Fleas and Ticks
It began when Sasha, my lab, died from an autoimmune disease, degenerative myelopathy, in 1998 and Bear, my shepherd-mix died 6 months later from cancer. During their illnesses, I learned about Chinese herbs and acupuncture from my holistic veterinarian, worked with canine nutritionists and specialists from the University of Florida, Washington State University, and local vets. The prevalence of canine cancers and early deaths astonished me. Today, 70% of the Bernese Mountain Dogs and Curly-coated Retrievers die from cancer by the age of 2-3! I decided to find out why.
I volunteered at the Iditarod in Nome for a couple of years to learn how huskies, some 10 years old, could run 1,000 miles. What were they eating? What was so different about them? I bought a racing Siberian Husky pup, Koyuk, and fed him the racing dog kibble.
When Koyuk turned one, he began to eat less. Blood work was normal, he acted like he wanted to eat, but got fussier about his food. Koyuk was gluten and grain intolerant! I began researching gluten, talked to veterinarians, and celiac friends. I found out I was gluten intolerant through blood tests and expanded my research to people.
It all comes down to diet, diet, diet. Yes, there can be other factors to consider, but that is why I evaluate each pet as an individual and not "just a dog with allergies". My philosophy is to take a wholistic approach for each client. Breed, age, health, temperament, other pets, past trauma, and diet are all evaluated. Then a plan is developed with the owner identifying the roles everyone involved with the pet will play to ensure success.