DEAR DR. FOX: I have been using kratom for pain in my almost 16-year-old shiba inu. Following a bout with vestibular disease, he slipped on a single stair and dislocated his hip. They were unable to put it back into place under light sedation, and an operation was considered very risky in a dog of his age. He was sent home with tramadol and Metacam to keep him comfortable. He was a cranky zombie dog, uninterested in his usual activities, and had liquid stools constantly.
I tried kratom; within hours of the first dose, he seemed a lot happier. I have been using 1/4 teaspoon of red strains of kratom twice a day for about eight months now. He is old and likes his sleep, but with the kratom, he is more like his old self: interested in dog things and engaging with his people, a great appetite and firm, regular stools. I know he is feeling a lot better, and he has nearly all of his mobility back (except stairs).
Also: When he was about 13, he started having seizures at the rate of one or two a month. I tried cannabidiol hemp oil (known as CBD oil) and since starting that, the dog has not had one single seizure. -- D.N., Londonderry, New Hampshire
DEAR D.N.: First, I must stress that a recently published clinical evaluation of the widely prescribed tramadol showed virtually no pain relief for dogs with osteoarthritis, while carprofen was of benefit. I hope that many veterinarians will read your confirmation of the benefits of kratom, as well as CBD from hemp, that you found so effective for your dog’s pain and discomfort. They seem to have significantly improved the quality of his life in old age.
There is increasing interest, also, in extract of dandelion root and thunder god root for a variety of conditions, including some forms of cancer, the latter holding particular promise for inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases.
Readers and veterinarians with experience with these and other potentially beneficial plant-based treatments, from aloe vera to thyme, are welcome to share their findings in my Animal Doctor column.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am wondering if you can help us with our rescue dog, Maggie. She gets all excited when she knows that she is going for a ride -- jumping around and running to the door. The problem starts when we actually get in the car. She gets extremely nervous, panting and whining. What can we do to help her get over this? It’s just so confusing because she really acts like she wants to go! -- Lisa H, Marionville, Missouri
DEAR L.H.: Good for you for adopting a rescue dog. She may have anxiety over confinement in the car and the motion and noise of the vehicle. The first step is to desensitize and habituate her.
Sit in the car with her for 10-15 minutes and give her treats. Put some calming music on the radio, then get out and take her for a walk. Repeat this until she is calmer in the car, then switch on the engine in your driveway and simply sit with the music on, giving her occasional treats, then take a short walk. Do this for another few days. Repeat this same ritual, but drive around a block or two, then come home and sit quietly in the car (with music and treats).
By this time, she should be more accepting of being in the vehicle. You may also improve the situation with a few spritzes of water containing essential oil of lavender, or a with few drops of the concentrate on a cloth in the car and on a bandanna around your dog’s neck.
DOG POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED MEDAL FOR BRAVERY DURING WWII
The U.K. posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal to a German shepherd-husky mix named Chips, who ran into a machine-gun nest, grabbed an Axis soldier by his neck and pulled a weapon from its mount in World War II. Chips also served as a sentry at the Casablanca Conference in 1943, where he met Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Despite suffering scalp wounds and powder burns in battle, he eventually returned home to the Pleasantville, New York, family that donated his services to the U.S. Army. -- Boston Herald/Associated Press, Jan. 15
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