Friday, January 20, 2006

So I mentioned a while back that Apache, Annette's dog, was sick & and it was potentially really bad. These are Annette's three dogs, Apache is in the back (Cheyenne lying down in front & Chip hanging out in back).

Well here is the outline (in her own words) of what happened w/ him. He really is a miracle and I'm really, really glad he's better. He's a great dog.

Apache's Christmas Miracle & My Resolution
Annette Sexton

You may have read about my Apache in the summer issueof Pets N People. We've been busy the past fewmonths. Apache did get his obedience title in Octoberin a local obedience trial (see picture). InNovember, I noticed a small lump by his left eye. Iwaited for about a week, then made the first vetvisit. They lanced it, thinking it was an ingrownhair or infection, but while the scab healed, the lumpnever went away. I was starting to stress, & growconcerned, as more appeared along his spine. Vet #2treated as an allergy, but mentioned the possibilityof cancer. Lumps kept spreading, getting bigger, butnot bothering him in the slightest. Everyonesuggested a different vet, and I decided to try onemore. Vet #3 did another exam and a biopsy. He'sonly 5 years old at this point, my best friend, and Ihad to wait 2 weeks for the biopsy results. The results came back right before Christmas (the 20thI believe), and the real drama began. He has a raregenetic anomoly, an auto immune disorder called'Cutaneous Histiocytosis'. Vet #3 made some calls, sodid I, & I began searching the internet on my manysleepless nights. Apparently no vet in the area, orthat I contacted outside the area had ever encounteredor treated this, & I was on my own. The lesions arecalled histiocytes, and can spread, but can also comeand go. They sometimes grow in the throat, nasalpassages, & eyes. The disease/disorder itself doesnot kill, but complications can be many & evenpainful. Conventional treatment starts with highdoses of steriods, if necessary, followed bychemotherapy. I didn't like the risks associated withsteriod use in such elevated doses, so I kept lookingfor information & alternatives. My sister was kindenough to pour through all of her herbal remedy booksto find possible options. Dec. 22nd was terrible, histhird eyelid in both eyes was extended & irritated. He couldn't see, & panicked, so did I. I seriouslyconsidered euthansia &, sobbing, made some calls. Mysister, Thank God for her efforts, gave me an herbaltea remedy to use as an eye wash which eased thediscomfort that night. Another sister ran him back tovet #3 the next day (my work had been extremelypatient & supportive up to this point, but end of yearin a financial position required me to be there), whoprovided the steriods & antibiotic ointment for hiseyes. I didn't follow the recommendations, becauseafter 3 days with the tea eye wash, his eyes hadcleared up. Back to researching. I had foundmultiple websites documenting dogs deaths fromelevated steriod doses... I didn't consider this anoption, & made an appointment with a holistic vet.More phone calls, research, pleas for help, and money,but I had hope. This genetic issue is a hyper allergyresponse triggered by stress, heat (in his caseanyway), & allergies. Apache has had severe allergieshis whole life, & I have the vet bills and tests toprove it. I decided to make some major changes in hisdiet, followed some of my sister's, my internetcontact's, & the holistic vet's recommendations. Apache will no longer get vaccinated, per the vet'srecommendations (refer to for someinformation prior to your next vet's visit). He noweats raw rabbit from a butcher shop (which isdifficult to locate & expensive, if anyone has anyother connections, let me know), yams, baked potatoes,carrots, a premium dry natural dog food called SolidGold, and various natural suppliments. Within a week,he went from 60 histocytes, down to about 20. Currently, he has only 3, including the first one byhis eye. Apache appears to be in remission, but I know he canrelapse, as it's in his genetic make up. I opted notto follow conventional treatment, but I have a greatsupport system in my sister, the internet holisticgroups I've found, and a patient holistic vet who iswilling to work with me. Unfortunately, this means nomore competitions for my dear boy, since my stressruns right down the leash to him. You still have theopportunity to meet my 'genius' dog (biased opinion, Iadmitt, but he does have many many fans). He is stillmy favorite demo dog for my obedience classes, & forany other shelter demostration that my schedule, hishealth & the weather allows me to attend with him. My resolution is to simply enjoy and be grateful forevery day I have with my big, silly, flashy,intelligent boy.