DEAR DR. FOX: My 14-year-old toy poodle, Charlie, was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and a gallbladder mucocele (cyst).
The doctor prescribed Vetoryl and Denamarin. Within a few months, the poor boy was listless, he resisted holding and petting, and he looked at us with vacant eyes. It was pitiful!
My personal physician suggested treating him with hemp oil for canines. We started him on the recommended dosage, and within a week, he was a changed pup. He began to interact again, enjoy his walks and his eyes were sharp.
He was fine for more than four months, after which his gall bladder gave out. I am by no means suggesting this is a cure, but it certainly did make him more comfortable during those last months. -- P.P., Naples, Florida
DEAR P.P.: More veterinarians are using medicinal components of cannabis/marijuana to help alleviate chronic, painful conditions in companion animals. I am glad that your human doctor urged you to try this on your dog -- not as a cure, but to improve his quality of life.
Another natural herbal product, kratom, is gaining recognition as providing similar benefits for animals, especially those suffering from painful arthritic and spinal conditions, and other debilitating conditions like cancer. I would like to hear from readers who have had personal experience with some of the available strains of this herb, on themselves and on their animals, and especially from veterinarians. Kratom seems to be a safer alternative to conventional analgesics for humans and nonhumans alike. For details, visit speciosa.org and read Paul Kemp’s article, “Kratom Use by Pets: Anecdotal Reports by Pet Lovers.”
Clinical trials by veterinarians and veterinary college hospitals on this particular herb are called for, even though the federal government sought to take it off the market recently -- probably under pressure from the big drug companies now under investigation for flooding the country with highly addictive synthetic opiates.
DEAR DR. FOX: I’m wondering what you would substitute for grains in your home-prepared food, since my dogs are grain-free. -- L.S., Silver Spring, Maryland
DEAR L.S.: A “grain-free” diet is not mandatory for all dogs. Specifically, it is for certain breeds and individual dogs who may get inflammatory and other bowel problems, allergies, pancreatic enzyme deficiency and even epilepsy, and whose maladies improve on grain-free (and GMO-free) diets.
A small amount of grains are good for most dogs, but all things in moderation. It is the excess in cheap dog (and cat) foods that have made many animals ill over the years. The pet food industry, which has always flatly denied any connection with its products and pet illnesses, is now widely touting grain-free dog foods.
Such grains as amaranth, quinoa and chia, ideally organically certified, are good for most dogs, especially those with possible gluten-related digestive and other health problems.
For details, see my book “Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat & Dog Foods” that I co-authored with two other experienced veterinarians.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)