Billy is a 10 year-old male neutered Labrador Retriever mixed, who has been loved and well taken care of by his wonderful family. However, for the past few months, they have noticed that Billy seems to “slow down” a little bit. It takes him longer to get up from his bed in the morning, he sleeps more, and he doesn’t snuggle on the couch as often. His spirit is still high when taking a walk, but his gait is stiff, and he seems hesitate to play with his friends at the park. Two days ago, Billy started limping noticeably on his back legs and he is not getting better after restriction of activities. Therefore Billy is taken to the vet. After the exam, lab work and the X-ray, they learn that Billy has arthritis of his hip joints, a degenerative disease of the joints from chronic wear and tear. Arthritis is very common in older pets. The veterinarian recommends Billy to lose weight to help relieve some pressure from his joints, and to start taking joint supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin. With how sore Billy is, he is also prescribed with an anti-inflammatory medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, NSAID, similar to Advil in people) to relieve the severe discomfort. Even though the NSAID is an effective medication, there are some potential side effects, and therefore the owners were told to watch Billy closely for any changes of water consumption, appetite, behaviors, and/or tummy discomfort.
Billy’s humans are very dedicated owners. They start the weight management, the medication and the supplement. Billy is definitely a lot better once they started the new regimen! He is running around and acting like his old self again. Five months later, however, Billy seems to not be so excited about eating anymore. He still eats, but becomes picky. The owners are worried and take him for a follow up exam. The bloodwork shows that there is mild liver damage and early indication of underlying kidney diseases. It is not certain if the changes are directly related to the medications, but they were advised to discontinue the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication because it will further complicate the kidney and liver issues.
Being practicing veterinarians, Dr. Chen and I see so many “Billys” everyday. They can be a dog, large and small, or a cat. They are all so well loved, but the road to recovery is less straight forward. They have an inflammatory conditions that causes the constant discomfort. The conventional medication works great and offers an immediate strong pain relief. Sometimes that’s all the pet needs. An immediate relief, and the body takes care of the rest of the recovery with resting, good nutrition and regular exercise. However, more often than not, especially with senior patients like Billy, they need a long term plan that’s gentle and sustainable. A plan that fits that particular patient’s needs, as well as the lifestyle of the family that’s caring for him/her. We love our patients and their humans, and we feel for them. We understand how overwhelming and how lonely it gets when caring for a sick patient, and we are eager to help! With the knowledge and the experience we have, Vetcreations creates products that serve as powerful tools to complete the individual and personalized care regimens.
For future posts, we will talk more about besides conventional NSAIDs and pain medications, what other supplements and medical treatments can be considered for pain management. Please leave us a message on the comment section, if there are any subjects regarding holistic veterinary medicine that you are interested in learning more about.
---Helen Chiu, DVM, CVA
The core of Vetcreations has always been about creating wellness and finding happiness, and we want to apply that to not only the beloved pets, but also the caretakers. We are well aware that everything begins with ourselves, and our humanity. We have to stand strong first in order to carry the big rule of literally being the whole world for our pets.
As a means to exercise both our physical and mental muscles, we went to Ojai, CA for a yoga retreat a few weeks ago. How interesting that everything is connected. Even though the trip was solely for ourselves as people, we were encouraged to channel ourselves into our inner animal spirits-- to live in the moment, and to live life to the fullest. Let go of the noise from worry, fear, insecurity, and just focus on being. Have you seen a dog playing at the beach, chasing the waves, barking from being so excited and happy that s/he just has to make some noise? Do you think that dog is worrying about getting wet, being dirty, and upset that the salty air is irritating his lungs? No! He is focusing on the fun of just being and playing! He seizes the moment! Have you seen your cat lounging in the sun, yarning, enjoying, sleeping, and purring? Do you think this very moment, the cat is meticulously calculating and scheming how to be the most resourceful cat in the neighborhood? Do you think the cat is sunbathing and meanwhile mourning the loss of opportunity to eat more breakfast before the food was taken away? No!
Then why do we?
We can learn so much from our furry companions on the daily basis, and yet we overlook the precious opportunities. We can enjoy the life with pets so much more and so much fuller by just focusing on the moments that we share, instead of worrying. Worrying for their longevity, worrying about their health, worrying that we are not good enough pet owners. To help alleviate the fear and worry of a loving pet owner has been one of the strongest motivations to push both Helen and Lily constantly becoming even better veterinarians. We know that only when we empower the caretakers with knowledge and good medicine, will the pets live good quality of lives. With the same principles and goals, we created Vetcreations. We hope that by providing high quality products, Vetcreations will be part of the solution to cease pet lovers’ fear, and thus fully engaging each moment that our pets share with us.
The first Vetcreations workshop was a great success! We had a fun and awesome crowd, spent a wonderful afternoon talking about food, making food, and of course, eating food!
With the modern busy lifestyles, the therapeutic power of both eating nutritious food and taking the time to actually prepare a meal is often overlooked. Through taking the time to have a discussion on food with a different cultural perspective, taking the time to actually taste foods and experience their various “thermal natures,” taking the time to cook a fresh and balanced meal for our pets, we empowered and reminded ourselves that when it comes to feeding our pets, we have so many more options than just relying on a bag or a can of commercially prepared pet food.
Thank you to our loving and supportive participants, especially those who had traveled far for their fur babies! We are always so inspired and motivated by our pet lover community!
Our paths crossed in 2014 while working shifts together at a West Hollywood small animal hospital. We quickly bonded with each other over our similar interests and hobbies. We were very excited to learn that we both shared similar philosophies on veterinary medicine. We practice Integrative Medicine - combining modern Western Medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine. We know that everything exists in a balance and it is this balance that brings wellness. We share the same passion about bringing wellness to pets and people as well - and it was with this passion that we found our company Vetcreations. This is our way of reaching out to the pet community to find ways to create wellness and find happiness in their lives.
When we began this journey, we spent a lot of time discussing our dreams and hopes for veterinary medicine. We both believe that lifestyle and food are the fundamental blocks to healthy lives. We both love food and have spent a lot of our time talking with each other over delicious meals. In fact, we conceived the idea of colostrum and turmeric supplements while sharing a traditional broth dish in a busy Japanese restaurant. From there, we spent a year crafting the treats - we wanted them to be therapeutic supplements with the best natural ingredients possible. We tried different recipes and experimented with the coatings for the colostrum treats - ensuring that the colostrum is never cooked and remains bioavailable to the body - while insisting not adding any sugars or preservatives. (Therefore please remember to refrigerate the Vetcreations treats! They are perishable!) We spent countless hours, baked batches and batches of the treats, and all in the meanwhile shared deep conversations, good laughs, and generally good times together. And now, in 2017, we officially launched our supplemental treats. We are so proud of them as they represent our labor of love, and also are tiny packages of what we believe in - that we are conscientious about our choices in treating our pets - even as simple as giving out a treat, it can contain the best thing for their health. And we know pets love them! Even the pickiest dogs we have offered the treats to just devoured them.
We are grateful for everyone who is a part of this community and sharing our journey. We will always be open to conversations about how we can help you and your pets.