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.

BUT NO! IT WAS NOT 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!

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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.

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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:

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Everything in red is a trigger for Evelyn.

Dang!

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,

Where’s that little green vomit emoji when you need it?

Bet you thought I quit again. Nope! Just been super busy.

Raw Roundup 2015 has changed us. My biggest take-away so far comes from noted Australian veterinary surgeon, Dr. Ian Billinghurst who coined the term BARF.

BARF isn’t just a verb in all caps. It isn’t even merely an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It’s an also the adjective that describes what the food we should be feeding our dogs is supposed to look like… at least when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Gross, right?

(not as gross as a raw cow liver, or the dried cow trachea I touched by accident yesterday).

On the “biologically appropriate” point, Dr. B discussed the evolution of dogs, and kept coming back to the point that if you have a question about whether a dog should eat something, ask yourself whether the dog evolved eating it. When you ask that question about cooked grains and processed, complex carbohydrates, the answer will be ‘no’ every time.

Dogs may eventually evolve to adequately digest these things, but they’ve only been around a couple of hundred years, which is not enough time for dogs to have successfully evolved to derive nuritional benefit from them. Some pet food manufacturers and even veterinarians assert that dogs can not only digest cooked grains, but live long, healthy lives on a diet that consists mostly of them (cooked grains are cheap, yo). (Insert lecture about the power of the almighty dollar here). But they cannot dispute, because the facts are irrefutable, that a dog’s physiology is not genetically equipped to properly digest and absorb complex carbohydrates and cooked grains. (Note: “Breed-appropriate” is a marketing ploy. Don’t fall for it. There is no biological distinction in the dietary requirements of a Great Dane and a Chihuahua).

A dog’s digestive tract is much, much shorter than an herbivore’s. For example, cows have 4 stomachs to digest the grasses and grains they are designed to cosume. Dogs don’t have true molars (look in your dog’s mouth. Does he have flat teeth? No.) or the tendecy to grind up their food in their mouths before swallowing.

I’ve made this point before when discussing the need to cook some vegetables I feed to Pearl & Truman. But it still didn’t occur to me that the cell structure of all plants, with that rigid cell wall surrounding each individual cell, is just as present in a banana as it is in a potato, despite the softness of the fruit and the fact that it is edible raw.

Dr. B says we must “pulverize” any fruit or vegetable to break down that cellulose for fruits and vegetables to have any positive nutritional benefit for the dog. Chopping into chuncks may satisfy the need to chomp something, but it’s not doing much nutritionally. But when an ancestral dog killed a prey animal that was an herbivore (as most are), and consumed its stomach contents, the grasses, fruits and other vegetation were partially digested. The prey animal had broken the cell wall of the plant material, which left it absorbable for the canine carnivore. Makes total sense.

Ergo, BARF

My eyes were opened.

I’ve been cutting fruit for breakfast for months. The Pugs love it, and they seem to be thriving. But in the past 3 weeks since the Roundup, I’ve been ”pulverizing” and it’s made a difference.

1st, the poops are even more dense & almost totally stink-free. And the dogs create less poop! There’s less waste because the nutrients are being absorbed and used.

Total bonus. Less to pick up at the park.

Dr. B says you can use a blender, macerator, or juicer. Drink the juice yourself, and give your dogs the ground up pulp. I have a juicer, but it is a big ol’ pain in the butt to use, and extremely difficult to clean. (Thanks anyway, Jack LaLane.)

I also have a big fancy blender that is also a hassle to clean, especially for such a small amount of fruit.

So, I found an individual-serving blender at my trusty neighborhood Target for the low, low price of $19.99, and we are in business, baby!

Now, every day I make SMOOTHIES!! Faster and simpler than chopping so much fruit first thing in the morning.

Not getting any complaints either.

recipes in the next post.

pugs & kisses!

HOLy Basil

I was going to title this post “HOLy Basil, Batman!”, but somebody beat me to it. Oh, well.

Basil is worshipped in some cultures. They even call it HOLy. Because it’s a blooming miracle plant, that’s why!

It contains vitamins K, C, and A, and trace amounts of iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Whoopty-do. Lots of plants have vitamins & minerals.

But more than that, basil has been studied (like for real scientific studies) for its positive effects on bacteria, respiratory ailments, blood sugar levels, and the digestive tract. It has a low glycemic index, and is an antioxidant (reduces free radicals). There’s a gajillion articles on how awesome it is. Just fire up the Google, and you’ll see.

I’ve been making a medicinal tea with basil since the weather turned cold, and it is delicious.

Liquid. Gold.

Just bring a pot of water (2-4 cups) to a boil, remove it from heat, and add a 3-4 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, cover and let it steep.

That’s it. Simple.

I let mine sit overnight so it’s good and strong. I keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid in the fridge.

Recently, I bought some dried peppermint, and I added it to my decoction in a steel mesh tea ball. It brings a refreshing note to the taste, but really, you’ll be surprised at how delightful the basil is all by itself. Drink it warm with a teaspoon of raw honey, and you are golden. (You will feel golden. You will feel like a Buddhist monk on a Tibetan hillside. Gong optional). It will soothe your spirit and calm your nerves. I love to drink it before bedtime.

It finally dawned on me that I needed to be sharing this gift of the gods with my dogs. Duh. In fact, Truman about knocked my mug from my hands to get at it. So, I added it to the breakfast rotation.

Simply pour it over whatever is in the bowl. I have also begun to mince a couple of basil leaves to sprinkle atop their morning meal, and both dogs are coo-coo for it. (Truman more than Pearl. She’s got more of a sweet tooth, but she still enjoys it).

I keep a basil plant in my kitchen in a glass of water, and it keeps us supplied.

Trust me. Ancient cultures were more selective in their choice of objects of worship than our modern-American, Kardashian-infused culture is. They didn’t waste their reverence on b*llsh*t like we do. (I’m just guessing. I like to think they were too busy to fool with nonsense. I could be wrong). But this could change your world.

pugs & kisses,