Alternative Medical Treatments for Service Dogs

January 7, 2010 · Posted in Aging Dogs, Doggie Healthcare, Service Dogs 
herbal remedies

As a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, alternative treatments are a common form of health care for a large portion of our population. Santa Fe is known as “the city different” and it is proud of its world renowned schools for massage, acupuncture, and other forms of alternative medical treatments.

These treatments are designed to treat an individual’s mind, body and soul. I myself have benefited from various alternative medical treatments such as massage, oriental medicine, aroma therapy, etc. And, I have been thinking about utilizing these types of treatments for Whistle and Morgan, my service dogs.

As most of you know, Morgan has been retired the last couple of years and has been experiencing some chronic medical issues. Primarily, he developed severe allergies throughout his life that have attacked his immune system and drives him to lick himself until he bleeds. It is so severe that he has to live in an Elizabethan collar. If I take it off for two seconds, he will lick himself until he bleeds. His allergies are so severe that he can no longer produce tears. As a result of that illness, he almost lost his eye sight. It was only through the intervention of Dr. Gavin Kennard at Eye Care Associates in Albuquerque, NM that we were able to save his eyes.

Needless to say, we have tried everything to help Morgan including allergy specialists, allergy shots, special diets, special medications, etc. You name it and we’ve tried it. He has been tested for allergies and the poor guy is literally allergic to everything in his environment, including his food. He can only tolerate a prescribed food of rabbit and potato that we have to special order.

I am at a loss on how to effectively treat Morgan’s symptoms. As a result, I have been exploring alternative methods of treatment. Currently, Morgan is getting massage. At first, he did not like it and did not want the massage therapist to touch him. But now, he seems to enjoy the body work and gladly stretches out for her to massage his entire body. When he’s had enough, he lets her know and she immediately stops touching him.

A friend has a senior dog that is licking uncontrollably also. I don’t think he is as bad as Morgan but it does sound very problematic. This friend has elected to try acupuncture on her dog along with some Chinese herbal supplements. Already, she has witnessed some improvement from the herbal supplements and I am anxious to hear about the results of the acupuncture treatment.

Alternative treatments are not just a luxurious form of treatment that merely caters to celebrities and the rich and famous. Service dogs exert so much energy throughout their lives and they endure more stress than an average family pet. I believe we need a holistic approach to medical care for ourselves and our service dogs. For me, alternative treatments are a good option to maintain the overall health and wellness of my working dogs.

Have you had any positive or negative experiences with alternative medical treatments for your working dog? I would love to hear about it as I continue to strive to maintain the overall health and well-being of Whistle and Morgan.


3 Responses to “Alternative Medical Treatments for Service Dogs”

  1. Tonja on January 10th, 2010 4:18 pm

    My service dog has severe allergies as well. I now make his food. He had no energy on the prescribed food. He does the same thing with chewing on himself. I have found that the change in food has helped tremendously. It is so hard to watch him be so miserable. I am doing everything I can do to help him be comfortable.

    I am interested for sure in what you find that helps. He has allergies to some sort of preservative, fowl, grains, milk. Which is in everything!

    There could be other things I have yet to find, but he is finally starting to do better. We’ve been working hard to make him feel better that is for sure.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Marcie on January 13th, 2010 9:11 am

    Thanks for your comment Tonja. I would love to hear more about the food that you make for your service dog.

    How do you prepare it and what are the ingredients? I tried a raw diet for Morgan but it seemed to make his allergies worse. I would really appreciate hearing more about what has worked for you and your service dog.

  3. Denise on January 20th, 2010 5:55 am

    My service dog also has allergies. He is allergic to eggs,dairy, chicken and now also on grain free diet of venison and sweet potatoe dry dog food . I have done so much research and talked to others who use alternative medicine for their service dogs.
    Raw diets did not work for him or me. I also added omega 3 oils to his food and digestive enzymes, and have added some cooked beef (perservative free), cooked veggies like peas and carrots cut up very small since he could gain alittle more weight.
    He gets no treats. Also changed feeding bowls to glass instead of metal and gets only filtered water. He sees a holistic vet .

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