Our sweet Fiona turned ten years old this January. That tiny ball of fluff has grown up to be such an integral part of our lives! She is a quiet leader of our pack, setting the tone and watching over the other two clowns with amusement. She looks and acts like a young dog, despite her double digit age.
I decided to have the vet run some senior blood work at Fiona’s annual check up. Everything seemed in order, except her thyroid levels were low. The only sign of thyroid problems she might be showing was a slight weight gain. Typically she is around forty-eight pounds and she had gained almost ten pounds since her last visit. She also has recurrent ear infections and occasional urinary tract infections, which could be related.
It may not sound like much, but for a dog to have a twenty percent weight gain, with no change in diet or exercise, is actually a lot. Like humans, I am sure it is hard to keep weight off as a dog ages. However, since dogs cannot talk to tell us how they are feeling, we have to rely on any signs that things are changing, to read the internal picture.
After consulting with our vet Dr Smith at Parker Creek Veterinary Hospital, we decided to recheck Fiona’s blood work in a few months to see if there were any changes. In three months the values were the same low thyroid numbers and no new clinical signs.
One treatment option to raise the blood values, is to prescribe thyroid hormone medicine, which Fiona would likely be on for the rest of her life. I wanted to try another route first, however, which was to visit our local holistic vet, Dr T at Blue Sage Wellness. I am a strong proponent of natural remedies and have worked enthusiastically in the natural product market for years. Holistic wellness treatments are always my first choice over prescription drugs.
Our visit to Blue Sage was a very positive experience. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, like a massage therapy practice, with calming music and treatment rooms which look decidedly non clinical – no metal table, just a comfortable padded mat on the floor almost like a large dog bed.
After being thoroughly examined, Fiona was given some laser therapy for a stiff knee and acupuncture for her overall health. Dr T prescribed an herbal tincture to boost her immune system and a thyroid support herbal powder to add to her food every day. She also prescribed adding more real food into her diet and less chicken. The pack is happy because now they get real salmon added to their food a few times a week – lucky dogs!
We are to trying the remedies for a month and then rechecking the blood values to gauge the effect of our course of action. Dr T cautioned that despite our best intentions with the herbal remedies, that Fiona still may need thyroid hormones. I am of the mind that thyroid levels should be at optimum levels not “normal” so we’ll see what it takes to make that happen for our sweet girl.
We shall see how it goes! I will keep you posted on our health journey. If you have any experience with your dog and thyroid treatments, please share with me.