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Symptoms of Cushing’s in Dogs: An Herbal Solution
An 11-pound, 12-year-old Chihuahua has all the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Ultrasound showed an enlarged liver. She also has a heart murmur. Ravenous appetite, increased urination with accidents, thirst, lethargy, cough. She has no rashes, sores or bad coat. The vet suspected Cushing and said it would cost about $1200 to find out. After research it seems that animals do not do well on Prednisone/steroids. The treatment is worse than the disease. Question: Some animals do better with Supraglan, others with Cushex. Would it be ill-advised to combine the two? She needs fast improvement. The vet never suggested changing her diet or that any natural remedies would help at all.
I am not a veterinarian and I do not give medical advice or diagnosis. I also do not interfere with current veterinary protocol. But as a certified herbalist who specializes in natural remedies for dogs and cats, I would like to suggest a way forward for the Chihuahua. If she was my lovely dog, that’s what I would do.
Instead of treating Cushing’s disease first, let’s look at its symptoms from a more basic biological perspective. His heart, liver, kidneys and digestive tract are far more likely to be the upstream causes that contribute to the symptoms of Cushing’s disease – or diabetes, worms or arthritis. The dividing lines are blurred.
But until these organs/systems are in balance and we have a more stable patient to work with, Cushing’s question or whatever is premature if not irrelevant.
His enlarged liver and heart murmur are far more suspect to me than his Cushing’s symptoms, and clearly a better place to start. My herbal naturopathic protocol would start with nurturing those larger, deeper organs first and foremost.
Anyone can do it with minimal effort. You’ll be working with four of my favorite herbs: milk thistle, hawthorn berry, dandelion root, and burdock root. Buy them in 1 ounce tinctures at your local health food store or Whole Foods if available. You can also buy pure herbal powder in capsules of 450 to 500 milligrams each.
Go to Mountain Rose Herbs (single ingredient capsules), a safe and trusted source. The capsules are easy to open and “cut” for precise dosing. Whether you use softgel powder or tincture drops, you sprinkle it on his wet or dry food twice a day.
Mix the four herbs together in equal parts and give once in the morning and again in the afternoon or evening.
(1) If you use liquid herbal tinctures, the label will tell you how many drops to give to an average-weight human (150-200 pounds). Generally, you can divide your dog’s weight by the average human weight to get the percentage of the recommended dose to give to your dog. For example, your dog’s 11 pounds divided by 150 pounds equals 7.3% of a standard dose. If the label on the tincture calls for 30 drops in a standard dose, give it 7.3% of 30, which is 2 or 3 drops. Add each herb to his food twice a day.
(2) Pure herbal powder is even easier to work with and does not contain harmful alcohol like tinctures do. Simply open the capsules and use a credit card to divide and measure the powder before sprinkling it on their food. Here you will want a slightly higher percentage than the liquid dose of a tincture.
Use a minimum threshold amount of 200 mg of each herb for its light 11 lbs. With a capsule containing 500 mg, for example, measure out about two-fifths for each dose. (Feed 200 mg of each herb to dogs up to 20 lbs. 21-50 lbs, give one 450-500 mg capsule twice daily. 51-100 lbs, give 1 1/2 capsules of each herb twice daily Over 100 pounds, give 2 capsules of each herb twice daily.)
Remember that the dosage with herbal medicines is not as critical as the dosage with allopathic medicines. The herbs work with the body, not against it, and the risk of overdose is simply not an issue at these levels if the directions are followed.
milk thistle will detoxify the liver; repair damaged liver cells and promote the regeneration of new cells.
Hawthorne The berry is specific for the heart and will nourish and tone both the organs and the circulatory system.
dandelion root Not only does it help with liver detoxification, it is also a “cholagogue” in that it decongests the gallbladder by increasing the flow of bile. It is “choleretic” in that it promotes the production of bile, and it is “anti-rheumatic” in that it helps the body flush metabolic waste products into the bloodstream to be cleansed by the kidneys.
burdock root will supercharge its dandelion root-promoted digestive juices, also helping the kidneys flush out toxins that can build up in the blood.
Continue this protocol for 3 to 6 weeks before reassessing symptoms. Chances are your old furry friend will come back from the brink and be well on the way to recovery with just these plant-based nutrients. If so, continue on-going maintenance at approximately half of the original dose. Otherwise, consider continuing at half the original dose anyway (these four herbs form the cornerstone of good plant-based nutrition) while we return our attention to Cushing, if symptoms warrant.
A few natural products are vying for the Canine Cushing market. Supraglan and Cushex are often mentioned. I’m not qualified to comment on them, although I’m sure they are good products.
My recommendation is Primalix® CortiQuel Herbal Extract “Functional Food Drops” formulated specifically to improve and eliminate Cushing’s symptoms in all dog breeds.
I also recommend a mineral/herbal detoxifier that already contains 3 of the four herbs mentioned above (milk thistle, dandelion root and burdock root – all you add is Hawthorne Berry). This product also contains clinoptilolite Zeolites (a group of unique volcanic minerals) that have a remarkable ability to cleanse and detoxify the body at the cellular level. It’s called the MaxoTox Herbal-Mineral Detoxicant.
At last, I’m not surprised your vet didn’t suggest changing her diet or trying natural remedies. Even the best of us fall victim to the conventionalism, arrogance and ignorance that can blind us. The simple truth is that nature holds the healing power of the body – and willingly gives it up! Tell everyone you know. Herbs are truly the most miraculous natural healers on Earth!
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