If you do a search in your town you will probably find a couple holistic veteranarians, or traditional vet clinics that also offer holistic care. Holistic vets are typically more expensive, but that's because they have a very hands-on approach to their healing methods. As an example many holistic vets will spend upwards of 2 hours on the initial visit with your pet. The environment is also typically much more relaxed than a traditional vet clinic.
Every holistic vet will have a different way of treating Cushings disease so it makes it hard to compare them. The most important thing is that they have experience and success in treating Cushings so make sure to first ask them about their professional experience with the disease.
Something very important to keep in mind is that natural treatment (in any scenario) takes longer to see results compared to pharmaceutical drugs. However in the long term it's seen as a better option because you aren't polluting your body and won't have all the nasty side effects. In the case of Cushings disease natural treatment can take upwards of 6 months to start seeing results, whereas pharmaceutcal drugs results can be seen in 1 month. Point being, if you caught the Cushings symptoms early natural treatment would probably be a great option. However if your pet is already far along down the Cushings road suffering with muscle loss and uncontrollable bladder issues you should probably first consider getting things under control more quickly with a traditional drug option and once things are under control then see a holistic vet to switch to natural treatment.
TREATMENT OPTIONS MAY INCLUDE:
Consult your holistic vet before starting any treatment, every dog has different needs and responds differently. Some pets have atypical cushings which would be treated slightly differently since that implies that there is a steroid sex hormone that is elevated, and some pets actually have both regular Cushings (elevated cortisol) and atypical Cushings.
* Cushex Drops by Native Remedies - this is a special herbal liquid formula that includes ingredients such as dandelion, burdock, astragalus, arsenicum, hepar sulph, and sulphur. This product has a mixed success rate, it really depends on the individual dog and how they respond to this particular blend. It will either work wonders, or not at all. It's only about $35 a bottle (nativeremedies.com) and they offer a money back guarantee so it's definitely an option to consider.
* Sanicle and Tart Cherry Extract by Pure Herbs Ltd. (tumor bulldozer)
* Thyrophin, Pituitrophin, and Canine Immune System Support by Standard Process (throid and pituitary support)
* Bio-Adreno by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals (an adrenal glandular with New Zealand freeze-dried bovine)
* Supgraglan by NHV - a liquid herbal mixture that claims to combat Cushings disease. This $45 product has very mixed opinions. On their website (petwellbeing.com) they have all sorts of positive testimonials, but if you look elsewhere you'll find opposite opinions of the product. We actually used this product in recent months. Our opinion is that since it has natural ingredients it will of course have some positive effect, usually seen in making the skin/furt appear nicer and probably does boost the immune system a bit. However many products can make that same claim, so we don't feel they should be promoting as some sort of treatment for Cushings giving people false hope. If you use this product we recommend to not rely solely on this product for Cushings treatment, rather treat it as you would a vitamin supplement.
* Phosphatidylserine - improves mood and lessens the release of cortisol in response to stress
* Flax seed hulls (lignans) - not only is this natural source great for breast and prostate cancer treatment it's also good for Cushings treatment. It's important that you seek out the hulls (can buy it in bulk whole, ground, or in capsule form), otherwise you'd end up eating a couple cups of regular flax seed just to get the nutritional value contained in the hulls. What you see on a normal grocery store shelf is typically just the typical cheap flax seed, read the ingredients on the back. What you are looking for is a line that mentions how much SDG (Secoisolariciresinal Diglucoside) is contained within (SDG is the main lignan found in flaxseed hulls), ideally it will list somewhere around 30mg per tablespoon or per capsule. Be wary of bottles of flax oil as it does not naturally contain any lignans and will not give the same benefit. Lignans have been used in conjuction with Melatonin as a natural treatment program for Cushings with success.
* Melatonin - a lot of humans use this to help them gently fall asleep at night. It's usually given in conjuction with flax seed lignans with great results for Cushings treatment. Tests show that Melatonin inhibits both of the enzymes 21-hydroxylase (to lowers cortisol) and aromatase (to lower estrodial levels). This has the added benefit of calming your dog and usually makes them go to bed for the night. Do not buy the "fast acting" or "rapid release" Melatonin, just get the regular kind.
* DHEA - this is thought to protect against the overproduction of cortisol and also boost the immune system.
For horses with Cushings chaste berry powder and flax seed hulls have shown to have a positive impact, though just like any other natural remedy it will be a few months before results are seen and you have to be consistent about giving it. You can buy it in bulk on ebay and other sites.
* Accupuncture to restore healthy adrenal levels
USING TRADITIONAL AND NATURAL MEDICINE TOGETHER:
If you prefer to use a traditional vet and give a pharmaceutical drug, you can still give your dog natural supplements to help relive the stress on your pets body and boost their immune system. You can inquire about these with your holistic vet or herbal remedy specialist, but make sure to also let them know what medications your pet is on.
SUPPLMENTS TO CONSIDER: (you can buy most of these at your local health food store)
Vitamin C - has been shown to reduce the elevation of cortisol and can boost the immune system
Cholodin - cholodin tablets can be given to help with the pets coat, inappropriate urination, lethargy, and poor mental acuity. It contains ingredients such as phosphatidylcholine, zinc, viatmin E, thiamine, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.
Flax seed hulls (lignans) can also be used as a supplement to pets being given traditional Cushings drugs
Joint maintenance formulas -- there's several products available that include glucosamine that will help your pets sore joints feel better.
Vibactra - if your dog or horses condition is moderate to severe you are probably seeing fur falling out and bacterial skin conditions that may include crusting and slight bleeding. Vibactra is an herbal antibiotic that helps animals fight viral, bacterial and fungal infections without all the risks of traditional antibiotics. You can buy this at Amazon.com and other online sources.
Coconut oil (virgin) - yes, the same jar of white stuff that people cook with for healthier eating. Most dogs love to eat it (approx 1 teaspoon per 20lbs). It can improve their skin (with the added benefit of shiny fur) and help balance the thyroid among other great benefits. Can also be used to soothe dry/cracked paws in the winter. Good for people and pets!
Omega 3, 6 and 9 - enhance joint mobility as well as improve the skin/coat, with the added benefit of having anti-inflammatory nutrients
Kidney support supplement - our favorite brand is Renal Essentials. Your pets kidneys are working overtime during this stressful time and this will help maintain kidney function, blanace urine PH and minerals, and stregthen the immune response in the urinary tract and kidneys.
Shampoos - if your pet is itchy with crusty flaking skin they will thank you for giving them a treatment bath. Some people have found success using natural oatmeal shampoos (make sure it contains vitamin E), neem oil mixes, and other natural antifungal and antimicrobial shampoos. Most vet offices will sell some flavor of a shampoo that contains cholorohexadine to help the skin fight off bacterial infections. You can buy the same things online for half the price.
Skin salves - You may also want to keep on hand 100% aloe vera gel or juice to dab on any skin hot spots, or vitamin E oil to help soften the crusty areas. Virgin coconut oil works great on skin too though most dogs will try to lick it off since it tastes good. If your dog is constantly trying to lick his back you can either try a neck cone (we prefer the soft ones over the hard plastic) or buying lightweight dog clothing (velcro recommended for easy on/off).
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