Posts Tagged ‘Integrative Veterinary Medicine’

Kindred Visions: Copernicus Institute Supports New Vision

Listen to internet radio with Copernicus Radio on Blog Talk Radio
Bonding with a Parrot

Bonding with a Parrot at a book store

Copernicus Radio is a cutting edge, paradigm busting internet radio show that has become an integral part of the broader vision of creating a more compassion based, healthier, happier world. I was just interviewed on their radio show by one of their visionary creators, Steve Saenz. Copernicus radio program provides members with access to creative and innovative thought leaders from a wide range of professional disciplines.
The mission of the Copernicus Institute is “to help visionary leaders optimize their personal and professional effectiveness by employing creativity and innovation”. I am honored to have just been invited to become a member of the Copernicus Institute. Their mission statement states” We are committed to building meaning in the lives and businesses of our members so they, in turn, can build meaning in the lives of those they serve. We strive to be results-driven and action-oriented because it does not really matter how much knowledge you have; it is what you do with that knowledge that counts.”
In their vision they states that they like to “challenge the conventional wisdom”. That has been my professional journey since graduating from veterinary school. Building upon the excellent education I received at the world renowned Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, my passion was to continually explore new nontoxic, innovative options to help animals heal that did not respond to conventional medicine or surgery. The Copernicus Institute voices similar passions to the kindred spirits project, stating that “It will be known as an incubator for breakthrough thinking; a place where ideas, relationships and adventure flourish”. This is precisely what I envision for all animal lovers to come together and nourish new concepts and relationships based on a trans-species, loving supportive community.
I resonate so much with the Copernicus Institute vision. I am grateful that their stimulating questions in the interview had me reflect back on different stages of my life’s journey. I invite you to their look at their virtual tour of their website, programs and vision. I love their quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the greatest American philosophers. They state that Emerson used to greet old friends and acquaintances whom he had not seen in a while with the salutation, ‘What’s become clear to you since we last met?’ How perfect a question is that? That opens up a door to a much deeper, more intimate discussion and relationship with others. So, dear kindred spirit, What has become clear to you since you have viewed the kindred spirits project and Copernicus radio? How will that impact on what you choose to create on the next steps of your life journey shared with all your animal friends?

Garden Safety Awareness for your Dogs and Cats

One of my dear clients brought this to my awareness and I realized that we need to share this information with all dog and cat caretakers. Please inform every dog or cat owner you know. Even if you don’t have a
pet, please pass this to those who do. My client shared this with me today. Over the weekend, the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from one of the common box stores to use in their garden. The dogs loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog decided the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn’t acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took their dog out for her morning walk. Halfway through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company’s web site,
they found the statement “This product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats”. (more…)

Kindred Mushrooms Creating a Trans-species Compassionate World

Paul Stamets on Ted Talks on Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

I just returned from a fascinating workshop on medicinal mushrooms with world famous mycologist Paul Stamets and his wise, wonderful, supportive wife, Dusty.  He presented an abundance of information on the scientific basis and cultivation of medicinal and edible mushrooms and how they can help save the world.  The workshop was at  a beautiful, mountainous retreat known as Foxglove Farm on Saltspring Island, where a good friend, author and bioneer, Michael Ableman is offering courses on self-sustainability.  Paul Stamets ( shared his decades of experience, filled with hilarious anecdotes about how he pioneered the discovery of numerous new uses of mushrooms for medicinal purposes, for bio-remediation of toxins as well as for beneficial food sources in times of need.  Paul presented a superb lecture at TED Talks summarizing his vision of how mushrooms can save the world in 6 easy ways.

Personally, I have used medicinal mushrooms in my veterinary practice for decades.  They are an instrumental component of my integrative approach for the treatment of immune mediated conditions, cancer as well as supporting health and wellness in the geriatric dog and cat.  They are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine as well.  Paul and I briefly discussed his beneficial anecdotal use of medicinal mushrooms in many species great and small over the decades. (more…)

Kindred Spirits, Worry, Distraction or Awakening?

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Our animal companions can bring us such great joy, help relieve and heal the parts of us that experience depression and anxiety. They can help calm our hearts and minds when we get caught up in the concerns about our life challenges, lessons and all that is going on in the world. In my book, “Kindred Spirits”, I review the research up to 2000 on how they can help us heal. There is an abundance of new research that continues to document these beneficial healing effects.
Some of us have a tendency to worry about almost everything in our lives from the smallest decisions to the greatest issues confronting our planet. I am aware that I certainly can have that tendency. Worry can manifest as true concern for an animal or it can just as easily and quickly take a wicked turn into anxiety and fear. As we shared in a recent post, fear can tend to generalize from one experience into many similar experiences both in humans and our animal friends. I find that that also can happen with worry. Worry, concern, anxiety are all just different manifestations of potential expressions along a wave of emotions. In each moment we can chose if we want to be aware of this concern and turn it into a productive, positive resolution to a particular issue or if we lose control of the emotion and it tumbles into worry and anxiety. (more…)

Fear Response and Generalization Similar Transpecies

Fear and it’s fight or flight response is similar through all species. There was an interesting article in Time magazine recently regarding the generalization of fear in people based on an article in Nature/Neuroscience Journal. It talks about how one fearful, anxious experience can then be generalized to increase fear in general. It talks about this as a component of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how that relates to war veterans. It also mentions different approaches to treatment from medications to behavioral therapy.

I find that similar patterns of generalization of fear exist in animals as well. I have seen it numerous times in dogs that have had a fearful response to a loud noise such as a thunderstorm or a firecracker or some explosive noise. They will then begin to become anxious and fearful following any loud noise and it may progressively get worse and worse until it requires medications. It can also spread to a separation anxiety disorder if the noise happened while the human caretaker was away. I have seen it in horses as well. If a horse has had a negative experience to a veterinarian administering an injection, either intravenously or intramuscularly, it is not uncommon for them to then become more and more anxious and fearful to any injections to a point of being extremely difficult to handle for injections and even dangerous. This is commonly called needlephobia. Continue reading Fear Response and Generalization Similar Transpecies

A Root Question for Kindred Spirits

Is there a root question for kindred spirits?

In the mid 1990’s,  when I was one of the pioneers in integrating complementary and alternative veterinary medicine into conventional veterinary medicine, I was often confronted with a great deal of  skepticism and criticism from veterinarians who either were just unaware of all the research and documentation of these modalities or chose for whatever reason to be extremely adversarial against them.   As I was lamenting about the weariness of debating with some of these individuals who were really not interested in debate, but just proving that they were right and you were wrong, one wise friend of mine calmly suggested that perhaps we were asking the wrong questions.  The details of these debates can be reviewed in the Textbook of “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine” edited by myself and Dr. Susan Wynn (see book section).   I was momentarily startled by her suggestion, but then listened intently to her discussion.  Her suggestion was that perhaps rather than debating about the quality and quantity of documentation, qualifications of various practitioners, the politics of it all, perhaps we should ask “What is best for the animals?”  Though the question seemed so obvious and so appropriate, so often we end up in a corner, because another party is framing the debate in order to get to a certain end result or solution.

Soon after that, I was invited to be on a committee to develop guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM).  Eight of the veterinarians were representing various fields of veterinary medicine, from small animals to large animals, from wild to domestic and exotic, from academia to veterinary practices, and from medicine to surgery.  They were all quite reserved and skeptical to say the least.  There were two veterinarians on the committee who were representing the field of CAVM, myself and one other.  As we introduced ourselves to each other and stated our qualifications for being on the committee, who we were representing and what our perspectives were, I quickly realized how it seemed like the odds were completely stacked against developing guidelines that would be supportive of CAVM.  Fortunately, I was the last person to introduce myself.

In addition, to diverge for a moment,  I had just completed a weeklong intensive in Aikido with John Denver’s bodyguard (yes, the folksinger had a bodyguard), Tom Crum.  Tom had just written a fascinating book called “The Magic of Conflict”, which essentially took the philosophy of Aikido to verbal debate.  Essentially, in its most basic form, one might briefly describe Aikido as the martial art of not fighting.  Every evening after a long day of practice of Aikido, we would have discussions on the skills of verbal Aikido, the martial art of not fighting, with words and language.  Perhaps this was one of the precursors to the approach of Nonviolent Communication.

Now, back to that moment when I was in front of this committee and was asked to introduce myself and what my perspective was.  After stating my background and qualifications, I suggested that even though the questions being asked were interesting and valid,  perhaps there may be even a broader, more encompassing question that may embrace all the varied perspectives on developing new guidelines for CAVM.  Perhaps, the base, root question should be “What is best for the animals under our care?”  After all, that is part of the Hippocratic Oath that we take when we venture forth on the journey of being a veterinarian.

There was dead silence for a few moments as they were all so taken back by that essential question.   As faces rumpled up, brows raised and jaws dropped, there seemed to be a moment of cognitive dissonance.  Interestingly enough though, one by one, smiles came to the faces of all these rather reserved, professional veterinarians and it seemed to touch them at their core, at their original desire in their hearts of why they chose to be veterinarians.  By the end of the first day of our meetings, they had all agreed with great comraderie,  that indeed, that should be the root question of all our discussions.  Fortunately, by asking the right question, we were all able to develop respectful, balanced guidelines to assist veterinarians in the professional integration of CAVM into conventional veterinary medicine and it was for the best for all the animals under our care.  Certainly, there were still some extremist skeptics with their own personal agenda’s that despite all discussion, would still choose to disagree with that point, but rarely is it possible to please everyone.

With that in mind, I invite all kindred spirits to ask themselves, if we are all working together to create a new, more compassionate society with the intention of it being for the benefit of all beings, what are the right questions to ask ourselves and others, as we make future decisions on how to be in this world.  What if as we go about our daily responsibilities, chores, interactions with others at work, in school, at play, and everywhere in each and every moment, we ask ourselves if  our choices are the best for the benefit of all beings.  How would that look?

What are your thoughts on this?  If you have been or are asking this question in certain situations, how has it impacted on your choices and actions?  How has it impacted on others? How has it impacted on your contributions to the future of a new, more compassionate 21st century?   Thoughts?