Monthly Archives: October 2014

Devious and Deadly Disease – Is Your Pet Safe?

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There is a foreign invader that facilitates its entry into an animal’s system. Once inside, it travels up nerves to its victim’s brain as well as the salivary glands. The germ reproduces profusely in the salivary glands filling the animal’s saliva with millions of organisms. Meanwhile, the cunning intruder paralyses the animal’s throat muscles causing its mouth to overflow with infected saliva.

Simultaneously, in the brain, this wily virus causes the animal’s disposition to become violent and vicious. An otherwise docile pet may then start to attack and bite any person or animal he sees, facilitating entry of the virus into the next victims. Within days, the original host succumbs to a miserable death. But before that happens he may have fatally infected many other animals or people with his deadly bites.

This is the reality of rabies. Worldwide it is estimated that 60,000 people die from rabies each year, and bites from domestic dogs are the most common cause. It is a huge problem in developing countries, yet in the United States human cases are extremely rare.

It is not that rabies cases are uncommon in the US. In many states (such as Pennsylvania), rabies in wild animals is all too common. Our pets are often an unfortunate go-between for wild animals and people. While it sometimes happens that rabid, wild animals directly attack humans, imagine what would happen if our pets were not protected by vaccines. Pet rabies vaccines are the number one reason why human rabies cases happen much less frequently in the US versus underdeveloped countries.

Yes, although I am a staunch opponent of over-vaccination, I am in favor of keeping pets up to date on their rabies vaccines. Even pets who are kept strictly indoors can be exposed to rabies. I have had many cases over the years where indoor cats were found playing with bats. In one of those cases, the bat tested positive for rabies. Because the bite of a bat can be too tiny to notice, both the pet caregiver and the cat had to get rabies vaccines. It was fortunate that this cat had been up to date on its vaccines or her outcome would have been very bad.

October is rabies awareness month. Check to be sure your pet is up to date. Report any strange-acting, wild animals.

WTF Pet Food Companies?

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What’s in The Food? It really is anyone’s guess. I have previously written about how pet food labels lie about what’s inside the bag both here and here. (It took 2 posts to list it all). A recent study shows an even more flagrant deception on many pet food labels.

Researchers at Chapman University tested commercial dog and cat diets and published their study in the journal, Food Control. The study involved DNA testing of the pet foods to see what kinds of meat were really in them. Of the 52 foods tested, up to 20 had been mislabeled. That’s a whopping 40%!

In the study, DNA was isolated from the foods and tested for the presence of 8 different meats: beef, chicken, goat, lamb, pork, turkey, horse, and goose (Really? Goose???). The study revealed that 13 dog foods and 7 cat foods had unexpected DNA results given what was listed on the label.

Sixteen of the 20 mislabeled foods contained at least one meat that was not on the label. Interestingly, Pork was the most common unlisted meat. In three other foods, one or two meats were substituted for the labeled meat ingredient. That means there was none of the listed meat and something else instead. SURPRISE!!!

The final mislabeled food contained a meat that could not be identified. Note that the researchers did not test for dog or cat DNA. If they had they may have been able to identify this mystery meat. You just have to watch this video to see why I would say such a thing. According to the former president of AAFCO, it truly is a dog-eat-dog world.

The scientists were inspired to do this study by the scandal regarding horse meat being substituted for beef in Europe last year. Amusingly, they found no horse DNA in any of the foods.

This research is especially important to those who have pets with food allergies. If you can’t trust the pet food label to tell you what kind of meat it contains then there is no hope for keeping your pet safe from a reaction.

Do you have a pet with a food allergy?

Help Your pet Beat the Itch with These 4 Natural Remedies

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Fall allergies are in full swing and we no doubt have several weeks left. If your pet is suffering from an itchy rash here are four more helpful remedies (on top of the four from last week).

1.      Give Fish Oil – Another factor regarding pet allergies is the balance of essential fatty acids in their food. Omega-6 fatty acids increase the inflammatory processes of the body while omega-3s dampen inflammation. Processed pet foods are often lacking in omega-3 fatty acids and high in omega-6 fatty acids which means that they promote inflammation.

A recent study concluded that 45 percent of dogs with seasonal allergies respond favorably to increasing the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. The best source of omega-3s for pets is fish oil as opposed to flax seed oil. Allergic pets often benefit from daily supplementation of 1000 mg. of fish oil per 20 pounds of body weight.

2.      Give Digestive Enzymes – Another supplement that can be helpful when treating allergies is digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes can increase the absorption of fatty acids in the diet by 71 percent. Adding them to a pet’s treatment will help the animal get more bang for the buck out of the fish oil.

3.      Give Herbal Licorice – From a Western herbal perspective, licorice root can be helpful in reducing allergy inflammation. Licorice has been shown to increase blood levels of the cortisol that the body naturally produces. This is much better than giving the pet cortisone pills or shots. Plus, licorice has a sweet taste that dogs usually tolerate well. As safe as this herb is, I do not recommend giving it to pets suffering from heart, liver, or kidney disease unless prescribed by a veterinary herbalist. Be sure to only use herbs from reputable companies. Here’s some basic herbal dosing info.

4.      Get TCVM Treatment – For me, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is invaluable in the treatment of skin allergies. There are several conditions from the Chinese perspective that can cause allergy symptoms. Seasonal allergies are often the result of an invasion of “wind.” Sometimes there is “heat” or “dampness” associated with the condition. Other times allergies are the result of a “blood deficiency.” These Chinese disease entities require the special skills of veterinarian trained in Chinese herbal medicine to determine and treat effectively.

Allergies can take time to bring under control. Because there are many issues that contribute to the problem, it takes a multi-pronged approach to solve it.

What natural remedies have you found that work?