This is our documented journey with atopic dermatitis as well as many severe food and plant allergies in our beautiful dog Olivia, a Golden Retriever.
Olivia’s itch developed at 14 weeks of age and her disease was very severe.
You can view Olivia’s photographic journey from a little puppy to full grown adult dog – you can see her skin problems develop and then be managed effectively after much frustration and cost.
The most significant help has been organic turmeric, coconut oil and cracked black pepper as a daily food made up into a “golden paste” as recommended by Vet Doug English and the Turmeric User Group and Doug’s Turmeric Life website. I must also acknowledge the help from a veterinary dermatologist and a bespoke vaccine which she had made up for her specific allergies which was an important part of the journey.
Atopic Dermatitis Treatment
If I had to rate the various interventions as described in the photo journey with her I would rate it as follows:
1. Initial management (antibiotics and cortisone creams) – not very effective. Expensive atopy medication helped only a little, if at all. She was fed using a variety of so called allergy helpful kibble and raw meat, usually organic lamb. The kibble contained chicken by-product. When she bled from her many wounds I would take her to the beach, often daily, as the salt water relieved the itch and then would take her home and rub her in emu oil which was soothing and put booties on her to stop her scratching.
2. The vet who helped me do a proper food trial over 6 months helped a great deal and this managed her dermatitis more than 50%. Olivia is allergic to eggs and all meat except fish, rabbit and grass-fed beef. He also used ivermectin iv injections to establish she was not suffering from mange and changed her flea worm medications to ones that were less likely to enter the bloodstream as she was so reactive.
3. Veterinary dermatologist was very helpful and putting Olivia on the vaccine made specifically for her allergies (combined with her strict diet) produced another 30% improvement so that she was now 80% effectively managed with still some minor rashes, itch and she licked her paws and scratched her ears many times each day.
4. Adding the turmeric/oil/pepper (with the diet and dermatology vaccine) brought up management effectiveness to 99% and was followed for a year.
5. On my own initiative, I stopped the vaccine after 18 months and managed Olivia only on the strict diet and turmeric/oil/pepper now for a further 12 months. I am not ready yet to alter her diet as indiscretions (e.g. stealing the cat’s chicken) if more than occasionally can produce an itch. I feel that she is now effectively managed.
6. It is possible that time is a factor in this healing and that If I had tried to use only the turmeric/oil/pepper in the beginning, it may not have worked without the dermatologist’s vaccine for a reasonable period.
7. It is critical to note that the dietary change to avoiding the food that my dog is allergic to has been the most important step in the process and may be needed forever with her.
There have been a few lapses over the past 2 years or so of the diet or the golden paste which acted as a reminder that the condition of atopic dermatitis is a forever diagnosis with no cure, just management. In March 2015 after a year with no skin problems and no vet visits except for vacs I took her off her turmeric daily dose for 10 days as she had eaten part of a dead animal and had mild food poisoning. Maybe I was also a bit over confident with such a recovery. But the rash on her leg (shown in the ‘couch’ photo) started to re-appear and she started licking her paws again so some fungal infection. All started to recover once back on the turmeric dose.
The instructions for the Golden Paste dose and how to buy it, make it and feed it (must be with oil and must be with a touch of freshly cracked pepper otherwise she will poop or wee it all out) can be found here >> Golden Paste.
Story & Images by Pamela Davis
Please Note: Olivia has her own Facebook Page as she is now a Pet Therapy dog and will work with children on the Paws ‘n’Tales program
AND Click Here if you want to read Doug English’s article on Atopic Dermatitis Treatment in Dogs.