Seeing Red

2016 has started off fast! I’ve not had time to blog, and just discovered a stack of posts half-drafted that are waiting for my attention.

They’ll have to wait. This is big news.

After several months of multiple failed attempts to consult with Dr. Natalie to help get Evelyn healthy enough to withstand her heartworm treatment, I finally gave up.

You can only beg someone to take your money so many times, right? 

My brother-in-law’s brother suggested I try Dr. Mary Battistella at Kowaliga Whole Health Pet Care in Eclectic, Alabama. (Thanks Andrew!) I called on Monday of last week, and immediately got in to see her the following afternoon. Granted, it was a 2-hour drive south, but in the end…Totally. Worth it.

Since Evelyn’s arrival on Labor Day 2015, she has had a significant skin problem. The skin along her back was rough and discolored, the hair was patchy, and she scratched at it constantly. The base of her tail is completely smooth with no hair at all.

This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. This pic is from her first week with me, and things really haven’t improved.

I didn’t worry too much at first because she had so many other things going on — vastly malnourished and underweight, heartworm positive, mast cell tumors, and various other imbalances — I focused on stabilizing her nutrition, tumor removal, and heartworm eradication. All along the way, we tried anti-fungal spray and shampoo, antibiotics, steroids, Bendadryl, Apoquel. I’ve been massaging coconut oil into her skin at night for months, to no avail. Nothing worked.

Until now.

Dr. Battistella took one look and said, “allergies.” She took hair and saliva samples from Evelyn and shipped them to a lab called Glacier Peak Holistics. Ten days later, we got this:


Everything in red is a trigger for Evelyn.


The good news is that only the circled items are the things she’s had in her diet: Chicken, chicken eggs, carrots, sweet potato, peaches, dairy milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt. 

The bad news is that I fed her a ton of cottage cheese back in November and December when I was desperate to get weight on her so that she could have her second heartworm shot. I also fed carrots and sweet potatoes regularly. Raw chicken is in the rotation. She gets a raw egg in her breakfast smoothie. Every. Day.

Poor baby! No wonder she was scratching non-stop!

The better news is that there is SO much on that list she is NOT allergic to. And now I know what to avoid. We have a lot to work with here and I am so grateful to Dr. Battistella. 

So is Evelyn!

Dr. B also gave us a B-12 vitamin, wheat germ oil to apply topically, and a homeopathic tonic for skin that I give her daily. With the dietary No-No’s delineated, I am finally hopeful that we can solve this problem from the inside out, and get her health on the right track once and for all.

Thanks Dr. B!

pugs & kisses,

6 thoughts on “Seeing Red

  1. I had just visited your blog last night to see how Evelyn was doing. I have had the same issue with Dr. Natalie. I just don’t understand it. I may have to give Kowaliga a try. Glad that you found out what she is allergic to. I’m going to take Charlie to determine the same thing. Thanks for your blog!


    1. No, thank YOU, Misty! It’s great to hear from you! Give Dr. Battistella a call. She runs a full service holistic clinic. The allergy test was reasonably priced compared to what I’ve had in the past. She emailed me the results & was willing to do the follow up consultation by phone, which was so helpful given my work schedule these days. Good luck to you & little Charlie!!


  2. I found your blog through Dr. Natalie but have had the same experience as you with trying to get in to see her. I recently did a search for holistic vets in Alabama and Dr. Battistella’s name popped up, but of course, I know nothing about her and her clinic. It’s nice to have a positive recommendation. I may have to consider driving the 2 hours for my 12-year old girl, Molly.


    1. It was worth it for me to go down there for this. Just since Friday, Evelyn has improved. The constant scratching is remarkably diminished. And her willingness to do the follow up by phone was huge for me.


  3. I’ve actually started looking for a holistic vet. I was told about Dr. Blackman since she is local to Birmingham, but I saw Dr. Battistella when I was doing a search and she seems to be more credited in many areas of holistic practice. I thought I read on her site how she does come once a month and work at a vet clinic in Birmingham. Do you know if this is true? I mean, it would be nice to know she is also local sometimes even if we had to make a 2 hour drive to see her.


    1. Yes, Lexi. She does come up to Birmingham once a month for follow up visits. She does that at Riverview Animal Clinic which is near the Target on 280. She can also do a follow up consult by phone, which is what she did for me when we got the allergy test results. Her clinic is a more full service clinic. She does perform surgeries there. Although I’ve never been completely clear about the range of services Dr. Blackmon can provide, my impression has been that she is much more limited to traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, i.e., acupuncture and herbs. She definitely doesn’t have surgical equipment or X-ray equipment or anything like that. I have no problem with what Dr. Blackmon has actually done for my pets. It’s just getting in to see her that is the biggest issue.


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