Monday, May. 2nd 2011

Case report, ginger, Facebook, cooling diets for summer

Veterinary Alternatives May 2011 Newsletter

Veterinary Alternatives is on Facebook! Posts appear about weekly, so if you want to become a fan, just type” Veterinary Alternatives” into the search box and “like” the page when you find it. Past posts have included information about dogs having increased levels of fire retardant chemicals in their blood (compared to people), recalls on dog foods and treats, and information on holistic therapies. Information was posted today about yet another recall, this time on pig’s ears of a certain brand. Spread the word!

Recent Case Report: A 9-year-old Lab had knee surgery last fall. He continued to have trouble walking and wanted to play with the other dog in the family but clearly hesitated to do so, even six months later. When I examined him, it was evident that the knee had actually healed fine from the surgery. His pain was in his hips, probably from pre-existing hip dysplasia that worsened with being laid up after the surgery and having one leg less useable for a period of time during recovery. We began acupuncture with electro-stimulation, plus supplementing the diet with egg and a flax-seed based supplement containing glucosamine. After six treatments, his movement and attitude have vastly improved. Now he not only plays with other dogs, but is developing a bit of a reputation as a “bully”. He feels well enough to be pushy, after only 6 treatments so far.

Animal Health News: As mentioned above, I recently read an article about a small study showing that dogs have 5-10 times the level of commonly used fire-retardant chemicals in their blood than humans. These chemicals are found in furniture, electronics, and clothing. It is unknown what effect these chemicals may have on the body, but they certainly don’t belong there! This study implies what I have long believed—our pets are more susceptible to environmental chemicals than people. I firmly believe it is better not only for our pets but for ourselves to minimize chemical exposure whenever possible. Look for non-toxic cleaning products. Minimize or avoid chemicals sprayed on the lawn or plants that pets can access. Use organic foods, or at least all-natural ones. The link to this article is on the Veterinary Alternatives Facebook page.

Holistic Health News: Ginger is a terrific stomach/intestinal supplement. It can help with both diarrhea and constipation and also soothe nausea. Just a pinch of dried ginger on your pet’s diet (or in yours) can aid with a myriad of GI disorders, and it’s very safe! Another great use of ginger is to put three thin slices of fresh ginger in hot water with 2-3 Tablespoons of brown sugar. Let steep for a few minutes, drink, then eat the ginger slices (hope you remembered to peel them!). This is a wonderful remedy to take at the beginning of an illness such as the flu. It will help warm up your insides and sweat out the virus. Plus it tastes great! Pair it with Oscillococcinum (see my website, newsletter archives) at the beginning of a cold or flu and feel better fast!

Summer is coming, and with it, hot weather ailments. If your pet has been prone to ear infections, hot spots, and other summer issues, now is the time to be switching to a cooling diet, or at least supplementing the diet with cooling ingredients. Change them to a fish/turkey/duck based food and get off chicken and lamb. Add in some cooling veggies like melons, tomatoes, or cucumber. Use less (or no) kibble and go to a canned or even partially raw food if your pet is otherwise young and healthy. Older dogs or those with digestive problems should be fed cooked food, and many older dogs shouldn’t have too cooling a diet. By mid-June, your pet should be on this type of cooling diet if heat issues have plagued it in the past.

If you are supplementing your pet’s diet with veggies or fruits, keep in mind that they do not have the enzyme hemicellulase in their intestinal tract. This means they cannot break down the cell walls of plant material as they digest. Fruits, vegetables, and grains should be cooked, pureed, or both in order for our pets to be able to extract the nutrients they need from them. Canned will also work, but those should be finely chopped as well.

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