There is alot of buzz these days about the benefits of feeding probiotics and prebiotics as part of a healthy diet. In my opinion both are mandatory components of digestive health. Dogs & cats that receive these supplements at each meal will almost certainly benefits from multiple benefits— many of which are visible after only a few days of use. Improved digestion and better utilization of nutrients will usually equate to less flatulence, fresher breath, improvements in skin and coat, more energy, and even relief from chronic inflammatory disease (such as arthritis or old joint injuries) in a very short period of time— especially if you are already feeding a well-rounded, natural diet.
But what are probiotics and prebiotics, and how do they differ? In a nutshell: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, such as Bacillus coagulans found in Plant Enzymes and Probiotics by Animal Essentials, that add to existing microflora in the intestinal tract. A prebiotic on the other hand is a substance that serves as functional food for preexisting microflora in the gut. To learn more, read this new article from the July 2011 issue of Veterinary Practice News…. CLICK HERE
From the March, 2011 Issue of Veterinary Practice News…
Dr. Richard Palmquist, DVM, has been a proponent of natural animal care and a professional acquaintance of mine for many years. An article by Patricia Rodriguez in this months issue of Veterinary Practice News traces his path into the world of natural and alternative veterinary medicine. It is a great read— one that I hope many professional subscribers of the publication will read and take into heart. CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE.
One of the most common skin issues we see in dogs these days are sebaceous adenomas, tumors of the sebaceous glands that present themselves as elevated, nodular masses that typically range in size between that of a pea and a large marble. These tumors are most prevalent in dogs that are over 7 years of age and often present little or no discomfort to the dog. However, in some cases they can be be itchy and inflamed, and all warrant careful examination by a veterinarian to confirm diagnosis and to rule out more serious malignancies such as sarcoma or mast cell tumors.
The causes of sebaceous adenoma remain largely a mystery, but hormonal influences and environmental toxins are at the top of the list of possibilities. From the perspective of a holistic herbalist, this means the primary course of action is to critically assess the diet for anything that might not be well tolerated or poorly eliminated by the dog’s body— such as excessive grain ingredients (and their metabolic byproducts), the presence of artificial preservatives or other chemicals, or low quality food components such as meat byproducts or soy— things that might be creating an excess of post digestive waste in the body. When the body is unable to eliminate waste by normal means (defecation, urination, etc.) it will push the toxins away from vital organs to outer surfaces of the body, causing any variety of skin eruptions— including sebaceous adenomas.
Once improvements to the diet have been made a good detoxification program is in order. On the herbal side of things this will include lymphatic tonics, such as cleavers herb (Galium aparine) , Red clover (Trifolium pratense) or red root (Ceanothus spp), all of which used to stimulate lymphatic drainage in affected tissues. Cleavers herb stands as perhaps the most common single-herb choice for long term use, and is sometimes combined with homeopathic remedies such as bee venom to help reduce the tumors, as described in Dr. Richard Palmquist’s article, “Veterinary Care: Advances in Integrative Medicine To Consider for Your Pet” which has just been published in The Huffington Post. While I have personally seen good results from everything Dr. Palmquist recommends in his article, including cleavers herb, my personal favorite herbal detoxification formula for this issue is my Constitutional Blend, an alcohol-free liquid formula containing extracts of certified organic burdock root, dandelion, yellow dock, Turkey rhubarb and slippery elm bark. These herbs serve to stimulate lymphatic drainage and support the liver in its job of removing toxins from the body more quickly than cleavers and with a good margin of safety. Remember though: before launching your own efforts against your dog’s nasty looking bumps, consult your veterinarian first. If the tumors turn out to be malignant, you may need a take a more aggressive approach, such as surgical removal.
The obvious answer, of course, is because we love them. It’s no big secret that people like you and I cherish our pets as integral, non-human family members. But the attraction and bond to animals goes deeper than just affection and respect— animals help heal us. They keep us healthy and happy, and its our job to return their gifts by providing them with the care and attention they need. A new article titled, Why Pets are Good for Us by Steve Dale in USA Weekend illuminates the healthful gifts that dogs and cats give to their humans everyday. Read it, then go hug and kiss your companions— and always make sure they get the food, exercise, holistic care and environment they need to be healthy and happy— the rewards are tremendous! Read More…
A new article posted at PetFoodConnection.com reports that Menhaden fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico are doing well despite the BP oil spill disaster, and analysis of the fish has not revealed any significant toxicity issues associated with this horrible event. This is very good news… even though the Menhaden oil that Animal Essentials sells is sourced from fish that are harvested off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts, we remain vigilant of the impact that this disaster might have upon the species as a whole. Our concern is that fishing closures in the Gulf might add additional fishing pressure upon Atlantic populations of these oily little fishes. So far it appears that this hasn’t happened. Regardless, we will monitoring the situation closely. Read More
From the Wall Street Journal…
During the past five years, 122 dogs have died while traveling as cargo aboard airline flights, and the Department of Transportation has a theory: “short-faced’’ dog breeds like pugs and bulldogs are more at risk.
About half of the dog deaths airlines reported are short-faced breeds, including English bulldog, pug, French bulldog and American Staffordshire terrier. That’s a far higher mortality rate than other dog breeds, the DOT said. Data on deaths of “unknown’’ and “mixed’’ breeds was eliminated from the study. Read More
For a long time scientists and pet care experts thought that animals could get all of the vitamin D they need from a combination of healthy food and sunlight— and that the only real need for supplemental vitamin D came with old age. Well, we were wrong. It turns out that all dogs and cats require supplemental amounts of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)—not just when they are old, but at all ages. It is now known that vitamin D3 supports a wide range of body functions ranging from nerve transmission and muscle contraction, to bone formation, healthy immune function and more. And because vitamin D3 is susceptible to oxidation and destruction during food processing, many commercial pet foods may be deficient in this critical vitamin. Check out this brand new article by Greg Aldrich, PhD, published in the June 2010 issue of Petfood Industry magazine… read more
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From what I see at the pet stores there must be a alot of stressed out pooches out there. Or maybe it’s just that the pet product industry is learning to tap into the frustrations of consumers who cannot tolerate their high energy pets.
But are these products really effective? Are they safe?
The good news is that most of the herbal calming products found at reputable pet stores are very safe.
Most contain what herbalists like myself consider to be the old “calmative” standards— valerian root, passion flower, skullcap, chamomile and other herbs that have been widely used in animals for many years with few, if any, adverse effects.
Likewise, some products also contain natural calming agents that are not herbs, such as L-Tryptophan; the safe and naturally-occurring amino acid that is responsible for the post pig-out drowsiness that many of us experience after a large turkey dinner.
The question of efficacy however, is not as easy to answer.
Despite the apparent safety of most herbal calming products, questions remain as to whether many of them contain enough active ingredients to actually do the job of bringing about a more restful state. Many contain so many “inactive” ingredients, such as grain byproducts, binders, and flavoring agents, that the active (and usually more expensive) herbal components of the product are only minutely present. In a way this is good— calmative herbs are much weaker in effect than conventional sedative drugs. Therefore are generally much safer and forgiving to the uninformed user. In fact, in my experiences as a consultant to over 400 veterinarians over the past fifteen years, I have yet to see any serious adverse effects from the use of valerian, skullcap, passion flower, oat flower, or Kava kava in dogs or cats. read more…
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics substantiates what many holistic minded animal lovers already suspect: pesticides pose a real and present danger to our children and our pets. Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a published its updated Dirty Dozen list of 12 fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residue. Celery, peaches, strawberries, apples and blueberries ranked as the top five. read more…
Virtually anyone who pursues an interest in natural health has heard of controversies surrounding genetically modified foods. Two of the big questions of this topic: When the molecular structure of a food source has been altered through genetic manipulation, will the body still metabolize it the same way when consumed? And, if not, what might be the consequences?
Well, a new study published in the International Journal of Biological Science strongly suggests that the consequences of eating or feeding genetically modified corn— a common ingredient of grain based pet foods— might be anything but good.
The study concludes that genetically modified maize can damage the liver and other internal organs in mammals. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system
In the study, rats were fed three GM maize products (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863) found in food and feed around the world, for four and half months. Compared to the rats consuming non-GM feed, the GM-fed rats experienced adverse impacts to many organs but particularly the liver and kidneys. “Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver are particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM-maize varieties for just 90 days,” the researchers said. Read more…