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Monday, 31 October 2011

Poorly paw

I have a big, beautiful Border Collie boy called Obi who will be eight years old next week. In June 2010 he cut his right fore paw, I don't know what on, but it sliced very cleanly through the sides of two toes, giving him two raw surfaces which rubbed against eachother, and also cut into the base of his foot. This took a very long time to heal, it was cleaned with salt water, I put different natural remedies on it, we rested him, etc, etc but even with a couple of courses of antibiotics from the vet it took around two to three months to heal and gave him a great deal of discomfort.

Unfortunately he was permanently lame on the foot even after it was healed and we had the foot X-rayed which led us off at a tangent because his outside toe was quite hideous when X-rayed with what our vet thought was a tumour but on sending the X-rays to a specialist vets, was thought might be Sesamoid Disease. That was treated with injections into the joint which worked on the lameness for a short time, but it returned and we were eventually referred to the specialist in October where they MRI scanned him and discovered he had five pinprick sized foreign objects inside his foot. He was operated on in November and managed to save the horrible toe which had been in danger of being amputated in order to get all the little bits out. Once his foot was healed from the operation, he was no longer lame and we thought the whole horrible business was behind us.

Unfortunately, at the end of January the operation scar split open, we couldn't get it to heal and when swabbed it was found to have stapphylococcus in it and he was put on antibiotics again. The scar mended again until April when it split open again. It was swabbed again, had stapph in it again and was put on different antibiotics because the stapph was resistant to the original ones. Since April it has split open again a couple of times and each time he's resistant to the antibiotics. We returned to the specialist in July for another MRI scan but there was nothing to be seen this time, although they did give us the option of another operation and probably removing his manky toe this time to make sure they got any nasties which didn't show on the MRI. We refused that option at the time.

Obi's foot is still not healed 100 per cent, we seem to get to a certain point and it 'goes' again. He does wear boots out when it's bad and we're now using a product to try to toughen up the skin and pads because their softness seemed to be part of the problem. About a month ago he developed a scabby rash on one back leg which quickly spread to the other leg and got worse despite washing with salt water and putting cream on it. The vet thought it looked like stapph and prescribed more antibiotics which cleared it up. It came back again last weekend at which point I called a halt to filling my dog with drugs.

I don't like giving my dogs antibiotics or drugs of any sort, preferring to rely on natural products, but this whole situation has been so desperate and awful that I took the vets advice and carried on against my personal feelings. Obi is on many different natural supplements for his arthritis and has a teaspoon of colloidal silver every day to try and help his foot. I have also now put him back on a teaspoon of Manuka honey every morning. I am currently washing his back legs with Hibiscrub and putting on Camrosa cream which between them seem to be working slowly. His legs and foot are covered by socks to stop him licking them.

I read Richard Allport's article on antibiotics this month, which came out at a very good time and have now ordered the following for Obi: Bee Health Propolis Capsules, Bee Health Propolis Cream for his legs and poor foot, Immune Formula capsules from Richard's clinic, Royal Jelly and I shall buy him some echinacea this afternoon. I am trying desperately to boost his immune system from within while trying to get rid of this infection in a natural way. I have also looked at Selenium ACE, although he does have Vitamins C and E anyway and he has liver once a week for his dinner as well as some homemade dried liver treats for treat toys and training and I'm not sure if extra Vitamin A would be a good idea. I can't seem to find Selenium with no ACE attached.

Obi has always been a healthy dog and I can only think that his problems are from too many antibiotics. My dogs are fed on Barking Heads which has some fresh meat added to it every day. They eat raw a couple of times a week, I was going to change them over completely, but Obi actually objected to raw every day and was miserable on it. There are no additives or preservatives in anything they eat, everything is high quality with no rubbish ingredients. Obi has around four hours of walks each day, including swimming, although this has been curtailed lately because of the foot and leg. He is a very happy and active dog, the problems don't get him down or stop him enjoying his life.

Please, if anybody can help with any suggestions for Obi, I would be so grateful. If there are any other immune system boosting miracles out there or anything that has worked for anybody in a similar situation, I am open to anything. He's such a lovely, lovely dog, he deserves to live his life to the full.

Thank you so much
Rebecca Kinnon, by email

Where does the law stand on dogs biting humans?


I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of being charged with their dog being dangerously out of control in a public place and injuring a person? My dog and the dog next door got into a fight on the pavement outside our houses. Whilst we were breaking up the fight my dog redirected and bit my neighbour's daughter on the shoulder. They've reported me to the police.

I'm very worried that they will order her to be destroyed as she has injured a person, albeit unintentionally. If anyone has any personal experience of this I would really appreciate some advice.

Many thanks
Name and address supplied

Help me get my friendly dog back

I have enjoyed reading the magazine for a while and always find something in there to help me. Now I wonder if I can ask for your help please?

I have a two-year-old Staffie and I desperately need help with him. For the first two years he was wonderful when we were out, quiet and well-behaved. He loved to play with every dog he met, although some were not interested and I would have to restrain him.

At 12 months he was attacked and bitten three times in three weeks, each time by dog off the lead whose owners said “He wouldn’t hurt a fly” immediately before the attack. Then for the next 12 months 80 per cent of new dogs we met would bounce up wanting to play then at about 10ft distance they changed and tried to attack him. Every chocolate Labrador and spaniel went for him (amongst other breeds) and owners would stand there unable to understand why their dog would attack Max when they were fine with all other dogs. Max remained stationary and silent during these incidents then began to lie down when he saw a dog approaching and would just lie there until they had passed. As a result we both became scared of meeting new dogs because we did not know how responsible the owner were. I had two major altercations with owners who refused to put their dog on a lead even when they were standing over the neck of my dog growling at him.

He is now two years old and the worm has turned!! Now he behaves ferociously with all dogs he meets who he did not know in his first 12 months and I find it difficult to hang on to him. To me this behaviour is quite understandable, but it has to stop and I don't know how to do it. Can anyone help?

I did belong to a Kennel Club training group, but he became so scared that I would have to carry him in and just sit with him (there was no way he would work with other dogs there). I am still talking to them to see if we can try anything else. I have tried chastising him then because I realised that his behaviour is based on fear I have tried comforting him to calm him down whilst dogs pass. He wears a DAP collar. All this is having a little beneficial effect but nothing near enough to resolve the situation.

I really would be most grateful for any assistance you can give me.

Many thanks in advance

Lyndon Buck, Desborough, Northants

Itchy and scratchy

My nine-year-old Border Collie-Sheltie cross started scratching furiously in July, making skin on his chest very red,and chest fur pulled out in clumps. He has never had this problem before. There are no parasites in his coat, which looks very healthy, people comment on his beautiful glossy coat. The only little patch of scurfy skin is just above his tail.

The vet diagnosed contact allergy,and gave him an injection which worked, but he needed another recently as the scratching started again. Apart from a couple of trips to the vets for anal glands emptying, he has never ailed a thing.

I am at a loss as to why this problem should have started. Could it be too strong weed-killer used by councils, or perhaps by treatments possibley used on carpets in dog friendly caravan or cottage we rented on holiday? I have never used chemicals on the floors or carpets in the home.

I feed him James Wellbeloved dry food, with a little moist food added. Have also started using Yumega Plus to see if this helps. I shampood him with Bob Martins Exma Rid shampoo, before that have been using Byotrol Shampoo.

I am absolutely baffled.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Robinson, by email

Feeding on a budget

Dear Dogs Today

Like many people, I am worried about finances. I have cut down as much as I can in other areas of my life (no car, no tv, vegan, don't smoke, drink, take holidays, have heating on for no more than a few hours a day even in the depths of winter etc) and the only other cuts I can make now are to my dogs' food, treats and insurance. I am loathed to do this but it has reached the point where I really am going to struggle if I don't. I have already cut their treats right down (one schmacko/meaty strip divided into 10 separate little treats, for instance).

My dogs are mongrels, 12 and 13 (nearly 14) and thankfully still hale and hearty, a little arthritis in one elbow occasionally notwithstanding. We still have a couple of hours' walks most days. For years they have been fed on James Wellbeloved, and I switched to the senior/lite food when the youngest was eight years old. One of them has a wheat intolerance. However, this is a very expensive food and I am struggling to afford it now. I was wondering if any readers could recommend a good quality dry food which was cheaper? I was wondering about Autarky, since I have read several good reports about it.

I don't want to feed raw - I tried that when the dogs were younger and it was unpleasant for all of us, both the 'ins' and 'outs', as one of my dogs doesn't seem able to cope with a changeable diet at all. Whatever I change to, I will obviously change very slowly to give his tummy time to adjust.

I really hope someone can come up with a good suggestion. I don't want to feed them rubbish food which is padded out with fillers and artificial ingredients as I want them to have as long and as healthy a life as possible.

Thank you!

Tracy Neil, by email