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Dog Eye Problems, Hot Spot & General Holistic Advice

by Dorina A.
(Syracuse, NY)

eyes Nov 8 2014

eyes Nov 8 2014

eyes Nov 8 2014
hot spot Nov 8 2014
Just a pic of my baby (last year?)

Beginning approximately 2 years ago, I noticed my dog's eyes looked funny and were kind of bulging a little; also felt she was having trouble seeing. I mentioned it at the last couple of Vet visits.

Molly (female, 11 yrs, 8 months, dob 3/15/03) has been to the Vets fairly regularly. Overdue now - last visit was 8/2013. (She's only been with me about 5 years)

Her Vet, who had trained with an opthamologist did not see anything wrong; however when I said she is having trouble finding her toy when I throw it, he “believed” me. He said he thought she was OK, but I could bring her to an apthamologist at Cornell University if I wanted to. I didn’t follow up at the time.

Her eyes look cloudier to me (I don’t know how well you will be able to see it in the pic.). I noticed a slight draining from the corners last week, which was rather dry and not oozing and wiped it up; there's a little today (normal?). One of the members from her previous family saw her, also about two years ago, and also thought her eyes looked weird.

Since I've known her, she's never been super keen at running for a toy/ball when you throw it, but always enjoyed it. I have noticed a worsening of her abilities when throwing her toy for her to get, such that she really can’t find it...only with smell...Even if I try to make sure she is watching and only throw it a short ways (10-20 feet), she doesn't seem to be able to track it and has a hard time finding it. She can be right near it at times, but not be able to locate it, and at others she is looking several feet away.

Last night a friend who met Molly for the first time, without knowing of my concerns, instantly said that it looks like she has cataracts. A few minutes later she said, “You know, your dog can’t see. She just bumped into my leg with her head, as if she didn’t see me standing here.” (she was wearing black pants)

Last night I had a large Greenie treat in my hand. As I moved my arm back and forth, it seemed obvious that she could not see the treat. She knows I have a treat (smells it) but doesn’t follow the treat as I move my arm. Just did it again with another treat. She looks like a blind person – her head moves; but not following the treat/my hand.

Don’t know if this is significant or not. She is normally an extremely obedient dog and doesn’t normally require a leash. Except lately, when we get out of the car, she doesn’t obey as well and wanders a bit, sniffy around, or lags behind more than usual on our way into my building (office).

I do not yet have a diagnosis by a Vet. I have scheduled an appointment with an Opthamologist for next Friday 11/14/14, in Rochester, NY with Dr. Kent Burgesser.

As to her medical history (hot spots included below, but it is a current issue as well)
(1) Accident: She was hit by a car as puppy (before she became my dog, so I don’t know the details). I am told her spine was broken and she almost didn’t make it, had surgery. Can feel the bump on her back where the break was. She runs with her back legs somewhat in unison...but she’s full of life and energy and runs around like a pup and gets all excited when we go to the park or when she’s around a lot of people, pets or if playing with her. She was spayed as puppy because of the accident/injury.

(2) Hot spots: She has one now! She had a small one about 6 months ago Before that, she had a horrible one that the vet treated with steroid injection on 8/20/2013 (Triamcinolone Inject 40 mg) and a powder (Neopredef)...nothing worked. He said he only gave her a half dose of steroid because of my concern that it has a psych effect on her as well as, after the previous injection, it took her awhile before she would jump into the back of my car. After the last treatment, she no longer jumps into my car, I lift her hind quarter; otherwise she falls.

I changed her food to a grain free (Taste of the Wild, Sierra Mountain Canine Formula with roasted lamb, dry). I started giving her fish oil ( Wholistic Pet Organics, Wild Deep Sea Salmon Oil) and rubbing fish oil on the hot spot and that seemed to finally clear it up and has successfully cleared up a subsequent one (about 6 mos ago). I laid off the fish oil for a few days last week as she was having really smelly gas and thought it might be related.

But, she just got another hot spot! I noticed a spot where she was chewing last night but didn’t notice any bald spot. I started putting the fish oil on it last night and in her food and put the Elizabethan collar on her. It’s in her rear right quarter. Not sure if she can reach to scratch it, but scratches near it, and at least with the collar can’t chew it now. When I pushed the hair aside today, can see redness – it may have gotten bigger overnight or I just didn’t look closely enough last night. (See picture from today)

I’ve been treating her and my cat for fleas. (Last year or two I have been using Sentry Fiproguard Max for dogs on Molly and the cat version for my cat). But this month, treated at 31 days vs 30 and she was scratching and we definitely had some fleas in the house as I got bit (bugs love me).

I absolutely hate treating them for fleas (my 16 year old died recently and Vet believes it was a benign brain tumor...his beautiful personality changed over the years... my gut is that it’s related). Last month when I treated my cat (he’s an outdoor cat), globs of hair fell out, a bald spot at the site and he consistently loses/sheds a lot more hair after being treated. Yuk!! But, if I don’t use the treatment, I get a MAJOR flea infestation. I’ve tried diatamaceous earth (food grade) and we still got quickly, badly infested and I was also concerned that it might be too drying and be bad for Molly’s skin? (Last infestation, I eventually treated the animals with the yucky chemical flea tx, but the house with diatamaceous earth...had the stuff covering every inch of the floors on all three levels for a month and had to get two vacuum cleaners repaired, but got rid of the infestation. Can’t say I will go through that again; it was so much work and quite a mess.)

I am planning on trying the Diatamaceous earth again after we get a good freeze this winter. I don’t think it works for deer ticks and we have a lot of that here in Central New York and a lot of deer. For all these reasons, I have great trepidation around trying the Earth again...

(3) Past history for ear mites (before me, 5+ yrs ago)

(4) Vaccines, etc.
There appears to be a 3 year skip in her Vet records, from 6/04 to 8/07 (thinking there were no vet treatments during this time, which was before Molly lived with me), otherwise fairly
consistent exams:
DHLPP 2003, 2004, skips to 2010, 2013.
“Corona #2 - 2003
Pro Heart injection 7/13
Stool sample nearly annually (last 8/2013)
“Syrology: HWT/Lyme/Erlich/ana – 2013, .2012, 2010, 2009, 2007
Rabies: 2003 (one year) then three year vaccine in 2004, and every three years after.

It doesn’t look like she’s had a chem profile since a “mini profile” in 2004.

I just saw in the notes that on 12/1/2003 she recieved “Triple AB=HC Ophth Oint.”with instructions to apply to the right eye every 6 hours. (This is when she was a puppy so I don’t know anything about it other than what’s in the notes.) Could a medication she received at less than 3 months old be related to vision problem later in life?

Shampoo and conditioner: Ferminator (helps with the shedding)

We live in Syracuse, NY and I am not aware of any holistic vets here. Most Vets here graduated from Cornell.

I am seeking your advice on her eyes and hot spots, as well as over-all holistic care ( fleas, vaccines, food, etc.) Should I just start giving her your product for cataracts?

Also, do you recommend having dog's teeth cleaned professionally?

I've started brushing, but it wasn't done before she came with me so their kind of stained and a few look kind of bad near the gums. Or use the treatment from your site?

I probably gave you more info than you need, but wasn't sure what was significant or not. If this I need to pay a second fee as I've asked more than one question, please let me know.

Thank you!!!

Comments for Dog Eye Problems, Hot Spot & General Holistic Advice

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Nov 11, 2014
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Eye Problems, Hot Spot & General Holistic Advice
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

November 11, 2014

Hi Dorina,
Regarding Molly's vision: if she has cataracts, you will see cloudiness when you look into the pupil area of her eye. I cannot tell if her eyes have a cloudy appearance or not, from the photo. Although, even with cataracts, dogs do not really run into anything until the cataracts are really bad and appear opaque.

I am more concerned that she may have retinal degeneration. You will not see any change by looking from the outside. Except that both pupils will be extremely large and dilated fully. And if you shine a penlight into one eye, the pupil may not really contract, as it normally should.

Glaucoma is another disease of the eye, that causes an increase in pressure, pushing on the retina and interior structures causing damage that can lead to blindness. This can be tested by an ophthalmologist.

Your visit to the ophthalmologist will be helpful in letting you know what is going on with her eyes. Until you have a diagnosis, I cannot offer any suggestions or holistic remedies.

As for her flea allergy dermatitis causing the hotspots, controlling fleas will be the best way to stop the hot spots! Call 'Flea Busters'. They use a salt/borax combination for inside the house and will guarantee NO fleas for up to one year.

You can put a flea collar inside the vacuum cleaner bag, so when you vacuum you will suck up flea larvae and eggs. Although, the eggs are not killed by the flea collar, so it may be best to just throw away the bag when you get done. Eggs hatch in 2 weeks, and the larvae crawl out of the bag and back into the house, then mature into fleas which jump on you, the cat and Molly. One female flea can lay 70 eggs per day!

An egg can also lay dormant for up to 2 years, (even through snow and freezing temperatures) before hatching, and an adult flea can go 6 months without a blood meal.

Diatomaceous earth is best kept OUTSIDE the house. Use 'beneficial' nematodes (sold by Flea Busters) outside in the warmer months. These nematodes EAT flea larvae!

For flea protection ON Molly:
Check out and use EVOLV. This is a liquid made from cedar oil, that you can spray on Molly, or on a bandana to put around her neck. I would NOT use the cedar oil on the cat.

EVOLV will kill fleas and ticks, flies, mosquitoes, ants, spiders, and many other insects.

For the cat, making her an inside cat is the best way to prevent fleas, and ensure a safe and long life.

Stop vaccinating! Eye problems, hot spots, flea allergies indicate that Molly is not healthy. Inside the box for every vaccine, comes an insert that says, "To be administered to healthy dogs and cats only". Find a holistic veterinarian to write an exemption form for Molly when she is next due. (Looking at her vaccination history she needs NO more DHLPP, NO more Corona, No other vaccine at all, ever again. And her 3 year Rabies was probably given in 2013, so she is not due until 2016.

Bathe her with a baby shampoo once a week if possible. This will 'cool' and calm the skin, remove surface bacteria, and you may drown a few fleas.

Once a month use DAWN Dish Detergent to bathe her. DAWN dish detergent will kill fleas by drying out flea 'cuticles' on their skin, and kill them. It is very safe to use on both dogs and cats. Rinse, and shampoo a second time with the baby shampoo.

Coconut oil is the best to use to massage into her skin, if she gets dry skin, which can lead to hot spots. Let the coconut oil soak into her skin over 3-4 or more hours, then use the Dawn Dish Detergent to bathe her. Do this once a month.

When she has a hot spot, use Rescue Remedy, (the one for people). Put 20 drops into a 2 or 4 oz dropper bottle, (or 40 drops into a 6 oz pump spray bottle), and fill with Spring Water. Spray or drop the diluted Rescue Remedy on her skin, to *calm* it down, as often as needed. Molly can also take some by mouth as often as needed to help 'calm' her down.

See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options,, and consider a RAW diet for her. Since she is a large dog, you may just decide to give her a combination of DRY, canned and RAW. For each meal, make it 1/3 dry, 1/3 Canned Taste of the Wild, (if they make it. If not, then find a canned food similar to the dry), and add some RAW food. Primal, Nature's Variety, BRAVO are a few brands, or just add 1/3 of the meal as raw chicken, turkey, beef or lamb.

If she weighs 70 lbs, she needs 1,050 calories per day. If she weighs 60 lbs she needs 950 calories per day. It is best to feed in two meals, so divide the amount in half and you can figure out how much to give her depending on the calorie content.

You wrote, " Could a medication she received at less than 3 months old be related to vision problem later in life?" No.

Molly may also need some immune support. You can try one of these:

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Nov 16, 2014
follow up after opthalmologist diagnosis
by: Dorina

Thank you so much for your reply. Unfortunately, you nailed it Doctor...went to opthalmologist this past Friday and Molly's diagnosis is "Progressive Retinal Atrophy". It sounded like you were leaning that way and you were right. Very sad. He didn't see any cataracts. Very nice Doctor and said I could call him anytime. He said he'd write an exemption from additional vaccines if her primary vet won't. No more vaccines, no matter what. (Wish I didn't let the vet talk me into the last round.)

Opthalmologist said there's really nothing that can be done/given to her. Do you agree? A friend of his developed Ocuglo, which may slow the progression of the retinal atrophy...
Also wondering if I should be doing anything to prevent cataracts (Primalix, Cataractin)? (The info he gave me says cataracts can be a complication but can't do surgery if have Retinal Atrophy.)

The hot spots are driving us crazy. The one was almost healed, but she got the Elizabethan collar off and chewed it today, so now it's all red and raw again! I'm finding the fish oil still works the best on her. But concerned it isn't enough. I am also spraying rescue remedy,as you suggested, which she likes and I think it helps. (alone it doesn't seem to be enough.) She has to be allergic to something! I just wish I knew what! One of the vets there on Friday said that the dermatologist was prescribing Apoquel, but after reading the side effects and efficacy, I am not interested (unless I get more desperate). I hate that she has to wear that stupid cone on her head...makes moving around difficult and she can't get up the stairs with it on...and I'm tired of taking it off and on...

I'm at my whits end due to this major setback today...I did the food change this week (either half dry/half wet, or 1/3 wet, dry, raw) and I do not see any difference, possibly she is worse-- skin appears very pink in areas, other than the primary hot spot, and she's scratching allot. I did the bath last Tuesday, but used the furminator shampoo (the ingredients look good to me?), followed by baby shampoo. Nothing is working so far. I do not see any bugs of any sort on her and don't believe there are any in my house. But do plan to call Flea Busters (found them in San Antonia Texas, but I am in upstate NY).

I weighed her at the Vets. If their scale is working properly, she is under 60 lbs (56)! (Vet wanted her to lose weight because of her spine -car accident as a puppy.) Is she undernourished? Maybe I'm not feeding her enough? Everyone says she "looks good".

I am giving her some new dog treats, but was very careful to check the ingredients, except the Greenies (this one was on sale "weight management") One says only ingredient is "sweet potato" (previously I have baked my own), and a "Dogg Cookie" by Wet Noses (rye flour, peanuts, banana, molasses, eggs, canola oil, cinnamon).

Still have to follow up on the natural flea prevention recommendations you made. Have you heard of Young Living Oils? Purification?

The cat will be an issue with natural prevention as keeping him inside really isn't an option. He LOVES outdoors...found him outside years ago...he insists on being able to go out! (A cry that could drive you to drink.) I do make sure he's home at night (he gets a treat if he comes in, so he always comes in :-) ... and he likes to sleep on my down comforter.

Maybe it's time to think food allergies with Molly...(I almost think she seemed worse after the raw food.)

The closest naturopathic/holistic vet is 3+ hours from here so it's not much of an option for me. My next thought was to ask some homeopaths in my area as to what they would suggest for allergies/dermatitis in humans? Are there any books on homeopathy for animals? There must be a homeopathic remedy...

Thank you for your help! Molly thanks you too!

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