Dr. Vince

Are You Being Bullied or Misinformed By Your Vet?

Sadly, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when trying to help a pet with natural, holistic approach, is getting good advice and plenty of support from a local vet, as Jodie - one of our subscribers to the 'Helping My Itchy Dog' course - found out (read below).

And this is where the personal support we provide to pet parents every step of the way, is invaluable.

Toast's Story So Far 

Jodie:
'Hi Vince!
Hope you've had a lovely week.
Thank you so much for your quick reply the other day, it's greatly appreciated. We've started putting in your advice asap.
With starting him on the turkey, he's developed an ear infection the last couple of days, should we still go ahead with taking him off the rabbit and getting him straight on the turkey, or wait until his ear infection is gone and start then?'

Vince:
Yes, switch over to the turkey as quickly as is comfortable for Toast. What brand are you using and what is the composition?

Jodie:
'With the skin test, I've got an update. I've just came back from the vet. It's the same vet that I mentioned was keen on putting him on meds. I contacted them today and they wanted to see Toast because he's had an ear infection every month, so they wanted to investigate it. I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask for the skin test (discussed during the last Zoom Q&A).
Well, the visit reminded me why I wanted to switch vets! It was a different vet than we had seen the last two times we went there. The vet wasn't happy with our treatment with Toast. He was insisting Toast should have a steroid injection right there and then, he described it that the steroid injection will 'reset him' and 'reboot' his skin (???) as he worded it, relieve his itching and will give them a baseline to start treatment.'

Vince:
'It does nothing of the sort!

Steroids as you now know, suppress the immune system, and along with this, skin irritation and inflammation. They do not 'reset or reboot' anything. And although they can be useful occasionally to break the itch-scratch cycle if a dog is in a lot of discomfort, as soon as they wear off itching will return - unless - as you know from the course - the underlying cause is successfully identified and addressed.'

Jodie:
'He said it's necessary that he has the injection and when I asked what the injection is he just kept saying it's a steroid injection and wouldn't tell me anything else about it except that it would only last for 1 week.

He insisted that he needs flea treatment monthly and wasn't happy that he hasn't been having flea treatment. I explained I haven't given him flea treatment as we're trying to rule out what is affecting him before adding anything else. He said that that doesn't matter because flea treatment won't cause any skin conditions and won't exacerbate his current condition, and he needs it in case he is reacting to flea bites.'

Vince:
'Monthly parasiticides don't kill off fleas landing on a pet straight away. This gives them plenty of time to feed and provoke itching in dogs with a flea bite hypersensitivity. On top of this, there is the risk of serious side-effects developing when using such drugs - which in some dogs can be fatal. (See links provided in your Course).
Far better to follow the flea prevention protocol detailed in the parasites eBook provided, which is safe and effective.'

Jodie:
'He advised that he should have a blood test when he reaches 2 years old to find out what allergies he has and that he can only have this when he is 2 years +. He explained something about most dog's allergies sometimes resolve themselves by the time they reach 2. He said once we do the blood test we can look at him having long term immunotherapy treatment which would be monthly vaccinations.'

Vince:
'As you know, for the reasons explained in the 'Atopy' section, these blood tests are notorious for returning dubious results, and so can't be relied upon for allergen planning.
Immunotherapy too, has all the major drawbacks listed. Not least of these is the expense involved, and the strong predisposition for new sensitivities to develop in atopic dogs, which renders the previous injections obsolete.'

Jodie:
'He asked if we had done an hypoallergenic diet. I explained that he was on Purina HA for 3 months from their advice. In which he was regurgitating his food and still had symptoms. He started to lose weight from being sick. I explained he's on raw now and he pulled a face but didn't share his opinion on that (although an expression is enough haha). Although we explained that he still had symptoms while being on the HA food, he explained because we did that, he's believes Toast hasn't got food allergies but it's environmental.

Vince:
'If symptoms persist on a particular 'hypoallergenic' diet, it doesn't rule out food sensitivities are involved. In fact, the opposite is true. Only when all itching and inflammation clear following switching to a new food, can it confidently be said that a reaction to allergens in the diet is involved (in full or part) for the skin problems observed.
And as explained in detail in the course, the higher the number of ingredients in a food, the higher the risk that one or more will trigger an immune reaction in a sensitive dog.

It's also worth bearing in mind given Toast's skin condition, that the starch and sugar in the HA, will tend to fuel secondary infections (refer to the microbe module).'

Jodie:
'I asked if we could have skin tests. He said no because he can already see what skin condition Toast has, he said it's bacterial/fungal which is in his ears and skin.'

Vince:
'This ignores the possibility that microscopic mites, which can't be seen with the naked eye, may either be a primary cause of the skin eruptions on the chin, or a complicating factor. And this is something that can be ruled out in less than 10 mins with a few samples taking during a consultation.'

Jodie:
'All I kept saying was I appreciate your advice as a professional, but no thank you each time meds were offered. I didn't insist that his advice was wrong or anything like that, just that it wasn't the direction I wanted to take Toast's treatment, and he said we're doing the wrong thing. In the end, the only test he would offer after me asking is there another way than meds, was an ear swab so I took that and we're waiting on the results. He also gave us the Aurizon ear drops again to help his current ear infection.

All I can say is thank you for putting out this course!

I can't imagine being an unaware pet parent and walking into that situation where you're just bombarded with meds. He could have walked out of there today with an injection, flea treatment, and on his way to being on a monthly drug.

Initially he didn't ask for our consent for him to have the injection so it's only when I realised what he was doing and asked are you giving an injection that we stopped him. Fair to say I need a relaxing evening after that!!'

Vince:
'You're welcome!

An important part of the Helping My Itchy Dog Course is not only providing all the information and steps necessary to help identify and successfully address the cause of a dog's itching, but to also help pet parents feel confident making well-informed decisions with regards to their dog's health care, even when faced with misinformation and undue pressure.' ūüėä

Jodie:
'With him having the results back from the ear swab, will these be useful? Should I ask for a copy?'

Vince:
'Yes, please forward these for me to look at for you.

The ear swab will more than likely confirm a yeast overgrowth (Malassezia) and / or bacterial infection (Staphylococcus) - but as you know, these are opportunistic invaders in 90% of cases, and only take advantage of skin already inflamed by some other cause.'