I Get a Leg Injury, My Dog Gets One in Sympathy?
I recently sustained a mysterious injury to my left leg that had me hobbling and limping in exruciating pain. Each dog walk was sheer agony; my foot was so swollen I couldn't tie my shoe. It got so badI almosthanded over my leashes toa professional dog-walker.
Happily, I was saved bytwo alternative therapies: The homeopathic remedy Arnica Montana and the essential oil blend Panaway (read more aboutthem here). Both are available without a prescription.
What really fixed me up, however, was a visit to my beloved chiropractor. Her expert adjustment got me walking again. She also sent me home with ahealing cream called Topricin. Plus, she prescribed a dietary supplement called Inflammatone, which contains a proprietary blend of enzymes plus Turmeric, Boswellia, and several other ingredients.
Both Turmeric and Boswellia are anti-inflammatory. In addition to taking Boswellia andCurcumin, which is concentrated Turmeric in capsule form, I've also beengiving both to my beloved Sheba, to help ease her arthritis. But Inflammatone - which my chiro instructed me to take on an empty stomach, for maximum absorption - gave me theextra boost I needed to conquer my leg pain.
I was excited to start warming up forregular runswith my dog Magnus. After a long, coldwinter, we both need the exercise! I had my most two important pieces of equipment: Snazzy, feather-lightNewton running shoes andthe iron resolve to get back in shape. And in Magnus, I had a tireless running partner who was more than eager to stay the course with me. I was psyched!
Then, wouldn't you know,we hit a roadblock.
No sooner did my leg improve than I noticed Magnus walking with a limp. This was Wednesday morning. The strange thing was, the injured limb was also his left foreleg - talk about an odd coincidence.Had he developed a left-leg injury in sympathy? I hoped it might clear up on its own.
No such luck:Magnus's limp got worse. Much worse. It was so bad that, on our next outing, passersby on the street informed me my dog was limping. By that evening, I noticed that Magnus's entire spine was misaligned from compensating for that compromised paw. He was whining in pain. It was time to consultour veterinary chiropractor, Dr. Jill Elliot,pronto.
But first, with Dr. Elliot's permission,I gaveMagnus Arnica 200 by Boiron several timesthat day. I did this by tucking three of thelittle white pellets into the pocket at the side of his lower lip, then holding his mouth closed (and kissing his nose). Dr. Elliottold me that as long as the pellets make contact withthe inside of the mouth, it doesn't matter if he spits them out - they'll still be effective.(Still, I was glad that he didn't spit them out.)
Inspired by my own success with Inflammatone, Ialsoadded two of that supplement's active ingredients to Magnus's meals: Curcumin and Boswellia. To make sure my dosage was correct, I used the Ayush brand Ayurvedic preparationsCurcumin for Petsand Boswelya for Pets (it'sspelled differently, but it's the same Boswellia I take).
We managed to score an appointment with Dr. Elliot Friday morning. By the time she saw Magnus, he was already walking more like his normal self. AllMagnus needed was what my chiropractor had given me: Ahealing adjustment to strengthen his leg. Only Dr. Elliot couldgive him that.
I've told you about Magnus before, but what I may not have mentioned is that he's a ratherhighly-strung dog. He was very clearly abused by someone in his previous owner's circle, but he's slowly learning to trust people again. Still, he's fearful of most men and wary ofstrangers, regardless of gender. Sudden, loud noises makepoor Magnuswild-eyed with terror.
Performing chiropractic on this dog was going to be a challenge.
So Dr. Elliot wisely chose not to use chiropractic on Magnus, because 1) This was her first time meeting him and 2) The "activator" used for chiropractic adjustments makes loud, poppingnoises. She didn't want to stress himout.So the good Doc deployed her cold laser instead.
This extraordinary contraption emits strong, silent red beams that dramatically reduce inflammation - and the doctor nevereven has to touchher patient! Dr. Elliot gained Magnus's trust by standing at a respectful distance and aiming the laser at his afflicted leg and all across his spine, taking care not to look directly in his eyes or flash the laserat them.
This wasn't easy, becauseMagnus was so fascinated bythe black box inthe vet'shand that he cocked his head to one side, staring at it intently. Then he barked, ominously and with greatsuspicion. But as soon as those red laser beams started hitting him, he calmed right down. I've never seen anything like it: He became so relaxed that he actually sat down - and stayed!
To understand why this was a milestone, it helps to know that I spent weeks teachingMagnus to sit,butwe couldn't manage to achieve a sit-stay. However, withDr. Elliot'shealingcold laser pulsing across his body from several feet away,Magnus performeda picture-perfect sit-stay - the photo above is proof.
After that, he became so relaxed that he did a picture-perfect down-stay. He capped off his brilliantperformance by resting his weary head on onepaw! Then, he stretched out his sore left leg, reaching it in the direction of the laser. "When I work with horses, even skittish ones, they do that too - they'll kicka leg out toget closer to the laser," Dr. Elliot explained. Her patients instinctively know this red light has a powerful healing effect,so they want to help her help them. Amazing cooperation!
After this eye-opening cold-laser session, I continued givingmy dogArnica - and by the next morning,his limp was all but gone. It looks like we'll be going running sooner rather than later, and I definitely planto seek out cold laser therapy for myself next.
Have you had a surprising experience with an alternative therapy? Please share yourimpressions in the comments!