Syringomyelia in Dogs - Natural Pet Remedies

Posted by Katie (Northport) on 12/05/2013

Update 12/5/13. It's been about 14 months now since we started our Cavalier on a protocol using cold laser therapy, chiropractic treatments and 1 tablet a day of Prilosec and I would like to share our thoughts and observations to date on each of the above.

This dog continues to do extremely well. We continue to bring him back once a month for a cold laser/chiropractic treatment. So far he hasn't had any more pain issues since the day he caught the rabbit. This dog is agile and athletic – much more like a cat than a dog. We find him jumping up and walking around on the kitchen table stealing napkins and food. This by itself is amazing because only 14 months ago he was having a hard time walking.

Since my last post, we have discontinued giving the dog the Prilosec. We believe it was not necessary and that it may be harmful for long term use. I will give more detail below and some of the side effects which we attribute to the use of the Prilosec.

Here are our thoughts:

Cold Laser Therapy. This is absolutely essential and the #1 treatment, in my opinion, for syringomyelia. I believe this is what really helped our dog…maybe more so than the chiropractic treatments. The reason I say that is because I have since been in contact with another vet who has also treated many MRI diagnosed cases of syringomyelia and he has used only cold laser therapy on them. He has not used chiropractic on them. He said that he has had “staggering” results treating these animals. He said Cavaliers have their share of spinal disease, and that syringomyelia is only one manifestation of it. His feeling is that once a spinal issue (of any kind) has been diagnosed, and there is a regression of symptoms after treatment (with cold laser), that maintenance is necessary. His recommendation to his syringomyelia patients is to have follow-up treatments every 4-6 weeks.

Chiropractic Adjustments. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, this vet does not do chiropractic treatments in his practice although he does use the cold laser. He told me the story of one of his syringomyelia patients (another Cavalier) who had a serious collision with a very large dog and he said that it took weeks to get this dog back on its feet while using only the cold laser. My thoughts are, that in a case like this, a chiropractic treatment probably would have helped to get this dog up and going much quicker, along with the use of the cold laser. The chiropractic treatment would have helped to put the displaced bones, discs, ligaments, tendons and whatever else was knocked out of place --back into place and that it would have been a much shorter recovery time for the dog. The cold laser treatment would still be required though.

Prilosec. I would not recommend this any more. I believe it is harmful for long term use and that it is probably not helpful any way. My friend stopped giving the Prilosec 2 months ago (after having the dog on it for about a year) and so far we have seen no adverse effects by eliminating it.

To begin with, our vet never wanted the dog to be on this at all. He tried to convince my friend to stop giving it to the dog but my friend was concerned about a possible setback with the dog and understandably nervous about the dog's condition. However, we've since learned that the reason the dog is doing well is not because he was taking Prilosec, but because of the cold laser treatments.

The reason my friend finally decided to take the dog off the Prilosec is because the dog's anal glands were becoming severely impacted and he was constantly bringing him to the vet to have them cleared and it was causing the dog a great deal of pain to have this done. Then, about 2 months ago he started showing signs of a severe flea infestation. He'd never had this problem in the past. At this point, I convinced my friend to stop using the Prilosec because I believed that it was at the root of this dog's problems. I believe it seriously weakened the dog and made him susceptible to the flea infestation. Fleas are parasites and parasites only prey on weakened individuals.

At this point, I started to research acid blockers such as Prilosec, what I found out are that they are only meant for short term use, not long term use. You will see the warnings if you research it. What happens is that they suppress the natural acid that the body uses to break down food, meds and supplements and then in the long run you could wind up developing much more serious problems such as heart problems, candida, increased risk of cancer, high blood pressure, anemia, etc.. Acid blockers steal most nutrients from the body, including CoQ10, magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, glutathione, selenium and many others. In addition, they destroy the beneficial gut bacteria – which many consider to be our ”second immune system”. Acid blockers suppress acid-alkaline balance and thereby alter the pH (acidity) throughout the gut, so the absorption of every single nutrient is suppressed. So I knew this explained why our dog had become infested with the fleas and had the anal gland problem.

Thankfully, the fleas are gone now. We added a tsp. of a vinegar to his food twice a day and within 4 weeks they were all gone. We now have the dog on probiotics to help restore his gut bacteria and will start to supplement him with vitamins to make up for what he's lost from taking the Prilosec for so long.

So, overall we've had wonderful results using cold laser therapy, along with the chiropractic. As mentioned above, the cold lasers are absolutely essential for treating this condition. However, now that I know of this other vet who uses only cold laser therapy on his syringomyelia patients, I'm now wondering if the chiropractic therapy is absolutely necessary in treating this condition? I guess each of us will have to dtermine which therapy works best for our dogs – cold laser only or the combination cold laser/chiropractic therapy?

Posted by Katie (Northport, NY) on 05/23/2013

Cavalier Has Been Symptom-Free for Over 8 Months Now.

A friend of mine owns a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was diagnosed with Syringomyelia (with chiari-like malformation) in September 2012. A visit to a local neurologist confirmed the diagnosis. This neurologist said the only available option for this dog would be an invasive and dangerous operation on the skull in an attempt to ease the flow of the fluid around the brain and throughout the spine. The surgery was expensive and debilitating, with both a long, difficult recovery period and no guarantee of success. In addition to other dangerous complications, there is a significant risk that scar tissue can form after the surgery, would reverse any benefit of the initial operation, and again block the flow of the spinal fluid. Surgery was not an option for my friend, as he was not going to put his dog through this.

This poor dog was in such extreme agony - it was screaming at night and there were no amount of painkillers that could control the pain or stop his screaming and his head and neck became contorted from this condition. This dog was also so doped up from all the drugs prescribed by the neurologist, that his heart slowed down to less than 60 beats a minute. I do not know specifically which meds he was on, but he was on at least 5 (including Gabapentin), along with a Fentanyl pain patch that was put on his back. This patch was put on as a last-resort pain killer, but the dog's condition was so bad that the patch did not work, and only worsened his condition by making him groggy and lethargic. To date, the fur that was removed to apply the patch has never grown back there is only "peach fuzz" there now. Imagine how toxic that med must have been!

After some discussion, we decided to consult with another neurologist at a major teaching veterinary hospital (with a more holistic view) and she turned out to be wonderful. She mentioned that she had seen and treated many dogs in far worse condition than ours, and that many of them have been able to return to being almost completely normal with the help of some holistic modalities. Specifically, she recommended chiropractic treatment with the use of cold lasers and acupuncture. She also recommended that we give him 1 tablet a day of Prilosec. After our return home, we sought out a well-trained veterinary chiropractor who used cold lasers in his practice. (To find a qualified, well-trained chiropractic vet we went onto the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association's website Note: do not use just any vet who claims to know chiropractic - they must truly have advanced training with extensive or they may be completely useless. Also, the cold laser is essential in this therapy.

Anyway, we brought the dog in for his first chiropractic session with this vet and the dog immediately started to relax. The session took about 45 minutes, with the vet applying both physical adjustment of the spine and application of the cold laser throughout the length of the dogs back, head and neck. It was really amazing because as he held the laser over the dog's neck area you could see "ripples" start to form and move in the skin even though no one was touching him. It was almost like watching small waves moving on the water. The doctor explained that this was from the underlying muscles and nerves being stimulated by the treatment. Literally, the muscles were relaxing and releasing their tension. By the end of the session, the dog was clearly feeling better in fact, he almost fell asleep on the table.

That evening, the dog only had one minor episode of pain, and I was told it was minimal. Where the dog had been in continuous pain previously, with an intensity that prevented us from so much as touching him in any attempt to comfort him, the episodes were reduced to no more than one per day, with the duration gradually diminishing each time. After a few days these episodes stopped completely, and he has never had another pain episode since - and it's been 8 months now since his initial treatment. Since then, the dog appears to be completely normal in every way he's like his old self. However, I must mention that my friend continues to bring his dog to the vet/chiropractor once every 3 weeks for a treatment to avoid a recurrence (I believe these regular follow-up sessions are essential in controlling this condition). As far as meds go, the vet helped my friend to wean his dog off of all the meds over a 2 month period. The only thing the dog is taking now is one Prilosec a day.

It is truly amazing to see how well this dog is doing. What a gift it was for this dog's life to return to normal.