Thanks to Pam for asking me to post her story in the hope it helps other dogs. And to Rosco the accommodating Lab who saw it fit to comply with my plan.
I have a lovely client with a heart of gold who would do anything to improve the life of her Labrador Retriever. The Lab scratched day and night and had the scabs to prove it. Poor boy was mutilating his legs, belly, “privates”, biting his tail and rubbing his muzzle along the floor until it bled. In an effort to get him some help, this dog who’d been fed a raw diet his entire life was taken to a holistic vet. The vet prescribed a myriad of herbs, but the dog continued to scratch. Now homeopathic remedies, one after another, were added, but the dog kept scratching. Food sensitivity testing was done and seemed to show clear results – very sensitive to chicken, potatoes and corn, but great with lamb. The directive then came : feed lamb…which makes sense if the results are true, but the Lab showed otherwise by continuing to mutilate himself.
A Naturopath was brought into the picture, followed by an herbalist, and this is when my client became a client. She needed someone to organize the mess which had become her dog’s routine of taking almost every imaginable supplement, herb, etc. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Maybe one or more of the items the dog was taking would have been good, but the possible good had been overshadowed by results that were at once both confusing and possibly conflicting. Did the herbal medicine given yesterday cause the dog’s reaction today, or was today’s concoction causing it. Did the leg look more inflamed today because of the lamb being fed or was it the new supplement (which included so many ingredients!) a problem?
My plan? Stop everything! Get the dog to a dermatologist to rule out a parasite, bacterial and/or fungal issues, put him on a hydrolized diet for 12 weeks, and assuming the dog was feeling better (he was), introduce one new food at a time to develop a balanced home-made diet. Today, this boy scratches a bit more than the average dog, but not enough that most people would notice. His diet is based on turkey and peas with a few extra veggies, and supplements to balance it. As an aside, the original raw diet he’d been eating all of his life had been deficient in magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamins B1 and B2.