"The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measure."—Rabindranath TagoreOur base plan is structured as follows:
A conventional veterinarian for diagnostics
A classical veterinary homeopath
A gradual change to the best possible diet
A regimen for fluid therapy, if required
A plan for nutritional supplementation
Other practitioners as needed
Subcutaneous Fluid Therapy Can Really Help Your Pet Feel Better
Depending upon blood work and symptoms, you may be advised or wish to start subcutaneous fluid therapy. There are many advantages to fluid therapy, the most important being that it will help keep the body hydrated. Fluids may help prevent the buildup of toxins—extremely important in chronic renal failure. Depending upon the condition of your pet, fluids would be given anywhere from once a week to daily, and sometimes twice daily. The procedure is simple and can be performed at home, which is very beneficial for the animal.
Nutritional Supplements or Nutraceuticalsfor the older pet:
These may be prescribed for your pet by your veterinarian or other practitioner to best suit your pet’s condition and to provide both organ and immune function support. “Nutraceuticals” is the name given to a range of food supplements which are specifically designed to nutritionally improve metabolic processes and correct biochemical imbalances. They are naturally occurring substances in food and fall in the same class as vitamins. Research shows that, in many cases, they are an effective treatment in diseases. A variety of nutritional products have been used at BrightHaven for years with great success.
Wellness or Hospice Care for the old pet
Once protocol is decided and your support team in place, you can proceed, knowing you are doing your best and doing it with love. Anxiety subsides when guilt and worry are replaced by your plan. The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs to feel happiness and love from you.
Please understand that at this stage of life you cannot know whether you are caring for a dying animal or one who will surprise everyone by rebounding to new and healthier life. Remain open— as the old saying goes,
'Life is a precious gift. Don’t waste it being unhappy, dissatisfied, or anything less than you can be. Too often are we so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey." —Unknown
Fresh Food Diets Help Older Pets
Diet is essential to the BrightHaven philosophy and has a tremendous impact on the health of animals. Many years of feeding our animals a natural, supplemented raw meat diet demonstrates how health-giving it can be for cats and dogs. At BrightHaven, every feline and canine resident is fed the natural diet, regardless of age. Even the oldest and sickest animals usually show overall improvement when switched from a commercial to a natural diet. The diet comprises fresh, raw meat, mixed with the right proportions of vegetables, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other optional ingredients.
Feed the best diet you can. This is critical. In our opinion, commercial foods are not adequate. Think, what is best for people—fresh or processed foods? The same is true for all beings, as processing removes valuable nutrients. The old adage “we are what we eat” is true. Please give serious consideration to feeding your animals a fresh, raw, whole food diet, which should be as close as possible to what Mother Nature intended. Even within a few days you may notice a new sparkle followed by an overall healthy energy.
Important: If your pet still has a good appetite, a fairly slow changeover is recommended. If your pet is not eating well, then an even slower introduction is needed. It is not wise to make a quick diet change for an older or ill animal. We recommend adding a little of the new diet to the old daily, increasing the amount gradually to avoid any digestive upset. Should your animal remain resistant to the change, you can amend the diet in many ways to tempt them. (See the section on “tricks to help them to eat” in the next chapter.)
The Natural Raw Meat Diet
The diet is easy to prepare or to buy. You can purchase a ready-made diet from many retailers or you can choose to make your own. There are many sources of great information to be found on the internet. Please consult with your health care team before making major changes.
Do’s and Don’ts for Feeding:
Do research and feed a well-balanced raw meat- based diet, which contains essential nutrients for carnivores (meat, vegetables, oils, fluids, vitamins, minerals).
Animals should be fed a diet that mimics nature as closely as possible. Many people assume the expensive veterinarian-recommended food is providing high quality nutrition for their pet. We have found the opposite to be true. Premium prescription diets tend to be the least supportive of good health in our opinion.
Do not feed dry food. Cats usually do not drink adequate amounts of water to make up for the lack of moisture in a kibble-only diet. Chronic dehydration, kidney disease, and urinary problems may be an eventual consequence of a dry food diet. We suggest perhaps using dry food only as a small treat on occasion.
Try not to feed commercially canned food. Many contain additives such as chemical preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and other substances proved to be contributory to cancer and liver disease. Daily feeding of these substances may have a cumulative effect. They also contain known allergens, such as corn, soy, and wheat. If you do feed commercial foods, then please read the ingredients. Some are far better than others. Avoid meat by-products, chemical preservatives, colorings, and flavorings.
BrightHaven offers a comprehensive handout about feeding a natural diet. Please visit our website for details and to order.
Only the enlightened can see the invisible.
This is an excerpt from Gail's wonderful Peace, Hope & Hospice booklet. It is available both as e-book and print copies at lulu.com
Please note: The information provided here is intended to supplement the recommendations of your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment based on information on this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff