We recently came across this story in a Newfoundland Owners Group Chat and Herbert's mum was happy for us to repost. It's an important cautionary tale to remind us to think carefully about how we care for our pets.
My name is Brie and I just wanted to share my story with you all! My partner and I recently purchased our first, my second, Newfoundland puppy, we got him at 8 weeks and he is now 19 weeks old. I’m sure everyone knows how quickly you fall in love and become besotted with these incredible creatures and all the love and companionship they have to offer, and that all you want is for them to be happy and more importantly healthy, little thriving puppies. This is where my story begins.
We received our puppy, with an innocent hot spot, or moist contact dermatitis, around his neck. As we took him for his first vet check, to do the normal health check, we showed the vet the hot-spot (common to Newfies, I know) that seemed to not be of too much bother to him but obviously needed attention. As every first parent, we did as we were told… he was shaved around the neck and given, reminder he is just 8 weeks, a steroid injection, antibiotics, medicated wash, antihistamines and topical steroid cream… was told that if we want the most effective, A grade care then this is what we should do.
The next week presented with an relentless itch, which called for another trip to the vet, to find out he had another skin infection all over his belly and off we went with another round of antibiotics, but this time stronger and longer, which once stopped, the skin infection came back so was instructed to use a strong medicated wash on him every second day. That week he would not leave his ears alone, scratching and crying as he itched them, off to the vet we went, again, yeast infection in both ears, was then given 3 weeks of medicated ear drops.
Although he still was chronically itching, pimples now all over his skin and then cue the gut problems. No food would agree with him. We thought he had suddenly developed a terrible food allergy. Small, mucus filled loose stools 7, 8 or 9 times a day, clearly he was feeling so uncomfortable. Off to the vet we went… Was given a worming tablet, anti-itch injections, told will be needed monthly for the rest of his life and his 12 week vaccinations. It was not worms, we did not have a happy puppy. We gradually changed his kibble as we thought maybe he developed an allergy to his current kibble and we ceased any treats (poached chicken and sometimes some cheese).
He was getting skinner and skinner and the pooping and mucus did not stop. Back to the vet, we went on a round of metronidazole to see if that would help, a day after it stopped the problems came back. Back to the vet, another round of metronidazole and 2 weeks of Hills science diet, prescription ID. Once the medication stopped, the poop and mucus came back. Our poor puppy was so down, skinny and could not control his bowels regardless of all the money we had spent on vet visits, medication and food changes. Our next stop was X-rays and an array of other tests to try to find the fault in him.
Enough was enough, the medications and conventional approach was killing our puppy. He was sick and unhappy and our pockets were empty. We could not expose his little body to more medications, radiation and a lifetime of chronic illness. Out of desperation I reached out to a Newfoundland breeder that I had heard took a more holistic approach with her dogs. I knew she had a more alternative, safer and natural approach to her Newfoundland care and breeding, and thank god I did. She offered me support that I had not received from anyone else, not my breeder or the vets, endless time to get to the bottom of what was going on with my poor puppy.
We safely transitioned him to a raw diet and were ready for shit to hit the fan (literally) but the opposite happened. Within a matter of two days he was a different dog. He had energy in the morning, his poop went back to normal, his eyes looked bright and he was all of sudden calm and no longer agitated. I could not believe the turn around, he had never been very interested in his food, some meals we would have to sit in the ground and hand feed him or make a game out of the food to get something into him.
He now barks and fusses in excitement as we prepare his food, he waits at the fridge in the morning and night telling us it's time to eat and inhales his food! This all happened within 2 days. We used to have to drag him out of the house to go for a short work because he didn't have the energy to even walk up the street. He is suddenly energy filled, dare I say, my what I thought was my perfect puppy that did nothing wrong, is suddenly cheeky and interested in the world, I owe to the fact that he must feel good now!
This approach to pet care, was nothing abnormal to me, I am a practicing naturopath and natural and holistic health is my what I preach. I wish that with all my research of trying to find natural alternatives to his problems wasn’t so conflicting online and there was a community of people that had stories like mine shared! Why did this help? Because It’s based purely on what a dog, breed specific, would eat in the wild, raw, unprocessed whole food ingredients, not the processed, filler filled crap I was feeding him. I was guided and educated which gave me the confidence to go with my gut instincts and treat him with the same consideration, care and quality that I would if he were a human. I have a long way to go to detox his overloaded body of all these chemicals he now has to process that I have allowed vets to put in him, because I didn't have the knowledge or confidence to take a more alternative approach, that not only would have saved me an arm and leg in vet fees, but I would have not caused all this damage to my baby.
For clarification, by no means does this take over the need for vets in medical emergencies such as being hit by a car, breaking their leg or bloat etc because vets save lives everyday and I respect them the same as I respect our doctors, but we have to learn to identify the difference in the level of care that is required, learn to distinguish the cause of the problem not just treat the symptoms and realise that what we put in our body, or our dogs, has a direct result on health. We are what we eat, just as our dogs are too.
This experience has been a massive eye opener for me, and I’m kicking myself for letting my poor puppy be subjected to what was originally a simple, superficial, localised skin infection. One of the clear lessons is choose your breeder wisely! A caring and responsible breeder will love and be passionate about what they do, and will want the best for not only for their dogs but the breed.
I believe that if this helps one person or this testimony gives one person the confidence to take on more natural or alternative methods to help them with there gorgeous dogs, then my time in writing this was well worth it. If you have any questions, I am more than willing to share any other details of my story! Feel free to email me - Brie Brazenor - 29 April, 2019
And look at him now - Herbert - one happy, healthy Newfoundland!