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The Healthy Path for Every Animal by Dr. Chambreau DVM

Holistic veterinary is attempting to make your pet as healthy as he or she can be and gradually build up their body to the best that it can be.

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Help Animals Live Healthier, Longer

Dr. Christina Chambreau D.V.M. - "Many of us, even alternative health care practitioners, take our animals to a good veterinarian and follow implicitly their directions, even if they contradict our personal philosophies. We do not vaccinate our children at all, yet we vaccinate our animals for 8 diseases yearly. We feed canned or dry food to our animals when we eat the freshest, most organically prepared food we can afford. We treat whatever symptoms the animal exhibits with whatever the veterinarian recommends, yet look carefully at which approach would be the best for the particular problem we are experiencing." Dr. Chambreau

Following are excerpts from Dr. Chambreau's lecture to a homeopathic health minded audience



For the health of your animal and for the health of the planet, the ingredients should be the most consciously raised - organic vegetables, free ranging holistically treated animals. Briefly, the best diet is raw meat including raw bones for dogs and cats, grated raw vegetables as well as cooked vegetables, maybe some grains, seeds and nuts, and supplements.

If bones are not eaten, then a calcium supplement is needed. There are now at least 5 good books on home preparing food for your animals to coach you and I offer courses to help you transition to fresh food. Every animal needs and wants a different combination at different times in their lives, just as we do. If you also feed some commercial food, buy it from the health food stores. With any food, observe each of your animals for the effect that food has on them. You decide what is best.

Experiment. Have fun. All animals need the least processed foods. Horses need oats and other grains, fresh hay - not pelleted food or pre-made molasses feeds. Tiny herbivores (guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, etc) should have fresh vegetables and raw grains appropriate to them rather than pellets. The best is to let them graze for themselves when possible. Avoid chemicals and processing just like you do for yourself. The same basic principles that guide our food selections will need to applied to animals in our lives, adapting to the individual physiological differences.

  • STEP ONE: Use the freshest, purest ingredients you can afford.
  • STEP TWO: Read different books about the holistic approach to animal nutrition. As with books written for human diets, there are differences in opinion. There are differences not yet written in books that you will find by going to lectures, reading holistic animal magazines or consulting with a holistic animal practitioner.
  • STEP THREE: Start using one nutritional approach with your animals. Evaluate their health. You may want to start a journal that describes their current health condition, so you can re-evaluate in the future. YOU are the one to decide if the diet you are feeding is a good one. WARNING: Do not stray too far from the basic guidelines you read in the books. Cats CANNOT be vegetarians. They need at least 60% meat in their diet, and maybe 90%. There are some healthy dogs being fed a vegetarian diet, but most of the healthy ones self-selected a vegetarian diet rather that having their owners impose one. Most dogs need at least 25% meat and some need up to 60% or maybe even more. Wait, you say, what about canned and dry animal foods, or pelleted feeds? That is the only diet my veterinarian recommends. Think people. Would you be your best eating instant breakfasts and military K rations as your total diet? They meet the MDRs. Dogs and cats need raw meat to be really healthy and even the best processed foods cook their good ingredients, and most commercially available foods, even the expensive ones, use the cheapest ingredients (that means dead, diseased and decaying meat and by-products).

Organic or not organic? As noted on the scale above, organic is certainly best, but when not available or affordable, fresh is key. You can compile a list of where is purchase meats(the most expensive item) at what prices and quality. Remember that wild game is hormone and steroid free even when they eat pesticide reared corn and crops. Look into meat lockers and reselling wild meat, or finding butchers who will keep the scraps from game, or hunters willing to bring in the organ meat they clean out in the field, and the stores who discount their almost ready to expire meat. The more research you can do to find inexpensive, healthy meat sources, the more likely your patients will get to eat healthy meat. I remind people that paying extra for organic is like making a charitable contribution to the health of our planet, and sometimes people can afford better food if they decrease their tithing and put some of that money into organic ingredients.

General Nutritional Guidelines

Holistic Cat Care and Natural Remedies Every animal is an individual and has different requirements - you need to find out what will satisfy their personal nutrition needs. Dogs need 25% - 50% (even up to 90%) protein, and a few can be healthy with a vegetarian diet. I have seen dogs die who did not do well on vegetarian diets. Cats need at least 60% protein, mostly meat, and therefore cannot be vegetarian. (Some cats do best with up to 90% meat, even ones with kidney problems.) Carbohydrates need to be overcooked/soggy and raw vegetables ground finely since dogs and cats have very short digestive tracts. In the wild, the intestinal contents of the prey are seeds, which are high fat and protein, not our modern grains which are high carbohydrate. While many animals will tolerate carbohydrates, others can not be fully healthy and need few , if any, grains. Do dogs or cats require grains in their diet?

Meat should be raw. Cooking destroys their food relatively whole) needed to digest food properly. You can buy in quantity and freeze in portions, (Freezing only slightly decreases the nutritional value). An excellent meat is heart meat (good price, too). Other organ meats are great.

Liver must be organic since it processes toxins. A must to read on the topic of raw meat is Pottinger's Cats. An M.D. in the 1930's kept 3 groups of cats in large outdoor enclosures. He found that feeding raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil produced great health, including reproductive and off-spring health. When either the milk or the meat was cooked, health deteriorated rapidly. We rarely see Salmonella, E. coli, and toxoplasmosis due to the intestinal flora and short transit time of dogs and cats. Raw bones, yes bones, are great on a regular basis. If the animal is eating the bones, you need not supplement with calcium. Raw fruit and vegetables are great, but must be grated so their short intestinal tracts can fully digest them. Milk products are fine. Only a few animals get diarrhea from milk. As with people, some animals do not thrive on specific food items, so individually adjust your companion's diet.

Digestive Supplements

No one knows exactly which animals need which supplements, just as each person needs different supplements. There are a basic few that follow, and many owners give 10 to 20 different supplements they have heard of. If an animal needs more than just a few supplements to stay healthy, more holistic treatment is needed, as healthy animals will get the nutrients, vitamins and minerals, from a good diet. Keep experimenting to see which supplements are really needed for each individual. Juliette de Bairacli Levy recommends letting animals graze and select their own herbal supplements. Vitamins and minerals are needed, especially calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, A, D, and E, so please follow the books' guidelines or use a commercial source. VITAMIN C is good: 500-2,000 mg per day, especially when pets are stressed. Ester-C is the most absorbable(C-flex is good for animals). Helpful when the body needs acidifying is sodium ascorbate powder (or ascorbic acid), which comes very concentrated. For young (under 12 mos.) very large breed dogs, use calcium ascorbate. Many other supplements are available - see the catalogs and read your mail.


This is a common response. My interaction often starts with: Do you eat? Meals can be prepared weekly, and/or entrees and salad bars purchased for your animals. Next best, for busy or traveling owners, or while switching over, you can use a combination of good quality commercial food and home prepared food. Buy Pet Guard, or Wysong, (usually available at pet food stores or health food stores.) Then supplement with raw meat, vegetables, starches, fruits and specific supplements. I do not recommend most foods available in your supermarket, pet store, veterinarian's, or even health food store. Yes, even Science diet. They usually are full of chemicals and poor ingredients. Different animals need different foods: you will be the judge of what foods are best for your friend by watching the effect of the diet. Pet Guard, Wysong, PHD, and Precise are good foods.


We have a fear of getting sick, and if someone can tell us that by getting an injection we and our loved ones will not get that disease, we want that injection. Unfortunately, we would rather prevent one problem than take the time to slowly build up such good health that we do not need specific disease prevention - and are much healthier overall. Stop for a moment, and What Veterinarians don't tell you about Vaccines reflect on the number of pet vaccinations many veterinarians now recommend for dogs and cats: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Bordetella, Corona, and Lyme disease vaccines for dogs, and Panleukopenia, Calici, Rhino, Chlamydia, Leptospirosis, Feline Leukemia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis and now ringworm vaccine for cats. Every year (or more frequently) animals are being injected with 4-8 viruses, in addition to Rabies. Would you rebel if your doctor told you to now get MMR and DPT (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetnus), Hib, Hepatitis, and Rabies every year of your life until you died, instead of only a few doses as a child? The leaders in conventional veterinary medicine are now questioning the whole vaccination protocol, but private practitioners may be slow to respond. RABIES is required by law and because of the public health significance, must be done with an approved vaccine by a veterinarian. We can attempt to avoid the possible negative effects of the Rabies vaccine by using homeopathy and good timing.

What is the best environment for an animal?

Again, each animal is different, just like each child is different. Some children can go to any school and do well, others must try out several schools before finding their ideal learning situation. There is no right answer, only the search for the best answer. Some horses love to race. Others, while appearing to enjoy racing, are sick frequently.

Some dogs, even when very healthy, are basically couch potatoes and like a moderate walk or a short spell of ball chasing. To require this dog to go on 20 mile hikes every week- end may cause physical problems, even if mentally the dog goes to please you. A cat who really wants to be an outside cat may need you to play for longer times and more actively than one who is content with the indoor, more sedentary life. Maybe you will need to build a screened in porch in your 12th floor condominium to have a healthy cat. Even when we do not have the perfect environment for our animals, we can try to do our best by stopping and thinking about what they need.

Home base business opportunity The shift you have made in your own health that now has you seeking ways to overall improve your health rather than merely getting rid of each symptom or illness is the same philosophy you need to apply to your animal friends. Again, there is no one right method of treatment. Some (although very few) animals just do not like acupuncture needles, some animals do not exhibit the characteristic idiosyncrasies we need to best prescribed homeopathically, some need the energy support of Reike or therapeutic touch or Zero balancing to be the most healthy. Most will improve with any well-done treatment.

You are the one responsible to decide if your animal is being cured, palliated or suppressed by the treatment given. A cure is when all the symptoms disappear, never to return , and the animal is glowing with health. Healthy animals can, and should, get sick occasionally with acute illnesses that resolve quickly with minimal treatment.

Clues that you are progressing towards a cure are that emotionally your animal is happier and more expressive, and you sense that there is more resilience, more health even though the symptoms may be continuing. There will often be a brief return of old symptoms (this is good) or a short worsening of the current symptoms. Improvement should be quick if the animal has been sick a short time, and should take longer if the illness is longstanding. If your cat has been itching for 5 years, it may take 5 months to completely resolve the itching. If the itching goes away in a day, palliation or suppression have probably occurred and that is not good in the long run. When there is severe diarrhea for one day, you could expect it to disappear in a few hours.

If you find you are having to re-treat frequently to keep the symptoms in check, or your animal feels worse overall even though the main problem is still gone, you need to talk with your practitioner or consult with someone else. Keeping a journal is important so you can look back and see what has gotten better and are problems getting less frequent and less severe, which is your goal.

This journal will help you patiently wait for problems resolve because you can see the pattern of the whole being changing for the better. Patience is definitely an unsung virtue on the road to health. Even if the modality you choose turns out not to be curative, your animal will be healthier for using this approach. Finally, as you already realize, you are responsible for your animal's health, not just your practitioner. If you feel the practitioner you are using is palliating or suppressing, not curing, talk to them of your concerns and suggest a referral or simply choose another one yourself. Read, talk to other people, talk with your animal health care providers, take courses. Pay attention to what works and what does not work (here's that useful journal helping you keep track).

You may have a wonderful veterinary acupuncturist who thinks you should vaccinate and feed canned food. You certainly can use her for acupuncture, but follow your heart and feed raw meat and do not vaccinate. You stand firm with what you feel is working. You need to be flexible enough to realize you (or your practitioner) has made a mistake and it is time for a change. The path to health for your animals can be fun and challenging. Your animals will love your experimentation with all the different forms of healing. You will learn how to be more healthy yourself. You will eat better because you are feeding your animal better. You will meet some other wonderful people committed to their animal's health. Have fun. All holistic modalities treat the entire animal (or person) rather than just trying to get rid of one symptom at the cost of weakening the overall life force, but not every practitioner practices that way.

Why Do So Many Animals Suffer From Chronic Illness?

Why do so many animals suffer from autoimmune diseases, cancer, short life spans, thyroid problems, diabetes, chronic allergies, inflammation ,bowel problems, and behavior problems?

  • Diets that are lacking essential nutrients; are not prepared with love; food raised in soils that are very nutrient deficient; over processed and chemically preserved canned and dry foods that sap the vitality.
  • Drugs that are very effective at quickly making symptoms disappear (this is often suppressive, and worsens the overall imbalance.)
  • Drugs that are prescribed in case a problem might occur. Drugs taken regularly for "prevention" of heartworms, parasites, etc. "Don't" let the body have mild symptoms to allow the vital force to re-balance and strengthen.
  • Overreaction by owners to symptoms - "I want the itch to stop now!" Over treatment by drugs and pesticides.
  • Vaccinations. This is probably the main cause of the chronic conditions in our animals today, and their inability to regain their health easily. See later lectures by me, and read from bibliography.
  • Environmental toxins and stressors - noise, hectic pace, electric wires, pollution of all sorts. Eradication of superficial symptoms, such as surgical removal of tumors and warts, topical treatment to eliminate eruptions and discharges.

  • SKIN: doggy smell; attracts fleas a lot; dry, oily, lack-luster coat; excessive shedding; not grooming, ear problems - waxy, oily, itchy, recurrent mites; eye discharge, tearing, or matter in corner of eyes; raised third eyelid; spots appearing on iris; "freckles" appearing on face; whiskers falling out; fragile, thickened, distorted claws that are painful or sensitive to trim.
  • BEHAVIOR: Fears(of loud noises, thunder, wind, people, animals, life); too timid; too rough or aggressive (even at play); too hard to train; barks too much and too long; suspicious nature; biting when petted too long; hysteria when restrained; clumsy; indolent; licking or sucking things or people too much; not using litter box , not covering.
  • DIGESTIVE: Bad breath; tarter accumulation; loss of teeth; poor appetite; craving weird things(rubber bands, plastic, dirt, cat litter, paper, dogs eating dog or cat stools, rocks, sticks..); sensitivity to milk; thirst - a super healthy cat on non dry food will drink at most once a week; red gum line; vomiting often, even hairballs more than a few times a year; mucus on stools; tendency to diarrhea with least change of diet; obesity; anal gland problems; recurrent parasites.
  • STIFFNESS when getting up, early hip dysplasia; tires easily in hot or cold weather; can no longer jump up on counters, or go up or down steps.
  • TEMPERATURE: Low grade fevers - Normal for healthy cats and dogs is 100-101.5.
  • AGE and REPRODUCTION: Should live a long life (Shepherds 17 years, Danes 12, cats 24); should be able to conceive easily, deliver normally, and not pass on "genetic breed" traits.Fatty tumors - Lumps, Bumps

Often soft and squishy to the touch, benign fatty tumors are not a threat to your dogs health. (The exception is infiltrative lipomas, which can invade muscle tissue, but these are relatively rare.) While lipomas can be unsightly, many vets opt not to remove them unless they are in a location where their growth impedes a dog's mobility.

This middle-aged Lab has at least one lipoma (behind his elbow, on the chest wall). Unless it grows until it impedes the free movement of his leg or the ability of his chest to expand to breathe, veterinarians will likely decline to remove it. But many holistic veterinarians see lipomas as far from innocuous. Instead, they stress, lipomas are symptoms of a bigger problem. Susan headed her dog at home. Her dog had what seemed to be pneumonia... coughing up blood...mucus filling nose and eyes.

Holistic view

"For conventional veterinarians, lipomas are just something that happens, just like cancer happens, says Marty Goldstein, DVM, of Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, New York, author of The Nature of Animal Healing: The Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat. "What they don't get is that lipomas are a result of what we've done to depress the metabolic functions and immune system of the animal."

Dr. Goldstein believes that lipomas are a sign of improper fat digestion and a haywire metabolism, and that they often result from the unnatural commercial dog food diets that have become the norm today. We've laden dog food with 50 to 65 percent carbohydrates, even though in nature wolves eat perhaps 1 to 3 percent grains.

While few (if any) conventional veterinary practitioners would agree with this assessment (see Conventional Medical Opinion, next page), consider the case of Tembo, a Rhodesian Ridgeback who had his first lipoma before the tender age of one. Fed kibble and then a homemade diet heavy in grains and carbs, Tembo had constant allergies ,corn gave him hives, and wheat summoned forth blistering yeast infections on his feet and in his ears.

For the first seven years, the lipomas popped up like mushrooms, remembers his owner, Elizabeth Akers of Concord, California, who had about 20 lipomas surgically removed from Tembo's rib cage, legs, and chest. Some of the growths were small, others were tangerine-sized. One on his groin was growing faster than the speed of light.

Then, at age 7, Akers switched Tembo to a raw diet and the lipomas responded as if she had flipped an off switch. By the time he died at age 12, the only lipomas he had were in four places where they had been removed and had grown back again, she remembers. He had no new ones.

Holistic veterinarians are quick to note that diet changes are not miracle cures: As in Tembo's case, they may slow or even stop the growth of existing lipomas, or cause them to organize, or shrink. But expecting a wholesale disappearance of them is likely unrealistic. Success is relative, Dr. Goldstein says. If a lump is growing three inches every six months, and after you make modifications in your dog's diet and lifestyle, it still gets bigger but it's only growing one inch in that time frame, then you're moving in the right direction.

Holistic medicine doesn't see diseases as unrelated entities that swoop in to disrupt health like so many flying monkeys at Oz. Instead, disease or any disruption of the body's functioning, no matter how seemingly mild, like lipomas is a manifestation of a weakness with the body itself. In other words, there's a Wicked Witch of the West lurking in the backdrop acting as dispatcher. Simply put, lipomas are a sign that there are deeper issues behind the scenes.

Many systems of healing have a name for the life energy that flows through the body and maintains good health. In homeopathy, for example, it is called the vital force. But no matter what you label it, what's clear to holistic vets is that lipomas are evidence of the fact that the vital force is weakened and perhaps blocked and likely has been for some time.

One sign of vitality is the expression of symptoms, because that's the body's attempt to bring itself into balance, explains classically trained homeopathic vet Michael Dym, VMD, of Morristown, New Jersey. By contrast, lipoma patients have very weak symptoms, as the body struggles to externalize its internal conflict in a kind of slow boil. In this scenario, the patient has been ill on a deeper level for some time it's just that they don't have adequate reactions, and have a very weak development of symptoms.

For that reason, lipomas are not easy to treat, because making changes on that deep and profound a level doesn't happen overnight. From a homeopathic perspective, any sort of lump or growth is generally thought to be an outcome of vaccinosis, or the adverse effects of vaccination on the body, Dr. Dym continues. Animals that are ill from prior vaccinations can have chronic warts, skin tags and fatty tumors and lipomas.

Homeopathic Veterinary Practice

That's not to say that you will be able to draw a direct line from last month's rabies vaccine to your dog's new growths. Instead, we look at them as an outcome of weakness in a patient who's not in the best health, Dr. Dym says, because the life force has been affected by vaccines or toxins such as pesticides. Lipomas can be unsightly, and some owners might be tempted to remove them for pure aesthetics. But because surgery only treats the symptom of the problem, not its root, most holistic veterinarians avoid it, except for lipomas that are so large or awkwardly placed that they impede a dog's quality of life.

The risk of removing the growth surgically is that it leaves the uncured disease to manifest at a deeper level, in a different form, Dr. Dym warns. And from a homeopathic perspective, when you remove a growth, you stimulate the vital force to greater activity. You can't cure an apple tree of growing apples by cutting off its branches. In fact, you might spur it to blossom even more profusely. And most lipomas tend to recur anyway.

While Dr. Goldstein agrees, he has had to remove lipomas that were in a compromising position, such as behind the nasal cavity, where they could obstruct breathing. Lipomas have their own finite capsule you just scoop them out, he says. A technique he employs during such surgeries is to roughen the tissue area around the lipoma, creating an inflammatory response. This creates scar tissue that prevents the lipoma from growing back on that spot, at least.

Individualistic treatment

The classic homeopathic remedy used to treat tumors and, while they are benign, lipomas are tumors. Thuja, is also often used for vaccine reactions. But Dr. Dym cautions against such a paint-by-number approach: Because lipomas are a symptom of a deep-seated imbalance in the body, he suggests a consultation with a homeopath to find the proper constitutional remedy one that takes into account your dog's own individuality and treat the dog over time. Taking the wrong remedy even one that might seem to fit the picture might stimulate a reaction that could highlight or activate the very things you are trying to resolve, he warns. Traditional Chinese medicine has a different name for this life force that animates us all: chi. But that ancient modality also interprets lipomas as symptoms of a deeper imbalance.

In Traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, lipomas are a type of 'dampness' called 'phlegm' that has stagnated in a particular area, usually an acupuncture channel such as the Gallbladder channel, explains veterinarian Bruce Ferguson, DVM, MS, a practitioner and instructor in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine based in Perth, Australia. Issues of 'damp' are usually, in the case of lipomas, caused by improper diet leading to a damage to the gastrointestinal system, which is governed by the Spleen/Stomach meridian.

In traditional Chinese medicine, this channel is responsible for moving a type of post-ingestive fluid around the body, Ferguson continues. When a dog is fed a grain-based diet high in refined carbohydrates as opposed to a more natural, meat-based diet the channel gets clogged, and gooey. In addition to dietary change, Dr. Ferguson says lipomas can be addressed with herbal formulas that tonify the spleen and resolve phlegm and dampness; acupuncture to help restore the movement of chi through the body, particularly the Spleen, and reverse stagnation; and occasionally gentle, non-traumatic massage such as Tui Na. For his part, Goldstein sometimes prescribes Chi- Ko/Curcuma, a Chinese-herb formula indicated for resolving masses, specifically lipomas. He also considers nutritional supplements such as L-carnitine and chromium picolinate, which assist in fat metabolism, as well as a product called Mega Lipo-Tropic, which helps digest and burn fat. Ditto for digestives enzymes that contain ox bile, a powerful fat emulsifier.

Improve your pet's basic health

No matter what modality you choose to deal with the underlying imbalances that might cause your dog's lipomas, all dogs will benefit from these commonsense basics: good nutrition in the form of a biologically appropriate diet; good mental health, with a lifestyle that provides stimulating play, problem-solving, and social interaction; and no exposure to unnecessary vaccinations or toxins such as pesticides. And don't forget exercise, Goldstein adds. The only way to burn fat is to get your body and your dog's up to its aerobic potential, he says. In the end, then, the good news about lipomas is that they aren't life-threatening. But they are a signal that something is askew in your dog's body.

When I was in veterinary college, lipomas were described as benign masses that merely had a statistical rate of occurrence and did not 'mean anything,' Dr. Ferguson says. By contrast, traditional Chinese medicine teaches that anything out of the ordinary has meaning, and usually indicates some type of imbalance. The task of the practitioner and the observant, committed owner is to discover and correct it. Denise Flaim is the companion-animal columnist at Newsday on Long Island, New York. She owns four raw-fed Rhode-sian Ridgebacks and is the author of The Holistic Dog Book: Canine Care for the 21st Century. See Resources, page 24.

Homeopathic remedies, including one often used for lipomas, are available in health food stores but don't buy and administer them without the guidance of a veterinary homeopath. your dog needs to be properly diagnosed, treated for the totality of his symptoms as an individual, and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Dr. Christina Chambreau, DVM - "Frequent scheduling of immunizations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine. Repeating vaccinations on a yearly basis undermines the whole energetic well-being of our animals. Animals do not seem to be decimated by one or two vaccines when they are young and veterinary immunologists tell us that viral vaccines need only be given once or twice in an animal's life. First, there is no need for annual vaccinations and, second, they definitely cause chronic disease. As a homeopath, it is almost impossible to cure an animal without first addressing the problems that vaccines have caused to the animal, no matter what the species."