Yesterday I made the case — or posed the possibility of a case — for natural remedies for pet health problems. Today I’d like to discuss my personal experience with their dark side.
Ok, so it’s not really dark, just funny peculiar.
Denial is a river in Tucson, too
When Frankie was first diagnosed with diabetes, it took quite a long time to get his blood sugar regulated. I was at my wit’s end and, at the same time as I was adjusting doses of insulin and paying for glucose curves at my traditional veterinarian, I decided to consult a holistic vet. The practice had been highly recommended by a friend who swore — and still does — by the acupuncture treatments her dog received there to relieve hip pain.
My experience was somewhat different than my friend’s.
A multi-pronged approach
I went to see Dr. B, who had a variety of holistic tricks in her bag. Let me make myself clear: She never, ever suggested I should get Frankie off insulin. We were working on supporting his treatment through diet and other approaches that might help his poor sick pancreas.
And she was very nice and very good with Frankie.
First, there was the dietary approach, based on a discipline called applied kinesiology — not to be confused with regular kinesiology, the study of movement. Here is how Wikipedia describes the nutrient testing technique, used to examine the response of a patient’s muscles to assorted chemicals:
Gustatory and olfactory stimulation are said to alter the outcome of a manual muscle test, with previously weak muscles being strengthened by application of the correct nutritional supplement, and previously strong muscles being weakened by exposure to harmful or imbalancing substances or allergens…Stimulation to test muscle response to a certain chemical is also done by contact or proximity (for instance, testing while the patient holds a bottle of pills).
The veterinary version is a bit complicated because animal patients aren’t all that cooperative. So I had to stand in as Frankie’s proxy.
Here’s how it worked. With one hand, I would hold something that Frankie was eating or a supplement I was giving him near his face. I held the other arm out straight and Dr. B would apply pressure to it and tell me to resist. If my resistance was deemed weak, the nutrient was deemed inappropriate for Frankie; if it was considered strong, the item got the green light.
I’m not going to say I was convinced — and neither is the medical establishment; here’s the rest of the Wikipedia article. But at that point I was willing to try anything.
Oh, the shame
But that wasn’t the part of the diagnosis/treatment that bothered me. Dr. B also determined that Frankie’s neutering scar was blocking the blood flow to his pancreas.
The first thing she did was apply a cold laser — described as a high-tech alternative to acupuncture or therapy — to the scar. No problem. He didn’t notice a thing.
It was my homework that proved problematic: I was told I needed to rub flaxseed oil into the area twice a day for a week.
I don’t think anyone needs an anatomy lesson to figure out where a neutering scar is.
At first Frankie seemed blissed out by these ministrations; his testicles might be MIA but his penis hasn’t left the neighborhood. By the second day, however, he began to squirm away in what I can only describe as shame. I called Dr. B and explained the problem. She told me it was important for me to continue treatment.
I couldn’t bring myself to go there again.
Nevertheless, on our next visit Dr. B judged the blockage cleared and praised my persistence.
I went back to my traditional vet and Frankie and I resumed our previous, more decorous relationship.