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Linda Faris, DVM, CVA
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
Ellie, Relief At Last
By Linda Faris, DVM, CVA
Acupuncture and Herbs For Pets
On October 11, 2005, I met Ellie for the first time. She was a big dog about ten years old with a long history of severe allergies. Her caregivers loved her dearly and tried every avenue of treatment that their veterinarian recommended. In spite of enormous expense and effort, nothing really worked. Ellie was overweight and she was chewing, itching and scooting constantly. She was a miserable girl and she had been that way for years. Three, maybe four years of suffering, and a future that projected more of the same. They decided to come to me because her treatment included steroids, immuno-therapy, psychoactive drugs, antibiotics and prescription diets. They knew these medications could be causing more damage than good and they were not working.
Reviewing her history, I saw that in 2003, allergy testing by a specialist confirmed that Ellie was allergic to the world. She had been to the vet more than twenty times for ear infections, rashes, chewing her feet and to have her anal glands emptied prior to seeing the specialist. Most of these visits involved treatments with steroids, anti-histamines, antibiotics, or a combination of these drugs. Even a medication for psychogenic obsessive-compulsive itching was tried, to no avail. Her drug regimens and dosages just kept going up, and her problems never got any better. Her weight was increasing and she had already developed one fatty tumor. As she aged, she was also developing arthritis and becoming stiff.
Her Western medical diagnosis was atopy, a form of allergic dermatitis that involves systemic reactions to foods or inhaled allergens. After her diagnosis in 2003, she was started on immuno-therapy with hypo-sensitization solution injections. She continued to need steroids and anti-histamines regularly to control her symptoms, and she didn't really get any better.
I have to admit, when I see a case this complicated, I make conservative estimates about response to treatment with alternative therapies. Ellie had been treated for so long with such high doses of immune suppressing drugs that I didn't even trust my evaluation of her signs and symptoms on my initial examination. I didn't know how much reserve she had left. My Eastern diagnosis was Liver Blood Deficiency. Her condition was complicated by accumulation of Damp, tangling of Phlegm and a disturbed Spirit. After being so miserable for so many years, I was touched by her sweet nature. I really wanted to help her. But I gave a cautious estimate that it might take six months or a year on an alternative program to get Ellie to respond.if she responded at all. It was a drastic management change, but what did we have to lose? Nothing had worked so far and her immune system was on strike.
I changed Ellie's diet from commercial kibble to a natural diet called Urban Wolf. This revolutionary diet is a grain-free, freeze-dried premix to which you add fresh meat. At first I had the caregivers cook the meat. I also supplemented her diet with probiotics and digestive enzymes to enhance her digestion and nutrient absorption. Changing from kibble to raw meat can cause serious digestive problems if it is not done slowly and carefully. A custom formula of Chinese herbs was prescribed to correct Ellie's deficiencies and to treat her allergies. It was a lot for the owner to grasp and for the patient to adjust to. But I had hope that she would respond and get better. We stopped the drugs and immuno-therapy. They were not working anyway, and I thought they would compromise her response to my protocol.
Two weeks later at the first recheck examination; I was shocked at Ellie's response. She was doing much better. Her itching had decreased to infrequent episodes and she was off all medications. She seemed relaxed and happy. Her treatments were adjusted slightly to address a period of digestive upset, but eventually she was taking the probiotics, digestive enzymes, and eating raw meat mixed with Urban Wolf. By February, only four months into alternative therapy, Ellie had lost 11 pounds, and her caregivers no longer consider Ellie an allergy dog! Their main concern now is Ellie's arthritis. Arthritis is a comparatively easy fix.
Dirk and I could not be more pleased with the changes we have seen in Ellie since we started seeing Dr. Faris. Ellie has had a history of severe allergic reactions for years, from scratching constantly to breaking out in hives. It was so hard to see her be so uncomfortable! We had tried everything, and then we heard of some of the alternative measures that Dr. Faris provides. By changing her diet ( and by the way, you have never seen a dog who loves her food more!) and adding personalized herbs, Ellie is a brand new dog! She hasn't had any of the symptoms that she has had in the past, her coat shines, and she is at a perfect weight--She is one happy pup! (And we feel like much better parents!) Thank you for all of your help! You're the best!
Urban Wolf is available at several locations in the greater
The Brookside Barkery and
Natural Pet Food & Supply,
Toll Free 888-748-9599