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Question
Our 13+ year old black lab mix (approximately 85 pounds)was diagnosed in late September with nodules/masses in her liver and a nodule in her spleen by an internal medicine specialist using ultrasound. This as discovered after she became anemic. Some blood was found in her abdomen at the time of the ultrasound. Her bloodwork for clotting was normal.

We opted not to have exploratory surgery done so we are not certain she has cancer.  Since her diagnosis she has suffered a few bleeding incidents that have left her weak and caused some breathing difficulties. She recovers in 24-36 hours. She has a good appetite and remains hydrated. We have been told this will continue.

In addition to the internal bleeding, she suffers from severe arthritis in her back legs and hip dysplasia.

She is current taking 100 mg of Tramadol 3 times a day, 20 mg of Famotodine and Glucosamine/Chondroitin. The Tramadol seems to do a good job of controlling her pain.

I have been reading and found several references to the use of a Chinese herb, Yunnan Baiyao, for the control of the internal bleeding. I have found an online source that by all accounts seems to be reputable.

We are willing to try the Yunnan Baiyao.  We know it is not a cure but it may very well make our dog more comfortable.

Is the Yunnan Baiyao a reasonable alternative? If so, what is the dosage?  Can it be taken in conjunction with the Tramadol, Famotodine and Glucosamine/Chondroitin?

I will confer with our veterinarian, but I am not sure of how receptive they will be to the use of the Yunnan Baiyao.  I think we are at a point that we will try it, unless there is some reason it would make our dog's condition worse.

Thank you for your time.

Answer
Yes, I have heard of many dogs with bleeding issues (hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, for instance) who did wonderfully on Yunnan Baiyao. I would not confer with your current veterinarian. I would, instead, strongly recommend finding an integrative veterinarian with whom to work. This is a person trained in many different approaches, including using conventional drugs only when absolutely needed. Working with one can increase the chance that your cherished companion can live a long and healthy life after recovering from this current problem. There are good ones and great ones, and a few homeopathic veterinarians will consult by phone or email. You can go to the web sites for each type of holistic practice and use their referral list to find one near to you. Many practitioners are members of only one or two of the organizations, so you do need to go to every site to find who is near you. Because of the yunnan baiyao possibility, I would start looking at #4. However, depending on how close you are to a great homeopathic veterinarian, Lisa Melling (see #2), you may want to try that approach as well. Because I do homeopathy and not chinese and herbal medicine, I cannot advise you as to interactions with the other drugs.
1. Wide range of other treatments: www.AHVMA.org, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and www.civtedu.org.   
2. Homeopathic veterinarians (these can often help you by phone if no other holistic practitioners are nearby that you like): www.theAVH.org and www.DrPitcairn.com.
3. Chiropractor - www.animalchiropractic.org
4. TCVM (Acupuncture and Chinese medicine): www.IVAS.org, www.avaa.org & www.TCVM.com
5. Herbal - www.VBMA.org
6. Postural rehabilitation – dogs and horses - http://www.posturalrehabvets.com/Postural_Rehabilitation/Find_a_Practitioner.htm
(a handful are in Europe)

There are also lots of practitioners and approaches that are used by trained people that you can find by searching the Internet.

SELECTING AND WORKING WITH AN INTEGRATIVE VETERINARIAN

Holistic medicine takes the perspective of treating the whole animal. Even if there is a current problem, for example diarrhea or itching, a good integrative veterinarian will ask questions about what problems there have been in the past, what changes in the household or the environment may have triggered the current complaint and if there is anything that makes the current complaints better or worse. They will also evaluate the overall energy level of the animal. Their goal is to make the animal healthier for life, not just to get rid of the current symptom. They will educate you and explain what they see when physically examining your animal.

Some of the modalities that integrative veterinarians may use in addition to conventional include acupuncture, herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, chiropractic, network chiropractic, nutrition, glandulars, Reiki, Tellington touch, healing touch, long distance healing modalities. Some of these have certification programs with a year or more of courses, exams and evaluation of clinical ability. Others are either self-taught or not regulated. Some individuals are wonderful with your animal -- others great at explaining to you what is happening with your animals. A few are good in both areas. Few veterinarians are perfect, and we all have bad days. Your animal should at least be comfortable with your choice and you should be able to get your questions and concerns addressed.

Once you have done the internet work suggested above, how do you select one to start with and then how do you know if you are getting good service and what can you do to help them help your animals?

Ask the veterinarian you are interested in:
1. Ask what modalities are used?
2. What is their training?
3. Is their goal overall health or to merely treat the current complaint? This may be the most important question.
4. What organizations they belong to & how recently have they gone to conferences or taught?  (Just because they belong to AHVMA, or AVH, does not mean they are trained or capable in those modalities.)
As she treats your animal, a good holistic veterinarian will usually:
1. Ask about the history, overall energy, what might have caused the current problem, the environment and what makes the symptoms better or worse.
2. Their physical exam will be gentle, complete and they will show you (you may need to ask) what they mean by “gingivitis, big lymph nodes, heart murmur”, etc.
3. They will be willing to answer your questions and explain why they are recommending a particular treatment.  
4. If they recommend conventional treatments (antibiotics, prednisone, etc.) they will explain to you why they choose this over holistic, and give you a chance to request the more holistic treatment.
5. They will not do anything (vaccinate, treat) without asking you first.
6. They will recommend fewer or no vaccinations and a raw meat or at least more holistic diet.
7. They will schedule follow up appointments until your animal is really healthy.
(See symptoms of chronic disease)
What you can do to help your holistic veterinarian
1. Keep a dated journal of any problems, even little ones.
2. Write down any treatments given.
3. Call if symptoms worsen, or they are less energetic and less happy, or you have concerns.


I would also suggest a fresh food diet and no grains.  

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Dr. Christina Chambreau

Expertise

I can give you the holistic approach to any problem, mostly for dogs and cats and some farm animals and horses. Depending on the condition and the type of animal, I will be able to give very specific treatment suggestions such as what flower essences, homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, diet changes, lifestyle changes or herbs that may be helpful - not drugs. I can also suggest where you can go for further education or to find a specialist in a specific holistic field. I can help you understand why your animal is ill and what improvements can be expected. I do not check messages more than every one to two days, so PLEASE DO NOT ask about EMERGENCIES - call your local veterinarian. I cannot diagnose your animal. I cannot prescribe specific treatments. I am no longer very current with conventional treatments, so cannot answer questions on those. I am not an expert on birds or small critters. I am not an expert in breeding, birthing or babies.

Experience

I graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and began using homeopathy in my practice after a client introduced me to it. By 1988 I was using exclusively holistic treatments. I began lecturing in 1987 and have spoken at veterinary conferences, health food stores, people's homes, churches, veterinary college conferences - anywhere people want to learn more about keeping their animals healthy.

Organizations
Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (I helped found this one) American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association National Center for Homeopathy American Veterinary Medical Association

Publications
I have written in many magazines, journals and newspapers. A few include Bark Magazine; Journal of the AHVMA; Baltimore Dog Magazine; Whole Dog Journal; Tiger Tribe; Wolf Clan. I have also been frequently interviewed on radio and TV. I am Associate Editor for the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal, so often have articles there.

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Certified Veterinary Homeopath (CVH)

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