Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

Dr. Margo Roman Lectures at The IV World Congress on Oxygen Ozone Therapy Rome 2013

Friday, October 4th, 2013

MASH
Main St Animal Services of Hopkinton
72 West Main St
Hopkinton, MA 01748
508-435-4077

Dr. Margo Roman Lectures in Rome

Dr. Margo Roman Lectures in Rome

Margo Roman, DVM
The IV World Congress on Oxygen Ozone Therapy September 26-28, 2013, at the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome, Italy. The theme of the Congress was a desire to find affordable solutions for medical issues, and the belief that Ozone efficacy, cost and success will lead world health in a better direction. This year’s Congress was “Health Efficiency and Savings Challenge of the Third Millennium.” The World Ozone Congress brought together Medical Doctors from 26 countries, each presented scientific papers on research and clinical applications of Oxygen Ozone Therapy (“OOT”).

For me going to Italy to learn and share knowledge on Oxygen-Ozone Therapy (“OOT”) was important and valuable. I was able to learn more applications and conditions that have been successfully treated and healed with OOT. At MASH, we have been using Ozone Therapy for 10 years and we feel it is such an asset to helping a multitude of health issues. Much of the research in the world on OOT has been done by the Italians, Russians, Germans and Cubans. It was informative hearing their presentations. With full translations into English, it was wonderful.

I went as a speaker and I was one of 3 veterinarians in attendance. It felt so great to share my experiences of the over 10,000 treatments that I have done over the past 10 years in my practice. It was particularly rewarding to see the many applications that I done through trial and experience proven through statistical double placebo blind trials. Evidence based medicine has been done with ozone research in Italy and around the world. The chance to discuss the applications and share ideas was priceless.

Another amazing experience was that since the World Congress was in Rome, the attendees were invited to St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Pope Francis made a special announcement during the September 29, 2013, Sunday Mass commemorating the World Congress on Oxygen Ozone Therapy and support of world health.

Dr. Roman gives a Dr ShowMore Calendar to the Pope Francis  via the Swiss Guards at the Vatican on September 29, 2013. St. Francis is the Patron Saint of Animals. The Pope is concerned about the environment.

Dr. Roman gives a Dr ShowMore Calendar to the Pope Francis via the Swiss Guards at the Vatican on September 29, 2013. St. Francis is the Patron Saint of Animals. The Pope is concerned about the environment.

I brought about 60 copies of the Dr. ShowMore calendars to give to many of the attendees to share with the veterinarians in their countries. I was even able to bring the 2011 and 2013 version to give as a gift to Pope Francis. The Swiss Guards at the Vatican really liked it, and they received copies as well. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron Saint of animals. Given Pope Francis’ concern for the environment, I thought hat he would possibly learn something about health and sustainable health care options from our info packed calendar.

The food was so delicious in Italy, so I know I gained a few pounds; but it was worth it because I also gained a lot of research articles to defend the use of ozone for so many medical conditions. From infections to cancer, from pain to bulging discs, from MS to Parkinson’s, from renal dialysis to liver failure, the research is there, and the information about the successes needs to be publicized.

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.

MEDICAL HONEY FOR WOUND HEALING

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Here is an informational article from one of Dr. Margo’s friends. And a pod cast as well

MEDICAL HONEY FOR WOUND HEALING
Signe Beebe DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVT
Integrative Veterinary Center
Sacramento, CA USA

HONEY
All civilizations have relied on natural therapeutic agents to meet their primary health care needs at some point in time. Honey and honey containing salves have been used to relieve pain, promote wound healing and to treat sores, boils, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, burns and skin disorders for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks physicians and the Egyptians were among the first to record the beneficial effects of honey for wound care. The ancient Egyptians were the earliest recorded beekeepers and honey for wound healing was an integral part of the “Three Healing Gestures”. This included cleaning the wound, applying a salve made from honey, lint, (vegetable fiber) and grease (animal fat), and bandaging the wound. Despite the long history of honey for medical conditions, it largely fell out of favor in conventional medical practice during the era of modern antibiotics in the 1970s. Due to the development of antibiotic resistant wound infections, the use of honey for wound care has undergone a renaissance in the last few years. Today honey is being investigated and incorporated into modern therapeutic wound healing products. Honey is particularly useful for the treatment of poorly healing or chronically infected wounds and for those animals that develop undesirable side effects such as intolerance or resistance to conventional pharmaceuticals.  image

Not all honeys have equal medicinal value. The anti-microbial activity of the honey has been shown to vary in quality according to its floral source. Historical records show that when honey was prescribed for a medical condition the type and location of the honey was nearly always specified. Doctors throughout history knew that honey obtained from specific floral sources produced better clinical results than honey from other plants or regions. Modern laboratory testing of many different types of honeys using bacterial cultures to evaluate their antimicrobial effects have validated this clinical observation. Not all honeys have equal medicinal value. The anti-microbial activity of the honey has been shown to vary in quality according to its floral source. Historical records show that when honey was prescribed for a medical condition the type and location of the honey was nearly always specified. Doctors throughout history knew that honey obtained from specific floral sources produced better clinical results than honey from other plants or regions. Modern laboratory testing of many different types of honeys using bacterial cultures to evaluate their antimicrobial effects have validated this clinical observation. Recent investigation and research on honey shows that it contains antibacterial compounds that are effective against many common antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition it has been shown to inhibit the growth of a wide range of fungi, protozoa and viruses, and may have use for the treatment of cancer patients.

Honey is composed of 17% water and 82% sugar (primarily glucose and fructose), proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and a variety of floral phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give honey its characteristic color, flavor, and biochemical properties (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial). In essence, honey may be thought of as a concentrated plant fluid with added bee proteins that makes honey an “herbal medicine”. All honey has high osmolarity, low pH, low water content and upon dilution produces hydrogen peroxide that is responsible for its antibacterial properties. However not all honeys exhibit equal hydrogen peroxide activity and so vary in their antimicrobial potency. There are also certain types of honey that contain floral phytochemical factors that are responsible for strong non-peroxide antimicrobial effects. These honeys maintain their antimicrobial properties even when diluted by large amounts of wound exudate. The Leptospermum spp (manuka and jellybush) honeys from New Zealand and Australian are in this group and are currently under intense scrutiny for use as wound healing “medical grade honeys”. In 2007 the FDA approved the use of a line of manuka honey based wound dressings called MediHoney that are distributed by DermaSciences Inc.

For more information on medical honey: www.bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/special.shtml and www.dermasciences.com

Thanks for your support! Here is a link to a podcast!

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. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/health/disgusting-maybe-but-treatment-works-study-finds.html?pagewanted=2&ref=newenglandjournalofmedicine

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.

 

Biophotonic Blood Therapy BBT

Monday, March 18th, 2013

imageBiophotonic Blood Therapy BBT

We have added a new modality here at MASH to help stimulate the immune system. It has been used for over 80 years in humans around the world. A new adaptation makes it adaptable for treating animals. It also has been called Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation .

It is the process of taking 1/1/2 -3 cc’s blood from a patient and adding heparin to the blood, and then adding ozonated saline to dilute the blood. By diluting the blood you can get more light through the specimen. Adding the O2/O3 saline increases the oxygen in the blood and kills some viruses and other organisms. The blood is run through Ultraviolet light inside a quartz cuvette. This photoluminescense brings light to the blood in a ultraviolet spectrum and kills more viruses and bacteria in the blood. Then, this blood sample when it has been initially ozonated activates the mitochondria of the cells and allows more efficient oxygen utilization in the Krebs Cycle of each mitochondria.

imageThis allows the NAH to become NADH and gives the mitochondria the energy to run the cell. So with the healthy cells supported with oxygen, and the de-activated bacteria and viruses that the UV light killed, it almost acts as an immune responder and allows the body to fight the infection that is attacking the body.

It has been helpful for finding a way to stimulate the body’s own immune system to react. It fights a specific infection, inflammation or disease, that is what we all hope medicine can achieve. By using the body’s own blue print for what is troubling it and giving the healthy cells something as simple as Oxygen could seem too simple. The results of using this are impressive.

The blood and saline solution is returned via a small butterfly catheter in the vein. It can be repeated every 48 hours if acute case or 2 times a week then weekly.

 

Some of the cases that I have seen improved with BBT are:
Infections
Allergies
Kidney infections and failure
Cognitive Function
Cancer
Diabetes
Lyme
Lameness

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.

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/15/155110478/mapping-the-microbial-make-up-of-healthy-humans

 

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/06/20/bacteria-2

 
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.

Conscious Riding at Kripalu

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

This summer I was able to spend time at Kripalu in Lenox MA which is in the Berkshires. I got into taking a class in Conscious Riding which was a blend of yoga meditation and connecting with a horse. What a perfect opportunity it was to have all these techniques become part of one’s riding experience.

Spending time with an animal in a deeper way can help one heal the stressors of your life as well as an added benefit of having the animal in your life. For me riding in the woods with my two standard poodles Geneva 12, and Lilihana 7 and now Missy too, who is a paint Missouri Fox trotter, is my time to reflect and just be with these kind and loving creatures.

Paul Striberry, who is a professional horseman for over 50 years teaches a holistic approach to horsemanship that encourages congruence in body, mind, and spirit. Paul’s approach to Conscious Riding supports you in seeing your horse as an SUV—Spiritual Utility Vehicle—and understanding riding as a practice of meditation in motion on the path to awakening.

The core teachings of this program are grounded in yogic philosophy: feeling the natural balance and learning to watch your fears instead of getting caught in them. In this way, We learned to
Ride beyond our edge
Expand our abilities
Met new challenges.

During the program, riding takes place at Under Mountain Farm, three miles from Kripalu. Paul had two assistance from Sandra doing her Yoga and Hardas assisting with the horse preparation.

If any of you have not been to Kripalu it is a must to have a place that is like an adult summer camp that nurtures all parts of you in your plans. The food is wonderful, served as a buffet it is organic, local and sustainable and mostly vegan. You can have Yoga classes 3 times a day and other hiking and kayaking if you want. There is time to meditate and quiet places to reflect.. One can indulge in may types of massage and spa type treatments. And yes they have some amazing courses covering many wellness topics. If you get a chance to treat yourself do so. It is an investment in yourself, so that you can be healthier then thats what you should do.

We have cancer in our pets because…

Monday, June 18th, 2012

The below article is a topic that I think should be on the minds of every individual as we ponder why so many animal are getting cancer and they are getting sicker and sicker. As a veterinarian for over 35 years I am seeing more chronically ill animals that cannot be cured as their immune systems 20120618-124943.jpgthat have failed. We are seeing this in younger and younger animals as cancer affects over 46% of dogs and 39 % of cats. The frustration that veterinarians and their caretakers feel is overwhelming. Owners ask Why? and Why can’t we help them? We are getting epigenetic damage from many of the 80,000 chemicals that are in our environment that were not there 60 years ago.

Those of us that work in holistic veterinary medicine are trying to find ways to keep these tragic failures of the health of these individual animals. As we look at the research that is in the below and now we can see that all the pesticides, toxins and unnecessary vaccinations that we have given our pets for generation after generation have done damage that has changed the genes of those pets. What our dogs grandmother got exposed to can affect multiple generations to come. Sicker and sicker, younger and younger until it is so obvious.

We all need to start to wake up and start to question all the chemicals we put on our lawns, clean our homes, spray or spot on our pets. You are what you eat and those chemical will transfer their damage to your DNA too. The animals we bring into our homes are the canaries in the coal mine. They are showing us what the future of our human family members will be. In 12 years we can see 6 generations of pets and genetic breakdown can be right in front of our face…Lets wake up and try to stop further damage and help our beloved family members more protected from toxic chemicals and environmental damage.

I say these words as a frustrated veterinarian questioning the massive numbers of cancer that come into my practice. We try to boost the immune system and try to support the healthy cells and organs so they can resist the DNA damage. We hope to make more quality life and more quality time with these very important family members.

(more…)

W.A.N.D.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


A very important group that I have had the fortune of being a member of for over 26 years is WAND, Women’s Action for New Direction and it celebrated its 30th anniversary. Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament was its first name and it was started to try to reduce nuclear proliferation by Dr. Helen Caldicott, an Australian pediatrician concerned about the health and safety of our world and all the children in it.

This group of grass root activist go to Washington DC to lobby for reduction of unnecessary military spendings and wants to redirect funding to women and children health, education, environmental issues and peace initiatives. For the past 20 years WAND started WiLL Women’s Legislative Lobby, which are women legislators from all 50 US states. This outstanding group of politically active women have the power in numbers to bring topics to both the US Congress and Senate.

It is an empowering experience to go to Washington DC with these outspoken, intelligent, caring and articulate women and present support or objection to a particular bill or issue. It is important to be able to have your voice heard at all levels but to have the experience to Lobby as a group with an agenda that can really help change the world for the better and know that your lobbying is not big business or corporate driven but from the heart is truly rewarding.

We celebrated out Mother’s Day event on Friday May 11. 2011. I have been the only veterinarian in this group for over 26 years and feel so lucky to be able to bring animal issues into these conversations Check out all the issues and events at www.wand.org

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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.