Sunday, 7 September 2008

Luc(k)y we threw those drops away!

Fortuitous or blessed? Well, I know which I believe – especially after all the prayer that went with it – but anyway, phew, that was a good decision, to get rid of the vet’s ointment for Lucy. Anti-biotics and steroids! Hah!

It should have been easy, would have been for me alone with my ingrained antipathy towards these drugs – as I’ve said over and over, I’d never give them to humans – but, when it comes to Lucy, I have an adversary in the house (when he’s in the house!): Tom. And against him I have to continually be strong.

Oh, he only wants the best for our little canine friend, but sadly – and badly in my opinion – he doesn’t have the confidence to realise he might know better than a vet. Not in all things related to animals, no of course not - just as with people-doctors, when it comes to anatomy and surgery, for example, I believe we should bow at their feet. But pharmaceuticals? No. You see, again just as with doctors, they haven’t studied chemistry and don’t really know about these things, except, like us, through their own experience. To a certain extent they have to trust the drug companies. I don’t blame the vets or doctors for side-effects. But Tom and I know about these things – from experience – and have learnt. And, not only that, but Tom has worked in a herbalist for fifteen years - I have used herbal remedies as long. I do think, in this context, it has to be possible that we are better qualified than vets and doctors. (E.g. as chickweed out-did hydrocortisone on my eczema/psoriasis - much to the astonishment of GP/neurologist/relatives.)

And the reason I think Tom’s lack of confidence is ‘bad’? Because I don’t see the reason for it [apart from things like genetics which is too tedious to go into here, and alcohol which he hasn’t given up yet!] And it kind-of breaks my heart.

The thing is, that, after all that – and pouring the stuff into Lucy’s ears at the surgery, against my instructions over the ‘phone but, presumably, with Tom’s polite acquiescense – the vet had made completely the wrong diagnosis. And, consequently, prescribed a dangerously unnecessary “poison”.

When I spoke to A. (the vet) in the middle of the consultation, I had asked him to do a culture test so that, before prescribing, we might know the exact cause of Lucy’s itching/inflamed ears and, therefore, the correct (if any) measures to take. Well, it took over two weeks to get the result from, in the end, a receptionist (we’d have long finished the course of drugs if we’d used them) and, guess what? No bacteria. No yeast. Not even any mites. No, that “Canaural” (as it is called; note: ‘prednisolone’ [one of the ingredients] is a steroid) would have been nothing but detrimental to Lucy’s well-being! What a nonsense. [And even worse, when I consider the cost – we had to pay – and the fact that you had to specifically request said test. How many would not get this done through lack of funds or ignorance of such procedures and, so, not be able to help their pets? This really upsets me and is, largely, why I’m writing now.] It looked – just as I knew it might – as though Lucy had an allergy.

So, a referral was made to a skin specialist (more money for vets and insurance companies – yes, Lucy is insured) but, of course, first (with the help of more research and, again, our own experiences) we are trying to find the culprit/s ourselves!

And – as with us – the immediate concern is with food (“You are what you eat!”). Now, because we already had L. on a (dry kibble) hypo-allergenic diet, this meant looking, even more closely, at individual ingredients. And that’s where we are at the moment: trying a new brand of food (from Burns Pet Nutrition – great web site full of helpful info.; friendly staff at end of phone), minus beet pulp, with even less meat protein and plus a lot more oils (vegetable and fish).

Beet pulp! Used as a fibre (apparently!). And renowned, in my research circles, for causing just the sorts of ear problems (which later added violent head-shaking) as we’ve been experiencing – suffering – with Lucy. I am every excited about the, now lack of beet pulp, going into L’s system!

What was it Hannibal (George Peppard) famously said in “The A Team”? “I love it when a plan comes together!” Well, ditto! There’s nothing I like better than looking at a problem and finding a solution or, seen from another angle, turning chaos into order. These are the challenges I thrive on (hence my own diet and herbal regime I suppose [see MS – My Scene]).

And I have to say – a couple of weeks after the change - so far, so good (Lucy loves the taste of Burns’ main food and treats, and is scratching less already). It bodes well, I think…

P.S. The picture shows Lucy after a trip to the groomer's. And yep, that is my knee!