San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

"Big or small, we feed them all!"

Archive for the ‘Parasites’ Category

Register Now: Naturally Safe Seminar: Raw Feeding Safely | Natural First Aid Sunday, NOV 20th (new date) at 9 AM – 12 PM

leave a comment »

Naturally Safe Seminar: Raw Feeding Safely | Natural First Aid 

Sunday, November 20th (new date) at 9 AM – 12 PM

Space is limited (12 participants). Cost for the seminar includes one SFRAW Basic Natural first Aid kits for each participants (FREE); a limited supply of additional kits will be available to purchase for a fee.

Location: San Francisco Raw Feeders (SFRAW)

250 Napoleon St, Unit G, San Francisco, California 94124

Written by sfraw

September 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

On Heartworm…

leave a comment »

I wanted to re-post Dr. Siri Dayton’s truly excellent emails on the subject of heartworm that she wrote for the SFRAW Yahoo Group in 2009. I concur with her suggestions wholeheartedly.


I have had dogs my entire life and have never once given any of them heartworm medication in any form; and I’ve never had a pet test positive. While San Francisco and the Bay Area are not areas with a lot of heartworm disease, whenever I visited heartworm endemic areas with my dogs (camping in the Sierra foothills or Russian River area, for example), I’d test them when I returned and then again 6 months later. The plan was if they tested positive at an early stage, we would then dose them with Ivermectin at that time only. I never had to do that because they were always negative.


I would personally never use Heartguard as recommended conventionally. But I wouldn’t use Black Walnut preventatively either. However, this herb might be the better option for someone living in a heartworm endemic region, if their dogs live outdoors and get bitten by mosquitoes frequently.


Whenever I went to areas with a lot of mosquitoes (even in San Francisco) I’d spray myself and the dogs with my Tick Spritz and that worked well to deter the bugs enough to not get eaten/bitten. While Tick Spritz was part of my heartworm prevention program, I didn’t live somewhere where mosquitoes were everywhere all the time — just bad in certain parks, at certain times of year and times of day. That made use of such a topical pretty easy. I know this is not true for people living in areas with a lot more bugs.


Hope this helps!




Heartworm Prevention (PART I)

Originally posted to SFRAW Yahoo Group December 2009


This is a topic of great concern to dog owners so I thought I would

chime in here and clarify a few conventional basics about Heartworm

disease, prevention, and treatment.


Heartworms are transmitted to dogs through infected mosquitos who

carry heartworm larvae. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, it can

pass the larvae to your dog.


For those of you who choose to treat their dogs:

  1. Heartgard is the most commonly used product on the market for the

prevention of heartworm disease. The drug in it is ivermectin. As one

other person mentioned, ivermectin is a common cattle dewormer and, if

your vet is able and willing, you can get it very cheaply this way.

Ivermectin is toxic to sight hounds. Though some veterinarians purport

that the extremely low dose of ivermectin can be given safely to sight

hounds, I would avoid that drug altogether (why push your luck?) and

use an alternative product called Interceptor (milbemycin) for sight



  1. The package instructions for Heartgard suggest giving the product

once a month. However, studies clearly show that the drug is close to

100% effective for longer than that. It can safely be given every 6

weeks IF you can keep to that schedule. In careful studies, dogs who

become infected with Heartworm disease while on Heartgard have

invariable received their dose late or have missed doses (or have

vomited it up).


  1. In our area of California, mosquitos are out and around all year

long. It has to be consistently lower than thirty something degrees

before mosquitos die, so it is unwise to skip the winter months here

in the bay area.


Diagnosis and Treatment:

  1. It is recommended that dogs who are not on heartworm prevention be

tested for heartworm disease once a year. I recommend this even to my

homeopathic clients (though I confess I have not tested my own dog in

over 3 years). If a dog does become infected with heartworms, the

sooner you know about it, the less damage they will do and the easier

and more successful the treatment will be. For those dogs who are on a

preventative product, a conservative recommendation is to test every

other year. Dogs who take Heartgard religiously have essentially no

chance of contracting the disease. Vets recommend every other year

testing because we pick up positive dogs – again, this happens when

doses are missed. If you are VERY certain that you have given the

doses every 6 weeks religiously, you should not need to test.


  1. Treatment with conventional drugs is not nice. As someone else

commented, the drugs themselves are very toxic. And, depending on how

many worms a dog has, when the worms themselves die, there can be

serious complications. I treated several dogs in my conventional

practice. Thankfully, all survived but it is not a nice or easy path

for anyone involved.


That is what I was taught in vet school and what is (or should be)

recommended by conventional vets out there. I no longer practice

conventional medicine, so this is no longer what I recommend for my



Heartworm Prevention: A Holistic Approach (PART II)


Having put my white doctor’s coat on for you all briefly the other day

to clarify the conventional aspects of heartworm disease in dogs, I

gladly shed that old starched coat and tell you what I now recommend

to my clients from the perspective of a homeopathic veterinarian.


First, one correction to my previous email. A member pointed out that

ivermectin (the drug in Heartgard) is toxic to Collies. I had this

wrong. Sight hounds have no increased sensitivity, it’s just Collies.

Sorry about that, and thanks to the person who pointed that out!


Now, on to a more natural approach to heartworm prevention. It will

help to understand first how heartworm disease functions in the

natural world. To see this, we look to wolves, dogs wild equivalents.

In the wolf population, heartworms exist at a low level (7% of wolves

according to a good study). Importantly, of those wolves who were

affected, none of them showed signs of health problems from the



In our domesticated, “well cared for” dogs, heartworm infection does

exist and in higher percentages than in wolves. Why is this? Dogs and

wolves are essentially the same genetically, so species difference

does not account for the increased susceptibility in our dogs. What we

know about parasites (intestinal worms, fleas, heartworms, etc.) is

that inhabit weak animals, animals with compromised immune systems.

The immune system is an incredibly powerful, effective tool our bodies

have to fight disease. But it is also very fragile and requires

nurturing and respect to keep it functioning properly. The simple,

highly effective strategy is to do everything we can to strengthen our

pets’ immune systems, and to avoid as much as possible those things

that weaken the immune system.


Here is a shot at a list of things you can all do to improve your

animals’ lives immensely.


  1. Diet: Feed fresh, whole food diets!!!! Do everything you can to

come as close to a 100% fresh diet of natural or organic high quality

foods. Kasie is nothing less than a guardian angel for all of our

animals in making this truly possible between her incredible knowledge

of nutrition and the work she does to make such a wide variety of

meats and other whole foods available to all of us.


  1. Vaccinations: In my opinion, the widespread over-vaccination of our

domesticated animals has led to a serious decline in health. This is a

whole lecture in itself, but the assault on an animal’s immune system

can be very damaging, creating a weakened animal whose susceptibility

to immune diseases increases significantly. So, vaccinate wisely.

Avoid vaccines for diseases that are not life threatening, avoid

vaccinating for diseases that are not prevalent in your area, and stop

the madness of repeating distemper/parvo vaccinations year after year.

Educate yourselves and don’t just follow the advice of veterinarians

who still recommend yearly distemper boosters. Even the strictest

conventional research out there shows that this is unnecessary and

potentially damaging to your pet’s health.


  1. Lifestyle: The way most of us keep our pets (myself included) is

highly unnatural and stressful for them. Do everything you can to

provide lots of exercise, fresh air and mental stimulation. Poor

“husbandry” should not be underestimated as a source of illness. I

suggest that all of you read Temple Grandin’s latest book, Animals

Make Us Human for an important and illuminating understanding of



  1. Toxins: Our world is full of them. Animals (and especially cats)

are very sensitive to chemicals. Practical things you can do include.

  1. Provide fresh filtered water (if you can afford it, get a

filtration system that removes fluoride along with other bad things).

  1. Use mild, natural cleaners in your house. It is disheartening to

walk down the cleaning isle in the grocery store and see the shelves

of extremely toxic substances when vinegar, baking soda and a few

other innocent things are equally effective.

  1. Stop using pesticides to control fleas and ticks as much as

possible. Pesticides are poisons. Instead, do what you can to improve

the health of your pet and the fleas will leave them alone!

  1. Drugs themselves can be very toxic to your animal. We are a drug

crazed society (though France is worse, I recently read), thinking we

need to treat every little ailment with strong drugs. Seek milder

treatment alternatives when possible.

  1. Consider consulting with a Classical Homeopath or someone trained

in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help you get chronic problems under

control, and to help you find your way through these very confusing



  1. Support the immune system with all the measures above, and also

with a product like Transfer Factor Plus, Canine or Feline Complete

Formula. What we understand about transfer factors is that they are

able to balance or modulate the immune system. So, if the immune

system is compromised, it increases the ability of the immune system

to respond (this is KEY in fighting off foreign invaders such as fleas

and heartworms!). If it is over reacting (as in allergies, auto-immune

diseases, etc), transfer factors slows it down.


Finally, it may help if you understand that most of conventional

medicine feeds off of our FEAR. Vets and doctors scare you silly about

the dangers of heartworm disease, driving the point home by showing

you a heart filled with worms in a formalin jar before selling you a

package of expensive drugs to prevent this happening to your little

dog. I know. I used to be one of those vets.


In that past years, my understanding of health and sickness has

shifted dramatically. I have learned to trust the immune system. It is

an excellent system, far better than any drug or treatment that

exists. I do not recommend heartworm preventative for the vast

majority of my clients. There. I said it. I stand behind my word too.

Of course, I cannot offer a money back guarantee that your animal is

not going to contract heartworm disease, but I have colleagues who

practice using these methods in states like Texas and Florida where

heart worm disease is rampant in the dog population, but who have not

seen a positive case in their patients under homeopathic care for over

20 years. Those are better results than I saw in over 10 years of

conventional practice, and should be very compelling to you.


So, the best advice I can give you is to stop acting from fear, and

start taking substantial steps to improving your dogs health.



I wish you all healthy and happy holidays,


Siri Dayton, DVM


Written by sfraw

November 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm

100% Non-Toxic, Biological Flea & Tick Control Program: Beneficial Nematodes Really Work!

with one comment

We now sell a unique pack of beneficial living nematodes for use around your home and garden to control BOTH fleas & ticks.  The brand we carry is ARBICO ORGANICS and we’re offering the Triple Threat Combo Packs for 1/2 garden size applications.

This combination pack will help control multiple stages of development – larvae, pupae and adult stages of fleas and the egg, nymph and adult stages of ticks.

1/2 Garden Size = 5 million Nematodes. Treats approx. 1,600 sq. ft. 

Pricing for this product of three will cost members $44.35+ tax. This price includes shipping. Non-members, as usual, pay 30% more.

If you want to purchase these, please stop in while we’re open to pick them up. You can also call in to pay over the phone and have us reserve them for you for later pick-up or email us ( to get them delivered along with your regular monthly order.


Nematodes are living, microscopic organisms. They need to be applied while still alive and handled with a lot of care. We are having them shipped overnight and will store them in the walk-in cooler with a damp towel. The company has assured me that they will be viable for up to two weeks when stored in this manner. We recommend applying them within a few days of purchasing because the sooner you get them into the garden environment, the more viable and effective they will be.

Learn more about Arbico Organic nematodes here: (includes how to apply and how it works)

TICK LIFECYCLE: “After acquiring a blood-meal, the larvae are inactive until the next spring when they turn into nymphs. In late spring and early summer the nymphs feed on larger animals (dogs, birds, deer, etc.) they advance into an adult tick. In the fall, adults attach to and feed on a host (dogs, cats, deer, human, etc.). In the next spring the cycle starts again. Adult ticks only die after they live their two year cycle. Ticks do not die off in the winter months. Adult males do not feed on blood and die shorty after mating. Ticks continue to feed whenever the temperature is above 35 degrees. Adult ticks are typically found in un-maintained vegetation between ankle and waist height. The habitat for ticks is primarily in forested areas grass lines, shrubs, flower beds, areas of dense ground cover, and around stone walls and woodpiles.”

This is an exceptional product that I strongly recommend for all of our members that have any outdoor space (even small patios) as a critical component of your flea (and tick) control/prevention program. What’s wonderful about this product specifically is it kills all life stages of the fleas AND TICKS. Most nematodes do not control ticks at all, so this is a very unusual and unique aspect of this product – will be great for people living in areas outside San Francisco proper.

Now is the time to apply the nematodes – many of you experienced terrible flea issues last October, and this is why I’ve decided to bring this product on for the benefit of the group. I think if we all follow along with a regular application program, we can enjoy a flea-free (or greatly reduced/manageable) season this Fall and, if we stick with a regular natural flea prevention program, we can even prevent fleas in our households through next year and beyond.

Even if you don’t have fleas now, I recommend that you apply nematodes now (and 3-4 times a year) to prevent fleas.

If you are struggling with fleas now, you need nematodes ASAP, and should be applying them every two weeks until there are no fleas on your pets or in your home/garden.

Why implementing a NATURAL flea and tick prevention protocol is so important:

Even if your pet doesn’t have fleas or ticks at the moment, I have been noticing the past few years, even more and more problems with pets experiencing flea problems for the first time in their lives and/or experiencing their first allergic reactions to flea bites (this is when a pet is bitten by just one flea, they experience a dramatic allergic inflammatory skin/itching and hot spots or skin eruptions reaction that can take weeks, or even months, to recover from, even with diligent care and prevention after the single bite).

While your pets may not have fleas and may be naturally resistant to flea infestations if they have a healthy and robust immune system, fleas can be brought into your home or yard/garden by roaming neighborhood cats, raccoons, squirrels, rats or mice – as these animals always bring fleas with them and drop their eggs where they nest or travel through. In the past, this was not a problem for most pets with robust immunity, but things seemed to have changed over the past few years. We’re now seeing animals and households suffer from fleas and flea bite reactions for the first time in decades or ever.

My theory is that because people have been using the spot-on type treatments and chemical preventatives since the 1990s, we have effectively created “super fleas” that are resistant to these chemical treatments. These “super fleas” also appear to cause serious immune responses to flea saliva in pets that have never had a problem with fleas before, even if they have never been treated with the chemical preventatives themselves. I realize that I don’t have any scientific evidence or studies to support my theories, I merely have anecdotal evidence and my own experience witnessing these changes in people asking for help over the years. I was initially concerned about this happening when the spot-on treatments first came on the market. Unfortunately, my concerns about how the popular use of spot-on treatments would play out appear to becoming realized. Back then, MRSA was a new/emerging problem in livestock due to the overuse of antibiotics, and I could see this type of biological response eventually happening with the way we were approaching flea prevention in our pets.

FLEA LIFECYCLE: Adult Fleas make up merely 1-5% of the total population of fleas; 95-99% of the fleas you have are ones you typically cannot see (eggs, larvae & pupae) and these are found in your pet’s environment — the garden, home, car, bedding, couches, etcetera. Adult fleas start to drop eggs after 2 days; the eggs fall right off your pet into the yard, their litterbox, their favorite sleeping spots – anywhere your pet travels. Interestingly, the pupae stage can remain easily dormant for 6 months, but even up to 12 months under the right conditions. Our nematoes work to eliminate all stages of the flea, even the resilient pupae stage – while most other products cannot.

I think is important for us to resist the urge to use those spot-on or monthly tablet treatments (even the new ones) because this approach is not the safest for effective, long-term flea control. Using poisons to control pests simply creates an insect population more and more resistant to stronger and stronger chemicals, while damaging our own pet’s health and inhibiting the host’s vitality. If we can manage to do things like vacuum areas where our pet’s frequent (home & car) daily, bathe and flea comb our pet’s regularly, keep our pet’s bedding clean, and regularly apply nematodes in the garden, most households will successfully keep fleas under control all year while not damaging our pet’s immunity/health or helping to develop a “super flea” population.

If you have fleas now or are concerned about fleas, we also recommend FleaBusters service ( for the interior areas of your home. Their application of a non-toxic borate substance in your home comes with a 12-month guarantee. This borate substance is safe to use in food areas. It acts as a desiccant to the fleas (abrades the wax from their exoskeleton) and remains in the carpets and cracks & crevices of hard floored homes for a long time.  You can find the MSDS for this product here:

I’d be so happy if everyone took the time to apply nematodes to their outdoor areas now so that our Fall flea season is not nearly as bad as it was last year. So many pets suffered last year; it would be wonderful if we could prevent this from happening again!

If you have any questions, let me know!


Kasie Maxwell


SFRAW / Rara Avis

250 Napoleon Street, Unit G

San Francisco, CA 94124

W: 415-225-0589

F: 866-332-2698

Written by sfraw

November 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Parasites

Canine Mange: A Holistic Approach

leave a comment »

Originally written by Kasie Maxwell in 2007.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The below remedies are FOR DOGS ONLY. Some of the below
protocols would be very dangerous for cats.

The below suggestions are useful for both Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabei) and
Demodectic mange (AKA Demodex). It is important to be fastidious about
cleanliness when dealing with either issue. Washing the animal’s bedding, collars
and clothing, etc. will help to clear up the issue faster and, in the case of Sarcoptic
mange, limit the possibility of the mange spreading to other household members.
Demodex is not contagious and only effects canines. Sarcoptic Mange can be
contagious to susceptible humans, dogs and cats, though the infection will not
progress or sustain itself on humans and cats as Sarcoptes scabei must live on a
canine host in order to complete its lifecycle. Humans, dogs and cats with **healthy
immune systems** should be able to resist infection, but it’s better to be safe than
sorry and keep the environment and animals clean until the issue is resolved. Stress
is a big factor, too. Animals living in the same household may be experiencing the
same environmental or life stressors that caused the sick animal to develop mange,
and bringing a new animal into the household can be a stressful period for resident

I highly recommend consulting with a classical homeopath in either scenario.
I have treated Demodex mange many, many times in rescue dogs without ever
having to resort to using the chemical treatments. I have resolved both minor cases,
and severely neglected dogs with generalized demodex and deep, oozing staph
infections so bad that the dog could not even use her hind legs. If your dog has a
small area of mange, it should be easy to resolve with the following protocol…

Providing your pet with a fresh meat based diet is the first step to sustaining a healthy immune system!

Providing your pet with a fresh meat based diet is the first step to sustaining a healthy immune system!

1) DIET: Feed 100% carbohydrate/grain-free raw, whole food diet with the addition of a good, high quality fish-body/wild Salmon oil EFA and natural Vitamin E. Give 100 IU Vit E for every 1,000 mg of Salmon Oil. If the animal is severely disabled/ill or new to a raw diet, add a high quality digestive enzyme and probiotic supplement. If they are too ill to tolerate a raw diet, then feed a home-prepared cooked diet using fresh foods until they can tolerate raw. As much as is possible, feed only pastured, organic, and grass-finished meats.

2) VACCINATIONS: Do not vaccinate an animal with mange – period. This is huge. Mange is almost always a direct result of vaccinations. Dogs with mange are expressing that their immune system has been insulted/damaged by vaccines, medications, and/or a poor diet. Dogs can be genetically predisposed to being especially sensitive to vaccines and mange is a common symptom of this, so you need to consider future vaccinations carefully. Discuss future vaccination decisions with your holistic vet. Non-vaccinated strays can develop mange due to living in an
immune damaging environment (starvation/inadequate diet, environmental stress,
living in filth, lack of security and kindness/love, etc.).

Do not give any chemical “preventative” medications; heartworm pills, flea/tick
preventatives, dips or sprays, etc. These poison insults make your pet’s immune
system weaker/strained so they are unable to mount a healthy immune response to

3) EXERCISE/LIFESTYLE: Plenty of daily outdoor exercise; for young dogs this
usually means 1-2 hour off-leash hikes, beach walks, and lots of fresh air. Do not
expose them to extreme temperatures, and only exercise them as much as they can
tolerate without being physically stressed – let them guide you as to how much they
can handle, never push them to do too much. In severely debilitated animals, you
will have to start with short, frequent walks at first. Try and walk them only in
natural areas, away from roads and pollution.

Spending peaceful time hiking freely in nature is part of a healthy lifestyle. Direct contact with the earth, wild unaltered flora, sun & rain is restorative and rejuvenating for the immune system.

Spending peaceful time hiking freely in nature is part of a healthy lifestyle. Direct contact with the earth, wild unaltered flora, and natural elements (unfiltered sunlight & rain) is restorative and rejuvenating for the immune system.

4) ENVIRONMENT: Clean their bedding in hot water every 3 days (use sheets or
towels to cover their dog bed(s), furniture or crate pad to make this easier). Do not use dryer sheets or chemical laundry detergents; use a natural, unscented detergent. Do not
smoke or use chemicals on or around these animals. Provide a clean, loving,
peaceful, stress-free environment in which your dog can heal and become stronger.
Limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs), as much as possible. EMFs are
produced by electric appliances such as televisions, microwaves, etc.
Electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices can be harmful, too.

5) GROOMING: Give once a week baths with a very gentle, natural shampoo. For
example, see our Rara Avis Uber Natural Shampoo. There’s also Flutterby Organics
and CyberCanine – these are all good brands with high quality ingredients. Do not
use chemical or medicated shampoos, sprays or dips. Make bath time fun, or at
least not scary or stressful. Talk in soothing tones, move slowly, and handle your
pet gently and respectfully to create a calming, “spa-like” experience rather than a
scary torture treatment! Follow baths with play time and treats.

6) TOPICALS: My Rara Avis (now SFRAW brand) Mite-B-Gone oil is very useful for this issue. I have also provided a Lemon Skin Tonic recipe and how to prepare a Lavender EO oil blend for a topical application below.

If you follow the above protocol, your dog will get better. I have had full recoveries
happen in a matter of weeks, but most dogs take a few months. Basically you are
allowing for their immune system to recover and allowing for their skin flora to
rebalance, and this can take time. So long as it’s not getting worse, you can
continue home treatment. If it gets worse instead of better, consult with your
holistic vet for assistance.

Some dogs with minor cases will get better with zero treatment by the time they are
about 12-14 months old. The thought is that they simply “outgrow” the mange, but
my opinion is that it takes about this long to finally recover from the puppy vaccines
that put their body into this compromised/crisis state, and their immune systems are
also finally maturing by this age.

You can also add a few supplements to the above regime. Adding the supplements
alone won’t do it though – it’s the overall holistic treatment/husbandry that matters,
so you need to consider their lifestyle, diet, and overall husbandry first. Supplement
information can be found in the below email I wrote to a list member of one of the
lists I run. I hope this information is useful and helps you to help your dog!

Demodectic mites are normally present on all dogs raised by/with other dogs,
but is normally kept under control by a healthy immune system. It is not
contagious. Demodex only develops into a problem when the dog’s immune
system is depressed or compromised by the stress of being in a shelter environment, immune-harming medications, poor husbandry (food/environment), and/or vaccines. Certain breeds are more susceptible to
this condition – my opinion is that these breeds or individuals are more
susceptible to the damaging effects of vaccinations. Dogs that develop
manage should never vaccinated again, or should be vaccinated by the
minimum requirements dictated by your state’s laws.

Demodex is fairly common in young dogs/puppies under the age of 12
months. Demodex infection is common, because (at least in holistic circles) it
is considered to be one of the negative results of puppy vaccinations. Most
dogs will “outgrow” demodex by 12-14 months old on their own – when a
more mature immune system is developed and able to handle the imbalance,
without any assistance whatsoever. Usually, these are dogs who’s vital
force/immune systems are able to recover from the damage vaccinations
have done to their system.

Some dogs have a much harder time with these early assaults, and demodex
can develop into a generalized state where it covers the majority of their body
and can, rarely, become life-threatening. These dogs can still recover when
their systems are properly supported and they are given the chance – by not
further assaulting their system with medications and vaccinations. If you are
dealing with a more than mild case of demodex, you absolutely must consult
with a qualified homeopath. Find a list of homeopaths at the end of this

Feeding them wholesome, clean, fresh foods, living in a clean environment,
regular bathing, minimal stress, and daily access to fresh air, sunshine and
exercise is critical. Many, many dogs in rescue suffer from demodex and I
have treated many dogs without the use of chemical remedies. My opinion is
that the chemical medications further complicate the issue, mask the
symptoms, and further damage the immune system. Oftentimes, the
medications will appear to have worked, but this brief respite from the
disease only lasts for a short period and when the mange returns, it comes
back like gangbusters – or at least worse than the first time.

Don Hamilton and Richard Pitcairn’s books both have excellent sections about
mange that speaks about not only the how’s and whys, and why allopathic
care for this (esp. in young dogs) is more damaging than helpful in the long-run,
but also gives recommendations as to the treatment using safe, gentle
home remedies. I highly recommend you purchase one or both of these books
and read these sections. Their recommendations are similar to what I have
listed here.

Supplements you can add to your pup’s diet to help counter the mite
overgrowth are as follows:

• Zinc, in the form of either raw, ground pumpkin seeds or a chelated zinc
tablet, 10 to 30 milligrams/day
• Vitamin C, 250-1000 mgs twice/day
• 100 to 400 IU of Vitamin E daily (discontinue use before surgery)
• ½ to 3 teaspoons of Lecithin/day

You may also consider the following supplements that can help with a variety
of immune system conditions:

• 4Life Transfer Factor Plus or K9 Immunity by Aloha Medicinals

Home-prepared lavender lemon skin tonic is an excellent traditional herbal infusion that can be used as a topical rinse for a variety of skin ailments.

Home-prepared lemon skin tonic is an excellent traditional herbal infusion that can be used as a topical rinse for a variety of skin ailments.

Topically, you can rub fresh, organic lemon juice on the affected area every
day or make a tea infusion of thinly sliced lemons (3 lemons to a quart of
boiling water) – let steep overnight, strain and store in the fridge. Pour
or spray this ‘lemon tea’ on the dog’s bald/patchy areas 2x/day. Renowned herbalist Juliette de Bairacli-Levy provided the original recipe and application suggestions for this infusion in her incredible book, The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat.

Alternatively, you could add a high quality organic lavender essential oil
(10-15 drops) in a base of almond oil or jojoba oil (1/2 oz.) and apply this
EO formula to the affected areas. Use as many drops of the oil necessary to
cover the areas of skin where the hair is thinning or bald; apply twice a
day to these areas.

At only a few months old, the last thing you want to do is suppress minor
symptoms such as these and further compromise your puppy’s immune
system. He/she is just a pup! The best thing you can do is counter their
current state of low-resistance/immunity with care that will further strengthen their immunity and lay the foundation for a healthy, capable immune system that can swiftly handle something as minor as demodex, and also manage future symptoms that might be more complicated and serious as he/she
grows into adulthood.

Consulting with a good homeopath will help your dog tremendously in this

Please note: Rara Avis products and information have not been evaluated or
approved by the FDA or any other governmental agency. Our products are not meant
to diagnose disease or replace licensed veterinary care. Our products are not
pharmaceuticals or drugs intended to treat, prevent, mitigate or cure disease. The
information contained on this site is general in nature. We do not warrant and shall
have no liability for information provided in this site.

If you suspect an animal is ill, please consult with a holistic veterinarian. To find a
holistic veterinarian in your area, search the referral listings on one of these valuable

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy

Written by sfraw

June 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Parasites

Is Your Lawn (or City Parks Program) Killing Your Dog?

leave a comment »

Wanted to share this great blog post from “Raise A Green Dog”

If you frequent public parks that use sprays/chemicals to manage pests or plants, do what you can to change local policy. We have a real problem with this in SF – particularly in some of our favorite places to walk dogs, in those areas considered part of the “Natural Areas Program”. Learn more about this issue on the San Francisco Forest Alliance website here. Sadly, the NAP practices are pretty terrible and need to change.

At home, we all should strive to do what we can to keep our loved ones, people & pets (and all animals/the ecosystem), safe & healthy! There are a lot of safe and effective ways to maintain our gardens & yards (and homes) without the use of toxic chemicals. One product/remedy we frequently recommend to people these days is FleaBusters & their BioBusters nematode service – a much better way to handle flea problems!


Written by sfraw

September 13, 2012 at 6:06 am

Posted in Parasites

Feeding Anadromous Fish Safely: Not Just An Issue for Raw Feeders

with 2 comments

Be careful if you bring your dogs fishing or if you live near bodies of water where your dog may find & eat raw fish infected with neorickettsia helminthoeca.

Recently one of our members lovingly fed his two wonderful and much adored dogs some fresh trout purchased from a local market. Unfortunately, he was unaware of the potential risk associated with feeding fresh raw salmon and anadromous fish or how to prepare this type of fish so that it could be consumed safely. Sadly, both of his dogs became very ill and ended up in the emergency clinic. Thankfully, both dogs recovered and were able to come home after a few days, but this was a very scary and expensive incident that could have been easily prevented.

Unfortunately, the attending veterinarian did not correctly diagnose the condition at the time, but thankfully they are now under treatment and should recover in full. From this incident, we realize that education for veterinarians and all canine care-givers on this topic is still needed.

Even though “Salmon Poisoning Disease” is neither rare, difficult to prevent, difficult to diagnose, nor a new problem and many long-time raw feeders are well aware of the risk, we thought it might be a good time to re-post some emails from past discussions on our SFRAW Yahoo Group regarding the safe feeding of raw fish to dogs, which you can find below.

Here is an excerpt from one of the sources we cite in the below emails explaining a little bit about this disease:

“If untreated, death usually occurs within fourteen days of eating the infected fish. Ninety percent of dogs showing symptoms die if they are not treated. Thankfully, salmon poisoning is treatable if it’s caught in time. A key to its diagnosis is telling your veterinarian that your dog ate raw fish. If you have a dog that wanders, or raids trashcans and you are unsure of what it’s eaten; consider the possibility of salmon poisoning.  Salmon poisoning can be diagnosed with a fecal sample or a needle sample of a swollen lymph node. Detecting the parasite’s eggs as they are shed in the feces confirms its presence. The rickettsial organism can be detected in a needle sample from a swollen lymph node. The combination of symptoms, and the presence of parasite eggs or the rickettsial organisms, are enough to justify treatment.

Given the severity of the condition, treatment is relatively simple. Your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic and a “wormer”. The antibiotic kills the rickettsial organisms that cause the illness, and the wormer kills the parasite. If the dog is dehydrated, intravenous fluid are given. Once treatment has been started, most dogs show dramatic improvement within two days.”

Regions where you may find certain species of fish infected with neorickettsia helminthoeca.

July 3, 2011

QUESTION: I’d like to start feeding Eco Paw for my pets. But I learned Raw salmon is not safe for them. How do you feed Eco Paw wild salmon?? Would you tell me your idea?? Thank you! – Megumi Cusick

ANSWER: Yes — raw feeders do need to be careful about raw salmon coming from populations of fish that may be exposed to/carry a parasite infected with Neorickettsia helminthoeca. It’s not just salmon, but certain species of trout as well that can be unsafe to feed raw to dogs. You can learn more about salmon poisoning disease here:

Thankfully, Greg did his research before bringing his products to market – he even spoke directly to the top scientists/veterinarians considered experts on Neorickettsia helminthoeca and Salmon Poisoning Disease in dogs to ensure what he is producing would be 100% safe for dogs to eat. First, the fish he sources are not known to be infected, nor considered to be at risk of being infected, with this microorganism. Next, he freezes all of the product at a temperature and period of time past that kills the microorganism. So, even if the fish did get infected, the handling he does before selling kills any of those microorganisms by duration and constant low temperature freezing. By the time it is sold to you, the risk has been eliminated entirely. Freezing at a low enough temperature for long enough time and cooking will both eliminate the risk for this disease entirely.

Greg of EcoPawz even has this question answered on his website:

“What is salmon poisoning disease and should I be concerned? All wild salmon and anadromous fish have a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. This parasite is harmless by itself and is in a symbiotic state with the salmon. The danger to canines is when that parasite comes in contact with another parasite (Neorickettsia helminthoeca – a nematode or worm) that lives in snails found in some rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest watersheds. Through this cycle, eggs from the nematode hatch in the canines’ stomachs causing massive dehydration, vomiting and death if untreated within a few weeks. We have consulted with the Department of Veterinary Parasitology at Washington State University, as well as the FDA’s guidelines on the preparation of raw fish for human consumption, and our processes far exceed any necessary to kill these parasites. In addition, our wild salmon is sourced from Alaska where the parasites that cause SPD cannot live. To summarize, our processing procedures are far more comprehensive than necessary to kill a parasite that cannot exist in our raw material! Take that helminthoeca!”

So, the EcoPawz products are totally safe to feed to your dogs! Now, when he does the “Catch of the Day” Seafood packs, those are meant for people to eat and there have been some packs that would not be safe for dogs unless it was frozen or cooked first before feeding. Fresh salmon and trout are what you need to be really careful with.

Hope this clarifies!


Nov. 10, 2004

QUESTION: I’ve been feeding a raw diet to my dog (a 40 pound border collie) for the past 14 months and he’s doing just fine. I live near an Asian market where they sell many different kinds of fish, as well as fish heads (salmon and catfish are the ones I remember seeing). I’ve read that it’s ok to feed raw fish, even whole ones, to dogs, but I haven’t had the nerve to do it yet! Do any of you have advice about this? Thanks very much. – Laurie & Blue

ANSWER: Laurie, Below please find information about the dangers of feeding raw salmon from an old email I wrote that includes some informative articles. I would not recommend feeding raw salmon, trout or other fish that may carry the Neorickettsia helminthoec microorganism. There is a fairly significant risk to feeding raw salmon to dogs. It is commonly called “salmon poisoning” but it’s really not poisoning, it’s an infection by a microorganism called Neorickettsia helminthoec. This organism infects a parasite that certain fish (salmon, steelhead and trout being the most common) can carry. It’ doesn’t harm the fish, raccoons, cats or bears – but can actually be fatal to dogs.

More about it here:

Salmon caught anywhere on our western coasts are at risk for carrying this organism, so it’s best to cook any salmon before feeding, or feed canned salmon instead. “Salmon poisoning” is really common in dogs in the Pacific Northwest – and in dogs who go fishing with their people or who find dead fish parts on the river-banks or garbage cans.

As for other raw-safe fish – I think that dogs generally prefer the smaller fish, like sardines. The smaller fish have less of a bio-accumulation of toxins and heavy metals – so they are healthier, too. I actually only feed canned fish/seafood on occasion, so I haven’t fed raw fish before, but you can learn more about feeding raw fish here:

Have fun!


Written by sfraw

August 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Parasites, Q & A


with 2 comments

If you are hiking in an area where deer reside, you will find ticks in the environment looking for a host to attach to.


I just found a tick on my Ridgeback in her armpit and the swelling was the size of a huge olive, and soft, not hard. The tick can’t have been on too long – it didn’t seem engorged at all, and I observed her scratching there a few hours ago – so maybe she irritated the area further that way. We were able to pull the tick off head and all. I even saved it in a jar just in case I can have it tested somewhere.

I have never seen such a huge swollen spot from a tick before, and am concerned. I plan to monitor her behavior and the bite spot and take her to the vet on Monday if she is still swollen or acts strange, but I wanted to know if anyone else has any advice or similar experience.

Also, any advice for chemical free flea control would be great. I just moved to West Sonoma County from a place where I saw one tick in 2.5 years, and there have been TONS of ticks on all the dogs (95% not attached – we check frequently) since the last rain.

Thanks for reading –



Hi Lindsay,

I grew up in the East Bay in an area that backed-up to almost 400 acres of open space where there were a lot of deer and cattle, and a TON of ticks. That open space was my childhood playground, and we’d get covered in ticks every spring and fall – typically after rains/when the grasses are green as opposed to when they are golden/dry. That was before the local Bay Area tick population carried tick borne diseases as they do now. Now, it’s more of a health threat to have a tick attached for longer than 24-hrs, when they were really just a minor nuisance back then.

In my experience, the best way to prevent tick borne disease is to use a preventative natural tick spray (see below) when you enter tick infested areas (anywhere where you could find deer = a tick area) – especially in the spring and fall. Every day you should inspect your dog carefully (especially under their tail, around the neck/ears/head, under their arms and in the groin area) for ticks and remove any ticks. [Incidentally, during the dry season, this daily inspection should be done for foxtails, too – foxtail inspection should also include inspection of the feet/between the toes and along their sides and flanks, as well.]

By some accounts, it takes 24-hrs of being attached to the host (dog/cat/deer/person) for an infected tick to transmit common tick diseases. So, if you can inspect daily, theoretically you can remove ticks before they infect your dog with any serious illnesses. I also make a product to apply to tick (and spider) bites that includes essential oils that may prevent tick borne diseases, reduces chance for infection at the bite, and reduces swelling/pain – it is called Tick Bite Oil and works really well. It’s good to keep in your First Aid kit for when you need it.

In SF proper, because we don’t have a deer population, we don’t really have a tick issue – but I developed a product that works extremely well in repelling ticks and I keep a bottle in the car to spray ourselves and the dogs at the trailhead any time we hike in tick infested areas – Marin and much of the East Bay are the worst. Rara Avis Tick Spritz works really well, but only for short periods of time – for a hike, really. And it washes off – so for dogs that go swimming on their hikes, it needs to be reapplied after they get wet. It wouldn’t work for longer than 2-3 hours at a time, and it’s not really meant to be reapplied every day/every 3 hours – so it really works best when used at the trailhead before walks/hikes. I have had people use it daily though and it does works well to prevent tick/spider/mosquito bites. It is actually part of my heartworm preventative program to use it in SF whenever walking in places with mosquitoes.

When you apply Tick Spritz to prevent ticks, be sure to spray around the head/neck, on their legs and under the tail/belly. Ticks position themselves on the end of grasses and such with their arms outstretched, just waiting for a host to pass by. They are attracted to three things: carbon dioxide (exhaling breath/respired), moisture (again from the respiration), and warmth. When they detect these things, they hold on to what’s walking by to climb up on the animal and feed. So, getting the Tick Spritz around the head and neck is important, but do not get it in the eyes, right on the nose or spray in the mouth. If you stay on fire roads and wide, clear trails, there is less of a chance that you or your dog will picking up ticks than walking through grassy areas or areas with natural debris/fallen branches.

I hope your dog is okay! That the area was inflamed from the bite is not a good sign, but I hope it was a short-lived symptom that your dog was able to recover from quickly without medical intervention. In the future, if you work with a homeopath, there are remedies for this sort of situation so you can treat bite symptoms with homeopathy, if need be. Several homeopathic remedies could work for tick bite symptoms – you need to find the one remedy that matches the actual symptoms as presented by the animal best. I do not recommend using homeopathy unless you are familiar with this modality of medicine and proper prescribing/dosing and/or working with a qualified homeopath.

In my experience, fleas are a totally different story – the way to prevent fleas is very different from preventing ticks. Ticks will attach to anyone walking by, it has nothing to do with immunity (although whether or not one actually gets sick from the bite obviously has something to do with immunity). But flea infestation is a sign of a compromised immune system – and preventing fleas takes a holistic approach. Using chemicals and toxins for flea control is only more damaging for a dog/cats’ immunity and resistance to disease, so it’s not what I recommend.

I hope this helps!


Written by sfraw

February 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Parasites

%d bloggers like this: