Chava Labs

Breeders of Purebred Labradors.

Our Journey to Natural Therapies:
Tessa's Legacy.

I do have to warn that this may be a bit upsetting to read but something that we are passionate about and need to share.

Like most of the general public and breeders we always put our trust in the tried and true mainstream treatments for Flea, Tick, Heartworm, Worming etc., when several years ago a new product hit the market that was purported to be the “Bee’s Knees” as an All In One.

We thought fantastic considering at that time we had 4 girls living with us, and a very close friend who is a Veterinarian also recommended the product so, we happily started using this new “Wonder Product” back in 2014 on our girls, but it wasn’t until August 2015 when our beloved, healthy 3 YO Tessa became sick.

Below is Tessa’s story, which to this day is still very hard for us to talk about but we do briefly touch on with our new owners when discussing alternative natural therapies over mainstream chemical options for various treatments.

Tessa was our pride and joy and Denis’s very first girl that he trained for “Retrieving Trials”, and she loved and excelled at the sport, and we had many great weekends away at various Trials around the area and made some amazing new friends to boot.

After giving our girls their 3rd dose of the “Wonder Product” we noticed that she appeared to be putting on weight even though her food intake hadn’t change, we started to cut it back a bit but that made no difference.

She was still her happy, energetic self until one morning she vomited her breakfast up (and for a Lab that is pretty unusual) and she just didn’t appear to be herself, so off to our local GP vet for the once over and he noticed some fluid build up in her chest so referred us over to our Specialist Vet as an emergency consult.

From there our whole world was turned upside down, with multiple scans, blood work and specialist consults over the next few days.

The first diagnosis was she has fluid build up in her chest and stomach cavity (no idea how or why) but scans and blood work showed higher than normal levels in certain parts of her blood work, so we started treatment to get that fluid reduced which was a mammoth amount of tablets and daily scans and bloods and whilst we managed to get the fluid to start reducing her blood work just kept going off the chart.

It wasn’t until we have managed to clear most of the fluid from her stomach that a scan showed a blood clot in the portal vein to her liver (this is where things go catch 22).

The specialists (we were seeing 3) said that the treatment she was on previously could have caused the clot or the clot was there from the outset and was the cause of the fluid build up, and unlike humans who can have surgery to remove blood clots in dogs this doesn’t really work and again it is was another round of heady duty meds to see if we could get the clot to dissolve.

Tessa kept losing weight drastically but was still showing the fight to live so we ended up with a feeding tube into her so that we could administer a high nutrient diet along with the medication as she was becoming super fussy with eating and many nights staying in ICU.

We nursed her for 6 weeks and one day she gave me the look (for anyone that has owned a dog you know that look) and I said to her that is was ok, you have fought a good fight and I know you want to say goodbye and that is ok with us, we want you to be pain free and run over the Rainbow Bridge and she passed away in my arms the following day.

After we had grieved for several months I happened across a FB group about this particular product. I spent the entire day reading other people’s stories which ranged from mild symptoms like dry, itchy skin through to dogs dying, and the one common denominator in the dogs that had passed away, was after the 2nd or 3rd does.

I continued doing extensive research into all the mainstream chemical options and was horrified by my discovery on how they all worked. In layman’s terms, mainstream chemical treatments for Flea & Tick work on the premise of the treatment putting some form of poison into your dogs bloodstream and when said flea or tick bites the dog and draws blood it is then poisoned and dies.

We then had a discussion with our specialist vets regarding this information and they honestly couldn’t discount that it was the cause of Tessa’s issues.

There are many different FB groups out there for all the specific brands (Nexguard, Bravecto, etc) and I would strongly suggest taking the time to do your own research on these chemical products, but in saying that with young puppies we don’t really have an alternative but with worming and they pass through their system within 48 hours so there is no long term chemical processes happing in the body and we continue to used mainstream worming on all our dogs.

Again I hit the internet, looking for natural alternatives and came across Lyndall from Canine Vitality (Herbs For Happy Health Dogs) and reached out to her immediately. We explained Tessa’s story to her and she said we weren’t the first people who she knew that had major issues with that product and others like it, and suggested that we get full blood work done on all our other girls and then bring those results with us to our consultation, and thankfully none of the other girls showed any issues in their blood work, so Lyndall started them all on a detox and we switched over to her Homeopathic range for Flea & Tick and Heartworm and honestly we haven’t looked back.

Denis being a bit more mainstream than I am, was of course dubious, but willing to give it a go, as he certainly didn’t want to go through what we went through with Tessa ever again.

In 2018 Denis and Opal were at a Retrieving Trial and at the end of the day whilst he was giving her a good ear rub in the back of the car he felt something in her ear so took a look and discovered a fully engorged tick. As it would happen the trial was at the Veterinarians property so he got him to have a look and confirm that it was in fact a paralysis tick (which it was). The vet was amazed that Opal was still standing let alone had competed in 2 different levels completing 6 runs for the day.

He removed the tick and told us to keep an eye on her for the next 24 hours just to be on the safe side so we cancelled my birthday dinner that night and stayed home to watch her.

She showed no signs of ever having a paralysis tick on her and was bounding around the house like there was no tomorrow, and that was the turning point for Denis in truly believing that the natural therapies did work but again there is nothing in the market that will stop ticks from attaching and the best way to ensure they haven’t picked one up is the good old fashioned manual check of the dog.

The homeopathic range we use works on the premise of treating like with like, and we include this information to all our new puppy owners so they can do their own research.

Vale "Tessa",
RTCD Headland Cape Hillsborough RRD.

Loved more than Vegemite.

15/08/2013 – 13/10/2015

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