Ask the Veterinarian/My 14 year old cat's weight-loss
Hello. I have a 14 year old male cat who has had significant weight loss over several months. He's gone from 14lbs down to 8.8lbs. He's been to our veterinarian many times. The vet said he's in kidney failure and is dying. He's performed lots of blood work. Currently my cat is on a supplement called Epakitin and is on K/D dry and wet food, but he's not a fan of it at all. He prefers his usual dry and wet food. He's not gaining any weight at all. He has a very good appetite and even still plays. I'm at a loss as to what I should do. Please, any help or advice would be so appreciated. Thank you.
I am so sorry you have been stuck with merely the conventional approaches to renal failure. There is so much more you can do for your cat. When I only had my conventional veterinary training, I would often be very frustrated by problems I considered untreatable, but only manageable. and cats do get stuck on their foods. The holistic philosophy has taught me that there is an underlying vibrational imbalance that causes most problems and the healing goal is to resolve that imbalance with treatments selected for that individual animal. Also, we have discovered that if cats will eat a fresh food diet (raw or lightly cooked meat, fish, eggs, dairy) we do not need to worry about the protein level and actually they improve significantly even with the higher proteins. To better understand this perspective, read the first few chapters of Don Hamilton's Homeopathic Care of Cats and Dogs, the few pages in my book, the Healthy Animal's Journal or Wendy Jensen’s Practical Handbook of Veterinary Homeopathy: Healing Our Companion Animals from the Inside Out,(kindle is inexpensive). Now that the multitude of holistic modalities is available, I can tell you to never give up. Try one after the other, and record the changes with each. Contact me again if you need more support in building up health for your companion.
Please go to my web site and sign up for the RSS feed and newsletter - www.ChristinaChambreau.com. You will get a FREE REPORT on how to prevent fleas and ticks, naturally.
You have 3 major approaches:
1. Treat conventionally - not much to offer and your cat is not happy with their suggestions which is sad for an older cat - we want them to be happy.
2. Try some self healing treatments for sure (a few listed below and at #6 in keys to health below.
3. Begin now to work with an integrative veterinarian for the very best chance of health and long life - I have seen cats in kidney failure live another 2-10 years after holistic treatments were started. (See FIND AN INTEGRATIVE VETERINARIAN, below)
If you were trained in different healing modalities (see below - YOU BE THE HEALER - #6) you could help (along with integrative vet care) by using Reiki, T-Touch, HTA, flower essences, acupressure, herbs, essential oils, supplements, homeopathy and more. I am giving multiple suggestions because only some may be available in your area, and each animal is unique, so what works with one does not work with all. This is the joy of holistic approaches - we have dozens of things to try, while conventional has merely a few.
1. Even before you are trained in Reiki, you can ask for this energy healing that cannot hurt and may help (See REIKI, below, for web sites to request healing). Once you are attuned, offer it daily to the whole house.
2. Flower essences are totally safe, so select one or more to try. These flower essence companies have combinations for animals : SpiritEssences.com, Anaflora.com; GreenHopeEssences.com; petessence.com Many other companies like Bach with single remedies can help you select essences. At your local pharmacy (maybe) or health food store (for sure) you can buy rescue remedy. This combination of Bach flowers can help with physical and emotional issues. Put 4 drops in one ounce of water and use it: in the mouth, rubbed on more hairless areas of the skin, on the paws, in a bowl of water in a room not near the drinking water. It can be given topically or orally as often as it seems to help.
3. Most importantly, go back to the canned food your cat does like (even if you need to powder a bit of dry food to use as a "salt", then begin to change to a raw (or lightly cooked) meaty bone diet. Start by offering, in addition to the canned food - any foods at all that your cat likes - real foods, not processed.
FIND AN INTEGRATIVE VETERINARIAN
I 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 many more happy years. 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: (NY is a big state, so not sure where you live. If you have a Pet Health Coaching appointment with me I will match you up with the perfect one, and it may need to be a phone consulting homeopathic vet).
1. Wide range of 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. Chiropractic and Osteopathic - www.animalchiropractic.org; http://equineosteopathy.org/
(they treat dogs, too)
4. TCVM (Acupuncture and Chinese medicine): www.IVAS.org, www.aava.org & www.TCVM.com
5. Herbal - www.VBMA.org
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.
these can certainly help.
7 KEYS TO HEALTHY ANIMALS
1. Know the current level of health. Most health problems are the result of an underlying energy imbalance. As we cure animals of "disease", we find that other things we thought were normal go away, so we can use these clues to know that animals are not healthy yet. Your goal is for your animal to have great energy, no doggy odor, no hairball vomiting, little shedding, a glowing coat and many more. Below is a complete list of these signs (Early Warning Signs of Illness). In young animals, these apparently "normal" problems may be the only indications to start exploring new options for lifestyle or treatment. Buy the Healthy Animal's Journal (www.HealthyAnimalsJournal.com) so you can see how these early warning symptoms and obvious ill symptoms change over time.
2. Feed the best. What are the best diets for people or animals -- the most processed or the freshest, most organic? The best ingredients should be the most consciously raised - local, organic vegetables, free ranging protein sources. Dogs and cats have ripping and tearing teeth, bone crunching teeth, no digestive juices in the mouth, jaws that do not chew, a stomach full of acid where the food sits for 4-12 hours and a very short transit time in the intestines. Dogs and cats do not pull out a knife to de-bone their prey and do not pull out matches to light a fire to cook their meat and vegetables. Therefore the best diet for dogs and cats is raw meat including raw bones, pureed raw and cooked vegetables and a few supplements (Calcium if no bones are eaten is critical). Grains are not good for most animals, but if there are none of the early warning signs (see below) and no illnesses, you can feed some grains, preferably the higher protein ones. Start as young kittens and puppies or at whatever age you read this (Brighthaven.org, a cat sanctuary switches 16 years old and older cats to raw meat diet and some have lived to 27 and 30, and now one to 35). Second best is same quality, but cooked. Even grocery store quality meat and vegetables are much better than most processed foods. Processed foods are an effort for the food industry to use up its waste products except for a few companies with great motives (and even they sometimes get bad or inferior ingredients). Processed foods are also a problem for the environment - they are not sustainable. Many dogs and cats need probiotics, especially if fed processed, dead foods. My current favorite is Mitomax. I have had many animals' minor health problems clear up while using this. Unlike other probiotics, it is very stable and is ok at the low stomach pH. Every animal needs and wants a different combination of foods and supplements at different times in their lives depending on different stressors and health challenges, just as we do. With any food, observe each of your animals for the effect that food has on them and change if decreased energy or poor coat or other Early Warning Signs. NEVER feed DRY food to cats - even as treats. It causes most cats to drink more water resulting in stress to the kidneys and also can trigger bladder problems in cats. You can now buy many commercial raw meat diets. You must research them as well. Ask where the ingredients are raised? Are chemicals used? Are the chickens, beef, pork, etc raised in humane ways, out in the sun to get the Vitamin D in the meat, etc? My favorite newest books to guide you are: Steve Brown’s Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet; Hofve and Yarnall’s the Paleodog; Becker and Taylor’s Dr. Becker’s real food for healthy dogs and cats; Taylor and Brown’s See spot Live Longer; and Basko’s Fresh food and Ancient Wisdom.
3. Vaccinate the least. No more, at all, for your cat. In my opinion, vaccines have caused more harm to animals than anything else we have done. Do you get measles and mumps vaccines every year of your life? Researchers in conventional veterinary medicine agree that we vaccinate too often, in too many combinations, and that this level of vaccination, while preventing epidemics, is harmful to the health of susceptible animals. On-going studies show that antibodies are high 10 and 16 years later for dog and cat distemper and dog Parvo so I recommend just a few baby shots and NO more. While Rabies is also a viral disease, you must follow the law, which is every 3 years in the US or work with an integrative vet to have an exemption letter.
To help prevent damage from the Rabies vaccine, or any others that are accidentally given, do the following. First, learn Reiki (see below) and hold the vaccine syringe in your hand until the "draw" is gone, then Reiki the injection site once you are in the car, then Reiki the whole animal daily until they do not "draw". If you have not yet learned Reiki, use the contacts below to have it done for your animal after the vaccine. For two weeks before and two weeks after, give the totally safe Vaccine Detox, a flower essence from www.SpiritEssences.com. Give triple the dose of calcium (or add some calcium) for 3 days before and 5 days after the vaccines. Dr. Peck is finding a drop in calcium at vaccination time. Then use the Early Warning signs, below, to see if further holistic treatment is needed if any of them appear or worsen. A wonderful list serve on vaccines, their harm and alternatives is at yahoo groups. To register, go to email@example.com A great web site ishttp://vaccines.dogsadversereactions.com/
4. Use the fewest chemicals, remembering that there are chemicals in vaccines. VEry important for kidney failure cats. Each animal is an individual and will respond differently to heartworm, flea and tick preventatives. My kindle book, FLEAS BE GONE: a holistic veterinarian's guide to natural flea control will help you avoid these. Some are very sensitive to chemicals used in the yard or the house and in vaccines - they will become profoundly ill. Others will be triggered by these chemicals to just not have full health. Chemicals in foods can cause allergic type reactions, so again feeding a fresh diet from local ingredients will be best. Healthy yards have lots of weeds. House cleaners can be made from foods and microfibril cloths clean like a charm. Healthy animals never get fleas and ticks
5. Understand how animals become ill and how they heal. First there is an energetic imbalance (they are just not right), then functional (the dog is itchy), then inflamed (skin is red, infected, swollen and hot) and finally tissue changes (thick, black skin). Results of any treatment can be no change, amelioration (current symptoms disappear with no other improvements, then return), suppression (current symptoms disappear and they become more ill) or a cure (everything about the animal to begins to improve, especially the overall energy level.)
Wendy Jensen's new book, Practical Handbook of Veterinary Homeopathy is full of cases examples showing how animals become ill and how they respond to treatments - curatively, palliatively, or worse yet - suppressively. Don Hamilton's Homeopathic care for cats and dogs has 2 great chapters on how animals become ill and how they deeply heal. My journal has 2 pages on this.
Keeping a journal is critical to determine what treatments are helping problems to become less frequent and less severe. You can stand firm with what you feel is working even if your professional disagrees and change approaches when needed. You can create your own using a three ring binder, a notebook, a calendar. Be sure to have a master symptom list, pages where you list treatments you have started or been given, and pages where you make daily or frequent entries about every symptom on the master symptom list, especially including the overall energy level, emotional state and new changes. Some people have found my book makes it easier.
is a great one to use in print or e-version is available.
6. YOU BE THE HEALER. I strongly recommend getting some training in understanding the wide range of approaches to health so you can be in charge of what you choose for treatments for your animals. There are so many different ways to stimulate healing that you never need to give up trying. 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. There are many more approaches you can do to help heal your animals with some training since they need to be used more carefully - homeopathy, herbal medicine, Chinese herbs, aromatherapy. In addition to classes there are many very good list serves filled with people experienced with not vaccinating and feeding raw meat diets. 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.
7. Select the best healers for each animal's health team. Most people want a veterinarian (preferably integrative) and an energy healer. You decide what needs to be tried next for your animal. When you realize the animal is not improving – seek different care. Use conventional veterinarians for diagnosis and emergency treatment, or if other methods are not working. Again, integrative veterinarians (see above) will be able to do both, and have the philosophical understanding of the vibrational causes of illness.
Learn more and more
Books – I have books with comments listed - (www.MyHealthyAnimal.com)
Classes – I teach many different classes. The best way to find them is to subscribe to My RSS feed on my site (click on RSS on any page) and the newsletter.
Email me if you wish to host a class in your town or on the internet. HealthyAnimals@aol.com
Magazines - Animal Wellness Magazine – use ccdvm code when you subscribe (and Feline and Equine Wellness, too).
Whole Dog Journal and Dogs Naturally Magazine (they have webinars on raw feeding that are excellent), too.
Internet – over 50 shows archived–
Search online for the many other classes and lectures available for the
Most skills in classes about health approaches for people can be extrapolated to animals. The acupressure points are the same, remedies are used the same way, Reiki is good for everything, etc.
I also do Pet Health Coaching to help you learn about the current health issues, what you can do at home to build health and save money, and I match you up with the veterinarian we think would be best.
Good Health for your cat, Dr. Chambreau
Personally, I think every person who lives with or works with animals must know at least Level I Reiki. The practitioner offers this energy and the animal comes over to get it (or places her hands upon the animal), or it can be done from a distance, even around the world with the intent for healing to occur. The energy flows through the healer into the animal. This is based on directly applying Chi (energy) to rebalance the energy field so it no longer needs to produce the physical symptoms. It is a very good adjunct to any healing modality, especially to relieve pain and inflammation. I have seen cats who began to eat again when their food was treated with Reiki. It also "takes the bad out of" things. By doing Reiki on smelly water in restaurants I have been able to drink sweet tasting and smelling water. Use Reiki anytime that you must give injections, vaccines, drugs, flea or heartworm drugs, or other substances with potential toxicity. Reiki is great to calm animals, relieve discomfort, and can deeply heal some problems in some animals.
1. Great information on Reiki - http://www.reikicourse.org
2. Kathleen Prasad is a wonderful teacher and works with my favorite sanctuary and holistic education center, BrightHaven www.brighthaven.org. Kathleen leads a free monthly telechat for anyone trained in Reiki and using it with animals.http://www.animalreikisource.com/
3. If you cannot find a Reiki Class near you (same class for people and animals as it connects you through an "attunement" to the healing energy of the universe, making you a channel of healing), the following groups offer long distance, free, attunements.
c. Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.awakeningrainbows.com. To receive free distance Reiki send her your first name only, city and state, and whether or not you have had any Reiki training. She invites you to include your pets as well. She uses a teddy bear and does a full body Reiki distance treatment for one hour each Sunday evening from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m. EST.
d. And a team of over 100 healers will send free healing energy until you say not to. Email Barbara at email@example.com with your healing request, name of animal, species, color & age. In the subject say request through Dr. Chambreau
4. for a fee:
Excellent recommendation in 2015 - http://reikishamanic.com/
www.ReikiBlessings.com offers many types of energy healing classes- search a bit to find the reiki ones or email them. Long distance healing and training is at www.animalhealers.homestead.com.
5. Get a free treatment for yourself at www.interdimensionalhealing.com.
Another wonderful healer, Deena Spears works long distance with Sound Tuning. www.Singingwoods.com. I have seen many animals and the people in a home be healed by her work.
LISTS SERVES TO HELP YOU LEARN TO FEED THE BEST -
From the folks that brought us Jstsayno2vaccs is a new site for raw feeding - excellent -http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/rawk9s/
Here is what they say, “Lastly, we saw a need for a beginner's raw feeding group. Many of the raw feeding groups have grown very large and often new people are lost in the shuffle. In addition, some raw feeding groups are specialized to one type of feeding only. We believe that feeding raw is the first step in whole health and have tried to create an environment of learning and support where there are no dumb questions and everyone gets individual attention. With that in mind Kathleen recently instituted a mentoring program where mentor's sign up to help individuals, and new folks can opt into the program and receive private help in their journey. It has been a huge success.
- the above groups breeding web site. Excellent.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF ILLNESS FOR DOGS AND CATS
1. Is your companion really healthy?
2. Can you tell if the treatment you selected is deeply curing?
3. Can your companion be healthier than you realize?
YES - read on and evaluate your animal for true health.
Most health problems are the result of an underlying energy imbalance, made worse from poor diet and vaccination. They are rarely acute diseases (except injuries). Therefore, you may find that the problem does not clear up as you expect or it recurs. If so, you are dealing with an underlying predisposition to illness, and these clues to underlying ill health will help you select a remedy and monitor the results. As we cure animals of "disease", we find that certain other "NORMAL" things go away, too. Do not be satisfied until most of the following symptoms are gone. In young, apparently healthy animals, these apparently "normal" problems may be the only indications to start treatment. This is only the beginning of a list - as more animals are cured we will find new levels of health. Tracking these is easy when you use the Healthy Animal's Journal by Dr. Christina Chambreau (www.HealthyAnimalsJournal.com)
SKIN: doggy smell; attracts fleas a lot; dry, oily, lack-luster coat;
excessive shedding; not grooming, ear problems - waxy, oily, itchy, recurrent mites; eye discharge, tearing, or matter in corner of eyes; raised third eyelid; spots appearing on iris; "freckles" appearing on face; whiskers falling out; fragile, thickened, distorted claws that are painful or sensitive to trim.
BEHAVIOR: Fears(of loud noises, thunder, wind, people, animals, life); too timid; too rough or aggressive (even at play); too hard to train; barks too much and too long; suspicious nature; biting when petted too long; hysteria when restrained; clumsy; indolent; licking or sucking things or people too much; not using litter box or not covering stool.
DIGESTIVE: Bad breath; tarter accumulation; loss of teeth; poor appetite; craving weird things(rubber bands, plastic, dirt, cat litter, paper, dogs eating dog or cat stools, rocks, sticks...); sensitivity to milk; thirst - a super healthy cat on non dry food will drink at most once a week; red gum line; vomiting often, even hairballs more than a few times a year; mucous on stools; tendency to diarrhea with least change of diet; obesity; anal gland problems; recurrent parasites.
STIFFNESS when getting up, early hip dysplasia; tires easily in hot or cold weather; can no longer jump up on counters, or go up or down steps.
TEMPERATURE: Low grade fevers - Normal for healthy cats and dogs is
AGE & REPRODUCTION: Should live a long life (Shepards 17 years, Danes 12, cats 24). should be able conceive easily, deliver normally, and not pass on "genetic breed" problems.