Case Study – Holistic Treatment of Adrenal Tumor

Case Study – Holistic Treatment of Adrenal Tumor

Holistic Treatment of Adrenal Tumor Leads to Complete Recovery     

Modalities: Reiki, Herbs

Rusty after his recovery

Rusty after his recovery

This case study reports on the successful use of Reiki and herbs to support a 10 ½ year old welsh terrier in his full recovery from an adrenal tumor without the use of conventional methods such as drugs or surgery. The initial diagnosis and ultimate recovery were both documented using a standard medical procedure called ultrasound imaging. Rusty’s story begins in mid 2013 when he became weak and hypertensive and was diagnosed with an adrenal tumor by his conventional veterinarian. His owners, James and Meredith, opted for holistic treatment instead of the recommended surgery. With the support of herbal remedies recommended by a naturopathic doctor and reiki provided by a Reiki Master, Rusty’s tumor dissolved! Rusty has just had his 13th birthday and is healthy, happy and active, without any evidence of an adrenal tumor.

Please read the following accounts by Rusty’s owners and Reiki Master to learn more about this case. As you review this material, please keep in mind that holistic treatments are highly personalized. For that reason, we cannot provide you with a specific combination of herbs for the treatment of adrenal tumors. Instead, we encourage you to seek the help of an holistic practitioner who can develop a program directed to the specific needs of your pet. The practitioners who contributed to this case were:

Eileen Alexander, RYT, RM

Life & Grief Coach, Reiki Master

Reiki, Yoga & Meditation Teacher

Eileen Alexander Therapeutic Services

450 Hamburg Turnpike, Suite 2C

Wayne, NJ 07470



Dr. Sandi Kuglics, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy)

Health Awareness Laser Therapy

336 College Ave

Beaver, PA 15009



Mary Duafala, MS, BCPP

Bioenergetic Practitioner and

Executive Director, The Abbeyrose Foundation


RUSTYS AMAZING RECOVERY by James and Meredith, owners

Rusty is usually very excited to go on his walks, but on the afternoon of June 30, 2013 he was unable to walk down the stairs and refused his dinner. After touching his belly, we noticed that his stomach was distended and he was extremely guarded about his stomach. We knew there was something very wrong. He also gave us “the look”. He was telling us, “This isn’t good, guys!”

Rusty 1Photo: Chelsea (L) and Rusty (R) a few days before Rusty’s diagnosis


We immediately took him to the vet. Upon initial external evaluation, no diagnosis could be determined. So, we left him for about an hour and a half for further testing, including an x-ray. It was determined that Rusty had gastroenteritis and high blood pressure; neither of which Rusty had ever had before. It was then noted, on one of the x-rays, that Rusty had a darkening around his right adrenal gland, pointing to the possibility of a tumor. The doctor recommended that Rusty stay for about three days to be monitored for the gastroenteritis, receive IV fluids and medications, and to receive an ultrasound on the area of the adrenal gland. (Note: There are 2 adrenal glands, one sitting on top of each of the kidneys. These glands produce a variety of hormones, including adrenaline and steroids. Ultrasound, also called sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body to see organs and blood flow. This is a common imaging procedure used by veterinarians and medical doctors.)


We received the ultrasound result after his stay, and it was showed a right adrenal gland tumor. His blood pressure remained slightly elevated, and he was slightly more agitated, primarily around unfamiliar dogs, and his abdomen was still tender. Rusty was started on a blood pressure medication.


We scheduled a visit with a veterinary surgeon, to do a CAT scan and to determine Rusty’s eligibility for surgery. This CAT scan was to determine the true size and impact of the tumor, and to determine if the tumor was operable. The tumor was deemed operable and the surgeon stated that the quality of life following an operation like this is excellent. However, it was also noted that the survival rate is only 85%—death rate being 15% during this type of surgery. Because Rusty is a smaller dog, the survival rate is actually a bit lower. However, there was little data to suggest how much lower.


Making a decision about your pet’s health is a nerve-racking one, just as it is with your family. We did not want to delay. However, we did spend much time considering all of the objective data that we received from every doctor involved. We decided that surgery was not an option for us. Rusty, at the time, was ten and a half years old. We knew that the 15% death rate with this surgery was not going to be something we were interested in gambling on. Furthermore, according to the doctors with whom we spoke, and in doing additional personal research, we found that many dogs can live with adrenal tumors—and live a comfortable life.


After making this decision, we knew that our ultimate goal would be to make Rusty’s life comfortable and happy for however long he decided to stay on this earth. We began to research alternate approaches, including naturopathic remedies, as well as energy healing. As we embarked on this journey into using Eastern medicine as opposed to Western medicine, we learned a great deal from others. We utilized resources from the Abbeyrose Foundation, Mary Duafala, and Pam Allen.


We decided to contact the wonderful naturopathic doctor, Dr. Sandi Kuglics, ND. At the beginning of Rusty’s treatment, Dr. Sandi determined where Rusty’s body needed support and identified weaknesses in his immune system, in his circulatory system, in his nervous system, and in his digestive system. She recommended remedies that would heal all of these areas.


Additionally, we began treating Rusty with Reiki with our dear friend, Eileen Alexander. We began Reiki immediately after the initial diagnosis. Rusty initially received three Reiki sessions per week. Following each Reiki session, Eileen would report a shift in his energy. After a few months, we did not continue Reiki, as Rusty had made significant gains.


We did continue with his naturopathic remedies, for overall sustained health and to treat any mild issues that would arise. In early February, Dr. Sandi reported she did not believe Rusty still had his tumor.


During Rusty’s yearly veterinary visit, on July 12, 2014, we asked to have an ultrasound done to determine the status of Rusty’s adrenal gland. According to this new ultrasound, the adrenal tumor and right adrenal gland where the tumor had grown were necrotized (i.e., the tumor and gland had died and were dissolving) and his healthy left adrenal gland was enlarged. The tumor was gone! According to our veterinarian, the necrosis of the adrenal gland along with the adrenal tumor is expected when a tumor is treated using medical approaches, for example, chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, when an adrenal gland and tumor are removed surgically, the remaining adrenal gland often enlarges to compensate for the loss of the other adrenal gland. But, Rusty had had none of those procedures!


Rusty’s healing appears to be complete. He no longer has an adrenal tumor nor is he ill. At this point, Rusty has mild arthritis, but he is incredibly happy and healthy.


All of our experiences during this time with Rusty are of huge benefit to the animal and human communities, alike. It provides amazing hope and interest in using Eastern medicine along with, or in place of Western medicine to heal ourselves. Our bodies are meant to heal themselves, and by supporting our bodies at the cellular level, as we did with Rusty, we can combat chronic illness and disease.


RUSTY’S REIKI TREATMENT by Eileen Alexander, Reiki Master

Rusty is a welsh terrier and was 11 years old when he was diagnosed with a tumor on his right adrenal gland in July of 2013. Rusty’s parents immediately began to seek out holistic support in treating Rusty rather than opting for invasive treatment. I began treating Rusty with Reiki in August of 2013, in conjunction with remedies prescribed by another practitioner. Initially, Rusty was described by his parents as not being himself. He seemed somewhat lethargic, less playful and his spine was notably curved.


I treated Rusty over a period of approximately six months. Treatments took place weekly on an average, with several visits a week at some points and slightly larger gaps in frequency of treatment at other times. Each treatment lasted between 25 and 40 minutes. It should be noted that Rusty’s Dad became a Reiki Level 1 practitioner shortly after his diagnosis and treated Rusty himself in between my sessions.


Rusty was very receptive to Reiki. During the first treatments, it would take him a few minutes to settle in. I treated him in his own home, in a small enclosed sunroom that is used by his Dad as a meditation room and contained many healing crystals. His Dad joined us during the earlier sessions to calm him down. Rusty would run around the room while I sat still and sent Reiki to him, but then ultimately make his way to me and settled in for hands-on treatment.   Once he settled in, Rusty would lie still for long periods of time receiving treatment. At times he would change body position, guiding me to where he wanted my hands on his body. He would lie on the floor at times and crawl into my lap at other times. For a couple of months midway through treatment, during his sessions, his hind leg would often twitch and tremor.   This stopped toward the end of his treatment regimen. Much of Rusty’s Reiki treatment was targeted to his First (Root) Chakra and Third (Solar Plexus) Chakra. A bloodstone was used to support Rusty in calming and grounding him.


As treatment moved forward and Rusty became more and more “himself”, his energy centers balanced more quickly and the time that he sat for treatment in each session became shorter. Over time Rusty’s energy level increased significantly, his spine returned to normal and overall he began to look and act like a much younger dog.


In the last month or so of treatment Rusty had become more anxious due to the addition of an infant into the home. His parents had welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world in October, 2013. Rusty was very protective of her, causing him to go into fight or flight mode very often as he sensed any activity outside the house. There was concern that this anxiety would have an adverse effect on his physical well-being. Much of the treatment during this time was focused on calming Rusty’s anxiety. In a short period of time Rusty’s anxiety settled and his health continued to improve.


I was thrilled to hear from Rusty’s parents his tumor was gone and that Rusty was in good health overall.


Companies to stop production of some pesticide-impregnated pet collars

Companies to stop production of some pesticide-impregnated pet collars

Companies agree to stop producing some pesticide-impregnated pet collars. In a voluntary agreement, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc, and Wellmark International have agreed to stop producing pet collars containing the pesticide propoxur. However, care must be taken, as these products will continue to be produced until April 1, 2015, continue to be distributed until April 1, 2016, and continue to be sold until supplies are gone.  The reason for this action is the risk of pesticide exposure to children. The risk of exposure to this chemical is greatest immediately after opening the container and putting the collar on your pet. Exposure can be through contact with the collar or the animal wearing the collar. For more information visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at


Lawn Care Safety for Pets and People

Lawn Care Safety for Pets and People

kid dog lawnHonestly, even “natural” lawn care practices can cause you, your children, and your pet some amount of harm. This is particularly true of pets if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application.  You can still have a luscious, green yard by using the least harmful products and incorporating a few new habits.  The most important step is to keep your pet and children off of the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time.  This may mean applying product on one part of your yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reversing the process.  You can always plan to walk your dog for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option.

Suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet and family as well as to the environment include:

  • Soil test your yard

Many states have Cooperative Extension offices that will complete a soil test for you at no or little charge and offer a straightforward summary of the results so you only put what is needed on your yard.

  • Research the types of grass that thrive in your region

This is more helpful for those with a dirt patch that they want to fill with grass rather than those over seeding an already established lawn.  Think about how you are planning on using and maintaining the space while you read over the descriptions of available grasses.  You may even decide to plant shrubs or other groundcover that does not require weekly maintenance.

  • Redefine your definition of a weed

Some clover isn’t bad and people do even add dandelion greens to their salads.  Depending on the weed, if you catch it when there is only one, pull it out quickly before it goes to seed or snap off the flower head before it goes to seed.  Much easier to do on a small postage stamp size  yard than an acre or hundred, but it is effective and does not involve chemicals.

  • Feed the soil

This item ties back to soil testing.  Soil that is full of nutrients leads to a healthy root system for the grass.  If the grass is healthy and full, there will be no room for weed seeds to take hold.  Think about making compost tea.  You can spray it on the yard using an apparatus that attaches to a garden hose, like those used to apply liquid fertilizer.

For more information, take a look at the following sites:  search “lawn care”  Nice article – Organic vs. Chemical Lawn Care: Which one leads to healthier grass?  quick wit and good, practical solutions  search for “21 Expert Organic Lawn Care Tips”  short and to the point

Invited post written by Jeanette Miller of 42morrow

Be Green Today…

….For a Greener Tomorrow


The Only Difference is What Their Mother Ate!

The Only Difference is What Their Mother Ate!

MiceIt takes more than good genes for good health. This point is dramatically demonstrated in this short video showing two mice from the same mother, but different litters. The two mice are genetically identical, have eaten the same diet since birth, and were raised in exactly the same environment. The only difference is the diet the mother ate during her pregnancy! Not only do these mice look different, but along with being obese, the yellow one is at higher risk of developing diabetes and cancer. In contrast, the brown mouse is leaner and less likely to develop these diseases.

The effect of environment on gene expression is called epigenetics. Genes can be likened to computer hardware and epigenetics to the software. Put another way, DNA has the instructions; epigenetics is how those instructions are read.

The importance of epigenetics goes beyond diet. Chemicals from our environment as well as chemicals produced by our bodies bind to our DNA every second of every day and affect how our genes are read. These chemicals determine if the gene is turned on or off – they even determine how much it is turned on. This is why we at arf think that good nutrition, minimizing exposure to potential toxins (including vaccines, medications, and environmental toxins) and joyful living are so important to achieving and maintaining good health.


Case Study – Multidisciplinary Approach to Healing – Maggie’s Story

Case Study – Multidisciplinary Approach to Healing – Maggie’s Story

Maggie2CASE STUDY – Multidisciplinary Approach to Healing – Maggie’s Story

By Wendy Volhard

This 8-year-old Westie rescue suffered from numerous health problems, including listlessness, recurring cysts, and itchy, greasy skin. These conditions were a result of inadequate nutrition, over vaccination, over medication, and having been bred too young and too often. In this report, Wendy Volhard describes her step by step approach to helping this dog regain her health.

Maggie, an 8-year-old Westie, belonged to an obedience student of mine.  She always accompanied a younger Westie, Brody, who was training in the beginner’s class.  I couldn’t help noticing Maggie – head down, tail down and shuffling along as she made her way to her crate to wait for Brody to finish class.

One day I asked her owner Rita what was wrong with Maggie and if she needed help.  The flood gates opened!  It appeared that every 10 days or so, Maggie developed an elevated temperature along with a nasty cyst on her right front paw which was so painful she couldn’t walk until it burst.  The poor girl had only a few days between episodes when her foot was not painful.  Rita had been to numerous vets and tried almost everything — continuous antibiotics, prednisone, and various creams and jellies.  Surgery was suggested next.  Nothing worked and Rita was desperate.

My first and most important suggestion was a diet change from kibble to a natural whole diet.  While this was scary for Rita, she was willing to try anything to give Maggie some relief.


  •   Maggie was overweight
  •   She was lethargic, moving only a few steps at a time
  •   She had horrible greasy skin on her back, with extreme itching (suspected epidermal dysplasia)
  •   She held her head down. She could not look up into our eyes
  •   A cyst appeared every 10 days on her right front foot
  •   Maggie was miserable

This photo shows a cyst on Maggie’s foot

Maggies cyst


  •   Adopted at 5 years from rescue organization
  •   Used as a breeding female in a puppy mill prior to rescue
  •   While with rescue, vaccinated with the 5 in 1 vaccine plus Bordetella and rabies, all on the same day.  She also had been put under anesthesia for a dental cleaning
  •   Vaccinated yearly since being rescued
  •   Lived on steroids and antibiotics
  •   Fed a kibble diet

Initial Assessment:

  •        Over weight
  •        Inadequate nutrition
  •        Over vaccinated
  •        Over medicated
  •        Bred too early and too often

Where to start?

I suggested complete blood work (on a 12 hour fast).  This included CBC, chemistry screen, urinalysis, complete thyroid panel, and panel for tick-borne diseases.  Maggie was also checked for parasites.  Results showed that Maggie was negative for parasites.  Her cholesterol was high, sodium/potassium ratios not good, and all other values were on the high side of normal.  Her thyroid was extremely low.

Using kinesiology we did a diagnostic protocol (which goes through all the systems of the body) to determine Maggie’s ‘weak’ areas.  This showed she had a structural imbalance and that her lymph system was stressed.  We used the following treatment program for Maggie who weighed 17lbs.

  • Homeopathic detox for her lymph system administered upon awakening  for 5 consecutive days.
  • Diet
    • A detoxifying diet was fed twice a day for 2 weeks only. This was a mixture of cooked chicken, a small amount of sweet brown rice, lightly cooked vegetables together with vitamins and minerals. I advised Rita to make up her food in bulk without the vitamins, put it into ice cube trays and freeze.  Food was defrosted twice daily and supplements added before feeding.  This worked well for such a small dog.
    • At the end of the 2 week detoxifying diet, Maggie was transferred to Volhard NDF2 ( )
  • Chiropractic consultation:  During the initial 2 weeks, our chiropractic veterinarian worked with Maggie.  She found that her neck needed adjustment and that she had a sore shoulder.  The veterinarian chiropractor also gave Maggie an acupuncture treatment for her greasy skin.  During her examination, she noted that some of Maggie’s teeth lacked enamel.  Her thought was that this condition resulted from being bred too young, when Maggie herself was not mature.
  • After consultation with our chiropractic veterinarian, a small dose of thyroid medication was given.
  • Blueberries and raspberries were fed for between meal snacks
  • Before bedtime one dose of homeopathic Thuja was administered to counteract vaccine damage. This was continued for 10 nights.


After about 2 weeks, Maggie could walk without her head down and she was making eye contact on a regular basis.  Rita was shown how to massage her neck daily.  However, 20 days into her new program, her foot swelled again and she began to limp.  Maggie was given the homeopathic Silicea 30c, to help push out any toxins in her body.  The cyst immediately came to a head and burst and she could once again walk without pain.

While Maggie was improving, Rita began to express concern about the cost.  Up until now she had spent $2,716.29 at the regular veterinarian. The current treatment protocol (food, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture and blood work) cost an additional $500.  However, Rita became convinced we were on the right track when, after only 6 weeks on her new regime, repeat blood work demonstrated substantial improvement.

This second set of blood work (again done on a 12 hour fast), showed that all of Maggie’s values were now within normal range.  Laboratory values for liver and kidney function, as well as cholesterol levels were lower than before and her thyroid function tests were normal.  Six months later more blood was drawn.  All of Maggie’s laboratory results were perfect and she had not had a cyst for over 4 months.

One year later, we did blood work yet again.  Thyroid was still normal and she had had no cysts for 10 months.  Hair had grown over the affected area of her back, but the skin remained somewhat greasy; this was managed with massage.  Maggie continues to get chiropractic check-ups every couple of months, and she is lively and happy.

A Note About Blood Work

It is essential when working on cases like this, to have blood drawn on a 12 hour fast and to use the same laboratory each time blood is drawn.  Rita had wanted to try a new veterinarian closer to her home, and had blood drawn there a year after Maggie started her new regime.  A different Laboratory was used, it was not done on a fast (once food is in the system, values can change), and the normal readings were not the same as the original Lab used.  For comparative purposes, these results were useless.  So, Rita took Maggie back to her original veterinarian for blood draws, which should be done annually.

(Case study provided by Wendy Volhard, and )

Download PDF version HERE


Welcome to the Healthy Dog Blog!

Welcome to the Healthy Dog Blog!

Welcome to the Healthy Dog Blog, devoted to helping our dogs reach their highest potentials and live healthier, happier, longer lives!  Three principles support this objective and will be explored in more depth in our future posts: good parentage, following the four basic rearing guidelines outlined below, and the use of holistic modalities.

Parentage, meaning the dog’s parents or ancestors, is at the core of our dog’s health. However parentage does not provide a rigid blueprint for the future. The effects of parentage can be modified or strengthened by applying the four rearing guidelines and by the use of holistic modalities. These rearing guidelines are:

  • Nutrition – Feed a high-quality, whole-foods, species appropriate diet
  • Vaccines –  Administer only essential vaccines on a reasonable schedule
  • Toxins  – Minimize exposure to toxins
  • Joyful living – Engage your dog, both mentally and physically, in activities that enrich his life

The final principle is the use of holistic modalities when appropriate. Compared with conventional allopathic medicine, holistic modalities often offer a safer and gentler approach to supporting, strengthening, and healing our dogs.

Thank you for visiting the Healthy Dog Blog! Please return often to review new posts. You may also want to sign-up for email notification of our latest tips and information.

How to Raise a Healthier, Happier, Longer-Lived Dog

HDB March diagram