The last few days have been rough for our 130+ lb. Newfie. It has been in the high 80's to low 90's and HUMID for the last few days and he has very very thick double coat of fur so at first I didn't think anything of it that he was just lazing about the house and not being as energetic and playful as normal. But three nights ago, he wouldn't even stand up to cross the room to get a piece of steak I had leftover while cooking dinner and I knew something just wasn't 'right'.
He gets regular ear infections and first went to check his ears and sure enough the tell tale brown waxy discharge was there in both ears but not as bad as he had had it in the past and still didn't quite explain the excess lethargy. I made sure he was well hydrated and turned the air conditioning down a bit further and waited for him to perk back up after cleaning his ears well and using the drops we got at the vet the last round of infections.
The next morning he was still very lethargic and I was getting pretty worried. I layed on the kitchen floor with him and decided while he was so calm it would be a great time to work on a few mats in his fur I had noticed and get some of the undercoat out as he is currently blowing his coat. Well this is no small task and unless you have owned a Newfoundland you would never expect the amount of fur that comes out of these guys, and how quickly they can develop mats!
Well, after getting his belly and rest of body brushed out and noticing some small scabbed over areas on his belly that looked like they had been ant or gnat bites and saw they were healing nicely and some just sloughed the scab right off and nice new pink skin was underneath I didn't worry over much.
I took his collar off and noticed a pretty foul odor and what looked like dried matted fur in some of his many neck folds, I kept examining further and found several more areas that were tender, hot, open and oozing.
HOT SPOTS! YIKES!
I have heard horror stories about these spots that seem to grow by the hour become infected at the drop of a hat, cause the critters misery, bald spots that maybe will never grow hair back on and hundreds of dollars at the vet (Not to mention the horror stories of vets using steroids that destroy the dogs immune system, heavy chemical sedatives, and pump them full of antibiotics)
Needless to say if I couldn't get this taken care of and fast I would be forced to head down that road with him as I refuse to let him suffer. I did hours and hours of research to find the best treatments. The two overwhelming responses I found were some I have used many times on myself and should have thought of! *smh*
Apple cider vinegar and coconut oil!
I figured I better give the vet a call just to get her opinion on my plan and find out if anything was contraindicated for use on him. (If he weren't as big as he is, lethargic and not terrified of getting in the car I might have just driven him over there so she could examine him. I did make an appointment for him this Saturday first thing just in case as that is the soonest both myself and husband would be home at the same time to lift him in the truck and go.)
Well, I was very upset about our vet's response! Basically she said she wouldn't recommend anything at all for him until she saw him in the office, not to clean it, not to treat it, not to give him anything for itching or discomfort and to either kennel him or put a cone of shame on him until we could get in to see her, and oh make sure you bring your checkbook because Saturday visits are extra and more than likely it will have spread and become infected and he will need to be sedated and shaved and given a steriod injection and be sent home with antibiotics......
Exactly opposite of what I wanted to hear. I tried to explain our situation with car trips and getting him in and out and yes, I know how quickly they can get infected which is the precise reason I'm calling. No luck.
Well, F* that, Let's give this a shot! I'm totally abandoning what the vet told me because it just didn't sit right with my conscious to confine him, which he hates, and let him suffer.
Everything is natural and organic, I've used these things on myself with good results and I read dozens and dozens of other testimonials on dogs with amazing results. It couldn't possibly be worse than doing nothing and letting him suffer and getting worse.....
I mixed a 50/50 solution of the vinegar and water in a spritz bottle and lightly sprayed him down with it as I groomed him per normal everywhere else but his neck (They say you can use it directly on the open sores but that sounds painful like lemon juice in a papercut) well the itching stopped almost immediately after the vinegar got down into his skin. On the open and crusty areas I massaged good quality organic coconut oil into the crusts and layered a bit over the open areas, this also seemed to calm his skin as well and he even leaned into my hand as I was massaging it in!
Just for good measure I added 2 tbsp of the coconut oil to his food which he just loved and put ACV into his water as well (1 1/2 tbsp per gal)
I have to say that within a few hours he had gotten up and gone outside, seemed more at ease and the open spots were much less 'angry' looking.
This morning I checked him out a bit before I left for work and the wounds still looked pretty good, hadn't gotten any bigger, weren't oozing or matting his hair and I could be imagining things but they looked smaller as well.
Nature is truly magical!
Now it might be a bit too soon to say definitively that it works but it has certainly soothed our poor guy and looks very very promising!
I will keep you updated on his progress.
If you don't know about the myriad of uses for ACV and coconut oil look it up! Such amazing qualities! antibacterial, anti fungal, skin soother, gastrointestinal remedy, etc, etc..
As I kept reading I kept thinking is there anything these two ingredients couldn't do?