Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My wife the Vet

OK, we've got this Puli. Pulik is really the singular but hey, it's Hungarian, so who knows.

Puli owners like to say, I don't have a dog, I have a Puli.

Being around one for any period of time will prove to you what that means. Bela is our second Puli. (Bela is a Hungarian man's name, whatever it means in other languages--Bartok, Lagose, Karola are three of the best known Bela's.) Our first Puli was Finney (the name of an actor named Albert--not Hungarian at all). They are independent to a fault. Extremely loyal to the Flock, but on their terms. Bela is a bit aggressive. He bit Hank Fotter once. One of the Mail Carriers on our route told Bern that Bela was the scariest dog she knew. Pat of that is that he looks so cuddly and, when the mail person comes, he throws himself against the door with abandon, snarling like crazy.

Well, this is about how Bern knows better than all the vets we've seen.

Bela had chronic ear infections. We're talking about 48 weeks a year when he would have black gook in his ear or ears, depending on whether one or both was infected at the moment. Our vets--we changed since we got him--kept giving us ear washes and drops that didn't seem to work at all unless you count making it worse as 'working'. He was also on dog Prozac because he could be aggressive. That, by the way, didn't work either.

Bern, in frustration started going on line and looking up Vet websites. She chatted with one vet who told her the ear deal was probably an allergy. I told our Vet that and she said the Doggie-Prozac was also an antihistamine so that should handle allergies.

Back to web Bern went: not only was the drug not an antihistamine, she discovered Bela should have been having twice a year blood tests since the drug could damage his liver.

She started making all his food. No corn--most dog foods have lots of corn--no chicken, she discovered some dogs are allergic to chicken, no dairy except yogurt, which he would rip out your throat for. (Dairy--lots of whey in dog food--should have occurred to us since both our kids had horrible ear infections in Charleston WV. We took them off dairy and it got better but not completely since Charleston WV is surrounded by chemical factories and has the highest ratio of ENT doctors in the world! In fact, when we left Charleston, dairy wasn't a problem anymore.) So she cooks this stuff up, mostly lamb and turkey. She puts in celery, garlic, sometimes lentils, lots of stone cut oats, sometimes rice, carrots, parsley, sometimes peas. The lamb stuff I will probably try when no one is looking....He eats it like crazy. And in the 6 weeks she's been doing it, no black gook whatsoever and he is much calmer off the drug. Plus, he's lost weight and has more energy. Oh, what I forgot, she found out that Benadryl is recommended for dogs with allergies--one tablet like you would take twice a day just in the food.

I'm going to go interview a new vet and see if she knows this stuff about allergies and Prozac and blood tests and such. If she doesn't then we'll either keep looking or figure out how to get his rabies and kennel cough and Lyme disease vaccines on some New Haven street corner from a suspicious looking guy.

The difference in his ears and general well being is remarkable. My wife, the Vet.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.