Is your dog suffering from this mysterious phenomenon?
Mystery is part of life. While we humans would like to believe that we are smart, life often proves us wrong. It is highly probable that we humans have just barely scratched the surface of all universal knowledge. The understanding of health and disease is no exception.
Working as a veterinarian has definitely been humbling. I have witnessed many medical dogmas and research claims fall and seen many new ones replace them. I have learned to trust myself more in developing new approaches and worry less about what others think about them. Ultimately, we are here for our patients and clients and not to seek approval.
Over the years, I have been watching with excitement the slow, but clear shift in medicine from the “soldier approach" to embracing more holistic models. The number of my colleagues who want to learn and practice a more holistic approaches to medicine is growing. Plus there are more practitioners and clients who understand the connection between the body and mind in medicine. One of the best examples is the placebo effect.
While some people see placebos as a bad thing, I believe that it is in fact the best form of healing. Getting healthy by the power of mind and intention is the cheapest and best form of medicine. No drugs or interventions are needed and the patient gets better. Rebalancing the body’s energy is another form of healing. In summary, I would describe it as deleting the energy of the disease and programming the body to heal itself.
Healing that costs nothing
Pharmaceutical companies have created a negative stigma of placebos. They like us to see their toxic and unnatural chemicals as good and placebos as bad. The main reason is that there is no money to be made from a placebo. It cannot be sold.
I have always dreamed of cost-free medicine. Yes, we need to feed our dogs natural food and provide them with essential nutrients and vitamins that are no longer present in soils and food, which cost money, but there is an amazing potential for healing to become more affordable or free.
When it comes to animals, most people agree that a direct placebo effect is impossible because dogs know no difference between a sugar pill and an active drug. So it appears safe to assume that a placebo effect is exclusive to humans.
Dogs can feel what you are thinking
I would like to share my experience with what I call a secondhand placebo.
Andrea and her Jack Russell Terrier, Rory, are like two peas in a pod. They live in the northern UK and I have worked with them for about a year and a bit. They love being together and have a great connection. Things have been going well for Rory since we started tackling a few health issues and he has been on a continuous path to recovery and a healthy, happy life.
Just recently we scheduled a follow-up phone call to see how Rory was doing. During the previous appointment, I suggested that Rory eats one, instead of two, meals a day to allow the digestive tract to rest. This food regime is much closer to the species appropriate meal pattern of dogs.
Originally, Andrea thought it would be impossible to deprive Rory of one meal because he would never refuse a meal, however, something very peculiar happened.
The day after we had the meal discussion, Rory refused his morning meal, which never happened before! He was happy and healthy, but he just didn’t want to eat. Just a few hours earlier Andrea agreed to give him only one meal per day. I told Andrea her consent and understanding that one meal a day would be ok affected Rory’s behaviour and she clearly understood.
This story is just a very small fraction of what I have experienced in the practice. Another example is about how our fears cause our dogs to have certain symptoms. Many dog guardians worry about their dogs having or getting cancer. Especially when they are displaying symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting or nausea. The interesting thing is that as soon as all the examinations are done, including an MRI or ultrasound, and they come out clear, mysteriously the symptoms stop.
It appears that the worry of the “parents” somehow contributes to the symptoms.. As soon as the worry disappears, so do the symptoms. In other words, dissipating my clients worries by being thorough and by ruling out serious problem is an important part of the whole treatment program. This is another example of what I call a second-hand placebo.
I could go on and list many more stories, but the main point I would like to make is based on my experience and observation that the more intensely we worry about our dogs, the less likely they are to be happy, healthy and content. At the same time, I caution people about blaming themselves for all that happens with their dogs.
It is just good to be aware of everything that influences the health and well-being of our dogs.
© Dr. Peter Dobias