Holistic House Calls Provide Pets with Comfort and Options
The house call started long before I ever met Maggie. (“I” am Doc Truli, ivy-league-trained licensed holistic veterinarian practicing in the United States.)
“I read your website and you just seem like the right vet for me and Maggie,” said Connie on the phone on a rainy Tuesday morning. “Maggie cannot take the stress of a car ride and she hasn’t been to vet in about 10 years. I know I should have called sooner, but the last vet we saw made me feel guilty and belittled my point of view.
“There’s been this lump growing on her belly for about a year and now it is bleeding and it smells bad,” said Connie. “But she eats well and wags her tail and sunbathes and seems happy.”
First, I asked basic vet questions that any veterinarian would ask:
How old is Maggie? 14
What kind of dog is she? Yellow lab
Is she spayed? No
Okay, right here, many veterinarians would judge any client that has not spayed or neutered a pet dog or cat. You might get shorter questions and answers from these vets or maybe even a dismissal.
I knew lecturing about spaying a 14-year-old ill dog is stupid and hurtful to her family, who are actually reaching out for help for the first time in many years.
“Okay, I have a house call appointment available on Saturday afternoon, how would that be?.”
“That would be wonderful,” said Connie. “I have to warn you, I cook all of Maggie’s food for her, I do not believe in pharmaceutical medications and I do not believe in euthanasia. Is that going to be a problem?”
“Not at all. I am your advisor; the path you choose is yours and Maggie’s.”
A bony, skinny yellow lab greeted me at the clear glass side door with a big smile and a wagging butt. A pint-size muscular uppy-tailed laughing jack russell mix buzzed around Maggie’s legs and nosed his way into my palm, knocking my digital thermometer onto the linoleum floor. He picked it up and ran off with it to the living room. I was okay with that. I carry extras.
“Don’t mind Lincoln, he goes everywhere with Maggie,” said Sasha, Connie’s tall willowy teenage daughter, as she pulled him back from the open doorway. “He’s actually my dog, but he thinks he belongs to Maggie.”
I entered Maggie’s world. She slept next to the kitchen island on a space-foam therapeutic dog bed layered in 4 blankets that Connie washed daily. Lincoln nestled in next to her and licked her red raw belly tumor. Maggie lifted her leg a little to let Lincoln have a better angle on his cleaning project.
“Does he ever get sick from licking her so much?” I asked.
“Nope. Doesn’t seem to.”
Maggie ate home-cooked organic food 6 times a day. She accomplished a rolling, rocking walk style to the door to the garden and walked about 3 dog-lengths into the yard to lay in the sunshine every 1-2 hours throughout the daylight hours.
After the history-taking and the physical examination, Connie talked over her shoulder as she spun the lazy susan in the corner cabinet above the counter by the stove. “How about turmeric? What do you think of this brand of fish oil? Menuca honey, it’s the best! I have some spirulina up here, do you think it’ll help her?”
We discussed human family members who experienced cancer and refused patented medicine. We discussed end-of-life and quality of life. We discussed Maggie’s 105F (40.5C) fever. We discussed whether Lincoln might get sick from licking Maggie’s infection. We made a diagnostic and treatment plan that included any and all diagnostics modern medicine could bring into the home: blood tests, urine tests, fecal analysis. Treatment included any options that did not involve pills or needles,according to Maggie’s family’s wishes. Even probiotics in a capsule looked too “medical” for Connie. So we found some goat milk kefir for probiotics instead.
“There are many paths to healing and caring for our pets, holistic house calls offer me a chance to see a pet’s whole lifestyle, environment, friends, daily patterns, and herbal and food pharmacy in the home garden or kitchen. I can solve many problems for my clients once I see the whole picture,” says Doc Truli.
Briefly put, the house call was a challenging, exhilarating meeting. Maggie and Lincoln were delightful. I visited a few more times for house calls and Maggie lived well for another 6 months. Her tumor grew, it shrunk, she got skinnier and weaker. One day her hind legs were suddenly paralyzed. We found a Bach Flower Remedy that shortened the loss of limb function to one day instead of two weeks (like the last time it had happened and she healed on her own.) Some weeks she smelled awful and for about a month, the tumor looked almost healed.
Maggie did not look like she suffered. She ate well and participated in family life and patiently accepted baths and bandages and treatments. Just not pharmaceutical treatments or injections. No car rides, no hospital smells, no fluorescent lighting, no strangers. Maggie’s holistic house call was at the extreme end of the spectrum of holistic medicine where her family declined integrative medicine and chose food as medicine, herbal medicine, cold laser therapy, acupressure, massage and trigger point therapy. They 100% rejected any pills, injections, and pharmaceuticals in any form. Even acupuncture was deemed too artificial or invasive because of the needles puncturing the skin!
“Treating the whole pet, in their home environment, is a valid alternative to aggressive surgery for cancer treatment in many cases,” says Doc Truli.