What is holistic care?

I wrote my newsletter the last 2 months on a laminitis horse case study. In this case of a cushings horse with elevated ACTH on blood work and severe laminitis I used a drug called pergolide to treat her. In the past I have not wanted to use pergolide because it can cause side effects but my study of the many successful cases talked about on the yahoo cushings forum have caused me to reevaluate. 

I have very good results treating most laminitis horse cases without drugs. I use natural products to increase overall health and diet to control carbohydrate intake and balance nutrients. I have not, however, had good results with actual cushings horses. I have seen may of these horses decline and be put down despite my efforts with natural support alone. 

Needless to say I was distressed to get an email from a loyal newsletter reader canceling her subscription because I used pergolide on this case. As a holistic practitioner, I do not reach for drugs initially but I don’t rule them out either. I feel in a disease such as cushings with an actual tumor which has destroyed much of the tissue in the pituitary gland and is driving the production of large amounts of steroid hormones in the body I do not always have a choice. At this point the degenerative condition has advanced to the point of not being able to heal. At this point I am knowingly looking at palliating with drugs to provide quality of life or in some cases such as Bonita’s, life itself. Bonita was definitely on the way to being put down due to her constant pain. 

Palliation with drugs is never my first choice but until we get better at preventing these serious degenerative diseases I will keep them in my toolbox. We are learning so much more about prevention of laminitis in horses but cushings in older horses seems to be an end stage disease that can occur in even carefully managed horses. In my expereince, serious, advanced laminitis in a older cushings horse is refractory to most natural treatments but does often respond to a combination of nutritional, herbal and medicinal treatment. I consider this holistic care. Madalyn

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