When Sue Maclennan’s dog, Monty developed an aggressive form of bone cancer he was given 6 months to live. Almost three years later, she shares how homeopathy helped Monty’s remarkable recovery.
In October 2017 my 12-year-old Labradoodle Monty stumbled over and hurt his leg while walking along the beach near where we live in Northumberland.
When we got home, I rested him for a few days and, as I’d used homeopathy to help treat minor things in the past, gave him some Arnica and Rhus tox. But, a few days on, Monty’s front right leg didn’t seem to be getting any better. In the meantime, I’d also noticed a swelling at the back of his right knee, close to a lymph gland, which raised alarm bells.
I took Monty to the vet who took a biopsy - which came back clear – prescribed Monty a painkiller and told us to rest him.
The following week, Monty was still unable to walk without limping, so we returned to the vets. This time the vet upped Monty’s medication and prescribed him another painkiller. He also booked him in for some X-rays as he suspected Monty may have chipped a bone when he fell. He said that if the X-ray did show a chipped bone, he’d remove it then and there while Monty was under the anaesthetic.
We were quite confident it was nothing serious but later that day we got a call to say the vet wanted to see us. When we arrived at the surgery, the vet dropped the bombshell that Monty actually had a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma and by then it had broken the distal end of his radius. He told us our options: palliative care, which would give him a month, three if we were lucky, or an amputation which could prolong his life by 3–6 months. The vet sent us away and told us to think about it over the weekend.
A different approach
The moment we got home, I began researching osteosarcoma and alternative treatment options. As I do Galen (canine) Myotherapy – massage therapy which promotes health and treats chronic muscular pain in dogs – I have a network of canine expert friends, so I contacted them to see what they thought.
One of these was the wonderful Dr Sue Armstrong, a vet and homeopath. I’d actually been to one of her talks a few months prior to Monty’s fall where she was discussing her book, Cancer in Animals. So, she was my first port of call. She got back to me on the Sunday, by which point I’d pretty much resigned myself to going ahead with the amputation. Sue confirmed that this was the best option: the fact that the bone was broken meant there was no hope of it ever mending. She recommended we get Monty’s leg amputated as soon as possible.
At this point, we were sure we were on the right path and that going ahead with the amputation would be fairly straightforward. However, when I called the vet on the Monday to let him know our decision, he seemed very shocked. I was firm though and said: “This is our only hope – he’s my dog and I know he’s not ready to go yet.”
Two days later, I took Monty in for the surgery, but when we arrived one of the vets asked if she could have a word with me. She said: “Three of us have been looking at these X-rays and we are questioning the ethics of doing the surgery as it’s a very aggressive cancer.”
I had spent all weekend reading up about osteosarcomas, so I was aware it was aggressive, but I knew in my heart that Monty would want us to give him a chance. I could see he was carrying himself like a dog with three legs and hadn’t been weight-bearing on that limb for a month at least. I said to her: “Look at this dog and tell me he’s ready to go. If he was withdrawing from life, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The decision would have been made on Friday when you gave us the diagnosis.”
But, despite our conversation, another vet continued to question our decision, saying: “He’s an old dog, he’s a big dog, and it’s a front limb.” He then got his textbooks out and started showing me statistics and gloomy predictions. He went on to say the cancer had probably already spread to his lungs and that we should do a CT scan, which we needed to be referred for.
It was the first time we’d been given this information as the vet who had diagnosed Monty told us it hadn’t spread. Of course I didn’t want him to go through surgery if he had no realistic chance of survival.
The road to recovery
A little later on, the clinic we were being referred to for the CT scan called and asked me to get Monty to them as soon as I could. The reception we got there was totally different. The vet was lovely; she said to me: “Yes, he may be 12 and he may be a big dog. But he’s not overweight and he still has three good limbs. I can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t have the amputation, providing his lungs are clear.”
Monty went in for the scan in the afternoon, and I drove home feeling a lot more positive. Soon after, the vet called and said it had shown his lungs were clear and that she was ready to go ahead with the amputation if we were happy to. I rang at about 8pm that evening, expecting her to say he was comfortable, but it was even better – she said he’d been outside to go to the toilet and had even had his tea. It was wonderful news!
In the meantime, we’d kept in touch with Sue and updated her on Monty’s progress. Once Monty was home, Sue advised us to give him the homeopathic remedy Staphysagria for three days, and Hypericum for 10 days, in addition to the painkillers the vets had prescribed. After two weeks, we took Monty to get his 26 staples taken out. His wound had healed beautifully and the fur had already started to grow back.
After the 10 days, Sue advised us to continue with Staphysagria once a week, and a month later she also prescribed Lycopodium, which we gave Monty every two weeks. Around three months after his amputation, Sue reduced the Staphysagria to fortnightly and added a single dose of Carcinosin. Once she was happy that he was past the window for potential spread, the Staphysagria was stopped, but Monty still takes Lycopodium monthly and Carcinosin every two months.
Sue also gave us dietary advice, which involved keeping Monty’s diet mostly to wild food (to keep the chemical load down), as well as dietary supplements, including reishi mushroom and Astragalus.
Slow & steady
The other person who played a massive part in Monty’s recovery was Dr Isla Fishburn, a canine wellness practitioner who is also a good friend. I contacted her that first weekend, and she came over and did some energy healing with Monty, as well as some work with essential oils and zoopharmacognosy [animals’ innate ability to self-medicate using plants and other natural remedies].
Just two weeks after having his amputation, he was back on the beach enjoying life again. Back then I thought, if we have six good months with him, I’ll be happy. But it’s now almost three years since his diagnosis, which feels miraculous. He’s amazing, and is an absolute inspiration to so many people. We have a stroller for him, so we can still take him out on long walks; he just hops in and out when he needs to. As long as he is happy, we will do what we can to keep him going that way.
I’m just so delighted Monty’s still with us – I count my blessings every day. He’s always been a bit of a head turner – and he still is, but for other reasons now. My experience of homeopathy has been wonderful and I will shout about it from the rooftops every day.