We asked vet Vicky Simon to tell us about Hamish the rescue lurcher who came to her with a spinal tumour and not a great prognosis.

A miracle dog

This video is of gorgeous Hamish, running in the fields.

Hamish in full flight!

Hamish is a bit of a miracle dog. He was referred to me in November 2020, having just been diagnosed with a mass pressing on his spine. There was no metastatic spread elsewhere in the body, and no specific diagnosis, but it was suspected to be lymphoma or multiple myeloma by the referral centre.

Early signs lead to trouble

Hamish had originally presented with a slow time when lure racing, then seemed to be moving a little awkwardly, seemed sore and wouldn’t jump. Physiotherapy made no significant difference and hydrotherapy seemed to make it worse. He then woke up one morning and couldn’t stand straight and could only adopt a crouched posture, so his owner asked for a referral, where an MRI scan revealed the issue above.

What were the options?

His owner, Rebecka Blenntoft, sought my help and we discussed the options available. Due to the location of the tumour, with involvement of the spinal cord, and his inability to stand or walk properly, we decided that steroids were going to be essential, alongside Gabapentan if he was showing signs of nerve pain, to be used as needed and weaned to the lowest appropriate dose to keep him comfortable.

Conventional plus complementary treatment

Alongside his conventional medicines, Hamish is taking:

  • Two alternating homeopathic remedies
  • An individualised herbal tonic
  • A medicinal mushroom complex to support his immune system
herbs for cancer

Would he make Christmas?

To be honest, we weren’t sure Hamish would even make it through another Christmas as that was almost two months after diagnosis – the average survival time.

You will be pleased to hear he is still doing absolutely fantastically and runs in the field daily with his lurcher friend. He reportedly has the odd moment where he might seem slightly uncomfortable and needs some Gabapentan, but the rest of the time he is living a totally normal life still!


The power of integrated medicine

Cases like this remind me how amazing integrated medicine is. I know we would not have had such good results without the steroids, as these drugs have a crucial role in certain cases. The holistic medicine then offers extra support in the background for

  • Pain
  • Slowing cancer progression
  • supporting organ function

The best of both worlds

So Hamish is getting the best of conventional and complementary medicine and is thriving on it to a much greater degree than we would have ever hoped when we had our first consultation. Long may it continue.

P.S. Hamish’s mum would like to note that he has recently been clipped so his sticking out fur makes him look fatter than he is and the steroids have made him gain a little bit of weight (they make dogs very hungry!). She wanted other sighthound owners to know that he is not a hugely overweight sighthound!

Useful links

Hamish’s owner, Rebecka Blenntoft, tells us more about her dog here

Blogs on herbs, homeopathy and raw feeding

Vicky Simon BVetMed VetMFHom MRCVS

Vicky is a veterinary surgeon practising integrated veterinary medicine by combining her knowledge of conventional medicine, with that of various complementary approaches. These include herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and species-appropriate feeding.

Vicky spent her first 7 years in two small animal integrated veterinary practices, where conventional medicine, surgery and diagnostics were used alongside herbal medicine, homeopathy, natural feeding and acupuncture. Holistic medical approaches have always appealed to her, so she was lucky to be able to pursue these immediately.

Having qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2012, Vicky established ‘Holistic Vet Vicky’ in 2020 in Wiveliscombe, near Taunton, Devon. She takes referrals for holistic veterinary medicine, and offers general holistic health advice. Vicky always aims to work closely with referring veterinary practices to optimise the health and well-being of her patients. She mostly treat dogs and cats, but also sees horses, rabbits and guinea pigs and other small furries, as well as the occasional chicken.

Visit Vicky’s website here and follow her on Facebook here

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