On Sunday, February 7th, my dog Encore turned 17. We celebrated with cake! We’ve been celebrating every day for nine years as she has had many bonus birthdays. You see, in 2012, she suffered a traumatic brain injury, and we did not know if she would survive.
Very recently on my podcast, I told Encore’s story and the six incredibly valuable lessons learned from her near-death experience and recovery. In the podcast, I mentioned that as part of her recovery, along with rehab and outstanding care from Veterinary professionals, we tried alternative therapy.
The podcast about Encore was followed up by another with my thoughts on the longevity of dogs. My last two dogs, Buzz and DeCaff, both lived to be over 17 and a half years old. And now Encore has reached her 17th birthday against all odds.
Knowing I wanted to celebrate Encore’s 17 years with a blog post, I asked my Naturopath who treats my dogs for her thoughts on the effects of steroids and antibiotics on our dogs. The reply is below for you.
Crisis situations with our pet dogs require crisis intervention, be it surgery, antibiotics or steroid drugs as examples.
It is important to understand that these or any other crisis interventions should only be used as needed in life threatening emergencies. When antibiotic was first used, it was considered a super drug that would eradicate all infections, only to now realize that overuse has created super bugs that are antibiotic resistant as well as creating fungal overgrowth in both humans and animals. Antibiotics destroy all organisms, even our trillions of good microbiome that protect us from invaders.
Steroids such as prednisone may also be necessary in certain cases, however rather than being used as a last resort, they are often overprescribed creating other issues. Traditional medicine today often takes the route of treating symptoms rather than sourcing a cause.
Because synthetic steroids are a powerful drug, it is crucial to wean off the steroids slowly. While weaning the pet off steroids, the adrenal glands can be supported with natural remedies such as adrenal glandular and herbs such as Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola, Astragalus and B vitamins.
What are synthetic steroids used for? They are used for life threatening situations such as injuries, skin irritations, itching, mast cell tumours, lymphoma, allergies, inflammatory GI problems, asthma, gum inflammation, eye issues and pain.
What are the alternatives? Talk to your Veterinarian and ask their thoughts about alternative care, perhaps they know of a holistic practitioner they can recommend. Look at Chinese herbs and acupuncture from a Licenced Acupuncturist.
Supplements such as omega fatty acids, curcumin found in turmeric, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, B complex, green tea, frankincense oil or calendula cream applied externally, cat’s claw herb for immune support, adrenal support, are some of the possibilities that a holistic practitioner may prescribe.
I want to stress that I consider it vital to have a good relationship with your Veterinarian and all your dog’s health practitioners. The support provided for Encore over the years has been phenomenal.
Encore is a very engaged 17 year old, enjoying her life and all the special moments. When she was young, she was amazing at agility. She won a silver medal at her first World Championships in Jumpers. When she won the US National Championships in agility, she beat the second-place dog by two seconds. She was so fast. Everyone just loved watching Encore do agility.
Below is a video I put together back in 2010 to celebrate Encore’s first National Championship win at the USDAA 2010 Nationals where she won the 22″ Grand Prix.
Today I am grateful for Encore’s life, and every bonus day we have celebrated for the past 9 years!
What a great day to celebrate . lol that is really so old 17 years old !!
hope he can have a long life :*
Such a wonderful experience for you both, you have been an incredible team together so many wonderful times shared.
Brought many emotions to me. Thank you for sharing. x
Thank you for your articles. on aging dogs. We have a 16 3/4 year old dog. (Pit Lab mix), along with a couple of chihuahuas .We have also worked closely with our vet along with a vet who does acupuncture along with some massage therapy. We had also changed over to raw a number of years ago. He has had a heart murmur for years, back and mobility or about 4 years,. The acupuncturist/vet actually extended his life by 4 years. I take comfort in your Big Adventure story along with you sharing how to grief and celebrate at the same time..
Thank you, for sharing this, so beautiful!!
Warm wishes for you and Encore for many more special, treasured moments.❤️🐾🐾
What a beautiful journey you have had together. This made me cry. May you have many, many more special moments together. Thank you Susan and Encore! Happy Birthday girl!
Wow! Happy birthday Encore. What an amazing journey. The story and video made me all teary-eyed (and on Valentine’s Day too). 🙂
formidable ! bravo Encore ! bravo Suzan!!!
So beautiful! So much love and trust between you and Encore. Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey with us, Susan. Happy Birthday Encore! Lots of warm hugs and smooches! xoxo
Happy Birthday Encore! You have a fantastic Dog Mom. You have had such a full life! I hope that my dogs live as long as you.
Happy Birthday Encore! What a wonderful journey you’re having💕
This just made me cry! What a great partner and team! Happy Birthday, Encore, we love you! 😍 Hands off to all our senior dogs that have always been there for us and will always be in our hearts and mind.
What an amazing life all your dogs have, thank you for being you.,
That video brought tears to my eyes ❤️ Happy Birthday Encore!
I’m in tears!!! I lost the dog of my life at 15 just 2 years ago. I cherished his face every day. He also survived a near-death unexpected event. We are blessed to have our dogs reach an elder status so getting to celebrate 17 is just plain amazing. Special hugs for the seniors every day!
Susan, I cried with you all then, I’m crying with you now – only today it’s for joy 🙂 Many more happy days for you and Encore! Nellie and the bulldogs
Happy Birthday Encore! What a beautiful video! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Here’s to many more years!❤️
Susan, I so remember the day when Encore had her brain injury… I still remember the photo of you in the RV as John was driving you home to be with Encore. We all cried for you. What a journey of love and devotion bringing Encore back and look at her now!
Happy Happy Woof Day, Encore/Missy Em! How I have enjoyed your journey!
I love seeing Encore in her heyday. What a superstar she was and is. What a long and loved, amazing life she has had. I so wish I could find a naturpath to help my dog who has Addison’s disease which means prednisone everyday and another mineral corticoid monthly. So far, everywhere I’ve looked, I’m told that there is no ” cure ” and steroids are the best bet. Thank you for sharing Encore’s birthday celebration and may she have many more. Yeah
Wonderful video celebration of such a beautiful dog. Happy Birthday Encore!
What a story! The life of our dogs is precious. What do you contribute her long healthy life, activity and continued mental health too? I would love to hear if there is anything else I can do to continue the lives of my Australian shepherds.
I previously had 3 generations of goldens live to 15. Which is so unheard of in Golden retrievers.
Any tips, suggestions or even a future podcast would be wonderful!
Hi Clare, Susan’s podcast on longevity has some tips. Here’s the link for “12 Keys to Helping My Dogs Live a Long and Happy Life” (Episode 62):
Happy Birthday Encore. What a beautiful girl you are (inside and out) Enjoy your day and all the days that lie ahead of you. Love and Hugs to a Beautiful Girl.
Happy birthday Encore!! Such pure joy while competing. What a beautiful soul.
The video brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing all your dogs lives with us. Happy Birthday Encore!!
So very beautiful and heart-touching.
Those bonus days with our precious seniors are memories forever 💓💖
Happy birthday sweet, sweet Encore
O my goodness. She was so fast. I am just starting Agility with my 6 year old Belgian and being in a wheelchair you have inspired me because you took so few steps. Encore was phenomenal! Happy Birthday Encore!
I was looking forward to watching you run Swagger in Florida at the Invitational when I saw on Facebook that you left to be with Encore. I was sad to miss seeing you run in person, but it made the event more a personable experience for myself with my heart dog. ~ Treasure every moment. Happy 17th Birthday, Encore!
O Encore and Susan ..your love and devotion to each other is so clear ! And after her brain trauma, getting to 17 shows how good her quality of life is. This is what I aspire to with my 3 year old Labradoodle, Lacey. She loves agility and it is pure joy for me to work on it with her….I am the weak link but I am inspired by Encore and you.
🐕 Happy Birthday Dearest Encore! 🍁
What a great day to celebrate!
Happy 17th Birthday Encore! Such a blessing! I was touched how Susan ended her blog . Gratitude for this beautiful life💕
Watching this made me cry. Thank you for sharing. Love to Encore on her 17th!
Thanks for sharing. I just love reading Encore stories. How about sharing the video on Encore rehabilitation with Jason Maranz background music I won’t Give Up. It is so inspiring.
Beautiful , how lucky you two were to meet on the road of life .” Happy Birthday Encore ” 🎈🎈🎈🎈💖💖💖💖