It all started with a dog’s nose.
I used to be a confirmed skeptic – one of those people who scoffed at vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements and “health stuff.” I trusted conventional Western medicine to cure whatever might ail me, my family or my pets. They have pills for everything, right? If one pill couldn’t fix it, try two. If two didn’t do it, try a different pill.
Back then, I thought people who shopped at health stores were a little on the wacky side. To me, it seemed they had crossed the line from health-conscious to health-self-conscious, even health-obsessed. If their health store stuff worked so well, why did the people who shopped at those places look so … well …unhealthy? Okay, there were plenty of healthy looking customers in those stores too but back then my selective vision focused only on the sick people who sought natural solutions they hoped would make them well again.
I was young and strong, fit and healthy. I exercised. I ate “right” and watched my diet. I didn’t over-indulge in any of the no-no’s. Why should I care about – much less believe in – what alternative medicine offered?
Ah, the arrogance of ignorance!
Then our dog developed a sore on his nose that wouldn’t heal. Duffy was a fine, healthy black and white German shepherd. He had a great, goofy sense of humor and was always making us laugh. He never was sick and the only time he saw his veterinarian was when he was due for his annual check-up and shots.
At first we thought he must’ve scratched his nose while playing and assumed it would quickly heal. It didn’t. We asked the vet to take a look.
Hmm… he said. Could be several things. Not cancer, fortunately. Try applying this topical ointment. Panalog [read what's in it] should clear it up.
We followed directions faithfully. But it didn’t clear up. We tried a second course. Now the sore was a little larger. Other topicals produced the same result. By then our vet was truly puzzled and suggested we take Duffy to the veterinary center at a nearby University to let the expert vets there try to figure out how to get that nose to heal.
Just one problem: We’d have to leave Duffy there for an indefinite period. That might be good from a medical point of view but from the we-love-our-dog point of view, there had to be a better way than abandoning our big, goofy canine buddy who had never been away from home to the care of strangers, even though they were kind and caring strangers.
What else could we try?
Well, the vet said hesitantly, vitamin E might work.
What? You’re suggesting a plain old vitamin when high powered medicines didn’t work?
It’s supposed to be good for things like this, the vet explained. Why don’t you try it and see what happens and if he’s not better, you can take him to the University vets.
Armed with that threat… er, incentive, we shelved our skepticism and ventured into the unknown.
So what exactly do we do with this stuff, I asked the vet, and where do I get it? (See? I told you I was clueless back then!)
He explained that we could buy vitamin E at grocery stores or health stores. To use it, we were to “break open” (excuse me, but why do they always say “break open” when they mean cut open? have you ever tried to “break” open a gel-cap?) one of the golden capsules, squeeze out a little of the oily liquid and rub it on the sore on Duffy’s nose. Ideally three times a day. And we could let him eat the rest of the capsule if we wanted. (Turned out he loved it so he was getting topical and internal E every day.)
After a few days, the sore was visibly smaller and soon it was completely gone. We stopped the E treatment, though maybe a little too soon because the sore returned. But the good news was another round of E did the trick. The sore never came back and, surprise, Duffy was perkier and his coat was even silkier than before.
Seeing how well this simple, natural remedy worked for our dog was an eye-opener. Hmm, I thought.… maybe there was something to this vitamin stuff after all.
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