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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Meowsa! Do our pets go to Heaven?

WND: While millions of people grapple with questions about what really happens when they die, now a brand-new book is probing what might actually happen to people’s beloved pets.

The title of the book asks the timeless question, “Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?” and features biblical analysis of the issue, along with amazing stories of pets that saved people and provided companionship as well as healing.

“I must admit I cannot recount the number of times when, as a pastor of more than two decades and as a public and media personality since, I have been approached by an adult or child – eyes filled with questions – who wanted to ask me very sincerely if I believed their pets would go to heaven,” says Tom Horn, who co-authored the book with Terry James and other contributors.

“It seems to be one of the biggest secrets in Christianity,” Horn continued, “that our Western mindset has made it difficult to discuss what people in other countries as well as theologians down through time believed to be an important and theological question. Most are also usually unaware that the Bible itself has some important things to say about the issue, and that many celebrated theologians and philosophers – past and present – concluded a long time ago based on these Scriptures that our pets most likely will be in heaven.”

Video: Do Our Pets Go To Heaven?

Ironically, the Bible itself doesn’t even say the ultimate reward of saved men and women will be floating on clouds in the sky, but it does indicate Jesus Christ will raise His true believers from the grave, grant them eternal life, return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and rule with them here on planet Earth.

Yet there are plenty of verses in Scripture indicating the presence of animals in the coming kingdom of God.

The prophet Isaiah is famous for this future glimpse depicting people dwelling with animals, whose aggressive nature will have been reprogrammed and tamed by God in the kingdom:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)

Horn writes in a chapter of his book:

Indeed, we find that God values His living artistry so much that He even made some of the angelic beings to reflect the animal’s faces (see Revelation 4:6–8; Ezekiel 10:14). In addition to their artistic value, God loves the company of these creatures to the point that not even a tiny sparrow falls to the ground that He doesn’t account for (Matthew 10:29). Another amazing example of God’s concern for animals comes from the story of Jonah, in which it appears that the people of Nineveh were spared destruction because God wanted to have mercy on their children and animals (see Jonah 4:11)! Of course, to the delight of my wife, Nita, God is an equestrian and has already filled Heaven with lots and lots of horses (Revelation 6:2–8; 19:11; 2 Kings 6:17). His Son, Jesus, will even return someday on one such horse (Revelation 19:11–14).

It is further written in the Bible that:

  • God holds the lives of animals in His hands (Job 12:10).
  • He, Himself, feeds them (Psalms 104:21–30; Matthew 6:26).
  • They were created for His enjoyment (Revelation 4:11).
  • God never forgets about them (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
  • People who mistreat their pets are judged by Him as “cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Those who treat their pets kindly are called “righteous” (Proverbs 12:10).

Horn notes the idea of pets in heaven is not some rogue notion among famous Christians, stating, “Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Mark Hitchcock, Dr. David Reagan, and hundreds of other clergy and theologians agree that the chances are very good our pets will be in heaven.”

When Graham was once asked by a little girl whose dog had died that week whether her pet would be in heaven, he replied, “If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be.”

Horn also cites verses in Scripture stating it won’t be just resurrected human beings offering praise to God in the future:

Animals are included with men as those who are commanded to praise the Lord! This was true in the Old Testament in places such as Psalms 148:10–13, where we read:

“Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”

And this amazing fact – that animals praise the Lord – will also be true in the future, as they are seen offering praise unto the Lamb of God extending into eternity in Revelation 5:13:

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

But the idea that pets go to heaven or have a similar reward to obedient human servants of God is certainly not ubiquitous among faithful believers who study the Bible.

Among them is Philip Shields, a Christian speaker and online host of LightontheRock.org, who stresses there’s a clear distinction in the book of Genesis at the time animals and mankind were created.

“Elohim (God) spoke all things – including animals – into existence,” he explained. “But to mankind only did He breathe His breath into. All humans have a spirit in man, and that spirit goes back to God after our death. But not animals’ spirits.”

He cites Ecclesiastes 3:21, which states: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (breath) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”

Shields says, “It is this spirit in man that gives us mind (Job 32:8), enabling there to be an interface with God’s spirit so we can understand godly things, which animals don’t. Animals have their own breath, ruach [in Hebrew], or spirit, but that goes back to the earth. Man is the only one that God did mouth-to-mouth on. That did not happen to hippopotamuses and alligators, or to dogs or cats. I think that’s an important distinction, that they don’t have the breath of God.”

“I’d love to think my beloved Duchess would be resurrected or something, but I don’t think so,” he added.

“And where do you draw the line? Are the bad animals – maneaters, for example – burning in hell? Is every cockroach or mongoose or tarantula up there, too, by the billions and trillions? How about the trillions of ants and mosquitoes? And if not, why not?”

Shields also asks rhetorically, “Did Christ die for animals, too? Can animals sin?”

Anyone searching the Internet for answers about pets going to heaven will find no shortage of posts on the matter.

ClarifyingChristianity.com offers a study on the matter, and agrees animals will be present in God’s coming kingdom. However, it points out “the question is ‘Were these animals new creations or do these animals include reborn earthly creatures?’”

By the end of its treatment, the site says, “The Bible is silent regarding an afterlife for animals. However, we do have one hope. The key passage for this question does not deal with animals directly, but rather God’s promise to those who inherit God’s kingdom – those people who have gotten right with God and will go to heaven themselves. For them, the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 [verse 9] applies:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

“Obviously, what God has prepared for us is wonderful beyond comprehension. Therefore, love your pets as much as you can while they are here. Those of us who go to heaven will later understand that everything worked out perfectly regarding our pets.”

Related:

Pets and Heaven 

Heaven and Pets

Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

Rainbow Bridge

Sometimes “Rainbow Bridge” Prayers Are Answered

Critter for Christmas Gift… Not Best Idea!

Pet owners cut back on gifts… but not for their cuddly dogs and cats

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Soul Remains Unawakened’ 

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Pet Age

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

Heaven and Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Tails of Love

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

And God Created Dog…

Dogs Know

On the First Day God Created the Dog!

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

GoD and DoG

Dog, truly a gift! 

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Tribute to Brendon Griffen… 

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Books

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting To The "Root" of Bad Breath In Dogs And Cats

Dog Smiles 2

Dog SmilesBy Donna Spector  -  HaloPets: Periodontal disease is one of the most common and serious pet health problems, affecting approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by age 3. At-home prevention is as important as regular teeth cleaning by veterinarians. In fact, unless pet owners provide teeth cleaning for dogs and cats at home, periodontal disease will progress regardless of the care provided by veterinarians. Periodontal disease often results in tooth and gum infections, pain, loss of teeth and even organ damage in pets. Studies have shown that dogs with severe periodontal disease have more damage in their kidneys, heart muscle and liver than dogs without periodontal disease. This organ damage occurs when bacteria from the infected tooth roots and gums gain access to the blood stream (a condition called bacteremia). The key to management of gum disease (for humans or pets!) is prevention. As long as the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned frequently, the gums will stay healthy

Some dogs are more susceptible than others to build up of plaque. Factors that affect the risk of a dog getting periodontal disease include

  • Breed and genetics
  • Dog size
  • Flattened face (brachycephalic)
  • Age
  • Frequent mouth breathing

Vet inspecting a dogs teeth

Breed, genetic and tooth alignment can all affect how easily a dog gets plaque.

Small breeds tend to have crowded teeth and are at a higher risk of building up plaque and having dental problems.

Dogs with flattened faces having compressed upper jaws (such as pugs, boxers, etc.) also tend to have crowded teeth.

Older dogs are more likely to have dental problems.

When a dog breathes frequently through its mouth the drying of the teeth tends to harden plaque.

Smiling Chihuahua*Example: Chihuahuas are very lucky in that the fact that this breed has few health problems overall… but teeth issues is periodontal disease is one!  There is an old joke…”What do you call a room full of Chihuahuas?”…  “One full set of teeth.” Winking smile

Brushing your pets’ teeth at home

Cat SmilesThe gold standard for keeping gums healthy and plaque controlled in pets is twice daily tooth brushing. Each pet should have their own toothbrush and proper pet toothbrushes should have bristles to reach under the gum line. There are numerous cat and dog toothbrush sizes available to best fit your pets’ mouth. Human toothpaste contains detergents and should not be used in pets as they will swallow the paste. There are many cat and dog toothpaste flavors available and most pets seem to prefer the poultry-flavored types.

Proper brushing technique involves placing the toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle where the gum and teeth meet. Using a gentle oval pattern and covering three to four teeth at a time, the bristles should be moved around the teeth. Ten short oval motions should be completed before moving the toothbrush to a new location in the mouth. The outside upper teeth do the most chewing and should get more attention.

For best results, tooth-brushing should start when pets are young and will easily adjust to teeth cleaning at home. As pets age and develop tooth and gum disease, there may be pain associated with brushing and pets may be less willing to allow brushing. If your pet is completely unwilling to allow brushing, there are dental wipes that can help control plaque when rubbed twice daily against the teeth and gums.

Veterinary teeth cleaning

Cat Smiles 2In addition to daily tooth brushing, pets will intermittently require dental cleanings by their veterinarian to prevent periodontal disease from occurring. Veterinarians often perform fluoride treatments or apply plaque prevention gels that have a long-lasting plaque-fighting advantage. The frequency of these cleanings will depend on the success of the at-home dental care. They may be as frequent as every four to six months in a pet with severe periodontal disease or only every two to three years if a pet owner has been dedicated to maintaining their pets’ dental health at home.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Is anesthesia always required for teeth cleaning?

    Yes, anesthesia is required for a thorough teeth cleaning that will help prevent periodontal disease. As pet owners are often reluctant about procedures requiring anesthesia for their pet, some groomers and veterinarians are offering "anesthesia-free" dental cleanings. Anesthesia-free cleanings are not recommended by the American Veterinary Dental College, as these procedures always result in suboptimal examination and cleaning and also increase the risk of injury to the pet’s mouth.

  • Is dry food better for pets’ teeth?

    No. It is a myth that dry kibble helps remove plaque and that canned foods cause more plaque. Most dry food crumbles without much resistance, offering little to no abrasive action from chewing. Pets eating dry foods can (and do) develop heavy plaque buildup.

  • Does my pet need a special dental diet?

    Probably not. If your pet has particularly bad plaque problems, despite proper at-home teeth brushing and veterinary dental care, you should talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate dental diet. Approved dental diets contain chemicals that bind and facilitate breakdown of plaque. There is a list of approved foods and dental treats published by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

    Digestive problems can also contribute to bad breath in dogs and cats. If you haven’t already, consider switching to a natural pet food which promotes excellent gastrointestinal health.

  • Are there treats that can help reduce plaque buildup?

    Yes. There are many treat products on the market that claim efficacy against plaque and tartar. The VOHC Seal of Acceptance can help pet owners distinguish which products are actually scientifically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

    Bad breath is just a minor symptom of the more severe periodontal disease occurring in your pet’s mouth. Work with your veterinarian to create a cat or dog dental care plan that will keep the bad breath away and maintain your pets’ health for years to come.

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM ,is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and other leading institutions. She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Donna has written and lectured extensively on topics including nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney failure and respiratory disease. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets, her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and her widely-quoted pet health advice in print and on radio. Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service, www.SpectorDVM.com.

Here we have two laughing Chiweenie Sisters, Angelina and Princess, laughing as they wait for their Halloween Photos (2008)

September 19, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Story at-a-glance
  • Dr. Becker interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist and leader in the field of end-of-life care and pawspice (pet hospice).
  • Dr. Alice, as she is known, realized as a vet student that veterinary oncology was the field she wanted to practice in. She also saw a tremendous need for end-of-life care services for companion animals. When she went into private practice, Dr. Villalobos made the decision to care for each of her patients all the way through their illness to the end of their lives.
  • Dr. Alice created the term “pawspice” to distinguish the goals of hospice care for pets from what happens in human hospice. She also developed the HHHHHMM quality of life scale for pets with cancer that has gone viral.
  • Since the publishing of Dr. Villalobos’s textbook in 2007, the subject of pet hospice and end-of-life care is being covered in an increasing number of veterinary schools. In fact, it is currently the fastest-growing specialty service in veterinary medicine.
  • One of the ways pawspice differs from hospice is the incorporation of palliative medicine, which is geared toward alleviating symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. It involves using standard medicines in different ways to help trigger temporary remission without adverse events in the patient, thereby improving quality of life and happiness for pets at the end of their lives.

Video: Dr. Karen Becker Interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos regarding veterinary hospice.

    By Dr. Becker

    Today I have a very special guest chatting with me via Skype — Dr. Alice Villalobos. “Dr. Alice,” as she is known, is a University of California-Davis graduate, the director of Pawspice in Hermosa Beach, and she also runs the Animal Oncology Consultation Service in Woodland Hills.

    Dr. Villalobos is a founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Association for Veterinary Family Practice, and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She’s also the past president of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics and founder of the Peter Zippi Memorial Fund for Animals, which has found homes for 14,000 pets since 1977, primarily cats.

    Dr. Villalobos is editor-in-chief for several veterinary-related journals, and she has authored textbooks including Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle). She also writes a column titled The Bond and Beyond for Veterinary Practice News.

    Dr. Villalobos has received the Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award, the UC Davis Alumni Achievement award for her pioneering role in bringing oncology services to companion animals, and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice award. She lectures worldwide on veterinary oncology, companion animal quality of life issues, and “pawspice,” or veterinary hospice, which is the topic of our discussion today.

    Dr. Villalobos made the decision when she entered private practice to see her cancer patients through to the end of their lives.

    I asked Dr. Alice, since she has been a veterinarian for many years, how soon into her career she realized there was a huge gap in end-of-life care services for pets.

    She explained that she was still in veterinary school when she decided to practice oncology, and her animal patients had their end-of-life experiences right there at UC Davis. So Dr. Villalobos was able to see the gap in services first-hand while still a vet student.

    When she went into private practice, she made the decision to see her patients all the way through to the end of their lives, unlike what happened back in those days (1970s) in human medicine, when no one wanted to discuss death. This predated the human hospice movement and the concept of helping people die peacefully, without pain.

    Dr. Alice decided to work with her animal patients and their families right through to the very end of the journey. Fortunately, we are able to help pets have a very peaceful passing because society condones euthanasia for animals. Dr. Villalobos made it a point to talk about the subject with each family from the first day she felt euthanasia was inevitable for their pet.

    Next I asked Dr. Villalobos who she sought counsel from originally, since back in the 1970s there weren’t any mentors or role models for treating pets at the end of life. She answered that in the late 1960s and early 1970s at UC Davis, there was a very special pioneer in the field of animal oncology, Dr. Gordon Theilen.

    Dr. Theilen wrote the first two textbooks on veterinary cancer medicine. Dr. Alice considers him a great role model who is filled with compassion. She mentions Leo Bustad as a role model as well. He was also a part of the UC Davis team and was responsible for the term “human-animal bond.”

    Dr. Villalobos noticed that pet owners would come into her practice wanting to keep their dog or cat with them for as long as possible. They didn’t want a replacement. They wanted to get treatments for their pets and when the time came, they wanted to insure their animals were able to pass on in the right way – at home, with the best of care, surrounded by their human family.

    Dr. Alice looked into what was being done with pediatric oncology. She interviewed human patients and asked questions like, “You have this cancer. How does it feel?” Part of the reason for her research was because at vet school, she was taught animals don’t experience pain on the level they actually, in fact, do. Back in those days, rather than being given pain medications, animals were restrained for procedures and prevented from moving after surgery. Fortunately, all that has changed.

    As a member of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management, Dr. Alice knows that veterinary hospice practitioners must have extensive knowledge and expertise in pain management, because it is one of the biggest problems for cancer patients (both human and animal) at the end of their lives.

    Taking treatment of terminally ill pets and end-of-life care to the next level.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if, when she first got started, she was met with conflict. Were her colleagues confused? Did they question her? She replied, “Dr. Becker, I’m still pulling the arrows out of my back.” I asked her to expand on the conflicts and confrontations she has encountered.

    Dr. Alice explained that back in the early 1970s, treating a cat with both leukemia and FIP was “almost blasphemy.” People thought, “What is she doing?” But at UC Davis, they treated cats with lymphoma, and the most likely cat to have lymphoma was also positive for the leukemia virus.

    Dr. Theilen was the doctor who isolated the three subtypes of the leukemia virus that ultimately resulted in a vaccine. UC Davis was working extensively with leukemias and lymphomas in felines. In fact, Dr. Niels Pedersen of UC Davis is the person who characterized the FIP virus and discovered the feline immunodeficiency virus.

    Dr. Alice explains she was surrounded by fantastic researchers and a wonderful atmosphere. When she finished vet school, she was actually in the midst of a “mock” residency with Dr. Theilen who wanted to put a veterinary student through a clinical oncology program. So Dr. Villalobos actually began her residency while still a sophomore in vet school, and she continued that work for Dr. Theilen through her next three years of school.

    So in addition to the stigma attached to treating viropositive animals, Dr. Villalobos also had a passion for helping them die well. I asked her what kind of response she received. She answered that most of her colleagues felt they were already doing that – providing animals with a good end of life experience. But as she further explains, it requires a certain expertise. Palliative medicine is a specialty. She expects at some point it will become a specialty in veterinary medicine just as it is in human medicine.

    Dr. Alice goes on to explain that hospice is another area of expertise. She views it as, “The types of psychology that we need to know to help comfort the bewildered, bereft, grieving, and the anticipatory grief that comes through, even suicide. People feel that they can’t go on another day.”

    When a pet dies, veterinary professionals need to be well versed in all these forms of psychotherapy, comfort care and grief counseling. It’s a necessary service, but in a busy practice, when a DVM isn’t accustomed to working with end-of-life care patients and clients, it just doesn’t happen.

    Dr. Alice’s “pawspice” concept and the HHHHHMM quality of life scale.

    End-of-life care hasn’t been taught in vet schools. Students are taught how to euthanize animals, but that’s about it. I do think palliative medicine is coming, though, and certainly pain management is even farther along, thankfully. But putting all those pieces together to offer truly thoughtful, heartfelt support isn’t there yet.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if she thinks vet school courses are addressing some of these skills today. She replied she believes they are coming along. She says that after her textbook arrived in 2007, vet schools quickly took the book into their libraries, and some of the programs that were developed even taught pawspice.

    Dr. Alice explains she wanted to call pet hospice “pawspice” because the word hospice is actually very confusing for those who want to adapt the concept for veterinary medicine. She says that in human hospice, the arrival of death isn’t slowed down. Patients receive pain management, but what everyone is doing is simply waiting for the patient to die.

    In veterinary medicine, we can apply a quality of life scale to each patient. In fact, a scale that Dr. Villalobos proposed in 2004 went viral. It went everywhere. It’s the HHHHHMM scale. It’s designed to be easy to remember. The five H’s are for:

    … no Hurt
    … good Hydration
    … no Hunger
    … good Hygiene
    Happiness

    Hurt, Hydration, Hunger, Hygiene, and Happiness. These are the five basic areas that pawspice professionals must be able to talk to their clients about.

    The first M is for Mobility. This is extremely important for large pets, for example, Great Danes. If a Great Dane can’t move around on his own, it’s over unless there are some very strong family members who can physically move the dog as often as necessary. In smaller animals, mobility isn’t such a huge factor. On the quality of life scale, they can have a score of 0 all the way up to 10 and still be okay. It’s similar to people in wheelchairs – they can have great quality of life even though they don’t have full mobility.

    The second M is for More good days than bad days. This is something the pet’s family has to focus on. Is this a good day for Buddy? Or is this a bad day? If there are more bad days, say two or three or four in a row and no really good days, it’s time for the family to consider the gift of euthanasia.

    Our pets only think in present time. They exist in the now. Even if you’re five hours late coming home, they are still full of joy and not mad at you. They’re just happy to see you now, because they exist in the now. If they’re suffering now, that’s all they know, and if there are too many times of suffering, frustration builds up.

    Sometimes people don’t understand this. It can be difficult to understand things from a pet’s viewpoint. When there are more bad days than good days, our pets welcome the gift of euthanasia. They don’t need to live for the graduation of a niece or nephew. They’re not looking back with regret and hoping to reconcile with someone before they die. The human hospice philosophy simply doesn’t apply at the end of an animal’s life. They’re here to enjoy the moment. It their quality of life is poor, it’s up to us as their protectors not to make them endure further suffering.

    This is the way Dr. Alice talks to her clients, “You are his protector. Buddy needs you to make the decision to help him, you know, change worlds.” She says Barbara Myers, a pet loss consultant, uses that beautiful phrase, “Let’s help them change worlds.” It’s often comforting to families to use euphemisms like “transitioning,” or “crossing the Rainbow Bridge.” It’s not necessary to use tough words when talking about the death of a beloved companion animal. Families, and especially children, welcome thoughtful, loving words to describe what will be happening to their pet.

    End-of-life care/pet hospice is the fastest-growing specialty in veterinary medicine today.

    Next I asked Dr. Alice about her passion for teaching and consulting other professionals and vet schools about end-of-life care for pets. She explained that she has taught all over the world, and her textbook is translated into Spanish and Portuguese. When she goes to Portugal, Spain, or South America, she’s treated like a celebrity!

    Dr. Villalobos is also well known in the U.S. for being one of the leaders of the pet hospice movement. She says her decision to treat pets with cancer in vet school was pivotal in creating a specialty service for animals in the final stages of life. She says it’s the fastest-growing specialty service in all of veterinary medicine. New veterinarians in particular are really embracing pet hospice.

    Dr. Villalobos says one of the reasons for its popularity is that DVMs can set up an independent practice. They can do house calls. This is especially attractive to young DVMs who may not be able to find a practice they really like, or who work at a practice in which the owners want them to work more hours than they can handle while raising a family. Going the house call route has worked out very nicely for many of these young vets.

    Dr. Stephen Withrow of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center has incorporated hospice and end-of-life care chapters written by Dr. Villalobos in his textbook, and she says his students call her all the time for help. She says CSU has set up a wonderful hospice service, as have a number of other veterinary colleges in the U.S. It’s also a growing movement in Canada, South America and France.

    Helping pet owners give their animals a good quality death.

    Dr. Villalobos is also passionate about using the term “pawspice” for pets to alleviate the confusion and negative impression many people have of hospice services for humans.

    As she explains it, when a pet owner has arrived at those final moments, she or he is often paralyzed with doubt or fear about causing the pet’s passing by making that final decision to euthanize. Dr. Alice sees her job, and the job of all professionals in the specialty, to help comfort those pet owners by letting them know it’s actually a vet’s duty by the oath he or she takes to prevent suffering.

    In my practice, I tell clients that the decision to help their pet transition is, of course, the most difficult decision they may ever make. But I also explain that as their veterinarian, the most important thing I can do is to help their pet die well rather than poorly. I ask them, “Do you want to rip the Band-Aid off really fast, or really slow?” I explain that they will be heartbroken either way, but for their pet’s sake, we can help by offering a good and peaceful transition. A good quality of death.

    Dr. Villalobos believes quality of life/quality of death questions should also apply to humans. She says that if any of you listening or reading here today have a family member or a child with a terminal disease, you should advocate for a quality passing for that person.

    In human medicine, it’s all about what can be done – we can do this, and we can do that, and we can do something else. Even at the end of the road with, say, a cancer that has been resistant to all forms of treatment, someone will come up with yet another treatment that is usually more risky. The patient has an adverse reaction, winds up in the ICU, and has a bad death.

    One of the things I’m so grateful to Dr. Alice for is helping veterinarians understand it’s okay to tell a pet owner, “We’ve pushed this animal far enough.” It’s human nature, especially for optimists like me, to say, “We can try this and this and this” when our patients no longer want to keep going and their bodies are tired. I tell my clients that sometimes the body becomes a cage for the soul, and the body doesn’t work, so they need to think seriously about setting the soul free. Animals can become frustrated or depressed, and there comes a point where we should stop pushing, which actually takes all the pressure off the pet.

    Sometimes we need to give clients permission to say, “You know what? We’re going to stop and we’re going to voluntarily withdraw all treatment.” Instead of trying to cure or change the disease situation, we’re going to switch our focus to helping the animal have a peaceful, good quality death.

    The role of palliative medicine in end-of-life care.

    Dr. Alice has really helped veterinarians understand and be able to talk about dying well versus just euthanasia. There’s a gap between the two. When we have a terminal patient and we know euthanasia is coming, there are things we can do to prepare the family, the pet, and our hearts. Dr. Villalobos has paved the way for veterinarians in this regard and I’m really thankful to her for that.

    She explains that one of the reasons pawspice is different from hospice is that it incorporates palliative medicine, which is a very misunderstood area in human medicine, especially in the U.S. There’s this idea that palliative medicine is “giving up,” but it is not. It is simply taking care of symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. Dr. Villalobos stresses that we use standard medicine inside palliative medicine.

    She says that when a pet patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting cancer, with pawspice what she does is select standard therapy for that patient that will hopefully bring a period of welcome remission. But the therapy isn’t one that will be hard on the animal. It will be something that brings only good days – and few if any bad days. Dr. Alice avoids medications, therapies, treatments and regimens that will result in adverse events for the patient.

    For example, she may use a strong drug, but split it to give in two doses instead of one. The techniques she uses are in her textbook, and many DVMs are adopting them. Dr. Villalobos says it has evolved into something called metronomic therapy, which is a continuous low-dose treatment that reduces the formation of new blood vessels, which all tumors need in order to grow. Sometimes she just tries to control the tumor, maybe slow down the growth a little, while preserving the patient’s level of happiness and quality of life.

    Thank you, Dr. Alice!

    Since not all veterinarians are providing hospice care, I asked Dr. Alice where my Healthy Pets listeners and readers can go to learn more about end-of-life care. She invites everyone to visit her Pawspice website, where you can find lots of information and links to other resources.

    I so appreciate Dr. Villalobos taking the time to speak with me today. I’m grateful for all the work she has done and continues to do for sick and terminally ill animals.

    Related:

    Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

    Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

    The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

    Pet Age

    The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

    World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

    The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

    How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

    Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

    Pet owners turning to non-traditional

    A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

    ‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

    Adopt a Senior Pet…

    WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

    Heaven and Pets

    If I Should Die Before My Dog…

    Tails of Love

    ‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

    Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

    And God Created Dog…

    Dogs Know

    On the First Day God Created the Dog!

    Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

    A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

    And God Created Dog…

    Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

    GoD and DoG

    Dog, truly a gift!

    Rainbow Bridge…

    Books

    Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

    Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

    August 30, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

    Soothe Your Pet’s Arthritis With This Proven Marine Substance

    Story at-a-glance
    • According to recent studies of cats and dogs with osteoarthritis (OA), both species can benefit from a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids sourced from fish.
    • The University of Montreal conducted a study of 30 dogs with OA and concluded a diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids resulted in significant improvement in movement problems and performance of daily activities.
    • In addition to supplementing your dog’s diet with a high quality omega-3 like krill oil, there are many other things you can do to prevent or manage your pet’s arthritic condition, including providing chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture. We also recommend talking with your holistic vet about natural supplements that promote cartilage repair and maintenance.
    • In addition to improving OA symptoms, omega-3 fatty acids can benefit your pet in a number of other ways, including improving the condition of the skin and coat, alleviating symptoms of an overactive immune system, and supporting heart health.

    Omega-3 from Fish

    By Dr. Becker

    In February I wrote about a study done in the Netherlands on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for cats with osteoarthritis (OA).

    Recently I came across a Canadian study1 also published last year that indicates the same is true for dogs with naturally occurring OA. The dogs were fed a veterinary prescription diet containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, and showed significant improvement in locomotor disability (problems moving around) and performance of daily activities.

    Dogs Fed a Diet High in Omega-3s Showed Significant Improvement in Gait and Activity Scores

    The University of Montreal’s Department of Veterinary Biomedicine conducted a 13-week study with 30 pet dogs suffering with arthritis. Half the dogs were fed a commercial dog food containing omega-3 fatty acids sourced from fish oil. The remaining dogs were fed a similar food, but with a different fat source.

    The dogs were evaluated with force plates to analyze their gait, veterinary orthopedic exams, and activity scores assessed by their owners. Force plate measurements were taken at the start of the trial and again at weeks 7 and 13. The gait of dogs on the omega-3 supplemented diet was markedly improved, as were their activity scores. The dogs fed the other diet showed no significant improvement in either area.

    Other Ways to Help Prevent or Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms in Your Dog

    In addition to a high quality omega-3 supplement (I recommend offering krill oil; I do not recommend processed pet foods with added omega-3s), there are several other natural supplements and therapies that can help alleviate arthritis symptoms in your pet, including:

    • Veterinary chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatments are affordable and can be very effective in alleviating pain and reducing joint degeneration.
    • Massage, therapeutic exercises and physiotherapy can reduce inflammation and pain in damaged tissues.
    • Acupuncture can be tremendously beneficial for dogs with degenerative joint disease.
    • Adequan injections can stimulate joint fluid very rapidly in pets with arthritis.
    • Adding certain supplements to your pet’s diet can provide the raw materials for cartilage repair and maintenance, among them:
      • Glucosamine sulfate, MSM and Egg Shell Membrane supplements
      • Homeopathic Rhus Tox, Arnica and others that fit the animal’s symptoms
      • Ubiquinol and turmeric
      • Supergreen foods, such as Spirulina and Astaxanthin
      • Natural anti-inflammatory formulas (herbs, proteolytic enzymes, such as Wobenzym® and nutraceuticals)
      • EFAC complex

    Other extremely important factors in preventing or alleviating the symptoms of OA include keeping your dog at a lean, healthy weight; feeding a balanced, species-appropriate diet; discontinuing annual vaccines (titer instead); and giving your dog plenty of opportunities to be physically active throughout her life.

    Additional Benefits of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

    The omega-3s include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaneoic acid (EPA).

    Omega-3s, play a huge role in your pet’s health in many ways, among them:

    • Improving the health of your pet’s skin and coat. Poor skin condition puts your dog or cat at risk for itching, irritation, skin allergies and bacterial infections.
    • Alleviating the harmful effects of allergies and other conditions that result from an over reactive immune system response.
    • Slowing the growth of common yeast infections in dogs and cats.
    • Aiding proper development of the retina and visual cortex.
    • Preventing certain heart problems in your pet.
    • Maintaining healthy blood pressure and decreasing triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.
    • Regulating blood-clotting activity.
    • Slowing the development and spread of certain pet cancers.

    April 13, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    Megacolon: A Terrible Outcome for Constipated Pets

    Video:  Dr. Karen Becker Discusses Megacolon

    By Dr. Becker

    Literally speaking, “megacolon” means large colon. It’s a condition in which too much waste accumulates and causes the bowel to enlarge well beyond its normal diameter.

    Megacolon is much more common in cats than dogs. It can occur in any age, breed, or sex of cat, however, most cases are seen in middle-aged male kitties – the average age is about 5.8 years.

    The colon is a part of the digestive tract that starts at the cecum and ends at the rectum. The cecum is the point where the small and large intestines meet. The main job of the colon is to temporarily store waste while extracting water and salt from it, and to move feces down to the rectum in preparation for elimination.

    In megacolon, the waste doesn’t pass through to the large intestine normally. For whatever reason, the colon doesn’t release its contents.

    Recent studies show that cats with megacolon seem to have a defect in the ability of the muscles of the colon to contract. This causes chronic constipation and also obstipation, which is severe, unrelenting constipation that blocks the passage of both gas and waste through the colon.

    So, megacolon is a terrible condition in which the large intestine is extremely dilated, has very poor motility, and there is an accumulation of fecal material that the animal can’t eliminate from his body.

    Megacolon Can Be Congenital or Acquired

    Megacolon can be present at birth, or it can be an acquired condition, which is more common. Animals with congenital megacolon have a lack of normal smooth muscle function through the large intestine from birth.

    Acquired megacolon results when the large intestine chronically retains feces, the water has been completely resorbed out of the colon, and the feces become really hard and solid. If these masses of waste material remain for a prolonged amount of time, the colon distends and enlarges. This can result in irreversible colon inertia, which means the colon’s smooth muscle gets so stretched out and fatigued that it no longer effectively contracts to move waste down to the rectum.

    Acquired megacolon can also be the result of certain dietary factors, a foreign body in the colon, lack of exercise, and, for kitties, there can be litter box and/or behavior issues that cause them to hold in feces.

    Another cause can be painful defecation due to an anal gland abscess or a stricture of the anus. There can also be a narrowed pelvic canal resulting from a fracture or tumor that can cause pain on defecation.

    There can be a neurologic or neuromuscular disease that prevents the animal from getting into the posture necessary for elimination, or a neurologic condition that affects the nerves that control defecation.

    Metabolic disorders resulting in low potassium levels or severe dehydration can also be a factor, as can certain types of drugs. There’s also idiopathic megacolon, which means we have no idea why it occurs. It just starts happening.

    Symptoms and Diagnosis

    Symptoms of megacolon include constipation, obstipation, infrequent elimination, straining to defecate followed by small amounts of loose stool, vomiting, loss of appetite and dehydration.

    Megacolon is diagnosed based on the animal’s history and a physical exam. The vet will find a very hard colon upon palpation of the rectum and will find fecal impacts during a rectal exam.

    In order to determine how severe the condition is and possible underlying causes, other tests are needed. These can include blood work, urinalysis, an ultrasound, X-rays with barium contrast studies, and also neurologic testing.

    Treating Megacolon

    The treatment goal for megacolon is to clean out the large intestine and identify any underlying issues that have created or contributed to the condition. The type of treatment used will depend on the severity of the problem, how long it has existed, and the underlying cause.

    Many animals need to be hospitalized for IV fluid therapy and to have the colon evacuated. This can involve anesthesia so that enemas and manual extraction of feces can be accomplished. Most kitties are in too much pain to undergo these procedures without sedation, and it’s also extremely stressful for them.

    Treatment of less severe cases often involves the use of laxatives to attempt to evacuate the colon. In severe recurrent cases of megacolon that can’t be managed medically, surgery may be required, but it’s only recommended if all other attempts to manage the condition have failed.

    In my practice, I use a combination of chiropractic care, acupuncture, dietary change, and bowel supplements to try to manage these conditions in a non-surgical fashion.

    How to Prevent Megacolon in Your Cat

    As a proactive vet, I encourage my clients to try to prevent megacolon through healthy lifestyle management. A moisture-rich, species-appropriate diet and a constant supply of fresh drinking water are very important in helping to prevent dehydration. I also recommend a good-quality pet probiotic and digestive enzymes with each meal.

    In order to keep your kitty well hydrated, you can try adding a little bit of water to her food. You can also consider buying a drinking fountain designed for pets. Some cats who avoid drinking still water will happily drink moving water from a fountain.

    Regular exercise is very important, as is helping your pet maintain her ideal body weight.

    In multi-cat households, kitties should be provided with enough litter boxes of the right size in low traffic areas with the cat’s preferred litter to encourage normal and healthy defecation. If your cat is eliminating outside the box, it’s important to not only have him checked by your veterinarian, but also to experiment with different types of litter and litter boxes. Monitor your pet’s daily “output” by regularly scooping the boxes.

    Regular brushing or combing of your cat to remove loose fur and debris can help keep things moving well through the GI tract and also prevent hairballs. There are a number of natural remedies for constipation that I always recommend trying before resorting to harsher laxatives. These include psyllium husk powder or coconut fiber added to each meal, or the addition of dark green leafy veggies or cat grass (if your cat will eat them).

    Remember, never use a human laxative product on kitties, and if you are using a daily hairball remedy to keep things moving along in your kitty’s GI tract, I recommend you pick a petroleum-free product to avoid adding unnecessary toxins to your pet’s body.

    Love your pets?  Keep them Healthy and extend their life with:

    StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

    December 10, 2012 Posted by | Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

    A Raw Food KIBBLE?

    Raw Kibble

    Story at-a-glance

    There’s a new entry in the ever-inventive pet food market – “raw kibble” – a blend of grain-free kibble and pieces of freeze-dried raw meat.

    The target consumer for this new product is the pet owner who wants grain-free and raw food for her dog or cat, but who for whatever reason finds frozen pet food doesn’t fit her lifestyle.

    The important thing to remember about “grain-free” kibble is it isn’t free of carbs or starches – only those derived from grain. Case in point, the new “raw kibble” formula lists tapioca, a carbohydrate, as its second ingredient.

    The important thing to remember about “raw” meat added to a bag of kibble is it has to be processed in some manner to prevent spoilage.

    • For pet owners who truly want to feed a grain-free, raw, species-appropriate diet, the answer won’t be found in a bag of kibble.

    By Dr. Becker

     

    I was recently made aware of a new type of pet food on the market: "raw kibble." This product, available for both cats and dogs, is actually a blend of grain-free kibble and chunks of freeze-dried raw meat.

    According to PetfoodIndustry.com, the new combination formulas are being marketed as an answer for pet owners who want grain-free and raw diets for their animals, but who find frozen pet food does not "work with their lifestyle."

    Hmm. I hope this is not an attempt to convince pet owners they can provide the benefits of raw, species-appropriate nutrition from a convenient bag of kibble.

    I’m also concerned about pet owners’ interpretation of "grain-free" when it comes to kibble.

    Pet food ingredients can’t be turned into kibble without some type of starch included in the mix. So a kibble that is "grain-free" is not starch or carbohydrate free – it just doesn’t contain grain as a starch or carbohydrate.

    Grain-free Does NOT Mean Carb-free or Starch-free

    In the case of the new "raw kibble" blend for dogs, the second listed ingredient is tapioca. Tapioca seems to be taking the place of grain-based fillers in many pet food formulas of late.

    Tapioca is used commercially in pearl, pellet and flour form. As flour, it can be used to make bread and thicken desserts. It mixes well in cold water, turns to gel/paste at 125°F to 150°F, and becomes more gelatinous the higher the cooking temp and length of cooking time.

    In the extrusion process used to create dry pet food, tapioca expands extremely well – up to two to three times that of rice.

    Tapioca is a starch. In certain regions of the world, including the U.S., tapioca is primarily associated with a flavor of pudding. But in many other countries, it is considered a staple carbohydrate in the diet. On a dry basis, tapioca contains insignificant amounts of protein, ash, fat, and fiber, and not much sugar. It is essentially a pure carbohydrate.

    The plant that produces tapioca is known by a variety of names, including cassava. The leaves, stems and skin of the cassava plant contain cyanogenic glucosides which can produce cyanide effects. These effects include development of goiter, pancreatitis, paralysis and death in both people and companion animals. The cassava plant must be properly processed to eliminate these effects.

    As kibble binding agents go, tapioca is less problematic than many others. But it isn’t nutritious for dogs and cats. And keep in mind it’s number two on the ingredient list, which means there’s lots of it in the mixture.

    Additional Observations About the Ingredient List

    The sixth ingredient on the list is sun-cured alfalfa meal ("sun-cured" simply means it was cut and left in the sun to dry). Alfalfa is a member of the hay family more commonly included in horse and cattle feed than dog food. It contains plant (not animal) protein and a lot of fiber (25 percent). I’m not sure why this ingredient is in there at number six, but I suspect it’s to boost the overall percentage of protein in the food.

    The freeze-dried raw meats included in the "raw kibble" blend show up on the ingredient list at items 9 through 12. Obviously, kibble represents a much greater portion of the formula than raw meat.

    Unadulterated Raw Meat vs. HPP and Freeze-Dried Raw Meat

    The raw meat in this pet food has undergone high pressure pasteurization (HPP) to sterilize it. Raw food enthusiasts maintain that food handled in this manner is no longer truly raw and shouldn’t be marketed as such.

    In addition to the high pressure pasteurization, the meat has also been freeze-dried, which is yet another process.

    Freeze-drying removes the moisture from food, which extends its shelf-life. Sterilized, freeze-dried meat is the only kind of meat that could be combined with a kibble mixture. Clearly there’s no safe way to add unadulterated raw meat to a bag of kibble that might be stored at room temperature or higher for up to a year or more.

    So the "raw" meat in this formula has actually been processed in two different ways.

    Diets Lacking in Moisture Are Not Species-Appropriate for Dogs and Cats

    One of the main problems with all kibble is lack of moisture, and adding freeze-dried chunks of meat to the mix is hardly a solution.

    Carnivorous dogs and cats were designed to consume moisture-rich foods. Unadulterated raw foods are about 70 percent moisture. Compare that with dry pet food, which is only around 12 percent moisture.

    Your pet’s body has evolved to consume a diet rich in moisture. When raw pet food ingredients are turned into kibble, several strange things happen, but the most detrimental is that the food becomes too dry.

    Feeding kibble requires that your pet’s body provide sufficient moisture to reconstitute the food in the digestive tract. Although an animal’s body will make a noble effort to consume extra water to compensate, most pets and certainly most cats simply can’t make up the difference.

    The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that owners feed cats a diet of primarily canned or raw food instead of dry food for this very reason. A lifetime of minor dehydration is stressful to multiple organ systems and can easily be avoided by feeding foods that have not been dehydrated, dried, kibbled, or extruded.

    Kibble is Kibble is Kibble

    Having said all the above, I should probably point out that as dry pet foods go, this new blend of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw meat is far from a terrible formula. Certainly there are many worse products on the market.

    The important things to know about this new formula are:

    • It’s primarily kibble, and therefore lacking in moisture content.
    • It doesn’t contain grains, but it does contain tapioca – pure carbohydrate – as the second ingredient.
    • It contains very little "raw" food and the raw meat it does contain has been both high pressure pasteurized and freeze-dried.

    If you want to feed your healthy dog or cat balanced, species-appropriate nutrition, kibble is the first thing to avoid. Your best bet is to either make homemade pet food in your own kitchen (from balanced recipes only, of course), or provide your dog or cat with a high quality, commercially available, balanced raw diet.

    Related:

    When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

    Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

    Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

    The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

    The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

    Pancreatitis in Dogs

    Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

    “Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

    Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

    Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

    Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

    Pets and Toxic Plants

    Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

    Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

    Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

    How the Pet Food Industry Has Helped Create "Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

    Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

    Dysbiosis: The Root Cause of Many Other Pet Health Problems

    Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid

    Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

    September 7, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

    Pet ownership falls, but Americans remain faithful to dogs, study finds

    Sorry, dogs,   cats are more numerous, though dogs are found in a slighly higher percentage of U.S. homes.

    Dan Burn-Forti/Getty Images – Sorry, dogs, cats are more numerous, though dogs are found in a slighly higher percentage of U.S. homes.

    A new survey finds that there are fewer pets in America than five years ago, but the ‘human-animal’ bond is as strong as ever.


    By Brian Browdie / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Thursday, August 9, 2012, 5:02 PM

    The economy’s bite may mean less barking.

    Americans owned about 2 million fewer dogs and 7.6 million fewer cats at the end of 2011 than they did in 2006, according to a quinquennial study of ownership trends released recently by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The household-owned horse population fell to 4.9 million from 7.3 million over the same period.

    Though cats remain the most prevalent pet – with a total population around 74.1 million, compared with about 70 million dogs – more than 36 percent of households own a dog, compared with fewer than one in three that own a cat.

    In all, pet ownership has dropped 2.4 percent since 2006.

    "Very likely it’s related to the economy," Dr. Ron DeHaven, the association’s chief executive officer, told the Daily News. "As pets are living out their natural lives, they’re not being replaced due to the economic concerns that go with responsible pet ownership."

    "We do know the human-animal bond is as strong or stronger then ever," added DeHaven, who says most pet owners consider their pet to be a close companion or one of the family.

    The mean number of dogs per household fell to 1.6 per household in 2011, down 5.9 percent from 2006. The number of cats per household fell to 2.1 per household, down 4.5 percent over the same period.

    Spending on veterinary care continues to rise. Dog owners spent $19.1 billion on medical services for their pets in 2011, up 18.6 percent from 2006. Veterinary expenditures for cats rose 4.2 percent, to $7.4 billion.

    "Preventative care in the long run is cheaper than treating a sick or injured animal," DeHaven said.

    Related:

    Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

    New Parasite Prevalence Maps Help Pet Owners Prepare

    Don’t Get Ticked Off By Lyme Disease

    Unconditional Love

    Humane Society list of pet financial aid-related organizations

    Where there is a will…

    Declaration of the No Kill Movement in the United States

    Homeless With Pets… Choosing Pets Over Shelter

    Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

    STOP Los Angeles and Other Major Cities from Unreasonable Pet Limit Laws and Restrictions

    Southfield Implements Limit on Cats – Over Reaction!

    Pet-Limit Laws Unconstitutional

    Massachusetts Town Puts Limits on Cat Ownership

    Adopt Just One More…MV Temporarily Reduced Adoption Fees

    And here we thought Chicago’s attempt to pass a five-dog limit was controversial!

    Shocking Report…Gov’t to decide what pets you can own – Episode 006

    Adopt Just One More Pet… MV Shelter Reduces Cat and Kitten Adoption Fees Until Sept 27th – Good Job MV!

    Chinese City’s “One Dog” Policy Has Residents Howling

    Florida’s Idea of Cat Population Control

    Taking Away More Liberties: WI Pet Ordinance Forces Homeowners to Choose — Your Pet or Your House

    August 14, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

    Story at-a-glance
    • Vaccinosis is a condition recognized almost exclusively by the holistic veterinary community. It is not generally acknowledged by traditional veterinarians.
    • Dr. Richard Pitcairn defines vaccinosis this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”
    • Vaccines are composed of modified live viruses, killed viruses and a number of potentially toxic substances. They also enter the body in an unnatural way (by injection) compared to real viruses. They bypass the body’s first lines of defense and are delivered directly to the blood and lymph systems.
    • Vaccine reactions, or vaccinosis, are wide-ranging. Some reactions are relatively minor, while others are life-threatening.
    • Fortunately, the traditional veterinary community is slowing becoming aware that vaccines are not the benign disease-prevention tools they were once thought to be.

    Video: Vaccinosis and Your Pet

    Download Interview Transcript

    By Dr. Becker  -  Dr. Mercola.com

    I talk a lot about vaccine dangers here at MercolaHealthyPets, and I often mention a condition called vaccinosis.

    Since vaccinosis isn’t recognized by most traditional veterinarians and isn’t something many pet owners have ever heard of before, I thought it would be helpful to do a short video to explain the condition.

    Vaccinosis Defined

    First, let’s talk about what vaccinosis isn’t.

    It isn’t an acute, often immediate adverse reaction to a vaccine. Adverse events, or hypersensitivities, whether mild (such as lethargy, flu-like symptoms, etc.), or severe (such as anaphylactic shock), that are clearly linked to a recent vaccination are widely acknowledged by the traditional veterinary community.

    Unfortunately, these reactions are considered by traditional vets to be occasional aberrations of a basically safe procedure.

    Vaccinosis, on the other hand, is a problem only holistic veterinarians seem willing to acknowledge. It is a reaction of a pet’s body to vaccines that have been injected without the pet having experienced a notable adverse event or hypersensitivity. These are chronic reactions to not only the altered virus contained in the vaccine, but also to the chemicals, adjuvants, and other components of tissue culture cell lines — as well as possible genetic changes — that can be induced by vaccines.

    Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who holds a PhD in immunology, defines it this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”

    Dr. Pitcairn: Vaccines Create Chronic Disease

    According to Dr. Pitcairn, vaccines intended to protect pets against acute natural diseases actually create chronic conditions with features of the disease the vaccine was supposed to prevent.

    This transformation happens in the laboratory, where natural viruses are modified in order to make vaccines.

    Where the natural virus would trigger a strong immune system response, the modified lab-created virus in the vaccine doesn’t elicit much of a reaction by the animal’s immune system. Instead, it creates chronic disease.

    The delivery of a vaccine is also very different from how a natural disease develops in an animal’s body.
    Vaccines contain a number of toxic substances, including viruses, mutated bacteria, immune irritants, foreign proteins, and chemical preservatives. All of these toxins are delivered by injection directly into the blood and lymph, bypassing the usual first line of defenses, including the skin, mucous membranes, saliva, and so forth. So not only is the virus in the vaccine unnatural, the way it enters a pet’s body is also very unnatural.

    When you look at the situation from this perspective, it’s easy to see how abnormal immune reactions are triggered by vaccinations.

    Your Pet’s Individual Risk of Vaccinosis

    The strength and balance of every animal’s immune system is different, so there’s no way to predict – unless your dog or cat has had a reaction in the past — how much danger your pet is in from exposure to the modified virus contained in any given vaccine or the many toxic ingredients it contains.

    That’s why I strongly encourage pet owners to avoid all unnecessary vaccines and re-vaccinations.

    Symptoms of Vaccinosis

    Common vaccine reactions include:

    • Lethargy
    • Stiffness
    • Hair loss
    • Lack of appetite
    • Hair color change at injection site
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Fever
    • Sneezing
    • Soreness
    • Oral ulcers

    More serious reactions:

    • Immunosuppression
    • Granulomas and abscesses
    • Behavioral changes
    • Hives
    • Vitiligo
    • Facial swelling
    • Weight loss
    • Allergic hypersensitivity
    • Reduced milk production (females)
    • Respiratory disease
    • Lameness
    • Allergic uveitis

    Very severe illness:

    • Injection-site sarcomas (cancer)
    • Glomerulonephritis
    • Anaphylaxis
    • Myocarditis
    • Autoimmune arthritis
    • Encephalitis or polyneuritis
    • Polyarthritis
    • Seizures
    • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
    • Abortion
    • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
    • Congenital abnormalities
    • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
    • Embryotic (fetal) death
    • Thyroiditis
    • Infertility

    Dog and Cat Vaccines: The Importance of Exercising Caution

    Since the introduction of dog and cat vaccines, the traditional view of their use has been that they are safe and can be given as frequently as once or twice a year. This approach, tragically, has caused a tremendous amount of suffering for millions of pets.

    As the truth about the dangers of vaccines slowly emerges, even traditional veterinary organizations and practitioners are acknowledging that vaccines are not the benign, “better safe than sorry” veterinary tools they were thought to be.

    My recommendations for vaccinating your pet can be found in several videos, articles, and interviews here at MercolaHealthyPets. Most importantly, I don’t recommend automatic re-vaccinations at prescribed intervals for any pet.

    If you believe your pet could be suffering from the negative effects of over-vaccination, I strongly recommend you work with a homeopathic or holistic vet to create a tailor-made vaccine detox program to assist your dog’s or cat’s body in recovering from vaccinosis.

    Related:

    Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

    New Parasite Prevalence Maps Help Pet Owners Prepare

    The dangers of vaccines are surfacing for children, people in general, and now pets: New Organization VaxTruth Fights Vaccine Damages

    August 13, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

    If Your Dog is Itchy or Your Cat is Wheezy, You Need to Read This

    Story at-a-glance
    • According to a recent survey, over half of pet owners aren’t aware their dog or cat can also be miserable with seasonal allergies in the spring and summer months.
    • Allergies are extremely common in today’s cats and dogs, and take the form of either food or environmental allergies, including seasonal allergies. Some unlucky pets develop allergies in both categories.
    • Symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs and cats are most frequently skin-related and include itchiness, inflammation, and hot spots. Allergic animals can also have ear problems and respiratory issues.
    • Seasonal allergies can turn into a year-round problem if steps aren’t taken to prevent exposure, aggressively manage symptoms, and insure your pet’s immune system is strong and resilient.
    • There are many things you as a pet owner can do to help diminish the effects of your pet’s allergic condition.

    By Dr. Becker

    Did you know your dog or cat can suffer from seasonal allergies just as you do?

    According to a survey conducted by Novartis Animal Health, over half of pet owners aren’t aware their fuzzy family members can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.

    Two Categories of Pet Allergies

    There are primarily two types of allergies: food allergies and environmental allergies. If your pet gets itchy during spring, summer or fall, she’s probably reacting to seasonal, environmental allergens. But if her symptoms continue year-round, it’s more likely her sensitivity is to something more constant in her environment, or to something in her diet.

    There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a hard freeze in the winter, environmental allergens can build up and cause year-round issues for your pet. In addition, seasonal allergies can progress to year-round allergies, which I’ll discuss shortly.

    Signs Your Pet Has Seasonal Allergies

    Unlike humans whose allergy symptoms usually involve the respiratory tract, allergies in dogs and cats more often take the form of skin irritation or inflammation – a condition called allergic dermatitis.

    If your pet has allergies, her skill will become very itchy. She’ll start scratching excessively, and might bite or chew at certain areas of her body. She may rub herself against vertical surfaces like furniture, or she may rub her face against the carpet. She’s trying to relieve the miserable itchiness by any means possible.

    As the itch-scratch cycle continues, her skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch. Other signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing.

    Hot spots can develop as well in dogs (hot spots are rarely seen in cats). A hot spot is inflamed, infected skin that occurs when your dog’s natural bacteria overwhelms an area of his skin. Typically the skin will be very red, and often there is bleeding and hair loss.

    Other Signs to Watch For

    Pets with allergies also often have problems with their ears – especially dogs. The ear canals may be itchy and inflamed as part of a generalized allergic response, or they may grow infected with yeast or bacteria.

    Signs your pet’s ears are giving him problems include scratching at the ears, head shaking, and hair loss around the ears. If infection is present there will often be odor and a discharge from the ears.

    While respiratory symptoms aren’t common in pets with allergies, they do occur. A running nose, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing are typical allergic symptoms in both two- and four-legged allergy sufferers.

    Typically pets with seasonal allergies to ragweed, grasses, pollens, molds and trees, also develop sensitivity to other allergens inhaled through the nose and mouth. Animals with weaknesses in their lung fields can develop sinusitis and bronchitis, just as people do.

    Another sign to watch for if you suspect your pet has allergies is generalized redness. Allergic pets often have puffy red eyes, red oral tissue, a red chin, red paws and even a red anus.

    How Seasonal Allergies Can Turn Into Year-Round Allergies

    Allergic reactions are produced by your pet’s immune system, and the way his immune system functions is a result of both nature (his genetics) and nurture (his environment).

    I often see the following history with allergic pets who visit my practice:

    • A young pup or kitten, maybe 4 to 6 months old, begins with a little red tummy, itchy ears, and maybe a mild infection in one ear. His regular vet treats the pup symptomatically to provide him some relief.
    • The following year as soon as the weather warms up, the pet is brought back to his regular vet with very itchy feet, another ear infection, and a hotspot or two. Again, the vet treats the symptoms (hopefully not with steroids) until the weather turns cold and the symptoms disappear.
    • Year three, the same pet suffers from May through September with red, inflamed skin, maybe some hair loss, more hotspots, frequent ear and skin infections, and a tendency to chew his paws or scratch until he bleeds.
    • By year five, all the symptoms have grown significantly worse and the animal’s suffering is now year-round.

    This is what usually happens with seasonal environmental allergies. The more your pet is exposed to the allergens he’s sensitive to, the more intense and long-lasting his allergic response becomes.

    With my regular patients (those who start out life as patients of my practice), I begin addressing potential root causes at the first sign of an allergic response, which is usually around six months of age. I do this to reduce the risk of an escalating response year after year.

    Helping a Pet with Seasonal Allergies

    Since the allergen load your environmentally sensitive pet is most susceptible to is much heavier outdoors, two essential steps in managing her condition are regular foot soaks and baths during the warmer months when all those triggers are in bloom.

    Dermatologists recommend this common sense approach for human allergy sufferers. If you have hypersensitivities, your doctor will tell you to shower at night and in the morning to remove allergens from the surface of your body. I recommend you do the same for your dog or cat.

    • Frequent baths give complete, immediate relief to an itchy pet and wash away the allergens on the coat and skin. Make sure to use a grain free (oatmeal free) shampoo.
    • Foot soaks are also a great way to reduce the amount of allergens your pet tracks into the house and spreads all over her indoor environment.
    • Keep the areas of your home where your pet spends most of her time as allergen-free as possible. Vacuum and clean floors and pet bedding frequently using simple, non-toxic cleaning agents rather than household cleaners containing chemicals.
    • Because allergies are an immune system response, it’s important to keep your pet’s immune function optimal. This means avoiding unnecessary vaccinations and drugs. And I do not recommend you vaccinate your pet during a systemic inflammatory response. Vaccines stimulate the immune system, which is the last thing your pet with seasonal environmental allergies needs. Talk to your holistic vet about titers to measure your pet’s immunity to core diseases as an alternative to automatically vaccinating.
    • If you haven’t already, move your pet to an anti-inflammatory diet. Foods that create or worsen inflammation are high in carbohydrates. Your allergic pet’s diet should be very low in grain content.
    • Research has shown that ‘leaky gut,’ or dysbiosis, is a root cause of immune system overreactions, so addressing this issue with a holistic vet is an important aspect of reducing allergic reactions over time.

    Allergy-Fighting Supplements

    Quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. I call it ‘nature’s Benadryl’ because it does a great job suppressing histamine release from mast cells and basophiles.

    Histamine is what causes much of the inflammation, redness and irritation characteristic of an allergic response. By turning off histamine production with a quercetin supplement, we can suppress or at least moderate the effects of inflammation.

    Quercetin also has some other wonderful properties. It inhibits 5-lipooxygenase, an enzyme that upregulates the inflammatory cascade. Quercetin inhibits the production of leukotrienes, another way the body creates inflammation, thereby decreasing the level of bronchoconstriction. Bronchoconstriction occurs in the lung fields as a symptom of asthma. Quercetin can actually suppress how much constriction occurs.

    Bromelain and papain. Bromelain and papain are proteolytic enzymes that increase the absorption of quercetin, making it work more effectively. They also suppress histamine production.

    One of the reasons I use quercetin, bromelain and papain together is they also suppress prostaglandin release. Prostaglandins are another pathway by which inflammation can occur. By suppressing prostaglandins, we can decrease the pain and inflammation associated with irritated mucous membranes and body parts. Using the three substances in combination provides some natural pain and inflammation control.

    Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease inflammation throughout the body. Adding them into the diet of all pets — particularly pets struggling with seasonal environmental allergies – is very beneficial. The best sources of omega 3s are krill oil, salmon oil, tuna oil, anchovy oil and other fish body oils.

    Coconut oil. I also recommend coconut oil for allergic pets. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps decrease the production of yeast. Using a fish body oil with coconut oil before inflammation flares up in your pet’s body can help moderate or even suppress the inflammatory response.

    Advanced Allergy Therapy (AAT) for pets

    Many holistic vets have added AAT to there medical bag.  Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT) is a non-invasive treatment that provides fast, long-term relief from the many symptoms associated with allergies and sensitivities, used for humans as well as animals.

    Related:

    Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

    Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

    June 22, 2012 Posted by | Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Happy Father’s Day From the Pets…

    “As a Father’s Day treat, we put aside our sibling rivalry and found something we both like to do. Can we borrow the keys”

    Hmmm… Now the 4-legged kids want the keys too?!?

    Wishing you all a Happy Father’s Day!!

    June 17, 2012 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | Leave a comment

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