Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Suki The German Shepherd Dog

"Last summer while vacationing on Manitoulin Island, one of my German Shepherd Dogs, Suki, started limping. At first I thought she simply strained her leg while following me as I rode the ATV through the bush. The limp didn't improve after several days of minimal activity. The day after returning home I took Suki to the vet. After examination, the vet suspected a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) based on the anterior drawer test.

His suggestion was a surgical consultation for a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) procedure. After a bit of research I found out the procedure involved cutting and rotating the tibia bone then attaching a metal plate with screws. Yikes! 

A good friend who is really into holistic medicine, both for her family and two dogs, suggested looking at alternatives before considering surgery. Based on a successful outcome with one of her dogs she recommended Dr. Haghighat. Personally I'm not really into holistic anything but wanted to explore all options and booked an appointment. In the initial assessment, Dr. Haghighat confirmed the injury was likely a torn ACL but said there was a good chance that it could be healed naturally without surgery! He also explained the pros and cons of a surgical solution vs. holistic treatment. Still somewhat skeptical I decided to try the holistic approach simply because it didn't require making irreversible changes to my dog's body and possibly having to deal with post-surgery complications. Surgery would be the fall back plan. Suki was immediately put on a daily regimen of medicines and supplements. This was in addition to injections and light therapy she received in the office. There was a visible improvement on the second visit a few days later - Suki's limp was less pronounced. As time passed, the visits were less frequent - first a week, then two weeks, and so on. The limp was gone after a few visits but there was still work to be done. 

Dr. Haghighat prescribed different medicines and exercises as Suki's treatment progressed. With each visit, Dr. Haghighat could see and feel that Suki was putting more weight on her injured leg. To help with her recuperation I had to greatly reduce Suki's activity - easier said than done when all she wanted to do was play with our other German Shepherd Dog. 

Both dogs travel in the car with me at least twice a day. Jumping in and out of the car could quickly undo the progress we had made so I purchased a folding ramp. Also Dr. Haghighat told me about the benefits of the light therapy he performed in the office. I did some research and purchased my own light therapy pad to supplement the office treatment. Suki received two light treatments daily for several months.

Almost seven months have passed since Suki injured her leg and she is back to her normal levels of activity. Our last visit to Dr. Haghighat was two months ago and we have a follow-up visit scheduled in a few days. As it turned out, the time required to recover naturally or from surgery was about the same. Not that cost was a determining factor in choosing a treatment but the holistic approach was actually cheaper than the surgical estimates even when the cost of the ramp and light therapy pad were included. Most importantly I feel that the right choice was made choosing the holistic solution in this situation. I'm happy with the outcome of this treatment.

My thanks go to Dr. Haghighat for his pleasant, professional manner and answering my many questions during the course of the treatment. I'm also grateful to my friend for suggesting that I give holistic treatment a chance."

Regards,

-Kevin-

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