Xylitol, poodles and seizures

A friend sent me some links to poodle breeders as she knows about my quest to find the perfect dog. While browsing them, I came across a very valuable blog post from ParrisHill Standard Poodles in New Jersey relating how they nearly lost a valuable poodle to xylitol poisoning. Click the link for details:

Xylitol warning!

In a later post they warn that Rescue Remedy, the popular Bach Flower essence, which they previously used on their dogs, now contains Xylitol. Please pass the word to all the pet owners you know. Xylitol should join chocolate, grapes and raisins on the list of foods that are deadly to dogs.

Reading this post lead me to reminiscing about Joshua, who is never far from my thoughts. As a puppy he suddenly began having seizures. Our vet recommended putting him on phenobarbitol for the rest of his life. Had we followed this advice he would likely have been lethargic and it certainly would have shortened his life. Since they were never severe, lasting less than half an hour and only occurred once or twice a month, we opted to forego drugs. A few months later, quite by accident, we discovered that his monthly heartworm medication was a contributing factor. Upon researching, I learned that this was not uncommon. We stopped the heartworm meds and the seizures became infrequent, perhaps once or twice a year, and later they ceased entirely.

Annual checkups were always “fun” as the vet warned of the dangers of heartworm and we pointed out the cure was worse than the malady. We could never convince him that there was a connection, but in our minds it was incontrovertible. Eventually he stopped bringing it up, much to our relief.

After a few years of no seizures, there was one more episode. During a visit from my parents Joshua suddenly seized. By this time I had begun using Dynamite products and had a bottle of Relax on hand. I liberally spritzed Joshua’s face and got as much in his mouth as possible. Less than five minutes later the seizure stopped entirely never going to the “glazed-eye stage,” as I used to call it.

Much later that night my mother awoke having a panic attack, which she had from time to time. Normally she would have to pack up and immediately head home (a 10+ hour trip). This time having witnessed Joshua’s recovery she grabbed the bottle of Tranquil (similar to Relax) and liberally sprayed herself. Within minutes the attack passed and she was able to go back to sleep.

When she related the story to me the next day I was left to ponder the amazing “coincidence” that Joshua had a seizure out of the blue, after several years of having none, just when my mother was here to witness it and the affects of Relax. I was convinced it was not a coincidence, which was confirmed for me by an existential friend. She said that sometimes animals, particularly dogs, will “volunteer” themselves as examples in order to help humans.¬† That made total sense to me, and was absolutely something Joshua with his generou heart would do, but for many people must be filed under the category of “things that make you go hmmm…”

The Continuing Saga of Colic

My second colic encounter was with an older horse that was temporarily boarding at Seven Springs. His system was not as robust and he didn’t handle transitions well. One morning I noticed he was lying down more than usual. I asked him to get up and he did not want to move. It took some doing to get him on his feet. No gut sounds and his capillary refill was sluggish. No doubt in my mind that it was colic. I immediately syringed probiotics. Less than half an hour later there was improvement. After syringing a second dose he was hugely improved. I continued to closely monitor him over the next two days. He was better than ever. The probiotics helped him through the transition and his gut function was restored. Colic crisis averted.

Since then I make sure to always have a ready supply of probiotics (DynaPro is the one I trust). Healthy horses have¬† healthy, functioning guts. It’s important to emphasize that holistic remedies may not always be the best choice. Whenever there is any doubt the responsible thing to do is call your vet.

Colic and horses

Today I was reflecting on colic in horses. Colic is a word that casts a long shadow of fear in the hearts of equine lovers and is a frequent topic of discussion. Colic is a word that often means an emergency vet visit and hours of fingernail-biting anxiety.

One of the many benefits of natural or holistic horsekeeping is that colics are rare. When horses are allowed to move freely and have free choice access to a variety of foods their guts function as they were designed and all is usually well.

Because colic is all about the gut not functioning well, remedies that stimulate proper function are of great value. A colic remedy that has worked well for us is DynaPro, a probiotic from Dynamite. At the first sign of distress some DynaPro syringed orally has thus far resulted in things moving in the right direction. Result: happy, healthy horses.

Putting my beliefs to the test

The day Rusty came in from the woods with an ugly puncture wound on his leg is etched in my memory. He must have rammed into a sharp branch some time in the last 18 hours. The wound was at the top of his left front leg and already seeping a light-colored foamy substance. Definitely infected.

I had just gotten in a new product from Dynamite, Wound Wash, that people have been raving about. I was thankful to have it as it made cleaning up the wound much easier for both Rusty and me. After the wash I syringed some Trace Minerals directly into the puncture then slathered the whole thing with Miracle Clay.

Rusty couldn’t resist mouthing the clay. He quickly said “Yuck” and went about trying to rub it off his muzzle. It was quite comical and the levity was much appreciated given the situation. (Rusty has a high play drive and says he wants to try fox hunting. That would be an excellent outlet for him so I have promised to see what I can do to fulfill his request.)

Second day the infection was raging. The leg had swollen to three times its normal size at the top and there was heat all the way down to the pastern. Rusty was having difficulty walking due to the swelling. Oh boy, maybe I should call the vet.

After carefully considering my options I decided to give it one more day, as I truly believed the protocol I was using was every bit as effective as the pharmaceuticals a vet would prescribe. I had used them for animals as well as people and so far they had not let me down. If there wasn’t improvement by day three we’d make a visit to the vet. I added Trace Minerals internally and slathered clay over the entire leg.

Third day, the swelling was reduced and the heat had receded to just below the knee. We were making progress! I periodically muscle tested to see if the protocol needed tweaking. So far, so good.

Fourth day, Rusty was not at all happy about taking Trace Minerals internally. Can’t say I blame him, I’ve taken them and they are nasty, but they work incredibly well. With less getting into him and more on the ground, I decided to switch to Super Stress for the internal portion of the treatment, with Trace Minerals syringed directly into the wound. By this time it was seeping pus and blood serum. Very nasty to look at but clearly improving.

By the seventh day the swelling was nearly gone and the heat was localized to the area of the wound. There was still seepage as the infection continued to purge.

Day ten I discontinued all but Wound Wash and Super Stress. The wound hadn’t yet closed as there was still minor seepage but the heat was gone.

Day fourteen was the final dose of Super Stress. The wound was nearly totally closed and all seepage had stopped. Since then it has healed to just a small spot. I wish I had taken pictures to document the episode but I didn’t. The thought of taking pictures of that ugly mess was just too much, plus I was totally focused on tweaking the protocol to ensure we got the best results.

I am convinced that we actually got better results than had we used pharmaceuticals. There were no side effects to the products and they were extremely effective. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever call the vet. There are times when that is the best choice. But for this injury, under these circumstances, it was unnecessary. Whatever I spent on Dynamite products is a fraction of what a vet bill would have been and you just can’t argue with the results. I am reminded of that every time I see Rusty frolicking in the pasture with his herd mates. Now to see what I can do about finding him a fox hunting partner…

Thank you Dynamite!