by Niki Elliot
Francesca’s Story, by Niki Elliot, Practitioner for Companion Animals
I met Cristina in November at the Bella Vita Fayre where Shelley & I were doing some lectures. Cristina had bought a 6-week old Maltese cross pup, Francesca, from the Sandton City pet shop. While initially severely infested with worms, Francesca still had to deal over the next month or so with flu-like symptoms which where diagnosed as distemper but passed in 2-3 days without the nervous system being affected, and then she developed a skin rash that went from bad to worse. After 3 weeks of antibiotics the vets at the Lonehill practice were at a loss about the skin condition. Through friends Cristina was told of Dr Garry Eckersley, a veterinary specialist also specializing in skin disorders and homeopathy.
On the first visit during October, Dr Eckersley diagnosed sarcoptic mites and treated them. Unfortunately Francesca’s fight was not over. A slight imbalance on her back legs was also diagnosed as distemper. Dr Eckersley then put Francesca on the Distemper Nosode, which she still continues to take today. As there is no conventional treatment for canine distemper, over the next weeks Francesca got progressively worse every couple of days. Although she was eating very well and not showing any other symptoms, the ataxia brought her to the point of being completely unable to stand. Throughout this time, Dr Eckersley emphasized that although highly unlikely, we still have a remote chance for her given Francesca’s energy and will to live.
Finally towards the end of November her condition had remained stable for 2 weeks. The focus now shifted for Francesca’s family from not loosing her to improving her condition. The prognosis at this stage was quite distressing. If she was going to improve (which was not guaranteed), it could take months to see any slight change.
This is when I started working with Francesca. After the second Ttouch session, there was already marked improvement. Although far from consistent, Francesca would get up and walk a few steps. Between the sessions Cristina continued the work. The work done consisted of doing connected circles religiously all over the body as well as ear work, tarantulas & leg circles. The body wrap and even a half wrap (ACE) was too much for the pup. It seemed too heavy.
Before the 4th session Cristina emailed to say, “You won’t believe Francesca, she is all over the place”. I was not sure what exactly to expect. I could not believe my eyes when I got there. The little soul was running all over the place. Francesca came rushing out of the door to greet me, up a few stairs & her tail was up & wagging. Incredible!
After a few more sessions, there was still quite a lot of weakness in her hind legs especially on her right side but she could now sit on her haunches, go to the toilet in a squat & when she fell over was able to get up again very quickly. I showed Cristina how to do a suitcase as she wants her to learn (slowly) how to walk on a harness. It seemed that Francesca realized exactly what we were trying to do & was adjusting her balance like a pro & walking in the suitcase as if she had always done it. Unfortunately her teeth have been affected & she will probably loose quite a number of them.
We have started in the New Year with some very basic ground work to build up her strength. Seeing her now she looks like a normal Maltese puppy, she has put on muscle in her hindquarters & only shows a very slight gait difference on her right hind side. Christina came to my workshop to learn more of the touches & groundwork and will continue with Francesca. She managed very well doing the groundwork in the workshop. This little dog has been an inspiration.