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A veterinary version of the '12 Days of Christmas'

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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 12:15 am

Merry Christmas to all of you who read this column. Your love of animals and feedback are appreciated throughout the year.

Today’s article will feature the good stuff that happened this past year in a veterinary version of the “12 Days of Christmas.” (Please, do not try to sing this version, or if you do, drink the spiked eggnog first.)

On the first day of Christmas, my veterinary technician reminded me of the dog named Duke who had a painful, non-healing, corneal ulcer which went on for months. When his first surgery did not produce full healing, a second procedure was performed. This time, I placed a therapeutic contact lens post-surgically. It worked great. Duke now sees perfectly. He will be able to play ball on Christmas without having to wear a huge Elizabethan collar.

On the second day of Christmas, my receptionist reminded me of the two cats, Onyx and Sid, with tumors in their ear canals, which we removed successfully. They now hear wonderfully and have stopped getting infections.

On the third day of Christmas, my office manager reminded me of the three cats who couldn’t urinate this month. We relieved the blockages and changed their diets. Now they are urinating in their litter boxes again — a Christmas miracle for their owners and their carpets.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my vet assistant reminded me of the all the dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets whose lives have been improved through animal chiropractic adjusting. This group includes a ferret that tried to bite anyone who would pet him, because he had chronic, undiagnosed TMJ pain. On Christmas, all these pets will run without limping, get a pat on the head without biting, and be able to chew without pain.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my staff reminded me of the dozens of allergic pets, like Oscar, a Shih Tzu who had been taking steroids and an expensive drug called Atopica, when he first visited me. He and many other pets have gotten off their medications and are allergy-free because of a wonderful allergy treatment called NAET (this is an extension of acupuncture medicine).

On the sixth day of Christmas, vet techs reminded me of all the pets whose cancers are in remission, because of acupuncture and herbs, including an herbal extract called Neoplasene, developed by Dr. Terry Fox. This group of pets includes a dog named Bradshaw who has been in remission from bone cancer for over a year. Not only has he been cancer free, but his heart disease has remained stable. He will be ready to tear open the toys on Christmas morning.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my assistant reminded me of the cats that have been cured of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia viruses and related cancers, using LTCI and acupuncture. Miss Lemon, Josie, Buddy and Oliver are all in that group. Miss Lemon is a young cat whose FIV disease included spinal cord involvement, which made her unable to have bowel movements. She now uses the litter box daily and is free of spinal pain.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my staff reminded me of the pets with autoimmune blood disorders that survived because of alternative medicine. Gabriel is a dog who has survived for more than 16 months, in complete remission from a disease that is considered fatal by specialists. He has been off medication for over six months.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my kids reminded me of all the emergency cases who survived flea medicine toxicity, eating toxic plants and their owner’s medications, and sugar-free gum intoxication. Their extra hands helped make the difference between life and death.

On the 10th day of Christmas, my staff reminded me of the pets who were ill with intestinal upset that were saved through fluid therapy and antibiotics, including Savannah, a Labrador, who was very dehydrated when she came into the office.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my vet techs reminded me of the dozens of dogs, including Captain, Quincy, Maggie, and Thumbelina (OK, there were more than 11) who have returned to full, pain-free function after swim therapy in our underwater treadmill.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my clients reminded me through their cards of the many pets who bring great joy through pet therapy programs with autistic kids, nursing homes, grief therapy groups, children’s hospitals and kid’s reading programs. This includes two dogs who visit my office, Daisy, an Airedale, and Dizzy, a Puli dog. They are the first therapy dogs to have been nominated for the Presidential Award for civilian service. This award is normally given to humans, but because these pets have been so actively involved in varied therapy work, they have been included as nominees.

My staff and I are grateful that so many pet owners trust us to play a role in keeping their special companions healthy and happy. We look forward to sharing your stories in 2014.

Happy new year!

Dr. Cynthia Maro is a veterinarian at the Ellwood Animal Hospital in Ellwood City and the Chippewa Animal Hospital in Chippewa Township.

She writes a biweekly column on pet care and health issues. If you have a topic you’d like addressed, please email ellwoodvet@msn.com.

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