I had an interesting experience last week. One of my dogs, the younger of the two, Annie started having trouble standing. Annie is a 4 and 1/2 year old English Mastiff. Last week she weighed in at 160 pounds (we refer to her as the “little” one, Tess is 220 lbs.). You may not realize this but it takes three people to get a 160 lb. Mastiff on her feet when her legs aren’t working. Not easy.

I should really begin by explaining that Annie has always had medical issues. Every since she was a puppy she has had chronic skin problems. Her skin problems were finally diagnosed as a very resistant MRSA infection. She has had chronic ear infections, yeast infections etc… In December, she added a bone infection in one of her toes to her list of ailments. Basically, she’s a mess. The sweetest dog ever. She’s a snuggler or at least she really, really wants/tries to snuggle. She does a pretty good job as you can see from the pictures.

Anyway, back to the most recent problem – not being able to stand. This combined with a urinary tract infection (which, by the way my regular vet misdiagnosed as  incontinence, a much bigger problem) caused some what of a mess. The weekend before this past weekend was when she really started to fall apart. My husband and I did have a bit of a discussion about maybe having have her put down. It seemed CRAZY but I wasn’t sure how we could make her comfortable if she couldn’t walk. I knew I had to take her to the vet on Monday morning and I also knew there was a possibility she wasn’t going to be coming home. I really didn’t like the scenario that was dancing through my brain.

As you may have guessed, based on the list of aliments above I do spend a decent amount of time at the vet with Annie. I have been trying to get her skin issues resolved – once and for all – for years. I even broke down and took her to the doggy dermatologist. Nothing. No vet has been able to fix her. This has always seemed crazy to me but it was what it was and I did what I could to keep her comfortable. By Sunday night I realized that if I took her back to our same vet again and expected them to send me home with a miracle solution I was, by Einstein’s definition, insane.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results  – Albert Einstein


All the reading and research that I have done about nutrition and health, on my own and through my class have lead me to believe that most of Annie’s issues stem from bad nutrition. I mentioned this to my vet and they smiled kindly and looked at me like I was crazy. End of story. I tried to do dog food research and figure it out myself but I’m having a hard enough time figuring out the people food, the dog food was impossible. I do have her on a limited ingredient kibble that was recommend by the doggy dermatologist. It’s grain free but it really hasn’t helped. She’s been on that for about 2 years. I look at this dog and I think “leaky gut”, she has “leaky gut” and I don’t know how to fix her.

I did not take her to our regular vet on Monday morning. I knew they wouldn’t be able to help me and we would probably end up having to put her down. Not an option. I googled and found what looked like a miracle vet. Dr. Barbara Royal. She is a regular western vet who graduated from Tufts veterinary school but she also practices Chinese medicine and Holistic Nutrition. Trifecta!!!! I thought there was no way I was going to get an appointment. She’s some what of a TV personality her in Chicago, she has written a book and she has a documentary coming out next spring. I called, gave them my sob story and was headed in for Annie’s appointment that afternoon. We were there for 4 hours. WOW. Super comprehensive. I did score a shopping bag on my way out because of all the antibiotics and supplements I had for Annie.

Here’s the deal: Sunday night, thinking about having to put our little girl to sleep. Monday morning deciding that wasn’t an option and finding new vet who’s in-line with my way of thinking about nutrition and the body healing itself (with supplemental assistance). Tuesday, Annie walking with no problem and looking like she’s not in any pain. Throughout the last week Annie has become “spry” or at least as “spry” as a mastiff gets. She greets me in the kitchen in the morning prancing (yes, prancing – never in her life has she pranced) for her breakfast, as a matter of fact she used to have to beg her to eat. Most of the time she didn’t even get out of bed until 1 in the afternoon (depressed?) I could go on, she’s a new dog.

During our 4 hours with Dr. Royal Annie had an acupuncture treatment along her spine (Dr. Royal said she’s riddled with arthritis along her spine). She also had a laser therapy thing done to her toe with the bone infection and she had both ears injected with 10 days of antibiotics.

We came home with a bunch of bottles of pills and two antibiotic ointments. She has been taking 28 pills a day plus two treatments with the ointment. I have also changed her food to a wet food suggested by Dr. Royal. It was all worth it. I’m still in a bit of shock over the changes in Annie. We are headed back in tomorrow for more acupuncture and laser therapy. I’m looking forward to introducing everyone to the new Annie.

I do want to be clear – acupuncture and laser therapy aren’t everyday vet appointments. I get that. I mean, I’ve never had acupuncture! What I do know is I would walk out of our regular vets office several hundred dollars in the hole and have no answers. Dr. Royal was expensive but so far I feel like it was money well spent. Going back for the acupuncture and laser therapy is actually going to cost less than what I used to pay my regular vet for an appointment and a bottle of antibiotics that would only treat the symptoms and never fix the problem.

By the way, one of the first things Dr. Royal said about Annie after hearing her history and reading her medical papers was… leaky gut! Ha, I knew it. Thank goodness I found someone who knows how to fix it.

If you are in the Chicago area and need alternative vet care or know someone who does,  here is Dr. Royal’s website – The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center.

Another note, we do have pet insurance. I would recommend this to EVERYONE who is planning to extend their family with furry friends. We use VPI pet insurance. There are bunches of companies. Do a little research and find the one that is right for you. You’ll be glad you did.

Eat Well, Feel Good, Have Fun!


One Response to Annie

  1. amy says:

    Turns out Annie has a thyroid issue. She is now on thyroid medicine. This may be the answer to all of her problems. Time will tell and fingers are crossed.

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