- 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.
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 justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | cats and dogs, dogs and cats, Dr. Becker, omega 3-s, osteoarthritis, Pet Arthritis, Pet Health, salmon | 1 Comment
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.
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:
December 10, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pets | cats and dogs, constipated pets, dogs and cats, Dr. Becker, healthy pets, megacolon, pet probiotic, StemPet | 6 Comments
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.
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.
September 7, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | 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 | cats and dogs, commercial dog food, commercial pet food, dog food, dogs and cats, kibble, natural food for pets, raw food, raw food kibble, real food for pets | 6 Comments
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.
And here we thought Chicago’s attempt to pass a five-dog limit was controversial!
August 14, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | 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 | cats and dogs, cats. pets are family, dogs and cats, hollistic pet remedies, pet ownership, pets and the economy, preventative pet health care | Leave a Comment
- 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
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.
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:
- Hair loss
- Lack of appetite
- Hair color change at injection site
- Oral ulcers
More serious reactions:
- Granulomas and abscesses
- Behavioral changes
- Facial swelling
- Weight loss
- Allergic hypersensitivity
- Reduced milk production (females)
- Respiratory disease
- Allergic uveitis
Very severe illness:
- Injection-site sarcomas (cancer)
- Autoimmune arthritis
- Encephalitis or polyneuritis
- Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
- Congenital abnormalities
- Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
- Embryotic (fetal) death
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.
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 justonemorepet | 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 | alternative vet care, Big Business, Big Pharma, cats and dogs, common sense, dogs and cats, Dr. Becker, Dr. Mercola, holistic veterinary community, holistic vets, natural pet remedies, Pet Health, pet vaccines, vaccine dangers, vaccine dangers in pets, vaccinosis, VaxTruth | 7 Comments
- 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.
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.
June 22, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets | AAT allergy therapy, cats and dogs, dogs and cats, Dr. Becker, food allergies, holistic vets, hot spots, itching, pet allergies, seasonal pet allergies, vaccine dangers, wheezy | 1 Comment
“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 justonemorepet | Animal and Pet Photos, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | cats and dogs, dogs and cats, Father's Day, furkids, holidays | Leave a Comment
If I didn’t have a dog or a cat…
I could sit on the couch and sleep in my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.
Just imagine this photo above with 4-furkids…
May 27, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, animal behavior, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | cats and dogs, dogs and cats, furkids, Pets Are Family, pets are family members, Pets are part of the family, pets in-charge | Leave a Comment
Some of the stuff the Barack Obama campaign is selling to raise money for the re-election effort is pretty unusual. Donations must be a lot lower than they want to admit!!
They would like you to get your pets involved with the campaign by offering doggie sweaters (perhaps with a photo of Obama eating dog meat?) and “I Meow for Michelle” cat collars.
Reportedly the same one she uses for Barack.
Via CNS News:
Sometimes you just have to wonder!
May 24, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, pet products, Pets, Unusual Stories | Cats, cats and dogs, dogs and cats, Election 2012, Michelle Obama, President Obama, presidential election pet products, Presidential Pets | Leave a Comment
People and their pets often end up resembling each other, but image-obsessed Americans are taking that age-old relationship a step further, treating their four-legged friends to everything from spa facials to testicle implants.
In a nation of surgically enhanced human breasts, teeth and skin, perhaps it was just a matter of time before the beauty stakes were raised for pooches and cats.
One end of the spectrum features dogs like Hops, a Maltese terrier who recently was given a blueberry facial, followed by a blow dry, and tooth brushing with chicken-flavored paste, at Manhattan’s Downtown Doghouse spa.
Groomer Ani Corless described this as the new normal for lapdogs.
“These are man-made breeds and they require maintenance,” she said.
Mid-facial, Hops ejected a tiny puddle of vomit, but otherwise did seem to enjoy the attention.
More extreme — and painful — makeovers are also gaining ground.
New York Republican lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis says animals are subjected to tattoos, earrings, nose rings, chin rings, tummy tucks, even facelifts.
Owner of two Chihuahuas called Peanut and Olympia, Malliotakis has proposed a law to ban cosmetic alterations to pets in New York state, calling this “a form of animal cruelty.”
“I would never think of putting my dog through any of these procedures,” she told AFP.
But Gregg Miller, founder of a company called Neuticles, says Malliotakis is “nuts” and exaggerating the problem.
Nuts might be a favorite word for Miller, whose company outside Kansas City leads the world in manufacturing fake animal testicles.
Created from the same silicone used to enlarge women’s breasts, Neuticles fill the space left when a pet is neutered.
“We’ve Neuticled well over 500,000 pets in the United States and all over the world — dogs, cats, horses bulls, monkeys, rats, water buffalo,” Miller said.
Prices range between $119 for the XSmall pair and $599 for the XXLarge with attached epididymis.
Miller got the idea back in 1993 when he wanted to help his bloodhound Buck overcome post-neutering blues.
“We know, they know, they’re missing,” he said, citing dogs’ loving relationships with their private parts. “With Neuticles, they don’t know anything is gone.”
Vets and even animal rights campaigners like Malliotakis say fake testicles — typically inserted right when the real ones come out — are not cruel.
“I’ve done it on my own dogs and I think it’s wonderful,” Maryland veterinarian Flavia DelMastro told AFP.
She doesn’t believe a neutered dog cares about losing its testicles. However, replacing that missing weight is beneficial for healing, “especially for big dogs, because when you remove those large testicles you still have a big scrotum.”
One prominent fan of Neuticles is the flesh-baring, reality TV siren Kim Kardashian, whose dog Rocky reportedly underwent the exchange.
However, Tazi Phillips, at the California-based magazine and charity GlobalAnimal.org, says “ridiculous” Neuticles are part of a trend of anthropomorphism gone wild.
She cited implants to make floppy ears stand straight, declawing to prevent scratching, and tooth removal to stop destructive chewing.
Some owners of dogs like Dobermans practice ear and tail cropping to make their animals conform to the ideal shape of their breed. Then there are human vanity procedures, like tattoos, piercings, liposuction and rhinoplasty.
“A lot of this has happened as pets have become less property and more family members,” Phillips said.
Advocates of cosmetic tinkering say the Hollywood treatment is just a way to show pets love.
The National Association of Professional Creative Groomers website, http://thenapcg.com/, features eye-popping examples of dogs shaved and dyed to look like football fans, Halloween ghouls and what appear to be canine versions of over-the-top pop singer Lady Gaga.
“Is it abuse?” the NAPCG asks. “We at the NAPCG believe that animals are not embarrassed by their appearance… If we tell our pets that they are beautiful and treat them as such, they will respond positively to this type of positive feedback.”
According to the American Pet Products Association, nearly $53 billion will be spent on pets in 2012. The biggest portion goes on food, but the “pet services” category, which includes grooming, is estimated to be worth $4.11 billion and rising.
Miller concedes he’s in a strange business. “If you’d told me 20 years ago that I’d be selling dog testicles today I’d have told you you’re nuts.”
But he refuses to accept the criticism. “If someone wants their dog to have testicles so he retains his God-given look, what’s wrong with that?”
DelMastro said the line between what is fun and cruel should be drawn at where pain comes in.
“You have to think about the animals,” she said. “If you want a nose ring, then put it on yourself.”
**Many pets gain wait after being neutered or spayed, if there were hormones available to help them with their weight or health I’d be all for it! And if you want to have a little fun and dress your pets in a costume of an event or holiday or a coat when it is is cold… great!! Skin treatments if your dog has a need for dry skin, bites, rashes, etc are a sign of good pet parenting.
But ear and tail cropping, tattoos, piercings like earrings, nose rings and chin rings, liposuction and rhinoplasty, implanting neuticles, plastic surgery like tummy tucks, facelifts etc. unless after an accident or deformity, dying animals fur and treatments using toxic chemicals are all ‘crazy’ and more harmful and painful for the pet than anything positive it could provide. Wake-up people… there are animals and people everywhere in need that could use some help. Donate your money instead of torturing your pets and animals!! JOMP**
May 22, 2012 Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets | cats and dogs, dogs and cats, Neuticles, pet grooming, pet owners gone wild, pet-pampering | 2 Comments
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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- New Hope for Fear and Anxiety in Abused Dogs May 10, 2013Story at-a-glance Recently the ASPCA opened the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, NJ, a first-of-its-kind facility dedicated exclusively to helping rehabilitate dogs that have been victims of animal cruelty. The center’s patients will come from shelters across the country as well as from ASPCA-involved seizures, and will primarily be victims of pu […]justonemorepet
- The Scary-Looking ‘Sea Monster’ That Washed Ashore in New Zealand Finally Identified May 8, 2013(YouTube) TheBlaze: The ghastly-looking carcass that recently washed ashore in New Zealand had people speculating that it was some sort of “sea monster” or prehistoric beast. However, as it turns out, it’s just a killer whale — sorry to disappoint you. Because of its state of significant decay, the whale resembled something scarier than a […]justonemorepet
- How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This… May 7, 2013Story at-a-glance When it comes to species of mammals, generally speaking, bigger animals live longer than smaller ones. But within species, this isn’t always true – for example, in the case of mice, horses, and especially dogs — the bigger the body, the shorter the lifespan. According to a new study, big dogs die younger […]justonemorepet
- Canine Logo Equals Rape! Hello? May 6, 2013The University of Connecticut has replaced their old logo … … with something a bit leaner. (Click on any picture to see the largest version.) HellInAHandBasket.net: Okay, so some university in the New England states is trying to rebrand. So what? It would seem that a female student claims that the new logo will “intimidate […]justonemorepet
- Attacks Your Bird’s Liver Like Alcohol – Is This What’s Making Her Flabby and Sick? May 19, 2013
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Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!