High Dose Intravenous Antioxidant Therapy For Brain & Spinal Cord Disease in Dogs & Cats

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It is very interesting how simple discussions can lead to inquiries and chains of events that can change the manner in which one practices and subsequently change lives for the better, even save lives.  In my last post (Responsible & Ethical Integrative Veterinary Medicine Does Not Abandon Diagnostics), I expressed disappointment in a particular self identified integrative veterinary medicine clinic that proposed engaging in treatment without the benefit of diagnostics.  I still stand by the sentiments conveyed in that post, however, as a result of the owner who had contacted me about her dog’s case that I highlighted in the post, my subsequent research led me finding some incredibly insightful case studies that suggested high dose antioxidant intravenous therapy can provide helpful ancillary therapy for brain and spinal cord diseases.

Brain and spinal cord diseases can result from trauma, intervertebral disc disease, autoimmune disease, stroke, and infection.  Interestingly, I found a few case studies from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as a few cases posted on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), that showed credible evidence that intravenous infusions of antioxidant vitamins with progressively stepped up doses may increase a patient’s recovery from all manner of brain and spinal cord disease.

Antioxidants are a class of vitamins that, in addition to providing key metabolic, protective, and structural functions within cells, also bind and remove free radicals that are generated within the body during period of stress, disease, or injury.  The antioxidants used in high dose intravenous therapy are the water soluble variety.   Specifically, the case studies I examined generally used combinations of vitamin C, B2 (thiamine) and B-complex (riboflavin, niacin, folic acid).

I intend to continue to monitor for more case studies and hopefully at some point broader peer reviewed, published studies on the impact of this adjunctive therapeutic option for brain and spinal cord disease.  Quantitatively, given the limited number of cases studies and lack of comparative studies (studies that compare neurological cases that received IV antioxidant therapy versus those that did not), it is premature to draw conclusions.  Qualitatively, however, since the vitamins are water soluble and therefore carry no risk of toxicity (meaning no down side) and can only help boost a patient’s overall health, there really is no reason to not consider this approach as one component of a comprehensive integrative therapy regimen for management of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

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