Dear Dr. Forsythe: Lately I have been a little concerned about my seven-year-old Labrador, Maya. She has really slowed down and really seems weaker in the rear legs. Last year I got her a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and it seemed to perk her up a bit, but the vet said that it was starting to bother her liver, so we had to stop it. I’m interested in knowing about any alternatives that could help Maya. She is sharp as a tack and a wonderful pet, it seems such a shame to see her back end giving out on her already.
Dear Maya’s Buddy: You may want to give some thought to trying some complimentary medicine for Buddy. Clearly when a seven-year-old Lab slows down and shows signs of tenderness or weakness in the hind area, that is abnormal. Typically, dogs of that breed and age are able to run and jump and retrieve ducks during a hunting trip.
I would suggest Tui-na, also known as “with hands” or manual therapy for starters. This is a manual therapy used in Chinese medicine based on the principles of yin-yang, the five elements, and a meridian view of the body. The goal is to encourage free flow of qi by manipulating the joints, viscera, and soft tissue. I have watched my associate, Dr. Crocker, work on several dogs and cats, and almost immediately, they begin to release tension and become more balanced and comfortable. It is remarkable to see the pets respond to the manual pushing, rolling, kneading, rubbing, and grasping of areas of the body, often followed up with use of acupuncture and cold laser.
Just a few short years ago, I was a skeptic of these practices in small animal medicine, preferring to script out synthetic pharmaceuticals right and left in order to prevent whatever ailment a pet presented with. But over the last few years, as I’ve learned more and opened up my heart and mind to complimentary medicine, i.e the use of integrating both Western and Eastern practices in my hospital, I have been astounded at the incredible response by virtually all the pets when they are given this approach. I hope you will consider having Buddy assessed for this type of therapy. You have nothing to lose, and Buddy will probably feel much better and be much healthier and happier!