I am pleased to provide a guest article by Antonia Madunic, a client and holistic resource for me. I have been honored to work with Antonia and her Boxer, Zeus, for several years. I am in awe and appreciation of their partnership, especially through Zeus’s several health projects. He was always very clear with her – directly as well in our communication consultations – when the combination of supplements and nutrients were hitting the mark for him, or when there needed to be adjustments. Rest in Peace, sweet Zeus, and know that your wisdom continues on! Following is her introductory blog post (edited) regarding her journey into holistic and natural practices.
On February 9, 2003, a puppy was born that would change my life. Zeus was the most amazing companion a person could have. A few months prior, I was morning the loss of my beloved Boxer, Brutus. When Brutus was just seven, he was diagnosed with anal gland cancer. The prognosis was one month to live without surgery, potentially six months with surgery and chemo. I chose the route of least pain and suffering on Brutus and elected not to do surgery/chemo. At that point, I was very emotional, but I couldn’t give up on him. I was fortunate to have a mother who had extensive knowledge of alternative medicine so she took the reins. By strengthening his immune system, we were able to fight the cancer and he lived a full and happy life for three years.
Our bodies, as well as dog bodies, are equipped with an immune system that is constantly working to keep invaders out. When we have the challenge of being predisposed to cancers and other diseases, you need to keep ahead of the game and keep their immune system in excellent shape to take on the extra burden. Because we and our pets are constantly exposed to chemicals, pollutants and stress, it can be difficult to constantly fight it off. Inflammation develops and over time, it can turn into disease.
Zeus lived to age 14, which is not only amazing for a Boxer, but a dog who had some challenges and was extremely active. When Zeus was two he was hit by a car and badly injured. The emergency vet didn’t want to operate on him, but we demanded. He completely recovered, but in the back of my mind, I always thought about what impact that would have on him later in life. He also was very active; he would run for hours a day if he could and because of that, I would take him on two hour walks just about every day to get his energy out. At the age of five, I started him on glucosamine and chondroitin, a supplement for joint health. At the age of 14, we had x-rays and he had very little arthritis, which was amazing. The thing about prevention is that you may never know what you prevented, but it does work and you need to trust that your intentions and instincts are helping your pet. I was fortunate to see one of the results of my prevention for Zeus and share this as an example of little things to incorporate.
I will also say that in my experience, it was difficult to find a veterinarian who actively recommends supplements. Through a lot of research, I managed to find one, as well as a pet herbalist, in addition to my mom helping to keep Zeus healthy and happy until the day he passed away. It’s important to find a veterinarian who aligns to your beliefs and supports the way you choose to care for your pet.
Zeus also had a string of mast cell tumors, something that Boxers are predisposed to, among other health issues. Sometimes even supplements and doing all the right things can’t prevent genetic diseases, but I’ve learned you can certainly keep the inflammation down, as well as keep disease from spreading. Zeus had so many mast cells that I lost track of the number of tumors we removed. After the first few I started Zeus on supplements that would starve the cancer so it wouldn’t metastasize as well as keeping inflammation down. Eventually I realized that, since starting the supplements, I didn’t necessarily need to remove them all since the protocol was working.
As much as it was unbelievably painful losing Zeus, it was an honor to have him in my life and I learned so much from him. After having my first Boxer go through cancer and pass at age 10, I knew what I was getting into with getting another Boxer, but I wanted to figure out a way to defy the law of Boxer. These angels are predisposed to a lot of genetic challenges, just like a lot of other breeds, but I wanted my next Boxer to live a very long, healthy and happy life. I am writing as a tribute – to honor my angel Zeus. I know he would have wanted me to share my knowledge with other dog parents so they can help their pets live long, healthy and happy lives.
The complete article is available on the For the Love of Zeus blog. She continues this series with topics including cancer prevention and treatment, natural products for senior pets, skin/coat health, immune system, muscle injury, joint health, oral health, and pest prevention. Antonia is not a professional health practitioner and her story should not be taken as medical advice.