Here is a brief history of Leroy's past..He was born on July 3rd, 2002, he was a rescue from a pet store in New Hampshire that had been shut down for abuse and neglect of dogs. I got him when he was 16weeks old, a terrified, shy, puppy, who had never set foot outside of his cage in the Fox Run Mall. The day I got him it was pouring rain, but there was something in his eyes, an old soul sort of look that instantly drew me to him. He would look down his long, pointer, nose at you, with this look that said he knew way more about life than I would ever know..a sort of arrogance, but a gentle, kind, confident sort of arrogance.
Leroy had bouts of colitis throughout his first few years but no major health issues of any sort. He was my companion EVERY where I went. He was always in my car during the day while I worked, or at the barn, out on trail, and at the beach every single day for his daily, chase seagulls as fast as he could, outings. Walk, was NOT in his vocabulary. I took many road trips with Leroy, he has more miles, and has seen more of America's coast line than most cars have. We moved from Maine to Santa Cruz, CA. in February 2007. In July, I noticed 2 ticks burrowed in his left, front armpit. I thought nothing of it as there were always ticks on him in CA. The site of the bite was the usual red, with a hard little bump, but still nothing unusual for a tick bite. I monitored the site as close as I thought necessary, with no unusual changes until one day I got in my car from a day at work and noticed the site had blown up to the size of a soft, fluid, filled golf ball. By the time I got back home, an hour later, it was back to it's normal size, about the size of a pimple. I called the vet the next day, and they got us in. I was heading to Maine in a few days and had almost thought about cancelling as it really appeared to be "nothing". Well that "nothing" turned out to be a grade II mast cell tumor. This was devastating news, as he was the picture of health, with no signs of cancer. The odd thing about the tumor was the amount of eosinophils that were within it. I knew in my heart, though the vets felt different, that this was a tick related issue. Leroy had surgery, the vets felt the margins were clear on all sides of the tumor, but due to the location so close to his lymph nodes the prognosis was pretty poor. 80% chance it would come back in 6mos. We even saw the best Canine Oncologist, Dr. Jay Stone, at Santa Cruz Veterinary hospital where we seriously contemplated chemo. and radiation, he was only 5yrs old at the time. The process and price of treatment was to invasive for all involved so Jeff and I decided to do what we could holistically. Until this point Leroy's diet was Purina food, I always "thought" I was buying the "best" store brands, and had never really explored, nor felt I needed to explore what other options were out there. We spent countless hours of research, talked to vets, naturopaths and more. We decided the best option was to put him on a cancer diet that was low in carbohydrates, higher in protein, and moderate in fat. We discovered Grain free, Innova Evo, at that point, as we did not have the freezer space to do a full raw diet. We supplemented this diet with cottage cheese, Salmon oil, Shitake Mushrooms, Bovine Colostrum, VIT C, Spirulina and fresh fruits and veggies. Leroy never looked better.
When we moved to Bend, OR. in November 2007 we discovered a wonderful pet store that sold, and made doing a raw diet easier than it had been in Santa Cruz. We fed him Full raw, alternating between chicken, beef, buffalo and duck. We continued his fruits, veggies, and supplements. Things were looking great for Leroy. We found a good vet, with a great wellness program. We discovered that Leroy was Lyme Positive after he had started limping. His urine was also full of struvite crystals, and very concentrated. So we had to alter his diet to a veterinary prescribed diet for the crystals. I am convinced that the Lyme disease, the urine issues and the Mast cells are all related on some level. All of his issues started after this tick bite. We got the crystals under control and slowly transitioned him onto a grain free food, Taste of the Wild. He was doing very well and we felt that we did not need to continue the huge expense of a raw diet. Plus, we had gotten a new German Shorthaired Puppy, Percy, and the dry food was a healthy, more convenient alternative. Every year during Leroys annual dental we would remove any new lumps that would crop up. I was so excited year after year when they just came back as fatty, lipomas. Outside of occasional limping he was in great health as long as we monitored his urine and lumps rigorously. As of last year we decided to no longer remove his lumps as he was having a harder time recovering from the surgeries. This year, January 2012 there were no new lumps to take off and he seemed to be in great health.