Tailored Veterinary Solutions: Thinking Outside The Box

Standard treatments and approaches address most conditions your dog might face. But one size doesn’t always fit all.

There are times when your dog will benefit with a tailored solution. You should be able to discuss alternative options with your veterinarian.

Grab your best tool for communicating with your veterinarian here.

Tailored Veterinary Solutions: Thinking Outside The Box

Looks like the boils, altered mental status, and heart failure were caused by renal cell carcinoma. I need your signature to start treating it with malaria.
—Gregory House, MD

Treatment options

Getting the right diagnosis is a crucial step but the work doesn’t end there.

Once you know what’s wrong with your dog, you still need to decide on the treatment. Yes, you might have been presented with one treatment option only. That, however, doesn’t mean there is only one option.

Jasmine’s cruciate ligament injury

When Jasmine was diagnosed with torn ACL, the only option presented to us was TPLO surgery! Is TPLO the only option for this condition? Far from it. Your dog’s busted knee can be treated with

  • conservative management with or without a brace
  • regenerative therapies
  • alternate therapis
  • surgery but there are more than one surgical option out there

There are enough options to make your head spin. Why are you offered only one?

That’s not to say that the one option you were given isn’t the best one for your dog. But how would you know for sure without considering them all?

Remember, getting a second opinion doesn’t apply only to diagnostics but to treatment options also!

While a run-of-the-mill treatment solution can often work, it is not always the case. The problem with cookie-cutter solutions is that each dog is an individual.

The best treatment is such that considers your dog’s individual needs.

JD’s ringworm infection

The first time our vet was faced with the need for a unique solution to a common problem was when we brought in JD with ringworm infection.

He was going to write up a standard prescription. 

While doing that he mentioned that JD will have to wear the Elizabethan collar until the treatment was over.

Wait a minute. This was just shortly after Jasmine’s first knee surgery and she was quite vulnerable to setbacks! And I remembered what a disaster it was when JD had to wear the collar after he got neutered. He was a clumsy danger to himself and everybody around him.

Mixing that with Jasmine’s post-op didn’t seem like a good idea to me.

I still remember how momentary irritation swept over the vet’s face.

He was trying to hide it and I didn’t hold it against him. What was important was what he did. We could clearly see him thinking.

Solution found

He then came up with an alternate solution that did not require the e-collar!

Yes, it was a pain in the backside, and the treatment took longer. But it worked and Jasmine’s knee was safe!

He [our vet] since got used to the fact that with Jasmine every solution has to be custom. After examining her, he would sit down deep in thought: “I know what I would normally do—now I have to figure out what I’m going to do considering it’s Jasmine.”

Jasmine’s vet is very smart and sometimes I think he enjoys the challenge.

Thinking out of the box

He had custom designed his first lift exam tables. For his new place, he had now designed custom sound-proof kennels for the sick ward. And he always makes the treatment work for his patients.

When one of Jasmine’s incisions wasn’t healing well, he came up with the idea of using Preparation H.

That’s right, the hemorrhoid ointment! Did it ever work! It seems it works better for this than for its original purpose!

This year has been quite wet and Jasmine’s feet seemed to want to keep breaking out with infections.

What are we using? Epi-Otic!

Yup, the ear cleaner! And it’s working beautifully! Since we started using it, even the cracks Jasmine had on he pads disappeared.

Jasmine’s care is custom tailored to her, starting from her custom home-cooked diet and hand-picked supplements, to the treatment of any problem that she faces.

Traditional veterinary medicine

The biggest leap of faith for her vet was when we wanted to include the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) in our arsenal.

He squirmed a bit at first.

But because the patient’s interest is his main priority, and conventional treatments failed to address the problem, he agreed to try it.

Jasmine’s TCVM vet was quite surprised to find out that her regular vet was cool with that. “He knows you’re here?” he asked, surprised when we came for the first consultation.

Yes, of course, he did, we wouldn’t want to do anything without his blessing.

We love and respect him too much to go behind his back. And the fact that we didn’t have to [go behind his back] only proves that the respect we have for him is well deserved.

Pick a tool that will work best

Over time, all kinds of things got mixed into the pot that is Jasmine’s medical care. Latest science, unorthodox ideas, and alternative treatments. 

The result? Jasmine is going to be 8 years old and nobody would guess that.

We drive our dogs around in custom cars, dress them up with custom accessories … and yet we are quick to settle for cookie-cutter medical solutions.

Does your dog have arthritis? Here are some NSAIDs.

While NSAIDs can be a fine solution for many dogs, there are other options out there that can work just as well and that are safer.

Whatever treatment option you go with, do make sure that it is the best solution for you and your dog. There are options!

Related articles:
What Makes a Good Veterinarian?
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie’s Post-Sedation Complications

Further reading:
Personalized medicine improves outcomes

Categories: Dog health advocacyWorking with Veterinarians

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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