live on Vancouver Island and have an 11 year old female black lab. I had to take her off bagged dog food 7 years ago and have been cooking her food ever since. I was paying a premium for Innova and tried several other "holistic" brands back then to no avail. At the time she and I were renting off a good friend who had a male black of similar age. He had no problems.
I initially switched to preparing her food because one day she looked at the bowl of "holistic" kibble then looked at me with that intense lab look that you just know means something important (gawd i wish they could speak) and walked away from the bowl. We fed the dogs at the same time each day, but in different areas of the house to ensure they were not gulping in a competitive manner.
She had problems with hotspots on her back at that time, but was otherwise your typical energetic lets go do something lab every day. Both dogs got at least an hour a day on the various ocean side dog beaches around Vancouver.
So I started her out on a no grains food diet, mixing it up the protein a bit using ground bison, duck, beef and whole chicken necks and backs along with a combo of steamed yams, carrots, kale, zuccinni, winter squash, bok choy, small amounts of beet some raw romaine lettuce (which she loves to crunch) raw baby bok choy, a couple of tablespoons of organic yogurt. I also had her on a decent portion of raw green cabbage which i have now suspended after reading that a lot of cabbage is not so good.
She loved it and ate with a renewed vigor. However the hot spots continued and i eventually found that the non organic, non free range chicken necks and backs were the cause of the continual hot spots on her back. She was fine with non medicated poultry, but in Vancouver that is sooo very expensive. So i simply removed the chicken and the hot spots ceased.
2 years ago, she came down with an ear infection and an eye infection. The vet prescribed antibiotics and they worked for a while and then the symptoms reappeared. so more of the anitbiotics, great worked again, then the symptoms reappeared. then i told the vet that the lymph nodes in the throat were inflammed. she said probably cancer. we'll test but you should consider putting her down. i was mortified and angry at the vet. i told the vet that she needed to consider that pumping the dog full of antibiotics for months on end was the probable cause of the enlarged lymph nodes, but she disagreed. the worst 5 days in my life were waiting for the biopsies. best day of my life was the negative test results. NO cancer found. But the symptoms persisted.
so i fired my vet, and found a herbalist in Victoria BC who had written an article about how she cured one of her own 5 dogs of similar symptoms. she explained that my dog was displaying symptoms of excess heat using Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, which I've been a fan of for years for myself and family members. i just did not know which herbs and other cures from TCM could be used on dogs.
the herbalist told me to put the dog on a tincture of goldenseal and echinancea (natural antibiotics) which i was very familiar with as I've used herbs on myself and my elderly father for years to great results. she also said to feed Cassie clean veggie broth several times a day and to add some kelp powder to the broth. we also removed the small amount of beet from her diet in case the nightshade veggie was an irritant.
this worked perfectly and i've kept this up ever since with the exception of the goldenseal/echinacea regime which is not good full time as the body builds up resistance over long periods.
for the past 6 months Cassie has been suffering from itching of the jowls, eyes and muzzle areas. she also grinds her teeth a lot. i've got her back on the goldenseal/echinacea tincture and have been washing the itchy areas with colloidal silver spritzed onto the wash cloth after feeding. it seems to work for several hours but then the symptoms reappear. my herbalist has moved away from Victoria, so now I'm hunting for another holistic healer to work with.
i've been under a ton of stress for the last 5 years having to quit a very well paying city job in Vancouver, and move to Vanc Island to save the family grass seed business as my father is almost 80 and left me a big mess to clean up, and I've been able to save him as well with herbs and an organic food diet. i'm wondering if my dog is feeling my stress and displaying her symptoms, or if there is some physical issue I just can't seem to figure out.
other possibilities. Cassie loves her squeaky toy and will do anything to chase it. however it gets left out in the rain, fills up with her drool and i'm sure it gets full of bacteria which she picks up everytime she squeezes the carp out of it to get that death squeek that honestly puts a look into her eyes which can only be read as wild instinct. maybe she has a yeast infection that can't be easily diagnosed. perhaps there is another food allergy I haven't found.
I'm desperately trying to find another natural healer for Cassie, but so far not much success. I've even got her on an expensive green food powder mix to neutralize any acidic condition in her body and augement it with spirulina, a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar (which actually turns alkaline once it hits the stomach), i add a few drops of colloidal silver to act as a natural antibiotic, add goldenseal/echinacea for the same reason and organic yoga as the combo of the yogurt and vinegar kills yeast. i add clean organic veggie broth to this mix to make it more palatable for her, and she gulps this stuff down as fast as she can.
she also gorges on thick leafed grass whenever possible and never vomits, so i also suspect there is some mineral in the grass that she needs but is not getting despite how much i try to feed her what she needs.
i'm walking her a couple of miles a day and tossing the squeakie toy until she is too tired to retrieve it and have been taking her fishing at the local, clean lakes and feeding her steamed trout when i catch some. sometimes raw at the lake and other times steamed if it was frozen. she has become a friend of a lot of fishermen and women as she races to anyone who has a fish on the line and diligently watches everyone's lines for action. if the rod twitches, she's on it LOL.
she's full of life and energy way past what one could expect from an 11 year old lab.
problem is she's in obvious discomfort with the eye, muzzle and jowl itching no matter what I do. the only good thing is that she no longer has a hot dry nose at night. it's cold an wet so that is an improvement. perhaps she's just on a long detox from something early in life.
i'm hoping a reader here can suggest something that may work while i work to find a natural healer who may be able to help us both.
i'm new on this site today and have no idea how to wade thru all the threads on here to find a message thread that is appropriate for these issues.
any help will be appreciated way more than you can imagine.
Thanks for reading.
I took a holistic health class in college. I found it both interesting and educational. Herbs are wonderful to treat ailments, but can also be strong and some individuals can have adverse reactions, as with any medication. Some people don't realize that the herbal remedies from China and other places can be potent and even fatal in the wrong hands or combinations. I don't believe from what I have learned that someone should self prescribe holistic remedies for themselves or their pets. While it sounds like you had an herbalist and were on the right track, it seems as if your dog is possibly having a reaction to something. I would remove all herbal remedies, and go back to what was working with the diet you were making yourself. I would find a new and respected vet, and possibly look for a vet that utilizes holistic methods in combination with traditional ones. I am guessing that teeth grinding and itchy muzzle could be allergies. From your post, she has had a lot of different remedies. Maybe too many. I would put away the germy squeeky toy for a few days and see if it makes a difference. It could be full of bacteria. If she doesn't improve, then you'll know its not the culprit. It just kind of sounds like between the green powder, goldenseal/echinacea regime, colloidal silver spritzed onto the wash cloth after feeding and other things, it may be too much. I would go back to basics. Only give the necessities and see how it goes. I would also find a good vet I could trust. That's my take on this anyway. Good luck. And please let us know how she's doing. Have you checked out this place? I found it online and it utilizes homeopathic medicine. I know nothing about the place and I am not recommending it, but it is something you can check our for yourself. Veterinary Hospital in Vancouver, BC - Holistic, homeopathic and traditional care for animals
Last edited by Sophiesmama; 12-31-2012 at 08:56 AM.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
Thanks Pam. I've been using herbal medicine and other natural health methods for over 30 years, and don't do anything without extensive research. I do stick to just the basic home made diet until a problem arises. It is only then that I add natural treatments into her daily routine. The echinacea/goldenseal (which acts as a natural antibiotic), green food powder (which was checked and approved by the animal herbalist) and colloidal silver worked on her last time she had similar symptoms. I've been to 3 vets so far and they all took the same approach. In all 3 cases Cassie continued to suffer and I continued to pay huge amounts of money. The animal herbalist that I found guided me to a solution, but she has moved out of the area, so I'll continue to look for an animal healer within a 2 hour drive of here. Western medicine is wonderful in many ways and very disturbing in others. Thanks for the link to the vet hospital in Vancouver, however that is on the mainland and I'm on Vancouver Island. I have a couple of leads on vets in Victoria who combine western medicine with holistic approaches and will contact them in the coming days. I'm now washing out the squeaky toy with a bit of dish soap and hot water after each play, and then rinsing it thoroughly to remove any trace of suds (sure have to rinse it for a long time LOL a lot of squeezing to get that out). I used to just leave it out in the yard when she was done with it. I'll see if this helps, but will continue to do it regardless if only to avoid any future problems from that source.
Cassie is in trememdous shape. At the age of 11 her teeth are bright white, the whites of her eyes are a nice clean consistent white color, her skin is shiny and silky to the touch and she's still able to able to run, swim, hike or play for extended periods with no stiffness to follow.
Pam, can you tell me how you got those pictures into your signature. I've read some of your other postings and see the same pictures at the bottom of each of your posts?