cows in field

Preventive Practices To Maintain Animal Health

An interview with Dr. Cynthia Lankenau

By Lisa McCrory, NODPA News Editor

Added September 8, 2014.

NODPA is excited to have Dr. Cynthia Lankenau as part of our 2014 NODPA Field Days this year. An internationally recognized practitioner of Veterinary Acupuncture, Acupressure, and Chiropractics, Dr Lankenau has a Holistic veterinary practice, servicing large and small animals, in Colden, New York. She received her education from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1981, has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 33 years and Holistic medicine for 21 years. Dr. Lankenau is a firm believer in preventive practices for maintaining healthy animals.

Lisa McCrory: Tell us about your Veterinary practice; what types of Holistic Medicine do you practice?

Cynthia Lankenau: My practice is small. I have a very small lab area, and no big equipment; I use only alternative modalities; acupuncture, chiropractic, Herbal Medicine, both Chinese and Western; homeopathy, homotoxicology* and Reiki**, with a bit of Shamanic practices.

LM: When did you get involved with alternative treatments and why?

CL: Since, Nixon opened China to the western world, I have been fascinated with acupuncture. I remember a Bill Moyers special, watching a woman - fully awake - being operated on for a brain tumor. I also worked on a Navajo reservation for half of my summer before my senior year at vet school and was fascinated when a Shaman cured an almost dead septic foal.
It was due to my frustration with the lack of curative effects from drug therapy that drove me to look at alternative modalities to help some of my “incurable” clients. I started my acupuncture certification class in 1990, and it just opened this huge door to all the other possibilities of treatment.

LM: Where did you receive your training for the various types of Holistic Medicine that you practice?

CL: My acupuncture training was with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS); My homeopathic training through Richard Pitcairn and certified through the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH); Chinese Herbal training was through IVAS, the Chi Institute, and the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapy (CIVT); Western herbal classes with Rosemary Gladstar, Michael Tierra and CIVT; Rieki, with a local master teacher; Shamanistic work with Sandra Ingerman with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies; Homotoxicology with their training organization; and Chiropractic with the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).

LM: How did you find the time for all of this extra learning amidst a busy life of work, farm and family?

CL: My basic training in acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal medicine was done before I was married and had my daughter. I was an associate veterinarian in a large mixed animal practice and although they did not pay for any of the classes, they gave me the time off to attend. Since 1993, I have been on my own with my alternative practice. With this type of practice, I was able to sort of schedule my life a bit, so when I married and had my daughter, I could make my life doable.

LM: Please describe the structure of your practice?

CL: Currently, I spend two days with small animals, three on the road with large animals, and weekends for catch up and emergencies.

LM: What animals have you worked with?

CL: I started with a 99% dairy practice, then I was in the Peace Corps where I worked mostly with goats, Zebu cows, some Zebu-Holstein crosses (a Canadian project), pigs, and some dogs. I returned to a mixed animal practice, which was 40% cow, 40% horse, 20% small animal with increasing number of goats, llamas and pigs. Today my clients are 33% dog and cat, 33%horse, and the rest are cow, goat, sheep, pig, llama, alpaca, and one camel and one ostrich.

CL: Are you finding any growth in the number of organic dairy farms that you serve?

CL: Yes, the largest growth I see are the number of 2-4 cow back yard herds that supply raw milk to “co-share” owners.

LM: What are your favorite modes of treatment and why?

CL: All are my favorite, but I think herbs “call” to me the most because you can feel the energy of the plant “helping”. But acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, homotoxicology, and other energy modalities all are unique and truly wonderful healing techniques.

LM: Are there any modes of treatment you think would work better with dairy cows than others?

CL: Most cows that I treat are all quite exhausted and energy deficient. In those, I love using herbal medicine as my primary modality since the herbs are giving energy and “Yin” substance to the cow reinforced with acupuncture to move Qi.

For trauma in a stronger cow, acupuncture, chiropractic, and usually homeopathic Arnica and Hypericum or Traumeel takes care of most everything. If there is a herd problem in a very low economic barn (not much money), I use homotoxicology as my primary treatment modality. So all have their place, depending on the individual situation and the farm’s economic situation.

LM: Can you describe a couple interesting cases that you have had with some of your organic dairy clients?

CL: I had an older cow with severe spinal arthritis. She could hardly walk. I used acupuncture, chiropractics, Zeel, and Du Huo, a Chinese herbal formula for spinal arthritis. After three treatments, she is now walking well and calved well. Another case was a cow with Staph aureus mastitis. I gave one acupuncture treatment and a chinese herbal formula, Si Miao San, and I am fairly certain there is no residual state.

LM: What are some conditions in dairy cows that you have treated successfully with alternative treatments?

CL: Mastitis, metabolic diseases, displaced abomasum, ketosis, pink eye, pneumonia, foot rot, aid in calving, metritis, arthritis, stiff back, and sore feet. I use alternative treatments in the prevention of milk fever, but still give Calcium if the cow is down. Hmmm, I cannot think of a situation where I would not use an alternative type of treatment.

LM: When do you use homeopathic treatments on a farm and when do you turn to homotoxicology?

CL: Homeopathics are mostly needed for individual cases or herd treatment if there is an epidemic, but the farmer needs to know his cows well in order to select the proper remedy and there is no response if the wrong remedy is selected. Most of these big bankrupt places have huge cow numbers and have lost the ability to look at their cows and just know if they are feeling off. Homotoxicology does not require an individualized approach, so a formula can be made to treat a whole herd.

LM: Are there colleagues of yours that also do dairy cows and alternative treatments? Who are they and where are they located?

CL: Hubert Karreman, in PA, Christopher Day in UK, C.Edgar Sheaffer, in PA, and Susan Beal in PA. There are not very many of us.

LM: What are some of the professional organizations out there that could be of help to organic dairy farmers?

CL: We are trying to increase the support available in the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), Academy of Veterinary Homeopaths (very active in PA), and the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (VBMA) in addition to the organic farmers groups.

Dr. Lankenau’s practice, Holistic Center for Veterinary Care, is located in Colden, NY. She can be reached by phone or email: (716) 941-9477, Dr. Lankenau will be part of the ‘Ask the Vet Q & A’ and a practical, hands-on workshop, ‘Alternative Cow Care’, on Friday, 9/26, at the 2014 NODPA Field Days. Click here for the complete agenda.

Thanks to Dr. Karreman for providing some of the interview questions.

* Homotoxicology focuses not on symptoms of illness but on its cause, namely, the toxin that is disrupting the organism’s normal functioning. Homotoxicological therapy approaches the patient as a whole. It attempts to detoxify the body, to correct derailed immunological processes through immunomodulation, and to support cells and organs.

** Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.