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Newsletter of Penn Dutch Cow Care December 2011

Hi Folks,

I sometimes take heat in the organic world due to really enjoying treating animals rather than focusing on prevention and nutrition. Yet let’s be real – even with excellent prevention and nutrition, the fact is there’ll still be illness at times – that’s part of life. Truth is that by the time I’m called to see a case, the situation is already beyond simple prevention and/or nutrition. Interestingly, some people seem to dislike that I use therapy via needles and injection to help animals regain health, instead of relying on orally administered remedies. Why is that? All I can say is that while I might use fairly intensive natural methods, I’ll also use all routes of administration to help get the best outcome for the patient. Interestingly, it seems that more and more dairy farmers considering organic certification want solutions with near equal “punch” that they have come to expect with conventional medicine. Thus it seems logical to know which quick acting, effective natural treatments to use when orally administered remedies have not succeeded. Truth be told, when giving talks to groups, I usually spend nearly half the time talking about prevention and foundational health strategies, with the rest of the time talking about various modes of alternative treatments and then actual case studies.

There are many types of alternative treatments that can be used as stand alone treatments or in combination with each other. As a group, the AVMA calls them Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM). My opinion is that we should use whichever mode of treatment that we feel intuitively drawn to. Or if there are certain CAVM therapies that make no sense to you whatsoever, don’t seem “real enough”, or make you uncomfortable, simply don’t use them. 

A short listing of CAVM groupings with specific some examples follow: food therapy - preventive nutrition, therapeutic nutrition, glandular therapy and orthomolecular medicine;
manual therapy – massage, acupressure, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, and physical therapy; biological therapy – hyper-immune plasma, hyper-immune eggs, serum therapy, bee sting therapy, and pharmaceutically reared leeches and maggots; botanical therapy - western herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, essential oils and aromatherapy; energy medicine -  Christian laying-on of hands, classical homeopathy, homotoxicology, Bach flower remedies and non-traditional homeopathy. This is not a complete list of course and there are combinations of treatment, like injecting homeopathic remedies at acupuncture points.

If you are drawn to a particular CAVM, consider learning more about it to use it well. Or, if a CAVM therapy makes no sense whatsoever, doesn’t seem “real” enough, or makes you uncomfortable, simply don’t use it. Just please don’t blindly “grasp at straws” in attempts to avoid standard, conventional therapy. Knowing a little about each may help you understand their potential role.

Acupuncture is a form of treatment which utilizes energy routes (meridians) that naturally course throughout the body, with certain points (acupuncture points) of the channel on the skin surface connecting nerves to organs in the body interior. By stimulating these points with dry needles, injectible solutions, electricity or heat, we can influence the functioning of circulation and internal organs to help return a patient to health.

Homeopathy is a form of treatment that uses very highly diluted substances of plant, mineral or animal origin to gently stimulate the body to return to normal equilibrium. The materials that are used would, if given in their raw form, create the illness condition that the dilute remedy is being used to treat. In-depth knowledge of the remedies’ properties and specific symptoms are needed to use homeopathy effectively. Homeopathic remedies higher than 12C (such as a 30C or 200C) actually have no original material, only the essence or energy of the original material remains.

Botanical therapy is a form of treatment which has been used by humans and animals forever. The Bible mentions many plants that were used as medicine. Plants are food, herbs, nutraceuticals and medicine. Real medicine is tucked away within plant cells and all the big drug companies got their start with plant medicines and with good reason – because they contain active compounds. Like homeopathy, there are energetics associated with botanicals (bitter, cooling, sweet, pungent, sweet, and salty), but moreover, there are a multitude of real medicinal compounds in plants.

Biological therapy is a form of treatment that uses natural substances derived from living organisms to stimulate, augment, or modify the immune system. Prior to the antibiotic era, serum therapy was used to deliver antibodies from donors to recipients. Hyper-immune plasma, much purer than serum therapy, is the modern equivalent. For example, rabies anti-toxin, snake venom anti-toxin and botulism anti-toxin and gram-negative coliform and salmonella anti-toxins are derived from horses and cows.  Using bees to sting certain points can reduce arthritic pains, using leeches to draw off excess blood accumulation, and carefully placing maggots to temporarily eat away gangrenous, dead tissue is known and practiced by some regular medical doctors.

In approaching cases and coming up with possible solutions, I like to use hands-on touch to sense where problems may be, careful observation, heightened sense of smell, listen for subtle sounds (with a stethoscope) and intuition to pin point problems. Then I choose from whichever CAVM treatment seems best for each case. Anyone can do this. And while it’s satisfying to be part of a successful outcome, I don’t feel it’s actually me that gets the patient better - that is up to Holy Spirit. I am just a channel for healing to hopefully occur. You can be, too. Using natural therapies honors God’s creation. But if there isn’t success, then hopefully we learn from the situation to prevent it from happening again. That’s the way I handled situations as a herdsman and still do as a veterinarian.

One last thing, and it’s mighty important, the intention with which we approach our animals is critical. I love what bio-dynamic herb grower Andrea Reisen said, “As soon as you put your intention upon anything, it changes everything”. This is so very true. Animals can sense with an uncanny ability whether we as individuals truly want to help them or if we are just going through mechanical motions. Yes, animals can resist your attempts to treat them. But if we come to them from a calm heart rather than a busy head, we may better understand what ails them - and then we’ll choose better therapies from the natural kingdom which God allows us all to partake in.

Please realize that antibiotics do have a place in therapy. For example, if pneumonia hasn’t responded quickly to natural treatments, switch to antibiotics. You’re going to cull a few animals a year, so using antibiotics shouldn’t be automatically be viewed as an impossibility. Most people agree it’s better to have a live cow than a dead organic one. There’s a reason God placed the animals you have in your life – do what’s right and take good care of them. Rewards abound.

Hey, I plan to start up again in part-time practice in the new year – to treat medical and repro problems with natural therapy (but not for emergencies or scheduled monthly reproduction).
Hopefully I’ll get to see you sometime! Until then, count your blessings and the biggest blessing of all, the meaning of Lord Jesus born among the farm animals. Merry Christmas!   


For Bovinity Health, information on functional alternatives to antibiotics see:

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