I am grateful each day that my puppy is symptom free but do not know what the future holds. I have been reading, taking seminars and doing research for the past 9 months on how to help my young puppy who now is almost one year old come back to a HEALTHY STATE where the immune system is sustained (Dr. Martin Goldstein, DVM). Since there is a huge increase in allergies in dogs and also more often in puppies, I wanted to share my experience and what I have learned incase it can help others. This is has been a long journey.
This blog writing has been divided into 2 parts due to all the extensive information:
- PART 1: My story and what happened to my 4 month old puppy. He is now almost one year. This is our story.
- PART II: A met analysis of all I have learned through reading articles, doing research and attending seminars. I have also done two distant consultations with excellent holistic veterinarians.
One critical message to dog owners up against any illness and especially allergies: DO NOT RELY SOLEY ON YOUR VETERINARIAN TO TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM with a shot or a prescription diet. You are your dogs best advocate for knowing him and what you are willing to do to help make him healthy. This is not a quick and easy solution (shots, prescription diets). To truly help your dog regain a state of health it will be expensive (organic foods and supplements) and you will have to spend time cooking and preparing healthy food alternatives, treats and training treats). Hopefully you will see my distrust, anger and lack of faith in most veterinarians based on my experience with my 4 month old puppy who was managed so poorly. It seems all traditional vets only want to give the puppy immunizations and are always reminding me that my puppy MUST have his rabies early (4 months old). IT IS THE LAW!!!
Here is my story:
My puppy was 4 months old and had just had his 3rd parvo/distempter shot. He came from Canada and had his first puppy shots at 71/2 weeks (a recommendation by Dr. Dodds if puppies have to travel at 8 weeks) and again parvo/distemper every 4 weeks after that…. as is usually recommended. It was not until the 3rd shot that he started to itch and scratch. In the past I have had an excellent holistic veterinarian that has helped my one dog with allergies at an early age. Unfortunately this vet sold his practice and due to a non-compete cannot see any of his old patients. Based on his recommendation to the vet he sold his practice to and on his recommendation that she was the only local person knowledgeable about allergies, I called and scheduled an appointment with this “holistic” vet.
She did see my puppy and give him a Vitamin B shot and a Chinese herb. He was a little better for about one week but started itching again. It was very very difficult to get a next appointment with her since she was booked solid for a month and her front office gal was not very helpful on the phone. She sounded annoyed that I insisted on talking with the vet since this is what we had discussed for a follow-up call that NEVER happened. Apparently the doctor was too busy to follow-up until I insisted.
After talking with the vet she found a time slot to see me. When I went in she did a parvo titer and found it to be only one point below a normal positive titer for Parvo. She then gave my poor puppy another COMBO PARVO/DISTEMPER at age 6 months when he was already showing signs of vaccination reaction. NOTE: Recommendation for vaccines are for HEALTHY ANIMALS…. My puppy was clearly not healthy. In addition to this shot she added yet another powerful Chinese herb and sent us home.
That night my puppy was bright red and very itchy and hot. I ended up giving him one of the Natural Hydrocortisone that I had for Kaffee’s allergy flair ups to help stop the reaction. This did help.
DID THIS SO CALLED HOLISTIC VET NOT UNDERSTAND THAT ONLY HEALTHY DOGS SHOULD RECEIVE IMMUNIZATIONS? WAS IT JUST EASIER ON HER TO GIVE A SHOT AND NOT BE AROUND TO HELP WITH THE CONSEQUENCES? Dr. Gloria Dodds often writes:
“Interpreting titers correctly depends upon the disease in question. Some titers must reach a certain level to indicate immunity, but with the clinically important “core” diseases vaccines, the presence of any measurable antibody indicates protection.
A positive titer test result is fairly straightforward, but a negative titer test result can be more difficult to interpret. This is because a negative titer is not the same thing as a zero titer, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal is unprotected. A negative result usually means that the titer has failed to reach a desired threshold antibody level, but a low titer may still mean that the dog is protected upon exposure, as it doesn't reflect tissue levels of immunity.”
Dr. Jean Dodds Pet Health Blog
Of note….. We were introduced to the cooling and warming properties of foods by this vet by giving us a printed article from Dogs Naturally magazine. However were following food energetics with ALL organic foods supported by my strong belief in being able to heal with foods. We read about and followed the use of cooling food and to avoid warming or hot and warming foods.
SEE THE EXCELLENT ARTICLE from Dogs Naturally Magazine, “ Helping Allergies in Dogs with Food Energetics”
After a few weeks of suffering with itching, biting and scratching and the loss of hair in places on his hip and legs, I decided to call my excellent vet in New York that I have written about so often, Dr. Alexandra Barrientos (Dr. Alex) who worked and studied with Dr. Marty Goldstein a number of years ago. Earth Angels Veterinary
AND.. by the way, the vet who had given the shot and the Chinese herbs NEVER CALLED TO SEE how my puppy was doing: he was clearly having a vaccine reaction when I saw her and I called and reported that I was taking him off of the Chinese herbs since they did not seem to have any effect and I did not like giving him these potentially strong remedies for a puppy. I also reported to her husband who answered the phone that he still was not doing well with his itching and biting himself.
Before my phone consultation with Dr. Alex I had blood work done which was normal other than a few values that did fall in the normal range but indicated immune problems and stress of the liver. Dr. Alex felt we needed to work with the immune system and gave me some supplements to start using.
To make a very long and difficult story short, under Dr. Alex’s guidance my puppy did improve with a few supplements to support his liver and immune system. I also changed his diet again to a cooling food (Duck from Darwins) and my addition of healing veggies. NO pre-made treats or processed food of any form. Everything this puppy got was ORGANIC and made by me with the exception of what I believe to be one of the best sources for raw food, Darwins (grass fed animals and organic veggies).
One major concern was creating chronic skin problems. Dr. Alex has always stressed to me the importance of trying to stop the allergic reaction so the dog can heal. Since she was not able to prescribe medication for this I went to one of my traditional vets who did my blood work and he suggested a medication that should help stop the itching in 24 hours.
This medication was very effective but I did not like having to give it once or twice a day and since it is relatively new there have been no long term studies on its effects on dogs. When I returned for follow-up blood work to be sure my young dog was doing OK with his supplements and the medication, the vet told of a newly available medication that was newly released to vets that are not dermatologists works and for 4-6 weeks.
Yes, I hated giving these and yes the long term effects are not yet in. Yes, holistic veterinarians are very harsh in their mention of this… BUT WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE DONE EVRYTHING FOR 5 MONTHS AND YOUR PUPPY IS STILL ITCHING. I made the decision to try both of these and hopefully while the puppy was healing his immune system was becoming stronger. AGAIN, I BELIEVED STRONGLY IN FOOD ENERGETICS and the ability of food to heal.
WHERE WE ARE NOW:
My puppy is almost a year old and each day I am so grateful that he is happy, healthy and doing well…. No itching, biting or scratching. His hair has grown back and his coat is shiny and beautiful.
This is not to say that his itching, biting and scratching will not return, but I am strictly following some guidelines that research seem to indicate help and support the IMMUNE SYSTEM. A healthy immune system is CRITICAL for the health of a dog ---- this does not just include allergies, but also cancer and many other diseases and conditions that are now on the rise. When a dog develops an allergy, the immune system malfunctions. What is essential is to see why the dog has a malfunctioning immune system. In my puppies case it was clearly over vaccination.
Dr. Jean Dodds has researched and written for years about the effects of vaccines and over vaccination. Read her excellent information at: http://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/dodds-vaccines#.WRH8QVPytBw
Dr. Richard Pitcairn back in 1993, wrote about the relationship between vaccination and the chronic disease in a paper presented at the AHVMA conference. http://www.drpitcairn.com/lectures-and-talks/new-look-at-vaccines/
It is not the intent of this writing to discuss canine allergies since what I want to share is my experience and some key guidelines that I learned about to help support and regain a healthy immune system. To learn more about Canine Allergies the Whole Dog Journal has published a very informative 27 page guide that you can purchase at: Scroll down to “Canine Allergies” https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/subscribe/main3.html?IPAuth_wholedogjournal=&s=GL_201705&st=WEB#ebooks
What is important to note however is that food hypersensitivity or allergies only account for less than 10 percent of what is labeled “food allergy”. I have found this to be true since at first I thought we were having food allergies and changed food from chicken to beef to rabbit then duck; but now that the puppy seems to be in better health I am able to add back a few treats with different protein sources. Also, in addition to itching dogs usually have gastrointestinal symptoms of which my puppy had none.