Still trying to scratch that itch…

truman-dogglesThe theme song from the Simpson’s “The Itchy & Scratchy Show” runs through my head on a permanent loop. I can’t seem to get any long-lasting relief for these dogs.

Previously, I told you guys that I was convinced I was dealing with yeast, which is often confused with allergies. I thought all of the signs of yeast were there -that rust color on the coat from all the licking & biting; black spots on the skin; hair loss; constant scratching.

And for months (MONTHS!) I’ve been doing everything I possibly could to get this sh!t under control, internally and externally.

Finally, last week, we had annual checkups with Dr. B at the Kowaliga Whole Health Pet Care in Eclectic. She dismissed my yeast claim and said, “Allergies.”


But but but… Evelyn has not had any foods that are on her trigger list since we found out a year ago what those were. Truman & Pearl have not been allergy tested because we truly did not have a problem with anything until about last August.

But Dr. B said there were no signs of inflammation, their ears showed no infection, their anal glands were normal, their teeth and eyes and face folds all look great. It’s really just down to the itchy skin.

(Truman had a laser treatment on a hotspot, hence the Doggles).

With that, we determined it’s not yeast, not diet related, and has to be environmental.

Great — bc controlling the environment is SO easy.

Evelyn is allergic to dust (aren’t we all?), feathers (me too), oak and pine (the 2 kinds of trees in my yard).

My house is clean, yo. And I’m not cutting trees.

Dr. B advised that I stop using coconut oil topically because it’s thick and greasy, and allergens stick to it.

Fine — makes sense.

She gave us a very lightweight herbal spray called Fidoderm, and it seems to be working. (find it here:

I did not want anyone to go on antibiotics, and thankfully, Dr. B agreed. Antibiotics destroy good gut flora — which we all know is critical for a healthy immune system. Killing off the good stuff often triggers the growth of …

(say it with me…)


Anyhoo — we’ll also continue with the daily Benadryl. It does work. They stop scratching when I give it to them. It just metabolizes out pretty quickly, which is a good thing. I give each dog (all are close to 20lbs) 1 tablet per day, but I can increase that to twice per day if needed. (Not more than every 8 hours, tho. Benadryl is safe to give dogs, but check with your vet on proper dosage by weight of your pet).

So, what have we learned?

  1. Dr. Battistella is fantastic. Check her out.
  2. Don’t use coconut oil topically if the allergies are environmental bc it can make it worse by causing the dust, pollen, etc. to stick to your dog.
  3. I recommend Fidoderm spray.
  4. Benadryl works, but check with your vet first.
  5. Truman looks like a boss in his Doggles.

pugs & kisses,

Alabama Holistic Vets contact info

Let me take this opportunity to clear something up.

For more than a year now, I have fielded regular calls from people who have Googled “Holistic Vet in Alabama” or something similar, and instead of finding one, they get me. The first post that pops up on such a search (after the paid advertisement) is my post on Dr. Natalie Lenoir-Blackman from 2 years ago (I misspelled her last name, but still). She doesn’t have a website, just a Facebook page (find it here), and it appears about 5th down the list of other area veterinarians who do not engage in a holistic or alternative practice. Dr. Battistella and Kowaliga Whole Pet Health Care’s contact information shows in the right hand column (find it here).

But, because I keep fielding calls, (which I am very happy to do, but y’all need to reach them, not me), I thought an explanatory post was in order.

I AM NOT A VET and I cannot diagnose or give treatment advice. I blog about what has worked for me. That’s it, and that is always the first thing I tell anyone who reaches me.

The next thing I tell them is to reach out to either or both doctors and choose for themselves who will best meet their and their pet’s needs. Each offers a different range of services. Dr. B has a much bigger facility and a broader range of services than Dr. Natalie, but she’s farther away from Birmingham. Both work wonders.

To perhaps make things easier, here is contact information for each (you’re welcome):

  1. Dr. Natalie Lenoir-Blackman; Well Being Animal Medicine Society; 3557 Cahaba Beach Rd (Behind Cahaba Beach Dog Park, near the Home Depot on 280); Birmingham (205)637-6653
  2. Dr. Mary Battistella; Kowaliga Whole Pet Health Care; 8610 Kowaliga Road; Eclectic AL 36024; (334) 857-1816

There may be others in the state, but I don’t know who or where they are and cannot speak to the services offered. I have experience with both these docs, and you can scroll through my posts to learn about what they have done for us.

To the kind and broken-hearted man who reached me yesterday who was in tears over his dog’s renal failure, it is my great hope and prayer that one or both of these fine women can help you and your beloved pup.

pugs & kisses,




We could so make some bread rn…

Blogger’s note: Yeah, yeah. I’ve neglected the blog. Full-time law practice has a tendency to consume too much of what I’d like to claim as free time. Here’s to hoping for a stronger 2017 in the blogosphere. #resolutions

So, back in August, when Evelyn had surgery to remove a second MCT that popped up on her elbow, Dr. Battistella commented that she smelled “yeast-y”. I don’t know what that smells like, but I took her word for it.

When we got home, I dug around in my go-to resources: Dr. Karen Becker’s blog, the Whole Dog Journal, and Dogs Naturally Magazine for some guidance. I found this extremely helpful article:

We have been following a regimen (for all 3 dogs) that includes:

  • Raw diet (of course)
  • Probiotics (natural through fermented goats milk, and supplemented)
  • Prebiotics (dandelion greens)
  • Coconut oil (1/2 tsp/ day internally and externally on the skin as needed)
  • Oregano oil (1 drop/ meal)
  • Garlic (1 fresh clove/day)
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (3 drops/meal)
  • Dandelion Tincture (1/4 dropper /meal)
  • Milk Thistle Seed (on rotation — on a week; off for 2)
  • ACV topically (small squeeze bottle filled 1/2 ACV, 1/2 H2O for direct application to itchy spots on the skin as needed)
  • Regular baths in anti-fungal shampoo

Yeast is a beast to get rid of, to be sure. But we’ve been doing this for MONTHS, and I’m not seeing much improvement — at least not in Truman. Evelyn seems some better. Pearl had a setback because I decided she was allergic to the GSE. It has been frustrating to say the least.

I know if I take them to my regular vet, they’ll be put on antibiotics because that’s always been the standard protocol for skin infections.

What to do?

We’ve got an appointment with Dr. B in a couple of weeks, and I’m sure she’ll set us on the right path.

But it has also finally occurred to me that I could be feeding the problem. For months and months, their breakfast has consisted of a raw egg and raw, fermented goats milk. When we learned last year that Evelyn was allergic to chicken, I switched to duck eggs, and occasionally quail eggs. Although most everything I’ve read praises the completeness of the nutritional value of raw eggs for dogs, I’m wondering if they’re at the root of the problem. Could Truman have developed an allergy to duck eggs?

Earlier this week, I stopped with the morning egg routine. I’ll let you know if that has any effect on the sitch, and we’ll see what Dr. B has us do.

pugs & kisses —



Banana Patch

I’ve done it only once before. So when my initial efforts to treat Evelyn’s wart failed, I thought maybe I was crazy, or maybe my previous success was just a fluke.


Let me back up here a minute. Evelyn had a pretty big wart on the back left paw, far left toe, under the pad, for months. It caused her to limp slightly.

Last year, I had succeeded in ridding Pearl’s paw of a wart that emerged following a splinter extraction by using the inside of a banana peel. For Evelyn, I treated hers several times by the same method —  scraping out some of the inside of a banana peel, applying it directly on the wart, and wrapping her foot in self-sticking gauze. Voila! Banana patch!

This time, though, nothing happened.

No change. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

This wart was stubborn!

or so I thought…

After all we’ve been through, wart removal rested on the back burner for a long time. Other matters were much higher on the priority list. So I gave up for a while until we could deal with more pressing concerns. Once we got the incessant scratching under control, I decided to tackle the wart again. I was determined to get rid of it because the alternatives included letting it stay and continue to bother her, or cutting it off. And cutting in/on/around a paw pad is bad news in my book, even with a laser.

Finally, with multiple failed attempts under my belt, I discovered the error of my ways: I wasn’t getting deep enough into the banana peel to get to the good stuff. You really have to get into the deeper fibers of the interior of the peel, beyond the top couple of layers that sit between peel and banana. The fiber in that inside layer is a different, sort of juicy consistency than the banana itself or even those weird long thread things that sometimes stick on the banana after you peel it open. It’s almost like getting into the gel of an aloe plant, but it’s nowhere near that thick.

All it took was 3 days of application, and

POOF! No more wart!

I’ve done it twice now, on two different dogs.

It. Works.

So, before you go running to the vet for surgical wart removal, try a banana patch.

pugs & kisses!