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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Allen

Sofa Medicine

A critical component of the Monkey’s House mission is to present pet parents with options they can incorporate to manage Palliative and Hospice care for their beloved pets at home. I don’t think anybody expects it to be easy. Some people lack confidence and are fearful of what lies ahead. My personal mission is to guide those with doubts, provide them with knowledge, and give them the tools they need so their desire to make their pups a priority becomes a reality. You don’t need a medical background to develop basic skills that will enable you to care for your ailing dog. These skills, along with a good relationship with your veterinarian, will go a long way in making the care more manageable and less stressful, allowing you (and your pet) to actually enjoy the twilight of its life.

First and foremost, educate yourself about your dog’s condition to facilitate more productive conversations with your veterinarian. Is your veterinarian comfortable in guiding you through procedures to care for your pet? Can she or he refer you to other resources in your area? With the proper knowledge, there are many actions you can take within the confines of your own home. Knowledge is the great equalizer; it will help alleviate your concerns over your pet’s stress, time constraints, and expense worries. At this stage, wouldn’t you rather be focused on your dog, not “distractions” that will likely impact your pet’s health as well as yours? Your goal should be to keep a positive attitude; your dog will sense your energy. Most importantly, provide unconditional love, like the love they’ve given you their entire lives.

“Sofa Medicine'' is a phrase I came up with referring to different treatments you can do at home, in many cases while sitting right on your sofa with your pup. First and foremost, the most important thing you need is a good relationship with your veterinarian; if you don’t have this, it’s time to find a new veterinarian. Your veterinarian needs to be in sync with you on your pet’s health and well-being. You need to have confidence in not only his or her abilities but also that your wishes are understood. “You should want to HUG your vet” I like to tell pet parents. Sofa Medicine is any treatment you can do on your sofa. It’s a place where you and your pup are relaxed and the intervention isn’t about being sick, it’s just something done in a comfortable, relaxed space to help maximize wellness. This is a term I use to refer to helping your pup feel as good as they possibly can for as long as their body is responsive to the treatment.

Monkey’s House is unique, we use a primary veterinarian who knows our pups quite well and if needed, veterinary specialists.

From your sofa, you can administer an array of treatments depending on your dog’s medical conditions. In celebrating the majority of our pup’s lives we regularly use Sofa Medicine, and you can too.

Here are a few of the procedures we use at Monkey’s House:

• B12 Shots: used to help reverse anemia in dogs with chronic conditions, poor appetite or bleeding disorders.

• Chinese Herbal Supplement (Yunnan Baiyao): used with bleeding cancers such as hemangiosarcoma in promoting blood clotting during bleeds. Also used during any kind of bleeding emergency and before surgeries.

• Insulin: regulates blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs.

• Nausea Medication (Cerenia): medication given to dogs to help treat and prevent nausea/vomiting.

• Nebulizer Treatments: helps open the airways of a dog with pneumonia.

• Oxygen Therapy: supplementing oxygen intake with dogs having breathing difficulties.

• Seizure interventions (CBD Dog Health HEAL, Midazolam, Valium suppositories, occular compression) These often help prevent a trip to the ER for dogs that suffer from seizures.

• Subcutaneous Fluids (Sub Q Fluids): supplemental fluids for dogs developing dehydration and to help support the kidneys in dogs with chronic kidney disease.

• Respond systems cold laser and PEMF mats as well as Photonic Health red or infrared light devices are used to manage pain, inflammation, and to slow progression of certain conditions.

• Food therapy is a critical component in supportive care but that is occurring in the kitchen so it is not included in this blog.

These are just some of the multimodal modalities used to help our pups stay comfortable as we navigate the joys and challenges of Palliative Care and Hospice Care.

* These treatments differ with each dog. It is critical that your pup be properly diagnosed by your veterinarian and that they support you in these or other treatments. If you or your pup are not relaxed during these interventions, discuss other options. The entire point is to incorporate treatments into everyday life without fear or discomfort.

Become part of the Monkey’s House family by following on Facebook where Michele shares her knowledge on caring for senior dogs with medical ailments. She is not a veterinarian, Michele is a retired RN/BSN who works closely with our primary vet and veterinary specialist. Since opening Monkey’s House in 2015 she has worked with over 150 dogs as well as coached numerous fosters in other rescues so her expertise is quite unique.

For in-depth information about Hospice and Palliative Care consider the course “An Integrative Approach to Hospice and Palliative Care.”

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