Ask the Veterinarian/Chronic Ear problems
My female 16 year-old West Highland Terrier has been suffering with ear problems for about 2 and a half years. Initially due to a suspected infection, her ears were packed with BNT which left her deaf. We ended up at a specialist's who washed out some of the ointment. Ultimately her hearing did not fully return. At one point a cytology was done and yeast was the culprit. She has had continued flare ups and has been treated with Easotic, Triotic, Epiotic,and convenia injections. After so many vet visits and with her age, she has become intolerant and bites and struggles at appointments and has to be muzzled. At her last appointment she was so stressed she started bleeding from the nose/mouth. The vet and techs said it was a result of raised blood pressure. I am hesitant to take her to the vet and since all treatments have not resolved her ear issues, I'm searching for something holistic or more natural to help her here at home. I've read about using a 50/50 water and vinegar solution as a wash and another solution, Zymox. Will these or any treatments help? Can you give me any hope for resolving this?
Poor girl. This is why I strongly recommend working from day one with an integrative vet, though we are often challenged to cure these ears, too. If she will let you flush the ear, there are a large number of options with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and Zymox being 2 of them. However, for maximum health at 16 and minimum stress to treat her, I would suggest a few options better that topical treatment.
FIRST I strongly recommend finding an integrative veterinarian with whom to work since you have struggled so long. 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 manyhomeopathic 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:
1. Wide range of treatments: www.AHVMA.org, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association andwww.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; bahvs.com abva.co.uk and if you
3. Chiropractic and Osteopathic - http://equineosteopathy.org/
(they treat dogs, too)
4. TCVM (Acupuncture and Chinese medicine): www.IVAS.org, www.aava.org & www.TCVM.com - abva.co.uk,
5. Herbal - www.VBMA.org; herbalvets.org.uk,
SELECTING AND WORKING WITH AN INTEGRATIVE VETERINARIAN
Just because they say they are holistic, or are listed in one of the above sites, they may be very conventional in their approach. 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.
SECOND, I would learn a number of ways that help heal (along with the holistic vet care) without touching the ears. From books, on-line and in classes you can learn Reiki (which can take the "bad" out of vaccines and any needed drugs, or even make food healthier), massage, HTA, TTouch, acupressure, flower essence therapy, all of which are 100% safe to use for any problems. Classes are found through your health food store, by phone or on-line. As with human health approaches, there are many different opinions, so you need to experiment and see what makes your animals more or less healthy.
THIRD, check out my website www.MyhealthyAnimals.com, to learn more about feeding a fresh food diet, not vaccinating, not using flea and other chemicals - all of which could boost the immune system and soothe the ears.