'Because of Buddy' is dedicated to helping people whose dogs are suffering 
from itchy skin and paws, hot spots, fur loss, yeast issues and allergies.

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Buddy’s story and how 

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What happened to Buddy?

March 2010

Buddy's tale begins on a chilly morning in March, 2010. I'm a senior volunteer and foster home for Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue in Pennsylvania. That day, Brookline received word that a previously adopted Lab was in need of emergency medical attention and foster care. To my shock, it was a dog who was placed with a family (an older gentleman) I had worked with over three years earlier. Brookline swiftly stepped into action and once I was told about Buddy, I jumped in my car to go and get him. I barely recognized him when I saw him. Buddy used to be more than 100 lbs. and he stood before me weighing about half that plus most of his fur was missing or very thinned out and his skin was flaking, oozing and inflamed. As terrible as he looked and must have felt, he came over to me with a ball in his mouth and his tail wagging. All I could wonder is what happened to Buddy?

A kind friend of the senior gentleman owner turned out to be Buddy's angel. She had been out of touch with him for several months but once she learned her friend was gravely ill in the hospital, she realized that Buddy was alone back at his home. She went there to check on Buddy and was shocked that the living conditions in the home were so incredibly poor (for humans and canines) and this must have been going on for months. She contacted Brookline just in time because Animal Control was going to take Buddy and she ultimately saved his life. I will always be grateful to her for that.  It was obvious that while the gentleman's mental and physical health declined over the last few months, that Buddy was not being fed adequately and his existing severe allergy issues were untreated causing his overall health to deteriorate. Unfortunately, the gentleman soon passed away and it made me sad because the last time I saw him and Buddy, they were both so happy and in good health. It was a stark reminder of how quickly life can change.

Getting on the road to recovery…..or so I thought

March 2010

I drove Buddy straight to the veterinarian and learned that Buddy weighed only 54 pounds, his ears and eyes were infected and he had intestinal parasites. Also, yeast and other fungal infections were inflaming his crusty, flaking, itchy skin. Buddy came home with a shopping bag full of antibiotics, steroids, topicals, eye ointments, prescription dog food and medicated shampoos. In the days that followed, he was rushed to the vet twice with suspected stomach "bloat" caused by rapid eating and drinking incidents but thankfully he was able to recover on his own both times. Not only did I need to slow down his eating with a special divided bowl, but I had to watch him like a hawk because he pursued food like he didn’t think he was ever going to eat again.

October 2010
After a few months of taking various medications, getting rubbed down with ointments, eating quality dog food and putting up with bi-weekly medicated baths, Buddy blossomed to a healthy weight of 75 pounds and his fur was growing back. Buddy and I really bonded over this time period and my whole family fell in love with him too. He also got along well with our other two adopted Labs. We decided to officially adopt him and make him a permanent part of our family. 

Buddy regresses and history repeats itself

February 2011

After a great summer, I thought Buddy was home free and that his skin issues would soon be a distant memory. Wrong….   A string of events, timed with fall environmental allergies caused him to regress.  In early September, Buddy stole and ate lots of cake and a partial corn on the cob which caused vomiting and bowel reactions. I did not know it at the time, but he is highly sensitive to wheat and corn. At the same time, the vet’s office suggested that I feed him ground beef and rice until his tummy settled. Within a few days, he was scratching like crazy and his ears smelled of yeast.  It also was the start of ragweed season and that combined with his intolerance of the cake, corn and the beef/rice mixture caused a significant inflammatory response in his body.  I took him to the vet, started giving him some basic supplements, antihistamines and changed his food. Things settled for a while but by early January, the already-bare skin under his neck was oozing a liquid, he was developing skin sores and was losing patches of his fur. I felt so bad. I needed to get things under control and get to the bottom of what was causing his issues.

Looking for patterns and clues, I closely examined Buddy’s vet records that luckily, were passed along from owner to owner over the years. Buddy had three different owners by the time he came to me.  The main reason that his first owners re-homed him was because they could not deal with his allergies. I could see from the vet records that from the time he was 18 months old until I got him at six years old (March 2010), Buddy was taking antibiotics and steroids almost non-stop for diagnoses of atopy (environmental allergies), possible food allergy, superficial pyoderma (bacterial skin infection), malassezia dermatitis (skin yeast infection), otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear) and possible otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear).  His weight had ballooned to about 100 lbs. from the steroids. Buddy had gone to a veterinary dermatologist in 2006 and an expensive intradermal (skin) test indicated that he was allergic to all kinds of weeds, pollens, dust, mold, etc.  In addition to medications and topicals, It appeared that he was given serum injections for the allergies but they apparently did not help.

My detective work pays off --  I feel empowered

The bodily stress caused by the medications took its toll on Buddy’s immune system. His defenses were down and yeast was thriving. It had clearly reached a point where the standard medical treatments were just a bandaid, not addressing the underlying cause and ultimately made him worse. I really wanted to take a more natural/holistic approach to treating Buddy. I spent enormous amounts of time reading books, journals and articles about canine allergies and treatments. I emailed with holistic veterinarian, Dr. Deva Khalsa and she was very helpful and informative. I even ran to the book store and bought her book “Natural Dog – A Holistic Guide for Healthier Dogs.”  It has very good information and I refer to it often.

I think the turning point came though when I found and read articles about yeast and leaky gut syndrome from a variety of sources.  This ultimately led me to The Whole Dog Journal and some incredibly informative archived articles about canine allergies, yeast and the critical role of the intestinal tract and the immune system and specifically a product called Seacure.  It was as if the articles were written about Buddy and for the first time, I felt empowered about what to do to help treat Buddy through a variety of supplements, topicals and carefully selected dog food.  Click here to read about how I chose the best food for Buddy.   

Buddy with his favorite ball - November 2011
In a nutshell, here’s what I learned

Allergic reactions and related skin problems are indicative of an underlying imbalance in a dog’s body  because something has made him vulnerable – often a combination of poor diet, stress, conventional medical treatments (such as repeated use of antibiotics and steroids), heredity and environmental factors.  Leaky gut syndrome is often associated with dogs who have allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and many other health problems. These health issues are either a result of the syndrome or could even be helping to cause it .  With leaky gut, large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall allowing bacteria, toxins and food to leak into the bloodstream (eventually overburdening the liver) which the body perceives as foreign invaders.  The immune system responds in such a way that causes inflammation and allergic reactions. Since 70 - 80% of the body’s immune system is located in the intestine, it is easy to see how the damage done to the intestinal lining with leaky gut can seriously impact the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and function normally. It made sense to me that if you can heal the intestinal wall, then the immune system can be restored. Once the immune system is restored, allergic reactions can be minimized. This is where I would start with Buddy. 

Buddy’s finally on the road to recovery

April 2012

The article in Whole Dog Journal mentioned three specific supplements that are considered to be crucial for rapid intestinal healing and recovery:  Seacure, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.  I started with these and it didn’t take long to see real progress (healthier skin, fur growth, less itching, etc.).  Changing his food made a big difference too. (Please read how I chose food for Buddy taking into consideration that he is probably sensitive to many common dog food ingredients.) Buddy’s immune system sustained years of damage and I know it will take time for it to completely heal. It does not get better overnight. Through other research, I also learned about the benefits of other products that I have incorporated into Buddy’s routine: organic virgin coconut oil, Omega-3 fish oil pills, SeaVive, L-Glutamine, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.).  Click here to read more details about those supplements. I also apply several topicals on Buddy’s skin (Zymox shampoo/rinse and Vetericyn Hydrogel Spray) as needed during seasonal flare-ups. Now that it has been two years, I have been able to compare Buddy’s current health with the same time period  last year and I am really pleased with his progress. Even though he still shows symptoms of seasonal allergies, they are not nearly as bad as last year and easier to keep under control. He is also a much happier dog.  Click here to find out Buddy’s Daily Routine and more details about all of his supplements. 

Buddy - Christmas 2012
Heartbreaking Update: On February 16, 2013, Buddy died suddenly from internal bleeding due to a large cancerous tumor on his spleen or liver (hemangiosarcoma). Words cannot express the depth of my shock and sadness and feelings of tremendous loss. He was truly my best friend. There were no obvious symptoms and x-rays showed that he hung on for as long as he could. It seems so unfair for cancer to take him just as he was finally beating his allergies. To honor his memory, I will keep this website up and running so that he can continue to help other dogs suffering from allergy symptoms.