Joe Montana was a golden retriever,
as large for his breed as his namesake (a famous football player).
Joe came to me at 12 1/2 years of age in Sept. of '02 for scratching.
Joan and Terry said the itching had been going on for 12 years!
Nothing they tried had helped. He was an earth constitution, eating
raw food, had a pale tongue with a thick white coat; his nose
was hot and dry, his eyes were red; he had chronic red ear infections,
his hind end was weak, and he breathed heavily after exertion.
Joan and Terry planned to leave, with Joe Montana, for Alaska
in two days, and stay away for two months. They started Thyroxine
a week earlier for low normal T4, which seemed to help somewhat.
My first thought was to not even start. It seemed an impossible
case to cure in one treatment. Ignoring my intuition, I treated
Joe Montana with acupuncture and gave the family all the herbal
formulas I had—Wind
Toxin, enough for two weeks, and External
Wind to use for another month. I treated lung points, liver
points, and basic old dog tonifying points; I recommended yin
foods. The next day Joan called to say that Joe Montana's scratching
was much worse. I recommended they buy some Benadryl so they could
go on their trip.
I was really disappointed in myself. Now these people had spent
a couple hundred dollars on me and all I did was make the dog
worse. I was sure they hated me and could not bear to call them
to check on the dog. In an attempt to learn from my ignorance
I emailed the chi chat group and Bruce responded with a lengthy
explanation of the case, all of which was informative and only
helped to fuel my fire of self hatred and disgust.
I beat myself up regularly for the next 5 months, until Joan
called me in February of '03. Joe Montana was having trouble breathing
and she wanted me to see him. "How is the itching?"
I asked. "Oh, that's
gone. Your green powders cured him. He hasn't scratched since
we gave them to him."
It turned out that Joe Montana had laryngeal paralysis. Joan
and Terry planned to have me treat him as soon as they returned
from another trip to Alaska. The final days of Joe Montana were
spent suffering from aspiration pneumonia the following July as
they arrived home. I saw him but referred him to the hospital
where he was euthanized at 13 1/2 years of age.
Of all the things I have done in my 19 1/2 years of practice,
writing sympathy cards has been one of the most rewarding. I have
received more thank you cards for my sympathy cards than for anything
else I have done. Joan and Terry sent this note. "Thank you
so much for all you did for Joe Montana. Between Becky's thyroid
pills and your 'green powder' and change of diet to fish, Joe
had another very happy and healthy year. We had tried for so many
years to get his allergies under control and you did it! You're
Although my diagnosis was vague, my skill was limited, and all
my acupuncture did was stir things up, I still end up honored.
I have to give credit to Dr. Xie's herbal formulas that treat
all the problems at once...blood deficiency, wind, heat, damp,
everything a skin problem needs. Dr. Xie's formulas are Good!
The catalog helps immeasurably as well.
Humility aside, we veterinarians beat ourselves up too much,
at least I do...and many other veterinarians I know. We actually
do expect to treat and cure ailments that have been going on for
many years within a very short time. Often we have no time left
to make the cure in these aged animals. The beautiful thing about
TCVM is that we really can make a difference, but when we can
not, for heavens sake, we need not send ourselves to the dog house.
The important thing is that we support the owners’ efforts to
try by doing the best we can. So, thank you Dr. Xie for all your
help in teaching us TCVM and for starting Jing
Tang Herbal and making an easy to follow catalog of herbal
formulas, and for all your help via email.
Karlene Stange DVM, from Durango, CO