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A red, itchy dog with chronic gut issues comes good!

A case study on Louis the Lab

One of the things I love most about being an animal naturopath is getting results for my dog and cat patients. And there's a lot more that I love along the way to getting those results - meeting new animals and their humans, listening to the humans' struggles and offering them support and seeing health improvements in their animals as we make our way through a nutritional therapy program.

So far this year I've had the pleasure of working with many wonderful clients. Just last week, one of my longer programs ended, and I've been able to look back and see how things went and what has been achieved. I'm able to witness again the benefits of supporting someone one on one to help their animals heal using nutrition and other natural remedies.

In this post, I share the findings of my review, and I'm bringing you along for the ride. I hope you enjoy it xx

In January of 2020, I was approached by a lady named Melanie for help with her 5 year old Labrador named Louis. Prior to Melanie reaching out, Louis had suffered from a serious case of salmonella poisoning. The vet saved him but part of the treatment was antibiotics and every time Melanie reached the end of the course of antibiotics, Louis would immediately get sick again.

His symptoms included diarrhoea, panting in the middle of the night and dry retching. His humans would let him outside and find him panting and standing in his water filled clam shell trying to cool down, even during winter. He would completely lose his appetite and stop drinking water. He would have nausea and would constantly lick himself or his humans for relief. 

Every time Louis' humans left for a weekend away Louis would relapse. It got to the point where they couldn’t go away. 

Louis was on repeat courses of antibiotics for three years!

Studies show that antibiotics alter the gastrointestinal microbiota, and this can have negative health consequences, such as antibiotic induced dysbiosis.


When I started supporting Melanie and her husband Scott, Louis presented with:

  • red skin;

  • itchy, dry paws;

  • ear infections, likely due to yeast overgrowth;

  • excess weight; and

  • separation anxiety.


Louis' diet consisted of:

  • Breakfast - sardines, various brands of dry food

  • Dinner - chicken mince or fish, rice, cooked vegetables and raw carrot

Prior to the salmonella poisoning, Louis enjoyed a raw diet of mainly chicken and kangaroo plus bones weekly from the butcher.


Louis was on the following medication regime:

  • Antibiotics, twice daily.

  • Worm treatment every three months.

  • Vaccinations, annually (following the most recent vaccination, Louis had a lump at the vaccination site).

There was also some use of chemicals in the house eg window cleaner and personal pest spray.

Treatment focus

Given Louis' history, I identified four main areas for treatment:

  1. Optimum nutrition,

  2. Improve overall health;

  3. Immune system support; and

  4. Digestive system support.

The end game was for Louis to be eating a healthy supportive diet, no longer needing the antibiotics, having healthy skin and no more yeast overgrowth. Any weight loss would be considered an added bonus!


The initial treatment for Louis consisted of a detox protocol. The dry food was to be eliminated completely, a whole food, cooked diet was to be fed with an initial transitionary phase, household chemical use was to be avoided, and a flower essence detox remedy given for a period of two weeks.

The diet consisted of:

  • Cooked human-grade meats (raw would have been too rich, likely causing GI upset);

  • Raw, pulverised vegetables;

  • Organic organ meats;

  • Digestive support foods consisting of prebiotic, probiotic and enzyme foods; and

  • A variety of what I call 'ACE' foods - foods that are rich in vitamins A, C and E, to help support the immune system.

The second phase of treatment saw the introduction of a number of food-based supplements including a greens & whole foods supplement, seaweed calcium, omega 3 (micro algae oil), a prebiotic/probiotic/enzyme blend and oregano oil (contains antimicrobial properties).

Treatment outcomes

Two months on and Louis was doing great! Check out the video below, which is an excerpt of the first follow up consult.

Melanie reported that:

  • he’s not chewing his paws as much;

  • his paw pads don’t feel as dry;

  • his ears only smell a bit yeasty on occasion, but nothing compared to pre-treatment;

  • he’s not as red on his body;

  • his (and his brother Cooper’s) eyes are really bright;

  • he’s more playful and boisterous; and

  • he’s lost some excess weight!

What was really amazing was that with the introduction of the oregano oil (and no doubt all of the other changes combined), Melanie was able to reduce the antibiotics so at this stage of treatment Louis was only getting a very small amount of antibiotics. He was having 1 drop of the oregano oil twice a day for one month. I recommended to give Louis a break from the oregano oil one day a week at this stage.

At the second follow up consult, things had improved further.

At this stage, Louis was eating:

  • Raw meaty bones (chicken, lamb and turkey);

  • Cooked lamb and turkey mince;

  • Sardines;

  • Egg including the shell;

  • Liver;

  • Vegetables; and

  • Digestive support foods: ginger, garlic, kefir.

And he was having his supplements as outlined above.

Melanie reported the following improvements:

  • eyes are really clear and bright (this was a great sign of improved health!);

  • ears still a little bit mucky and still smelling a bit yeasty;

  • he's off the antibiotics with no symptoms; and

  • he's lost 5kgs!

Flea invasion

Between the two follow up consults, Louis and his brother Cooper had a bad bout of fleas. Melanie treated with Faith's Cleanse & Detox by Augustine Approved, which I had recommended in the initial treatment plan as a natural parasite preventative, regular combing and vacuuming twice a day. All fleas were eradicated within a week!

Next steps

At the second follow up consult, I made a number of recommendations, including the following:

  • Start to taper down the oregano oil (the goal is for him to need any antimicrobial treatment);

  • Trial incorporating one plant based meal a week to rest the digestive system eg doggy porridge, mono fruit or vegetable meal eg baked sweet potato;

  • Start to trial small amounts of raw meats; and

  • Add a food-based vitamin C supplement to resolve the ongoing yeast overgrowth in the ears (and if that doesn't resolve it, I can make up a herbal blend containing herbs with anti-fungal benefits).

End of program and ongoing support

Here's what Melanie had to say at the end of the program:

"My Labrador Louis nearly died due to unknown issue. The vet saved his life. We were told to give him low dose antibiotics everyday (and he was on them for 3 years.) We tried to stop the medication. Every time he got sick and needed to be rushed to vet.
He would also gnaw at his paws and his belly was bright red. Louis was also prone to ear infections and was terribly overweight. We tried all the top brands of diet dog food and increased his exercise routine.......nothing worked.
I came across Ruth talking on the lowtoxlife podcast. Listening to her ideologies aligned with my beliefs and my preferred approach to animal care.
Ruth listened and asked lots of questions. She was very generous with her time and advice. She gave us lots of support in the first few months whilst transitioning Louis onto the new eating & supplement plan.
Now Louis is back to normal. He has so much energy and has the brightest eyes. The redness is gone and he doesn't chew his paws!! The antibiotics are long gone and we have our dog back. We have not been to vet once this year usually we would have at least been 4 times by now (at least $400 to $800 per visit).
Words cannot adequately describe how grateful we are to Ruth."

I offer ongoing support options for my clients so that we can check in and see if further support is needed. We've still got some remaining yeast overgrowth with Louis, but I'm confident that with a few tweaks, we will be able to resolve that.

The benefits of long term support & why I provide it

I strongly believe in supporting clients with the healing of their animals over an extended period. Whilst I do offer one-off consults, I recommend my six month or three month program to clients who have animal companions with chronic health conditions. This is because a chronic illness (a condition or disease that has lasted longer than three months) can take time to heal.

As an animal naturopath, my goal is to uncover and help heal the root cause of disease. It's not just about treating the symptoms but rather applying a holistic treatment approach that takes into account the animal's body, mind and spirit.

Melanie and Scott chose the six month program for Louis. Louis had poor health for about two to three years. In just six months, with the support I have provided and with Melanie's and Scott's commitment to the process and of course their love for Louis, we've been able to make great progress with Louis' health. We're not at optimal health just yet but perhaps in another three to six months, we will be.

And then of course there are the money and stress savings that Melanie and Scott have made. As Melanie says, they normally would have spent $1,600 to $3,200 in vet bills this year. Instead, they have made a comparatively small investment in seeking out natural solutions to help Louis - and they are getting great results.

With real food, natural supplements and not a chemical in sight (plus lots of love), Louis is far along the road to optimal health.

If you have a cat or dog with a chronic condition and would like to learn more about my programs, please book in a free chat or contact me here. I'd love to help you xx

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About Ruth

Ruth Hatten is a Holistic Animal Care Mentor with qualifications in animal naturopathy, pet nutrition and energy healing. She helps animals using holistic principles and natural remedies, including naturopathy, nutrition, plant medicine, energy and spirituality. Ruth believes that animals can thrive when they are supported in this way.​

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