Saturday, January 14, 2017
Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: High Calcium, GOLPP, Acupuncture for Seizure Disorders
Every time my dogs get blood work done, I like to study it. I like to understand what all the items mean, I keep a spreadsheet with trends for some important values such as those reflecting kidney and liver function. It happened not once that I was told everything looked fine but when I looked at it I had questions. Why is this one elevated? Why is that one below normal? And even though within normal, why does that one keep going up?
It satisfies my analytical mind to see things with my own eyes and to analyze what I'm looking at. There were times when I was told everything looked fine but after my follow-up questions it turned out there were things to investigate. Why not catch things when they are still subtle?
My dogs usually always have calcium levels within norm. When Jasmine's calcium was low, it turned it had nothing to do with calcium itself but with a protein that carries it around in the blood, albumin. It was low; the calcium present corresponded to the albumin levels. The reason albumin was low was because immunoglobulin was high. Those two like to balance each other; if you have too much of one, you have to have less of the other. There is a lot of important information in the blood if one takes the time.
When calcium levels are high, cancer is the primary suspect. Jasmine's blood results showed high calcium once, I was quite concerned. Bottom line, though, high calcium does not always mean cancer.
Ever heard of primary hyperparathyroidism? The parathyroid is a gland, as you might have guessed, controls the calcium levels in the blood. It the control doesn't function properly, it results in high calcium.
Learn more about primary hyperparathyroidism here.
Those who follow my blog know that I am not a big fan of drugs. I use them when I have to but prefer other solutions when possible. The main problem with any drug are the potential side effects. And our dogs had their share with those. It only makes sense that I avoid using drugs everywhere I can.
Can seizures in dogs be controlled without drugs? Perhaps they can. I know a number of people who successfully manage their dogs' seizure disorders with an integrative approach--Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). This can include food therapy, herbal therapy, and acupuncture.
Every dog is different and a treatment plan should be as individual as possible. If my dog did suffer from a seizure disorder, TCVM would be on the top of my list of things to consider.
Would I have a drug on hand just in case? Perhaps. But there seems to be enough anecdotal evidence, clinical evidence and now some studies, showing that an integrative approach can be just as effective and much safer. In Four Paws, Five Directions, Dr. Schwarts says that anything that can be treated with conventional medicine can be treated with TCVM.
Read Dr. Becker's thoughts on
treating canine seizure disorders with acupuncture.
Does your dog suffer from laryngeal paralysis? For a long time, it was believed that it is an isolated disease, affecting the larynx only. But is it?
A friend's dog started having issues and was diagnosed with Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy (GOLPP). GOLPP is a progressive neuromuscular syndrome, that can affect older dogs of some large-breed dogs. Some symptoms can be obvious, such as panting, breathing issues, gagging, hoarse voice ... while others can be easily mistaken for signs of arthritis. Really, folks, not everything that causes weakness, ataxia, lethargy, muscle atrophy is arthritis. Not everything that causes lameness is arthritis. Arthritis is very common but don't be fooled and miss out on important stuff.
To learn more about GOLPP and what can be done about it, read Dr. Zeltzman's article.
You can also learn how physical therapy can help dogs suffering from this condition.
Posted by Jana Rade
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