As we saw in Part 1, Daisy the Cockapoo had difficulties and illness from February 2012 when at only 22 months old, she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Daisy’s subsequent long-term treatment was summarised up to 2014. Her devoted owner continues her story here…….

Following on from Part 1, things just plodded along with her still on steroids for the last year or so – but thankfully the vet visits were reduced.  However, each time I tried to wean her off the steroids she seemed to have an issue with weakness in her joints so support and more steroids were needed. It was a vicious circle, but we were about to turn a corner with integrated veterinary care….

Canine Pharmacognosy

In June 2015, I contacted the lovely Dr Isla Fishburn to come and undertake a Canine Pharmacognosy Session for both my girls – this was probably my first introduction to complementary and alternative therapies (CAM).  The treatment is a form of zoopharmacognosy which allows animals to use their innate ability to self-select plant extracts that they need and to guide their own dosage in order to regain and retain health. Unsurprisingly, Daisy selected all the remedies indicated for Inflammation, Anxiety and Pain which was very accurate for her.

Auto-immune disease leads us to a holistic vet

In November 2015, I attended a talk about Auto-Immune Illnesses in Dogs hosted by Isla, with guest speaker Dr. Sue Armstrong, an amazing homeopathic vet who I had heard wonderful things about.  She did not disappoint.  I booked the first appointment I could get for my dog Honey in January 2016 – then took Daisy in for her first full consult in March 2016.   It’s amazing being able to discuss everything about your beloved pet when they have been ill – going back over their history in detail, looking at their behavioural changes and so on.  Suddenly while talking you can make links between issues that you previously hadn’t thought were connected.  Not only fascinating but also the basis of true integrated vet care that looked at Daisy as a whole animal (not just her symptoms) with specific issues and needs that were unique to her.

Steroid disease

I left Sue’s practice with a list of supplements and remedies to help Daisy with her main issue – Steroid Disease which I didn’t even know was a thing!  We started gradually weaning her off the steroids whilst also treating her gut flora after almost four years of being on them.  We supplemented her with Silica 200 (one dose), Cortisol 30 for the future and Pro-Kolin and K9 Immunity tablets and wafers – all to build up her immunity while lowering her doses to help the body start taking over the work done by the steroids.

Try to avoid anxiety

We stopped the hydrotherapy as this was putting too much strain on her body – and was also causing her anxiety which Sue advised we needed to avoid as much as possible from now on.

UTI and bladder infections dealt with

In June 2016 Daisy started experiencing UTI and bladder infections as well as a swollen bladder and urethra. We did a course of antibiotics, but a month later the symptoms returned. Having spoken to Sue via phone consult, we wanted to avoid more antibiotics so she prescribed Cystaid Plus and Equisetum 30c. 

We had a follow-up visit to Sue A in July.  A course of Pulsatilla 30 was given and a new schedule for lowering the steroid dose once again was planned for the following few months.  All going in the right direction! 

August 2016 – another UTI issue encountered so protein levels higher than normal.  We continued with all the remedies until her test results came back.

We had a follow-up appointment with Sue in September 2016 which resulted in one more dose of Pulsatilla 30 and a reduction of the steroids again. We also continued with less frequent doses of Cortisol 30 to help support her lower steroid levels.   She was still on ProKolin and Cystaid – small amounts only as she was becoming very untrusting with food due to the number of tablets and powders I was trying to hide in her meals! This regime was continued for the next few months.

Stopping the steroids at last!

In October 2016 we were given the go ahead to finally STOP the steroids for good!!!  What a fantastic day after almost five years!

Amazing changes!

November 2016 – we saw some amazing changes in Daisy’s health once she had been off steroids for a month.  Her fur was soft and shiny again, her eyes were clear and more alert and she was starting to lose weight (finally). But she was limping more as the steroids were no longer masking the pain. She was also losing muscle mass in her back legs – but her regular massages were still helping.  Sue A recommended Turmeric tablets – so we started her on one a day.

February 2017 saw a follow-up visit to Sue A after 18 weeks steroid-free.  During the transition period, her pain receptors will have reset so she had some bad days, but so long as they were not prolonged periods of pain and we supported her and her body recovered within a couple of days, all was well.


Due to my lack of knowledge, I spayed Daisy at six months. This, unfortunately, caused a condition known as ‘Juvenile Vulva’ where it doesn’t fully form and leaves a little cup where drops of urine can collect and make it sore. Apparently, it’s often mistaken for cystitis. We were able to treat it with Echinacea cream.  

Daisy’s healthcare plan evolves over time

Since there was no indication of recurrent Lyme disease, Cortisol 30C was reduced. We also introduced a Collagen Complex including type 2 collagen, chondroitin and glucosamine due to a connective tissue issue from the prolonged use of steroids.  This is a major cause of her joints dropping, her knee cap popping out of joint and so on – yet more issues for the poor girl to deal with.

March 2017 – Daisy also started developing Interdigital Cysts – she was prescribed Hepar Sulph which resolved the issue.  She also had another bout of UTI issues which seemed to occur every couple of months.  Equisetum was used along with cleaning of the area and treating with Echinacea cream.

Finally we had a quiet few months with no real issues – Daisy was doing well – losing weight and exercising more. 

Galen Myotherapy

During all of this time, Daisy also greatly benefitted from our wonderful friend Sue Maclennan being her personal Galen Myotherapy massage therapist. Sue visits at least once a month, more if needed and Daisy always feels and moves better following the treatments.  

I am so pleased to have discovered the benefits of integrated or holistic vet care – it has made an enormous difference to Daisy. We are indebted to all of our vets, therapists and practitioners for keeping my girl happy and mobile.

As of October 2017 she had been steroid free for a year…  
An amazing achievement after 4 and a half years!
Look out for part 3 of Daisy’s story

Daisy happy to be out with her big sister, Honey

Useful links

See Daisy’s first blog here.

For more information about zoopharmacognosy, homeopathy and Galen Myotherapay see our Modalities section

Blogs about homeopathy

Blogs about Galen Myotherapy

Blogs about zoopharmacognosy

Daisy’s team includes:

Sue Armstrong Consultancy

Isla Fishburn of Kachina Canine Wellness

Sue Maclennan Email:
Facebook: Sue-Galen Northumberland

Moorview Referrals

Lee Hogg is a CAM4animals supporter:

Daisy – born 17 April 2010. Came to me at eight weeks old to join her big sister (Honey a year old Labradoodle). She lived a perfectly healthy life until her first symptoms started in January 2012 and we have been on a very long journey to keep her healthy throughout her many illnesses. The first few years were due to the Lyme and Autoimmune conditions, but then we moved onto the illnesses and conditions caused by the cure – the high dose and continued use of steroids which are ongoing to this day.

Daisy got her first stroller in May 2012, thinking it would be a temporary aid to help her on long walks, but unfortunately, we are now on our 4th one as she needs help on each and every walk.

She has undergone virtually every treatment available – both conventional and alternative as I am happy and willing to try anything to help her live a full and happy life. We have been very fortunate to have some amazing vets, therapists and practitioners assist us in giving her the best of care. I am appreciative to each and every one of them and will never be able to thank them enough for their support, compassion and help.

I will continue to fight for Daisy as long as she needs me – and while her tail is wagging and she wants to keep going then I will ensure she has the best of everything. My gorgeous girl ❤

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website