...ready for action !

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The battle of the itch..and Structure Fascination

So Big Dog is still very VERY itchy. This is despite doing everything dermatology has recommended.. and spending I am guessing (best not to add up!) over $4,000 there on intradermal testing, blood testing, and many bottles of both injectable, and, recently, sublingual (under the tongue), desensitisation. They have no more ideas, apart from putting her on meds that can increase the incidence of lymphoma (even mentioned on the label). Um, no. No thanks. Border Collies are already predisposed to that..

I have always had an open mind with alternative therapies.. I don't think western medicine necessarily has all the answers. Open, but not stupid. I went to see the main alternative vet in Perth, and she said 'stop worrying about her allergies and they will go away'. Hmmm.. that is taking mind over matter rather to the extreme, I feel!

2 days ago I did my normal search of veterinary literature and discussion boards to see if there was anything new on treating atopy. Apparently they have done research now that says that atopy is 50% genetic and 50% enviornmental. Interesting but not surprising,  there is a well known kennel breeding golden retrievers that has a LOT of atopic dogs, and I have seen a few of them (and heard more).  So that wasn't surprising. Then I came across another paper, written by a US vet with very high credentials , that was quite different. Basically, it involves treating the mitochondria in cases of chronic inflammation (like atopy). Mitochondria are the 'power houses' of cells, and their function gets impacted upon by oxadative stress, free radicals and so on. These energy alterations can contribute to chronic disease. So hopefully by providing mitochondrial supplements we can help to reverse some of the damage. The vet in question has a protocol for treating atopic dogs, that includes steroids and cyclosporin, and a lot of supplements. I am not going to use the steroids or cyclosporin, but I will be including all the supplements he recommended into her diet. And, he recommended a gluten free diet (as gluten promotes inflammation). Her diet is fairly low in carbohydrates anyway, as she is fed raw veggies/fruits in the morning with raw meaty bones in the evening, but she does eat whatever we eat, and we eat gluten ;) I also use some kibble with her for training. So off to city farmers I went.. for a very expensive bag of 'gluten free' food. Holistic Select, from America I think.

Then, in consult yesterday I was talking to a client about allergies/atopy. She owns two staffies, a breed that is very predisposed to being allergic. She told me about 'kefir milk', which is basically a fermented milk (made with kefir grain) that has a large amount of beneficial bacteria/yeast and vitamins. Since one of the supplements she needs to go on is a probiotic, this sounds good to me, and we will pick up some kefir grains tonight. Next step is to find a source of the raw milk, as this is what it is recommended to make the kefir. Interesting times ahead.. certainly can't harm, and I very much hope it helps my poor itchy dog.

I am in the middle of doing a really great online course, looking at structure and specifically how it affects performance, run by Helen King. This is by far the best online course I have done (including the really expensive ones run by very well known agility trainer ;)). Helen is a wealth of knowledge and I have learnt *so* much since starting a couple of weeks ago. I have been using the Red Dog to analyse, as previously mentioned. Robyn from Winpara kennels came to the rescue with stacking her up for her inital photo as I was failing on this aspect :) We have been analysing the angles by identifying key structural markers and 'connecting the dots'. We have also been having an ongoing discussion with how these angles relate to performance and it is all making sense beautifully.
Here is the Red Dog with her dots and lines

From this, it is possible to see a lot about her structure. Her shoulder is quite nice, moderate layback (not bad for a working bred border collie), and her upper arm is moderate to angled (the more angled upper arm the lower the dogs can get when working). Her pelvis is her weakest point, it is quite short, and very steep, and she has a slight roach in her back. This will become even more applicable if I decide to have a litter from her, which I am debating at the moment. I will need to look for a dog that has a very nice pelvis, preferrably long and gently sloping.
More dog analysis to come, hopefully when I can get the rest of them to stand nicely for me!
In the meantime.. look who might have a nicer structure then I thought?

More to come on Terra's structure.. Helen and I are working on it!

No comments:

Post a Comment