Here are some tips on keeping your pet safe this July 4th from my colleagues at Texas A&M.
The 4th of July might be a day of celebration for people, but for pets it is a day of potentially hazardous situations. Dr. James Barr, clinical assistant professor for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained that pets are at an increased risk for several dangerous scenarios during our holiday celebration.
“Most of the injuries or sicknesses that happen around the 4th of July in dogs have to do with an increased amount of outdoor activity,” Dr. James Barr said. “There are more dogfights, car accidents involving dogs and heat- related illnesses than any other time of the year.”
Barr also discourages owners from feeding table scraps to their pets. “Because dogs and cats have exposure to a lot more food from barbecues and parties, they tend to get upset stomachs from eating things they shouldn’t,” he said. Sometimes it is seen as humorous for owners to share an alcoholic beverage with their pet, but Barr includes alcohol on his list of dangers for pets on Independence Day. “Pets have much smaller bodies than we do and it can be quite dangerous to have them drink alcohol. It can even be fatal in severe circumstances,” he said.
If you plan on bringing Fido to an outdoor party, be cautious of the dangers of mosquitos, fleas and ticks. Spraying your pet with insect repellant may seem like a reasonable solution to the bug problem, but some sprays are not safe for animals. Instead, Barr recommends using an effective flea and tick repellant prescribed by your veterinarian. Since heartworms are transmitted to pets through mosquitos, a common summer nuisance, Barr also reminds owners to make sure their pet is taking heartworm preventative before they enjoy the holiday outdoors.
One of the most exciting traditions of the 4th of July holiday is fireworks. Although we might fall into a trance of admiration at the loud popping noises and flashing of colors in the sky, our pets might not enjoy the show so much. If your dog typically becomes frightened during thunderstorms, chances are it will react the same way to fireworks. “If your dog is frightened by the fireworks, you need to minimize the exposure that they have to the loud noise of the fireworks,” Barr said. This can be done by finding a safe and quiet room in your home where your dog can stay relaxed. If Fido is in attendance at your outdoor firework show, keep him or her on a leash to prevent it from running away or jumping a fence in an attempt to find safety. Remember, it is always important to properly identify your pet just in case it becomes lost.
Although Independence Day is a fun-filled holiday for people, it might not be the same case for our pets. As a pet owner, it is important to consider all dangerous situations your pet may experience during the holiday. If you are concerned about the dangers your pet may face and want to fully protect them, the simple solution is for Fido to sit this party out in the safety of your home.
Over the last few years doctors and veterinarians have increasingly faced shortages of medications. The FDA continues to create all sorts of problems as the drug shortages are continuing.
What this means is that it can takes weeks, months, or sometimes even years for distributors and manufacturers to be able to produce and ship medications for patients.
Over the last few years we’ve had trouble getting basic medications including prednisone and tetracycline. This summer I can’t get most of the medicated shampoos and certain antibiotics that I use for my patients with skin disease.
The good news is that being a holistic practice we use very few medications compared to conventional doctors. Still, there are times when I need to use medications, and having difficulty acquiring them poses an inconvenience to my clients and possibly a risk of a disease getting worse.
The other bad news is that with the shortage, prices naturally increase. In some cases the price increases are ridiculous, and I don’t even want to try to sell you the medications your pet needs. It’s often easier (but not often cheaper) for me to find a pharmacy that is able to get the medication I need and script it out to you.
Unfortunately I don’t foresee the problem improving as it’s only gotten much worse over the last few years. I will continue to do what we can to provide drug-free treatment to your pets and try to get whatever medications are necessary whenever your pet requires something stronger than natural medicines.
A few helpful tips on cancer in pets from my friends at Texas A&M….
With the month of May in full swing, so is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. All pets, regardless of size and breed, are at risk for developing cancer. However, there are certain breeds of dogs that have higher instances of the disease than others.
Certain breeds, such as golden retrievers, Rottweilers, and German shepherds are considered at-risk breeds and have a higher risk of getting cancer. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, these breeds can have up to a 70-80 percent chance of getting cancer in their lifetime.
Of course, middle aged-older dogs are more likely to develop diseases such as cancer than younger dogs. “Just like in people, however, the earlier that cancer is detected, the greater chance there will be of achieving remission,” said Jaci Christensen, oncology veterinary technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
One goal of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to inform pet owners of symptoms to look for in their pet. The Veterinary Cancer Society suggests checking your pet regularly for signs such as swollen lymph nodes, sudden weight loss, enlarged lumps, vomiting, diarrhea, and lameness. If your dog or cat displays any of these warning signs, consult with your veterinarian as soon as you can.
If your veterinarian does find cancer, there are various treatment options including natural therapies. Once you know which type of cancer you’re fighting, the various treatment options can then be discussed with your veterinarian.
“Conventional cancer treatment in dogs and cats is similar to that of humans, including treatment options such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery,” said Christensen. “However, surprisingly, chemotherapy’s side effects tend to be less severe in our pets than in humans.” Still there are many pets treated successfully without chemotherapy, and many cancers do not require chemotherapy. In my practice in Plano, Tx, all of my cancer patients are treated with natural medicines which typically adds 6-12 months of high quality life for the pet with cancer.
Veterinarians stress that wellness checks 6-12 months are key to cancer prevention. Early cancer testing with new blood profiles add to our ability to diagnose cancer at an early stage, making it more treatable. To ensure the cancer is detected in time, it is urged that pet owners take their pets to the veterinarian for blood work and biopsies if cancer is suspected.
Learning that your beloved pet has cancer is never easy, but discovering it early on ensures a better chance of survival and an increased quality of life. Although May is Pet Cancer Awareness month, spread the awareness of cancer’s prevalence amongst our four-legged friends all throughout the year, and be sure to check for signs both at home and during your regular visits to the veterinarian.
As you know, my colleague Dr. Ballard recently retired. We are honored to be able to offer the same high quality alternative medical care for all of her patients.
We have seen many of her patients and appreciate their commitment to helping their pets with a natural focus. Because we are seeing so many of her patients and our own, we ask you to be patient with us as we try to fit you into our schedule. We will do everything possible to see your pets at the earliest possibility.
We know that since her closing her practice it is not possible to get copies of your records. No worries as we will work with you to figure out what your pets need.
Like Dr. Ballard, we offer care using Chinese herbs and homeopathics. We also offer naturopathic care using Western herbs, acupuncture, cold laser, homotoxicology, autosanguis detoxification therapy, and unique protocols for patients suffering from chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, allergies, arthritis, and endocrine/hormonal disorders including thyroid and adrenal diseases. Finally, we offer a complete line of unique nutritional supplements in the Dr. Shawn’s line of naturopathic products. We invite you to call us at 972-867-8800 ext 0 to set up an appointment so that we may continue the special care your pets have received from Dr. Ballard!
I’m often asked when is the best time to start naturopathic medicines. Should you start before, during, or after traditional therapies??
While starting therapy at the time of diagnosis is ideal (as the natural medicines can reduce side effects from and increase effectiveness of traditional cancer therapies,) the MOST important thing is to start natural therapies sometime! The goal is to enhance the immune system’s fighting abilities to keep the cancer in remission as long as possible and to make the pet feel better, giving it a high quality of life.
The second MOST important thing is to work with a holistic veterinarian to make sure you are using the correct proven therapies at the dosage that is best for your pet, and to pick natural supplements that don’t interact negatively with other therapies. In our practice we use only proven natural medicines and are guided by frequent blood testing, including our cancer/inflammatory profile. Your pet’s life is too important to guess and go it alone….and please don’t buy something on the internet just because a testimonial swears the product cures cancer..a definite no-no.
Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!
With Easter upon us, I wanted to take a moment to remind all of you about the dangers of one of my favorite plants, the lily.
Most pet owners are unaware that ingestion of any part of a lily can be fatal for cats. This is of particular concern given the popularity of lilies in bouquets and gardens. Lilies in the “true lily” and daylily families such as Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies, and Oriental lilies are highly toxic to cats. Ingestion of just one petal, leaf, or even the pollen, can cause kidney failure in less than three days.
The most dangerous lilies for cats are those in the genus Lilium (the “true lilies”) and Hemerocallis (daylilies). Common examples include the Easter lily (L. longiflorum), stargazer lily (L. orientalis), tiger lily (L. tigrinum or L. lancifolium), Asiatic hybrid lily (many varieties of Lilium spp.), wood lily (L. philadelphicum), and daylily (Hemerocallis spp.). The toxin, which only effects cats, has not been identified, but exposure to any part of the plant, including leaves, flowers, pollen, or even the water from the vase may result in acute kidney and rarely, pancreatitis. Lily poisoning is a true medical emergencie requiring immediate veterinary care. Early decontamination, aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, renal function tests, and supportive care greatly improve the cat’s prognosis. A delay of treatment of more than 18 hours after ingestion generally results in irreversible kidney failure. Due to the high risk of fatality, the Pet Poison Hotline recommends these flowers never be brought into homes with cats.
If a cat consumes any part of a lily plant, the pet owner should bring the cat and the plant to a veterinarian as soon as possible.Treatment for lily poisoning starts at around $1000 but easily escalates depending upon the degree of kidney failure and the pet’s response or lack of response. The best approach-while we love lillies DON’T bring them into a house of cats!
Every veterinarian knows the research:pets do not and should not receive regular immunizations, but instead immunization recommendations must be based upon knowledge of the vaccine’s immunity, pet’s immunity, and individual characteristics of the pet’s lifestyle. The research confirms what holistic doctors have known for many years-most vaccines are so effective that administering them only a few times in a pet’s life is adequate to produce long-lasting immunity. Yet conventional vets still LOVE to give vaccines every 6 months to 3 years. Why?? I believe it’s simply to make money and have an excuse to “get the pet to come in for a visit.”
While it’s important to examine pets regularly, every 6-12 months depending upon the pet’s age, breed, and health issues, simply replacing regular immunization with inexpensive blood testing for vaccine titers (antibody levels) will “get pets to come in” and is much safer than over-vaccinating our patients.
Following minimal vaccinations for puppies and kittens (we do about 1/3 of the vaccines the typical conventional doctor does for puppies and kittens,) we do a mini-booster 1 year later and then do titer testing annually for the rest of the pet’s life. IF the titers show the need for immunization we MAY immunize the pet depending again upon its own unique circumstances. When applicable immune support and detoxification can be given whenever vaccines are needed in order to try to minimize harmful effects from the vaccines and boost the pet’s immune response to the vaccines.
By avoiding vaccines most of our patients live several years longer than the typical patient which receives numerous, unnecessary immunizations. They tend to be healthier and have fewer immune problems, including cancer. Following this logical and proven strategy is a winner for our practice and most importantly for our special patients who look to us for guidance for a long, healthy life!
I’m very fortunate that due to our holistic approach to wellness, the average age of our patients is several years higher than seen in conventional practices. Most of our larger breeds of dogs typically live 14-16 years (average life expectancy for most practices is 10-12) and for smaller dogs and cats 16-20+ years (in most practices the average smaller pet is lucky to live 14-15 years.)
Sooner or later though, we all must pass and so must our pets. However, one of my goals for holistic care is to offer “hope for the hopeless.” This means that we never give up until we give the pet every chance to recover from illness.
I regularly treat pets deemed “hopeless” by conventional medicine, only to have these special pets recover, get cured, and live normal lives with aggressive holistic care.
In some cases, though, no matter what is tried the pet’s body tells us that a cure is not to be. In these cases hospice care is best. This involves keeping the pet comfortable with a combination of conventional medicines (usually pain relief if needed,) and natural therapies to support a feeling of euphoria and peace, as well as detoxification. This may involve giving medications in the hospital as well as at home, until we see that the therapies are no longer keeping the pet happy and comfortable.
I’m often asked how to know when it’s the right time for euthanasia. Prior to getting accepted into veterinary school in 1983 I published my first article for a major veterinary journal on this topic. As I stated then, I feel euthanasia is acceptable and desired when 2 things happen:you are no longer able to enjoy your pet in his current condition and he is no longer able to enjoy you due to his current condition. IF recovery is unlikely despite all we’ve tried, than the pet is basically saying to us…”Hey you tried everything. I gave it all I had but I can’t fight anymore. It’s time for both of us to say Good Bye. Thanks for loving me and caring for me but it’s time to let go.”
While never easy, euthanasia, involving a shot of a quick overdose of anesthetic, is the final gift we can give our pets who have given so much to us. I’ve had to euthanize my own special pets Rita and Dysa (both within the last 2 years,) so I know your pain and grief. However, I knew I was being selfless in letting them go, and I know they were grateful for this final gift as I held them while they quickly and painlessly passed.
I’m often asked for guidelines on treating specific types of cancer…Since each case is unique and different, only general suggestions can be made.
For cases with clean margins on the pathology report following surgery to remove the tumor, this is an easy call…aggressive supplements, no chemo or radiation.
For tumors with dirty margins (cancer cells are left behind following surgery,) this is a tougher call and without seeing the path report I can’t comment specifically…but chemo (+/-Palladia,) and /or local radiation can be helpful…PLUS tons of supplements and autosanguis detox..I follow these cases with exams and blood testing (esp for TK, CRP, and vitamin D) every 3 months…..this protocol usually gives outstanding results and often complete “cures.”