Make up your mind, woman! First you want us not believe everything we read and now you take a hundred eighty degree turn?
This is not a hundred eighty degree turn though. However contradictory to my earlier article this might sound, it really isn't. There is a lot of information out there, some of it is accurate and some of it is not. Some of it is based on scientific research and some of it may be old wives tales. Some of it conforms to common belief and some of it does not.
I do believe that the best thing you can do for your dog is to start with basic accepted knowledge as your foundation. Turn to reliable sources to learn about your dog's condition and familiarize yourself with the recommended treatments. You cannot make any good decisions without that.
Isn't this enough then? Perhaps...
If a fact is commonly accepted does that make it true? Not that long ago people believed the Earth was flat! If somebody has an opinion contrary to the common belief does that make it wrong? Obviously not!
Some ideas might be too new
When I started looking into stem cell regenerative therapy as a treatment option for Jasmine, there wasn't a whole lot information available. When I brought the idea up to Jasmine's vet at the time he knew nothing about it and dismissed it immediately simply because of that. When I tried to look it up at the VeterinaryPartner.com there was no mention of it at all.
However, after researching the theory it felt right. And it sounded better than an invasive surgery. In spite of the fact that it was not a commonly accepted idea, we decided to see where that road will take us. It is an amazing treatment and we are very happy we didn't dismiss the idea.
That was two years ago, meanwhile this therapy is gaining popularity and it did earn a mention on VeterinaryPartner.com. I do believe that this therapy might be the future of veterinary medicine. And yet it was pretty much a leap of faith back then.
Does common equal best?
Take a look at NSAIDs for example. Commonly used to manage arthritis and often prescribed to manage pain and inflammation after injury or surgery, NSAIDs indeed do bring relief to many dogs. They can however also cause serious side effects and in extreme cases death. Jasmine almost died when we did try putting her on Previcox! In any case, most drugs will put additional strain on your dog's system.
Are drugs the only solution? Quite often they are not. There may be other safer treatments. They might not work the same for every dog but neither do drugs. Will you be presented with these alternatives by your veterinarian? Depends on the veterinarian, but I think the odds of that are quite low.
Science or old wives tales?
I think science is amazing and the discoveries and knowledge it provides are irreplaceable. But does it always offer the best answers?
One problem I see with science is that the conclusions depend on the subjective choice of what is being studied in the first place. The pressure for quick, measurable results has had strong influence on what research is allowed to go on. I believe that this often leads to research that is narrow-focused, short-cut oriented, and results in band-aid type of solutions rather than true cures.
I believe that science often doesn't ask enough questions before coming up with answers. Science itself, after all, is just a tool to finding a solution and not an solution in itself. Any tool is only as good as the one using it.
Today we have quite a good understanding of diseases and conditions. But how many cures do we have, as opposed to managing treatments? And why is it that the more advanced veterinary science gets the more sick our dogs get?
Does the fact that something is not scientifically quantified mean that it won't work? Gravity worked long before it was discovered!
I read about a very interesting treatment (I will get into more detail in a later article) that did not get accepted because the author refused to do double-blind studies. His reason? He believed that his treatment worked and he didn't feel that it was right to condemn one third of his patients (those who would be on placebo) to death just to prove a point.
Unlike modern medicine, holistic approaches seek the root of the problem aiming to cure your dog rather than treating his symptoms. Some of these treatments might work better than others. But they are out there and I do believe they are worth considering.
After a lot of prodding and probing in attempt to find a cause of Jasmine's mysterious symptoms, her commonly accepted options boiled down to either pain killers or steroids. The choice between the two being a coin-toss. When I was searching for other solution I heard about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) for the first time. This type of treatment is very different and could be considered an old-wives-tale-based approach. But while it lacks in scientific evidence, the benefit is evident.
So what is the conclusion?
Keep your eyes peeled! Don't accept or dismiss things easily. Study your options. Follow the odd trails to see where they lead. Choose the best tools regardless who's toolbox they come from. It's your dog's health!