Archive for the ‘Dogs Health’ Category

5 Natural Ways to Combat Cancer in Pets

Monday, April 4th, 2016

A cancer diagnosis is devastating, no matter who is suffering the disease. Just as with humans, surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments may eradicate the cancer or buy time for our pets. There are also natural ways you can help your pet combat the disease by employing diet and supplements to your advantage.

Image Credit: flickr/aaronjacobs

Enlist the support of a holistic veterinarian to help your pet in the fight for his life. Your pet’s treatment and outcome depends upon the type and stage of the cancer. Even if you can’t save your pet, some natural remedies can improve his quality of life.

Canine cancer diet

Good nutrition and the right diet can help your dog fight cancer. Many dogs with cancer also suffer from cachexia, metabolic changes in the animal’s body that result in appetite and weight loss, and progresses to extreme loss of muscle mass. With your holistic veterinarian’s help, you can devise an appropriate diet for your pet that fights cancer and cachexia. Of course, the food must be tasty. Dogs not inclined to eat are especially disinclined to consume food with low palatability. The Utah Veterinary Medical Association (UVMA) recommends a canine cancer diet consisting of the following:

  • Good quality proteins, such as fish, poultry and/or cottage cheese, and occasional tofu or soybeans
  • Various vegetables, especially kale, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower, which contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals
  • Few carbohydrates, which help feed tumors. Your dog does need some carbohydrates, but these should come from vegetables or whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice or barley

Once you and your vet have decided on the best cancer diet for your dog, the easiest way to prepare the food is by mixing the cooked and raw ingredients in a food processor or blender. You can prepare a large batch and freeze smaller portions for your dog’s future meals. The UVMA warns that dogs on a homemade diet require a good multivitamin and bone meal. Your vet will recommend the right amount for your dog.

Feline cancer diet

As with dogs, cats battling cancer should consume a low carbohydrate diet, with lots of high-quality protein and fat. Choose foods high in calories. Cats are even more likely to develop cachexia than dogs, so they may just nibble on small amounts of food. For this reason, it’s important that whatever they do eat is calorie dense. Encourage your cat to eat by warming his food and by giving him several small meals daily rather than larger amounts just in the morning and evening.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids not only benefit the immune system, but also have anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, it is possible that these fatty acids slow down tumor growth and hinder cancer metastasis, or spread. The best source for omega-3 fatty acids for your pet is from fish, whether in the form of fish oil capsules or from fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and trout. Even finicky felines will likely enjoy a daily serving of fatty fish. While flaxseed and certain nuts also contain some omega-3 fatty acids, fish is the best type to give pets battling cancer.

Vitamin supplements

Certain vitamin supplements may aid your pet in his struggle with cancer. If your pet is undergoing chemotherapy, your vet may not want you to give him vitamins during his treatment, as some vitamins undermine the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. If your vet approves, vitamin supplements that reduce inflammation and boost immune function include:

  • Vitamins A, C and E — these antioxidants help with inflammation reduction
  • Arginine — this amino acid may reduce tumor growth
  • Coenzyme Q₁₀ — enhances the immune system
  • Grape seed extract — another powerful anti-inflammatory

Herbal supplements

Herbs that boost the immune system can help your pet fight cancer, and certain herbs may themselves have cancer-fighting properties. Some of these herbs are quite powerful, so it is imperative that your holistic practitioner work out the right dosage for your pet. Herbs for fighting cancer include:

  • Astragalus — boosts the immune system and can help with chemotherapy side effects
  • Green tea — helps prevent cancer but must be given on a full stomach
  • Mushrooms — reishi, maitake and shiitake may prolong the lives of dogs with cancer
  • Turmeric — contains curcumin, which has an antioxidant effect

With proper veterinary and supportive care, you can help your pet enjoy a good quality of life, live far longer than expected or even beat the cancer. Check out the resources below for further information on help and support for your pet in the fight against cancer.

Article reposted from:
By Jane Meggitt

How to Make Sure Your Senior Dog Lives Longer and Happier

Monday, March 28th, 2016

A little gray on the face, a slower stride, a few more naps through the day—all signs our sweet fur babies are getting older. Just when do they reach senior status? Since all dogs age differently, it depends. Larger dogs typically age faster than smaller dogs, so seniors can range between age 7 for dogs like Great Danes to age 12 for dogs like Chihuahuas.

Specific health conditions can vary from dog to dog—and breed to breed—but there are overall strategies to keep senior dogs living healthier, longer lives. Veterinarian Dr. Katie Kangas, founder of The Pet Wellness Academy, has some important tips and tricks for senior dog health.

Identifying Breed Issues:

Each individual breed is prone to various diseases over time. Dr. Kangas says it’s difficult to narrow it down, but gives this list of top-5 breed-related issues:

Golden Retrievers used to live well into their teens; now there is a study to find out why they are aging faster and are more prone to canine cancer. Image via: Flickr/photos/pmarkham

  1. Golden Retrievers: High rate of cancer. Around 60-70% of goldens get some type of canine cancer. Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Boxers, and Labrador retrievers are also more susceptible to canine cancer.
  2. Boxers: High rate of mastocytoma, known as mast cell tumors.
  3. Cavalier Spaniels: High rate of heart/cardiac disease.
  4. Yorkies: “They are the poster child for periodontal disease, with Toy Poodles, Chihuahuas, Mini-Dachshunds, and other small-breed dogs under 15 pounds right behind them,” Dr. Kangas explains.
  5. Bulldogs and pugs: brachycephalic issues. “Short airway issues can lead to numerous problems and higher risks for fatigue, heat exhaustion, or surgical anesthesia complications,” Dr. Kangas says.

Diet is Key:

The quality of the food you give your dog throughout his life is of the utmost importance in keeping him healthy into his senior years. According to Dr. Kangas, nutrition is the foundation of good health.

“It is literally the most important thing we can do to support and promote the health of our pets,” Dr. Kangas says. “The food we put into our pet’s bodies provides the building blocks needed for all bodily functions.”

Fresh, unprocessed or minimally-processed foods make a big difference compared to heavily processed diets like kibble.

“Heavily-processed foods are known to contribute to chronic inflammation and degenerative disease—the breakdown of the body,” Dr. Kangas says. “Not only are these foods ‘pro-inflammatory,’ they usually contain preservatives and additives that are at some level toxic—even if the toxins are measured at ‘non-toxic levels per meal,’ these things add up in the body over time, leading to illness and disease.”

“These things add up in the body over time, leading to illness and disease.”

The quality of ingredients is important as well, but the level of processing impacts the quality and the bio-availability of the nutrients.

“I have seen many senior dogs benefit with a dramatic increase in overall energy level and vitality from dietary changes alone,” Dr. Kangas adds. “Seeing and experiencing this makes pet parents very happy—and it sure makes the pet happy, too.”

Some high-quality, low-processed brands include: The Honest Kitchen, Stella and Chewy’s, Primal Pet Foods, Acana, and Orijen. Rover also brought you this expose on dog food, including a site that reviewed more than 115 brands—like Natural Balance, Purina, Hill’s, Nutro, Blue Buffalo, and Innova—and narrowed it down to 29 approved brands. See if your dog food made the list by scrolling down to the section “Brands and Recalls.”

If you’re not sure if your dog’s food is up to par, consult a holistic expert like Dr. Kangas, who offers in-person and phone consultations.

Remember, it’s not a “senior dog food” formula you’re looking for, but the quality of the ingredients and the level of processing. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is also important, as it eases strain on joints.

Yes, Doggy Vitamins:

You can’t always rely on diet alone—sometimes you have to give your dog supplements. Like humans, some dogs can benefit from supplementation that supports bone, joint, heart, and brain health.

Remember each animal is an individual, so there is no “one-size fits all” supplement. But in general, Dr. Kangas often recommends omega fatty acids like fish oils. Once again, quality is king.

“Product quality varies enormously between brands, and I am very choosy,” Dr. Kangas explains. “Poor-quality fish oils are bad news because fats and oils become rancid quickly and can do more harm than good in that state.”

Dr. Kangas also often recommends 1-TDC, a supplement for joint and periodontal (dental) health.

“Many pet parents don’t realize how much dental health impacts the rest of the body,” Dr. Kangas says. “Not only are the organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys affected by dental disease, but the pet’s overall energy level also declines with oral disease. Many pets will act several years younger after a proper dental cleaning under anesthesia removes infection and chronic inflammation.”

“Many pets will act several years younger after a proper dental cleaning under anesthesia removes infection and chronic inflammation.”

Get Moving!

Senior dogs may be a little slower, but they still need exercise. Your dog should ideally be walked every day, even if you think he has an ailment that should keep him still.

“Studies have shown arthritis gets worse with a sedentary lifestyle, and getting dogs out for short walks of at least ten minutes 1 to 2 times a day improved arthritic symptoms,” Dr. Kangas says.

They might move a little slower, but seniors need exercise, too! Aim for a daily 15 to 30 minute walk, or break it up into two walks. Image via Flickr.

Not only is exercise beneficial for good health, it provides mental stimulation, too.

“It’s boring to lay around all the time, which offers no brain stimulation,” Dr. Kangas explains. “In terms of ‘use it or lose it,’ that applies to brain cells, too.”

“In terms of ‘use it or lose it,’ that applies to brain cells, too.”

In fact, the mental benefits—like socialization and stimulation—and physical benefits of exercise are a one-two punch.

“It helps minimize the onset and progression of senility and cognitive decline,” Dr. Kangas says.

Take it easy with your senior, though. Try a low-key, slower walk, allowing your dog to sniff and mosey along. Remember senior dogs need to sleep more than puppies, too.

If you have a dog with back issues—like Dachshunds—you may want to limit their jumping.Doxies are prone to back injuries in senior years, so jumping on the couch or bed should be prohibited. Or your could make your house a senior dog safe-zone by getting a doggy staircase so your senior can easily climb up instead jumping.

The Bottom Line:

Taking the time to know what ailments your dog may face in her life can help you tackle the problem before it even starts, which will keep older dogs comfortable as they age. As always, check with your veterinarian to see if these tips and tricks could benefit your senior dog.

Article reposted from:
By Jacqueline Bennett

The 4 Most Important Health Concerns In Dogs

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Keys to your pup’s wellness – and because you love him or her, yours too.

Dogs are susceptible to any number of diseases, many of which they share in common with humans. While a lot of these diseases have their roots in genetic inheritance as the result of inbreeding, unethical breeding, and in some cases just bad luck, the four health concerns below are the most prevalent and preventable areas of disease in canines.

1. Cancer

The number one cause of death in dogs is cancer.  Cancer can manifest in just about any tissue or organ system.  Although a lot of a canine’s predisposition to cancer is rooted in its genetics, there are measures you can take to prevent cancer:

Spay your dog: 50% of females not spayed develop mammary tumors in their lifetime, 25% of which are malignant (cancerous).  Statistically, intact female dogs are 3 times more likely to develop mammary (breast) cancer than human females, only instead of dealing with 2 mammary glands as women do, female dogs have 10.  On the other hand, spaying a female dog before she has her first heat cycle decreases the incidence of mammary cancer by 80%, making mammary cancer quite rare in these patients.  Even if you have an adult female dog that you never got around to having spayed, it is still not too late to have it done: spaying after the first heat cycle decreases the incidence of mammary cancer by 50%, while spaying after the second heat cycle or at any time in her life thereafter, reduces the incidence by 25%.

If you see a skin growth, have it checked: The only cancer in dogs more common than mammary cancer is skin cancer.  Growths like squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and mast cell tumors are all common malignant skin tumors we see in dogs.  Early surgical intervention before these tumors have had the opportunity to spread to other tissues is the most effective way to stop these cancers in their tracks.

2. Dental health

Many dogs are showing dental and gum disease as early as 3 years of age, and this is especially true in small and toy breed dogs.  Unchecked dental and gum disease is a source of pain, inflammation, immune system suppression, and even heart and kidney compromise.  If your veterinarian advises dentistry for your dog, take is seriously and don’t wait, as bad teeth and gums can lead to very serious health and quality of life consequences.

3. Parasites

1 in 4 dogs is chronically infected with a preventable parasite.  Parasites can be blood born as with heartworm disease, can reside in the gastrointestinal tract, or can live in the ears (ear mites) or hair coat (fleas and ticks).  Parasites often do not show outright clinical signs in dogs until secondary disease necessitates a veterinary visit (such as heart failure from heartworm disease, skin infections from fleas and ticks, etc.).  As such, yearly examination, heartworm blood screening, and stool analysis is of the utmost importance.  Some parasites pose serious danger to small children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals, so canines infested with parasites pose a danger to the human family in addition to the family dog.

4. Obesity

There are far too many obese dogs, with canine obesity right in line with the human obesity epidemic statistically.  Obesity stresses the cardiovascular system, commonly leads to spinal injuries and early onset arthritis and degenerative joint disease.  If your veterinarian observes that your dog is obese, do not hesitate to engage in portion control, prescription weight control diet if obesity is severe, and increase exercise.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital and CEO/Chief Editor of the veterinary information and blog online community, Web-DVM.

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Roger Welton

February is Pet Dental Health Month

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, it is again timely to remind ourselves what we can do to treat and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.

First, get a whiff of your pet’s breath! Imagine how your mouth would feel, taste, look and smell if you never brushed your teeth. Stinky breath is the first sign of a problem.

Dr. Darren Woodson and his dog, Lune. (Photo: The Daily Times)

Next, lift the lip and look at the teeth and gums. Are the gums red and are the teeth becoming covered with tartar at the gum line?

The cause of dental disease in pets is basically the same as in people. The difference is that people take care of their own teeth, usually several times daily. Bacteria in the mouth combine with saliva and food debris to form plaque. As layers of plaque accumulate, dental tartar is formed. Over time, more layers of plaque combine and mineralize, resulting in calculus. While plaque is soft and can be brushed away, calculus is hard and must be scraped off or removed with a special instrument called a dental scaler.

Tartar and calculus trap bacteria in and under the gum line, which leads to irritation of the gum tissue (gingivitis) and then periodontal disease. Periodontal disease means sickness of the supporting tissues of the teeth: the ligaments that attach gum to tooth and jaw bone. The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates 75 percent of cats and dogs have gingivitis by age 4.

There is a pretty good chance your pet is in that 75 percent, unless you are practicing home care and having your pet’s teeth cleaned by your veterinarian. I also tell our clients that three out of 10 patients have oral pain, and since dogs and cats still appear to eat normally despite their discomfort — an evolutionary survival trait — it goes unrecognized. Beyond these problems in the mouth, periodontal disease can lead to systemic problems. Bacterial infection can spread from the mouth to the heart valves, kidney and liver. Without regular veterinary exams, much of our pet’s dental disease isn’t detected until it’s really bad.

Home brushing programs are the cornerstone to a lifetime of dental health. Though it may sound complicated, it is actually something that most dogs and cats will readily accept given the proper technique and some patience and persistence. Since most owners do not have the time or inclination to attempt this, other home dental care options have been developed. Special diets and treats are made that will help minimize plaque build-up and oral rinses or water additives can help control bacteria. None of these replace brushing and having regular dental exams with your veterinarian.

A full dental prophylaxis or professional cleaning is the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and comfortable. We are now routinely using a sealant called Sanos, which is applied after the teeth are cleaned at the gum line to seal the sub-gingival gum line, thus preventing tartar accumulation for up to six months. Dental prophylaxis is a bit more involved in pets than in people since they won’t voluntarily open wide and general anesthesia is required to allow a complete dental exam and thorough cleaning.  Without full sedation, it is impossible to truly address all problem areas, especially the areas under the gum line. As with people, intra-oral radiographs of teeth are becoming a common standard of care as well. Research shows that 30 to 40 percent of normal looking teeth have root issues under the gums.

In summary, you cannot neglect the oral health of your pet. Assess their mouths now. Many veterinarians have incentives for National Pet Dental Health Month, so call yours today.

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Darren Woodson

Dog Flu Virus Spreading Across The United States

Monday, February 1st, 2016

When Elizabeth Estes’s dog, Ollie, started coughing last year, she didn’t think he was seriously ill at first. But then the 3-year-old Jack Russell-chihuahua mix got much worse.

“All of a sudden, he couldn’t breathe and he was coughing. It was so brutal,” says Estes, who lives in Chicago. “The dog couldn’t breathe. I mean, could not breathe – just kept coughing and coughing and coughing and gasping for air.”

Ollie, it turned out, had caught a strain of dog flu that’s relatively new to the U.S – canine influenza H3N2. The virus arrived from Korea last spring and has since caused flu outbreaks among dogs in 26 states throughout the nation.

No cases of human infections with the virus have ever been recorded, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And H3N2 causes no symptoms or only mild illness in most dogs. But it is triggering some severe cases of canine pneumonia.

The night Ollie got so sick, Estes spent the night on the floor of her steam shower with the dog, and rushed him to a veterinarian as soon as she could the next morning.

“They said, ‘When you get to the front of the building, call us because you can’t bring the dog in through the lobby. You have to come in through the back door. It’s that contagious,’ ” she says. “So I realized at that point: ‘Wait a minute. This is something a little bit more serious than I thought it was.’ ”

The vet rushed the dog into intensive care. “I was petrified we were going to lose him, and pretty upset,” Estes says.

After four days of intravenous fluids, help breathing and antibiotics to prevent complications, Ollie recovered. “He’s perfectly fine now. But it was a scary and expensive endeavor — but mostly scary,” she says.

Two different strains of dog flu are known to be circulating in the United States; canine influenza H3N2 is believed to have first arrived about a year ago, where it triggered an outbreak of illness among pets in Chicago. The virus apparently was brought into the country through O’Hare International Airport by an infected dog from South Korea.

“Dogs, like people, move all around the world.” says Joseph Kinnarney, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

H3N2 has since spread to probably thousands of dogs in a number of areas throughout the U.S, Kinnarney says. Most have no symptoms. There have been reports of cats also getting sick from the infection in Korea, but so far that hasn’t been reported in the United States.

The virus seems to be spreading much more easily than H3N8, a canine flu strain that has been in the U.S. longer. One reason is that dogs infected with H3N2 remain contagious for about three weeks, even if they have no symptoms; that’s about a week longer than usual. Also, Kinnarney says, because the strain is new to the continent, U.S. dogs lack immunity to it.

Mild symptoms of the illness include a cough, loss of appetite and fatigue — these dogs recover on their own. Symptoms of severe illness — more likely in very old or very young dogs, or in dogs with other health problems — include high fevers, breathing problems and complications such as pneumonia.

Dogs that spend time around other dogs are the most likely to catch it, Kinnarney says, so pets that spend most of their time at home and rarely interact with other dogs are at low risk. He recommends that dogs that frequently come in contact with other dogs get immunized — two vaccines against H3N2 became available late last fall.

“If your dog goes to doggy day care, if your dog goes to a dog park, if your dog is traveling with you, you should get the vaccine,” he says. “It’s just not worth the risk.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association gets funding for its educational meetings from companies that make the vaccines, but no specific products are promoted at those meetings, an association spokesperson says.

Other virologists and veterinarians say many dogs probably don’t need the vaccine, especially animals that live where the virus is not circulating widely. You can check with your vet to see if there have been outbreaks in your area.

“You shouldn’t be any more worried [about this strain of dog flu] than any other upper respiratory infection,” says Ashley Gallagher, a veterinarian at the Friendship Heights Animal Hospital in Washington, D.C. “It’s essentially just another kennel-cough disease.”

Though there’s no evidence so far that people can catch the virus from the dogs, there’s always a chance the virus could mutate and become even more of a threat to dogs, says Edward Dubovi, a veterinary virologist at Cornell University who is tracking the virus. Like any flu virus, “it keeps changing,” Dubovi says.

News reposted from:
By Rob Stein

7 Tips to Feed Your Dog with Canine Cancer

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

With the improvements in veterinary health care, many dogs are living to advanced ages. Cancer has become a common disease in older pets.

Many dogs with cancer present loss of appetite. The first step to increase the intake of food is to provide a quiet setting for eating. Meals should be given on a regular schedule. Most homemade diets are highly palatable. Slight warming of the can increase the aroma and stimulate food intake.

The diet of a dog with cancer should include ingredients that help the body fight cancer and ingredients that help the body prevent cancer.

It is vital to fulfill your dog’s nutritional necessities at every mealtime. So you should include the following ingredients at every meal:

1. High Quality Lean Protein

Protein is a very important element. Dogs love the taste of most proteins, and that encourages them to eat. The following are good choices for protein:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Venison
  • Duck
  • Pork
  • Goat
  • Lamb

2. Fats and Oils

Omega 3 fatty acids are well known as “good fats” and they are essential for fighting cancer in your dog. Krill oil and fish oil are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Krill oil comes from krill, the tiny shrimp that are the major source of food for whales. So krill is low on the food chain and it normally doesn’t have high levels of heavy metals. There is also proof that krill oil aids with depression, which can accompany cancer in dogs.

The abrupt introduction of fatty acids can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, so please introduce fatty acids into your dog’s diet slowly.

Fish oils (menhaden, mackerel, salmon, etc.) are similar to krill oil and they are more readily available and are usually cheaper. However, they have less impact on depression, and are more likely to hold heavy metals.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables interact with cancer in your dog’s body. Including vegetables in your dog’s diet is fundamental. The following vegetables represent good choices:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Mung beans (cooked)
  • Red or yellow bell peppers

To prepare them, simply steam or boil them. Cook them until they are very soft to make them easy for your dog with cancer to digest.

4. Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral for normal body functions. Muscle strength, appropriate blood clotting, regular heartbeats, inter-cell communication, and transmission of signals from one nerve to another are vital processes that also need calcium.

So making sure that your dog with cancer gets a proper amount of calcium is essential. Oyster shell calcium tablets are a good choice.

5. Nutritious Whole Grains

Most grains are not good for your dog with cancer. However, brown rice and oatmeal are both healthy and filling foods for your dog. The polysaccharides found in the bran in these grains may help to fight cancer.

6. Optional Healthy Additions

The following ingredients add flavor to your dog’s meal, but they also are full in cancer-fighting elements and have immune-boosting properties:

  • Fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
  • Fresh minced leafy herbs (parsley, basil and oregano)
  • Sardines packed in oil (minced)
  • Goji berries
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Fresh blackberries

7. Do not overfeed your dog

There is always a temptation to feed table scraps or to give extra food as a special treat. Overfeeding is not healthy for dogs. It shortens life expectancy. Additionally obesity is also connected to cancer in dogs.

Research has shown that fat cells secrete adiponectin, which lessens the development of cancer cells. Fat cells secrete more adiponectin when they are being burned for fuel, which occurs in leaner dogs.

Diet is important but it is not everything. Cancer grows and spreads, destroys the immune system, causes weight loss and weakness, steals the body resources for normal functioning and induces poor life quality. A therapeutic plan defined by your veterinary assistant is also crucial for your dog to fight cancer.

Article reposted from:
Dora Mancha

Experimental Canine Tumor Vaccine Tested

Monday, January 25th, 2016

The Yale School of Medicine and The Veterinary Cancer Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, are working together to test and evaluate a cancer vaccine for dogs with certain types of cancerous tumors. If the clinical trial is successful, researchers believe the vaccine will change the way cancer treatment is delivered to animals and people. The Veterinary Cancer Center is accepting dogs for the study.

The EGFT/HER2 Tumor Vaccine is the culmination of years of work by cancer researchers at Yale University. This stage of the project will determine whether or not anti-tumor antibodies are produced in vaccinated dogs. The vaccine ingredients are combined with a patient’s own white blood cells and then injected into a dog at two different intervals during the study. Blood samples are taken at the time of the first injection, then again on day 21, day 28 and day 56.

Yale researchers found that in a laboratory setting, the white blood cells worked with the vaccine to target malignant tumors and start to kill, reducing their size.

One patient in the clinical trial is a Pit bull mix named Valo. His owner reported the dog hasn’t experienced any side effects from the vaccine and is doing all of the regular activities he enjoys.

The ultimate goal of the vaccine study is to develop a new technology for treating cancer in people, as well as animals. This goal is somewhat rare because the majority of clinical trials for pets do not produce the same results when they are tested on people, but the Yale researchers are optimistic this study will benefit all of us.

Here are the eligibility requirements for dogs to enter the study:

  • Dogs must have confirmed mammary cancer or osteosarcoma.
  • Dogs with other types of cancer may be eligible depending on enrollment opening.
  • Dogs must weigh more than 6 pounds.
  • Dogs must not have been on prior steroid use. (ie: prednisone)

For more information about the EGFR/HER2 Canine Tumor Vaccine clinical trial, contact Gillian Rothchild at:

Story reposted from:
By Sharon Seltzer

Quit smoking to save your pet from cancer

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

As if we needed another reason to put out those cigarettes for good, Scottish researchers say that, along with causing other health woes, smoking may be making your dog fat.

In a release from the University of Glasgow, scientists reported on observations from their ongoing study of the health effects of cigarette smoke on dogs and cats. The study has not yet been published, but the university released some findings before the end of the year, perhaps to encourage smokers to give up this dangerous habit as a New Year’s resolution.

“Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets. It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight gain after castration and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers,” Clare Knottenbelt, professor of Small Animal Medicine and Oncology at the university’s Small Animal Hospital, said in a statement.

Pets take in “significant amounts of smoke” when living in a home with a puffer, she said. In the team’s most recent findings they discovered that cats take in more cigarette residue than dogs, which may be related to the feline self-grooming instincts.

“As an incidental finding,” Knottenbelt said, “we also observed that dogs living with a smoker gained more weight after neutering.”

Cigarette smoke has at least 40 mutagenic and carcinogenic agents that have been linked to human cancer. Scientists are now trying to pin down the effects on dogs and cats.

In this study, the researchers observed a higher level of a gene that acts as a marker of cell damage in dogs who lived with smokers.

The notion that environmental tobacco smoke, popularly known as “secondhand smoke,” can be deadly to pets is nothing new. Previous research has shown that it boosts the risk of nasal cancer in dogs, specifically those with long muzzles. Other scientists have reported that dogs who live with smokers have higher rates of atopic dermatitis (eczema) than those who live in smoke-free homes.

For more than two decades, there have been studies and anecdotal reports showing more cancers, including lung, lymphoma, and oral cancers, in dogs living with smokers.

“I recently saw a patient who had smoked over 40 cigarettes a day until she developed bronchial carcinoma,” wrote David Cummings, of the Department of Hematology, Harefield Hospital in Britain. “Two of her pet dogs had died of lung cancer … and her cat had suffered from chronic wheezing that resolved when the patient discontinued smoking.” His comments appeared in a letter to the editor in the British Medical Journal in 1994.

Article reposted from:
By: Mara Bovsun

Give Your Dog a Tbsp. of This Golden Turmeric Paste to Relieve Inflammation And Prevent Cancer

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The turmeric is an extremely beneficial herb, a member of the ginger family, is most commonly known for its deep orange color and is used for cooking, herbal medicine and dyes.

But not many of us know that it can be beneficial for our pets as well. Why? Turmeric’s prime ingredient curcumin is host of health benefits and acts as a spice, but also as a pain reliever. For this reason, it’s a great food additive for pets that suffer from ailments and illnesses which cause pain.

What are the benefits of Turmeric for dogs?

There are a number of recorded benefits of turmeric for dogs, but any new treatment of any kind should be discussed with your dog’s holistic veterinarian. Always err on the side of caution before embarking on any new treatment paths.

Pain: Because all dog breeds are subject to arthritis, turmeric can play an important role due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In dogs that have a little extra weight, turmeric can help with the painful inflammation that comes when arthritis takes hold.

Blood Clots: Curcumin is also a blood thinner, which makes it an essential component when it comes to reducing the risk of blood clots and ridding the body of excess cholesterol.  Although cholesterol doesn’t effect dogs like it does people, clots can lead to a number of problems for dogs, like strokes and heart attacks and turmeric becomes very helpful indeed.

Irritable Bowel Disease: Curcumin also stimulates bile production in the liver, which aids in digesting food properly because it helps break down dietary fats. Active dogs require diets that have at least 20 percent fat, so a little turmeric can go a long way with respect to aiding in overall digestion. Dogs that are pregnant, nursing or underweight require more fat in the diet, which means that, you guessed it, more turmeric could help.

Cancer: There are some reports emerging, albeit somewhat tentatively, that turmeric could play a role in fighting cancer. Animal and test tube studies have revealed the herb’s capability to play a role in preventative medicine as an antioxidant. It has also been proven to shut down the blood vessels that feed cancer cells in some cases, although more research is certainly needed on the subject.

This amazing Golden paste recipe was developed by the Australian veterinarian Dr. Doug English, who claims that it provides extraordinary results.

Golden Paste- Recipe


  • ½ cup organic turmeric powder (use organic turmeric powder as it contains lots of curcumin)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (Grind organic black peppercorns in a coffee grinder or a blender)
  • ¼ cup organic cold pressed virgin olive or coconut oil (it also has great health benefits)
  • 1  to 1 ½ cups filtered water


Mix the turmeric with the water, starting with 1 cup water and adding more only if needed. Stir the liquid on medium/low heat. In about 7 to 10 minutes, a thick paste will be formed.

If the mixture looks watery, you can add a bit more turmeric and heat it for another couple of minutes.

When the paste is ready, add the pepper and oil, and then stir it well. Allow the mixture to cool, place it in a jar with a lid and store it in your fridge. The paste can be kept in the fridge for no more than two weeks, and then you will need to make a fresh new paste.


Mix the paste with water and add it to your dog’s meals. Your dog won’t mind the taste at all.

At first, give it about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the paste, depending on the size of your dog. You can gradually increase the amount, up to about a tablespoon for larger dogs. Moreover, make sure you give your dog smaller amounts, but a few times a day, as turmeric leaves the body quickly.

Article reposted from:

5 Basic Steps to Boost Your Pet's Health This Year

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

It’s the start of a brand new year and if you’re like me, you’ve made a mental list – or maybe even a written one – of changes you plan to make, beginning today.

Most of us with pets tend to include our animal companions in our New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’d like to help your dog get more exercise this year. Or maybe you’ve made a commitment to brush your cat’s coat more often to prevent hairballs.

With that in mind, and to kick off another great year here at Mercola Healthy Pets, I thought I’d offer a quick refresher on some of the basics of providing a healthy lifestyle for your dog or cat.

Feed a fresh, balanced, and species-appropriate diet:

When it comes to helping your pet have a long, healthy life, there is no single thing more important than providing him with the right nutrition.

To be optimally healthy, dogs and cats need quality protein, fats, and a small amount of vegetables and fruits that provide antioxidants and fiber to animals that no longer hunt whole prey.

Your pet needs unadulterated, fresh, and whole foods that are moisture dense. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, byproducts, or processed or genetically modified (GM) foods.

Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets.

To gauge the nutritional quality of the diet you’re currently feeding your pet, see “From Best to Worst – My NEW Rankings of 13 Pet Foods.” You can also use this list for guidance on how to improve your dog’s or cat’s diet.

Keep your pet at a healthy weight:

Overweight and obese pets is such a widespread problem that many cat and dog owners don’t even realize their animal companion is too heavy to be healthy. Feeding too much of the wrong kind of food is how the problem usually starts. As a carnivore, the foundation of your dog’s or cat’s diet should be animal muscle meats, organs, and bones.

Unfortunately, the foundation of most popular, affordable commercial pet diets is grains, carbohydrates, and fillers – in other words, exactly the ingredients carnivores are NOT designed to eat. Biologically inappropriate nutrition can contribute not only to obesity, but to a long list of diet-related diseases as well.

Lack of adequate exercise is also a big risk factor in creating a too-heavy cat or dog. Our pets are designed to be physically active for optimal health.

Not only does lack of exercise help to pack on the pounds, it can also cause extreme boredom and lack of mental stimulation, which in a dog in particular, can result in a whole host of behavior-related issues.

Refuse needless vaccinations:

“Needless” vaccinations for most pets who received well-timed puppy or kitten shots include:

  • Yearly boosters of the core vaccines (distemper, parvo, and adenovirus for dogs; panleukopenia, calici, and herpes for cats)
  • Any non-core vaccines your pet doesn’t absolutely need

Over-vaccinating can create serious short and long-term health problems for your cat or dog. Yes, many pets enjoy long lives despite yearly re-vaccinations, but many others have developed vaccine-associated sarcomas, autoimmune disorders, and other life-threatening diseases.

In lieu of automatic re-vaccinations, I recommend antibody titer tests at 3-year intervals to insure your pet remains immune to the diseases she has been vaccinated for.

For a more thorough understanding of the latest canine vaccination guidelines, along with the dog and cat vaccination protocols Dr. Ronald Schultz, a leading authority in the field of veterinary vaccines and I recommend, read “Good News About the Latest Canine Vaccination Guidelines.”

Perform at-home exams and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian:

Our pets can’t tell us when they hurt or feel sick. That’s why it’s so important for pet parents to do routine at-home wellness exams on their companion animals.

This is a great way to detect any changes in your pet’s health as soon as they occur so that you can take immediate action. It’s also a great bonding opportunity for you and your dog or cat.

Often pets aren’t seen by a veterinarian until an illness is in an advanced stage. This usually means the animal has been suffering for some time, and sadly, it often means there’s no way to stop or reverse the progress of the disease.

Not every condition can be detected by a physical exam, of course, but you’d be surprised how many potential health crises are averted by an alert pet owner who detects a problem and makes an appointment with their veterinarian.

My recommendation for veterinary wellness exams is twice yearly in a healthy pet. Older pets and those with chronic conditions may need to be seen more often. If two visits a year isn’t feasible for you, I strongly urge at least an annual wellness visit to your vet.

I also encourage you to have a holistic practitioner on your pet’s health care team. There is a lot that can be done to improve the health and quality of life of your animal companion beyond what traditional Western medicine is able to offer.

Regularly enrich your pet’s environment:

Environmental enrichment means enhancing your pet’s surroundings and lifestyle so that he is presented with novelty in his environment, opportunities to learn, and encouragement to engage in instinctive, species-specific behaviors.

Ways to enrich your dog’s environment can include:

  • Providing a supply of different types of toys in varying shapes, sizes, textures, colors, and scents
  • Insuring he receives adequate daily exercise/playtime
  • Taking him on different types of walks
  • Providing him with regular opportunities for social enrichment, for example, visits to the dog park, play dates with other dogs, or involvement in activities such as agility and nose work

Enriching a kitty’s environment involves creating minimally stressful living quarters and reducing or eliminating events that cause anxiety. Any change to your cat’s daily routine is experienced (by her) as a stress-inducing event. The goal is to minimize change and maximize the amount of control kitty feels over her situation.

Enrichment may also mean adding or changing things in your pet’s environment that encourage her to perform or mimic natural feline activities, like climbing to a high spot or hunting “prey” (cat toys). For details on the five key areas of your cat’s environment and how to enrich each one, read “Your Cat’s Life in Captivity – How to Simulate Conditions in the Wild.”

If there’s room for improvement in your pet’s lifestyle, today is a really good day to think about what you can do differently to help your four-legged family member enjoy better health and longevity.

Happy New Year to you and your furry family members!

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Becker