Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life goes on

The recent loss of our faithful pet, Speedy (the Wonder Dog) Gonzales has left a hole in our home. This photo of him illustrates his favorite position and insistence on being petted. The depth of soul in his eyes was key to his appeal. His exploits deserve a book of his own. The purpose of my essay today is to talk about herbal remedies for our faithful friends.
He'd never been taken to the vet. His daughter Spudz was spayed and received her shots in 2010.  Both animals seemed healthy and vigorous. This past month I took Spudz in to get another rabies shot and to check why she was shaking her head and scratching at her ear (which turned out to be a grass seedhead near her eardrum and was removed). While at the vet's, she tested positive for heart worms. Then I knew both dogs needed the same treatment prescribed for her, confirmed by the vet when Speedy went in.  Previous to this visit, I knew nothing about heart worms.
The treatment was 30 days on doxycycline (a synthetic tetracycline antibiotic) plus a chewable heart worm preventative. Speedy was about 26 days into his treatment when he seemed sick, limping, slow to come to me, and he threw up. When I took him to the vet, things escalated to the point he had to be euthanized. I won't go into the specifics on his symptoms and treatment. He was approximately 11 or 12 at death, we didn't know for sure since he was a stray. I do feel like the doxycycline was part of his decline.

Spudz, just after Speedy died, was developing some sort of growth on her beautiful white nose - the top and both sides exhibiting raised brown patches. Here she is without the obnoxious growth. I looked online at photos of dog skin conditions and read what I could about the possible causes. I thought it looked like a fungal growth caused by a lowered immune response from taking antibiotics. After recently spending nearly 1000.00 on vet bills and losing a dog, while reading the side effects of anti-fungal drugs, I decided I would try treating the condition myself, herbally.

Here's what I concocted: in strong chamomile tea, I added slippery elm bark powder, yellow dock root powder, turmeric,  colloidal silver, and aloe juice to make a slurry which I dabbed on those places several times a day.  The silver was in case it was actually a virus, not a fungus.

I also made some yogurt and/or buttermilk based snacks to reinoculate her beneficial bacteria, again with chamomile tea, eggs, oats and left over cornbread.  I've been applying the topical goo for about 10 days. The growth seemed to be stopped after a couple days; today is the first time I see she's rubbed off part of the growth on the top of her nose to reveal pink skin underneath, as in this photo. I didn't take a picture of it previous to treatment, but it was brown, a nubby texture, and about 1/4 in. tall and growing. In this photo you can see the yellow color of the turmeric and dock root. After I dab the goo on with my finger, she'll lick it off my fingers, so the taste can't be too horrible. She's been avoiding me though, since it's not a pleasant activity for her, so I've gone to 2 or 3 times a day treatment. I think I'll dab some of my Healing Ointment on now that new tissue is being created.  Any strong scented product so close to the nose has got to be doggone annoying!
A noteworthy book on caring for our animals: The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Baïracli Levy will get you started. She bases her book on her experiences with Gypsy herbal practices. I've seen many herbal remedies work on my animals.