Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

What’s New at MASH!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Dear MASH Family,


IMG_3879Dr. Margo Roman is Back
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Margo Roman has resumed practicing on a limited part time basis.

As you may know, she suffered an injury last fall and has had a long and slow recovery process. While she has not recovered enough to resume her workload of last year, we are excited to welcome her back, and she looks forward to seeing you and your pet(s) soon!





Welcome Dr. Washington, our New Rockstar VeterinarianAyse

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Ayse Washington has joined the MASH practice full time. Throughout her 17 year career, Dr. Washington has held positions in general practice, emergency medicine, critical care, and rehabilitation. Dr. Washington studied veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University and received her DVM degree in 1999. Dr. Washington has completed coursework in acupuncture at the Chi Institute for Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and is also a canine rehabilitation practitioner, obtaining her rehabilitation certification from the University of Tennessee’s Canine Rehabilitation Program. Dr. Washington has developed an interest and passion in treating animals who are struggling with chronic illnesses, debilitating diseases, and end of life issues. She seeks to offer alternative options to treat her patients, such as utilizing acupuncture and nutritional supplements; we know you will love the care that your pet receives!


Heartworm Season
Also, friendly reminder: heartworm, flea, and tick season will soon be upon us. Now is the time to schedule annual wellness exams and start your pets on heartworm prevention medication. We offer a variety of natural flea and tick prevention products that are safe for both you and your pets, so please contact us to try one of our chemical-free options!
Please call us at (508) 435-4077 to schedule an appointment soon.

Plant Pure Nation

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
Dr. Colin Campbell

Dr. Colin Campbell

Plant Pure NationAt Dana-Farber Jimmy Fund Aud on Sept 21, 2015 there was a fabulous presentation on Plant Pure Nation. This documentary done by Dr. Colin Campbell and his son showed how we need to change food to correct medical health issues. By turning to a plant-based organic diet, several studies were done to show how a population could reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. It also showed how difficult it was to try to influence state legislators to embrace the opportunity to make their constituents healthier. With the influence of the meat and dairy industry these legislators showed the allegiance to their meat and dairy donors. The opportunity to meet Dr. Colin Campbell at this meeting and to reconnect with Dr. Kathryn Hayward were wonderful. The need to integrate functional nutrition and healthy eating affects all animals and humans. Bringing a plant-based diet to dogs is a project that is being worked on by a group of veterinarians. So check out and



MASHVet is on YouTube!

Monday, February 10th, 2014

20120821-085445.jpgDr. Roman has decided to make a YouTube page dedicated to educating our clients on the different therapies we offer. She would like you to be prepared and informed about the new and old holistic treatments she provides at her clinic.

She talks about Nutrition, Vaccines and Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer, as well as Ozone Therapy, MBRT Therapy and UVBI Therapy.

Check them out and stay tuned for more videos.

Speaking at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital

Friday, September 6th, 2013
Margo Roman Lecturing at Angell Memorial Animal Care Center In Boston Aug 23, 2013

Margo Roman Lecturing at Angell Memorial Animal Care Center In Boston Aug 23,2013

It was such a wonderful opportunity to speak at Angell, my alumni of 1978. On August 23, 2013 I spoke on Micro Biome Restorative Therapy (MBRT). The idea is that 85 percent of our immune system comes from our gut really makes this topic so important. As caretakers of animals and our human family members we need to nurture the gastrointestinal tract. The are over 100 trillion microbes in a normal human body. We have more microbes than actual cells in our body. There are over 500 species from our mouth to our anus and we have no idea how many subspecies. Each species may play an important part in how our body creates neurotransmitters, enzymes, cellular precursors and other parts that a body needs to function with health.
The audience seemed to understand that with overuse of antibiotics, drugs, pesticides and chemicals our pets micro biome can get permanently damaged. Replacing it needs more than just giving it a fecal transplant. Following up with that we need to restore and replenish the gut scaffolding with digestive enzymes, green tripe, with raw glandulars, fatty acids, herbs and a clean raw diet to replicate the the natural body. Biofilm is an abnormal overgrowth of bacteria or other organisms that prevent symbiosis in the gut. There can be a lingering biofilm of abnormal micro bacteria that stops the new flora from developing. That biofilm can be reduced with ozone therapy (O3). O3 therapy facilitates higher amount of O2 and O3 that can be given rectally, subcutaneously and other ways to increase mitochondria function. It seems like a gross procedure, but as we know, dogs will eat POOP all the time. We try to prevent this disgusting behavior. In the wild, when a carnivore like a wolf kills a deer it first tears open the abdomen and eats all the intestines with the feces and liver and other internal organs. They innately know they need all the pre and probiotics and digested plant material to make their own gut flourish.
I mentioned the need to find suitable donors is very important. This involves finding healthy dogs with flora that comes from raw fed dogs with little and preferably no antibiotic treatments. Ideally these donors should be minimally vaccinated, not on pesticides, chlorine or have fluoride in their water. Additionally, the feces should be given as fresh as possible. To return health to our patient that we care for is our goal. Thinking outside the box, when it works, should be the new standard of care.

Lets think about a broader application of this MBRT. Letting the immune system restart… Perhaps get the brain to receive all the neurotransmitters for treatment/prevention of autism and PTST.

Integrative Treatment of Gastrointestinal Blockage

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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. (more…)

Micro-Biome Restoration Therapy

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Micro-Biome Restoration Therapy (“MBRT”) or Fecal Transplantation (FT) will soon become common protocol in the re-establishment of the GI tract microbiome in dogs and cats. A single human has over 100  trillion microbes throughout their body, equivalent to two-to-five pounds of varied microscopic life. Quantitatively, we are more microbes than “human” as prokaryotes are so much smaller and less complex than human cells. image

When we use probiotics to support gut health we are using 1-20 species of microorganisms.  According to Dr. Alexander Khorut, M.D., a gastroenterologist at University of Minnesota, he has said that we have from 300-500 species from the mouth to the anus, not including various sub-species. When significant gastrointestinal  problems occur, the microorganisms need to be replaced. A technique which has the hundreds of species available at once is called MBRT. Micro-Biome Restoration Therapy may be the most efficient way to accomplish that goal. If 85 percent of our immune system comes from our gut, then a lack of these normal symbiotic microbes could be the reason for failure of the immune system resulting in disease, cancer and autoimmune issues.

In dogs, eating of feces or copraphagia is a normal behavior of dogs that is frowned about by pet owners. But it is normal. In the wild after a canine or feline kills its prey the first part of the eating starts in the abdomen where intestines and visceral organs are injested. The animal receives all this pre and probiotics with the digestion of the digested plant material that give them fiber and microbes. Is there an innate need for animals to seek out stool because they are looking to support their gut health? image

There are multiple peer reviewed articles that have showed that both oral and rectal infusion of fecal material in humans has been able to reintroduce a balanced GI tract and stop a clostridium difficile overgrowth. There are so many more beneficial microbes that have yet to be discovered and appreciated.

Most recently was an article in the New York Times  When Pills Fail This Option Provides a Cure. The article talks about the fecal transplant in New England Journal of Medicine Article January 16, 2013.

Here at MASH – Main Street Animal Services of Hopkinton, we have done over 30 MBRT’s/ fecal transplants on dogs and cats. The results are so positive that we want to share these cases and encourage other veterinarians about how this is such a positive option. We have also done supportive nutrition and have included ozone therapy to increase the O2 in the body and allow more positive O2 utilization.

We always introduce the MBRT to animals that have had priming of the gut flora with digestive enzymes, probiotics, additional whole food glandulars and raw meat diets. Giving all the benefits of bringing the new microbiomes into a new home which has some of the comforts of the original host may allow the balance to survive. Some of our cases have had such a huge positive difference with one dosage, that once was all they needed.

Some have had a two week improvement and then seem to be better but not as good as the initial implant. We are thinking that like probiotic therapy it is done after two weeks and we are seeing the need to repeat the implant. Therefore, caretakers will take home the MRBT material and keep it frozen, removing pieces to be given 1-2 times a week. We are still trying to figure out how long and how much is needed to get a gut back in balance.

We give glandulars to animals to support the glands that are in need. We give prebiotics and probiotics to support the gut’s flora. But if we could give possibly the normal flora and the pre and probiotic in a form that would be consistent, that would naturally be the best method. We might simply use a healthy donor to replenish another individual’s micro ecology.


Important Video About Feeding Your Pets

Monday, July 30th, 2012

This is a wonderful video that really explains the pet food industry and will help us all realized that making our own diets will be the best way to know what is in your animals foods. As MASH clients we need to reach out to other pet caretakers to realize the need for quality wholesome fresh organic foods. 20120730-112339.jpgThe AVMA American Veterinary Medical Association is looking to stop the raw food industry because of bacteria concerns. This is an area that we are concerned with but using wholesome fresh foods will have less chance of being tainted then commercial foods that start with inferior products. Watch this video and contact the AVMA to voice your concern

The New England district representative to the AVMA email addresses are

Biomes and Body Ecology

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

All of us and our animals are living organisms that contain a world of other living organisms living in harmony within us. Here is some information about Biomes and links to audio from WNPR radio.
There has been much talk about Biomes and the Ecology of the body and how we have over 3 trillion microbes that can live in harmony in our bodies. It has been stated that a normal human has from 2-5 pounds of these organisms in his or her bodies. Each area of our body – especially the gut, has billions of colonies of organisms that have been working together in human and animal bodies for thousands of years. As we all are aware, between 70-80 percent of our immune system comes from our gut, and therefore success is its ability to utilize the ingested materials, by-products and relations of the microbes in the GI tract.  Without balanced intestines, we have weakness of immune globulins and reduce the absorption of the needed fuels for the body to repair and mend tissue. Each antibiotic, toxic chemical, drug, pesticide and other insults can knock out that balance and be the beginning of an acute medical issue or the weakening of the body with a chronic degenerating disease.
Please listen to this fascinating radio broadcasts and hear from the scientists.
It is a wonder how many good microbes are able to survive when they are hit by multiple antibiotics over and over again. Extinction of the good microbes hurts the body.
Here at MASH we have honored the bodies gut-health and are always trying to increase its diversity and readiness for change by having lots of probiotic, prebiotics, live food, raw foods, digestive enzymes and herbs that help broaden the fiber and flora of the gut.
It is the key to success in getting an animal into balance as we ask the body to work with each animal and allow more good nutrients to be absorbed to help the body heal and reclaim its strength. We want the animal’s immune system to be on our team to help get over the health challenges at hand. If there are ways to increase the body’s own immune supporting microbes, more power to that innate ability we seem to overlook. Are there animals that have their “Shit Together” in such a way that they are protected from the onslaught of bacteria and diseases that seem to challenge and kill some animals and humans? Why do some animals get bitten by ticks get lyme positive responses on a test but never exhibit the disease? Why do some dogs that drink water from a pond pick up Leptospirosis and others never have even a challenge? Some think it is the vaccines that can only protect. What happens to these unvaccinated dogs that do not get these diseases with the same exposure? Why do vaccinated dogs still get the diseases? There is a lot to look at.

What if some of the normal flora in the body is able to protect the body from some of these microbial insults?  Finding individual dogs and cats and even humans that have this wealth of balanced normal thriving microbes may be the answer to many problems and issues in health. More information and research needs to be done but to think that we have many healthy individuals who have lived with their Lyme, thrived and survived for years with their cancer, have never had allergies and asthma or any other chronic issues as they age, may be the resource to take a culture from their healthy gut.
Here at MASH we have even done fecal transplants by taking a fresh stool sample from a really healthy animal of the same species and given it orally to begin the re-culture of these healthy microbes. Like a starter for cheese, yogurt, or Kefir we are introducing a source of flora that we hope will re-boot the gut like rebooting your computer with the correct information.  As a donor we want animals that have had minimal vaccinations, raw diets and no/minimal antibiotic and no/minimal pesticide exposure. These individuals are hard to find but many of our clients are striving to have their pets be chosen to help and be the donors.
Sharing the basic core of the immune system is so simple?
As one who does Oxygen therapy/ Ozone therapy/O3 therapy and Hyperbaric oxygen this whole Biome theory is “right on.”  With an overgrowth of yeast (Candida and other organisms due to overuse of antibiotics) and consumption of sugars we have CO2 forming. At a party this weekend, one of my husband’s friends explained how he makes beer at home. It is so basic. He buys a mixture of hops and other ingredients and adds water and yeast and the fermentations process starts. The yeast utilizes the sugars in the brew and makes alcohol and CO2… If he needs more CO2 for his bottling he adds more artificially. So yeast plus sugar makes CO2. So we see that with abundance of yeast and sugar in the body we have production of CO2 in the gut and in the body.  Carbon Dioxide in the tissue can cause inflammation, pain, swelling and encourages cancer cell growth. With oxygen therapy we increase the O2 in the body. If given as O3/O2 rectal insufflations, we increase it even more in the gut. This allows the O2 dependent microbes a head start to regain their momentum. By giving a fecal transplant and having the recipients gut ready with quality enzymes, pre and probiotic and supply evolutionary correct foods to that animal we can have a medium that when given the new microbes from the donor there is a healthy surface and culture medium to grow, thrive and restore the gut to a more healthy and normal state.
We can take this in a crude way with statements like “Eat My Shit”  Get your Shit Together”  “My shit is better that Yours”  but however you want to say it, it basically is down to “You are what you eat ….You are what you excrete… and all the crap you have may be what is needed to help your  body survive. We need  the Oxygen for the cells with their mitochondria and all the interactions of microbes, tissues and organs to create health and survival.

Lina’s Tale

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Reprinted with permission from a client…

From the Blog: Times I Remembered to Write. Last night I was looking at random videos on my computer, most of them shared a common subject- Lina, our extra-special basenji. I found a very personal one I’d taken with my old phone where I could be heard talking behind the camera filming Lina on the sofa. It was January 2009, a time when we were dealing with sadness and navigating options a few weeks after her cancer diagnosis. I’m telling Lina not to worry, that we are going to have a great year and that I would just follow her lead. She is seen confirming with her eyes and nodding in agreement. Lina nods and blinks and wrinkles her forehead in the most understanding ways when she is listening. I tell her I think she is very wise, and in watching her response, there is little room for doubt. All we really had to do was follow her lead.

Lina has impressed everyone with her continuing good health. She’s been a living miracle for years now. Generally, vets and professionals say they’ve never seen a dog do this well with her type of cancer. Dr. Margo Roman, Lina’s holistic vet told me she believes Lina’s story should be shared- people should know about this and benefit from it. She asked me to write, and I recognized that I had been waiting for her to ask.
I want to share something amazing here, the thing is, every time I start to write about Lina, I’m reminded that I thought she was amazing long before she became a medical miracle. It’s so easy to blurt out her status, she remains strong and happy and healthy, even though over 3 years ago, several vets and Tufts Veterinary Hospital gave her 3 months to live after they did a biopsy on her nasty cancer- TCC. We figured we’d do our best to beat it and figured out how to beat canine cancer by being so smart, etc., blah blah blah. It’s harder to actually know that what we’ve done is so right. Besides I only take credit for being the one to give Lina all the credit. Through the seeking of professional help and finding ourselves offered terrible options, I was empowered to find something else to do. By following my instincts and taking the lead in Lina’s care, I thought, well at least I would be trying something. I wanted our efforts to be a success, but I’ll get to that later. The thing is, the story I really want to tell about Lina is the love story. 

Two times in my life, I hugged someone when we first met and recognized a feeling of destiny. I will always remember that night Lina gave me a hug, back before she was even our dog. The only other “first hug” I hold a memory of was when I met Chris, my husband, Lina’s other daddy back in 1995. By the night we met Lina in 2003, Chris and I had just bought a house so we could get a dog. Our first project after moving in was fencing in the backyard so we’d be ready when the right one came along. We scanned the listings on a basenji rescue website. One contact led us to Lina. She was four years old. I saw her and I knew, but Lina wasn’t even the dog that her owner, Angel Smith wanted to give up for adoption that night. She had two female basenjis and had to let one go. They were feuding such that there would be physical violence if one or the other dog wasn’t crated. The dog up for adoption was the black and white basenji -another female… We’d already heard their story on the phone. On sight, I knew the red and white one with the sensitive expression- Lina, was our dog.

Angel said that someone would have to offer a really perfect home for her to give Lina up again. You see, Angel had already given her up a few months earlier to a woman who changed her mind after keeping her a month and didn’t like Lina and returned her (which I will never understand, but am forever grateful.) Lina had been given back. I told Angel with no hesitation that we could offer Lina the perfect home, I agreed to every stipulation, including keeping ours a one-dog house.

We were granted the privilege of taking Lina out for our first date that night. As we drove away from Angel’s house for our ice cream date, Lina wrapped her head and arm around my shoulder and sighed the sweetest sigh in my ear. I will never forget that hug. It was a rare moment of expression. We went on with the evening and afterward we all agreed on our return at the end of the week to bring her home with us for a trial weekend.

Over the next few days I thought how funny that Chris and I had been having an ongoing discussion of dog names all summer and one of our female name favorites was “Angelina”- I was having thoughts of destiny…

Lina came for the weekend, it went well and I called Angel that Sunday and told her I really didn’t see the point in returning Lina only to begin the transition later. We were ready to offer Lina a “forever home”. Instead of returning her, we agreed that Angel would visit our house the following week and we could work out all the details for Lina. That’s how she became our girl.

Since then, Lina is central to our family, including our holidays- especially Christmas, vacations- especially going to Provincetown. She is comically well behaved dining out at patio restaurants. She loves the sun and sand on the beach. She relishes the change of pace and togetherness of vacationing together- truly a shining example of openness to the blessings of a good vacation. We’ve already booked our rental for June 2012. We always enjoy sharing the anticipation of holidays with her. Lina knows that we are grateful to have her, thankful for presence, and appreciate her specialness. There are many details to share about our life together and the role she fills in our lives, but I want to be clear about Lina’s confidence and sense of importance in our family. She is loved and appreciated and she knows it. January 2009, the shattering news came from the Oncologist at Tufts Veterinary Hospital confirming Lina’s diagnosis of TCC- transitional cell carcinoma. The biopsy results left no question about it she had inoperable cancer in the bladder and it was likely to spread. They gave her 3 to 5 months to live- without chemotherapy, or with chemotherapy- best case scenario, 5 to 7 months. Possible treatment options were unpromising and risky with inevitable side-effects.

The vets at Tufts left little room for hope. It was going to be terrible. I told them I just couldn’t believe it. She was so healthy- the only indication was a slight change in pattern when she urinates. She didn’t seem sick in any way. She was 9 years old at the time and energetic and had never been sick a day in her life. The vet said, “I know it’s hard to believe, she does seem strong and healthy, we’ve seen this many times. She’ll live for as long as she can pee- for as long as she can get her urine out. Then, at some point the tumors will grow too large, block the flow and she won’t be able to pee. Then she dies in 3 days. As cancer’s go, this is a really terrible one.”

What could I say but no? No all around- no to everything they offered, no to 3 months, and no to this being everything we could do. I accepted a prescription for meloxicam, an anti-inflamatory medication. After adjusting the dosage down, it didn’t seem to hurt anything. Chris and I went over and over all their treatment options for months, sometimes agreeing about what to do, sometimes not. We considered everything that Western Veterinary medicine had to offer and nothing ever sounded right to me for Lina? How could I opt to make a choice like chemotherapy or radiation or inserting a urethra tube that would have risks and side-effects and immediately weaken her when she was strong and healthy and seemed fine? I just wanted to keep her that way. No matter what I did, it sounded like it was to be the end of a lot of things for us (-but it wasn’t.) How could it be that we weren’t going to have a great summer together? (-but we did.) Chris and I were stunned and hurt by the news. We left in tears. The vets at Tufts were very convincing. Do I wish I’d covered my ears? -Maybe it was the harshness of the news that sprung us into action to find a better way to give Lina every advantage. Could we have done as well without fear?

I was going to ensure her the perfect diet and exercise- walks 2x a day. One thing was clear. Lina hated going to the vet, she was going to tremble and show her misery every time we took her to an appointment. All along I was gaining a wealth of information and advice online. Different things had worked for different dogs. It was clear that Lina would benefit from a mostly grain-free diet. Beyond that, I wanted to follow my instincts but I didn’t know where to start. I scheduled a consult at MASH with a holistic/homeopathic veterinarian to point us in the right direction. I was hoping Lina would show her wisdom and appear more relaxed through the appointment, but no such luck. She shook and trembled in horror as we entered the door.

However, we left with renewed confidence along with Lina’s first bottles of natural supplements and began adding them to her every meal. We also learned about some alternative optional therapies for Lina. I knew that I needed to do something. Doing nothing would have felt terribly wrong to me.

I don’t know why I asked Dr. Kabler at that visit about the little figure on the wall shelf marked with acupuncture points. It was for tong ren she told me- “really out there”- an energetic form of acupuncture. It sounded very strange to me, but in the coming days I found that I kept thinking about it. I was glad that I had grabbed a business card for it on the way out. I was intrigued at the possibility of tong ren as part of the spiritual piece of helping Lina face cancer. Not only did it fit the criteria of treating Lina at home, but I read some remarkable testimonials about successful results in treatment. So we contacted the name on the card- Marcia Zais. I could tell Lina responded to tong ren from the very first treatment. We started with one or two times a week. About a year later the tools for tong ren fell into my hands and I learned enough to participate in the practice. It’s so normal for us now that I tend to forget that it’s “really out there”. We have a relaxing routine doing her therapy while listening to animal healing music.

So, over three years of all of this now, it’s hard to call to mind all aspects of the journey. I’ve learned invaluable lessons about fear and dealing with fear and working through fear. Lina’s symptoms have varied from little or nothing and to very concerning at times. For much of the second year she appeared to drip blood in her urine, but she never acted sick or uncomfortable or weak. I often say that we are doing what we can but when it comes right down to it, Lina gets the credit. Whatever it is she has to deal with, she is dealing with it.

Then one day last fall, Lina was sick. She appeared swollen and weak after we’d left her home with a babysitter for a two-night getaway. I could see that she wasn’t doing so well on our return and she worsened through a sleepless night. Chris wanted to take her to Tufts in the middle of the night, which I just couldn’t see as productive or helpful for her. I wanted to hold her through the night and call Marcia Zais (animal communicator) in the morning. My plan worked out well for Lina, Marcia identified Lina’s discomfort as not being the cancer, but an infection. We got her in to see Dr. Roman (holistic vet) later that morning and it took little convincing to start her on antibiotics. Lina responded almost immediately and hasn’t been sick since.

As for the specifics with changing up treatments and supplements over time- I leave it to instinct. One supplement with multiple types of algae in it that was effective in treating survivors of the Chernobyl disaster, as well as cancer survivors was central for a long time. Now we’re doing cranberry extract with a couple of nutritional ones and regular drops of “Tinkle Tonic”, before that it was an essiac tincture. Certain recommended healthy options appealed to me as they sounded like they would taste good for her. Her after-walkies snack every morning consists of 2% yogurt with fish oil. Lina has always loved to eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables and I didn’t want to get to adding so much stuff to her food to compromise her pleasure of eating. She loves real food and she gets it. Meat, fish, eggs and vegetables (although we also use high-quality canned sometimes), fresh vegetables (raw green beans are her favorite) combined with rotating supplements, two walks per day along with regular tong ren treatments.

I’ve learned a lot about love and energy, visualization and anticipation, and faith and belief too. Every event becomes a milestone. Birthdays. Holidays. Christmas. Summer Vacation. I’d never have guessed it, but these really were to be the best years. Lina has blown away her odds for survival and continues to live a very happy life. I will forever be inspired by her success and her energy.

The Thing That Kiku Ate

Friday, March 30th, 2012

With two happy, healthy, holistic pomeranians, I never expected an unforeseen disaster to strike my puppy Kiku.

Kiku is an almost two year old pure bred pomeranian. She is a robust, healthy little jock. She is normally smart, and knows many words, as well as tricks and games with toys. Suddenly one night last week she vomited. The usual remedies for the sensitive tummies of poms just weren’t doing much for her. I could see lip smacking and her tongue, which was always hung out in a big smile, wasn’t out at all. She couldn’t stand to pick up toys in her mouth, I knew that it was nausea. We were beside ourselves with worry.

Kiku Day After Surgery

Small dog breeds are special and need understanding and a vet who is willing to tailor their care to their individual needs. When we brought her into MASH, she was treated with a combination of conventional and holistic modes. She got acupuncture, homeopathy and ozone, and even a dollop of vaseline. Then the nasty brown vomit came up. She needed to get that stuff out of her. When Dr. Roman examined her, she could feel a lump in Kiku’s intestines. I was pretty sure that Kiku had eaten something wrong, and that there was a blockage or obstruction. Sure enough, a chain of events was revealed by surgery.

When the really gross mess of stuff was removed it all became clear what had happened. Our big Maine Coon cat had eaten some thread, and hacked up a big long hairball, which Kiku then ate. Not one of her smarter moments… When it was taken out, the smelly mass was the size of a brillo pad. And that part of her intestine was blackened and necrotic.

If Dr. Roman hadn’t stepped in proactively, I am sure that we would have lost Kiku. I was impressed by how the staff of women at MASH all worked on Kiku. They were like a musical quartet, moving in unison. Anticipating what was needed, going from one treatment to the next, they handled Kiku with love and expertise which I could tell came from long practice together.

Dr. Roman included us in the whole process. It is such a refreshing change from bad experiences we have had in the past with other vets who are abrupt and dismissive of the input of pet parents. The treatments that we chose together were perfect for her. We were not isolated from her for even a minute. I feel that is so important for small dogs. They are so tiny and sensitive, that they can become severely depressed when away from their people. Many poms won’t eat unless their parents are home.

The surgery went amazingly well. My partner was allowed to be in the room to observe. He said that he was fascinated watching Dr. Margo’s hands as she did the surgery. The cutting and sewing that she did was to ensure that the sutures would stay in place and heal well. Seven inches of intestines had to come out! She had what is called an intestinal anastomosis.

Since I am squeamish, I spent the surgery time meditating on the Reiki symbols of Hon Sha Se Zonen, and the Daikomio. I pulled in the healing energy of the universe, and communicated with her cells on a quantum level. I brought in white and pink light, and suffused the entree property at MASH in a pink glow to heal, energize and protect everyone, and Kiku. As I sat in the waiting area, a white cloud appeared up above in the skylight of the open and airy space. It looked to me like Kiku, curled up in a ball smiling. I finished up the distance Reiki, and then did more hands on Reiki with the Master symbols on her during recovery.

We took her home shortly after surgery, and Kiku did not appear to be in any pain. The ozone and other integrative remedies and homeopathic medicines did all the pain management without using harsh narcotic drugs.

Instead of drugging her into somnolence, the pain was taken care of and she is conscious enough to show us just how she is doing. The cycle of drugging and doing repeated unnecessary tests is forestalled by using integrative medicine. Why aren’t more vets aren’t doing healthier natural remedies?

They used the ozone treatments to help reduce pain and to lavage her mouth and intestines. The ozonated saline was given as a gastric lavage as well. She was given the ozonated saline subcutaneously. She was also given rectal ozone gas which was absorbed immediately into the blood vessels of her colon and into her liver helping to detoxify her. The ozone helped reduce the swelling of the gut and brought down
the inflammation therefore reducing pain and allowing O2 to return to the tissue. This sped up the healing process.

I have used homeopathy too in my own life and experiences, and we use many of them for ourselves and our dogs. Nux Vomica is a real goto helper for vomiting. Arnica and Bellis peranis reduce pain.

Kiku had her operation at 4:30 PM and at 10:00 PM she was home, and able to run down the hallway faster than I can. We are firm believers in home care when ever possible. We are giving Kiku her conventional antibiotics as well as her homeopathy, and Reiki. She has her big sister Saki to help her feel normal. Home care is so much better than leaving a dog behind in a cage. For poms who can become heartbroken with separation anxiety, home care is ideal. She would have still been in the hospital on pain meds for probably 2-3 days.

Here in her own environment she immediately went back to her usual routines. Fourteen hours after her surgery we were shocked to see her get up at her usual time the next morning, grab a ball, and throw it at us to play her usual game before work.

She did have one more hurdle to overcome during her recovery. Some pomeranians can be very sensitive to anesthesia. She became stiffened up during her sleep and nap times which caused her to have subluxating patella in her knees which she never had before. She had a hard time with shaking and getting back on her feet until we began giving her homeopathic Phosphorus. After that she was up and around the next day. 

For her personality it was important to notice that just lying around in her bed wasn’t working for her. She wanted her Ball. She has about a dozen of the mini size Kong Air Dog tennis balls that she loves. So even though she could not stand up on her own, if I placed her on all four feet she would catch the ball. I began with ten minute sessions three times a day. Then four times and then she increased it to an hour three times a day. Her play became her physical therapy. After that she was awake and napping at her normal times like her big sister. Each day she added more and more of her normal behaviors. There were a few nights where I had to stay up and watch over her when she had trouble getting up and getting to a newspaper to pee. I could not imagine leaving her alone all night. I kept an old rubber hot water bottle with her at all times and we kept monitoring her temperature until it was normal. She never ran a fever throughout the whole process, her temp tended to go low.

To help her intestines come back online after so long without solid food I gave her one teaspoon of chicken baby food mixed with one teaspoon of plain organic yogurt with one Nutrigest, one eighth teaspoon of vitamin C and one eighth teaspoon of hip and joint supplement. I gave her half a teaspoon of that at a time from a food syringe, each one separated by fifteen minutes. She could have six or eight teaspoons of that a day to start with. She began to eat finely chopped boiled chicken, mixed with soft boiled egg yolk, with yogurt and her supplements as a wet meal in addition to the baby food paste. I gave her these meals when everyone else was eating to keep her in the rhythm of the pack.

After two or three days she was eating the the soft chopped meals on her own. I switched to one teaspoon of cooked pumpkin, one teaspoon of cooked apple and one teaspoon of the yogurt and added the Nutrigest and supplements to keep her regular. I gave her this pumpkin apple yogurt in the food syringe. She and her sister both liked it so much I will make it for them often.

Pomeranians are so tiny that when they get sick it can be really difficult for them. Luckily for Kiku everyone did everything they could, and we used remedies and modalities from all around the world, to help her back up and running again, and so her story has a happy ending!