“I wish someone had told me that before I graduated”

Recently someone asked me to write a chapter in a book for new Veterinary graduates.
I thought it might be useful for many people of different walks of life, so here are my
TIWI KWIP’s — This cone of shame is a mnemonic word that specialists and “older” vintage  practitioners use to explain “Things I Wish I Knew When I was in Practice”
 I always enjoy listening to these lecturers, as their stories given with their “retrospectroscope” are illuminating and often a relief to hear that others had gone through your situation, bringing some hilarity to our subjective failings .  For instance the Professor of anaesthesiology was lecturing to us and relayed a humorous story about an Anaesthetist climbing the long ladder to heaven after he had passed away.  There was a long chalkboard next to the ladder, and after each step you had to place a chalk mark  next to the ladder for any mistakes you made in your life or any work related mishaps.  On his way up he met a surgeon he knew coming down, and he was surprised and somewhat concerned to see that this surgeon was heading the wrong way! “Hey, are you ok? Did you get rejected at the pearly gates?” he asked. “No, I just ran out of chalk, I’m coming down to get some more!” the surgeon said.
I hope, as you travel through your working life, that you realize that all the great Veterinarians that you respect, and that have gone before you, are there because they never gave up, and that they probably made all the mistakes that you perhaps will, or are going through right now.  Your licence to “practice” means just that- you will forever be “practicing” and learning. Listen to your colleagues, listen to your clients, avoid becoming judgemental, stay humble.  You are still the top of your High School league, and necessarily in the top 1% academically, so be aware that Veterinary Medicine and Surgery is not always clear sailing, and it is not always your fault. This does not mean that you shouldn’t acknowledge anything that did not go 100% smoothly, but remind yourself, and your clients, that we are dealing with biology, not changing an old tyre, and we cannot guarantee immortality at any cost. We can only do our best, with our heartfelt desire to help. The vast majority of our work will be an improvement for their pet, and we are definitely more knowledgeable than any other non- veterinarian out there giving advice on pet care.
There will be  many moments of mild, or even severe anxiety,  and several periods of doubt, during your first few years as a Veterinary Surgeon and Physician.  You will gain experience. Keep moving and seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed- because it’s actually a normal part of the process!  Many “disasters” are actually a lesson which in the future will help you to help someone else.  Cherish those, and remind yourself how well you recovered from that situation. Save your client thank you notes, and refer to the many outstanding successes you have had if you ever find yourself feeling down about your profession.
sunrise boys

First off remember that you are NOT ALONE.  You really do have friends and family that care, just go and find them.   Get social.  Talk to PEOPLE.  Off load your grief. The rate of suicide in the veterinary profession is unacceptably high.  It has been shown that those  vets who have a more balanced life, with a social supporting structure such as church, drama clubs, book clubs, soccer, netball, football have much less stress related illness. Exercise based activities that are routinely added to your week are a survival mechanism, it might seem a chore but just DO IT!  Find your TRIBE, so you have a sense of purpose and belonging. Tribes exist online (Facebook) and in real time in your community, its the niche- doing what you like together with a small group.
1) Develop an attitude of gratitude towards your boss and nurses. Bring food to share!  When you graduate you do not know everything and the nurses and staff often know a heck of a lot more than you. Be kind to the nurses especially, some of them may not seem worth it (they get stressed by new grads) but time will pass and you will improve.
2) Expect the unexpected– re spay– plan everything well, and something will happen that you didn’t expect, but don’t feel bad about that because next time you will do that better.   Everyone drops a spay pedicle in their first year, don’t panic, extend the incision and find the kidney in that area, its right under it.   Exteriorize and have good vision of the tract.  Don’t use thin  monofilament suture around the uterine stump in fat/peri-oestrous  as when the swelling happens (as it always does post) the material will cut into the tissue and the animal can bleed out from there.
3)  There are always more options than what you have been taught at Uni, consider referring if you are stumped- no shame in that: ophthalmology, Dentistry, Dermatologist, Internist referral, also “alternative medicine” to a qualified veterinarian trained in acupuncture, Chinese herbs, western herbs, essential oils, remedial massage, chiropractic, osteopathy- refer to your colleagues it will make you look AWESOME. (not dumb) if you get a patient that you cannot think of a way forward.  Visit your colleagues and watch them practice, see if you can be a trainee under their mentorship. Join the local journal club.
4) FAMILY first!  Make time for dating and looking after your partner and plan family fun times- your family is more important than work. However if they are very “needy” you might have to put in place some outside help, eg. if you are caring for elderly parents, an autistic child, or disabled partner, you need back up plans for when you are scheduled to work.  I have been both employer and employee, and understand both sides, however if an employer is looking after an family crisis member and their casual staff calls in at the last minute repeatedly to say they cannot work because their child has a head cold and cannot go to school – you can understand that this is really not the employer’s problem, even if government regulations in the workplace industry might allow some time off for parental leave. It’s important to be thoughtful of your colleague’s time.  Be kind to your workplace and have babysitters lined up to cover these incidences. There are paid agencies such as “Dial an Angel” and lovely grandmothers nearby, figure it out in advance, prior to your need!
Remember the saying “if you fail to plan, you are planninbaristag to fail”. Plan to make time for your family and help the practice plan to give you time off.
5) Nutrition! Don’t skip breakfast! Have 1gm of protein/kg of your body weight every day. If you  need to have a smoothie on the run, then do that. Plan nutritious stews for evening meals, a slow cooker and a rice cooker with steaming basket on top are essential to your growing family. Throw everything in the crockpot before you go to bed, and its done for the day!
6) Do 7 minutes of exercise everyday- this could be 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of star jumps, 1 minute of planking, 1 minute of running on the spot, 1 minute of stair climbs and 1 minute each of side planking
fatcatI’m in shape! (Round is a shape, right?)You can watch the morning news while doing this.

7) Find a hobby- art, painting, pottery, snorkeling etc- you need to put GOOD pictures into your brain daily, to wipe out or replace the BAD pictures that will come in- the Hit by cars, the emotional client that blames you (incorrectly usually!) for not picking up their pets disease, the euthenasia where everyone cries etc- these all affect your adrenals and will give you a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.  You need to file these away and calm your hormones. Reset your Parasympathetic gut healing and remove the cortisol/adrenal rush.
8) See a Qualified Naturopath and an Integrative GP doctor–and ask for a referral to a specialist if necessary,  to help you cope and find strategies, supplements, and diet advice to get you back on track if you are feeling not quite 100%
9)  SMILE! It’s contagious–Do IT- even if you don’t feel like it. Be happy.  It is a choice.  Learn to meditate on that.
smile pup
Good luck and be well, go for the long haul– life journey!
Feel free to pop over to my wellness sites for more advice. https://www.facebook.com/Naturopathvet?fref=ts
Dr Elaine Cebuliak
Get your antioxidants in early in the day, and take large quantities!

Get your antioxidants in early in the day, and take large quantities!

ANIMAL WELLNESS ph 61 7 31221997
Veterinary Integrative Care Clinic AND Advanced Veterinary Dentistry
Greenslopes Shopping Mall
Shop 6B/700 Logan Road,
Greenslopes Qld 4120


Dr Elaine Cebuliak BVSc MACVSc dentistry, Dip Ed, Dip Rem Massage, Cert Chinese Herbs, Cert IVAS Qual Acupuncture, CMAVA, Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Herbal Med, Adv Dip Nutrition       ph 61-422413404

Cancer Care Using Integrative Therapies

Cancer Care Using Integrative Therapies as Adjunctive Treatments
TCVM or Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Naturopathic and Ayurvedic Medicine observes the whole patient as being one of organ systems “talking” to each other via neuro-humoral (some call it spiritual or auric field) responses. When deficiencies or over activity is observed that particular organ system is worked upon to “balance it” using foods, herbs, and body work therapy tonify or invigorate that system, or to relieve and remove blockages so that the inner force (read: lymph, blood, vascular or muscle tension) can work more efficiently. This form of medicine focuses on building the body from a deficient state to a more vital force. This is somewhat dissimilar to Western Medicine, where the focus is on the ‘war with cancer” or finding the cancer and cutting, burning or destroying that part of the body.
It is very promising that the future of medicine will encorporate both systems, enabling a more powerful form of medicine to emerge.
When viewing the animal that has developed a cancer, a wholistic therapist observes which systems are “weak” and focus the therapies to strengthen that part, encouraging a stronger “whole” to develop. From a scientific nutritional analysis point of view blood analysis for biochemistry, electrolytes and biopsies including hair analysis for heavy metals and toxins can be performed. In TCVM terms systems are organised for mathematical clarity using a 5 (five) element procedure. This does require further study, just as one would first study basic arithmetic before enrolling in a calculus subject in order to understand mathematical equations. A basic understanding can be described in several minutes, however, it may take a lifetime to perfect these skills! This should not discourage one from incorporating some of the principles of health care that can and should achieve good results.
This is the “art” behind the science of integrative medicine.
Years of study can delve into the science, and the internet is a highway tool to discover the wealth of PhD students allocating global time into researching WHY the basic rule of health care: clean living, exercise, and good food works best.

Chewing the Fat! What is GOOD for the GUT?

So what’s for dinner? After working all day and overloading the sympathetic nervous system with adrenaline and other stress hormones, its time to wind down, take a breath, relax and  let your tummy do the talking. Very often people miss meals while working,

especially when they are in a high stress overloaded job and are in gastric shutdown in the morning. After the sun sets on your desk and you head home its a common mistake to try to fill the emptiness with whatever has the least preparation time. Mistakes of ingestion can happen; and making less than the highest choice can have consequences on your health long and short term. That “indigestion” bloating feeling is nature’s way of the gut telling you to change what you are doing to yourself.

The problem is we are so far removed from “Natural food”  and “Natural Lifestyle” that we often don’t recognize what hunter gatherers we are, nor what the BEST food for us is! Our choices are mixed with our emotional connection to comfort food and what we were raised eating (mother’s home cooked fried chicken! lasagne! pasta, apple pie, etc) We are influenced by clever marketing, which prey on our weaknesses.  Government RDI (Recommended Daily Intakes) and the “healthy food pyramid” is a sham. Marketing labels are at best misleading and at worse dangerous, and these “non food inclusions” (numbers indicating artificial preservatives, food dyes, stabilisers, flowing agents etc) may help to create cancer, diabetes, and the obesity epidemic we are now seeing rampant in society. The misleading statements of “fat free” and “cholesterol lowering” and “Natural sweetener”  make you think this food is good for you. Let me tell you a little about how wrong this is.

There are some very simple lessons we have learned about nutrition from examining cultures through the ages and around the world recently.

Several people have spent a goodly amount of time blogging about this, and some highly passionate young nutritionistas can give you a fun read and taste of the vast amount of literature and scientific knowledge of proof  here: https://www.facebook.com/getafreshstart?hc_location=timeline and http://thehealthyjessie.com/  (block your ears to avoid the swearing la la la la la if you are over 40 years old and find this offensive- its the age, man…chillax!)

and here: http://rawfoodsos.com/2012/07/01/bad-science-strikes-again/

and for some scientific articles on the gluten/gliadin antibody inflammatory link see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=anti+gliadin+antibodies

So having established that the new genetically altered wheat and its subsequent high levels of a protein that primes us to be inflammatory and allergenic, and its pervasiveness in practically every constituent of packaged food items (including pet food!) what do we do?

First we need to address our PNS or parasympathetic nerve system, and offer some self care and self love. Breathe, (slowly, deeply and with affection) practice yoga or Tai Chi or Qi gong, and also some aerobic-ness. Do this mindful practice before you eat, so your peristalsis and enzymatic processes can nourish what you do take in. This is a tick for the religious process of blessing your food before you eat it. Someone got that right! Praise the (insert your fav idol/religion etc here….).

In order to properly digest your food you must sit down, relax, breathe, and think about your food. Your choices should come naturally. You should want to eat wholesome fresh foods. Unfortunately your cravings might be for foods that will KILL you. Yes, you read that right. Inflammatory processes are set off by what you swallow. Degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, diabetes type 2 and arthritis are all linked to inflammation and insulin resistance.

Now what I am about to tell you is not new knowledge. We have data that states a diet rich in plant products with minimal meat/fish/egg protein (China/Okinawa/Mediterranean) and omega 3 fatty acids is healthy.  It is surprising considering the information that has been shelled out by the government and Food Industry (including Pet Food Industry) from paid nutritionists for the last 30-40 years consists of a heavy carbohydrate load- with really a minimal level of vegetable and fruit material. We are talking about the “5 alive” or 5 veges or 3 veges and 2 fruit servings/day. Yet to seriously change our dietary habits from unhealthy and sick to health we need to radically add 20 servings of vegetables per day! A tough ask, but easily achieved using a juicer.

Review: http://www.terrywahls.com/  for eating for a better brain, a Doctor who cured her MS symptoms by whacking in mega vegetables and a few supplements

The BIG difference between what the evil present day food pyramid is doing to our waistline and what we should be eating is simple: avoid the sugars- this is bread and grains and cakes and lollies, and USE GOOD FAT. Saturated fats are GOOD for you- it is the building blocks that allows your body to make your hormones and your vitamin D, which is an essential hormone and immune regulator. We doctors use high doses of vitamin D to help bodies fight cancer!

NOTE: IF your doctor has prescribed Statin drugs, see him STAT! Make sure you supplement with a good quality coenzyme Q 10 and ask him to review the book: Wheat Belly.

Carbohydrates including most grains (wheat, some rye, oats) are fraught with problems. The genetically modified structure of these grains have changed over the last 30 years in particular leading to an epidemic of inflammatory gut and health problems, not to mention that:

Gliadin derived opiates affect the brain, therefore it is ADDICTIVE, and like sugar with the huge insulin swings, will make you seek more food in a couple of hours, hence the merry go round of reduced satiety and increased hunger.

Wheat is the perfect Obesogen! Yes read all about it in “Wheat Belly ” which is the #1 Best seller by the NY Times, and it has caused a furore!

Listen to the author here:


Vested interest by large agriculturally based food producers and big names that control multinational companies (Kelloggs, Monsanto etc) are the agronomist controllers of our economy. Food sells. The food manufacturers base their decisions on recommending strategic directions of marketing and economic sustainability.

People need to eat, and they want fast, take away, fix the carbo crave NOW! Both of these deciding factors– the economy of manufacturing and producing cheap food, and the reliant addicted wheat based SAD diets do NOT take into consideration HEALTH AND…. WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GUT.

We now have the fattest, most obese populations everywhere- in the WORLD. Diabetes type 2 is rampant,

heart disease, arthritis and cancer are all metabolic diseases linked to obesity.

Our advisors of the food pyramid instructions have made a big boo boo. We need to understand that the wheat of the 2000 is a different beast to the wheat of our great grandmothers. The new version of gluten and gliadin rich Wheat is full of lectins which does this:

1) Lectin blocks leptin- the hormone of satiety, it also binds to the blood vessels causing glycation, inflammation, heart damage and neurological problems.

2) The appetite stimulating properties of wheat and simplecarbohydrates are well documented. You will be hungry after the gliadin derived opiates are absorbed within 2 hours.

3) It causes depression, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts.

4) Inflammation of the gut allows the tight junctions of the cells to become loose forming the basis of a “leaky gut” which lets large molecules to come through the lumen into the blood. These largely undigested particles can set up an antibody response in the body, leading to atopy and dermatitis (itchy skin) arthritis, blood disorders, candida infections (somewhat controversial in the medical field) and various autoimmune disorders.

Carbohydrate wheat eaters have the same part of their brain stimulated that a Crack or cocaine addict has. Carb and especially grains and simple sugars MUST have that glucose fix every 2-4 hours or they become fuzzy headed, cranky, display behaviour abnormalities, and may become violent. There are several ways of overcoming gluten/sugar addictions. First off: EAT breakfast by 7am, with eggs and plenty of butter and cheese and protein. YOUR satiety centre will be fully quenched until about 2 pm.

Here are some recipes to replace the processed wheat filled supermarket foods that have all those numbers, codes, artificial flavourings etc in them. (oh, and did I mention to avoid eating NUMBERS! If you can’t decipher what that crazy maths puzzle on the box is your body probably can’t recognise it as FOOD either!)

If you stop the flow of opiates (ie wheat and sugar) for 5-7 days you will have fatigue, depressions, headaches. Here are some hints to fight the negative side effects:

Take a magnesium supplement (1.5 gm/day), iodine (lugols 2-3 drops/day), omega 3 fatty acids (5 ml or 5 tabs of 1000mg tabs) and take favourable probiotics and prebiotics ( teaspoons of inulin, artichoke, burdock root, pumpkin) Drink lots of homemade soups. An occasional aspirin maybe necessary or use some acupressure points LI4 is a good one http://www.yinyanghouse.com/acupuncturepoints/li4

Chew your plants and make your diet a mostly plant based meal with adequate protein intake of 1-1.5 gm/kg of your body weight and . Its better to eat non processed  real foods and avoid highly processed  high sugared and refined packaged food.  Better for your gut, and for the planet.

Having sorted out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, what else should we consider? Yes, I must admit it gets confusing. Should one be Vegan, Vegetarian, or eat lots of animal fat and animal protein? I look at anatomical markers to give us some clues as to what works best.

What are your food choices for a species? As a Veterinarian and Human Natural therapist, I base my findings on an understanding of the dentition and digestive organs. That is, if you have mostly molar grinding teeth and no canine teeth to speak of, and a very large fermenting vat like a caecum (eg. a horse) or 4 fore stomachs (like a cow) then you MUST chew grasses, leaves, and legumes. If you are a Cat your teeth function to rip, and tear and your guts are short and narrow with no fermenting vat– you  are a Carnivore!  If you have both molar teeth for chewing and grinding AND canine teeth for ripping and tearing, and you have an intermediate gut, longer than a cat and a bigger diameter colon (large intestine) which does some fermentation then you are probably a DOG- an OMNIVORE (meaning you can eat both meat and vege).

Now humans– think about teeth, incisors are of the grabbing and holding variety, much like a dog, and we do have some canine teeth– but they are not as pokey and sharp as a dog or cat. Our intestines are quite peculiar- more like a cross between a dog and a horse! So there is an aha moment here! WE are hind gut fermenters. (some husbands are more fermentatious than others ! what is it about men that means they can fart a lot more than women, or maybe they are just louder and take more pleasure out of announcing the fact? ;-))

Our colons are quite large (not as big comparatively as a horse) and can hold some fermentation processing. There is an ascending, transverse and descending component to it. The transit time should be betwen 12-24 hours though, so limited amount of fermentation should occur. This means that eating predigested already fermented food is advantageous to an absorption mechanism of broken down food. It is better assimilated in smaller pieces that way. We need good enzymes and good hydrochloric acid in our stomachs for them to work.

So  in summary anatomically we have about 10-20% of our (human) dentition and gut matching a carnivore, therefore we are about 10-20% carnivorous beings and  80% anatomically favouring a plant based diet. Lucky us! We can eat a variety of foods. How we food combine and stay health will depend on our specific genetic structure and exercise levels, however this rule of thumb generally applies well. Vegans- a laudable choice ethically, but anatomically they MUST pay attention to vitamin B12, sulfur containing amino acids, omega 3 supplementation, iron and trace mineral elements.

AND we must allow time to masticate and chew our food.

Chewing allows the taste buds to “talk ” to the brain to register how much amylase needs to be released with the saliva, it lubricates the food and makes it swallow-able and gentle to the oesophagus.

So relax, kick back, avoid the processed crap, take out the wheat,  and share some of your meals with the dog, because you are pretty similar in that belly department there!


1) Food in its most natural state is best. That is- eat an apple or a banana or salad whenever possible. If you must cook use a slow cooker, the lower and steady temperature does not affect or destroy the compounds as much as frying or high temperature baking. Once you heat treat and highly process food certain enzymes, vitamins and factors are destroyed or changed and  even made  toxic. Heat treated carbohydrates are dangerous as it produces acrylamide.  Read about acrylamide here:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170357 in rats ingesting this it increased incidences of mammary gland, thyroid tumors and scrotal mesothelioma were observed in both studies that were performed. In humans, increased risks of ovarian and endometrial cancers, renal cell cancer, estrogen (and progesterone) receptor-positive breast cancer, and oral cavity cancer.

2) Avoid GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food. These changed protein structures (compared to previous generations of original stock of Corn and Wheat, for example) are an unknown long term scientific experiment: on the planet, (refer to lack of Monarch butterflies, and bees in some areas) and on the mammalian body.  Crops that specifically have a spliced genetic code to allow them to resist Monsanto weedicide and insecticides are particularly of concern, as they will take up the poison into their cells and release these toxic substances into those ingesting them. This means avoiding Wheat in its present form. Eat real food, just a single ingredient eg. an apple, or several vegetables. OR  Make your own healthy foods.

3) Eat a greater percentage of vegetables than fruit and less meat protein. Studies indicate that the omega 3 oils in fish are cardio protective, and antiinflammatory- that is good for joints, skin, hair, and immune function.

4) Eat fermented foods daily- sauerkraut, Kim Chi, kefir, Beer (yep!) small amount of wine without preservatives, Kombucha, Yoghurt (full fat Greek, no sugar added)

5) avoid fried, fast, and sugar laden foods, These are pro inflammatory and cause degenerative diseases.

6) Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks to one a day.

7) Go for a 10 minute walk 30 minutes after eating. If you can’t do 10 do 5. If you can’t do 5 do 2– you get the picture. Move more!

8) Do NOT drink carbonated sugared soft drinks, and avoid aspartame and all other artificial sweeteners.


Eat real food, just a single ingredient eg. an apple, or several vegetables. OR  Make your own healthy foods.

Bon Appetit! and for your dogs and cats: BONE Appetite!

Holistic Veterinary Therapy

Since I was a child, I have always known that I would become a veterinarian. I had a fascination for fixing broken
beings. Birds, turtles, and lizards with injuries found their way to my door from the time I was in primary school. I
found gory stuff – like popping pustules, cleaning maggots out of wounds, and cane toad dissection in zoology class – of
great interest. When my brother chopped his leg open with the axe and screamed “My guts are falling out!”, somehow
this did not scare me. I knew, from biology studies at school, that this was not correct – his ‘guts’ were never in his leg. I calmly applied pressure and bandaged it, elevating it in the car while my mother drove him to the hospital and I acted like the good
eight year old nurse that I was.     My affinity with animals was the wallpaper to my existence– quite literally as I raised finger-tamed budgerigars in my bedroom. Luckily my family was supportive!
     I was exposed to holistic therapies from a young age. My father was a chiropractor and, although he eventually made
a living in other occupations, he was able to efficiently correct a sore back or neck with a well-placed and ‘magic’
adjustment. We kids used to ask him to “pick us up, and crack our backs” for that delightful popping sound that comes from a subluxation being repositioned.
     As I grew up in Hawaii I was also aware that Chinese herbal medicine and nutrition – that is ‘food as medicine’ – were
useful and obvious methods to treat diseases. Chicken soup with plenty of garlic, and sucking on vitamin C and zinc
lozenges were appropriate forms of ‘medicine‘ given to us in response to the first sign of a sore throat or sneeze. We
never went to doctors or hospitals (except for the previously mentioned axe accident) as our mother was a great cook and
practised what now might be called preventative medicine.
We were breastfed babies, had minimal vaccinations, hardly ever ate lollies or artificial colourings, and rode our push
bikes everywhere for entertainment and to get to school.
We usually had a salad sprinkled with lemon for starters and at night we ate a home-cooked meal, which consisted
of fish on Fridays.
     Live, raw food with a bitter or sour flavour is well known in naturopathy as a source of live enzymes and a means to
get the salivary glands and digestion started. Chicken soup has L-lysine, a natural antiviral amino acid, and garlic is
now documented scientifically as having antiviral properties. Our mothers and grandmothers were the best form of
medical practitioners with the ‘do no harm’ edict.
     I have been a practising veterinarian for over 30 years now.
What has been astonishing (and outrageous) to me is the increasing rate of chronic diseases such as cancer, atopic
(allergic) skin disease, arthritis and autoimmune dysfunction in younger and younger pets. These things, which I now
see daily, were not a common occurrence when I was a new graduate in the 1980s. We rarely saw the malignant cancers
and skin diseases that are now out of control in so many pet families. We did not have specialists. Instead all general
veterinarians had to tackle orthopaedic surgery, general surgery and all forms of medicine. Vaccines for parvovirus
only came out in the later part of 1979 and the regime of vaccinating with five to seven different things annually
followed. What I now understand about the harmful side effects of vaccines and the benefits of nutritional medicine
has largely been the catalyst to open a holistic veterinary practice in Greenslopes, Brisbane.

Our clinic runs remedial massage classes for animals regularly, and our lovely greyhound adoption friends happily bring their pets for a free massage! 


  •      Where have we gone wrong in our pet rearing? When I was a child we did not have bags of pet food; we shared ourdinners with our dog. We did not vaccinate every year. We washed the dog occasionally, maybe monthly, and we didn’thave a flea or tick problem. The dog was healthy.
  • What doctor would say to a mother: “All you have to do now to raise your baby is to open a bag of these crispy dry food treats and feed this exclusively for the rest of your child’s life because it is complete and has all the vitamins and nutrients your child needs. And don’t forget to vaccinate your kid every three months for every disease that he or she may possibly get.” That is what we are doing to our pets! Has society gone nuts?

     What do we do differently at my clinic? We have multiple handouts on nutritional, Western and Chinese herbal
supplements. We perform antibody titre testing instead of annual vaccinations. We use intravenous vitamin C and
herbs to support the immune function for our chronically ill and cancer patients.
     In the last 20 years of practice as a veterinarian, I have seen an increasing number of cases of cancer in our pets. It is
sad to see our loved ones succumb to the scourge of cancer. How can we prevent it and what treatment options are

How does holistic advice fit in with treatment?      Thankfully research has come a long way in the last ten
years, and there are some excellent peer reviewed articles that look at the various modalities of complementary medicine,
and at the active ingredients in these recognised herbal alternative treatments. The focus of the holistic treatment
is nutritional, energetic and metabolic; aiming to boost the immune system of the patient to enable it to ‘fight
the cancer’, or to reduce its spread, or to palliate the body and calm the inflammation associated with the cancer. Western pharmacological chemotherapy techniques focus on killing the cancer cells.
However, often these drugs are not specific to the cancer cell. Complementary therapies may also assist to reduce
the side effects of chemotherapy.
     Veterinary surgeons have extensive training in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, surgery and pharmacology. This
places them in a prime position to evaluate some of the herbal and energetic medical adjunctive therapies that
are becoming increasingly sought after by clients. Holistic veterinarians have spent time studying these extra modalities,
and can combine the best of both systems. If your pet has cancer and you are interested in pursuing all avenues, it is
recommended that you first seek professional veterinary help. Contact the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)
http://www.ava.com.au for a list of qualified veterinary holistic practitioners. They will also be able to refer you to a medi-
cally and surgically trained oncologist (a cancer specialist who works with western drugs) and you will then be able
to make decisions based on the best possible choices that are available.
     Pet owners should look at the data linking free radical damage from environmental toxins to cancer, for their
own health and for their pet’s future health. Toxins that are causing cancer include solvents, dyes, pesticides and
herbicides. For further information read Dr Samuel Epstein’s work online at http://www.preventcancer.com. He is a leading
healthcare advisor specialising in educating the public about cancer causing agents. Dr Epstein leads a unique coalition
of independent experts in cancer prevention and public health. He was the key expert involved in the banning of
hazardous products such as the pesticides DDT, Aldrin and Chlordane. DDT was used to kill sand flies and mosquitoes
on the beaches in the 1950s. Children were allowed to play in the insecticide spray because it was thought to be safe.
     What chemicals are we allowing our pets and children to play in today?
     I am reminded of this when I see workers spraying weeds along the footpath as I drive past. Sometimes they are wearing flimsy facemasks, and often they are only wearing short sleeved shirts (even though skin is not an impervious
barrier). Then the dogs walk along the footpath and they go home and lick their paws and fur.
     Watch the weeds whither and turn yellow in two days. Watch the dogs get some form of cancer from an ‘unknown cause’
later. The chemicals in our environment are powerful hormone disruptors. We are seeing evidence of this worldwide.
     Don’t smoke, and don’t let your pet smoke (secondhand is just as bad). Avoid the nasties. Use companion planting and
more elbow grease (pull out weeds, mow the lawn more frequently, fertilise with manure). This will allow your pet
to have less contact with poisons on the front lawn.     There are lawns in Canada that are full of weeds and bear
these signs: We value our kids more than our lawns, chemical free lawn. I recommend that everyone gets back to using safe,
non-toxic products. We don’t need to expose our delicate bodies to dioxins in shampoos, solvents in sheep dips, and the petrochemicals used to clean the house and yard.
     Buy organic meat and vegetables, if possible, for your pet. Choose your treats carefully, looking for no additives, dyes,
and preservatives (except vitamin E), and ensure dry foods have no food colouring or chemical additives. Busy people
that haven’t got the time to shop and cook meals may consider using Hill’s N/D or Eukanuba Response Formula,is Give Your Dog a Bone by Dr Ian Billinghurst. “I began to realise,” writes Dr Billinghurst, “that most of the disease problems
we vets see are caused by only one thing – poor nutrition.”
     Diet advice sheets are also available from your holistic vet. If lifestyle necessitates buying prepared foods, choose
those high in minerals, good quality meat protein (not textured vegetable protein, hydrolysed protein, or soya) and vegetables, without chemical additives and colourants. See http://www.animalwellness.com.au  for some diet advice for treating various health concerns in your pet.

  Remember: Food is Medicine!

Artificial colourings are NOT food. They are often poisons and many are carcinogens (known to cause cancer).
     In particular, note that red dye is bad. It causes inflammation and allergic reactions in many patients.  Avoid munchies that are full of red dye, which represents a possible intake
of nitrosamines. Nitrites are used as preservatives and for the red colour they produce in meat.

Why is this poison present in food?  Its about marketing and the food business is only concerned about selling more product, not about your or your pet’s health.  Owners choose this colouring because it is associated in their mind with freshness, but dogs don’t care about the colour of their food! It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, oesophagus, stomach and brain.
     Don’t feed luncheon meats, ham and other cured or smokey flavoured foods to your pets. Feed the right type of treats
such as dried liver, homemade dried fruit/vege chips or meat strips, or just small bits of a good quality, additive-free, dry food.
     Obtain foods that contain natural antioxidants, trace minerals and essential fatty acids. Some diets, which are known to
increase the risk of cancer, are high in animal fats, preservatives and chemicals, and low in antioxidants. Animals require the minimum calories needed for their lifestyle and 45 minerals, 12 essential amino acids, 16 vitamins
and three essential fatty acids (being omega 3, 6 and 9).The quality of the food is important to maintain optimum
immune function.
     Our foods are depleted in minerals due to the age of Australian soils and the present farming practice of only fertilising
the soils with Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK). As a result we all need to supplement our diets daily if we
are not eating produce that was grown on supplemented soil.Organic food is, however, slightly higher in trace minerals.
     A natural, wholesome diet for our pets should include a diet rich in minerals, antioxidants and raw fresh enzyme materials.
It should be free from preservatives, additives, colourants, herbicides and pesticides. Dogs and cats fed a natural and
balanced diet are often healthier than those fed cooked and processed supermarket, preserved and coloured foods.
     A good book to understand the concepts of feeding raw foods is Give Your Dog a Bone by Dr Ian Billinghurst. “I began to
realise,” writes Dr Billinghurst, “that most of the disease problems we vets see are caused by only one thing – poor nutrition.”
     Diet advice sheets are also available from your holistic vet.

If lifestyle necessitates buying prepared foods, choose those high in minerals, good quality meat protein (not textured vegetable protein, hydrolysed protein, or soya) and vegetables, without chemical additives and colourants.
     Acupuncture has been found to reduce the size of tumours through stimulating the ‘controlling’ organ. For example, if there is a stomach tumour the liver meridian end point can be stimulated to help control the stomach. The good
news is that many cases of cancer have regressed or gone into remission with holistic therapies. We can’t always get
complete remission, but it helps to get in early and to treat pets with multiple nutritional therapies. Those patients often have a better prognosis (probable outcome) and better palliation.

     Many of my clients – in fact most of them – want to and/or do use herbal and nutritional support themselves, or refer family
members to see us, once they see the results achieved with their dogs.
I encourage them to find a nutritional integrative doctor. We have a list of these doctors at our clinic.

     Educational tools to share with general practitioners include referring to the text book: Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy, which is an excellent textbook for researching the nutritional and herbal medicine associated with cancer therapy. It cites over three dozen carefully selected natural compounds. It is available from http://www.ompress.com.

Note: If your pet has cancer:

 always seek professional veterinary
advice first, then you may wish to consider the following:
• Avoid toxins & harmful chemicals: do not use lawn herbicides
• Feed some raw pulped veggies daily
• Supplement with an antioxidant in tablet form
• Give your pet colloidal minerals
• Supplement with Japanese and Chinese mushrooms
• Give your pet Omega 3 oil
• Include shark cartilage in your pet’s diet
• Give your pet Essiac and appropriate Chinese herbal formulae
• Offer food rich in Vitamin B17
• Ask your vet about high doses of vitamin C intravenously