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Photo taken 13 July 2010

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Photo taken 20 July 2010

Bowdu’s been licking himself so much that he’s developed patches of black, calloused fur. His back right foot, a particular fixation for him, has become infected. Most recently, the vet pronounced it a staph infection, apparently secondary to the infection that sent him to the vet the last time (I’ll spare you the gunk-filled pictures of THAT first stage!). He was on 7 days of Clavamox starting from back in late June, which did the job of clearing things up until he continued to lick the germs into his bloodstream, for which he is now on 20 days worth of Enrofloxacin. This is in addition to the 4 mg (2 tablets) of Temaril-P that he continues to take every other day, in our attempt to control his allergies.

One irony in all this is that most of the drugs he’s consumed so far are manufactured by the pharmaceuticals company at which both my parents are employed. My mother even works specifically in the animal health department, but she professes to despise the practice of medicating our ailments. She wishes instead to “Simplify life” and follow a more natural route, whenever possible.

Now, in such cases where antibiotics are needed, I know no other alternatives. Undoubtedly he’d have gnawed off half his rotten toes by now without the “drastic” measures we’ve resorted to thus far. But when it comes to loading him up with synthetic antihistamines and corticosteroids (both of which are contained in Temaril-P), I’m more reluctant. I really would prefer to spend more money on quality food that might enhance his overall health, rather than throwing money into costly pharmaceutical fixes that will only stave off the problem in the short term, while possibly creating long-term health risks.

So another thing we’ve been trying is a change in diet, putting him in a completely raw diet for at least a month to see if we can observe a change. To that end, I’ve opted to go with Primal Raw nuggets, based on inspiring and optimistic testimonials from both basenji and shiba owners. I picked up his first four pound bag of Turkey & Sardines at a great little locally-owned pet store (hereafter named Store A) for $19.99, which is the best price I’ve seen. Prices vary depending on the protein source, anywhere from $17.99 to $30+ a bag at Store A. They also offer Primal accounts (buy 10 bags, get $5 off the next) in addition to their own punch card system (spend $100, get $10 credit towards accessories like treats and toys). The cost of pre-made raw has dissuaded me in the past from turning towards what is by all accounts a superior diet, but these kinds of extras offered by small, independently-operated venues like Store A, at least make this experiment more fiscally feasible.

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Bowdu’s now on his second bag, for which we switched to the Canine Lamb formula. He’s done well on lamb in the past, so I wanted to offer him some variety to keep his interest (though it’s not hard — he loves new food!). No drastic changes so far that I would ascribe to the new food, but it’s too soon to tell. I fear that I may be switching formulas too quickly. Right now I’m focusing on the novelty of a raw diet, and not as picky about the protein source. One meat that we will not feed our dogs is duck, as my partner, having grown up in a lakeside home, considers them pets. But at this point, even venison and buffalo and rabbit can go on the menu, I think.

For reference, Bowdu was on Natural Balance sweet potato & fish before this. Before that, Canidae lamb & rice for a while. We’ve tried Canidae’s beef & ocean fish variety before (too rich for him, it seemed — lots of mushy stools) and a variety of Wellness that I can’t recall (also lots of stinky diarrhea). And before we were educated about dog food, Bowdu ate Science Diet for the first three years of his life.

I’m not yet prepared to initiate a full-scale elimination diet, but if this raw diet doesn’t work, that is the next step.

Life from inside the cone is starting to get old.

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Photo taken 20 July 2010

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