By Ricki Brozman DVM, CVA
Libby, a 12 year old Kerry Blue Terrier, came to my office one winter day two years ago. Libby was getting weak in her hindquarters. Her left leg was shaking and she was limping. Due to her hind leg discomfort, she was only using her front legs, pulling herself up to get in the car and go up steps. Libby was unable to lie or sit on her left side. She also had a history of elevated liver enzymes. The cashier at a local pet food store (that displayed my business cards) gave Libby’s owner, Bruce, one of my cards and suggested that he try acupuncture to help Libby.
When I examined Libby, I found that she had a loss of muscle mass of her hind limbs, the left leg more than the right. Her left leg was shaking, and she was using it more for balance than weight bearing. She was a soldier and did not show any indication of pain when I palpated her leg, although, when I gently pressed on the acupuncture points on her back, she was sensitive. It is common for dogs with knee or hip pain to also have some back pain due to compensation. She was very serious and suspicious of what was to happen.
A Treatment Plan For Libby
I developed a plan for Libby which included weekly acupuncture treatments for 4-6 weeks. I explained that it would most likely take a few treatments to see improvement. I told Bruce that as she improved, we would increase the interval between treatments to every other week, then every third week, and continue to increase the interval between the treatments to hopefully every six weeks. The goal was to determine how often she would need treatments to maintain her comfort level. I also recommended a diet change. She had been on Purina One and had started to vomit, which had led Bruce to go to Natural Pet Foods. At Natural Pet Foods, a dry food called Canidae was recommended. Libby was doing well with the Canidae. I recommended that we add some whole foods to her diet. She began to get Urban Wolf, which is freeze dried vegetables and supplements, to which, at home, water, oil and blanched hamburger meat are added. Libby was given a combination of Urban Wolf and Canidea. She was very pleased with her new diet. I recommended Libby have X-rays taken of her hips and knees to determine if there was evidence of arthritis.
Libby Likes Her Acupuncture Treatments
At the first visit, I began her weekly acupuncture treatments. Libby was a very good acupuncture patient. She stood quietly during the entire treatment.
At Libby’s next appointment, Bruce presented me with X-rays. Her knees and right hip showed no evidence of arthritis, but the left hip had severe arthritis. The veterinarian that took the X-rays recommended Rimadyl, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Bruce asked me about Rimadyl. I suggested we see how she did after a few more treatments before considering Rimadyl.
At her second appointment, I did an electro acupuncture treatment. Electro acupuncture consists of putting little clips on the needles, which are connected to an electro stimulation machine. The animal experiences a gentle stimulation similar to a tens unit. Again, Libby stood quietly for her treatment.
Libby Improves From Acupuncture Treatments
The day after her second treatment, I got an e-mail from Bruce. Libby bounded up the steps to go to bed the night of her treatment with electro acupuncture. She also slept very soundly and was able to lay on her left side which she had not done in many weeks.
At her third treatment, Bruce reported that Libby was doing very well. She was weight bearing on her left leg, no longer shaking, and more comfortable. When I examined her, I was very pleased, although she still had a slight amount of back pain.
Libby continued to improve, and we began to increase the time between treatments – first by ten days, then two weeks, and, by spring, I was seeing Libby monthly. In the spring, Libby went to have her annual physical exam and blood work. Her liver enzymes were more elevated than the year before. I recommended Libby start a supplement called Liver Support as well as intravenous injections of glutathione to assist her liver in getting rid of toxins. We began the Liver Support capsules and the glutathione. We gave her 1 injection weekly for 4 weeks then 1 injection monthly. In the fall, we were able to reach a maintenance schedule of acupuncture and an injection of glutathione every 6 weeks.
Libby did exceptionally well for two years. In November of 2012, Libby began to have difficulty associated with her liver disease and passed away in December at the age of 14. Libby was a a very noble, stoic lady. Acupuncture treatments and glutathione injections greatly improved Libby’s quality and length of life.
If you are interested in Holistic Veterinary Care, please contact Dr. Brozman at Horizon Holistic Veterinary Care at 913-777-9605, or visit online at www.horizonholisticvetcare.com.
Dr. Ricki Brozman owns and operates Horizon Holistic Veterinary Care, LLC in Prairie Village, Kansas. A Kansas City native, she attended and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine. She is currently a licensed veterinarian by the States of Kansas and Missouri. After practicing conventional veterinary medicine (both large and small animals) for 11 years, Dr. Brozman began to focus her professional efforts in the field of holistic animal care by using Chinese medical principles, herbs, supplements, chiropractic care and homeopathic remedies to treat animal injuries and diseases. Dr. Brozman has been studying and making extensive use of Chinese herbs in her veterinary practice since 1997, and she has been a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist since 1999. Dr. Brozman enhances her skills by undertaking numerous educational and practical courses in additional subjects such as craniosacral therapy, homotoxicology, and advanced applications for Chinese herbs. She is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.