Last October the night before I was getting ready to take a lovely break in the Highlands of Scotland with dear friends I hadn’t seen for 30 odd years, Obe my now nearly 15 year old German Pointer had a very strange turn in the middle of the night (I was leaving at 6AM to catch a flight) I found blood on my bedding, and he was obviously in pain by his stance, looking very sorry for himself.
I had to make the decision not to go as he was obviously very unwell, I called the vet as soon as they opened and took him in.
My practice was in the midst of being taken over by a veterinary group, and all the vets I knew and trusted had left. We were seen by a vet who having done blood tests and checked Obe over told me he probably had liver and or kidney Cancer, more on this later.
I was devastated (what I’ve learnt in life with people and animals I love even though we may be aware someone is getting on, the shock and pain is always the same).
Obe was nearly 14 at the time, I had zero intention of treating his cancer, for me it was about seeing if we could make him more comfortable, if not, then it was time to say goodbye, I don’t believe in keeping an animal going if they have no quality of life.
So I was prescibed some natural tablets to support his kidney and liver function, and to be honest I don’t want to go into it here , but was left totally in the air after such a diagnosis by that practise, shocking when you’ve told someone their dog is terminally ill, so I started on the tablets.
I went home and started Googling, after a day of it I was totally confused as to what to do with Obe, the one thing that became very clear was CBD oil might help, I looked around and found SIMPLY CBD (www.simply-cbd.co.uk ) online I liked what I read, there were no outrageous claims, and ALL the profits from Simply CBD go towards building a holistic free run dog shelter in Wales. They also have a Facebook support group.
So I posted about my boy , realising I was so confused about what else to give him the last thing I wanted to do was to make him worse by wrong supplements that could make him more ill.
They recommended I see a Holistic vet for best results, and sent me a list.
I picked one, not the closest, but read up on her, and followed my gut.
So on the Tuesday morning I took Obe down to East Sussex he was listless, not eating , not wanting to walk, and intermittently being sick.
Dr Birgit Ahlemeyer (www.birgitholisticvet.co.uk) is my hero, her kindness, and passion for her work are remarkable, she is constantly going on courses and is trained in different fields, as well as being a vet, she is trained in Chinese acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, there are probably more things… but those are the ones I know!
So we arrived, I had no idea what to expect, and I’m sure they must have noticed my tear stained face, as I said before this isn’t about keeping him alive in an unwell state, but getting him to have good quality of life, I felt in my heart we hadn’t reached the end and it was worth a shot.
I was greeted by Birgit and Alex who works with Birgit she is a dog behaviorist and Reiki master and gave Obe Reiki whilst we discussed him, his symptoms etc…
So Obe got Reiki, Chinese acupuncture (he wasn’t too sure about this) and a vitamin shot, and we left with a bunch of remedies for him, and was told no processed dog food at a ALL, raw or home-cooked.
As the consultation came to an end Birgit told me to be careful with him, as he may be full of beans in a few hours and feel so good he might try to leap over something or leap around too much and injure himself ….. I said ‘ok’ totally disbelieving her, as it was a big leap from where he was….
That evening I filmed him to send to the girls at work, and friends who were worried about him, he was full of beans and leaping around and eating with gusto and back to wanting to walk.
This has continued for nearly a year and we see Birgit every 2-3 months we are going again this week for a top up!
This journey then went on to about 4 months later Obe waking up from his sleep with stiffening of one or two legs, and being very upset by it.
I got in touch with Birgit she felt it was something that would probably require help with mobility rather than something she could help with, she the went off and found someone who was a mobile physio/vet, but Dr Marvin Firth ( www.countyequine.co.uk ) had been in touch with me a few years before to promote his Chiropractic practice, so I saw both with Obe, and Marvin was the one I felt could help him best.
Again we found someone with passion and total love for what he does, he gives Obe manipulation, and laser treatment, last time he showed up as Marvin was getting his equipment out on the floor Obe sat next to him with his back to Marvin, obviously fully aware of what Marvin was going to do and giving him his back.
So now the leg stiffening has stopped, initially we saw Marvin 3 times over about 3 months, now its on a need basis.
I have also recommended Marvin to some of our clients who have had amazing results with his treatments.
Due to his liver problem, Obe cannot take painkillers or many pharmaceutical drugs, but interestingly both Birgit and Marvin have told me to state Obe had cancer from the initial blood results was a big stretch.
So….. Obe has been great, we still have been doing 45 minute walks on Wimbledon Common every weekend, I cherish every day we have, sometimes it isn’t easy to not think of the inevitable, but as long as he is happy we will carry on this route.
Boo has also had acupuncture, just for good health maintenance, and I will continue with this for her.
So really the reason I share this is firstly because ive been encouraged to by friends as it might help others, and also to say get a second opinion, follow your gut, don’t just listen to vets blindly, if I had, Obe would have been gone nearly a year now, what blows my mind is how effective the treatments have been, there is no need for a placebo, he has no idea what treatments he has had, he just knows when he feels well, or when he feels ill.
In the past I have done things I now regret without doing enough research myself and blindly trusting a vet, which is really what I want to impart, and this is absolutely not about knocking vets, but about knowing your pet, and whats best.
Sadly now there are very few independent veterinary practices, many are owned by large groups financed by venture capitalists, whose drive is about profits for investors, not best practise for your pet, so be wise.
I would just add, I know different views are held about insurance, but I changed Boo’s to one that covers both complimentary therapies as well as allopathic medicines within the yearly limit, Obe’s one only covers a certain amount a year for complimentary, but so far all covered by his insurance minus a few things.