topic of this blog posting, the practice of natural animal health was once the only thing vets used to do

 

It is not new and it is definitely not truly ‘alternative’, it is just best practice.

 

Over time many influences have come to bear upon the profession but not withstanding advancements in knowledge and research into modern medicines, the basic tenet of treating disease has not changed. Feed and treat animals well and kindly and they will get better if their time to die has not yet come. Assist them to heal themselves if they can. Homeostasis is a more powerful healer by far than any pharmaceutical that can ever be produced.

 

No medicine can stop death if it is inevitable but it will be harder to recognise this if the animal is artificially and very expensively preserved in all but it’s very essence of existence.

 

Death is a natural cure when it is part of a natural life.

 

It can even be celebrated by those of us who are grateful for the experience of shared existence and sacred occasions.

 

 

  1. The question of death

 

The frightening question of death
Arises only in those
Who cannot take death
As a return home.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 26, Agni Press, 1982

1058

The body thinks that death
Is a ruthless torturer.
The soul knows that death
Is an Unknown Way-revealer.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 2, Agni Press, 1998

 

65. The Most Effective Medicine

The most effective medicine
Here on earth
Is love unconditional.

Sri Chinmoy, My Christmas-New Year-Vacation Aspiration-Prayers, part 32, Agni Press, 2005

 

I can hear …..

Monday, May 27th, 2019

“I can hear you are frustrated”, says the woman on the other end of the phone today.

This blog is prompted by a long awaited reply I received today from the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding the NHMRC report on homeopathy that was released in 2015.

 

Here is a brief summary of the issue in case you missed it:

In 2015 The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, (NHMRC) releases a study that concludes there is no evidence to support that homeopathy is effective. This has global ramifications and fuels further hostility towards homeopathy. It is now referred to as ‘The Australian Report’ and is an embarrassment to many Australians.

 

Many of us know that this outcome is not true and wonder how they could have missed the evidence that exists and was made available to them.

 

An enquiry is undertaken as to why or how this could have happened.

Information comes to light that there has probably been a few procedural errors and implied misconduct or at least an unprecedented level of restriction that has misrepresented the truth and buried most of the high quality evidence that exists.

A complaint or many complaints are made and no satisfactory replies, investigations or corrections are forthcoming for many years.

The appeal reaches the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

As a ‘secret service’ (an office that conducts its enquiries in secret), with strict procedures of appeal and due process, the result is that the majority of our complaints are probably being dismissed, as is my own. That, in itself, is not frustrating but what is frustrating is that owing to the confidentiality (normally a very good thing) there can be no information issued to complainants such as myself regarding the progress of the investigation and hence no satisfactory resolution in sight despite our combined efforts and compliance with the guidelines and recommendations of the Office.

 

It’s hard sometimes to be a nice person when that relies on living in the heart and we must function in the mind to navigate the ways of the world. It’s a daily conflict that meditation can help enormously to assuage but nevertheless still frustrating when it comes to communicating with the justice system or with government in particular.

At least we have a justice system with democratic governance even if we appear to be too stupid to use them properly.

In fact, more to the point, after speaking for some time to the calling officer it highlights to me that I do not even know what the complaint really is. I mean how can it be better worded or presented in order to pass muster through a seemingly officious and rigorous scrutiny. “I’m not happy and the report is false” doesn’t seem to cut it. She also patiently points out that this is not the function of the Ombudsman and that the Office functions primarily to ensure that due process is adhered to when a complaint to someone else is made. In this case the complaint is really directed towards the NHMRC or in effect the Australian Government.

The office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (OCO) deems any reply to a complaint as a fulfillment of obligation. So if the NHMRC sent an autoreply email that the message/complaint had been received then that absolves them from issuing further response and the Ombudsman may decide that no case exists. No, I’m not frustrated.

 

So I am reflecting on how this could have been handled better and I realise that maybe it was doomed from the outset. The message I am getting from the patient and kind officer from the OCO is that only complaints that rely on your own personal experience can be considered authentic. I understand that but that gets clouded by the fact that my own personal experience is obtaining information from people and organisations I trust to have acted on my behalf and who accord with my own understanding of the matter. I am not a researcher or a lawyer and like most of us, rely on those who are to inform us in matters of importance and in which we are in agreement.

 

My complaint is dismissed primarily on the basis that the information forming the basis of my complaint comes via a third party. Frustrated? No not me.

I can extrapolate that to hear that if any of my clients and disadvantaged patients at any homeopathic clinic lodged a complaint they could be similarly dismissed on the same grounds since they themselves are not the first party. In fact who could be the first party in a case like this if not the public of Australia?

I am left wondering now about that and also about who gets to collect evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy if not the practitioner or the patient? Clearly none of these according to the NHMRC or the OCO. Further frustration here arises from the fact that the evidence provided for the 2015 review was of a significantly higher level than the aforementioned personal case studies and was still dismissed by the ‘expert’ review committee that contained not a single homeopath.

We can see here how democracy can be easily eroded by the very checks and balances established to protect its integrity. Who’s frustrated?

I doubt that any evidence I could furnish would have been any more successful than the original truck load (1800 documents) provided to the NHMRC study committee.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that we have reason to believe that the original committee did in fact discover that sufficient evidence exists to warrant further consideration but that this committee was then fired and a second report was commissioned at further expense to the Australian public.

Consolation arrives in the feeling that even though my own feeble attempt at eliciting a response to this issue has failed that there is in place a co-ordinated effort being made by the Australian Homeopathic Association (hopefully here known as the third party unless there are more) that will hopefully meet with a better outcome. Full details of this can be found here  for those interested.

 

So perhaps there is power in unity after all and the petition that we all signed through the Your Health Your Choice campaign will have some effect and that our individual attempts may be recognised in support of a larger unified push.

 

Whilst true power lies in unity there appears to be little unity in the offices of the Law of the Land, yet it still appears all-powerful. Blunt instruments like the law can obviously inflict quite some damage and may end up being more painful with longer lasting ramifications than the sharp stabs of insight and truth.

 

The damage of this particular mistake extends to our national reputation in a world that widely accepts and acknowledges the evidence of effectiveness, the benefits to patients and the practice of homeopathy as a medicine and is left wondering how we could be so ignorant.

 

It seems that we may never become clever enough to defeat those who have powerful motives to keep us quiet and ineffective but our true power lies in our collective consciousness and that is not governed by anything other than our heart power, which is at the core of our unity.

 

 

45427

Truth cannot
Forever remain
Unheard.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 46, Agni Press, 2006

28284

Truth hides
When argument roars.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 29, Agni Press, 2002

6347. Be absolutely sure

First be absolutely sure
That you know the truth
Before you talk to others
About the truth.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 64, Agni Press, 1983

 

 

Problem Behaviour

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

As veterinarians, we overly focus on physical symptoms when considering managing small animal disease.

Where is behaviour in this dog? We can assume it originates in the brain or mind but it is not a surgical problem and nor should it be considered a medical problem and yet it is one of the most prevalent problems in small animal practice next to skin disease.

 

Behaviour is an invisible aspect of the animal that cannot be examined with a stethoscope, microscope or otoscope. We must use different skills to identify and treat problem behaviour. It is the only area well recognised by most vets as being a non physical problem and is, in itself, a perfect segue into understanding animal health from a holistic or integrative perspective

In fact, behaviour is quite likely to be the first thing that visibly changes in all cases of illness. It is an increasing reason for presentation to veterinary clinics and still the number one reason for euthanasia of dogs in Australia.

 

Companion animal behaviour, for all of the years of domestication, may still also be one of the least understood aspects of small animal health since it is not given the credit due to instinct or nature. Unlike birds, farm animals and wild animals, most of our dogs and cats are desexed, sleep in beds and are fed from bowls in the house. We have come to misrepresent their dogness or catness as they become more like members of a human family and expected to conform to our lifestyles.

As with all disease it helps to understand what normal looks like. In domestic animals normal is somewhat deranged to begin with and some of what owners consider problematic is actually normal for the animal. Regurgitation, urine spraying, vocalizing, hunting, barking, digging are amongst a list of normal animal behaviours considered to be problems in home environments if they are not understood or managed.

 

Helping clients to manage or understand their animal’s problem behaviour therefore requires us to know how the environment impacts upon the normal instincts or motivations of the animals and how we can help them to adapt to changes and different expectations. Holistic vets are more likely to properly recognize the importance of emotional or mental issues that may be surfacing in these animals and to have non pharmaceutical treatments for these factors.

 

Since studying integrative medicine I have an increased awareness of the needs of dogs and cats in human households and also how these animals may see themselves and their role in the family.

Fortunately over the past two decades in particular animal behaviour interest groups, amongst others, have been producing and distributing valuable reminders and insights into many of the activities that cats and dogs need to engage in, in order to remain satisfied and behave well in human households.

Much of this information has filtered through to animal owners via vet blogs and websites and much of the understanding of dog and cat behaviour is being better disseminated and discussed.

 

One of the most overlooked and undervalued aspects of animal behaviour is their attempt to communicate with us. It is possible for animals to clearly let us know what they need if we are experienced listeners. Much of the problem behaviour is part of a more demonstrative attempt to communicate.

 

I believe that all vets are seeing more and more cases of problem behaviour in dogs and cats simply as a result of their failure to adapt to our stressful human lifestyles. We all use the term ‘stress’ and know that in some magical way it causes disease but very few vets have skills and tools to fully appreciate the enormity of benefit this element alone can contribute to cure when it is properly understood.

One of the simple and most profound ‘tricks’ I can share briefly with you here is the recognition and manipulation of the two arms of the nervous system.

Other holistic vets talk about this too and we all have little techniques to tweak it to advantage.

The sympathetic nervous system is primarily a ‘fight and flight’ system whereas the parasympathetic nervous system is more of a ‘rest and digest’ system.

In my experience, the vast majority of animals presenting to me for problem behaviour are in sympathetic overdrive for one reason or another and find it very difficult to regulate themselves. This is part of the ‘stress’ we all speak about. If we can augment the parasympathetic arm in them they will immediately feel and behave better and then we need to be able to help them maintain this balance. We do this initially with a range of physical therapy techniques that many of us have discovered, perfected and taught.

 

Personally, I maintain this benefit primarily with homeopathic medicines and species appropriate diets. I also find the benefits from my physical therapies can be remembered at a cellular level and built upon over time to keep animals calmer. I employ Bowen and Orthobionomy as well as meditation and Homeopathy.

I have some lovely examples of bringing animals along to comfort from places of fear and over reactivity. Training is of paramount importance in dogs and very often not properly taught. There are also major compounding issues in animals with the rise in anxiety in humans and animals alike and I attribute this largely to a failure to address the importance of gut health in acknowledgement of the gut brain axis. This is a whole other topic.

 

It is possible that the mind is becoming more developed in our domesticated dogs and cats given that anxiety is a function largely of the mind. As humans we have an awareness of a higher purpose that animals have not yet developed.

 

Perhaps the evolution of the mind in these species is causing them to be anxious since they have no understanding of how to manage their mind other than when engaged in work, which is also largely instinctual for the working breeds.

39923

My mind
Always lives
In the world
Of worries and anxieties.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 40, Agni Press, 2004

 

It is more likely however that the anxiety in animals is caused by sensitivity to vibration and disturbances in the atmosphere as we experience major disruptions to the balance of nature as a function of modern living. They will also be anxious on our behalf since their whole reason for being is to please and protect us and they mirror us as well. They are far more sensitive to these vibrations than humans as we have mostly learned to ignore them or moreover rise above them. It seems that we can do little about this ‘progress’ other than to continue to keep our nervous systems well nourished and adaptable through optimum nutrition and in our case also by practicing regular meditation.

 

Sri Chinmoy provides explanations for these things from a spiritual perspective.

Question: In what manner must we fight the animal qualities we have inside us?

Sri Chinmoy: You have mentioned that we are still half animal. People who are not praying or meditating are half animal. We feel that we are not in the animal kingdom, that we do not destroy anything. But all the time we are destroying. In the animal kingdom, perhaps two, or ten or twelve animals will fight together. But when humans fight, at that time thousands are there. When there is a world war, countless human beings are killed.

So, human beings still have animal qualities in abundant measure. What should we do? When we pray and meditate, these animal qualities are illumined. When they are illumined, then they are totally transformed. It is like physical strength. With this hand I can strike somebody. And again with this hand I can work; I can do something constructive. Before, with animal strength, I used to strike somebody. Now I am using strength to do something good for the earth.

Sri Chinmoy, Ego and self-complacency, Agni Press, 1977

 

 

24018

If we do not care for others,
In spite of their objectionable behaviour,
We will not be able to reach
Our Destination.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 25, Agni Press, 2002

Question: Once I saw a dog biting a young boy. Is there any particular reason for that to happen?

Sri Chinmoy: It could be either that the dog was by nature undivine and hostile, or that, on the spur of the moment, a destructive, evil spirit entered into the dog. Again, it may have been for another reason altogether. From the highest spiritual point of view, although it was just a little boy, the soul may have lost some faith in the mind, in the heart or in the body of that particular boy. In general, when you lose faith in your spiritual life or lose faith in your Master or lose faith in God, then a dog may bite you. A dog’s very nature is faithfulness and devotedness. The dog wants to show you that you have lost faith in your spiritual life, in your Master or in God. In the case of spiritual people, this can happen and it does happen. The soul identifies itself with the body, vital, mind and heart to give more faith to the entire being, but if the body, vital, mind and heart lose faith, a dog may bite.

Again, it is also possible that, by nature, the dog was bad, or that some destructive, hostile forces attacked the dog and it became a victim to these forces. Sometimes when a dog gets a very, very unfamiliar feeling, it may try to attack. We cannot say specifically which reason is applicable unless we see the dog and concentrate on it. Otherwise, there may be ten possible reasons why the poor innocent boy was bitten.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 17, Agni Press, 1999

 

Tick of Approval

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Fortunately I do not live or practice in an area of Australia that is prone to paralysis tick infestation as this is one less competitor to battle for good health in my animal patients.

I am often asked however about this subject given that many of my clients like to travel and the east coast of our beautiful country is a favorite destination for visitors as well as being prime paralysis tick territory.

The unfortunate reality when it comes down to preventing tick infestation on our pets is that all chemical products available are, by definition, poisons.

All available over the counter products kill ticks because they are nerve poisons. The safety margins of these products for mammalian systems varies and all products registered in Australia through Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) have passed safety standards for registration.

As a person who does not use chemicals if I can avoid them, I am interested to know about management of these parasites and many others from a more natural basis. Whilst the majority of pet owners will purchase and use one of the myriad recommended products from pet shops, vets or online, there is a group of people who, like myself, prefer to avoid the use of chemicals  in our environments and family.

The paralysis tick has three life stages and these are usually found on native animals like bandicoots, kangaroos and possums that are able to develop resistance to tick induced disease. The seed or immature ticks also climb up grass stems and bush foliage and can be picked up by any passing warm blood meal source before dropping off again for the next lifecycle stage. The most important and infective stage is adult female ticks and these will cause paralysis as they feed over days to weeks on the host.

My first and most memorable experience of this parasite was quite devastating. A client had picked up the tick on his backpack whilst hiking through bushland hundreds of kilometers away and carried it unknowingly home to a definitive host. Given that we did not live in tick country the ensuing and fatal disease the family dog developed was not recognised until a fully engorged paralysis tick dropped off from their beloved dog’s body at post mortem examination about two horrible weeks later.

 

You don’t forget these lessons.

 

There are many excellent articles written on many vet blogs about this parasite and the disease and prevention options so I will not go into further detail about that here. People reading my blog are looking for alternatives to chemical prophylaxis and want to avoid using the available poisons on the market.

The only reliable option regardless of whether you use chemicals or not, since nothing will guarantee protection, is to examine your pet thoroughly every day that you are inside a tick risk zone.

 

With paralysis tick it is essential to physically examine your pet every day from toes to tip of nose and tail, ears, vulva, prepuce and all crevices in between as these opportunists will seek haven anywhere they can attach and be hidden. No control measure beats looking for ticks every day.

 

 

So look, look, look and look again and you will avoid 99% of the problem since these parasites take about 3-4 days to engorge and cause physical symptoms in dogs. Do not stop looking just because you find a tick either because if there is one there may very well be many and not always in the same place.

Undiscovered ticks cause disease starting with coughing, weakness and malaise progressing to full loss of function over a week or two. Paralysis of respiratory muscles can bring an end to life if not caught in time. Treatment involves hospitalisation, homeopathy, supportive care and anti toxin once clinical signs appear.

Here is a picture of an engorged tick and it will often be greenish, blue in color like a broad bean kernel and similar in size although this one is darker. You will only see them like this once your dog or cat is already showing signs of intoxication unless they have developed resistance. Fortunately animals living in tick areas do develop a degree of resistance to tick toxin over time, which helps enormously to reduce morbidity. Any embedded object must be considered to be suspicious and I highly recommend getting a specialised tick twister or simple device for tick removal and learning to use it properly, getting well underneath the implanted mouthparts without squeezing the tick body. These tick twisters are readily available at outlets in tick areas.

 

The only chemical product I would consider using as a preventative is Dermcare Permoxin spray concentrate that is made up and used in a spray bottle with water as required. This is not safe for cats but can be used daily on dogs if ticks are being found. This is a synthetic pyrethroid and mimics the pyrethrums found in chrysanthemums. It is still unsafe to use in cats so be careful if you have cats in the household. You also have to completely wet the dog with this product for maximum benefit.

 

There are many natural repellents that are described by many people and a lot of these plants and oils will indeed help. With paralysis tick however the cost of these not working and an overreliance on them can have dire consequences.

 

Ticks have 8 legs, they are arachnids like spiders and all living things have a role to play in the cosmic Lila even if we do not recognise or appreciate this. It is also true that we have long gone past tipping point for our impact upon the natural ecological balance on Earth and we do need to be mindful of the hazards we have propagated and are at risk of encountering as a result of our interferences. These will be evident both by intractable imbalances in insect, pest or predator populations as well as environmental chemical contamination.

Sadly for our pets, paralysis tick is one such organism that we are at war with most of the year along the east coast of Australia.

In line with all advice I give to my clients, keep your animals vibrantly healthy with species appropriate raw meaty bones and vege slurries so that they have optimum natural defences and collect information about the adversaries you may need to face so that you are properly prepared.

 

25273

Life is nothing
But perpetual preparation.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 26, Agni Press, 2002

1230

Always be prepared
To fight against
Your stark ignorance-enemies.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 13, Agni Press, 1999

35762

Do not be afraid
Of unexpected calamities —
Just be fully prepared.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 36, Agni Press, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrative Veterinary Medicine

Friday, December 7th, 2018

It is the imperative of integrative veterinarians to provide the best advice from all avenues of husbandry, medicine and surgery available to treat animal disease. This is the definition of integrative veterinary medicine.

It can be very difficult to have an open and unbiased opinion about all of these options.

One of the greatest impediments to the advancement of homeopathy for example is the misconception that no evidence exists for the effectiveness of this medicine. Despite a growing body of gold standard evidence for the biological effects of homeopathic medicines in humans, animals and even on plants, many  physicians not only refuse to recognize this but actively despise the fact. I conclude that this is largely because it challenges them beyond their capacity to change their thinking.

This is not the subject of this post but rather an example of how we must struggle against our own inherent and learned prejudices in order to be a better health provider to the animal population.

My personal example of prejudice that I strive to overcome is the use of chemical and pharmaceutical interventions in animal health.  It is difficult for me sometimes to see and admit the benefits that these products provide in an integrated health program and I am looking for reasons for why I often feel this way.

The most likely reason is that these approaches are often directly against what I consider to be best practice. This also raises the crucial point of difference between allopathy (conventional medicine) and homeopathy and the understanding of disease and cure.

Put simply; conventional (allopathic) medicine (drugs) is used in the hope that the animal makes itself well in the meantime and thus becomes cured. These medicines have little to nothing to do with the disease in question but rather act on the parts of the body that are still healthy in a variety of mechanisms designed to suppress the disease symptoms. In contrast: homeopathic medicine recognizes the bodies attempt to cure itself and sees the symptoms as attempts to cure. Homeopathy then assists this attempt to cure the diseased parts rather than putting pressure on the healthy system. This explains why side effects occur with drugs but not with homeopathy. Drugs affect healthy organs whereas homeopathy treats diseased tissues, restoring health by employing the healthy parts to assist the process.

 

I endorse the use of drugs in some cases. They can be life saving interventions at times. It is just that we have become overly reliant on them when there are healthier options available in many cases. Admittedly these better options are not readily available to all practitioners so we do the best we can with what we have available. My goal is to have more natural options available to the animal health industry and better education about nutrition and homeostasis.

 

Cancer is all too prevalent in animals and this is another area that can only be best served by an integrative approach with nutritional and organ support for systems under extreme duress. More and more the newer cancer drugs are also following examples set by homeopathy with both the choices of drugs (palladium most recently) plus the rise in the trend to low dose (metronomic) chemotherapy protocols. There will be a meeting point in this area in the not too distant future, which will herald a breakthrough in understanding. Other areas that will discover validity in homeopathy will be nanomedicine and nanomolecular adaptive networking along with quantum medicine all of which albeit, are still in infancy for mainstream medical practice.

 

So back to my personal quandary and the point of this blog.

Why do I find myself so disillusioned about the practice of medicine in a modern world?

Here are some suggestions.

I feel frustrated by the complexity we have created by our interference in the natural world.

Just because it is new it does not mean it is better.

I am disappointed that there are so few clever thinking and inquisitive practitioners looking for answers in nature.

I believe that simplifying our life will enable us to have space to be healthier.

It seems too easy to be caught up in expectations of others as to how we should be living and staying connected with each other.

Along with advantages this may bring, there are untold costs to our health.

I believe that there is too much interference at a vibrational (noise, frequencies, waves) and chemical level in our environment, which directly affects physiological function of all water based living things. This is becoming more alarming with newer towers and higher (5G) outputs about to be introduced.

I am less trusting of corporate agendas and whilst we all still need money to drive our economy I do not endorse selling products that are potentially harmful and not necessary; medicine for health not for profit.

I do not feel comfortable with the amount of packaging and waste that comes from pharmaceutical sales and petfoods. We are facing crisis tipping point for global contamination with plastic and we can all do better.

Whilst it is essential that most of us live now in modern cities it does not necessarily follow that we must accept the limited conditions this imposes.

We can be looking for more ways to grow and replenish soil, grow local foods and medicines and build healthy community  through very simple sustainable, ecofriendly enterprises that will ultimately benefit us all.

 

Most of all I seriously challenge the premise that disease is not curable.

When did we give up on curing disease and how have we come to accept that we live in a constant state of ill health? I did not study veterinary medicine to watch animals die or live with permanent disease.

 

Coming back to the most basic training we receive as veterinarians,

“If you don’t look then you wont see” and

it is alright to say “I don’t know”.

 

I admire all my colleagues who can keep the blinkers off and I will keep trying to be one of them but I confess that this is difficult when we are battling our own imperfections and limitations in practice and understanding.

 

  1. Don’t be a fool

Don’t be a fool
And assume
That you already know
What you need to know.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 20, Agni Press, 1981

23546

The power of the mind
Limits us.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 24, Agni Press, 2002

24887

No imperfection
Can forever last.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 25, Agni Press, 2002

 

Titre tests and vaccinations in cats

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

As more people are becoming aware of the options available to maximize cat health I am getting more enquiries about vaccinations and titre testing for cats.

Cats are not small dogs but the principles of managing their health are very similar. Feed them species appropriate diets, minimize chemical burdens and vaccinate minimally.

The most important cat disease in Australia for which we vaccinate is Feline Panleucopaenia (Feline Enteritis, FE) and is most similar to Parvovirus in dogs.

This is the disease that you hear about most often in the media with the traditional alarm.

It is a serious disease and all cats should be vaccinated against it at the right age as it usually affects young or stray cats.

Kittens that have come from good homes will have maternally derived antibodies that last up to about 10- 12 weeks of age and should then have a vaccination for FE which has been shown to confer a long duration of protection (3 years to lifelong).

The minimum frequency to vaccinate for this disease is 3 years according to the most recent World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines and since it is a disease that mostly, if not exclusively, attacks cats under 12 months of age the need to revaccinate at all is arguable. It would be advisable to vaccinate breeding queens prior to mating to confer protection to the kittens.

The most common cat disease however is what is termed ‘cat flu’ but is not influenza at all. Like influenza however, the respiratory diseases that are linked to this syndrome are known to be changeable and unpredictable both in the manifestation of symptoms and the protection that infection or vaccination confers. Cat flu is actually two viruses against which we vaccinate. (Feline Herpes virus 1 known as Rhinotracheitis and Feline Calicivirus FRFC). As a modified live vaccine it gives the best protection but also runs the risk of producing the disease.

It is generally recognised that immunity to the feline respiratory disease syndrome (cat flu) is not necessarily protective and may do nothing more than alleviate the severity of symptoms.

Cats that have been infected with these viruses can become chronic carriers and can exhibit permanent symptoms of watery eyes or recurrent symptoms when stressed. These cats will not be protected by vaccination and will be infective to other cats that are susceptible so there are many frustrations in managing viral respiratory diseases in cats. Mostly for this reason alone I choose to treat these cats with homeopathy combined with raw diets as it alleviates the symptoms of disease and keeps  cats resilient to infection.

Recommendations for the frequency of vaccination for this syndrome which is contained in F3 or F4 vaccines is very variable from 6 to 12 to 36 months.

WSAVA guidelines recommend F3 as a core vaccination of minimum duration 3 years. Cats can also become chronic carriers of these viruses and the disease will emerge at times of stress irrespective of vaccination status.

I won’t discuss vaccinating for Feline Leukaemia and Feline Aids viruses here as it is a whole different subject except to say that I usually do not recommend giving these vaccines (F4 or F5).

Antibody titre testing is a blood test that is used to determine the presence of antibody to disease. Whilst this a simple test to perform it is less simple to interpret the results in terms of protection status. For example, in dog diseases (Distemper, Hepatits and Parvovirus, DHP, C3) the levels of antibody correlate well with levels of protection whereas in cats the levels of antibody do not necessarily indicate protection to the respiratory diseases. Feline enteritis antibody (the most important disease) does correlate to protection.

Fortunately there is a good alternative to repeated vaccination for cat flu in the form of homeopathic nosode that will protect in the face of challenge. Unlike vaccination, the nosode does not produce antibody to disease but can be used safely and effectively both for cats that are exhibiting symptoms of cat flu and for those in the face of challenge as protection from full blown disease.

This is my preferred treatment method and needs to be recognised as a safe alternative to repeated vaccination for cats at risk.

Given that WSAVA guidelines recommend 3 yearly vaccinations for cats the requirement to vaccinate every year should be changed in Australian boarding cattery guidelines to bring them into accord with current evidence base.

Given also that Feline Enteritis (parvo) is a disease for which vaccination probably confers lifelong protection it is most likely not necessary to repeatedly vaccinate for this in cats older than a year of age.

Paws to Heal will use Cat Flu Nosode for cats at risk (boarding or stress) and also as a treatment for cats with respiratory disease. In the rare cases of Feline Enteritis that can occur in young cats the Feline Enteritis nosode has also been used to successfully treat the disease in strong kittens that were vaccinated too early to obtain acquired immunity.

Under WSAVA guidelines, three yearly titre testing and certificates should also be sufficient alternatives to yearly vaccinations combined with the added assurance that nosodes provide when required. Most veterinarians will be unable to supply nosodes and will recommend vaccination and each case must then be assessed on a risk/benefit basis.

Individualised vaccination programs are becoming more recognised, so if you do not have access to a homeopathic or integrative practitioner then please ask your vet for an individual assessment of your cat’s requirements.

Cat bite abscess, Emergency?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Firstly an emergency is anything that you cannot manage or understand on your own so if you have a sick animal that you are worried about then you need assistance if you are not in a position to assess this for yourself.

 

Any case of trauma or accident where there is injury and shock is always an emergency even if the extent of damage is not obvious.

 

Cat bite abscesses are usually not emergencies even though they seem to appear out of nowhere and can make cats cranky. They often look like sudden injuries but are actually old wounds that have suddenly become problematic.

 

The initial bite wound that causes these swellings of pus to appear are usually inflicted a week or more beforehand so in fact the real point of most benefit to avoiding abscess formation is to address these puncture wounds promptly.

 

If you notice them.

 

Most times you may not notice your cat being a bit sore or withdrawn for a few hours after a scrap. Then they can behave normally for a week or two while there is a whole other plot going on under the skin. Some cats can seem unwell during this period but most go unnoticed.

 

Peak abscess season is breeding season . In Australia this is May/June and Nov/Dec as it is linked to changing day length and the affect on the brain.

 

Of course there are cats that will fight all year round regardless of gender or whether they are desexed or not.

Experienced cat owners who have cats that have adversarial feline neighbours or are prone to fighting will be very well equipped to deal with these problems or will recognise them sooner. It can be quite a shock to many people to find large swellings or holes in their cats.

 

The conventional treatment involves antibiotic and pain management when the wounds are first noticed and surgical drainage if abscesses are well advanced.

 

The homeopathic treatment approach uses medicines for puncture wounds, pain and infection and if there is already an abscess will assist drainage and healing.

The basic tenet in both approaches is to establish and maintain drainage.

There is an ancient adage involving “laudation of the pus” whereby once pus appears the animal is getting better as it belies a good immune response.

 

If the abscess is old or extensive then the cat’s immune system may not be strong and if left unattended these can result in tissue necrosis and areas of skin and underlying tissues being exposed or lost. This can also appear quite alarming for cat owners and will require veterinary advice. Cats are amazing healers nevertheless.

 

Usually once drainage is established and maintained then the cat recovers surprisingly well. For the uninitiated however beware of the horrendous smell in the early stages of abscess drainage as abscess are caused by bacteria getting into places they ought not to be. You may also need to restrict cat access to soft furnishings for a week or two if there is a draining abscess although cats themselves are remarkable housekeepers and keep themselves very clean.

 

 

 

 

H-Log 1

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

This series of blogs I have called H-Logs are inspired by the writings of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the master and discoverer of Homeopathy.

His Organon of the Medical Art is a manuscript he wrote and perfected over six editions, the sixth and last of which was completed in 1842 but was not published until 1910, long after his death in 1843.

Reading and re-reading this precious text, as any dedicated homeopath is wont to do, I am inspired to relate some of the insights that he had into the practice of medicine. The marvel of these proclamations and observations I will leave to you, bearing in mind that his work and medicine was dismissed by the conventional medical establishment of the day as being too radical. Two hundred years later it is still dismissed by the same conventional establishment, this time for being implausible and outdated.

 

The first of our readings may lead you to a different conclusion regarding which system of medical thinking is the one that is truly outdated and way overdue for an overhaul.

 

Aphorism 104 begins

“Once the totality of the symptoms that principally determine and distinguish the disease case – in other words, the image of any kind of disease – has been exactly recorded, the most difficult work is done…….”

 

The following is the commentary that has been ascribed to this statement.

“In their treatments, the physicians of the old school made it extremely easy for themselves in this regard. They made no exact inquiry about all the patient’s circumstances. Indeed, the physician often interrupted patients in the account of their individual ailments in order not to be disturbed in the rapid writing up of the prescription, which was compounded of several ingredients that were unknown to the physician as to their true action. No allopathic physician, as said, insisted upon learning all the exact circumstances of a case, and still fewer of these circumstances did he ever write down. When he saw the patient again after several days, he was aware of little or nothing about the few circumstances he had heard at first since he had seen so many other, different patients since then.

He had let it all go in one ear and out the other. At subsequent visits, he only asked a few general questions, made as if he felt the pulse and looked at the tongue before writing another prescription (likewise without reason) or continuing the first, in more handsome portions several times a day, then hurried off with elegant gestures to thoughtlessly visit the fiftieth or sixtieth patient of the morning. This is how the most cogitative of all pursuits – the conscientious, careful investigation of the state of each single patient, and the special cure to be grounded thereon – was practiced by people who called themselves physicians and rational medical-art practitioners. The result was almost invariably bad, as is natural. Patients had to go to such people partly because there was nothing better and partly for the sake of etiquette and established convention.”

 

Given that this was written in 1842 one has to wonder or at best hope that much has changed over that time with regard to understanding the true nature of disease as it affects individuals.

A difference nowadays is that the prescriptions of pharmaceuticals are far more readily available, expensive and furthermore with ingredients almost entirely unknown by the prescriber, as to the mechanism of action or effect on the individual patient. My own observations of the differences in notes taken by homeopaths and regular practitioners is more to do with not understanding the significance of the symptoms or the disease being related and furthermore no knowledge on part of the regular practitioner of what to do about it. Homeopaths are interested and glean valuable insight from factors disregarded by conventional medical practitioners.

 

Hahnemann was, perhaps not surprisingly, not well liked by his colleagues of the day for his outspoken criticisms and unfortunately the effects of this disharmony has permeated into modern times with many of us facing similar conflict with our contemporary colleagues.

We could, in jest, speculate that Dr Hahnemann created a miasm of his own that has been inherited by practitioners of homeopathy over the past two hundred years. We are our contemporary colleagues ‘itch’ that will not go away and it has been hard for us to advocate for our medicine against a wave of criticism and ridicule persisting over almost two centuries.

 

It appears also and yet again that the principal beneficiaries of this rift are the producers of drugs, the pharmaceutical companies. They have found ideal prescribers in conventional practitioners who have become increasingly reliant on these prescriptions to do their work of healing their patients for them. Prescribers, who either don’t know or don’t want to know that they are not seeing the true nature of disease and definitely not providing cures.

 

Allopathic (pharmaceutical) medicines do not ever cure disease.

“You will need to be on this drug for the rest of your life” Really? I don’t think so!

 

Worse still is that we seem to have accepted that disease is incurable and that we must continue to prescribe pharmaceutical cocktails to enable and prolong life lived with chronic disease.

Homeopaths and animal owners who seek our services do not accept this premise.

 

In fact, disease is cured by the animal itself if it is properly supported to regulate the innate healing mechanisms held within. Homeopathy amongst some other excellent, simple and life affirming practices like species appropriate nutrition and rest, are primary tools for cure, if cure is possible.

 

The overarching problem, as I see it, is that we are still looking for a common language in which to communicate and a new school in which to learn our medical-art, as our conventional schools dig themselves deeper and deeper in to the mires of corporate greed, cleverly disguised and referred to as ‘stakeholders’.

 

I wonder where the term ‘stake’ here originated since we used to use them to drive out demons once upon a time.

 

 

Thirty years on

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It is 30 years this year since the BVSc graduating class of 1987 out of Melbourne University entered the profession.

This posting is dedicated and addressed to my graduation class as we celebrate our 30th

Happy 30th Anniversary!

We are united in our history and our profession irrespective of how we choose to live or practice and I am very grateful to belong to the Melbourne Uni class of ‘87

 

Dear class of ‘87,

I am choosing to write you a letter, of sorts, over other ways to communicate at this time, for two reasons.

One is, that having recently lost my Mum in a car accident and me having to go through all her stuff, I found letters I had written to her back when that is what we did. It reminded me of the simple things that we would anticipate and that brought us joy. No mobile phones or internet in 1987.

The other is that you can read this or not whenever you like. You will be spared the need to pay attention in a group gathering, one for which I also apologise, that I cannot attend.

Well, we are officially dinosaurs since the BVSc course was superceded a year or two ago. We truly do belong now to a past era but we are still here and will be for some time to come I hope.

Congratulations on surviving and thriving in a rapidly changing world and a shifting professional landscape over three decades.

To start with, consultations are now being conducted online and students no longer even need to turn up to lectures to get live stream recordings from the comfort of their own bedrooms. No more dragging oneself to the 8am lecture in a trackie over the nightie.

I shall miss the reminiscences of our bygone student times, waiting for phone calls on the sea green STD phones the size of bar fridges in the foyer of Kendall Hall or waiting for mail, yes paper letters, to be delivered, if memory serves me, to our pigeon holes adjacent to the common room. And those old vinyl 70’s lounge chairs that are probably worth a bit on ebay these days. Though I really doubt that any of you will be truly reminiscing these mundane things.

Those of us with children may be relieved that we have grown them successfully this far but also lament that so much more is required of us these days with burgeoning student debt that affects the entire family. We, ourselves, were truly blessed to study at the tail end of the Whitlam legacy. I have only recently begun to truly appreciate this as I realise I would still be paying off my student debt after thirty years if we faced the same situation as our vet graduates of 2017. Sobering thought.

I will be missing your happy memories and humorous reflections of our student days and also the snippets of lives lived over many years in practice, catching up on who of us is now famous or doing ground breaking research or leading government. I have to say that we all deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back for having survived many things over thirty years. Bad things like the corporate takeover of our profession, the disavowing of our intelligence, integrity and skills as big business determines what we sell, to whom, how and when, for a vast majority of us in private practice in 2018.

I will be missing the conversations you will be having about how much harder it is these days to get paid what we are worth as veterinarians when, for many of us, it is these businesses themselves that are skimming our practice profits, creating a lot of the discontent our clients blame on us and arguably potentiating many of the chronic diseases we are battling in small animals. I encourage you to recall and reflect upon the difference between idiopathic and iatrogenic disease.

Those of us in academia or with specialist skills may be less aware of the plight of the average vet in private practice and I am sorry to miss the conversations with experienced vets such as yourselves about what we need to do to shift the focus in private practice back to valuing skills, expertise and common sense over largely unnecessary merchandising. I am embarrassed that many modern veterinary clinic waiting areas and drug storage areas look more like a products aisle at a local supermarket than a professional animal health care service.

We are an extremely fortunate group of professionals who largely have autonomy in the way we practice and I think it is up to our generation to remind our successors that being a good vet is not necessarily about just knowing the dose rates, reading the labels or believing everything we are told by those with vested interests.

How many of us, I wonder, saw the writing on the wall back in the 80’s when our small animal nutrition lectures and the bulk of our information on this subject were presented to us by a dog food company and a trip up the Hume to Uncle Bens. I see it is far worse nowadays rather than better.

I realise that to many of you this may sound like a grizzle of “back in my day” but it is a true representation, from my point of view, of the changes we have encountered over our three decades and a worrying trend for the future of veterinary medicine.

No matter how truly grateful I am to be your colleague and to have had the privilege of being a vet student at a leading university, I do believe that we are the ones who ought to be determining our future direction as veterinarians and not the companies who have decided that they own us.

This is what I do for a living. I write blogs to help people find out about stuff they may be confused about regarding animal health. I treat and cure animals largely and incidentally without prescribing any pharmaceuticals at all and I teach people how to feed their dogs and cats species appropriate diets.

You will have noticed that there are links throughout this letter blog if you are interested to know more.

I give lectures, talks and interviews, write articles for papers and magazines and manage to find time to enjoy keeping myself fit and healthy with home grown foods and home made produce.

Like many of you I have the joys and responsibilities of young adult children still at home and who require much more from me than I had ever imagined. I am still involved in vet practice. Having attained my Membership of the London Faculty of Homeopathy by examination in 2012, I continue to provide veterinary services through my private consultancy, Paws to Heal in Geelong.

Life is good. I hope you all have a very happy reunion with many happy returns of the five or so years we all spent together all that time ago.

See you for our 40th in 2027.

With love, Saranyu

 

Medicine, Money and the Media

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

I have come to realise that these three things are intimately connected and it is a terrible shame that we have allowed this to happen.

Once upon a time education and medicine were public services to which all people in Australia had a right of access and could trust to act in their best interests.

It alarms me to discover that a majority of funding to the media, which can by no means be termed free media, comes from large pharmaceutical companies and that these same companies sponsor chairs of medicine at many leading medical and veterinary schools across the world. Melbourne Veterinary School also has a chair of internal medicine sponsored by Hills, a leading pet food manufacturer.

Conflicts of interest must be declared in all scientific publications and applications for professional appointments and yet it seems that this is not the case when we see media reports such as the one appearing this week in the Melbourne Herald/Sun concerning the link to feeding raw chicken and the onset of neurological disease, Acute Polyradiculoneuritis(APN) in dogs.

This particular post has been prompted by this report

 

Join the dots and decide for yourselves what motives are likely to be influencing the decision to publish media reports like this.

 

There is a vicious cycle being driven by profit to ensure that no factors other than the unprofitable and increasingly popular options are targeted for blame for an alarming rise in inexplicable diseases. Moreover, our National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, a body that ought to be acting in the best interests of science and health, has decided to not provide funding into natural medicine with no satisfactory explanation regarding the reason for this decision.

 

There is no big money to made in promoting real foods and natural medicines.

 

The benefit to the health of people and animals is not considered a good enough reason to explore these options. Practitioners who advocate for sensible health programs and raw food diets for pets are increasingly subjected to ridicule and derision.

The above report is the most recent of many such attempts to frighten pet owners about common sense feeding and vilify natural health options that are out of the control of commercial interests. Good food cannot be owned by patents and should only be profitable to the primary producers and butchers as individuals supplying a quality service.

 

I wonder whether the veterinarians and researchers themselves are even aware of the corporate agenda behind their work as they genuinely strive to find answers to baffling diseases. Diseases that have coincidentally arisen in direct proportion to the dramatic rise in use of unnecessary pharmaceuticals and antiparasiticides in animals over the past twenty years. Unlike chicken meat as food, these chemicals do have the capacity to produce a large range of immune mediated and neurological diseases

 

Dogs have been eating chickens for centuries and yet APN is a recent phenomenon.

As a scientist myself I find it difficult to accept the postulates in this paper regarding the onset of autoimmunity in APN being triggered in the manner described. I am waiting to examine the trial data from the above report to see whether the control group of dogs was also fed raw chicken since it is quite common and harmless to have elevated levels of bacteria in raw fed dogs.

It is much more likely that animals afflicted with this condition, are resulting from epigenetic factors yet to be identified.

The upside of media reports of this kind is that it raises the issue for discussion and gives us all the opportunity to have conversations about what might really be going on.

I am grateful for such opportunities as they provide a legitimate platform for presenting this information and for giving pet owners reassurance to feed their pets real foods and to encourage them, with sound scientific evidence, to stop using unnecessary chemicals.