Yesterday Callie went for her first visit to our new holistic vet at Chelsea Animal Hospital. We aren’t going to change our regular vet as we love them but, as I wrote last week in Callie’s Gastro Issues and Acupuncture?, I am trying to eliminate possible causes of her bouts of gastroenteritis and was concerned about her having a high level of stress.
Before I delve into Callie’s appointment, I’ll give you my quick background experience with Eastern medicine. I have rather severe fibromyalgia which causes me a lot of pain. I also used to have an issue where I would get REALLY hot immediately and start pouring sweat. I saw an acupuncturist on and off for a while. Acupuncture cured the heat problem, which hasn’t come back in three years, and it always helps with my pain and anxiety. So, for me, it was not an unusual direction in which to go.
Back to Callie. Since her last bout, she’s been off and on. Some days she seems like her (newer) old self, wrestling with Charlie, asking for attention, exploring the backyard or enjoying walks. Other days, not so much. She’s never off food, but she is a Cavalier after all. We have continued with the boiled beef/pumpkin diet which seems to be producing decent poops (yay!) although I have added treats back in, freeze-dried beef liver and Zukes Wild Rabbit training treats. Those don’t seem to have messed with her system.
The vets at Chelsea Animal Hospital want to spend a long time with you, especially if it is a holistic medicine and/or acupuncture intake, so we were scheduled for a 90-minute appointment.
Everyone there was friendly with Callie but not effusive like at our vets. The particular vet she saw prefers to ignore the dog in the beginning, talking with the owner about the dog, health issues, diet, changes in lifestyle, etc., so the dog has a chance to get used to her. Callie wasn’t so amused about being ignored.
We talked extensively about her poop. Texture, color, regularity, how often it was soft, all sorts of details. That’s ok though. I have a child; if you don’t yet, you will learn that throughout, and beyond, toddlerhood you will be discussing poop a lot. Callie’s stool had never been regular, at least not in my memory. When she was strictly on a kibble diet, on kibble mixed with raw, on raw – the only time recently I have seen what I would call an excellent poop was the other day, and she has been on the boiled beef and pumpkin for a while, so something is working there.
After approximately 50 minutes we moved into her physical exam of Callie and then acupuncture. We spoke about the possibility of doing Western diagnostics first, which would be very expensive, or try this method first and immediately move to Western diagnostics if a medical issue crops up.
For those of you who don’t know, in Eastern medicine, diagnosis usually involves things like listening to the heart and lungs, feeling the pulse for specific features, and looking at your tongue. Here’s a good quick explanation of acupuncture and dogs.
After examining her, the vet began the acupuncture. In both videos, you can hear her talking about different aspects of Eastern medical philosophy. Callie is still getting needles put in her so you can see the momentary look of surprise on her face as the vet hit tender places linked to her stomach and her spleen. You can also see the vet feeling for and locating the correct spots on her body for the needles. She tried to go for a kidney spot but it was too tender, and she had to pull it out. Instead, she did some acupressure on that point. Callie ended up with a total of 6 needles.
Callie remained a little nervous for a few more minutes as, if you have experienced it, there’s a weird feeling of energy/electricity bouncing around at first. But she calmed down relatively quickly.
The vet left us for about 20 minutes so that Callie could relax with the needles in, a standard procedure in acupuncture. This was the period of time that felt SO LONG. I wish they were able to provide human & dog acupuncture at the same time. My body absolutely needs it! Callie did well for about 15 minutes or so, going so far as to fall asleep for a bit, but then she began to get fidgety, we were both relieved to see the vet again.
Callie did seem to respond well to the first treatment, acting more relaxed and less sore and itchy.
The vet and I also spoke about changes to her diet. Chelsea Animal Hospital as a whole, as well as our particular vet, are big proponents of raw food if possible. I mentioned wanting to get Callie off the boiled beef/pumpkin and back on a Primal Raw, and she had some great thoughts. Basically, in Eastern medicine, Callie seems like she has a damp heat condition and, while you wouldn’t want to put what is considered “warming” foods in her, uncooked foods require her body to use double the heat/energy to consume, and right now that isn’t working for her. Instead, we are going to either lightly steam or bake the raw nuggets and add those to her current food, aiming for a 50/50 blend.
Callie will also start taking some supplements including a digestive enzyme/probiotic, a small amount of bentonite clay, and an herbal mixture intended to help balance her body’s needs. Overall, I think Callie was ok with the visit so we will continue for now.
She did get minorly carsick yesterday, strange for her, but I think it might be a placebo effect of too many vet rides recently and not enough trips to the pet store for treats!
I should hear more from the vet today explaining the herbal mixture that is on its way here (had to be shipped), and I am looking forward to that, but not as much as I am looking forward to seeing a change in Callie. I have hope. And a whole lotta love. First update will be in 2 weeks!
Plus, rumor has it, Gibby misses his girlfriend 😊