A reader writes,
If you didn’t start with a naturally reared animal, what are the most important, first steps to take? Dogs from the shelter systems are riddled with problems stemming from too many vaccines, skin problems, poor diet, fear/aggression etc…”
This is a common problem, right? Your new youngster may have come to you after who knows how many ills have befallen her, whether by circumstance or by man’s hand. Shelters are notorious for vaccinating every animal who comes through their doors, history of previous vaccinations be damned. Before landing under that needle, the poor waif may have been starving, worm-ridden, terrified by tormenters, and perhaps in a “teen bride” scenario.
What to do to turn that rescue around?
Start down the natural path.
Best first step
Your natural inclination to feed this waif is of course the best place to start. Whatever malnourishmen happened, and however much damage was done, the body will have a hard time with repair and even maintenance until the nutritional plane is raised.
The best diet for most, with rare exception, will be one that is “species appropriate” in the popular jargon. It means feeding food like the ancestors and wild cousins would have eaten, knowing that this domestic dog or cat has a genetic heritage stretching back millennia.
For cats in particular, it means making the transition away from dry, pelleted food-like particles to moist, prey-like food. Texas Ray (may he rest in peace) showed us clearly what was possible, leaving a commercial health food brand for something far more instinctually satisfying. The transition may have to be a slow one.
The inevitable vaccine damage
Given all the shots most shelters demand for foundlings, there’ll most likely be vaccinosis issues to deal with. While that’s best dealt with by a professional veterinary homeopath, you may want to try a few known vaccinosis remedies first, and see if you can notice a response towards better health.
Here are a few top vaccinosis remedies that you might consider:
- Thuja needing animals often have proliferative tissue like warts or lipomas. They typically are much worse in wet and cold, dampness, wet feet, etc. The urinary and/or genital tract may show symptoms, like recurrent bladder inflammation or a green or yellow discharge from the male’s prepuce. Skin is often itchy or erupted in some way and is worsened by cold baths. It could be dirty and odorous. Ears may be inflamed and have a smelly, waxy discharge.
- The Silica state is one of malnourishment, physical weakness, and a lack of sturdiness or “grit.” These animals could have eruptions of pustules, perhaps calloused joints or lick granulomas, and “unhealthy” skin that just doesn’t seem to heal, despite your best efforts. They often seek heat. Many are constipated, many have deformed or splitting claws, and some have a tendency to vomit. Glands can be effected for ill, from anal glands to thyroid glands.
- Sulphur patients typically hate heat and are worsened by hot weather, and they may have a red appearance (lips, eye margins, gums, skin, anus, etc.). They’ll often look disheveled, especially the cats who don’t seem to groom, or, if they do, their coat never quite lies down smoothly. Bad odors are common, whether it’s body odor, bad breath, stinky ears, or foul stools. Skin itchiness is common and they can have dirty look to their bellies or arm pits that doesn’t just wash away.
Remedy overlap: All too common
These three remedies may all have these symptoms in common, hence the frequent need for a professional to guide you to the best outcome:
- Itching without eruption
- Discharging eruptions
- Body odor
- Hard, thickened skin
- Worse in heat
- Ear inflammation
- Ear wax or other discharge
So, you can see this is not easy work, and besides these three remedies, we have at least 20 other vaccinosis remedies that may be a better fit. A veterinary homeopath will have lots of questions to ask about your animal, beyond these few key symptoms I’ve outlined, and will be better able to manage the course through the inevitable future remedies that will be needed to cure your charge.
But, given that, you won’t harm a new foundling and may help by seeing if the pattern of illness in your animal matches the pattern of one of these remedies and giving one a try.
How to treat
Here’s how I’d do it.
Get a 30C of your chosen remedy. That’s a tube full of pellets, usually fat BB-sized. Crush up three pellets in a folded 3 x 5 card and dissolve the powder in a half glass of purified water. Stir well before each dose, and give a nightly dose for five days in a row. A dose is a dribble in the cheek pouch. Keep the water at room temp, covered until you’ve given all the five doses, then pitch the rest.
Watch for a week or more after you’ve dosed for five days with your chosen remedy, keeping close track of symptoms for any change. If you’ve seen improvement, hurray, you’ve likely found a homeopathic match for your animal’s state, or at least the piece that is vaccine related.
If no signs of improvement, try one of the others, or study some of the other known vaccinosis remedies and give a (hopefully) better fitting remedy in the same manner.
A detox may help as well, and I’ll give you a few simple ideas to include to help the elimination of toxins your street urchin may have picked up.
The most obvious organ to think about first is the bowels. Waste accumulates in the form of stool and that must get out regularly to stay healthy. How many meals a day are you feeding? At least two? There should be at least two full bowel movements a day! Not marbles, not unformed cow patties, but well formed, easy to pass stools.
Things that help regular stool elimination include canned pumpkin, cooked yam or sweet potato or perhaps a soluble fiber like oat bran. Tinker with fiber doses from a 1/4 teaspoon for a cat meal up to a 1/4 cup for the big breed dogs. Same with those veggies, from a teaspoon of mashed yam or pumpkin up to a cup in the giant breeds. The goal is a couple of easy, well-formed stools daily.
Add in some probiotics or fresh green tripe regularly to build up the good guys in the gut.
Everyone knows the liver is a major organ of detoxification, one of its many, many functions. And so do the manufacturers of supplements! Search out a liver helper that could include herbs like silymarin, dandelion, burdock root; B vitamins like folinic acid, niacin, and riboflavin; antioxidants like N-acetylcysteine, vitamin C, SOD and curcumin.
Feed some raw liver, either 10% of the whole diet on a daily basis or a twice a week “liver feast” where you feed a meal of mostly raw liver. Feeding the organ is thought to spur your animal’s own organ to higher function. I have seen this help in practice.
Another big player in elimination of wastes, you can support the kidneys and their waste management with herbs like parsley tea, dandelion leaf and root or uva-ursi.
Feeding raw kidney, like raw liver, can help nourish your dog’s kidneys and help them do their work of elimination.
Known as the “largest eliminative organ of the body,” the skin is often a great place to start detoxing a foundling. Especially if they’ve come from street life, where they may have been exposed to any number of toxic chemicals from pesticides to automotive waste to golf course herbicides. [By the way: did you know golf courses are one of the leading users of herbicides? Best to avoid walking dogs on them.]
A good warm bath with a mild soap like Dr. Bronner’s can help elimination via the skin. When dry, and in between baths (given no more than monthly), a vigorous brushing with a natural bristle brush will help open pores and remove dead skin cells and old hair.
Dealing with the mmotional illness
I’m sure you’ve seen the dogs who duck whenever you raise your voice or get out a broom to sweep your floor, or the cats who spend most of their waking hours camped out under the bed. You know their early life had some pretty fearful or abusive experiences that still affect them.
This is where the Bach Flower Remedies can be a huge help. Dr. Bach was a human physician in Britain who realized his sick patients often carried stressful emotions that hindered their complete recovery. Emotions like fear, worry, panic, depression, grief, homesickness, rage or indignation can be helped with the gentle flower remedies he developed in the 1930’s.
Much can be accomplished with natural pet care!
I’m regularly amazed at what my clients have accomplished in foundlings with an obvious history of a rough start or even abuse. If you find yourself taking in one of these unfortunates, start them on the Natural Path right away and watch them bloom. Remember: this really works!
Tell us in the comments what you’ve experienced with foundlings you’ve taken down the Natural Path. I know you’ve got some amazing experiences that others can learn from.
He’s been known to lecture to veterinarians now and again, presenting case reports of animals treated with homeopathy and advice on how to make a simple, successful practice with a simple, powerful medical modality. When he’s not practicing, writing or teaching, he’s off walking in the wilds of Central Texas, taking pictures and awaiting the inspiration that comes from being out in Nature.
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