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Episode 2: What happened to Ladybug?

00:00:33  Glenn:  Welcome back to episode two of Natural Health for People and Pets. I've just accepted the role of co-host, my name's Glenn Cook. As I said, but I want to introduce you to the person who's gonna mainly be talking about the subject matters, who's the smartest person in the room as far as I'm concerned with all this material, the host Narelle Cook.  

00:00:56  Narelle:   Hi everyone, good to be back. We're on episode two.  

00:00:59  Glenn:  Isn't that exciting?  

 00:01:00 Narelle:       It is exciting, it's all happening. I'm looking forward to everything we have to share with our listeners, and like I said in episode one, any questions you've got, please send them into me. We can cover any topics that are of interest to you guys. But today we thought we'd make it a bit more personal. Today we are telling our own story and a journey that Glenn and I have been on over the last four or five months, and it's been really tough for the both of us, but nonetheless, we wanted to share this story with you because we thought it was really important to talk about what we've gone through, because we've learnt a lot over the last five months. It's been a steep learning curve. 

00:01:41 Glenn:       Let's begin.  

00:01:42 Narelle:       Yeah, do you wanna kick it off ?

00:01:44 Glenn:       Yeah, I'll lead into it. There'll be things that I'm gonna need to ask you anyway, so you can just fill in some blanks for me. However, I think it was April, wasn't it when this first happened. You're probably thinking, what are you both talking about? What's been tough? Well, around about April when we all went through this Covid nightmare together, Narelle and I woke up one morning, or Narelle woke up first and then woke me up to let me know that we'd found Ladybug completely paralysed from the waist down. She was in a highly distressed state, and could not walk at all. She was completely paralysed, literally dragging her back legs behind her. As many people are probably aware, Ladybug has been doing a lot of little complex skills for me. She helps me on NDTF courses when we're doing training.  

00:02:29 Glenn:      I was part way through filming her doing Nose Works and if anybody really knows Bug or Ladybug as her real name is, she's an extremely vivacious, very passionate and highly energetic little French bulldog. Basically what I'm saying is she's a little pocket rocket, and we kind of understand why this injury occurred because of her explosive nature. So anyway, I think what we should do is actually talk about what happened next. We found her in this state. We rang Dr. Jane Ricard from Hills District Veterinary Clinic and spoke to her about it, and she said to Narelle straight away, get her down to the animal emergency centre.  

00:03:10 Narelle:       Clock's ticking.  

00:03:10 Glenn:       Yeah, the clock's ticking. You need to act fast. So Narelle pretty much scooped her up, put her in the car, and had a very distressing car ride all the way down to Homebush to get her to really the best place she needed to be, with the best type of surgeon, if she was ever gonna have that chance. As I said, this was during a covid time where Narelle couldn't even go into the veterinary clinic. They had to come out, pick the dog up, take the dog into the clinic, and then I think they were calling you, weren't they?  

00:03:40 Narelle:       Yeah, so everyone just had to wait in their cars and they would just ring people on their phones to discuss anything that needed to be discussed. That was really hard. Once she was gone, we never saw her again for two weeks.  

00:03:53 Glenn:       Let's cut back again, because the other thing that we had to remember here is that, Narelle rang me, she was very emotional as you would be, because the prognosis at this stage wasn't good. The vet basically said, we can operate with a 50 to 70% chance on how she's going to be, or we can put her to sleep now, because, you know, the chances may be grim that she won't come through this. Because at that stage, she wasn't feeling deep pain. They were doing neurological tests on her. They were trying to give us some hope. However, the prognosis was, we are not sure. And that's pretty much what we kept getting back. So Narelle and I discussed it over and over and we automatically knew this was gonna be expensive. Once we surpassed the euthanising stage, we are starting to talk $10,000 plus just for what's going to happen next.  

00:04:44 Glenn:       Because once you start getting into the MRI's , then you start getting into the operations and the hospitalisation, you are talking serious money already. There are people out there who have been in similar situations who might be thinking at that stage, I'd probably opt to put the dog to sleep. Because of how enthusiastic and optimistic Bug is as a dog, the spirit that lies within her and because Narelle and I obviously love her, we decided, let's invest in her and take the chance. Because it was something that we felt that we really needed to do for her. To be honest, we're glad we did. The surgeon that she was seeing at the time, as I said before, is one of the best in the country for that type of surgery. Narelle, do you wanna tell them what type of surgery she actually had?  

00:05:35 Narelle:      So she had decompression surgery between T13 and L3 of the spine. As I mentioned before, she was in hospital for two weeks. They were doing neurological testing a couple of times a day. She hadn't regained any deep pain perception according to the surgeons, which was interesting because very quickly after having her home, we started to see changes in that aspect of her, as did our vet.  

00:06:07 Glenn:       When we went and picked her up, she could not walk at all. They carried her out, they put her on the ground, and her back legs were floppy. There was zero life in her legs at that point in time.

00:06:16 Narelle:       Which was really confronting to see that for the first time. 

00:06:19 Glenn:       It was mortifying. I mean, to be honest, not bursting into tears was the hardest thing I had to do in front of the vets. When you are used to seeing this dog that can charge around at a great rate of knots, and then you see this little dog coming out with a towel underneath her and absolutely no life in her back legs whatsoever. Even when she was on the ground, she was just dragging, her back was shaved pretty much from her shoulder blades down to her tail. This great big rectangle, we've got pictures of it and everything. 

00:06:47 Narelle:       She looked like a silverback. 

00:06:49 Glenn:       She looked like a silverback gorilla.

00:06:51 Narelle:       And she'd lost weight. So it was very confronting to see her in that state.  

00:06:56 Glenn:       But when she saw us, with all her energy, she dragged herself over. She was so excited, you could just see that even though she had lost the use of her legs, she hadn't lost the use of her spirit. And she was so enthusiastic. And I mean, that was heartbreaking, I'm not gonna lie. That was killing me on the inside, and I'm sure it was for you too, Narelle.  

00:07:18 Narelle:       Absolutely, and the other thing that came with bringing Bug home was at that time, early on, she had complete urinary incontinence. So we had to learn from the vet how to manually express her bladder, multiple times a day, because if you didn't, and the bladder expanded too much, she could be permanently deformed. She could get urinary tract infections, so our whole life for that first month revolved around … 

00:07:44 Glenn:       Expressing her bladder. Being able to find where her bladder was an absolute skill and we didn't have much to go on because the lady who came out, was she a vet or a vet nurse who came out?  

00:07:56 Narelle:       I think she was a vet nurse. 

00:07:58 Glenn:       So the lady who came out and basically discharged Bug, she was gowned up, mask on and everything like that. We had to socially distance when we were doing the handover and he was showing us how to do it. We couldn't even put our hands on each other's hands to do it  because of this whole covid thing. Just a quick caveat I wanna put in here, because there'll be people listening to this story who may be very conflicted about this, saying, hey you never told us about this. I don't think we even discussed it with our own parents and they're gonna listen to this and say, why didn't you tell us?  

00:08:36 Glenn:       Well, because like I said, people were going through absolute trauma in their lives at the time, and this was very hard for us. We didn't know what was going to happen next with Bug. We didn't know whether this was going to be a short-term thing, because we didn't know whether she was going to be in extreme pain for the rest of her life. We didn't know whether she was ever going to be able to toilet properly again. We didn't know whether there were going to be recurring bladder infections. There were so many what ifs and unknowns that were unfolding between Naraelle and I. We just did not know what was gonna happen next. So we discussed this and said, we will share the story with everybody, which is primarily what we're doing now. We're outing ourselves on the story on this podcast.  

00:09:19 Glenn:       So it's become a very public thing that people are gonna hear. We don't want anyone to feel hurt or wounded or like they were missing out. We just want people to understand this was a very private thing at the time. A very distressing thing that we are dealing with. And also a mark of compassion for other people who are also very distressed with what they had going on with their own lives at the time. But now that things have somewhat improved and they certainly have for Bug, this is why we wanted to tell this story, because in some ways it is very much, although it's a story of heartbreak at the start, it is now also a victory story as well and that's why we wanted to expand further on it.  

00:09:57 Narelle:       That's right. It was very hard and we were so overwhelmed, definitely the first month, but also the first three months, it was just easier not to deal with a lot of questions. And people are very well meaning, but you know, when you're already so overwhelmed, there's no space for much else. But during that time, at the forefront of both of our minds was quality of life for Bug. We were constantly assessing her quality of life because unfortunately, if we ever suspected that quality of life was deteriorating, we knew we would have to make a call and I think that was very much an unspoken thing between us that we might still have to make that decision. Fortunately, as you'll hear through today's podcast of Bug's journey … 

00:10:42 Glenn:       Bug’s  still with us.  

00:10:43 Narelle:       She is doing amazing. 

00:10:47 Glenn:       And that’s thanks to a lot of people. I don’t know if I tell Narelle enough, but I do want her to know, and I want everyone else to know the amazing work that Narelle did, and the commitment that she gave Bug through all of this. Because she shouldered the enormous burden of doing the majority of the work with Bug. Like taking her to appointments and organising all the supplements that she's gonna talk a little bit about and so forth. But she really pushed herself beyond a very comfortable limit to being on the realms of extremely uncomfortable with things that she had to do and fit everything in around her life as well.  

00:11:20 Narelle:       And you know, we've still got three other dogs.  

00:11:22 Glenn:       Yeah, we've got dogs and we've got businesses and you know, very, very busy lives and there were just so many things exploding around us. Work was changing, the world was changing, and again, we understand and are not lacking empathy that other people were going through so much as well.

00:11:41 Narelle:       So let's talk about some of the treatments and all the appointments that Bug has been to. Her life has certainly got interesting over the last three months. She's never been on so many outings and she loves the car.  

00:11:56 Glenn:       Yeah. I think you started going back to Jane Rickard. 

00:12:02 Narelle:      Dr. Jane Rickard at Hills District Veterinary Clinic in Dural, Sydney. She's our primary care vet, and she's amazing. We went there for red laser therapy, straight outta hospital, and she gave some really good advice. She advised us to stop all medications on discharge from the emergency hospital. So Bug’s never needed to be on medication for pain management, which is great because she's not in any pain. 

00:12:25 Glenn:       And she was the first person who said to us, I believe this dog will walk again. 

00:12:30 Narelle:       From day one, and day one I looked at her and I’m like …

00:12:32 Glenn:       You're missing the point.  

00:12:33 Narelle:       Yeah.  

00:12:34 Glenn:      She wasn't though. She was right on the money.  

00:12:36 Narelle:       And what I love about Jane is, she knows I'm a naturopath and a nutritionist and that I do human and dog treatments, and she's not a holistic vet, but she's very open-minded, so she has embraced everything that we've done, and encouraged it actually. She's been great. She was where we started with the treatments with red laser therapy, and we also added in some physiotherapy, but again, it's covid, so we had to do physio via Zoom, which was interesting.  

00:13:09 Glenn:       That was a bizarre experience. I mean, it was beneficial, but it was bizarre. We did pick up some skills from that, but it was difficult because it's like trying to do karate via a DVD. It's never the same as when you're actually in the room and you're being inclusive with the actual physiotherapist and you can see them doing it. They pretty much had to guide us through and say, do this and do that, but because of them, we actually bought this little wobble board thing  

00:13:36 Narelle:       Also called a vibration platform.  

00:13:38 Glenn:       A vibration platform, that's right. It's a human weight loss or fitness tool that you stand on and it vibrates backwards and forwards and you can put your legs at different positions,  

00:13:47 Narelle:       Really good for circulation. They do use it as well for humans with post spinal cord injury surgery. That's why it was recommended to us for Bug, but we were so distressed at that time, it was still very early on, and we just wanted to do everything right. And to have a Zoom consult where the physio couldn't even assess her properly and feel her and see her close up, that was hard. But as you said, we got some really good tips that we could get started with ourselves.  

00:14:15 Glenn:       I tell you what, the actual life saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, certainly applies to this because we have progressed and learned so much because of this experience. There's been such a learning and growth platform. It's probably like a parent who has a child for the first time, they've got no experience, especially if they haven't had their own parents around and have done it all on their own. How am I gonna raise this thing? And that's really the confrontation that Narelle and I were faced with. How are we gonna do this? You know, this is just crazy. This dog can't even walk. She can't go to the toilet by herself. And we're trying to stand her on this vibration platform where she can't even stand. We had to hold her up and Narelle had to hold her by the front and lure her with treats and I had to hold her by the back and keep her legs propped up so she could hold her legs in place. And we were trying to get her to do lifting exercises where she had no movement or life in her legs whatsoever. 

00:15:16 Narelle:       It's what you do.  

00:15:16 Glenn:       And we persevered. Everything felt like we were just a million miles away from where we needed to be,  

00:15:23 Narelle:       Way outside our comfort zone, way outside. But, you know, there was no choice, we were doing this for Bug. So that was the physio and thanks to Melanie Benware. I did a lot of research into finding an acupuncturist for Bug, which was challenging because initially I thought, well, it's gotta be a vet. I want the most qualified vet to do it. All the vet clinics I rang that advertised that they did acupuncture, when I actually spoke to them and said, look, I've got a dog four weeks out of spinal cord injury surgery, they would turn around and say, well, actually we don't do it for that sort of condition. We only do it maybe for allergies or skin conditions or just minor things. And for a lot of the vets it's a tiny percentage of what they do in their practice, so it's not an everyday thing a lot of the time. Once I started to learn that, I had a woman that I work with who has a vet as a relative, and they recommended an amazing practitioner called Neil Barnsley, who specialises in spinal cord injury, acupuncture, and chiropractics for animals. He's a three hour round trip from where we live, so very week we were there.  

00:16:39 Glenn:       But an amazing man, steeped in history. His grandfather was involved in chiropractic and I think acupuncture for pets, then his father did it, and then Neil went on to do it. He's very expansive and quite progressive in his knowledge of it as well. A very impressive young guy with what he's doing.  

00:16:57 Narelle:       Absolutely. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone.  

00:17:00 Glenn:       So many people do, he's widely recommended for physiotherapy. Well, not so much physio, chiropractic.  

00:17:06 Narelle:       He's a fully qualified human chiropractor and acupuncturist. And then he's gone on to study in China and the States to do the animal training for both acupuncture and chiropractic. So he is phenomenal.  

00:17:19 Glenn:       And the second person who told us that this dog will walk again.  

00:17:22 Narelle:       That's right. So we've done the red laser, we've got the acupuncture going. We've had the physio. Bugs now into hydrotherapy, which is twice a week. She dons her little swimming jacket,  

00:17:36 Glenn:       Her little vesty.  

00:17:37 Narelle:       And she's on the treadmill. So she's doing the hydrotherapy with the treadmill.  

00:17:41 Glenn:       That’s with Theresa  

00:17:42 Narelle:       Yeah, at Active Canines in Turramurra, Sydney. That's just really good, 'cause what's important is that we maintain muscle strength and muscle growth. We don't want anything to atrophy, so every day we are, not constantly, but Glen and I are always massaging her legs and just trying to stimulate circulation and nerve stimulation as well and blood flow.  

00:18:06 Glenn:       I do a lot of stimulation with her, not in a mean way so don't read this and think, oh, you big meany you're being cruel. But I pinch her toes and tickle her tail and all sorts of things, which very early on were the first times that I could see signs of movement in her. When the vet said that she can't feel anything from about three quarters of the way down her back to her tail, there was a spot on her tail where I'd actually tickle the end of their tail and she would be highly agitated by it. I showed the vet when we went back for a consult and he kind of went, oh, that's interesting. I can see it, but never really gave us much indication of it. Whereas, when we spoke to people like Neil and Jane, they said, yeah, that's good. Keep doing more of that, and Neil was certainly encouraging. He said, yeah, you'd need to pinch your toes a little bit and tickle her and get her to twitch her legs and make her muscles fire. 

00:18:56 Narelle:       And just teaching the body to communicate right through those nerve pathways again. The more stimulation to recreate those pathways is what we needed to do. It was interesting because after we had a couple of follow-ups with the emergency hospital surgeons, they pretty much said, you know, this is as good as she's gonna get. You might as well get a wheelchair for her. So we thought, well, you know, you trust a surgeon. And we started to inquire, but everyone else we spoke to, professionals that were dealing with Bug, actually advised against it and said it would potentially hinder,  

00:19:28 Glenn:       Create atrophy and create a laziness in her behavior.  

00:19:31 Narelle:       Yeah, she would never really put the effort into trying and walking again. So we didn't go down that path. And I'm glad now that we didn't, because she's doing really well with her steps.  

00:19:40 Glenn:       She's walking, it's not the same as before. I mean, if you saw her walk, she looks like a drunk person wobbling around, but she's definitely walking, she's on her toes and she's making movements. She's doing foot placements. Even sometimes when she gets excited, she can run. It's hilarious watching her little body tear down the hallway as fast as she can take herself, especially when she knows she's going off to an appointment or anything like that. It's actually hilarious and inspiring at the same time at how much this little dog will push herself. The other night I took her out to the toilet, and it was late at night and she decided that she didn't want to go to the toilet, she just wanted to go back to bed, so she just walked herself back through the concrete path and climbed the stairs and got back into her bed. That in itself is so much progress. Go back several months ago and we were carrying her inside. 

00:20:31 Narelle:       What was happening, because she couldn't correct her feet, she was dragging the tops of her back legs.  

00:20:36 Glenn:       She'd scuff her fur off.

00:20:37 Narelle:       Lots of abrasions and we got some sores developing on her back legs. I bought all these little booties for her to try and protect her feet, but we've never had to use them because pretty quickly, within another few weeks, you could see her purposely picking her feet up and stepping so that she was no longer dragging. That's been a great sign of her progress, she's actually stepping properly for the most part. 

00:21:02 Glenn:       We were encouraged by the physio and even by Neil that when she was on the wobble board, to fold her feet over one at a time to make her actually rest on the knuckles of her feet and then tickle her between the toes. After a period of time she would slump her feet back over and put them back on her pads. This was very, very slow coming at the start, we barely saw any movement in it. And then as the weeks started going by, it was more and more progressive. Now to the point, as soon as I put her feet on her knuckles, she flips her foot straight back over.  

00:21:35 Narelle:       Yeah. It's pretty amazing to see the progress.  

00:21:37 Glenn:       Within a  couple of months, she's gone from nothing at all to regulating her own feet, to be standing back normally.  

00:21:45 Narelle:       Yeah, and did we mention, we don't even need to manually express her?  

00:21:48 Glenn:       No, we didn't mention that point. This was interesting, the original surgeon who did the spinal surgery with Bug was expressing concern about how laborious it was going to be with her needing to go to the toilet and be expressed. And we said to them, well actually a funny thing has happened, while we were putting a towel under her waist and taking her out, she had regained a little bit of momentum where she could stand. She couldn't walk, but she could support her own weight. 

00:22:19 Narelle:       Hold herself up  

00:22:20 Glenn:       And one day we went out and she was sniffing something on the ground, then she suddenly popped herself into a squat …  

00:22:30 Narelle:       To urinate.  

00:22:31 Glenn:       Yeah, went right into that urination position. The second time I went out, I said to Narelle, I think I'm seeing what I'm seeing, I need you to verify this. Narelle came out with me and had a look, and sure enough she did it again. We realised that she wasn't as incontinent as we were first told she was going to be, she was actually going to the toilet by herself, that was incredibly encouraging at the time. 

00:22:55 Narelle:       That was huge, because the risk of urinary tract infections is high for dogs who are incontinent and need their bladders manually expressed. That was always a concern for me, and I've bought little urinary test strips that I can actually test urine for proteins and white blood cells and all sorts of indicators that show there might be an infection starting, so we can get onto things early. But we haven't had to worry about that, which is really good. And for people who are curious, because I know you're out there, about the poo!  

00:23:26 Glenn:       Oh yeah. 

00:23:26 Narelle:       I was so proud when she got outta hospital and the surgeon said to me, she's got really good anal tone. I didn't show it at the time, but inside as a naturopath and because poo is so important, I was so proud of my little Bug. I'm like, good girl, you've got good anal tone. Which means, the innovation to her bowels is still intact and she could defecate normally, so we've never had to mess with that aspect.

00:23:54 Glenn:       No, when she's ready to poo she poos.  

00:23:57 Narelle:       And because of her diet, which we'll touch on shortly, she never has loose stools. I can't remember the last time Bug ever had loose stools. She's got really well-formed poo, which is great. We can take her out and she'll defecate a lot of the time when we take her outside. We do have the odd accident inside, but again, easy to pick up. But yeah, go Bug. Good anal tone.  

00:24:18 Glenn:       That’s one magic thing, magic tone to anus.  

00:24:21    Narelle:    Something everyone should be aiming for. 

00:24:26 Narelle:       Fibre people, that's what I'm talking about. With the diet, when anyone goes through surgery, whether it's ourselves, or our dogs, that's a huge stress. It's a huge trauma to the body and it places the body in a hypermetabolic state. What that means is the body naturally starts burning through nutrients a lot quicker, breaking down tissues a lot more rapidly. That's important because if your dog is on a suboptimal diet and not getting the nutrients they need, they will deteriorate, it will affect their immune systems. They will have muscle atrophy and you won't see the progress that you wanna see just because their tissues in their cells aren't getting what they need. Bugs have always been on a predominantly raw food diet, and when I say predominantly, the non raw aspect is still as close to raw as you can get. She's on Ziwi Peak, they're her training treats, which she will do anything for.

00:25:33 Glenn:       She’ll  run through a brick wall for those.  

00:25:35 Narelle:       Half of her food intake for the day now is probably given through Ziwi Peak with training and her physio and exercises, things like that. The rest of it is just a, BARF style, raw food diet. I'm really huge on plants, not large proportions, but small amounts of plant matter for trace nutrients in the diet, which again, is supporting cellular and immune health. Protein is really, really important for post-surgery recovery. A standard kibble might have anywhere from 20 to 35% protein on a dry matter basis, whereas a raw food diet will naturally sit somewhere closer to 40 to 50% protein. That's important for people whose dogs are on a kibble diet , which is highly inflammatory to the body. I can pop some papers up on Patreon about just how detrimental it is in terms of creating inflammation, and if the body's inflamed it's not gonna heal,that's important too.  

00:26:35 Glenn:       When you say proteins, what type of proteins are you talking about?  

00:26:38 Narelle:       I'm talking about species appropriate proteins. All your raw animal meat. Chicken you've got to be careful with, you don't wanna feed chicken exclusively as it can within itself be pro-inflammatory, but kangaroo, turkey, beef, all of those.  

00:26:55 Glenn:       Yep, and why is protein so important?  

00:26:57 Narelle:       As I said, you need protein to support tissue healing and repair. and cellular regeneration and immune function. But what you want to steer clear of is proteins that are coming from plants.  

00:27:10 Glenn:       Okay.  

00:27:11 Narelle:       And when I say plants, because I've just said I put plants in the diet, I'm talking about grains. Grains and legumes. They are put in kibbles as a source of protein, but they're not as bioavailable to our dogs. When you're in an acute state after surgery, you need to be able to absorb every bit of nutrition from the food you're eating if you are gonna have a chance to thrive. That's why you want really highly bioavailable food choices. Ziwi Peak is great because it's so nutrient dense, you can feed less. You're not putting such a burden on the digestive system, which helps dogs to absorb what they are eating and get the nutrients out of it in a more efficient way.  

00:27:53 Glenn:       Right, okay. Just stepping back, when we're referring to the Ziwi Peak  treats, when we're on the vibrating platform, Bug will now charge up on that platform and put herself in a standing position. It's the cutest thing ever to watch how enthusiastic this little dog is. When she sees me setting it up and getting everything ready, she's up on that platform in a flash. Before we had to actually crane her up onto it. Now you come into the room and if you've got everything ready, she's standing on it and she's ready to go.  

00:28:24 Narelle:       I think sometimes just when she's got the munchies in mid-afternoon, she'll clamber up …

00:28:28 Glenn:       She clamers up onto it. 

00:28:29 Narelle:       Hoping to get treats if she does a good job. And it's the same at the hydrotherapy now she knows where the entry is into the treadmill. She climbs up the little step to get in there 'cause she knows she gets treats. Such a guts.

00:28:44    Glenn:    She's very motivated by food and she loves those Ziwi Peaks. The good thing about them too is we're not sponsored by Ziwi Peak either.  

00:28:51 Narelle:       No, but I'm a huge fan.  

00:28:52 Glenn:       Yeah, but what I will say is that as a little treat, because it's so nice and compact and flat, it's very easy to give to the dogs. It's like the perfect dry treat that I can actually feed to the dogs. I'm using it for all my treating now, for all my training. It's absolutely fantastic. I know it's expensive. People have said it's expensive, but you get what you pay for.  

00:29:12 Narelle:       You do, absolutely. The quality is phenomenal with Ziwi Peak. So that's diet, diet is really important. So please, if people have questions about what they're currently feeding their dog and if it's suitable, they can raise those in the live Q and A’s that we have on Patreon. So if you wanna get a lot more personal, I can certainly do that through Patreon, but the other thing that's been a huge change for Bug is I think she's now on more supplements than me.  

00:29:37 Glenn:       Yeah. Well this is really where you came into it because you were telling me very early on that I'm gonna really research this to find out what we need to do. And this is where your journey took off in supplementation for spinal damage.  

00:29:50 Narelle:       That's right. I think the first 48 hours post Bug being admitted for surgery, I was just glued to my laptop just Googling all my databases for spinal cord injury treatments and recovery.  

00:30:04 Glenn:       Yeah, big time.  

00:30:05 Narelle:       Unfortunately, most of the studies on spinal cord injuries are done on rats and mice because they can purposely sever their spines and quickly see how treatments are working or not working. But it's a really good guide and still good as a guide for what may be helpful. I took all of that on board and just to give you an idea, the main aim with any surgery recovery is you need to support gut health. Anesthesia can compromise the immune system and gut health, and put a strain on the liver. A lot of the pain medications are very detrimental to gut health, so definitely a probiotic and a digestive enzyme to help heal that gut microbiota and the gut lining. As a naturopath, I've got a clinic on site where we live and have shelves of supplements and I just went in and picked off lots of things for Bug and ordered a lot more in.  

00:31:07 Narelle:       She was on a couple of different supplements to treat different aspects of gut health in terms of tissue healing and repair. We've got all your Omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation and help with recovery. I had her on green lip mussel. I had her on a formula that included evening primrose oil and vitamin E. All the beautiful oils that our bodies need and are essentia. In terms of inflammation, things like turmeric, I've got a really good turmeric product that also incorporates some phospholipids. People might know that when you're trying to make golden paste, because turmeric is so poorly absorbed in the body, you need to add a fat and ideally some pepper to it as well.  

00:31:54 Narelle:       But the product I've used is a highly concentrated supplemental form that has the fats incorporated into it to maximise absorption, so that was great. Lots of herbs to stimulate circulation and nerve regeneration and liver support. You have to think about it when tissues are damaged, we need to get as much oxygen and as many nutrients to the damaged tissue site as possible. But you've also gotta get that cellular waste material out as well, if you don't have good circulation, that's gonna be compromised and you won't get the same healing effects that you want. Vitamin C is fundamental to all aspects of wound healing. I used Rosehip Vital, which is a really great powder. It's a natural form of vitamin C, Lecithin as a form of Choline.  

00:32:45 Glenn:       What's Lecithin?  

00:32:46 Narelle:       It's a type of fat and it's in egg yolk.  

00:32:50 Glenn:       Yep, 'cause I know you've made me take this in the past before, you've just said, here, take this.  

00:32:53 Narelle:       It's really good for the liver. Most people don't get enough Choline naturally in their diet, which is absolutely essential for pregnant women to support fetal growth development, and infant growth and development. In the body, our nerve cells have what's called a myelin sheath running over their tail end. The purpose of the myelin sheath is to insulate the neurons, so they can send electrical signals faster and more efficiently throughout the body. That's important. Bg's whole nervous system was compromised with her paralysis, so we need to get those electrical signals happening and those pathways regenerating and talking to each other. Foods that contain Lecithin are really, really important. Some of the other supplements that I've included in Bugs regime, some Collagen to help with tissue healing and repair, acetyl l-carnitine, so working at a mitochondrial and a cellular level to stimulate recovery. And the one that we can't get CBD oil in Australia. Well, it's not legal to get it in Australia, so I use a product called Palmitoylethanolamide, which is abbreviated to PEA, and I've spoken about that on The Canine Paradigm.  

00:34:08 Glenn:       Isn't it stupid that CBD is not legal in Australia? That is outrageous. 

00:34:13 Narelle:       It is pretty crazy.  

00:34:14 Glenn:       Just outrageous. If there's anybody that's involved in policy making for the government out there that may listen to this episode, please make some affirmative changes. Give people access to the things that they actually need. That thing itself is a wonder remedy for a lot of people and animals.  

00:34:34 Narelle:       It is. The day is coming very soon when I think we'll have fuller access to that in Australia. I've got a whole list of supplements, what I might do rather than rattle on about them all right now is I can pop that up on Patreon if people are interested in the brands that I was using, and I can talk about the dosages I was using for Bug, but it may or may not be applicable to your dog. We can talk about that in the live Q and A’s if that's the case. You know, it's been a journey.  

00:35:03 Glenn:       It's been crazy, wild, emotional, but also very educational. And in some ways towards the end of it, it's been a fun journey. I would never say that I want to do it again, but Bug has kept us inspired with her bright eyes and her little passion for life. There's just no way we could have given up on her. 

00:35:24 Narelle:       You see her crazy little face and she's still so naughty. She still tries to get away with everything, and we let her now, so she's so got one over on us. The other good thing to come out of this whole experience is I think, it taught Glen and I to work together a lot more collaboratively. Because we were both sleep deprived initially and very stressed, and just learning how to communicate under those conditions and manage Bug at the same time and manage life. There were some interesting times.  

00:35:57 Glenn:       Yeah, there were some very highly emotive times. I think for the second week that she was still in hospital, I was pretty much in the garage howling, just thinking, I'm never gonna see her again. I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact, as the prognosis was bad at that time. But, I don't want to end on a sad note and make people think that it's terrible. It was grim at the time, but getting to see her moving her little limbs and suddenly going from tiny little twitches all of a sudden to being able to support weight on her legs, then to see her taking steps and flinching away from things is just magnificent. Just to see this energy coming back into her body.  

00:36:40 Narelle:       And the good thing is that people will get to see her journey.   

00:36:44 Glenn:       Yeah, because we filmed it. In Narelle's Patreon, we're gonna show a collaboration of some of the things that we've been doing with her so people can experience it. We can take you on the journey with us. But the other thing that we want to do, is thank the people that stood by us, the people who were involved in it. One person in particular who I speak to quite regularly because we're connected on the IACP, but we're also friends as well, is our friend Melanie Benware. She picked up straight away that there was something wrong and when I told her what had happened, she went and spoke to a friend of hers that had experience in that and got back to me. She was the one who said, look, get Narelle to speak to me because you really need to get her into acupuncture, especially somebody who does electric stimulation acupuncture. I think Narelle looked for every single acupuncturist in the state of New South Wales and that's where she finally found Neil. It's kind of crazy we didn't find him earlier on because he is such a well regarded and so highly sought after practitioner, we were very lucky. 

00:37:48 Narelle:       But I guess if you don't need a service, you don’t know. 

00:37:50 Glenn:       Exactly right. As I said, a lot of people we really need to thank, Mel Benware, Jane Rickard, Neil Barnsley. Even the vet that did the surgery on her. I think she was in the best place at the time with the surgery that she got, even though they were painting a grim picture on it and not terribly optimistic. 

00:38:13 Narelle:    It's a huge burden to take on a paralysed dog and care for it. And I think they have, from experience, not seen it work out so often. Where people think they can handle it, take the dog home and then realise after a month perhaps that …

00:38:34 Glenn:       It turns your life upside down.  

00:38:35 Narelle:       It's just too much. We can't do this. There were times early on where I questioned, can we sustain this level of input for Bug, forever? For the duration of her life.  

00:38:49 Glenn:       I'll tell you one thing that did make it easier was when she started urinating by herself. Taking that outta the equation was a giant step forward in her recovery. The thought of expressing her for the rest of her life was concerning. 

00:39:03 Narelle:       And I'd also like to thank a few of my clients, I won't name them for confidentiality reasons, but you know, a lot of appointments that I've had to take Bug to. And some of my clients that I know really well through other avenues have been really flexible at times when I could only get Bug in on a certain day, at a certain time for her physio, for example. People have been very accommodating, so I really appreciate that.  

00:39:31 Glenn:       The people who were in the know were so supportive and so loving with their messages and their generosity and everything like that. So thank you to you guys too.  

00:39:40 Narelle:       We really look forward to sharing Bug's Journey, visually with you at some point. That won't be up straight away. There's a bit more to go with filming, but it's gonna be an amazing story and we really love that you are now part of it and that we've been able to share it with you all.  

00:39:59 Glenn:       Yeah, definitely. As we said at the start, we didn’t want to tell people, and I hope you understand that when you have heard this. We just thought, let’s just see where this ends up. Let us see where this concludes. Let us see how we can cope and manage with what's going on and if we can. Now that it is looking so good, we hope that things will only continue to get better. They're looking great. She's tracking so well and we'd love to still be able to do progress stories on her into the future, because Narelle's still continuing to monitor her closely and treat her and look for new studies. So who knows? The sky's the limit from here for little Bug one. I think that's a good place to wrap it up. What do you think?   

00:40:58 Narelle:       I think so, but thanks for listening everyone. 

00:41:00 Glenn:       And so when people need to contact you, they can do it by?  

00:41:04 Narelle:       The best place is my Facebook page Natural Health for People and Pets. There's a lot more information on my website naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au, and there's the Patreon page, which is also Natural Health for People and Pets.

00:41:21 Glenn:       Great, and if they need to email you,  

00:41:22 Narelle:       hello@naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au.

00:41:26 Glenn:       Okay, well that's it for the episode, bye. 

00:41:28 Narelle: Bye.

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