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Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

Story at-a-glance
  • There are two types of incontinence: urinary, which is the involuntary leakage of urine, and fecal, which is the inability to control the bowels.
  • Involuntary leaking of urine is most often caused by hormone-induced incontinence after a pet is spayed or neutered. The condition is very common in spayed female dogs and less common in neutered male dogs.
  • Other causes of urine dribbling include trauma to the central nervous system, damage to the pudendal nerve, diseases of the bladder, kidney, or adrenal glands, bladder stones, birth defects, and urethral obstruction.
  • Treatment of urinary incontinence depends on what’s causing it. Any underlying disease must be identified and resolved. Treatment of hormone-induced urinary incontinence can often be accomplished using a combination of natural therapies.
  • Fecal incontinence is almost always due to a communication problem between the colon and brain. Problems with a pet’s lower back can compromise the communication pathway with the result that the animal’s brain doesn’t get the message that nature is calling.

Video:  Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

By Dr. Becker

Today I’d like to discuss incontinence in dogs and cats.

There are actually two types of incontinence — urine and fecal. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. Fecal incontinence is the inability of a dog or cat to control his bowels.

Urinary Incontinence

Involuntary passage of urine normally occurs while your pet is asleep or resting. When she stands, you may notice urine leakage. It can be just a small wet spot, or it can be a good-sized puddle.

It’s important to understand that your pet is not intentionally leaking urine. She has no control over what’s happening. It’s not a behavioral problem; it’s a medical issue. Trying to correct or punish your pet is a really bad idea. It’s very important to treat urine dribbling as a medical problem requiring a medical diagnosis, rather than a behavioral problem.

There are many causes for urine leaking, including trauma to the central nervous system, damage to the pudendal nerve (the nerve that works the neck of the bladder), diseases of the bladder, kidney, or adrenal glands (for instance, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, or diabetes), as well as bladder stones, birth defects, and urethral obstruction.

Other known causes of urine dribbling are age-related incontinence, a hormone imbalance, and feline leukemia.

Hormone-Induced Urinary Incontinence

Hands down the most common reason for involuntary urine leakage, especially in dogs, is hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

After a pet is spayed or neutered, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone (which are necessary to help close the external urethral sphincter) are no longer available. The result is often urine dribbling.

Hormone-induced urinary incontinence is extremely common in spayed female dogs and somewhat less common in neutered male dogs. These are typically very healthy, vibrant pets that just happen to dribble urine anywhere from multiple times a day to just once or twice a year.

A commonly prescribed drug for hormone-related urinary incontinence called DES, short for diethylstilbestrol, was pulled from the market about five years ago because it was linked to diseases like diabetes and cancer in dogs. Unfortunately, the drug is now once again available. Because of its overall systemic risk to health, I never recommend it.

Another commonly prescribed drug for urinary incontinence is called PPA, which is substantially safer than DES.

The biggest problem with these drugs is that many vets put dogs on them without investigating the cause of the urine dribbling. They just assume that it must be hormone-induced.

I see dogs on these drugs, who, when I run tests on them, have a disease process causing the leakage. Often I find urinary crystals or bladder stones, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, or kidney disease in a dog being treated for hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

Treating Urinary Incontinence

The cause of your pet’s urinary incontinence should always dictate what treatment she receives. If there’s an underlying disease process or structural abnormality causing the problem, it can be corrected through medical or surgical management.

If your pet is diagnosed with hormone-induced urinary incontinence, I strongly recommend you try to treat the problem naturally. Some of the drugs used to treat urinary incontinence, specifically DES, are potentially toxic, with side effects that in my opinion are not worth the risk.

I successfully treat cases of hormone-induced urinary incontinence with glandular therapy, including Standard Process glandulars – Symplex-F for female dogs and Symplex-M for male dogs. I also use natural, biologically appropriate (which means non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy.

Synthetic hormone replacement drugs can cause some of the same problems in female dogs as they do in women who take them. Natural plant-based hormone therapy is compounded for your pet’s specific hormone imbalances based on sex hormone blood test results.

I also use a few excellent herbal remedies, including corn silk, lemon balm, and horse tail. There are some great nutraceuticals specifically formulated to help with incontinence. I also frequently use acupuncture to stimulate the pudendal nerve. And chiropractic can do a great job keeping the central nervous system working appropriately.

Dogs with urinary incontinence that can’t be completely resolved can be fitted with belly bands, doggy bloomers or panties with absorbent pads. You can even use human disposable diapers, and just cut a hole out for the tail if that arrangement fits your pet’s body shape. Just remember that urine is caustic and should not remain on your pet’s skin for very long. It’s important if you use diapers to change them regularly and disinfect your pet’s skin.

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is almost always due to the colon and brain not communicating effectively. The nerves that control the colon are supposed to send a message to the brain when it’s time to go outside. If there’s a problem with the lower back – for example, degenerative myelopathy, peripheral myopathy, arthritis, muscle weakness, atrophy, a spinal tumor, or a condition such as myasthenia gravis – the communication pathway is compromised, and the animal isn’t aware nature is calling.

In older pets, the anal sphincter can lose its ability to hold in feces efficiently.

Parasites can also contribute to fecal incontinence. If you have a pet that has diarrhea for an extended period of time, there can be damage to the muscles of the rectum, which can lead to the problem as well.

Other causes of fecal incontinence can include an abscess or infection of the anal glands, a dietary issue, medications, or a perianal fistula.

Owners of pets with fecal incontinence might find accidents around the house. Or the pet could inadvertently pass feces when he uses his abdominal muscles to go from a lying position to a standing position, or when he jumps up on the couch, or in similar situations requiring use of the abdominal muscles.

Your dog or cat may also poop while walking without knowing she’s doing it. It can also happen during sleep. Excessive gas and swelling of the abdomen are common in cases of fecal incontinence.

It’s important to find the underlying cause of your pet’s fecal incontinence. Your vet will want to do a complete blood profile – including a chemistry profile, CBC, urinalysis, and a fecal analysis – to check for the presence of an infection or parasites. Sometimes, additional diagnostics such as X-rays may be required to check for spinal arthritis or a bone tumor.

Both chiropractic and acupuncture – I use electroacupuncture in my practice – can be very helpful in these cases. Aligning the vertebral bodies and stimulating the nerve fibers that communicate between the colon and the brain can help reduce incidences of fecal incontinence.

January 8, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

Never EVER Punish Your Pet for This ‘Accident’…

Download Video Transcript

In this video, Dr. Karen Becker talks about the problem of urine dribbling in pets – the involuntary passage of urine. Listen as she discusses the most common causes of the condition, as well as the treatment options she recommends.

Please note this video addresses involuntary passage of urine only, and isn’t intended to cover other urination-related problems like too-frequent urination or behavioral-related problems like submissive urination.

Involuntary Passage of Urine

Involuntary passage of urine normally occurs while your pet is asleep or resting. When she stands up, you notice urine leakage. It can be just a small wet spot or a good sized puddle, depending on how much urine is being unintentionally passed.

Other times you might notice a problem, for example, when your pet jumps up on the couch and spills a bit of urine, or she dribbles while walking through the house or as she’s running during play.

It’s important to understand your pet isn’t intentionally leaking urine. She has no control over what’s happening. This is not a behavioral problem, it’s a medical problem – so trying to correct or punish your pet is a bad idea on multiple levels.

In fact, many pets become very distressed to realize they are passing urine in places other than a designated potty spot. A housebroken dog or any kitty accustomed to using a litter box will be confused and even ashamed to know they are leaving urine in inappropriate spots.

So it’s very important you treat urine dribbling as a medical problem requiring a medical diagnosis rather than a behavioral problem requiring behavior correction or worse, punishment. Your pet isn’t aware she’s leaking urine until after the fact, and she’s probably as upset with the situation as you are.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

There are a lot of causes for involuntary passage of urine, especially in dogs.

  • Central nervous system trauma. If your pet’s brain or spinal cord isn’t signaling correctly to the bladder, this miscommunication can cause urine dribbling.
  • Damage to the pudendal nerve. This is a problem of the lower back in dogs – I see it often in my practice in older dogs with arthritis, degenerative joint disease or trauma to the lower back. If the pudendal nerve, which works the neck of your pet’s bladder, is impinged, the bladder neck can remain slightly open, allowing urine leakage.
  • Disease of the bladder, kidneys or adrenals, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism and diabetes can all cause dribbling of urine.
  • Bladder stones. A dog with a bladder stone will often strain while trying to urinate. He’ll appear to successfully empty his bladder, but when he’s back inside he’ll continue to leak urine. If you’ve noticed this behavior with your pet, you need to consider the possibility of bladder stones.
  • Birth defects. Birth defects – structural abnormalities existing from birth – can cause incontinence. If your puppy has been difficult or impossible to housetrain, there could be a birth defect present. An example: the ureter – a tube that collects urine from the kidneys and passes it into the bladder – can bypass the bladder entirely and go directly to the urethra.

    This plumbing problem, known as an ectopic ureter, will cause urine, as it’s produced, to dribble right out of your pet’s body.

    Some dog breeds have more of these types of from-birth plumbing problems than others. Siberian Huskies, Miniature Poodles, Labradors, Collies, Westies, Wirehaired Fox Terriers and Corgis are more commonly diagnosed with ectopic ureters than other breeds. So if your puppy is leaking urine, you should investigate the possibility of a birth defect.

  • Urethral obstruction. Obstruction of the urethra can also cause involuntary passage of urine. A tumor, for example, can obstruct urine flow and cause dribbling. So can urethral stones.

    A stone in your pet’s urethra is a medical emergency. You may notice along with urine leakage that your pet is in pain, seems stressed, and might even act panicked. This can be because she needs to empty her bladder and she can’t. The bladder is filling up with urine and there’s no way for her to relieve the mounting pressure.

    You should seek veterinary care immediately if your pet seems to have pain along with incontinence, and especially if she’s not able to pass any urine at all.

  • Age-related urinary incontinence. Older pets can develop weak pelvic floors or poor bladder tone which can result in urine dribbling. If your dog has signs of canine senility or dementia, he can also simply forget to signal you when he needs to potty outside. His bladder can overfill, and there can be leakage.
  • Feline leukemia. For reasons not well understood, some kitties positive for feline leukemia have urine leakage. If your cat starts dribbling urine, it is more than likely a medical issue requiring veterinary care.

Hormone-Induced Urinary Incontinence

Hands down, the most common reason for involuntary urine leakage, especially in dogs, is hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

After a pet is spayed or neutered, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, which are necessary to help close the external urethral sphincter, are no longer available. This often results in urine dribbling.

Hormone-induced urinary incontinence is extremely common in spayed female dogs, and somewhat less common in neutered males. These are typically healthy, vibrant pets that just happen to dribble urine anywhere from multiple times a day to just once or twice a year.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

The cause of your pet’s urinary incontinence will dictate what treatment she receives.

If there’s an underlying disease process or structural abnormality causing the problem, and it can be corrected through medical management and/or surgery, that’s obviously the way to go.

If your pet is diagnosed with hormone-induced urinary incontinence, I strongly recommend you consider attempting to treat the problem naturally.

At my Natural Pet Animal Hospital, we successfully treat cases of hormone-induced urinary incontinence with Standard Process glandular therapy, as well as natural, biologically appropriate (non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy and a few excellent herbal remedies

We also frequently use acupuncture to improve function of the pudendal nerve and control or stimulate sufficient closure of the external urethral sphincter. Chiropractic care can also keep the CNS working properly, aiding in normal bladder and neurologic function.

I urge you to start with natural remedies, because some of the traditional drugs used to treat urinary incontinence, specifically DES (diethylstilbestrol), are potentially toxic with side effects that can create more problems for your precious pet than the problem you set out to correct.

Synthetic hormone replacement drugs can cause some of the same problems in female dogs as they do in women who take them. If your pet is dribbling urine, you should work with your vet to determine what’s causing the problem.

As always, I recommend you have a holistic vet on your pet’s treatment team.

Dogs with incontinence that can’t be completely resolved can be fitted with dog bloomers or panties with absorbent pads — you can even use human disposable diapers and cut a hole for the tail. Just remember that urine is caustic and should not remain on your pet’s skin for long periods, so if you use diapers, be sure to change them frequently or remove them during times when your pet isn’t apt to be incontinent.

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , | 3 Comments

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

This chart by Cato’s AEI’s Andrew Biggs has been snaking its way around the blogosphere for the past week:

Pet spending

And it’s gotten approving [update: and skeptical!] chirps from Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen,Jim Manzi, Arnold Kling and Greg Mankiw and others, a good deal of whom parrot the old line about how this shows that “The reason that we spend more [on healthcare] than our grandparents did is not waste, fraud and abuse, but advances in medical technology and growth in incomes.” If it were waste, fraud and abuse, wouldn’t you see the difference in the animal market?

But let’s not flap about this too much. The chart is hounded by some fatal problems. John Schwenkler gently badgered me into trying to make a new version of this chart that deals with some of them, and I’ve been monkeying around with the data for the past couple of days. But, for reasons I’ll grouse about after the jump, I can’t reproduce a better version of this chart. (Scott Winship and Zubin Jelveh have ferreted out some of the missing data.) What I can do is graph the growth of pet food spending over the same period, and then list some of the reasons why the original chart doesn’t prove much at all. (And cut out the dumb animal puns.)

Pet food

1. This data is drawn from the same source (the Consumer Expenditure Survey) as the original chart. The raw slope of the pet food spending line is actually higher than the raw slope of the veterinary spending line. The normalized slope of the veterinary care line is a bit higher, but both are higher than average economic growth over the same period. Does this mean there is something unique about the two health markets, or something unique about the two animal markets? Or neither? I have no idea.

2. As Schwenkler and Manzi and others have pointed out, the original chart does not have per capita data. But of course we only care about how much is being spent on health care per person or dog. If the population grows quickly, the overall level of spending will grow with it. (Incidentally, this is why I’m having trouble reproducing Biggs’ chart exactly: I can’t find the number of total pets per person in the country between 1984 and 2006. And, to be extra cautious about it, I’d also need to know something about how the population has changed — more ponies or parakeets or whatnot.)

3. Even if the chart made the same point on a per capita basis, I’m not sure why it would be surprising. You don’t really have insurance or adverse selection in the veterinary market. But you do have large information asymmetries (the vets know more), large demand uncertainties (the need for veterinary care springs up uncertainly), large supply constraints, and a whole series of new patent-protected treatments that can lead to market failures.

4. Even if none of the problems in # 3 turn out to exist, I’m not sure why the growth of veterinary spending is a point in favor of conservative theories about the growth of health-care spending. Two of the most commonly cited conservative reasons for the rise in health-care spending are (1) The tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance; and (2) malpractice liability, which is supposed to lead to defensive medicine and higher costs. But neither of those things happen in the veterinary market! If the original chart is correct, then are these things not really problems?

My overwhelming suspicion is that the chart does not tell us much that is useful about the market for medical care. I spoke with Andrew Biggs yesterday, and he very kindly shared his data from the expediture survey (which is not publicly available). He also cautioned against taking any of this too seriously. 700 words and two charts later, I agree.

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Source:  the Atlantic – The Daily Dish

Posted:  Just One More Pet

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pfizer’s New Cancer Drug for Dogs Is Mixed News for Rover

Pfizer will launch a new cancer treatment for dogs. The oral drug, Palladia, will help fight mast cell tumors, often seen as skin lumps. This is a good news/bad news situation for dogs.

First, older dogs often get fat lumps on their skin that are harmless. With Pfizer’s publicity for Palladia, many owners will drag their dog to the vet to see if those lumps are cancer or not. Dogs are just going to love that.

Second, Palladia does not cure dog cancer. It merely treats it. Pfizer says:

… 60% of dogs had their tumors disappear, shrink or stop growing…

Meaning Palladia can shrink tumors, but only until they start growing again. In fact, dogs with systemic tumors were excluded from the study. Read the details in the PI. This may extend your dog’s life, but check out the side effects seen in dogs on Palladia:

  • Diarrhea 46.0%
  • Anorexia 39.1%
  • Lethargy 35.6%
  • Vomiting 32.2%
  • Lameness 17.2%
  • Weight loss 14.9%

All these effects were higher than in dogs on placebo (except for vomiting) — so they’re not a result of the cancer.

It raises a question that Americans frequently get wrong when it comes to their pets: When my dog gets sick, what is the best thing to do? Most people answer

a) “Everything humanly possible.” But the correct answer should frequently be

b) “Everything you can, but only until the dog becomes so unhappy that putting him to sleep is better.”

So this drug could, potentially, put a lot of dogs through some unnecessary pain.

I would advise trying some natural alternatives as well…

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Pet FamThink natural health is for the dogs? You’re right! But it’s for cats, too, and just about any furry friend. Keep Fido and Fluffy healthy with these natural pet tips. Plus, are you spoiling your animal? Find out with our quiz…

For many people, pets are family. So it’s no surprise that owners want the best for their four-legged companions, and that may mean sharing their natural lifestyle.

“Millions of pet owners are realizing that a more proactive approach to pet health has a lot to offer,” including preventing disease and optimizing health and wellness, says veterinarian Carol Osborne, founder of the American Pet Institute in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and author of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs  (Marshall Editions) and Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats (Marshall Editions).

Many everyday pet problems – such as skin infections and arthritis – can be eased naturally. LifeScript asked animal experts for some common holistic health solutions:

1. Herbs
Herbal remedies can heal many pet irritations and illnesses.

They help the body to eliminate and detoxify, veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn, Ph.D., says in his book Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  (Rodale Books).

Used properly, herbs can help get rid of fleas, relieve itching and more.

  • Fill pet beds with cedar chips – fleas don’t like the smell.Repel fleas from the surroundings by sprinkling chrysanthemum flowers, lemon grass, mint, sage, lavender and basil. 
  • Vacuum floors and wash pet beds frequently.

Itching: Is your dog or cat scratching more than a kid with chicken pox?  Try Osborne’s holistic anti-itching remedy: Mix together five drops of licorice, five drops of dandelion root (a natural diuretic) and five drops of cat’s claw (a natural form of the anti-inflammatory aspirin). Give your pet five drops of the solution by mouth once a day for 14 consecutive days. 

“You give it as needed when it’s flea season or when your pet is itching because of allergies,” Osborne says.

Licorice, a form of cortisone, also reduces the urge to itch, Osborne says. “But because cortisone is a steroid, talk to your vet” before using it.

If your pet doesn’t gobble it up, try disguising the licorice with tastier flavors such as clam juice, baby food or chicken.

Car Sickness: Love to take your dog on car rides, but hate cleaning up vomit on the backseat? Good news for dogs, cats and their owners. Liquid ginger root – a natural motion sickness remedy – works like a charm, Osborne says.

 Don’t happen to have any on hand? No problem. Give Fido a ginger snap cookie to relieve nausea.

 Indigestion: An upset stomach can be uncomfortable for your pet and turn you into a 24-hour cleaning crew.

Osborne suggests holding food and water for eight hours, instead giving your four-legged friend cool or lukewarm peppermint tea to settle its stomach.

 A word of caution: Before using herbal treatments, talk to your vet. “Some herbs and supplements can be toxic if given in large quantities or to a species that cannot tolerate it,” says veterinarian Deirdre Chiaramonte of Animal Medical Center in New York.

For example, some herbs prescribed for arthritis can cause bleeding, which could be disastrous during routine surgery or dental procedure.

“You need to find a veterinarian who is familiar with natural therapies in pets so the outcome will be successful, safe and effective,” Osborne says.

2. Nosodes

Routine vaccinations can save your pet’s life, but some experts believe they also can contribute to cancers, autoimmune illnesses and allergies.

The alternative? Nosodes – or homeopathy oral vaccines – may offer protection against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. (A nosode doesn’t exist for rabies.)

Like traditional vaccines, “they stimulate the immune system to protect the body from infection,” Osborne says.

They’re made from a dilution (one part to 90 parts alcohol) of the virus causing the illness. “Nosodes are safe, but their efficacy varies,” she says.

Even if you stick with conventional shots, your furry friend may not need them every year. An antibody titer blood test can determine if your dog’s or cat’s vaccines are still effective.

3. Nutritional Therapy

Foods can cure or prevent illnesses in animals, too. “Feeding your pet a healthy diet from the beginning will prevent many serious health issues down the road,” says Jean Hofve, a retired veterinarian in Denver, Colo.

So what should your pet be eating?

A homemade diet of organic raw meat and whole foods is ideal, Hofve says. She suggests a commercial raw diet (look for pre-made frozen or freeze-dried varieties) or canned food with a little fresh meat added a couple times a week.

Brands such as Instinctive Choice, Newman’s Own (organic), Merrick, Nature’s Variety Prairie, BG (Before Grain), Wellness, Innova, Evo, Blue Buffalo, Wellness and Avoderm are good, Hofve says.

They can be found in specialty stores, some feed stores, pet superstores, many grocery stores and online (www.onlynaturalpet.com).

If your budget doesn’t allow anything more than kibble, add fresh meat (and steamed or puréed vegetables for dogs) to give dry food a nutritional boost, she says.

 Besides a diet that’s “as close to nature as possible,” Hofve recommends four nutritional supplements for all pets:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy function of the nervous system, immune system, skin and coat
  •  Digestive enzymes to help pets digest food fully and get the most nutrients possible from food
  •  Probiotics (“friendly bacteria”) to keep the gut balanced and deter disease-causing organisms
  •  Antioxidants for a healthy immune system, normal cellular maintenance and anti-inflammatory benefits  

Skin Allergies, Ear Infections and Hot Spots: These skin-related irritations can be combated with omega-3 fatty acids in dogs.

 Healthy skin needs these anti-inflammatory oils, but nearly all dogs and most cats are fed food that’s full of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid instead, Hofve says. 

“Omega-3s soothe inflammation, benefit the nervous system and provide the building blocks the skin needs to heal.”

 She recommends Nordic Naturals pet products for omega-3 fatty acids. Other rich sources are sardines, anchovies, herring and menhaden.

Gastritis and Vomiting: Dry food eaters are more prone to stomach issues because of additives and preservatives, Hofve says. A raw or homemade whole-food diet of cooked white rice and lightly browned ground lamb or turkey will eliminate the problem.

 Digestive enzymes and probiotics will also help support and balance the gut, she says. And blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella contain antioxidants, trace elements and enzymes for healing.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): “This is almost purely a dry food problem,” Hofve says. “Diet is the primary treatment.”

 She recommends switching to a diet high in protein, high in moisture and low in carbohydrates. Canned, homemade and raw foods fill the bill.

Nutritional therapy aims to reduce inflammation and rebuild the bladder’s natural defenses, Hofve says. 

Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory action, while glucosamine sulfate gives the cells in the bladder lining the building blocks to maintain the protective mucus coat.

4. Acupuncture

Can’t imagine your dog or cat sitting still long enough for acupuncture?

“Most animals are much better than you would think,” says certified veterinary acupuncturist Nicole Schiff, who practices at Western Veterinary Group in Lomita, Calif., and City of Angeles Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City, Calif.

Just like in people, acupuncture involves putting needles into specific points on your pet’s body to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to promote healing and ease pain.

“It changes pain pathways that travel through the body and helps release endorphins, which help to block pain as well,” Schiff says.

The practice – which Schiff says should complement, not replace, Western medicine – can help reduce arthritis pain, lessen inflammation and intestinal problems, ease skin and ear infections, promote healing of wounds and aid post-stroke treatment.

 An average acupuncture session lasts 15 minutes and can cost $75 to $200 for the first visit and $50 to $150 for ongoing treatme

For the safest, best results, says Schiff, visit a veterinarian trained in acupuncture. Your regular vet may refer a certified veterinary acupuncturist or check the International Association Veterinary Acupuncture Association Web site at www.ivas.org

Adverse side effects are rare. The most common problem is that an animal simply doesn’t respond to treatment. Also, it’s not uncommon for a pet to feel tired for a day or two after treatment.

Want to know more? Get your own copies of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs, Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats and Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

By Shanna Thompson, Special to LifeScript – Published May 08, 2009

Visit the following Web sites for more about natural pet care:

Complementary, Alternative & Holistic Veterinary Medicine
www.altvetmed.org

 Academy for Veterinary Homeopathy

www.theavh.org

 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

www.ahvma.org  

Posted:  Just One More Pet – May 08, 2009 3:45AM

Himalayan Goji or Go-Chi –  Goji Health Stories For Pets  

Dogwise, All Things Dog! – 2000+ Dog Books

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments