Sponsored content: Vet’s Corner, May 2014

By Lori Blankenship, Ph.D., DVM, CVA

Studying holistic modalities and the medical ways of the doctors of our past opens up many possibilities for helping our patients. Practitioners such as Samuel Hahnemann and the many Chinese medical practitioners known in ancient history spent years observing in intricate detail the changes that a body goes through as it ages and is exposed to environmental and dietary changes.


Today’s practitioners trained in the latest scientific advances in medicine, have the opportunity to also take advantage of the knowledge gained by historical practitioners. Studying Western medicine, Chinese medicine, and Homeopathy together allows us to look at our patients from a broad perspective.

In many cases we are able to combine holistic medicine with Western Medicine to detect, treat, and support our patients. Recently, two dogs tested positive for a tick borne disease that we infrequently see in Rappahannock county. Both had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but their symptoms were very different. The infection was treated with an antibiotic, and many symptoms resolved. With some symptoms remaining we turned to holistic medicine for help and relief. These cases are exact examples of how modern medicine can be integrated with the more traditional of medicines that humans have practiced for centuries.

Jesse is 14 years old and has been our patient since 2007. We were called to his house on emergency because he collapsed, had a high fever, and was unable to walk. These symptoms were all the result of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Jersey Boy, presented with very different symptoms but had the same disease as Jesse. Jersey presented with a fever and swollen red ears which quickly progressed to swollen hind legs.

For the first stage of treatment, we used doxycycline, the drug of choice for most tick borne diseases. Upon completion of the medication, both dogs had residual symptoms, still not 100% better.

Jersey Boy still had swollen ears, and weight loss, while Jesse still had difficulty walking. Both dogs now are eating a home prepared diet with ingredients chosen specifically to ease their symptoms. Jersey is taking Chinese Herbs to support circulation and help lessen the autoimmune symptoms, and specific Essential Oils to decrease the inflammation of his ears.

Jesse’s persistent symptoms are characteristic of patients who are older and weaker (Kidney Qi deficient from a Chinese perspective). Jessie responded to Acupuncture, Laser therapy, and Essential Oils. The Chinese Herbal formula that he has been using for the past few years is still appropriate for his aging body. He is walking and happy with little to no effects from the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

By treating these animals as completely separate individuals, they were both successfully cured of their chronic diseases. The integration of western and more traditional medicines has been most successful in our practice allowing us to succeed in treating cases that would otherwise not be cured.

Finally, what about prevention? There are many diseases that can be caused by ticks. Regardless of the tick preventative that you use, daily tick checks are a great way to find, and remove ticks possibly before disease is transmitted. In our practice we use and recommend our Flea and Tick spray which is made from medicinal grade essential oils and catnip. While the parasites do not like this spray, it is healthful and safe to humans and pets.

Vet’s Corner is sponsored by Animals First Veterinary Service (www.animalsfirstvet.com).

For a house-call appointment, call 540-937-6683 or email appointments@animalsfirstvet.com.

Meet the vet: Lori Blankenship received her B.S. in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvannia in 1989, Ph.D. in genetic toxicology from George Washington University in 1996 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000.