I want to tell you about a dog called Emmie.
Emmie is a 4 year old Weimaraner, bouncy and full of beans, a joy to have around with her vivacious personality.
Just over a year ago, Emmie, as most Weimeraners are wont to do, played a bit too hard and suffered a minor soft tissue injury. She developed a limp which didn't resolve after a days rest and so mum popped her to the vet who concurred that it was a soft tissue injury and prescribed the anti-inflammatory Metacam to help heal her. The vet told her to administer it once a day for 14 days or so, and then if it hadn't healed they would take another look at it.
Here's what the veterinarian DIDN'T say.....
"By the way, anti-inflammatories can have some very, very serious side effects, must be taken with food and you must monitor your dogs health extremely closely and look for any changes like not eating, lethargy, diarrhea or vomiting. If you see any of the above, stop use immediately and rush her to the vets. Pay close attention to your dogs stool quality the entire time she is on this drug and for two weeks or so afterwards as that is an indicator of possible adverse effects."
It doesn't actually even say this information plainly on the side of the pill bottle, just to discontinue use in the case of diarrhea or vomiting.
You know how this story unrolls.....
Emmie looked tired and a bit off color, maybe about 10 or 12 days or so later, but mum thought that now that she had stepped up her exercise a little because she was moving better, she was just tired.....until she noticed the 'coffee grounds' quality of her poop and realized something was seriously wrong. She rushed her to the vet where they saw that Emmie was suffering from a massive stomach bleed.
She was transferred to Northeast Georgia Veterinary Associates, where specialists worked round the clock (at a cost to mum and dad of thousands upon thousands) for almost three weeks saving her life. Thankfully, they succeeded, but she is left with a condition called Evans Syndrome and must be monitored carefully for the rest of her life. Evans Syndrome is an auto immune disease whereby the dogs own immune system attacks its own red and white blood cells or platelets.
Emmie lives a pretty much normal life nowadays, but if she has one dose of anti-inflammatory medication ever again, it could kill her.
All that...for a measly limp??????
When I started to do research and ask around, I heard at least five or six other stories from clients whose dogs had adverse effects and nearly died from the use of anti-inflammatories, plus one who actually did die. The poor woman didn't realize until months later that the Novox she had given her dog had been to blame, she thought the stomach bleed was just something that had happened. Who, of any of us, ever Googles the possible side effects of any drug that our pets are prescribed? I never used to, and I like to think of myself as a bit anal about this stuff.
Trust me, though, I do now.
Every day at the Ranch is a learning opportunity for me, and for the staff, however, this story affected me like no other. It made me petrified of anti-inflammatories and what they can do to the system, and made me determined that we would only use them if a dogs' life was in the balance, or if there was no other option.
Many of you with dogs that come to board here will have heard me tell you at check in that we will only give the Rimadyl, Novox, Carprofen, Vetprofen etc. that you send with your pet, if the dog absolutely needs it, and that we always stop use immediately if the dog displays any kind of upset tummy, looks off color etc.
I don't care if I piss off a client who thinks their dog should be on it all the time, every day, regardless of need or symptoms, as some strangely do, I will not have a case like Emmie's on any of our consciences here at the Ranch.
I always urge clients to do their research and to work with their vet to find an alternative for daily use.
As a mum to a million senior dogs, I can't even begin to tell you how hard it has been to find an alternative for when the cold sets in, it's wet, maybe the dog has done a little bit too much the day before.....my poor old Levi has been on Previcox and a thrice daily dose of Tramadol for almost three years simply because nothing else would get him mobile enough to be able to even go out and pee. Peter and I have watched him every day for signs of adverse effects, thankfully he has had none, but the fear of that has been ever present in our lives, gently stripping away at our comfort in the background.
It's the coldest, wettest time of year and for the last six weeks my 14 or 15 year old large breed dog - he's around 72 pounds - with severe arthritis in his shoulders and elbows, who has been on the verge of being put down twice in the last two years because of the severity of his condition and his inability to even get up, let alone walk, at times, is now on ZERO anti-inflammatory or pain meds.
My veterinarian, Dr Nancy Churchill at Gwinnett Animal Hospital, with whom we work very closely on Levi's health and wellness, is absolutely GOBSMACKED.
That's the only word we can all use about this, it's a huge deal.
At Frankie and Andy's Place, we are lucky enough to work closely with the incredible, internationally renowned, dog behaviorist Suzanne Clothier. She asked me about supplements that we use on our seniors and told me about a product that she has sworn by for the last 18 years called 'System Saver'.
I read up on it and thought it seemed too good to be true, to be honest.
I, like many of you, see sponsored posts every day on Facebook for stuff purporting to be the next miracle cure for arthritis (there isn't a cure for the condition, nothing's going to fully reverse severe arthritis, it's bullshit, don't fall for it, what we hope for is lessening of the symptoms) or how if you just buy this turmeric-infused green lipped mussel concoction, your dog is going to run like a 2 year old. I have tried most of them, with varying results. They have sometimes improved mobility but not dramatically enough that I could ever consider leaving out the anti-inflammatory meds.
I bought System Saver and started using it the day it arrived. Within three weeks, we dropped Levi's Previcox dose to a quarter tablet daily from a half tablet. We dropped his Tramadol to one tablet daily. We had carefully jotted down any changes, noted his mobility was getting surprisingly good and that we could take this chance.
One week after that, during a cold spell with a hefty dollop of rain thrown in (and you know what that does for arthritis!) we fully removed the Previcox AND the Tramadol completely from his pill planner. His mobility was great, improved by about 25%-30% I would say, and in all honesty, after two months of being on this product, I would say that his mobility is the best it has been for perhaps 2 years. He can now walk to the mailbox, about 250 yards, twice a day without having to stop for rest breaks. He has no heat at all in his shoulders or elbows, which is the biggest sign we look for in inflamed areas.
(If you didn't know this, run your hands gently and slowly over your dogs' body when they seem off, and you will always find a heightened heat in the area that is bothering your dog. With arthritis, the heat can be dramatic.....so it can be very easy, if you pay close attention, to pinpoint painful areas in your dog.)
One week after we removed the Previcox from his daily regimen, we started, under the advice of Suzanne, to use Pet Releaf CBD oil and that was an immediate success.
CBD oil is a very useful and effective anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. I will be doing a special blog on that in the near future, as it's a big subject and I am in the early stages of charting its efficacy. I'm not going to recommend something to you unless I have charted results over a number of weeks and on a number of dogs, but so far, it has been a great adjunct to the System Saver.
Levi today is in the best shape of his later life. He is walking, he runs at times, he can jump up on, and down from, the bed, he can join his pack mates on an occasional walk, all things that were not possible 8 weeks ago.
I'm sold. I now have five dogs on it twice a day and we are starting to use it for the senior cabin dogs to improve their general wellness and mobility.
Eight weeks ago, I asked my dear friend, registered veterinary technician Emma, to try some on her dog, 14 and a half year old Chase, who weighs 80 pounds and suffers from arthritis almost as badly as Levi.
Chase had been on a daily dose of Novox for about 18 months and had limited mobility. Unlike me, Emma decided to go completely cold turkey and removed the anti-inflammatory from Chase's regimen that first day that she started him on System Saver. Two weeks later, I asked her how it was going and she told me there had been no change in Chase's mobility or wellness since removing the Novox, which was a huge deal. Six weeks on, she is telling me that his mobility is getting better and better every week and he is able to get up and down the stairs much better, is eating well, exploring the land and very comfortable. He is now on ZERO medications for pain or mobility.
What is 'System Saver'?
It is a fully natural blend of Turmeric, mandarin orange, boswellia and green tea plus a few other things. It helps with all inflammatory conditions from arthritis to skin conditions and a million in between (for there really are a million in between.....EVERYTHING is about inflammation).
I was so impressed I called Judy Baker, who runs the company and told her that I would like to put this blog out today but that I'd like to give our newsletter and blog readers a special offer to encourage them to try it, to which she readily agreed.
She has graciously offered a 15 per cent discount on the System Saver canine supplement for anyone buying it direct from System Saver's website using the code DD15. It can also be purchased from Amazon, but the truth is, anyone selling anything on Amazon loses a large chunk of profit with every purchase through that site, so it's not possible to use the code on there.
Those of you who know me well, know that I have never ever negotiated a deal like this in all my years of running this business, this page or this blog.
I have nothing to gain, I don't get free product from System Saver, I don't get any kickbacks. I just 1000000 percent love this product and what it's done for my dog.
I'm not anti- pharmaceuticals, I just believe that if there's something better out there with less side effects, we must always try to go down that route. Thankfully, I work with veterinarians who agree with me and if they are blown away with these results, and cannot believe how well my dog is moving these days, and they tell me to keep doing what we are doing, then that's good enough for me.
Here is the link to the System Saver website http://caninesystemsaver.com/ this is where you can add the code DD15 to get 15% off of the product.
Here is the link to the Amazon page to buy the producthttps://www.amazon.com/Dr-Bakers-Canine-System-Saver/dp/B0044FUNO0/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=2BEE4UUWO2E6Y&keywords=canine+system+saver&qid=1550071349&s=gateway&sprefix=Canine+system%2Caps%2C220&sr=8-1-fkmrnull.
As with everything that I recommend for you, I would ask you to do your research and satisfy yourself that this might suit your needs. I tried this because someone I respect immensely told me I would be bloody stupid not to try it.
She was right.