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2009 quercetin

I have an almost 9 y.o. bitch with allergies very similar to your's. She also has had 'gulp' episodes (triggered by specific foods) since she was a year old and is allergic to vaccines...I think these types of things tend to go together. Kalila was on Natural Life Lamaderm for most of her life...every time I tried to switch to another food, the gulp attacks got worse so we'd go back to Lamaderm.

my Girl has seasonal allergies that put her into a foot licking, head shaking, frenzy that would peak every spring and fall, with the summer in between being somewhat moderated. It got worse every year (a common pattern for allergies) so that for the past few seasons she'd been on prednisone during the worst periods and daily benadryl throughout the summer.

Last August I started seeing the signs of oncoming fall. Long before the New England leaves turned gold & red ..Kalile's feet were turning pink (a sure sign that she was licking them when we weren't watching). Within the next month, I'd be picking up a bottle of little white prednisone pills, juggling and tracking the dosage to keep it as low as possible while still providing relief.

This year, I decided to try something different before calling the vet. Of course, skeptic that I am, I assumed I'd end up at the vet anyway but figured it wouldn't hurt to try an alternative to pred. I wrote to a friend who's been a student of alt-vet-med approaches for many years and asked for her suggestions. Actually... I asked her specifically about using a plant derived, steroid type, product and she said..."hold on a minute!" Let's try some lower powered ammunition before turning to the big guns. So, I backed up and started with a few of the most benign supplements in her arsenal, figuring that we could kick it up a notch if they didn't work.

In mid August, I started giving Kalila quercetin, Symbiotics brand colostrum, and MSM, with her meals. Over the next 10 days I phased out the benadryl....and waited. NO more foot licking or head shakes....we made it all the way through the fall using just these (3) supplements~ NO benadryl, NO prednisone.

By November, I was convinced... There really IS something to {at least some of} this alternative stuff. The bounce had returned to my Girl's step, she was spending more & more time with us and the other dogs instead of off by herself, she was a happier dog. In retrospect, we realized just how 'down' the benadryl had made her and that what we had been seeing wasn't 'normal' aging but the meds and discomfort taking their toll.

For a month two or so my Girl had been virtually gulp free...I attributed it to the supplements and figured that was that. Then I opened a new bag of dog food, the same Lamaderm she'd been eating for years. All of a sudden she was getting me up EVERY night with gulp attacks, hmmmm.... I'd thought I'd noticed this pattern before but figured it was my imagination. Well, it wasn't my imagination! ....she'd be fine for awhile and then go gulpy soon after I started a new bag of food.

That did it...I figured I'd gone this far into woo-woo land with good results, may as well go the rest of the way and see what happens. BARF, here we come... I'll just have to get acquainted with the vegetable aisle at the market and commute to the most prized find in barfdom, a purveyor of chicken necks within a hundred mile radius of home.

I'd been giving my dogs the occassional raw bones and meat bits for years so the idea of feeding raw meat wasn't a problem for me. OTOH...feeding an entirely homemade diet is pretty daunting when you're first faced with deciding *what* to put in the bowl. THANK HEAVENS for the Bernerbones e-list!!! These people, bless their hearts!, respond to the same questions over and over and over again as each new person joins the list...and they do it graciously! All the nitty-gritty details, from Appliances to Zucchini, are covered on Bernerbones. I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone interested in exploring a homemade diet.

So...back to the kitchen...where I re-introduced myself to the food processor and the oversized mixing bowls I often used back in the days when I actually cooked (before dogs). Over the course of a week or two I phased BARF in and kibble out. Actually, my Girl was ready to go completely BARF within a few days...it was my husband who needed more time to adjust.;-} By adding items gradually and watching closely, I've found that some food items and oils trigger gulps so I avoid those. I've also found that some foods which I'd suspected of being a problem, aren't.

We're now, 5 months post initiation and 2 months post conversion. my Girl is looking better than she has in years. She's once again active, bright, engaged, and a royal PITA...the princess is BACK to reclaim her throne. My {"You're not feeding THAT stuff to MY Girl"} husband has discovered the joy of spending a Sunday grinding up chicken parts and baking dog cookies. Life is good...