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Let’s think about alternative therapy

Oct 3, 2022 | Kildare Vets News

Back in the early 2000’s when I was training for the London, Dublin, Cork, New York Marathons every year my hero was a Californian Ultra-runner named Dean Karnazes. Notably he ran 26.2 miles a day through 50 states finishing with the New York Marathon which he completed in under three hours. And that was after completing the other 49 Marathons. He won all the desert ultras and ran coast to coast across the US. He is still running. His auto-biography “Confessions of an all-night runner” was inspiring to a sports fanatic such as myself. His motto or slogan was “Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must, Just never give up”. Dean’s inspiration of will power and “never give up” message has encouraged my own work ethic and helped me through some difficult times.

But there are times when you should give up, or at any rate consider other options. The options we consider at GymDog are alternative ways of improving a dog’s quality of life. Sometimes this means we devise an arthritis treatment plan of weight loss and fitness alongside the pain-killers. For Spondylosis and disk disease we recommend hydrotherapy alongside a monthly injection of Librela. Senior dogs with reduced mobility often improve immensely on the GymDog ideal weight diet together with an appropriate medication. I have treated many cases of painful lameness in my dog patients where weight loss and fitness have been the best medicine. I have been seen many dogs on reaching their ideal weight and fitness able to give up their pain killers and live pain-free.

The inspiring life of Dean the long-distance runner taught me other lessons. He described low points of his life when he found solace and improved his own mental health through exercise. I believe mental health is something we must be proactive about, so we have to work at it ourselves. I also know that 90% of a dogs behaviour problems can be improved through exercise. Dean’s diet and nutritional advice is also instructive to humans and dogs. Of Greek ethnicity, he says he found the Mediterranean diet of fish and vegetables came naturally to him and he attributes his running longevity to this style of healthy eating. Our dogs likewise are not carnivores, that is a myth, they are omnivores just like us. Every dog we put on a GymDog diet which is fish and vegetable based, benefits from giving up its old meaty, fatty and sugary supermarket food. Sometimes¬† knowing when and what to give up is the key.