Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cooking for my old girl

Several weeks ago, on a routine visit to the vet, I learned some sad news about my beloved Jezebel, soon to be 14 years old.  The vet told me she was in the early stages of liver failure, brought on by regular use of Vetprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug I gave her for her arthritis.  I instantly felt a stab of guilt.  I had given Jezebel Vetprofen twice a day for her symptoms, as the vet ordered, for several years.  Had I done my due diligence, I would have known that Vetprofen can be toxic and even cause life-threatening conditions in dogs.

We're a bit shy and don't like to look at the camera...

I'd been noticing some other symptoms that were apparently part of the constellation of toxicity: she was hungrier than usual, often seemed confused and was losing control of her bladder.  I would find her lying on the kitchen floor in a puddle, looking up at me with her huge brown eyes in a way that seemed to say, "I'm sorry, mommy, I didn't mean to do it.  But I just can't help it."  It was breaking my heart and I didn't know what to do to help her.

The vet offered me a solution.  I could keep Jezebel on Vetprofen and add other medications to help control the symptoms.  I could add this and that, do this, try that and perhaps things would improve.  This just wasn't acceptable to me and didn't seem to be a very high quality of life for my lovable poochie.  I knew that if I continued along the traditional veterinary track, Jezebel would continue to suffer and that perhaps her life would eventually be cut short by the continued use of Vetprofen.

I am in no way trying to be disparaging of the excellent veterinary care that Jezzie has received throughout her life at my local clinic; I am merely saying that I rejected traditional veterinary approaches and chose an alternative path.

So, on the day I learned that Jezebel's liver was failing, I got in my car with my old girl and had a good boo hoo on the way home.  Then I started researching natural remedies for liver failure in dogs.  I found some wonderful resources online, including the one website I came most heavily to rely on for help, Your Old Dog, which contains a wealth of information for pet parents of elderly and ill dogs.  After doing some reading on several sites, I ordered liquid milk thistle to help heal and support Jezebel's liver, took her off commercially prepared dog food and began cooking all her meals for her.

Yes, you read right: I am cooking all her meals for her.  Is this a lot of trouble?  It depends on how you look at it.  I cook about once every two weeks and then package the food in plastic zipper bags and store it in the freezer.  It is an extra effort and you must add the supplements called for with each recipe to get the best results.  I've also added supplements to help with Jezzie's arthritis symptoms.  But I'm happy to make this extra effort (and give up some freezer space) because I love my sweet-natured, docile doggie and want her around as long as possible.

The results?  Within three weeks of this new regimen, all of her symptoms cleared and she appears to be a happy, healthy and youthful puppy again.  I can't say enough about how much I appreciate the advice, information and assistance from all of the people who love their elderly and ill dogs and want to help others by posting their experiences and information online.

Here are the websites that I found helpful:

My Pet Articles--Vetprofen Side Effects (see this site for other articles regarding all kinds of pets with various conditions)

Responsible Pet Ownership Blog Failure Reversal Diet Disease Recipes  (we like recipe #2 the best so far)

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