Updated: May 23
It is the time of year all pet owners dread, the snow melts, the temperatures rise and suddenly we are greeted by the pesky creatures we fear most. TICKS.
I always find this subject most difficult to counsel my puppy owners on because the fear of Lyme disease is very real and very frightening, so all I can do is tell people what I do for my dogs and of course, for Mark and myself.
I do not use chemicals/neurotoxins on my dogs, and I really struggle to understand why Veterinary Practices push these products as 'medications" when they are not medications, they are powerful chemicals, and they can cause harm.
I make my own essential oil spray and I use it on myself too as I seem to be a magnet for every bug I encounter in the woods and on our property, but, we still check our dogs after every walk, which is every day. I have to admit, sometimes we miss a tick and will find one later on when it has attached but we remove it with tweezers and plunge it into a small bowl of 70% rubbing alcohol that we keep handy.
We do know there are some essential oils that are very effective at deterring ticks. I use doTerra Oils as they are 100% pure which is very important.
Oils that are proven to be effective against ticks and fleas are Cedar, Geranium and I am currently having success with their lemon/eucalyptus combination oil.
There are products available to buy online but for anyone that is interested, here is what I do.
Buy a 16 ounce (1 pint) spray bottle.
8oz (½ pint) of witch hazel
8oz (½ pint) of water
35 drops Cedar wood essential oil
35 drops of Geranium essential oil
35 drops Lemon/Eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops Garlic essential oil
Shake well before each use and store in a dark cupboard.
How to apply:
Spray your dog on the back, neck, underbelly and legs. Stroke it into their fur. Your dog may not be keen on being sprayed at first. We have often had to run around the house after a less than willing dog but they do get used to it!
I spray every day as our walks always involve woodland and tall grass. but I know some people recommend every other day. Sometimes I will use Cedar with Rosemary.
I think the most important thing to stress here is that the “post walk” check is paramount. My dogs queue up at the door to be checked because they love it. I start at the head, ears, neck and work my way down their body but they see this check as an intimate cuddle and they absolutely love it.
Another preventative that I do for my dogs at this time of year is to add garlic to their diet. The recommended amount is half a crushed clove of garlic for each 20lb of dog. Its important to crush the garlic and let it rest for a few minutes to release the Allicin. See here for more on feeding.
We used to add garlic to some of our menus but customers complained because of the smell, so we stopped adding it and yes, garlic is safe in small quantities. Obviously for smaller dogs less would be used.
Note: Garlic is not recommended for puppies below the age of 6 months.
At the end of the day, I rely and have confidence in my dog's immune system. I go to great length to nurture it by feeding them raw food and minimizing their exposure to unnecessary chemicals and vaccines (see previous posts). I honestly believe that this is what we should all be doing.
As a side note and I think this is very interesting but not surprising, when I have taken my older dogs to be either spayed or neutered, the pre op bloods, which always includes a tick panel, show antibodies to Lyme. This makes me very happy because it shows my dogs have been exposed to Lyme and have initiated an immune response which is what we expect when we have a robust immune system and sometimes I think we have lost sight of this.
There is a lot of controversy around seresto collars at the moment but they can still be seen in vet offices everywhere! 1700 of our pets have died and Congress are asking for a product recall.
Knowledge is power and we all have a duty to protect our beloved pets because they rely on us to be their protector.
Our pets health starts, like ours, with a healthy gut. A few years ago a statement as obvious as this would have been considered “wacky” and a little bit out there on the fringe. Today it is common sense!
Our raw food is in tune with the dogs digestive system. Most of the time, for most dogs and cats, a raw food diet will be sufficient for all their nutritional and gut health needs but what happens when something interferes with their gut health. This interference may manifest itself as itching, food allergies, digestive problems, ear infections or any common health condition that comes from an inflammatory disorder. There are many causes, from over vaccination (discussed in my previous blog post here) to poor diet (e.g. kibble high in carbohydrates). Regardless of the cause the resultant symptoms are upsetting for our pets and for us as they can be hard to cure by conventional treatments. Our own search for solutions for ourselves and our customers has taken us towards homeopathic and holistic treatments with exciting results!
From time to time I am asked the question, do you give your dogs supplements? The honest answer has always been no because I have never felt the need to but I am slowly changing my thinking on this.
Today we are inundated with advertising from various sources about the need to supplement our pets diets and while I believe strongly that a balanced, species appropriate diet is all that most of our pets need most of the time, sometimes, we need to intervene.
Only last week one of my dogs who gave birth to 13 live puppies retained puppy number 14, It had been dead for quite some time and it caused an alarming infection in my bitch. She needed to go onto antibiotics, a life saving intervention, but I was concerned about how the antibiotics would upset her microbiome, a very valid concern if you appreciate how important this is when it comes to optimal health. I immediately started Mystique on Adored Beasts probiotic, Fido's Flora. This is the only probiotic created for dogs as most people do not realise that human probiotics are destroyed by the dogs GI tract.
Over the years I have been approached by people who are in a desperate situation with their dogs.
Their dogs suffer with the most unbearable itch, sore, infected ears, hair loss and hot spots. The term “leaky gut” is increasingly used to describe the possible causes of this collection of ailments and points towards the solution. They come to me because they think raw feeding will cure this condition but it is a little more complicated than that for these pets. Raw food maybe the major part of the solution but they may require additional support through supplements.
Of course an adjustment in diet is essential to promote healing but these dogs are almost always over vaccinated, have received too many chemicals and have been on a highly processed diet. They have also been prescribed a cycle of antibiotics and steroids which are great at suppressing symptoms but get nowhere close to diagnosing the problem because what we really need to understand, is why are our pets suffering with these symptoms? They did not evolve, very successfully, over thousands of years to be seemingly allergic to chicken? or grass pollen?? or house dust?? or whatever.
I first started recommending the Leaky Gut Protocol several years ago to desperate pet owners with amazing results. So much so, that at the time, I approached Adored Beast to see if I could be a reseller of their products but at the time they were working on licensing for the USA.
Very recently, I approached them again and I am delighted to say we are now able to offer their full range of products. I urge you to listen to Julie Anne's story on this Podcast, such a remarkable woman and I feel honoured to be allowed to offer her solutions to the epidemic our pets face.
I also want to include the testimony of another incredible woman, Kristie Burnett who is the owner of two English Pointers. She flatters me incredibly and I am quite sure I was not as helpful as she supposes in her testimony but I know I was instrumental in her finding a healthier alternative treatment for her dogs ailments.
Here is her story in her own words!
“Raw food recipes from Rosemary and Mark at Kaskazini Kitchen and Adored Beast products completely healed my dog Cooper. Cooper is a 3 year old German Shorthair Pointer who suffered terribly from red spots, itchy skin and eyes. He was thirsty all of the time and at less than a year old he developed interdigital cysts and was limping and in pain. Unfortunately I trusted a local vet who over vaccinated him, gave him way too many antibiotics and steroids. Thankfully I put my foot down when the vet wanted to give Cooper Apoquel and this is exactly how I met Rosemary. After a phone consultation with Rosemary she immediately suggested Adored Beast Leaky Gut Protocol and explained how we needed to get Cooper’s gut on track so his immune system can work properly. Rosemary took the time to educate me about The Leaky Gut protocol, she answered all of my questions, concerns and fears about trying yet again something new with Cooper. But I loved everything Rosemary said and mostly just her passion for wanting to educate owners so their dogs can truly live and thrive healthy lives. So, I placed an Adored Beast order in addition to transitioning Cooper from kibble to Rosemary’s raw food recipes. Within two days of feeding Rosemary’s recipes I immediately noticed Cooper drinking less water, his coat softened and within a week it began to shine. After just a week on raw food, Cooper just seemed lighter on his feet with a spark in his eye. When it was time to begin Adored Beasts Healthy Gut Protocol Rosemary walked me through each step and the protocol proved to help Cooper.
His interdigital cysts showed up still but, in a way, popped up to say hello and then quickly left. I recall Rosemary telling me that Cooper’s immune system was starting to act like a healthy strong system. Trauma arises and his immunity kicks in and promotes healing. Exactly what should happen! Cooper will be 4 in June and hasn’t had a cyst or a red spot in two years. His skin is smooth and shiny and his eyes are bright. He has seasonal allergies which do not pose too much discomfort because we boost Cooper’s strength with Adored Beast’s pre and probiotics and of course his daily recipes from Kaskazini Kitchen! We are thrilled to know that we can order exceptional food and Adored Beast supplements from Rosemary.”
We are planning to stock the whole range of Adored Beast products. More information can be found in the new section of our website devoted to these products (coming soon). Should you want to know more about when and how to use them please do contact me.
I take Rabies very seriously as a threat to my dogs and to people. I think we can all agree rabies is a deadly disease and we all need to be protected from it. Rabies is a virus and it is usually transmitted from a bite. In the United States the animals most likely to be carrying this virus are skunks, foxes, raccoons and coyotes. I come across these animals regularly on my daily walks and so do my dogs and I know that the safest way to protect me and my dogs is to vaccinate them.
There is growing evidence and awareness that over vaccination in dogs is a leading cause of tumors, skin conditions and a range of auto immune diseases. According to the Rabies Challenge Fund
"Immunologically, the rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and associated with significant adverse reactions such as polyneuropathy resulting in muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control of tissue and organ function, incoordination, and weakness, auto-immune hemolytic anemia, autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites are all linked to the rabies vaccine."
Common sense tells us that we should only give it as often as it is necessary to maintain the animals immunity and the question we need to be asking ourselves is how many vaccines does it take to ensure immunity? Does it really need to be every three years for the lifetime of our pets? Science tells us no but the law mandates we vaccinate every three years.
Slowly but (hopefully) surely there is some good news emerging. Delaware is the first state to pass a law that will accept a blood titer in lieu of a valid rabies certificate. Titers detect antibodies to a particular disease. In essence, if you have antibodies present then you have immunity – most likely from the continuing presence of antibodies from the original vaccination. We have to hope that, in the not too distant future, all States will adopt this common sense approach that follows science and our current understanding of how immunisation works.
The Rabies Challenge Fund Results
The Rabies Challenge Fund was established to determine duration of immunity. (Much more information is available here)
The results of the rabies challenge fund have been made available to the public in its entirety (the full report is here). It clearly shows the three yearly vaccine rule is not necessary.
The goal of the fund was to extend mandated rabies booster intervals to 5 or 7 years and help reduce the risk of vaccine-associated adverse events. It concluded:
"The Rabies Challenge Fund trials have confirmed that rabies vaccine may induce a duration of immunity well beyond 3 years in dogs. These data serve as a foundation meriting further studies to: i) license a rabies vaccine with a vaccination interval of 5 to 6 years, which would enable States to incorporate extended booster intervals into their rabies laws/regulations; ii) develop and license a recombinant, non-adjuvanted rabies booster vaccine for dogs; and iii) establish a protective serum rabies titer standard for dogs. In addition, these data support the dual goals of better and safer rabies vaccination of pet dogs as well as improved public health security."
It is very difficult to navigate through the desire to be safe and protect our pets from harmful effects of over vaccination, but there are steps we can take to mitigate harm. Adverse reactions to the vaccine can take weeks or months to manifest themselves in our pets but we are not entirely powerless to intervene.
My homeopathic vet Dr Michelle Yasson recommends Lyssinum 200c, 2 hours post rabies vaccine. It is also called Lyssin. Cost, around $10 and is available on Amazon. I follow this guidance for all of my dogs when they have had their rabies vaccination to mitigate the adverse effects.
For those who may want to titer, the most cost effective way to do so is to visit the website of Dr Robb and follow the instructions re sending a blood serum sample to Kansas State Veterinary diagnostic Laboratory.
If we are concerned by current laws regarding this vaccine and I think we all are, we have a responsibility to lobby our elected officials to bring about change. The “Rabies Challenge Fund” trials are scientific evidence that three yearly vaccines are not necessary.