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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

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

Story at-a-glance
  • Dr. Nancy Scanlan, Executive Director of both the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVHMF) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) talks with Dr. Becker about holistic therapies in the treatment of cancer in pets, and the role of the AHVM Foundation.
  • Major drug companies pay for most of the cancer research (human and animal) in the U.S. Unfortunately, these companies are only motivated to fund studies that facilitate the development of new drugs to sell. Natural anti-cancer agents are of little or no interest to them.
  • Raising independent funding for research into holistic and integrative cancer therapies is a very important focus of the AHVM Foundation. The goal is to provide scientific proof to veterinarians and the public of the uses and benefits of alternative therapies to treat animal cancer and its symptoms.
  • Between now and March 17, 2013, every $1 donated to the AHVM Foundation will be automatically tripled. That’s right – Mercola Healthy Pets will contribute $2 for every $1 donation to the foundation from March 11 through March 17, 2013.

Video: Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Scanlan

By Dr. Becker

In this week’s third and final video, I’m chatting with another very special guest, Dr. Nancy Scanlan. Dr. Scanlan is the Executive Director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVHMF) and also the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA).

Dr. Scanlan has been a small animal practitioner for most of her veterinary career. She also spent 10 years teaching veterinary technicians. Dr. Scanlan is an authority on the use of nutraceuticals in veterinary medicine, and was certified as an acupuncturist in 1988. She gradually increased her use of holistic therapies in her practice and ultimately spent 16 years as the sole holistic veterinarian in a seven-person practice in Southern California. Since then, she’s been very involved in a variety of wonderful endeavors for the AVHMA and the Foundation.

Dr. Scanlan currently lives in the woods of northern California. Her home is off the grid, meaning that among other things, she uses solar panels as her source of electricity. I think that’s very cool!

Studies in holistic veterinary medicine – including the prevention and treatment of pet cancers — get very little funding.

The theme of this year’s AHVM Foundation Be One in a Million fundraising campaign is “Advancing Research and Education in Holistic Veterinary Medicine.” I asked Dr. Scanlan to talk about why cancer research for companion animals is such a vitally important area for the AHVMF to be involved in.

Dr. Scanlan explained that studies in holistic medicine get very little funding. If she has an herb that is beneficial in treating cancer, chances are it will be ignored by the big drug companies, which are the major source of funding for most human and animal cancer research. Drug companies only fund research that results in new drugs they can sell, so natural healing substances like herbs are of no interest to them. And this is truly a shame, because many holistic therapies used for cancer have fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments. They are less toxic to the patient and the environment, and are generally better for the patient’s overall health.

So raising independent funding for holistic and integrative cancer therapies is a very important focus of the AHVM Foundation. The goal is to provide scientific proof to veterinarians and pet owners of the benefits of alternative therapies. Currently there is no “proof” of the type the medical community relies on. It’s really not enough to say “The Indians used it all the time,” or “In China they’ve used this for thousands of years.” MDs and DVMs want and need this research.

Another reason we need independent studies of holistic remedies is to determine how natural substances can and should be used. For example, what parts of a plant are beneficial to treat different diseases and symptoms … what strengths or dosages are most effective … what type of growth environment is best … should we source only the wild-crafted plants, and so on.

As Dr. Scanlan points out, this type of research would be helpful not just in advancing the field of holistic veterinary medicine, but also for current and future holistic practitioners who want to understand the most effective ways to use natural healing remedies. And in general, good standardized research in holistic treatments is needed.

When it comes to raising funds for research and education in holistic veterinary medicine, there’s only ONE resource in the U.S. – the AHVM Foundation.

Next I asked Dr. Scanlan to give her perspective on why there is a need for a foundation for holistic veterinary medicine. She explained that the AHVM Foundation is the only organization in the U.S. specifically dedicated to research into holistic methods of treating animals. No other group currently in existence raises funds for research into holistic or alternative or integrative veterinary therapies exclusively.

As Dr. Scanlan points out, there are plenty of organizations out there dedicated to raising money for conventional medicine research (human and animal). But if you as a pet owner, pet caretaker, pet guardian or animal lover believe holistic and integrative veterinary medicine has value, then the organization you want to give your hard-earned money to is the AHVM Foundation.

I asked Dr. Scanlan what projects are on the horizon that the AHVMF is involved with. She responded that one of the Foundation’s biggest supporters is Dr. Greg Ogilvie, a DVM in southern California (you might remember his name from my recent interview with author Ted Kerasote).

Dr. Ogilvie developed the foundational research on the anti-cancer effects of omega-3 fatty acids, especially fish oil, on dogs. He has a long list of projects he would love to do if he had the funding.

I’d like to thank Dr. Nancy Scanlan, Executive Director of the AHVM Foundation, for making time in her busy schedule to chat with me today. I look forward to working with Dr. Scanlan and all the members of the Foundation to raise awareness of their Be One in a Million fundraising efforts.

How you can make a difference.

I’m tremendously excited to announce that now through March 17, 2013, all donations will be automatically tripled. That’s right! For every $1 donated, Mercola Healthy Pets will donate an additional $2. So please, take a moment right now to Be One in a Million and make a donation to the AHVM Foundation.

Related:

Using Alternative Therapies to Fight Cancer How to Check Your Pet for Signs of Cancer

Acupuncture for Dogs (Pets)

Part 3 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: Fixing America’s Broken Animal Shelter System

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

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, by Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote – Available in Bookstores This Week!

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Pukka: The Pup After Merle

StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Alternative Dog Arthritis Treatment Series Part 1 – An Introduction

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Animal Chiropractic Success Stories

Why is This Dangerous Infection on the Rise in Pets?

8 Out of 10 Pet Owners Didn’t Recognize These Signs of Illness – Will You?

Dog Massage? Isn’t Petting Enough?

Never EVER Punish Your Pet for This ‘Accident’…

Dog Chiropractor Helps Dogs Retain Mobility

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets

Megacolon: A Terrible Outcome for Constipated Pets

Stress in Dogs (Pets)

Pets Being Left Behind to Starve by Their Families

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Pet Age

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

New Drug Development Offers Pet Cancer Hope

Development of a potentially life-saving cancer drug for cats and dogs may be accelerated by the partnership of two specialized organizations.

New Drug Development Offers Pet Cancer Hope

MBF Therapeutics Inc. (MBFT), a development stage veterinary oncology company, and the Philadelphia-based Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) have joined forces to support the development of a novel treatment for common aggressive cancers in dogs and cats. MBFT have been developing a drug named MBFT-101, which is described a combination of two drug molecules that act together to kill cancer cells. The intended result of the drug development is a different treatment for dogs and cats that can be taken orally at home for a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

Each of the molecules in  MBFT-101 starves cancer cells of essential nutrients, with no effect on normal cells. One of the molecules is MBF-1569, a proprietary polyamine transport inhibitor, and the other is DFMO, a potent inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), for treatment of solid tumors and lymphoma. This mechanism effectively starves tumor cells for essential polyamines.

“Cancer is a devastating disease that affects both humans and animals alike,” stated Dr. George Prendergast, LIMR President & CEO. “The Lankenau Institute is very excited about our new, unique relationship with MBF Therapeutics. MBFT will utilize research performed in our laboratories to advance the development of needed, new therapies for our beloved pets while also setting the stage for future studies in humans.”

“Together we are able to evaluate MBFT-101 in cats and dogs with natural disease, concurrently with crucial preclinical studies in laboratory animal models,” said Thomas Tillett, MBFT President and CEO. “At the same time we are developing these treatments for companion animals, we will advance our understanding of how to effectively treat human cancers,” he added, noting that dogs, in particular, are the best animal models for emerging treatments of certain types of human cancers.

A pilot study is underway in which cats with oral squamous cell carcinoma – the most common feline oral cancer – are treated with MBFT-101 by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Clinical Investigation Center. Later this year, MBFT will initiate a pilot clinical study using dogs.

Source: The Pet People

Posted: Just One More Pet

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October 2, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pet Health Alert: Cancer Prevention in Older Dogs

Cancer

Cancer is not only a risk for human beings—it can affect our canine companions, too. “Veterinary research estimates that the incidence of cancer in older dogs ranges from 50 to 75 percent,” according to Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital (BMAH).

Such high numbers of the disease may have to do with innovations in pet health care, such as vaccines and deworming. “Nowadays, more pets are protected from parasites, heartworms and viral disease,” observes Dr. Murray. “As a result, they are living longer and developing cancer in their old age.”

Veterinary oncologists are also detecting cancer more often and at earlier stages with the help of sophisticated diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, CT scans and even MRIs for pets.

Though we cannot prevent all cancers, there are certain steps pet parents can take to greatly diminish the chances of their animal companion contracting the disease:

  • Spaying and neutering pets before their first heat cycles can significantly reduce the occurrence of mammary tumors and helps prevent ovarian, uterine and testicular cancers.
  • If you notice a mass on your pet’s skin, have it examined immediately by a veterinarian. If it is cancerous, have it removed as soon as possible.
  • Don’t allow your pet to be exposed to cigarette smoke.
  • Use pet-formulated sunscreen on vulnerable, fair-skinned pets.
  • Avoid chemical lawn products, which are proven to cause cancers in pets, including bladder cancer and lymphoma.
  • Avoid Toxic Substances in Your Home
  • Avoid Toxic Plants and Food for Your Pets

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Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doggy MRIs: Pampered pets receive state of the art health care

When a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better.

Fluffy and Fido tug at an owner’s heart. So we buy the highest quality pet food or a special formula depending on if he’s young or old or too chubby. Or, for the more holistic-minded, an owner might opt for an organic, vitamin-enriched dog or cat food.

And when a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better, including chemotherapy for cancer, a kidney transplant or hip replacement surgery.

Humans have ancient relations with their animal companions. Burial evidence of cats as pets dates back over 8,000 years and for dogs about half that long. These early pets provided their masters with both companionship and survival skills such as hunting assistance, according to experts.

Over the years, as domesticated cats and dogs became increasingly docile, the pet-human relationship evolved. And while an animal’s survival instincts may have been compromised along the way – how many of our pets could actually support themselves in the wild? – there are some perks.

Today, with pets considered more like four-footed people, owners are laying out big bucks for such pet-pampering services as styling salons, doggie day camps, and massage therapy.

And modern pets are also reaping the benefits of human technological advances with more animals receiving medical treatments such as chemotherapy, organ transplants, radiation, CAT scans, MRIs, laser surgery, root canals and even braces.

And in the case of MRIs, “your dog or cat can get an MRI faster than us as humans,” Randy Valpy of Petplan Insurance told the Toronto Star.

According to the report, these increasingly advanced health care options for animals come at no small expense. A dog or cat can receive state of the art imaging, for example, for about $1,000 and radiation therapy for as much as $5,000. And if you want an ultrasound, prepare to pay from $400 to $800.

The Ontario Veterinary College’s Teaching Hospital at Guelph offers radiation therapy for dogs and cats with cancer. Treatment of an animal ranges from $500 to $5,000.

Depending on the severity of the condition, an owner can pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pet’s veterinary care. And as a result, more people are considering pet insurance as a means of protecting their animals – and their wallets.

“We’ve seen invoices that run from $10,000 to $30,000 to treat a variety of conditions,” said Peter Weinstein, medical director for Veterinary Pet Insurance in California. The company sold more than 360,000 pet insurance policies in 2005, vs. 157,000 in 2000.

And about 1,100 U.S. companies offer VPI’s pet insurance as an employee benefit, he added.
Depending on the plan, pet insurance in Canada can cost from $9.95 to $90 a month, with the average cost somewhere around $30. Many insurance companies, including Petplan, Petcare, and PC Financial Pet Insurance, offer potential customers online quotes for a range of coverage plans.

Sophisticated medical treatments and surgical techniques have undoubtedly boasted the life span of pets. “Thirty years ago in the U.S. the average age of a dog was 4 years; the average age of a cat was 3 years,” Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association told CNN.

Today, the average lifespan of a dog is between eight and 12 years, says Beaver.

Pet owners report ‘unconditional love’ as the main reason for Fido and Fluffy-fretting— to the tune of billions of dollars in North America each year.

Article By: Cynthia Ross Cravit – 50Plus.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 2, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dog that saved owner from fire is euthanized

Bulldog whose barking awakened owner had been diagnosed with Cancer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A terminally ill bulldog whose barking awakened her owner in time for both to escape from a burning house in Michigan has been euthanized.

090525-bulldog_Brittney_Owner_Scott

The Grand Rapids Press reports that 9-year-old American bulldog Brittney was euthanized Tuesday at an animal hospital.

Owner Scott Seymore said Brittney woke him up early Saturday when a fire started in his home in Grand Rapids. 

The fire came two weeks after a veterinarian discovered the dog had several cancerous tumors. 

The vet said the dog might not survive surgery and Seymore believed chemotherapy would be too hard on Brittney.  

He decided to let Brittney live, with medication for pain. But since the fire Brittney’s growing misery changed his mind.  

Seymore says it was “really depressing.”  

As we all know, it is part for the cycle of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier!

 – Photo by: Johnny Quirin / The Grand Rapids Press

Posted:  Just One More Pet

May 28, 2009 Posted by | animals, Pet Blog, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Secondhand Smoke Killing Your Cat?

Recent studies confirm Dr. Sullivan’s assertion, warning that secondhand smoke may lead to deadly diseases in your cat. So if personal health risks haven’t compelled you and your houseguests to quit smoking yet, there is a new incentive: the well-being of your cat.

Consider the Dangers
The health risks associated with inhaling secondhand smoke have proved to be just as worrisome for cats as they are for people. But unlike you, your cat doesn’t have the choice to escape the environment to get fresher air, says Shera Dickie, DVM, of St. Julian’s Cat Care, in Dearborn, Mich. What’s more, pollutants from the smoky air collect on your pet’s coat. Since cats are meticulous groomers, they can easily ingest these harmful substances as they lick their fur.

According to a Swedish study cited by Dr. Dickie, “six out of seven cats that lived in a smoking home had pathological changes in their lungs.” These changes foretold the emergence of cancer for the majority of the cats. Here are a few other diseases your cat runs the risk of developing if regularly exposed to secondhand smoke:

Malignant Lymphoma
This aggressive type of cancer occurs in the lymph nodes and can be fatal. In fact, “Three out of four cats with this disease are dead within a year of diagnosis,” says Dr. Dickie. Cats living with smokers are twice as likely to get this disease, and the risk elevates with increased exposure.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type of cancer plagues a cat’s mouth. A study conducted at Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine found there is a higher incidence of this illness among cats living with smokers for more than five years.

Nicotine Poisoning
Feline explorers drawn to unknown objects, like a forgotten cigarette butt, are especially threatened by nicotine poisoning. The affliction occurs when a cat ingests tobacco. Cigarette butts contain much harmful nicotine – about 25 percent of the nicotine of a whole cigarette – so even a small cigarette butt can lead to the death of a cat.

Asthma
Cats exposed to secondhand smoke are not only more susceptible to asthma, but they also “tend to heal slower from respiratory diseases, such as viral infections and pneumonia,” notes Dr. Sullivan. Increased coughing and breathing difficulty is a possible sign that your kitty suffers around secondhand smoke.

What Can You Do Now?
Proactive, responsible owners have many options to protect their cat from secondhand smoke. But how do you do that if you can’t quit smoking so easily? Here are

Designate Smoke-Free Areas
Consider smoking outside, or smoke only in rooms that pets are not allowed in. The less the exposure, the greater the chances your cat will stay healthy.

Use Air Filters
Air filters may help clean the environment, removing harmful chemicals in the air that could block your kitty’s respiratory passage.

Clean Your Pet And Your House
Regular baths, or at the very least wipe-downs with a damp cloth, can help remove smoke residue from cat fur, says Dr. Dickie. Vacuum and keep all cigarette butts, tobacco products and even nicotine patches out of sight to prevent accidental illness, poisoning or even death.

Look For Symptoms
Excessive drooling or difficulty eating are symptoms of oral cancer, while labored breathing is a sign of lung cancer. Observe your cat frequently, since catching diseases early on always helps with treatment. If something is out of the ordinary, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The best solution of all? Quitting if you’re a smoker – and encouraging cigarette-carrying visitors to do the same. In the words of Dr. Dickie: “Why expose your beloved furry friend to a potentially preventable disease?”

by Natalia Macrynikola

Source:  Pet People’s Place

(These same dangers apply for any and all animals and pets, especally indoor or house pets that are regularly exposed!)

Posted:  Just One More Pet

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Pet Sterilization Laws Raise Health Concerns

Spayed or neutered dogs more at risk for cancers, other ills, research shows

Studies have found that spayed or neutered dogs are at increased risks for problems including certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues that the surgeries are said to prevent.

As legislators push for more mandatory spay and neuter laws for pets as young as 4 and 6 months in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted animals, critics are crying foul over research showing that such surgeries may raise certain health risks in dogs and therefore shouldn’t be required.

Studies have shown that dogs that undergo spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutering (removal of the testicles) are at increased risks for certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues, such as aggression, that the surgeries are said to prevent.

Most of these problems aren’t common to begin with, and the increased risks can depend on the type of dog and the age the surgery is performed. Still, the findings are leading some experts to say that, contrary to conventional wisdom, later spay/neuter surgery for dogs, and even vasectomies for male canines, may be better options for some animals, depending on such factors as breed and lifestyle.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has not taken a stand on spay/neuter legislation, but the American College of Theriogenologists, a group of veterinary reproduction specialists that advises the AVMA, is considering a position paper opposing the legislation at its meeting in St. Louis in August, says veterinarian John Hamil of Laguna Beach, Calif., a member of the group’s task force that looked at the issue.

“What they’re saying is that because there have been problems associated with spay/neuter surgery, they think it’s improper for it to be mandated, much less at an early age,” says Hamil. “They feel the decision should be made after discussion between the owner and veterinarian.”

Proponents of spay/neuter legislation say it’s a way to reduce the numbers of animals in shelters and cut down on euthanasia rates. They also cite the health and behavior benefits of the procedures, such as prevention of mammary cancer, spraying and marking territory, and roaming.

Patty Khuly, a veterinarian in Miami, says a better solution to control the animal population than mandatory spay/neutering by a certain age is to offer the surgeries at lower costs so more pet owners can afford them and get them done according to a veterinarian’s recommendations.

“I don’t believe that the fourth month is a reasonable window,” she says. “Most veterinarians would agree on that. I think low-cost spay/neuter, making it more available, is the solution, as opposed to mandating a time frame, especially when we don’t know the real impact of early spay/neuter.”

For more than a decade, the cities of San Mateo and Belmont in California have required sterilization of most cats and dogs more than 6 months old. But more attention is being paid to the pros and cons of pet sterilization now because of a recent spate of legislation that has been passed or introduced. Los Angeles, for instance, passed an ordinance requiring cats and dogs more than 4 months old to be neutered or spayed by October or risk fines up to $500. Palm Beach, Fla., and North Las Vegas also have approved such measures, and dozens more cities and counties, including Chicago and Dallas, are considering them. Rhode Island is the only state to have passed a mandatory spay/neuter law, and it applies just to cats.

No one-size-fits-all answer
The idea that pets should be spayed or neutered at approximately 6 months of age or earlier dates to studies in the 1960s and 1970s showing that spaying a female before her first estrus cycle almost eliminated mammary cancer — which is common in dogs — and that spayed and neutered dogs showed a decrease in behavior problems that can be fueled by sex hormones.

Spay/neuter surgery also has other benefits, including prevention of unwanted litters, no messy twice-yearly estrus cycles in females and a reduced rate of uterine infections later in life. Spayed and neutered dogs and cats also have longer lifespans.

Since the early studies were conducted, however, research has also shown downsides to the surgeries beyond acute side effects such as bleeding and inflammation.

Margaret V. Root Kustritz, a veterinary reproduction specialist at the University of Minnesota, reviewed 200 studies and found that while spay/neuter surgery has benefits, it is also linked to increases in the incidence of certain diseases and conditions such as bone cancer, heart tumors, hypothyroidism and canine cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries, as well as prostate cancer in male dogs and urinary incontinence in females. The extent of the risk can depend on the problem, as well as the size and sex of the dog, and the age the surgery is performed.

The risk of a type of cardiac tumor called hemangiosarcoma is five times higher in spayed female dogs than unspayed females, noted Kustritz. And neutered males have 2.4 times the risk of unneutered males. The risk was also higher for osteosarcoma (bone cancer): Dogs spayed or neutered before age 1 were up to two times as likely to develop the disease than those that hadn’t been altered.

Spaying and neutering may also heighten behavior problems such as aggression in some breeds and noise phobias in dogs altered at less than 5 months of age, she found.
While it’s long been believed that spaying and neutering can improve a dog’s behavior, one large study done at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that, with a few exceptions, spaying and neutering was associated with worse behavior, although those effects were often specific to certain breeds and depended on the age at which the dog was altered.

Cats seem to fare better, though. The main risk they face from sterilization is that they can become sedentary and obese, according to Kustritz’s review of studies. As a result, vets say sterilizing cats before 6 months of age is appropriate.

Reproductive choice
Still, some oppose the mandatory spay/neuter surgery for both cats and dogs based on the grounds that pet owners may not be able to afford the surgery if reduced-cost programs aren’t available. Plus, they argue, people should have a choice.

In San Mateo, Calif., Peninsula Humane Society president Ken White says such legislation provides a one-approach answer to a problem that is different from community to community.

White believes low-cost or free spay/neuter programs are a better way to reduce the number of unwanted animals, based on what’s worked in San Mateo. The numbers of animals requiring euthanasia dropped dramatically — a 93 percent reduction since 1970 — as the humane society added ways for people to take advantage of low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter programs.

Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Humane Society of the United States, says that in general the organization is in favor of spay/neuter laws but “we look at every piece of legislation individually. We generally recommend that those decisions are made with a veterinarian. If an individual pet owner feels they want to wait longer or their veterinarian feels they should wait longer, that’s their choice.”

Veterinarians should consider the age for spay/neuter surgery based on the individual animal rather than rely on the traditional 6-month standard, says Khuly.

For instance, giant dog breeds are more at risk for some types of cancer, and akitas, German shepherds, golden and Labrador retrievers, Newfoundlands, poodles and Saint Bernards are among the breeds at higher risk for CCL ruptures.

“It seems that the bigger the dog, the less desirable it is to spay them early,” says Hamil. In his practice, he recommends spaying or neutering large or giant-breed dogs later than small or medium-size dogs.

Some veterinarians suggest spaying females at 12 to 14 months of age, after the growth plates have closed and between estrus cycles. Hamil says that’s not unreasonable.

A kinder cut?
Vasectomy is an option, although a rather uncommon one, for dogs that participate in sports with their owners. The main advantage is better musculature, which can help with arthritis later in life, says Khuly. A vasectomy prevents procreation but keeps testosterone production.

“I think it makes a lot more sense to consider a vasectomy,” says Khuly. “Males with their testosterone really do have some advantages over those that don’t have their testosterone.”

While experts debate the timing of spay/neuter surgery, they generally agree that the benefits outweigh the risks.

“The disadvantages, although real, are not stark,” Hamil says. “It’s not like if you neuter them they’re going to get [bone cancer]. You would have a very slight increase in incidence, and it’s going to be breed-related … [Whatever the increase is] that’s not a very big reason not to spay or neuter your dog.”

By Kim Campbell Thornton, MSNBC contributor, is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

Outtake:

As legislators push for more mandatory spay and neuter laws for pets, critics are crying foul over research showing that such surgeries may raise health risks in dogs.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments