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 skin rashes, sores, or bad fur. Vet was suspicious of Cushing and said it would cost around $ 1200 to find out. After research, it appears that animals are not doing well on prednisone / steroids. The treatment is worse than the disease. Question: Some animals do better with Supraglan, others with Cushex. Wouldn’t it be advisable to combine the two? You need to improve quickly. Vet never suggested changing her diet or that natural remedies would help her at all.
I am not a veterinarian and do not give medical advice or diagnoses. Nor do I interfere with the ongoing veterinary protocol. But as a board certified herbalist who specializes in natural remedies for dogs and cats, I’d like to suggest a way forward for the Chihuahua. If she was my sweet bitch, this is what she would do.
Rather than treating Cushing’s disease at first, let’s take a look at your symptoms from a more basic biological perspective. Your heart, liver, kidneys, and digestive tract are much more likely to be the contributing causes for symptoms of Cushing, 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, the Cushing or other question is premature, if not irrelevant.
His enlarged liver and heart murmur are much more suspect to me than his Cushing’s symptoms, and clearly a better place to start. My naturopathic herbal protocol would start with nurturing these larger, deeper organs first.
Anyone can do this with minimal effort. It will work with four of my favorite herbs: milk thistle, Hawthorne 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 reliable source. Capsules are easy to open and “cut” for precise dosing. Whether you use capsule powder or drops of a tincture, you will sprinkle it on your wet or dry food twice a day.
Mix the four herbs in equal parts. and administer 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 an average weight human being (150 to 200 pounds). As a general rule of thumb, you can divide your dog’s weight by the average human weight to get the percentage of the recommended dose to give your dog. For example, your dog’s 11 pounds divided by 150 pounds equals 7.3% of a standard dose. If the tincture’s label calls for 30 drops in a standard dose, give it 7.3% of 30, which is 2 or 3 drops. Add each herb to your food twice a day.
(2) Pure herbs dust it 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 spreading it on your food. Here you will want a slightly higher percentage than the liquid dose of a tincture.
Use a minimum amount of threshold of 200 mg of each herb for its light weight of 11 lbs. With a capsule containing 500 mg, for example, measure about two-fifths for each dose. (Give 200 mg of each herb for dogs weighing up to 20 lbs. 21 to 50 lbs., Give 450 to 500 mg capsule twice daily. 51 to 100 lbs., Give 1 1/2 capsules of each herb twice daily … Over 100 pounds, give 2 capsules of each herb twice daily.)
Remember, dosing with herbal medications is not as critical as dosing with allopathic medications. Herbs work with the body, not against it, and the risk of overdose is simply not an issue at these levels if instructions are followed.
Milk thistle will detoxify the liver; repair damaged liver cells and promote the regeneration of new cells.
Hawthorne Berry is specific for the heart and will nourish and tone both the organ and the circulatory system.
Dandelion root Not only does it help to detoxify the liver, but it is also “cholagogue”, since it decongests the gallbladder by increasing the flow of bile. It is “choleretic” in the sense that it promotes the production of bile, and it is “antirheumatic” in the sense that it helps the body to dump metabolic waste into the bloodstream to be cleaned by the kidneys.
Burdock root it will boost your digestive juices promoted by the dandelion root, and it will also help the kidneys to eliminate toxins that can accumulate in the blood.
Continue this protocol for 3 to 6 weeks before reevaluating symptoms. The odds are pretty high that you will have your old furry friend back from the brink and on the road to recovery with just these herbal nutrients. If so, continue with continuous maintenance at about half the starting dose. If not, consider continuing with half the starting dose anyway (these four herbs form the cornerstone of good herbal nutrition) while we turn our attention to Cushing, if symptoms warrant.
Some natural products compete for the Canine Cushing market. Supraglan and Cushex are often mentioned. I am not qualified to talk about any of these, although I am sure they are good products.
My recomendation is Primalix® CortiQuel Herbal Extract “Functional Food Drops” specifically formulated to improve and eliminate Cushing symptoms in all breeds of dogs.
I also recommend a mineral / herbal detoxifier that already contains 3 of the four herbs listed above (milk thistle, dandelion root, and burdock root – all it adds is Hawthorne Berry). This product also contains clinoptilolite. Zeolites (a group of unique volcanic mineral substances) that have a remarkable ability to cleanse and detoxify the body at the cellular level. It’s called MaxoTox Herbal-Mineral Detoxicant.
Finally, No wonder your vet didn’t suggest changing his diet or trying natural remedies. Even the best of us are victims of conventionalism, arrogance, and ignorance that can blind us. The simple truth is that nature possesses the body’s own healing power, and it willingly abandons it! Tell everyone you know. Herbs truly are the most miraculous natural healers on Earth!