Two nights ago I had a dream that I found dozens of giant ticks on Ross’s back.  Gross!  When I woke up, I had to check him over to calm myself down.  When I checked the spot I dreamed about, there were no ticks.  There was, however, a large, infected sore.  Two in fact, so close together that the edges overlapped.  The smaller sore had a red center and looked like a bite of some sort.  The larger one was a big, sticky, yellow patch with no hair.  Ross had been chewing on that spot so I’m not sure if he pulled the hair out, or  if it fell out on its own.  Either way, it’s gross & worrisome!

Once upon a time I would have rushed Ross to the vet, who would say that it was probably either an infected tick bite or flea allergy, and put him on antibiotics for the infection, and something to suppress the itch.  This is what I did when my old Jake developed strange skin infections, of which he had many in his last few years.  And throughout his life for that matter.  Most dogs I know are itchy and have allergies or skin disorders of one type or another.  This is the new conventional norm, what we must all resign ourselves to.  Or so our vets will have us believe.

Now that I have a much better understanding of health, I see this all very differently.  Skin disorders are a red flag that the body is toxic to the point of not being able to clear itself through normal means: the kidneys and liver.  In other words, skin problems tell us that our dog’s immune systems are not working as they should.  They are, at the same time, an indication that the body is try to expel junk it can’t get rid of otherwise.  

This is true for allergies, and for infections.  In either case, the last thing we should do is suppress the problem with drugs.  Suppressing skin reactions is like locking the door so you can’t take the garbage out.  Then all that junk stays inside and rots.  Most who have dealt with skin problems will know that they come back once the drugs are stopped.  Or at least for the first few repetitions.  Then sometimes the body gives up, and that is even worse.  At that point the toxins stay in the body, pushing disease deeper and into something more important like a vital organ.

This is exactly what happened with Jake.  He developed “flea allergies” (although I never saw fleas) around age 5.  I suppressed those with antibiotics and predinzone, and doused my house and dog with chemicals to make sure no flea could survive within a mile of us.  This happened every year for 4 years in a row.   Then the allergy went away.  I was delighted.  In hind sight, I should have been horrified.  About a year after that, Jake contracted sarcoptic mange.  Another round of drugs were administered to get rid of that.  Just as that cleared up, he started to break out in big, blistering sores.  More antibiotics.  More sores.  More antibiotics.  From age 10-12, he was on drugs almost constantly to suppress the sores that kept erupting all over his body.  Then one day, he collapesed.  His kidneys had given out ‘unexpectedly’.

Now kidneys don’t typically fail overnight.  They did tests to rule out anything that would have caused acute kidney failure, then concluded it was a chronic condition.  It takes up to 5 years for kidneys to fail to the point of conventional medicine picking up the signs: drinking lots of water, lethargy, loss of appetite, elevated bloodwork levels.  But had I know then what I know now, I would have seen those signs almost from day one.  All those skin problems were telling me his body was stressed out and needed help.  And all I did was make everything worse.

When I saw those sores on Ross, my heart sank.  These are the exact same type of sores that Jake was developing in later stage kidney failure.  But Ross is not showing the other symptoms that Jake had.  It’s quite possible that what Ross has is an infected tick bite.  This still tells me that his life force is weaker than it should be however.  So I need to address that.  

Interestingly, my first impulse was to put some Calendula ointment on the sores to “help” them heal.  I did that last night, and this morning the sores were much, much worse.  They were angry and red and very sensitive to the touch.  I spoke with a friend who is much more experienced in holistic medicine than I am and she said that Calendula is suppressive on wounds.  So instead of re-applying, I soaked a cloth in some warm water and epsom salts and put a compress on the sores for a few minutes.  Once soaked and cleaned, I left them be.  Within a couple of hours the red was gone and the look much better.  I will apply the compress every few hours today and see if I can draw out the infection that way, i.e helping his body, not hindering it.  I have also canceled my plans for the day to stay home with him and keep everything very low stress so he can focus on healing.

These sores really worry me and I am finally going to get Ross’s blood work done next week at long last.  But, as I mentioned above, problems with internal organs are usually to the point of being irreparable before they show up in blood work.  Watching your dog for subtle symptoms, and listening to your intuition are much better ways of figuring out what is going on.  I knew deep down that Jake was seriously ill for several years before the vet agreed – I even suspected kidney problems (just a gut feeling as I knew nothing about kidney problems at the time) and had pressed the vets over and over about it, but since his blood work was normal, they said the other things I was observing were all me being a hypochondriac.  These ‘irrelevant’ symptoms included:

– Slow recovery from anesthetic (kidneys flush anesthetic)

– Little pale specs of grit in his coat, mostly along his muzzle and nose between his eyes (I was told this must be “sand” but turned out to be uric acid crystals – his body had no othe rway to get rid of it than pushing it through skin)

– The smell of urine on his muzzle (from above crystals, although the vet said another dog must have peed on him, even though I had no other dogs and he rarely met any…)

– All the chronic skin problems, mentioned above.

– Abscessed teeth (chronic infection damage kidneys, chronic infection = weak immune system)

And so on.  So even if Ross’s blood work comes back perfect, I will still be watching him carefully, and noting all the subtle symptoms he displays.  And these will be passed on to his homeopath, because homeopathy takes all of this into account.  Instead of rejecting the odd symptoms as being irrelevant, it embraces them as a way of finding the very specific remedy that the life force needs.  I have been treating Ross a little on my own this past six months, but since he’s showing me some signs of serious concern, it’s time to go back to a professional.  

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