CUSHING’S SYNDROME

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS  

This, my final article on Cushing’s Syndrome, will look at ways of treating the disease in a more natural, holistic way, using herbs and nutritional supplements. Very briefly,  I will discuss homeopathic treatments, as well.  I will not give a detailed description of each herb or nutritional supplement, but will simply put forth those that are used, along with where you might obtain more information on them.  As always, please “consult your veterinarian” before starting any course of treatment!

The main prompting to end my series on Cushing’s discussing the “natural” treatment is due to a friend’s 13-½ year old golden “queen” being recently diagnosed with the disease.  Due to a myriad of other health issues, the decision to treat “Jinx” holistically was the only course to follow !  I am told the approach and treatment for Jinx is simple.  At the advice of her holistic vet, she was switched to a more natural kibble; that being, Wellness Senior Formula.  (See http://www.omhpet.com/ for the ingredient list).  In addition, three herbal supplements are given.  Pine Mountain (http://www.itmonline.org/formulas.htm), Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/alt/liu_wei_faq.htm), and Rehmannia Six Formula (http://www.itmonline.org/arts/rehm6.htm).  Please go to the listed links for a detailed description of the herbs. 

Jinx has been on this regime now for 6 weeks.  Some of her clinical sign have improved such as she has more muscle mass to her skull.  The skeleton appearance has diminished.  She seems a bit more alert, and her eyes are brighter.  She doesn't seem as wobbly, and her rear is a bit stronger.  While she does still take large drinks of water at times, her water consumption isn't nearly as great.  Her last urine test showed that while she was throwing a bit more protein (vet thinks renal insufficiency associated with her age), her urine was not as dilute as the previous two tests.  She still carries the “barrel” look, but her coat is fuller.  At almost 14 years of age, we are all thankful for the improvements!  Long live the Queen!! 

Some of the other reported nutritional supplements associated with the treatment of Cushing’s Syndrome are:

Phosphatidylserine--This is a safe nutritional supplement that naturally suppresses stress hormones (ACTH & cortisol). Clinical studies indicate that Phosphatidylserine (PS) may be effective for Cushing's (PDH & ADH), epilepsy, memory loss, mood and cognitive performance. Many dog owners have had good results using Phosphatidylserine (PS) together with conventional disease treatment. Phosphatidylserine is pronounced FOS-fuh-TIE-dil-sair-een).  Phosphatidylserine comes from lecithin. 

Magnolia Bark—Controls cortisol and has general effects as an anti-anxiety and anti-distress agent. 

Chasteberry is a well-known herb that has been used for centuries in Europe for hormonal imbalances in women. In animal studies, chasteberry has been reported to diminish release of follicle-stimulating hormone from the anterior pituitary while increasing the
release of luteinizing hormone and prolactin. It also contains constituents that bind to dopamine (d1 and d2) receptors and seem to inhibit prolactin release.

Fish oils are natural sources of high concentrations of omega 3 oils. As studies increase, it becomes increasingly evident that Omega 3 oils from fish are one of the most powerful nutritional products, and help heal a large number of conditions. They are excellent at maintaining health, as well.

A “google search” will yield much information on PS, Magnolia Bark, Chasteberry and the assorted Fish Oils.

Many veterinarians are now using Transfer Factor, (a natural immune modulator/booster) in their practices for their cancer cases and other chronic cases, including Cushing’s Syndrome.  (Click on the Tranfer Factor link above to go to the reference page.)  Transfer Factor is a set of messaging molecules that convey immune information within an individual's immune system. Nature also uses transfer factor to carry immune information from one individual's immune system to another individual. This in fact is how it got its name: by being the factor that transferred immunity from one person to another.

In addition to treating Cushing’s naturally and holistically, homeopathic treatments are also used.  An article written by Cheyanne West, C-Hom. www.cheyannewest.com   
states in part:

“Homeopathic remedies have been effective when this condition is diagnosed in its early stages.

Homeopathic Pituitary - This remedy is historically made from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland and is offered to aid in balancing the actions of the gland. It is given in low potencies (30c) over a long period of time and monitored closely.

Homeopathic Formic Acid has been very effective in early stages and has a history of restoring the health of the animal as well as restoring the coat. A potency of 6x has been most effective, given over a period of 1-2 months.

Other alternatives include a variety of herbs such as kelp, nettle, rosehips, wormwood, burdock, milk thistle, garlic, clivers, clover, and apple cider vinegar.  Herbs should be given in tincture and monitored closely.”

Cheyanne West further states:

The only book in which I've been able to locate any homeopathic advice on Cushing's disease is that of British homeopath George Macleod, Dogs: Homeopathic Remedies (1989, C.W. Daniel Company Ltd.)...

"The main remedies to be considered are..."  

Corticotrophin (A.C.T.H.) 30c - improves adrenal function and helps reduce excess fluid, which is sometimes present.

Cortisone 30c - which also assists "in counteracting the affects of over production of the crude hormone."

(Dr. Macleod also stresses that the over-use of steroid hormones can not only create a Cushing's symptom picture, but also prevent the effective action of homeopathic remedies. "The use of the potentised hormone along with remedies such as Nux Vomica and Thuja will help overcome this.")

Thallium Acetas 30c - which "has a trophic action on the skin and hair follicles and should help restore a healthy coat." (End of Article Reference)

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In closing, as indicated throughout my previous articles, while Cushing’s Syndrome is a serious illness, it is treatable!  There are many, many different drug therapies and treatment options available to help keep your pet comfortable!  My boy, Boomer, is “LIVING” proof!  Consult your veterinarian should your dog (cat, or horse) exhibit any of the symptoms listed in my previous articles.   Discuss the various treatments with him and do your “research”!! 

In addition to the references listed throughout this article, please visit:

http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/ for a wealth of health information!

Also, a special thanks to Pat Quinn and her beloved, Jinx for allowing me to discuss Jinx’s holistic treatment protocol.  Be well Jinx!! 

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