On Friday afternoon (Mother Nature’s favorite time for medical and dental emergencies), my tiny Maltese Chiclet starting limping. Viewed walking from behind, her back legs crossed strangely, one dainty paw touching ground in front of the other, traversing an invisible tightrope.

As far as I could tell, the sum total of her day’s exertion had consisted of lounging on the gym floor with her best friend, Jiggy, watching me lift weights. Still, she looked injured. Her left leg hovered centimeters above the floor, with her thigh clamped in close to her body with such force I couldn’t pry it loose. This whisp of a canine weighs a mere four pounds. I weigh more. That muscle spasm was strong.

Now, no one does pitiful better than Chiclet does pitiful. She’s minuscule and wishbone fragile, a drama queen with an angel’s face. But this day, with her rump curled under so tightly, she was clearly in real pain.

My gym’s just a few blocks from the office of my dog Jiggy’s chiropractor, Dr. Bridget Chelf, so I dropped by. Bridget shares office space with my vet, so I figured one of them might be in. But no one was. It was late Friday.

I took Chiclet home and massaged her back and leg, looking for a sore knee or hip to blame but finding only spasms. The massage seemed to help and it was Friday evening now. I decided to see how she felt the next day.

On Saturday Chiclet was better although she still showed signed of distress. I massaged her a few times, holding pressure on trigger points until muscles relaxed, then went on with my day. I’d had a lot of experience as a chiropractic patient myself, as had Jiggy, so I understood muscle spasms. I didn’t panic.

Then Sunday morning something odd happened. Chiclet’s muscles clamped down again with a vengeance, and snow-white slobber streamed down from her mouth like a ribbon of phlegmy yogurt. It was then that I panicked. Did this have something to do with the ear infection she’d been fighting? Or her leg pain? Or maybe the stress of it all?

My little girl’s muscles were so badly in spasm that cradling her rump was like holding a vibrator stuck on “high.” I called my vet, Tamara Hebbler, and she agreed it sounded like muscle spasm. Tamara said she’d call Jiggy’s chiropractor at home, but suggested that in the mean time I go buy two strengths (30C and 200C) of a homeopathic remedy called magnesia phosphorica. (Different strengths work on different “levels.”) She said to give Chiclet a mixture of the two (3 beads or so of each resting for 30 seconds in a tablespoon of spring water), a little given every two hours for several days, at least 20 minutes away from food.

Tamara also suggested I feed Chiclet a little, although it had been my instinct to fast her because of the white drool. Tamara reminded me that little dogs are prone to hypoglycemia, and that fasting absent proven gastro distress (like vomiting or diarrhea) may not be the right course of action.

I guilted my husband into going to the health food store to buy the remedies while I worked on Chiclet’s back and psoas muscles (in the groin area). Soon, Bridget the Chiropractor called and suggested we meet at her office at noon.

Bridget confirmed that indeed Chiclet’s psoas muscles were in spasm, as was her diaphragm. Twenty minutes later, with Rescue Remedy to calm her, laser stimulation to combat inflammation, gentle motion palpation of her spine, and Trameel (homeopathic anti-inflammatory cream) on Bridget’s working fingertips, Chiclet was 1000% better.

My little girl would need a few more chiropractic visits to keep her condition from becoming chronic, but the worst seemed past. Bridget suggested a dose when we got home, and before bed, of homeopathic Arnica Montana 200C and Hypericum 200C, something I always keep on hand for injuries, bruises, surgery and such. I should have given it at the first sign of distress, but I had been embroiled in a life and death struggle with my computer (a losing battle) and was no longer thinking clearly. Sorry Chiclet. I try to be a good mommy, but I’m only human.

Backtracking to the beginning, before I called my holistic vet (holistic sounds like witch doctor to my medically-disinterested husband), he suggested I get a second opinion from a “regular” vet (the kind with surgical suites and stainless steel counters).

Since I hadn’t yet had a first opinion from the “witch doctor” or chiropractic, that seemed premature. What could a “regular” vet do anyway? Give steroids (which suppress the immune system)? Take x-rays (offering an unnecessary dose of radiation)? Give a broad spectrum antibiotic just in case she had an infection (thereby also destroying good intestinal flora)? Give a liver-damaging pain med? For a broken bone, maybe. For a muscle spasm? Please.

The chiropractor, along with my holistic vet, eased Chiclet’s pain inexpensively and non-invasively in about 20 minutes, and I learned how to relieve her pain if it happened again. It cost far less than the emergency room visit. Most importantly, Chiclet’s treatment left her relaxed, not stressed. In my book, that’s a happy ending.

***Looking for a chiropractor (human or canine) or holistic vet in the San Diego North County area? Reach the chiropractor, Dr. Chelf at 858-792-7296. Contact the vet, Dr. Hebbler at 877-738 4673 or HealingHope.net.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Rasmusen authored Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care, a comprehensive, fun-to-read book on holistic dog health and safety. Jan's book won national awards for the Best Health Care Book (of any kind) and Best Pet Care Book. Find free dog care videos, audios, and articles at Jan's website http://www.Dogs4Dogs.com Sign up for her popular free e-newsletter and her information-packed blogs.