Case Study- Ditto and her recovery from Masticatory Muscle Myositis - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Hi Cath,

We’ve finished the conditioning mix and elecampane and liquorice mix about 4 weeks ago.

All seems well; I have just ordered some more, do you recommend anything additional.

I took Ditto to the vet to have her spayed, he was absolutely amazed at not only her recovery, but the because of the muscle regrowth.  His words are - there is no known muscle regrowth in these cases, scar tissue always replaces the atrophied muscle tissue.

Regards

Hildegard Crous

Concise history

Ditto had MMM, Masticatory Muscle myositis, and autoimmune disease where the body destroys the unique 2m muscle fibers dogs have in their and around their jaws.

All scientific articles indicated an immediate start of a strong cortisone treatment, which is gradually tapered off.  Indications are that normal jaw action is only recovered to an extent, depending on early diagnosis.  As I am only too aware of the dangers of self-diagnostics, I waited for diagnosis from Dr Y on 15/01.  All articles read that cortisone treatment is continuous, and chronic conditions actually never clear up. (It appeared that by now Ditto would be considered chronic.)

On seeing her again, Dr Y immediately diagnosed that she had MMM – and I must add, it became very clear to me during the visit that neither Dr Y, nor his assistant who had first treated her, had very little hope for our dog.

She received a non-steroid cortisone injection, and powerful anti-inflammatory, Previcox.  “They learn to eat gruel and can carry on like that quite long” I was told.  Additionally I was informed that the atrophied muscle would be replaced by scar tissue.  Scar tissue does not stretch, so the dog would never be able to open its mouth properly to chew, chew on bones, lap water and pant to cool off, again. 

The vet did once in one case, try to open the mouth by force under sedation; however it was of no use. 

Full Case History- Hildegard Crous

23/11/2015    Our Dalmatian, Ditto is unable to chew her food and gulps down chicken necks.

Thinking that perhaps she had a tooth abscess, I took her to Vet X for the first visit – she was sedated – bruising to back of throat was identified, vet thought she may have had a bone stuck in her throat at some time, however she didn’t ever gag.

(on returning from being sedated, Ditto crawled onto couch and slept from 2-6pm.  On my return to the house at 6pm,noticed her still sleeping, called as I opened the door, heard a loud crash as whole dining room table and chairs were shifted – only realized later that Ditto must have still been groggy, - ran into or crashed into leg of dining room table, and that this was the noise I had heard)

That evening her right eye was squint, I thought it may still be the effects of the sedation.  I noticed immediate improvement 30 min after giving anti – inflammatory. (Metacam)
However, I was not happy, she struggled to eat, even hesitating initially and then refusing her favorite titbits, pizza rind and popcorn.  She was not able to yawn anymore, trying to open her jaw by dropping her head, but to no effect.

By 3 Dec, seeing little improvement, anti-inflammatories and anti-biotics were finished.  I finally managed to secure and appointment with Dr Y, 10/12.   Second visit – Dr Y identified trauma to head – 6 weeks to recover, gave more anti-inflammatories.

On returning home, thinking about the source of head trauma, I suddenly remembered the crash against the table leg.

Phoned to inform of source of trauma – left message.

Ditto had MMM, Masticatory Muscle myositis, and autoimmune disease where the body destroys the unique 2m muscle fibers dogs have in their and around their jaws.  All scientific articles indicated an immediate start of a strong cortisone treatment, which is gradually tapered off.  Indications are that normal jaw action is only recovered to an extent, depending on early diagnosis.

As I am only too aware of the dangers of self diagnostics, I waited for diagnosis from Dr Y on 15/01.

All articles read that cortisone treatment is continuous, and chronic conditions actually never clear up. (It appeared that by now Ditto would be considered chronic.)

On seeing her again, Dr Y immediately diagnosed that she had MMM – and I must add, it became very clear to me during the visit that neither Dr Y, nor his assistant who had first treated her, had very little hope for our dog.

She received a non steroid cortisone injection, and powerful anti-inflammatory, Previcox.  “they learn to eat gruel and can carry on like that quite long” I was told.  Additionally I was informed that the atrophied muscle would be replaced by scar tissue.  Scarr tissue does not stretch, so the dog would never be able to open its mouth properly to chew, chew on bones, lap water and pant to cool off, again.  The vet did once in one case, try to open the mouth by force under sedation; however it was of no use.  (Technically, it was probably kinder to put her down in the long run.)  By the next afternoon, (Sat), my husband noted that Ditto had bloody stools.   It worsened Sunday, and by Monday it had gotten even worse.

I again googled – looked up the anti-inflammatory, and found all the listings of the side effects.  Bloody stools  was top of the list.  In my frustration of the inefficiency of her medication I started to look around for other vets, Blue Cross in Cape Town put me onto a vet who was experienced with unusual cases.

Then I remembered, a friend of mine had been told by a local state vet, that when a certain vet had retired to Swellendam, we were to consider ourselves very lucky, as this vet had been considered one of the Western Cape’s top small animal vets.  Swellendam is only 44km away from us, I managed to get an appointment with Dr Z immediately.  Immediate cessation of the anti-inflammatory, probiotics 3 times a day, and start her on the recommended cortisone treatments 3 days later.

Of course, long term treatment with cortisone leads to general weakness, loss of general muscle tissue, fat build up around the organs, excessive hair loss, increased appetite. etc.

It took an additional antibiotic treatment a week later to get the stomach back to normal.  By this time she had become very week, struggled to get up the 4 steps at our back door porch.  She had a terrible gaunt appearance, “the so-called fox-terrier look”.  Because of muscle loss behind and around the eyes, her eyes had sunk far back into the skull, she lost peripheral vision, and started getting eye infections periodically.  As soon as she had stabilized, and I was confident that she was not in constant pain, I started the search again for better options.

I must add here, when I realized just how sick our dog was, the hopelessness that I saw in the initial two vets, the implications, I prayed that God would direct me to the correct people.

ditto-afterMcDowells Herbal.

I then remembered McDowell’ Herbals. Their herbal remedies are initially for humans, but has extended their experience to include animal health as well.

I had been in contact with them previously with several horse ailments.  The various ailments listed for dogs included “auto-immune diseases”, with recommended herbal extract. Their Service was excellent, below the recommendations as emailed 27 Jan –

“Follow the recommendations for at least a full blood cycle of 12 weeks and you should see improvement in 4 weeks.
Conditioning mix ($68.00 100mls 12 weeks supply)  http://www.mcdowellsherbal.com/prescription-shop/dog-prescriptions/product/839-conditioning-mix

This complex herbal mixture is my primary rehabilitation tonic for dogs suffering critical metabolic stress resulting from over-medication, digestive problems, liver damage, poisoning, severe trauma, major illness or surgery.
The herbal mix includes: Blue Flag Chamomile, Dandelion, Echinacea, Fennel, Garlic, Ginseng (T), Kelp, Nettle, Parsley, Pine Bark, Red Clover and Violet Leaves as well as the Bach Flowers Olive, Scleranthus, Walnut and Rescue Remedy.

The Conditioning Mix will dramatically speed recovery from any of the above situations and the dog will get back on its feed, beginning to recover its condition within days of starting on a course. Normally, a single 12 week program is all that is required, although some owners prefer to extend this to a second Blend.

Also , start with  Liquorice and Elecampane extract, the dose is 10 drops twice daily.

Elecampane is high in allantoin, which is a cell proliferant which ensures that the new cells which are produced after tissue damage are not only made more rapidly (approximately 3 times faster) but are also made in the exact replica of the original healthy cell that they are now growing new ones of, therefore you don't get scar tissue. Repair is quicker and more accurate. Liquorice contains hormonal stimulus of varying kinds, particularly to stimulate the production of cortisol in its natural form.

I also recommend giving crushed French White Millet and linseed at a dose rate of 2 dessertspoons made into porridge, fed once daily as it contains the mineral silica which is an important mineral supporting hair, skin and nails. This also benefits the bones and joints of your canine friends.

Add rosehip tea to the diet; 1 cup will last for 2 days. Halve and mix with food, although some dogs will drink it like water and quite like the taste, give 1 cup daily as a drink to aid kidney and adrenal function and support the energy levels.

Maritime Pine Bark is used in auto immune conditions as a immune balancing support. ($85.00 100mls 24 weeks supply) https://www.mcdowellsherbal.com/prescription-shop/prescriptions/product/710-maritime-pine-bark-extract 

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is used in this Herbal Practice to help people suffering from a range of illnesses.

Maritime Pine Bark is a natural antioxidant. It is an excellent source of flavonoids and has anti-inflammatory properties that work to protect the body from harmful free radicals, helps boost the immune system and strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries. This specialist antioxidant is nearly 25 times more powerful than Vitamin C.

Studies show that the Maritime Pine Bark Extract also supports the circulatory system and when used as directed it will help reduced stiffness and soreness after strenuous exercise.

For humans, 10 drops twice daily is the normal dose as a supplement.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is our primary immune system tonic for all cancer patients and auto-immune conditions. “

As the herbs would take about 2-3 weeks to arrive in SA, and I was very anxious to prevent any scar tissue developing,
I enquired whether I could in the interim give Ditto elecampane and liquorice in tea.  Probably only half as effective in tea form, but available to me immediately. (I have elecampane in the garden, and have for a long time stock liquorice roots for tea purposes, simply because it is so delicious). I made up the tea and syringed ½ cup down her throat.  I realized because of the volume this would be a bit of a battle every day, so resorted to adding it to her drinking water. (She drank it with gusto!!!!!!!!!!!

After 2 days there was a dramatic improvement. More life in the dog, she started keeping me company for short periods during the course of the day if it was not too hot, and could eat and drink better, and generally had greater interest in life and she started to open her jaws about 2cm .  Just the tea in her water gave such an improvement, that we decided to take her on a light gradient 5km hike on 14 Feb, a cool, fresh day.

16Feb the herbal extracts arrived, -17 Feb I could start the 12 week program.  We noticed more daily improvements.  The listlessness started disappearing, an interest in general things started increasing. The 21 Feb, just 5 days since start of extracts we were able to take her with us on an outing which included a short walk, (it was a cool day) – as seen on the pictures Ditto was now managing to open her mouth somewhat, at this stage maximum extension was as on the photo.  We were thrilled, even if she never regained her full facial abilities and features again, just that she could open her mouth enough to pant and breathe better was a huge relief.

By this time I had also come into contact with the BE FREE people – a ministry that heals people through corrective diet and lifestyle changes.  I was told to start the dog on a daily dose of Solgar’s Be-Taine.  It stimulates gastric juices, it often happens that our bodies are unable to take up the necessary enzymes due to lack of gastric juices or damaged digestion processes.  Half a table is sufficient for a dog.  Up till now, Ditto always had a tremendously bad breathe.  Now that things had stabilized a bit, I started her on the Be-Taine – by the second day the foul breath was gone, and has not returned again.

By mid march Ditto started barking again, somewhat muffled, but nevertheless a bark.  She started having a desperate desire to chew bones, and we had to watch her carefully, as she would pick up any bones and try and chew.  We had avoided giving her any bones other than softly cooked chicken necks and bone meal from the butcher, as she had no jaw muscles, no strength, and we had this idea that if the issue was forced, there was still the danger of scar tissue developing.

Things just miraculously carried on improving, I started giving her large bones, raw, which she would not be able to swallow if tempted.  By this time I had managed to switch the brown rice in her food to millet, (rich in silicon and calcium, as per recommendation of Cath  McDowell), and decided on cooked sweet potato as a soft carbohydrate, (rich in calcium) to add her meal.  At the same time I had started decreasing the cortisone as per recommended dosage of vet X, as the conditioning mix was clearing up whatever infection, inflammation or toxicity that had possibly initiated the auto-immune disease, and the liquorice was stimulating the natural cortisol.

28/1/16 2 tablets every second day
16/2/16  reduced to 1 tablet every second day
6/3/16 reduced to ½ tablet every second day
1/4/16 reduced to ¼ table every second day
then reduced to ¼ tablet twice a week
then reduced to ¼ tablet once a week
As of first week of May, Ditto has been off the cortisone completely.

By beginning April we noticed that her head had a rounder appearance, the eyes were definitely not so deeply sunken in, and we suddenly realized that the elecampane, as per Cath McDowell, was causing the muscle fibers to regrow ! !
Her frown lines started reappearing, her peripheral vision was back, (throwing popcorn at all angles for her, she is able to see and catch them again).  The muscle loss over her body due to the cortisone returned, she had lost the potbelly look, back leg and bottom muscles returned, front biceps started returning as well.

17 April, a cool day again, and Ditto joined us on the first real hike.  Climbing from 500m up to 900m altitude along a gentle gradient, we walked from 9am to 3pm.  Expecting her to be totally exhausted, despite stopping regularly and resting during the hike, she surprised us all and still had boundless energy on our return home.  No signs of stiffness the next day.

17 May marked the end of the 12 week blood cycle. I have stopped the cortisone completely and recovery has been complete.  The life and energy this dog has is that which one would expect of a 3-5 year old, certainly not 10 year old dog.

Maria Treben, a german lady well known for her herbal remedies, wrote a book on herbal health and named it “Health through God’s Pharmacy”.  How apt.  We forget that God didn’t just plonk us on this earth and expect us just to get on with it. No – Our Heavenly Father graciously heals and provided the necessary tools to heal. Amen.

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