Vaccinosis–Could This Be Collin’s Autoimmune Problem?

On November 6th I attended the Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue dinner.  At the dinner we had a great speaker–Katie K-9.  Katie has been training dogs over 25 years and has her own radio talk show on MyTalk 107.1 in the Twin Cities.  Katie talked about how important it is to feed our dogs healthy food and suggested we cook for our pets ourselves. She also talked about how we are over-vaccinating our pets. Many pets were showing signs of vaccinosis which is malaise after a pet has been vaccinated.  Symptoms and signs can range from achy muscles, fever, bone pain to tumors and autoimmune systems that are in turmoil.  The signs can show up months after the animal has been vaccinated.

I remember in one of my previous posts that I guessed that the vaccinations Collin received when he was first brought into the shelter may have caused his autoimmune system to start attacking itself.   There are several vets who have written books on this subject and the end result is a medical illness called vaccinosis.  I started doing research online for herbal and homeopathic remedies for vaccinosis.  Only Natural Pet carries a homeopathic remedy called Thuja which is made from arborvitae and white cedar trees.  Homeopathy believes in like curing like along with tiny, tiny dilutions of the “cure”.  I was all set to try this out for Collin when Katie K-9 indicated on her November 14th radio talk show that Dr. Jessica Levy was going to be on the program.

Dr. Levy is a holistic veterinarian.  She believes in treating the whole animal and is very conservative when it comes to giving vaccinations.  She evaluates each animal before giving them a vaccination and she believes that redosing animals every year is futile and can throw the animal’s immune system into disarray.   Hearing this, I decided to listen in on the talk show.

Dr. Levy talked about pulling titers on our animals instead of just blindly vaccinating them each year.  Titers can tell if an animal has sufficient antibodies to withstand whatever disease the animal is to be vaccinated for.

The second half of Katie K-9’s show was opened up to callers.  I decided to call in about Collin’s autoimmune problem.  I explained that he had been homeless and found in Wisconsin and brought to a local shelter where he was given two combination vaccinations in one day.  He was actually vaccinated for 6 different diseases.  The following week he received a rabies vaccination.  I explained about Collin’s nodular granulomatous episclerakeratits and how it’s an autoimmune disorder.

The following are Dr. Levy’s recommendations for Collin:

  • Get him on a healthy diet (which I already do have him on)
  • Make sure he gets lots of omega  3s either in salmon oil, other fish oils or coconut oil
  • Give him a “green food” that a store called “Animal Essentials” sells.  The supplement is Plant Enzymes and Probiotics.  The yogurt that I had been giving him daily was not providing him with enough probiotics.  This supplement should really give him what his body needs for good digestion.
  • And eye and nose drop made with Euphrasia, an herb that is commonly called Eyebright.  I am to give him a drop in the affected eye twice a day.
  • A supplement called Eyeplex or Occuplex.  This supplement contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Tocotrienols Complex and Bilberry extract.  I am to give him two capsules a day.

Dr. Levy would like for me to call back in 6 months to let her know how Collin’s eye is doing and if the autoimmune disorder seems to be getting better.  I’m so excited for Collin to try these natural and healthy remedies.  I’ll let you know how he does as time goes on!

Collin and the dogs playing in the snow!

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The Further Adventures of Collin’s Eye–And No, It Still Is Not Healed!

While Collin’s eye is definitely better, I think my last post was too optimistic.  He has some days where the eye is still very red and inflamed looking and others where the third eyelid is white and not inflamed.  I know that natural treatments can take quite a while to “work their magic”, but I decided to stop applying the Young Living oils on the pads of his feet.  And I’ve really started to think about how his diet may be the key to bringing his whole immune system back into line.

I attended the Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue annual dinner on Saturday evening.  The speaker for the event was Katie K-9.  She has been a dog trainer for 25+ years and has written a book on cooking for your dog and how diet is so important to our pets.  She also talked about how we over-vaccinate our pets and this seems to be one of several causes of chronic health problems such as cancer, arthritis, etc.  More of our pets are being diagnosed with cancer and chronic conditions than ever in the past.  After Katie’s presentation, I just knew in my heart that Collin’s eye problem was generated when he was dosed with 5 different vaccinations in one day once he was picked up as a stray in Wisconsin.  Knowing that, I need to give his system time to come back to homeostasis or equilibrium.  And I figure I can best do that by feeding him the healthiest diet I can.

I have done research on healthy nutrition for my dogs and my horses, when I raised them.  I think it’s best to rotate foods also.  How boring to eat the same thing day in and day out.  So here is Collin’s daily regimen:

In the morning he gets 1 cup of Spot’s Stew kibbles.  These are made by Halo/Purely for Pets.  He also gets a squirt of Sardine/Anchovy oil on the kibbles.  To that I add about 1/4 cup of Light Vanilla Yogurt for the probiotics.

I now have been giving him a Kong toy to play with when I go to work.  I fill the Kong with peanut butter and put some kibbles in also.  This seems to keep him occupied when I’m at work.

For dinner he gets 1 cup of Natural Balance kibbles.  I rotate flavors on each bag.  Right now he’s on the Sweet Potato and Bison limited ingredient formula.  He then gets a squirt of salmon oil on the kibbles.  Three nights a week I make up 3 cups of Grandma Lucy’s freeze dried stew.  I have both venison and pork flavors.  All my dogs get about a cup of this on top of their kibbles.  Two nights a week Collin gets boiled chicken liver on his kibbles and two nights he gets a hunk of Deli Fresh Vital food with his kibbles.  His coat is looking wonderful–probably from the fish oils he’s getting.

I know that stress also plays a big part in the autoimmune system.  Because he was homeless for quite some time, he has really bonded to me.  Because of this, he sticks to me like glue.  I’ve been gone quite a bit this fall between my jobs, classes I’ve taken and volunteer work I do.  I know he gets stressed when I’m not there.  He plays with the other 3 dogs but to help alleviate some of his boredom, I again give him a Kong filled with kibbles and peanut butter.  I think it’s good to have our pets use their mind so to speak to figure out how to get those kibbles out and get the “prize”.

I’ll update in a month or so whether just the diet alone is helping to settle his immune system back down.  I’m sure that the more time that passes since the vaccinations, hopefully his system will come back into homeostasis.  I’ll keep you posted!

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Collin’s Eye – It’s Actually Improving

Per my previous posts, I have been wiping the pads of Collin’s feet each evening with a mixture of Thyme, Oregano, Immupower and Valor Young Living Essential oils in a carrier oil base.  I’ve been doing this for about 2 months now.  About 3 weeks ago, I hadn’t noticed any great improvement in the eye, but it also didn’t seem to get any worse.  I started doing some research on natural holistic help for animals with autoimmune disorders and I found a pet store, Only Natural Pet, which carried several supplements that interested me.  Their website is

From Only Natural Pet, I ordered 3 products for Collin:  Immune Balance, Del-Immune V and Clear Vision.  I will talk about each one and why I purchased it for Collin’s disorder.
First is Immune Balance.  This is a capsule which the bottle says has the following properties:  1)  Supports a healthy immune system; 2)  Supports respiratory health; 3)  Promotes health inflammation response; and 4)  Helps reduce the negative effects of stress.  If this pill worked, all 4 of its attributes could help Collin.  The directions are to give 1 to 2 capsules for each 25 pounds of dog.  I’ve been giving him 2 pills a day.  This product contains sterols (plant-derived) and sterolins (plant-derived).   Sterols and sterolins are a safe alternative to ingesting steroids.  The website has the following quote regarding this product:

“The patented sterol/sterolin blend found in Immune Balance* has been the focus of much clinical research. Studies from around the world consistently demonstrate its ability to bring balance to immune function in both humans and animals with both over- and under-active syndromes. This formula has been recognized for its capacity to offer these benefits:

  • Stabilizing immune over-reactivity by regulating production and action of key white blood cells implicated in auto-immune disorders
  • Supporting the body’s healthy inflammatory and normal histamine responses in the presence of allergic or autoimmune disorders
  • Helping promote normal balance of key hormones DHEA and Cortisol, which can help reduce negative effects of stress
  • Promoting antimicrobial action, assisting the body’s white blood cells in fighting invaders like viruses and bacteria”

To me, this sounded like the perfect product for Collin.  The nodular granulomatous episclerakeratitis is a result of an over-active immune system.  Collin was found homeless in Wisconsin and several animal communicators have verified that he was homeless for quite a long time–that alone put his body under stress.  So this product sounded perfect for his condition.

The second product I purchased, Del-Immune V, is comprised of a potent strain of live probiotic or friendly bacteria.  I have been wanting to get some probiotics into Collin because of the positive effects on the digestive and immune systems.  This product supposedly provides “immediate immune system support”–something that Collin desperately needed.

The third product I ordered, Clear Vision, is a pill form of several Chinese  herbs.  The pills contain polygonatum, American Ginseng root, Lycium fruit, Cicadae sclerotiu, Dondrobium, Cassia Seed, Siler, Chrysanthemum, Rehmannia, Vespertillionidae, Cornus fruit, and White peony.  Per Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these herbs help support healthy eyesight in dogsI didn’t know if Collin’s vision was being affected by the autoimmune disorder, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to do anything I could to help keep the vision in his right eye as good as it could be.

So Collin has been receiving a set of each of these 3 pills twice a day for about a week.  And I can honestly say that for the past two days, he hasn’t had the extreme redness in the third eyelid as before.  I’ve taken a before and after picture so you can see the difference.  His third eyelid is still pronounced in his right eye, but it isn’t red like previously.  It’s more of a whitish color.  I’m going to keep up this set of pills and the essential oils for the next month to see if he can finally overcome this disorder and get his autoimmune system working in his favor.  I’ll keep you posted!

This is Collin on June 11, 2010.  The third eyelid is definitely pronounced and was redder than the photo actually shows.

This is Collin’s eye as of today, October 11, 2010.  While the third eyelid is still pronounced, it is definitely whitish in color and not red and inflamed!  And doesn’t he look happy to have his picture taken–Yikes!

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The Further Adventures of Healing Collin’s Eye

I’ve been applying the essential oils (Oregano, Thyme, Immupower & Valor) in a carrier oil base to the pads of Collin’s paws for about two weeks now.  I haven’t noticed any big changes; however, his eye is certainly not doing any worse than it was before when he was on the steroids and there are actually times when the third eyelid is actually white/bluish colored and not red and inflamed looking.  I’m going to continue with applying the oils for another 2 to 3 weeks.  I have to remember that when working with natural remedies, the results are not instantaneous.  It can take a month or so to start seeing some really positive results.

I’m also giving Collin a teaspoon of Sarsparilla dried herb in his night-time kibble feeding.  Sarsparilla helps to calm the immune system down–something that Collin needs since his auto-immune system is in overdrive.

This week I just started doing some Healing Touch for Animals on him.  Healing Touch is energy work and the goal is to help break up energy blockages in the body.  I did a chakra assessment on him and he needed energy in his root, spleen and the solar plexus.  I’ve been trying to concentrate on giving him lots of energy in those areas.  After giving him a treatment, he is always happy and upbeat and always gives me a big “kiss” as if to say thanks.

I’ll post again after a few weeks has passed to see whether the natural remedies will help his eye condition return to normal.  Please let me know if any of you have dealt with this condition in your animal.

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We Are What We Eat–And That Goes For Our Pets Too!

Have you ever examined what’s in your pet’s bag of kibbles?  Maybe with all the recent recalls of pet food you are paying a little more attention to what’s in that bag.  But do you really understand what a lot of the ingredients truly are?

Are you aware that a lot of the meat or meat byproduct listed on the bag of dog food also contains ingredients that are harmful to our pets.  Most cattle that are not allowed free range and grass pastures to eat are often dosed with antibiotics and growth hormones.  These antibiotics and hormones are stored in various organs of the cow and are part of what makes up many of the cheaper dog foods.

Some companies use corn as a filler.  Dogs like corn because of its sugary content; however, dogs cannot digest corn and it often comes out in the stool as whole kernels.  They are getting absolutely no nutrition from the corn and in fact are getting empty calories.

Some foods contain grains used as fillers.  Have you noticed lately how many pets are developing allergies?  Many of these allergies can be traced back to grains and wheat products in their food.

And here’s the horrifying aspect of what is in some dog food.  Many of the rendering plants throw in euthanized pets and road kill animals that still have flea collars and tags attached.  All of these things are being ground up into the kibbles that our dogs eat.  And the drugs used to euthanize the dogs are also ground up and come through in the kibbles.  It makes me sick to even think about it!

Based on the above, the dog foods that I have found to work best with my 4 dogs and are healthy include the following:

  • Natural Balance (Dick Van Patten’s)
  • Spot’s Stew (Halo Purely for Pets)
  • Grandma Lucy’s

I try and rotate every day between Natural Balance or Grandma Lucy’s for dinner and Spot’s Stew for breakfast.  Eating the same kibbles day in and day out is boring for our dogs.  It would be the same as eating the same dinner every day for the rest of your life–BORING!

I’m going to attach several links to the various dog foods that I have found are great products for our dogs.  Feeding your dogs these foods is expensive.  But the costs of veterinary treatment because of health issues and chronic illness caused by not getting the proper nutrition far outweighs the costs of feeding our best friends the best foods available.

Here are the links to the websites of the foods that I recommend:

Please let me know if you have had experiences–both good or bad–with these dog foods and others out on the market!

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Natural Health Care for Dogs–Is it Possible?

I am the owner of 3 Collies (2 of them rescues) and a Sheltie who is also a rescue.  My newest rescue boy has an autoimmune disorder common to Collies.  It is called nodular granulomatous episclerakeratitis. He has been on steroids for over two months with no positive results.  I’m hoping to help him with natural treatments instead of steroids.  The side affects of the steroids were not pretty–voracious appetite, large consumption of water with the resulting increased urination, and general lethargy and irritability.

Since Collin’s autoimmune system is in overdrive, I’m trying some herbs mixed in with his food–sarsparilla in particular.  I’m also giving him salmon and sardine oil for the Omega 3s.  And my last efforts will be to try Young Living Essential Oils on the pads of his feet.  I’m using Valor, Oregano, Thyme, Grounding and ImmuPower oils mixed in with a carrier oil and applied to the pads of his feet.  I’ll let you know how this works in a week.

As you can see from the picture, the third eyelid of Collin’s right eye is swollen and red.

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