Integrative Treatment of Gastrointestinal Blockage
Margo Roman, DVM
Dogs have a tendency to get into weird foreign objects, which is a problem that can often force their caretakers to go to veterinary emergency clinics. At times, these are serious issues that can be life threatening. Like young children who put everything in their mouths, younger dogs will eat and chew on a lot of things. When items get lodged in the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting will result. Abdominal pain can occur and cause tenderness when touched. With the repeated vomiting, dehydration follows, electrolytes are depleted and the intestines become more tense. The cycle continues as the dog becomes toxic. Surgery is often presented as the option of choice.
But what can one do to stop the vicious emergency cycle that ends up as a $3,000-$10,000 surgical emergency bill. Dogs eat a lot of funky stuff and most of it passes. This first aid I propose in this article, may avoid more serious complications in most circumstances in which surgery would have been the only solution offered; trying this protocol first should be standard procedure to avoid unnecessary expense and unnecessary harm to the patient.
Integrative treatment of Gastrointestinal Blockage:
I want to show you six cases of success using a non-surgical approach to providing a positive affect on the GI tract.
Do not give any drugs to stop the GI tract as we want to work with an “awake gut.”
1) Hydration – With the continuous vomiting, the body is dehydrated. This can be stressful for all the organ systems, so giving intravenous or subcutaneous fluids is needed. I use ozonated saline subcutaneous with Tachyon energy placed outside the glass cylinders, as it hydrates and also delivers O3 which converts to O2. The benefits of the ozone are to bring down inflammation and it acts as an antimicrobial for anaerobic bacteria. The ozone delivers oxygen to the irritated tissue as it displaces CO2. By increasing the O2 it helps the traumatized gut area and gives oxygen to the stable tissue. I also recommend using Vitamin C and B-complex (½ -1 cc of each is suggested) to act as an anti-oxidant, preventing free radical damage from the oxidation
2) Lubrication – The gut becomes dried out and the object lodged in the stomach or gut will stick to the mucosa. I therefore give a bolus of Vaseline petroleum jelly (approx 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs). Give Vaseline at the initial diagnosis and follow up an hour later with a Vaseline and bread sandwich, which acts as a lubricant and a bolus to help push the foreign body toward its exit
3) Homeopathy – Homeopathic remedies allow the body’s vital energy to respond to a particular symptom. Nux Vomica is the remedy for overeating or eating something toxic. I give a 200C Nux Vomica mixed in water placed on the tongue about 15 minutes after the petroleum ingestion. Calendula helps with the intestines to become less inflamed and move more normally.
To give 200C or 30C Calendula after the 1st and 2nd petroleum sandwich at home
To give 200C or 30C Arnica for pain .if needed
4) Acupuncture – Place acupuncture needles in the following points:
ST 36 ST 25 – for GI pain and to increase the normal peristaltic patterns
PC6 – for the nausea
BL 20, 18 – to help the liver and spleen
Bai Hui and GV14 – as a balancing point
CV 1 (just above the anus, turn with stimulation)
LI 4, 11 – to balance the large intestine
BL 60 – for pain
SP 6 – to support the yin organs
GV 22 – to settle the nerves, if the dog is anxious
GB 20 – for stimulating the immune system and helping the gall bladder
Leave the needles in for about 35-45 minutes.
Then send the dog home.
Allowing the dog to be home in its own environment allows the body to relax and the GI tract to initiate a more normal peristaltic movement. Have the owner walk the dog every 15 minutes. They should walk their dog in its common places so the dog will not be stressed with new smells and sights. We want to get the normal parasympathetic digestive actions to resume and the gut to push the foreign body out. Instruct the pet owner to always focus positive thought about seeing the foreign body pass. Always be positive and believe it can pass. Further instruct the owner to repeat with 2 Vaseline sandwiches, to be followed by Nux Vomica and calendula. If the dog continues to vomit as it did prior to initial therapy, you may need to give another dose of fluid therapy. Therefore, send the client home with a 1000c bag of spiked Lactated Ringers with 2cc B complex and 2cc Vitamin C to giving about 50cc/10 lbs.
After 4-5 hours, if you are not seeing a reduction of vomiting and some interest in defecating, a re-evaluation may be needed. Remind your clients to always stay in touch with their veterinarian.
The cases discussed below involving my clients, involved animals who each started with a healthy gut. Many of my clients feed their pets raw food, which establishes and maintains vigor and stamina of healthy flora. We resume the good quality digestive enzymes and probiotics and some herbs to help settle the GI tract. I use Rx Vitamins Nutrigest, as it has quality herbal and nutraceuticals. I also use Animal Apothecary Phytomucil with slippery elm, marshmallow root and plantain.
Case 1: Renny, a Three year old Chihuahua
Presented after 24 hours of vomiting and abdominal distress after eating a popsicle stick. No stools seen in past 12 hours. He was dehydrated and his mucous membranes were congested. His temperature was 101.8. His abdomen was sensitive and a little doughy. All options were discussed, and the integrative approach to the gastrointestinal blockage was started immediately. I gave about 40cc ozonated saline and followed the protocol. He totally relaxed and slept through the acupuncture treatment, which was his first rest in 24 hours. After 4 hours, he seemed more comfortable at home. 2 hours later he went outside and had a bowel movement. The stick passed the next day.
Case 2: Kona, a Chocolate Black Labrador, 11 months old.
Presented after vomiting for 12 hours. In addition, his last stool 12 hours before had fiber and threads in it. No stools in rectum when presented. Kona was mildly dehydrated. His owner was given all options and chose to do the Integrative approach to Gastrointestinal Blockage. We gave 180 cc of ozonated fluids and did all the rest of the protocol. After several hours, he seemed less anxious and passed Vaseline laden feces and then slept. In the morning Kona passed 2 feet of a towel and was fine afterwards.
Case 3: Sampson, German Shepherd, 11 Months old
Presented after 18 hours’ episode of vomiting. Rectal examination showed scanty stools, and the abdomen was tender and doughy. The dog was not dehydrated, but was given 200cc of ozonated saline SQ. The owner was given all options and chose the Integrative Approach to gastrointestinal blockage. Within 3 hours Sampson was so much more relaxed. He also had pain in his rear legs and back, so he got the arnica as well. He started defecating about 6 hours later and started passing the petroleum. His GI tract needed some more stabilization with phytomucil. Samson improved after 48 hours and was normal. We never saw any foreign material pass, but the owner did not see every bowel movement.
Case 4: Neitche, a Doberman, 7 years old
Presented to Tufts Veterinary Emergency after 8 hours of vomiting and appearing as if he were having a torsion. He had been diagnosed at Tufts with Pyloric Obstruction with a recommendation of immediate surgery. He had a Hct of 85 and had been given IV fluids. X-rays were taken which showed granular material obstructing the pyloris. The owner asked for acupuncture, but was told that acupuncture would not do anything for this problem.
Instead of the expensive emergency surgery that was recommended, the owner had Neitche released to come to my practice to get an integrative treatment. He was given 150 cc Ozone and the Integrative Approach to Gastrointestinal Blockage. Within 3 hours, he started passing the Vaseline and feeling more comfortable. Shortly after the Vaseline appeared, granular sand began passing with mucous. (After the fact, we thought that he probably ate salted snow with sand that was plowed off the driveway, and possibly some cat litter.)
Mollie a spayed 6 year old Springer Spaniel
Presented to the clinic two hours after eating a 1X8 foot piece of cotton and a similar size piece of silk. She was not yet in any abdominal discomfort. The owner wanted to try to be proactive and possibly avoid a trip for x-ray and surgery. So the Integrative treatment for gastrointestinal blockage was started. That night she started passing big chunks of fabric lubricated with Vaseline. Some of the fibers actually were partially digested. She was fine that whole day and did not miss a step.
Champagne A 8 year Male Neutered Yellow Lab.
Champagne had been doing great on raw food change. His coat was the best it had ever been. Recently his stool had been soft but his owner gave him a cooked steak bone, not part of a raw meat diet as the cooked bones make pointy shards and can cause intestinal damage. Raw bone would have been fine if it was chewed. Well he chewed parts of it but the final big chunk went down. He had been vomiting since and after a few hours they brought Champ in. The same protocol was done to this dog with abdominal sensitivity. And within 3 hours he was so much better. He had a few Vaseline stools and was able to go on a trip with the family the next day.
Each client came back for another ozone treatment and the dogs all went back to their healthy diets. The owners each saved at least $3,000, and the dogs avoided unnecessary surgical intervention.
By combining alternative modalities, we were able to re-balance the body enough to allow the GI tract to correct itself and resume the flow of waste material. Each component played a part.
The hydration enabled the body to start functioning more normally. The lubrication gave a much needed softening and lubricant to the internal lining of the gut. The homeopathic energetically balanced the vital energy to influence the GI tract as a response to the remedy. The acupuncture moved the stagnant Qi surrounding the gastrointestinal organs. All relieved pain and re-balanced the stomach, liver, small intestines and large intestines. The positive intent and allowing the dog to relax in its own environment allowed the normal parasympathetic digestive process to continue moving the case in a hopeful direction.
To paraphrase a statement from a very different context: “How many anecdotes does it take to make a recommended course of treatment?” Set forth above are four of many anecdotes that should be used to identify a course of treatment that is preferable to unnecessary and potentially harmful surgical intervention. There are times when surgery is necessary – after other (better) treatments are unsuccessful; but not as an only option and an option of first choice.
Some of the owners letters in their own words. Read the rest of this entry »