DEAR DR. FOX: Recently, we acquired a rescue dachshund we named Fritz. He is 3 years old and doing great now.
When we first brought him home, he had two days of vomiting and diarrhea. Our vet prescribed medication, but what really helped was your food recipe.
I made a batch and froze it in portions, and Fritz loves it! No more diarrhea and vomiting. I believe I shall make it from now on, and mix Iams for Dachshunds dry food with it. Thanks for the recipe. -- D.D., Arnold, Missouri
DEAR D.D.: Thanks for confirming the benefits of good nutrition and known ingredients in improving your dog’s health.
You are one of now hundreds of readers over the years who have reaped such benefits for their animals. Don’t give much dry kibble, and ideally find a brand with organically certified, GMO-free ingredients. Dogs should not be fed only dry kibble, which may impair their immune systems and trigger inflammatory reactions. Also, grain-free dry kibble with potato, pea or lentil flour as a binder may play a role in the genesis of heart disease in some dogs.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 6-year-old Chihuahua who has been having seizures for the past three years. He is on phenobarbital: first it was one pill a day, and now it is two.
Sometimes he can go a few months with no seizures, and then he can have two in a week. I thank God they are very mild, and last maybe two or three minutes, max. He basically stiffens up, sometimes with a little shaking. I take him to the vet and all his numbers check out OK. He eats good, and he runs and plays shortly after he has the seizure.
I am worried that an 8-lb. dog has to take two pills a day. It really bothers me. My wife has been searching online and she found a site that sells a product called CBD hemp non-GMO organic cannabidiol. Could this help?
Any recommendation will be very much appreciated; my dog Vinney says thank you, too. -- R.W., Jackson, New Jersey
DEAR R.W.: Chihuahuas are prone to develop epilepsy, for which there can be several causes. My first concern in this breed is low-grade hydrocephalus, a developmental issue related to the abnormal skull shape. Adverse reactions to anti-flea and tick meds, and dietary ingredients such as wheat and corn, can also play a role in dogs having seizures. There are also some inflammatory brain disorders that may improve with the use of fish oil supplements and judicious use of prednisolone, which you should discuss with the attending veterinarian.
Long-term use of barbiturates is to be avoided. Some dogs with seizures benefit from a grain-free diet, which you can make from my basic home-prepared dog food recipe posted on my website. Make coconut oil the main source of fat, probably around one teaspoon in the food at each meal, feeding twice daily. Coconut oil has been shown to help many dogs with seizures have fewer, less intense episodes.
Your vet may be amenable to trying a low dose of CBD: It might help, but not much research of its benefits for dogs is yet available. It is also important to avoid over-excitement and stress, which in small breeds can trigger hypoglycemia and seizures in susceptible dogs.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF ANIMAL SELF-MEDICATION
Thanks to dedicated field biologists and ethologists studying the behavior of wild animals, along with ethnobotanists researching healing plants, we are getting glimpses of Nature’s treasures. We should all rise up to defend these treasures in the name of planetary CPR: conservation, protection and restoration.
A healthy humanosphere depends upon a healthy biosphere, rich in natural biodiversity. The following extraordinary documentation of animals’ intelligent use of natural resources to prevent and treat disease is a case in point.
Researchers reported in the journal Primates that red-fronted lemurs in Madagascar chew on toxic millipedes, then rub the resulting foam on their genitals and tails to prevent and treat parasite infections. The millipedes secrete benzoquinone, which repels mosquitoes and might prevent pinworm infections.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)