It's easy to be skeptical about natural alternatives such as vitamins, herbs, etc. when society leads us believe if something is wrong we go to the doctor and take whatever advice and script they give us without doing our own research first. I'm not saying that a natural alternative is the best option for every ailment, that would actually be hypocritical of me. But, over this past year I witnessed a few things that have opened my eyes to the importance of doing your own research and seeing if there is a simple and healthy way to help a problem you are having before running to the pharmacy counter, or when you have no other options left.
Take my dog Baby for example. At only 12 pounds, she always makes herself part of the gang when she is around other dogs, or any animal, no matter the size. She can hold her own, but is the sweetest thing you could ever meet. Right after her 4th birthday this year we knew something wasn't right. She wasn't eating as much and going by other symptoms we thought she had a stomach bug or ate something that made her sick. We brought her to a local 24 hour animal hospital. They ran some tests and the next day informed us that her kidney and liver were both failing. We always felt as if baby was part of the family, so hearing this news was devastating. That's when the fight began. Being so young we had so many questions. Why are they failing? What caused this? What can we do? The vets at this hospital told us they didn't know what the cause was. After draining her little belly that was holding 3 pounds of fluid, they told us to bring her home and see how she does and that there is nothing else they can do. We brought her home and things only got worse. She became so weak. The fluid was making it hard for her to breathe. We could tell she was uncomfortable. We knew we needed a second opinion. We decided to take her to another 24 hour animal hospital, a little further away, but it was worth a shot.
A wonderful internal medicine specialist took over the care of Baby. She discovered Baby had a strain of Lyme disease and pancreatitis. Still not sure if this is what is causing her organs to fail, she put her on an IV and started her on a slew of medications including a steroid (which had the potential to make her organs worse), an antibiotic, and a strong pain killer, to name a few. Baby was in and out of the hospital for weeks. She started to become jaundice. Under her ears, and belly were turning yellow. The vet told us we should decide when it was best for our family to put Baby to sleep. That's when my research mode went on full speed. I read message boards, vet boards, google search, anything that could give me reasons, and other treatment options. That's when I came across a message board where other pet owners were discussing the same issue Baby was having. They all agreed that an herb called Milk Thistle greatly helped improve their pet's ailments. Milk Thistle is an herb that contains antioxidant properties that may improve liver function. I thought to myself, if antibiotics and steroids didn't help how could an inexpensive vitamin that's so easily accessible change anything. But, with it being our last chance of hope I thought, what do we have to lose? I continued to google and see what other supplements were good for pets that could help Baby's condition. Another herb called Turmeric can be given to pets. It promotes a healthy liver, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and supports the immune system. Baby was always smart and knew there was something in her water or food, so we had to crush it up and put it in a syringe.
A week went by, she wasn't getting worse, but we started to notice a few changes. She had more good moments than bad. She was eating little by little. As weeks went by, before our eyes, she regained her strength and the fluid in her stomach went away on its own. We couldn't believe it. Did these herbs cure Baby? It seems like a strong possibility. To us it was proof that these natural alternatives which have been used for hundreds and hundreds of years don't have as much attention as they should. To me it makes me feel a sense of joy every time I see her jumping up and down when I come home and gives me a reminder that a little bit of hope goes a long way.
Have you ever used a natural remedy or alternative to help with an ailment you or someone you know was having?
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