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This section is devoted to the issues surrounding animal health and welfare. As "'guardians", it is our duty/responsibility to provide our pets with the best chance of having a long and healthy life.
It is a sad and unfortunate FACT that all of us, animals and humans alike, are having our immune systems, our health and our very lives negatively impacted with all sorts of "pollution". This pollution is surrounding us, not only in our environment in general, but additionally by the additives and 'bulkers' added to our food, chemicals in our water, the very air we breathe and the ground we walk on, in food products, and drugs and other 'cures' that are "approved" by the FDA and FDA/CVM despite their, and the companies who pay them to permit marketing of their products, having knowledge of the risks, dangers and side effects of the products that doesn't get shared with us.
It should be more than obvious by now, with the current investigations being conducted in Washington D.C. and the scandals and lawsuits erupting almost daily, that we cannot rely on those government entities who have been charged with "protecting the public", at taxpayer expense, and that we must personally take responsibility for the physical survival of ourselves and our loved ones, no matter the species.
In order to do that we must take on the awesome responsibility of educating ourselves as to what that is going to involve rather than depending upon any self-appointed experts in any of those areas, all of whom have their own "agendas" which are primarily that of their own potential financial gain from providing care, treatment, and/or products.
I am not providing any "advice" here, I'm not qualified to do that. The only "credentials" I possess are "common sense" and a very strong desire to provide pet owners with information and links to same so that they can make their own decisions.
This page is evolving due to the below "introduction" letter posted at the doghealth2 website and the "inspiration" resulting from reading it.
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 10:31:57 -0700
From: "Dawn Turner" <email@example.com>
Subject: Newbie Intro - LONG
I joined this list at the recommendation of Ginger Sanchez, following my submission of the ADE survey on the Dogs Adverse Reactions website. I've been lurking for a few days, and I really like what I've seen so far. So I thought I would introduce myself and my furry herd. This is very long, but I hope you will bear with me.
My hubby and I are owned and managed by three canine furkids and two cockatiels. I have been a stay-at-home-wife and dog-mom since early November 2003 and am really enjoying the time to get myself and my household back in order and healthy. I am able to spend more time gardening as well as so many other things I never seemed to have the time and energy for before. The dogs enjoy having me at home, too. Particularly Annie, who is crated when we aren't home. (More on that in a little bit.)
My road to holistic care has been difficult and very rocky. There have been a lot of tears, frustration, guilt, anger, hurt, and just plain being tired, but I've kept trudging forward even when it seemed pointless and futile. I'm thankful to God for giving me the strength to keep going as I have learned so much. I suppose it would be best to start at the beginning of this walk....
After so many years of wanting a dog so badly I could taste it, I finally brought home a GSD puppy in October 1996. Ashlee. She received ALL the suggested vaccinations starting at 8 weeks, worming at 8 weeks, and commercial food. I did everything my vet told me to do, trying to be the responsible dog owner. She was closing in on 5 months old when the health issues started. Demodectic mange. We went the whole gamut of conventional treatments, sorting out possible food allergies and intolerances, and continued to vaccinate per the vet's recommendations. Needless to say, she continued to grow more and more ill, and she developed more and more issues. At 2 years and 9 days of age, we made the decision to put her down. She was completely exhausted. The vet concluded that her struggling immune system finally collapsed entirely. I was heartbroken, and it still hurts some times.
All of Ashlee's too-short life and for a long time after, I had this nagging feeling that there HAD to be something different I could be doing to help her, like I was missing a HUGE piece of the puzzle. The internet had nothing much to offer me with my limited scope of research back then. Letting her go was about the hardest decision I have ever made in my life, and not a day goes by that I don't wish I could go back to the day she came home and start over, integrating what I now know.... But such, I suppose, is the nature of hindsight.
Annie, my oldest girl, is a 7 yo (today's her birthday) German shepherd/border collie cross with a history of dog aggression, what we believe may be petit mal seizures, and hormonal incontinence. She reacts negatively (SERIOUS increase in aggression level for about a month) following rabies vaccinations, including when other dogs she comes into contact with have been recently vaccinated. Fortunately, living in Arizona, she only has to face rabies vacc every 3 years.
The hormonal incontinence was resolved using herbal therapy after going the PPA route. Annie had a pretty serious reaction to the PPA that was recommended by the vet for the incontinence. Determined to find an alternative, I took her off the PPA and basically lived with the incontinence for a while. Research led me to the herbal remedy I used. Same result as the PPA (no leakage) but without the side effects. That started me on the road to further herbal learning, and I am still on that road. Annie hasn't needed the herb since having a lumbar adjustment in Nov. 2001. Unexpected but very welcome "side effect" of the adjustment. No more incontinence to this date.
Annie's last episode of "seizure" activity (with associated aggression) was this past August (end of the month). March and September are usually horrible months for her, but she coasted through September 2003 with NO problems whatsoever (despite the considerable stress in our household at that time). I credit the raw diet with that! I truly feel that being on a truly natural diet has helped her body rebalance whatever had been thrown out of whack. In March (2004), she started showing signs of resurgence, but I treated her homeopathically for vaccinosis as a trial run. Symptoms abated, and she flew through March with no problems. I was thrilled!!! (So were the other two dogs.) This past August, everything came to a nasty header. We thought for certain we were going to have to have Annie put down as her aggression became so serious. She was suddenly having 3-6 petit mal seizures a day, each followed by severe aggression toward the other dogs. As always, there was concern she might turn on me or my hubby in her frenzies, but I remain on guard for that and thankfully it has not happened. I tried adjusting her diet, treating her with homeopathy (since it had worked before), and calmative herbs. Nothing worked. As a final resort before taking her to the vet, I took her to see the woman who does bodywork (chiropractics and massage) on me and the dogs. Best decision I ever made. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. Annie slept for 2 days after that session, had 2 more seizures during the following week (and neither that severe) and has been seizure and aggression free since then. The September I dreaded so much turned into a good month for all of us. :)
Izzy, the "baby", is a GSD/rott/dobe, who knows what else, mix. She turned 6 in September. Her history is fraught with kidney/bladder symptoms, including chronic UTIs, which resolved after we did a cleanse on her during September 2003. She now glows with health and vitality. She is also the only dog I have who has never exhibited "apparent" signs of vaccine reactions, but I have my suspicions that the onset of the initial UTI might have been vaccine related. I know that's been seen in cats, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in dogs.
That leaves Xander. My pride and joy. And my baby boy. Xander is a German-bred GSD who is 3.5 years old this month. His life has been a royal attempt to cause his mother to have a nervous breakdown. One thing after another. At 4 months, my hubby fed him his entire day's allotment of food in ONE meal - 7 cups of kibble. Thought he would bloat up for sure. I didn't sleep that night, but he crashed like a big old slug and slept through the night. Then at about 5 months, he stole a brand new bottle of pancake syrup and lapped up every drop, all 27 ounces of it. Boy, did he look miserable, especially after downing all that water because he was thirsty. (He was NOT happy when I took the water away at the vet's recommendation.) Again, I didn't sleep that night (and was afraid to leave him home alone with my hubby), and he didn't even have the common decency to get the runs from his thievery.
Things took a very serious turn when I took him in for his rabies vacc at 5.5 months of age. I talked to the vet about it, concerned because he had developed an ear infection a few days before and she wanted me to treat the ears using the usual gamut of conventional medicine. She assured me the vacc would be no problem. Despite serious misgivings, I let her talk me into it, convincing myself that SURELY she knew better than I did about such things. Two weeks later, almost to the day, I had him back to the vet, unable to open his mouth and crying in pain when he yawned or barked. Masticatory myositis. Autoimmune disease. My heart almost stopped, and I nearly fell apart standing right there in the vet's office. After everything we went through with Ashlee, I just KNEW I wouldn't have the strength to deal with another immune dog. After a good cry, and the panic receded, determination set it. We got through it and I buried myself in research that is still ongoing today. He has had no noticeable lasting effects from his battle - no jaw problems common in dogs with MM. We finally managed, too, to get the ear infections under control. Then another crisis hit - one of my own ignorant making.
At 9 months of age, the little devil got into my yarn and ate an entire skein of baby yarn. I had NO idea until we got up that Saturday morning with my pup having yarn hanging out both ends. Literally. So I hauled his butt to the emergency vet. X-rays revealed his entire digestive tract was at a standstill and trying to play the accordion with his stomach. He had surgery a couple of hours later, and I went home and cried my eyes out, feeling like the world's worst mom EVER. He came home the following Tuesday, and I started plying him with yogurt. (The vet had given antibiotic injections, and I was concerned about his gut health.) When day 10 came, I hauled him back to have his staples removed. The vet asked me if he had exhibited any diarrhea, constipation, lack of appetite. He was completely floored when I said no. For the first time, I was utterly convinced of the benefits of yogurt during illness.
The ears flared up almost two weeks to the day following his release from the vet for surgery. *sigh* It's been a constant battle ever since. In August 2002, I spoke to a vet who specializes in allergy elimination. She turned me onto a wonderful holistic vet in Tucson (2 hours drive from here). The first thing Dr. D had me do was start cooking for Xander. No more kibble. No more cookies. I was more than willing to give it a try. The ears improved but didn't heal completely. In December 2002, Xander grew ill but seemed to get better in about 48 hours. A few days later he fell gravely ill, requiring IV fluids to be administered as the threat of dehydration was very serious. (At that time, the conventional vet assured me it was salmonella poisoning because I had given him raw chicken. She completely missed the fact that I had given him the chicken to entice him to eat something because his appetite was nearly non-existent. I almost asked if he could anticipate getting the chicken and get the illness before exposure, but figured that would sound too smart a**. Never know what I might come up with under extreme stress.) Within a couple of days, he bounced back and was wanting to eat again.
It was then we started the Volhard diet for him. (The girls started January 1, 2003.) I couldn't take the strain anymore of figuring out what dog foods contained what ingredients and worrying over the quality of said ingredients, and I was concerned that the homecooked meal the holistic vet had me giving was not even near complete as it was not intended for long-term use. When I had Xander back at the holistic vet for a follow-up in January, she was very happy with how he was rebounding from being so sick in December. I talked to her about the diet, even took my copy of HGHD to show her. She was thrilled that I was willing to go that route and strongly encouraged me to proceed. (The conventional vet down here had all kinds of warnings about putting an immune history dog on raw meats - salmonella, parasites, blah, blah, blah....) I have since found out through a raw food co-op that Dr. D is a raw-friendly vet they have been recommending for some time. Wish I had found THAT group sooner!
Xander has, thankfully, avoided any more crises since his run-in with the yarn. The ears have continued to improve on an up and down rollercoaster. But the ups keep getting higher and longer lasting, and the downs don't get as bad or last as long as those before them. The last major improvement came when I did an "experimental" vaccinosis treatment using homeopathy. Following that treatment, his ears were clear for about 4-5 months. A new record! It has since recurred, but it hasn't been anywhere near as bad as before and is coming under control easily with dietary adjustments and special supplementation (digestive enzymes, probiotics, kidney glandulars) to rebalance the system that is out of whack. I have long suspected that Xander's ear issues were ultimately vaccine related, as he developed the ear infection almost immediately after his last 5-in-1 puppy shot.
With regards to diet -- The cost of meats was just about killing me with three large dogs during our first go-around with the Volhard diet, so we had to switch back to kibble while I tried to find a more reasonably priced source of meats. So for six weeks in March and April 2003, the dogs went back on kibble and I had my face buried in the computer looking for someone who might know where I could get human-grade meats without breaking our finances. During that lapse in diet, Izzy came up positive for oxalate crystals. Oy!! At the end of April, all 3 went on the Volhard ND. Izzy's crystals went away. Whew! No more kibble in this house since then.
Ashlee started me on the road to holistic care for my furkids, which has been leading me down the road to better care for myself, as is inevitable I suppose . Annie kept me moving when I would have given up after Ashlee's death. Izzy kept me going with trying to resolve her various issues. And I am convinced Xander came along to keep me from getting complacent and to give me new challenges. They have each taught me a great deal about myself, and I hope I never quit learning in that regard. I have cleaned up my own diet (and that of my sometimes reluctant hubby) as well as cleaned out the pollutants in this house because of all they continue to teach me.
At this point, I feed raw meat and RMBs to my dogs despite the criticism of many around me. I am now feeding a variation of the Volhard diet that works really well for my three, and they love it! My only regret is that I can't afford organic meats. I can't even manage that for me and hubby. :(
I have grown to hate vaccinations, which are no longer a part of my life or that of my dogs, except for that pesky triennial rabies vacc required by law. The last vaccination (aside from rabies) that has come near any of my babies was Xander's last puppy shot over 3 years ago. The girls' last non-rabies vacc was more than a year before that.
I no longer have chemical cleaners in my home, having gradually eliminated them in favor of hot, soapy water (natural soaps), vinegar water, and baking soda for most cleaning tasks. I found a natural orange based cleaner for those really tough jobs. Anything with synthetic fragrances has gone in the garbage, replaced by EO and natural fragrance stuff (if it has scent at all). I make my own lotions and salves now. That way I know EXACTLY what is in the stuff I put on myself or my babies.
I am learning to grow my own veggies and herbs, organic only. And I am looking forward to the day when hubby and I can buy the land we want so I can raise meat animals myself, not to mention the egg and milk supply I would love to have in the care of my own two hands.
I am still a baby at this holistic stuff, but I'm a firm believer in baby steps getting you where you need to go.
Well, if you are still with me after all those ramblings, that's me and mine. And I'll shut up now. *G*
Dawn Turner & Critters
for more information provided by Dawn: http://myweb.cableone.net/bdturner/ and then click: GSDs & friends
Dawn has done an incredible job of giving you the "big picture" on animal health issues. The following "sub sections" will be added as more specific information, research and links are obtained: dog nutrition, vaccination "protocols" [the long version can be found at the main/index page], holistic animal care [to be broken down into the various categories of symptoms, supplements, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, etc.].
This website has been created for one reason only - to provide and share vital information relevant to pet health and welfare. If you find this information useful to you, or even if you've just enjoyed the music and/or animations, please "pay it forward" by providing relevant information on these issues to me so that it can be added and shared: GingerLSanchez@aol.com
This site is totally non-profit, is provided only as a service to fellow animal lovers, will not accept any sponsors of any kind, is not a forum for advertising any products and is not providing any advice whatsoever, only information for you to make your own decisions.
May my beloved partner ROMI rest in peace - no matter wherever her bits and pieces/frozen carcass may be held hostage.
[what's in YOUR "urn" ?]
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