I just returned from a veterinary conference in San Antonio…lots to share with all of you..BUT my computer is having lots of trouble…once we figure out the problem and get it running again I’ll be able to more easily write these blogs on a regular basis….hoping to return to blogging soon!
Thanks to one of my favorite clients for the following-
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.
Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God’s critters.
Now please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!
Canine and feline cognitive disorder, often referred to as doggie and kittie Alzheimer’s disease, is a very common problem of middle-aged and older pets. Fortunately, it is also very easy to treat using natural therapies. Several years ago I was hired to evaluate a product that had been on the market for over 25 years called Cholodin. In my studies, I showed it was effective in approximately 75% of dogs and cats with cognitive disorder. In my own practice, because I actually use it to prevent the problem, my results show its effectiveness is closer to 99%. Because cognitive disorder, like Alzheimer’s in people, is a very common problem of older pets, I prescribe it for all of my patients five years of age and older. You can check out the research I did on my website.
New research indicates that at least for some adults, obesity may have started in the womb. Exposure of the developing fetus to environmental chemicals including pesticides and hormones may be the culprit.
In the developing fetus, stem cells have the potential to develop into various tissues. Early exposure to environmental chemicals have been shown to cause these stem cells to develop into adipocytes, cells which store fat. As a result, the newborn baby has extra fat storage cells compared to other babies that were not exposed to these chemicals in the womb. This research indicates that at least for some children that become obese, it can be a function of these increased fat storage cells rather than simply the amount of calories that are eaten.
My take on this: this is just another reason to minimize exposure to unnecessary chemicals and try to eat organically raised produce whenever possible.
Even though I normally blog about pet health issues, I actually started in the human health care field before becoming a veterinarian. I still continue to keep up with developments in the human health field for three reasons: I apply these developments to my own health; my clients often ask me to advise them on health care issues from a natural/integrative perspective; and so much that I learned the human health field applies to my canine and feline patients.
Regardless of your political affiliations, if we want to be honest with each other (and we should be) we have to admit that the health care debate is really more about control than about making sure every citizen has access to health care. It all comes down to this: do you want to be in charge of your health care or would you prefer the government dictate what kind of care you get, how you get it, and when you get it? Nothing in the current political climate will ensure that everyone has equal access to affordable, high-quality health insurance. Instead, it’s all about WHOM controls access to the health care system.
With this in mind, there are really some very simple and relatively inexpensive solutions to the healthcare “crisis” that no one is even discussing.
Before I share with you my simple solutions to this problem, it’s important to understand that everyone in this currently has access to health care. There are free clinics available, as well as county hospitals that provide health care to the uninsured and those with low incomes. Additionally, no one suffering a true medical emergency is turned away from an emergency room regardless of the ability to pay.
So then, here are some solutions to our current health care system.
- Stay healthy! Healthy people need less medical treatment, and it’s much less expensive to stay healthy by eating properly, exercising regularly, and reducing lifestyle stressors than it is to visit the doctor or hospital for illness. Doctors should be rewarded financially for encouraging health rather than simply treating disease. And as much as possible, lower cost “alternative” therapies such as herbal therapies, chiropractic, massage, and nutritional therapies should be utilized before choosing more expensive and offer riskier conventional drug and surgical options. There’s more than enough research to show the validity of these therapies and their effectiveness when compared with more expensive traditional therapies.
- Increase the number of free and low-cost minor care clinics and county hospitals. These clinics can be staffed in one of several ways. First, they can be owned and run as for-profit clinics and staffed by salaried employees. Second, cities and states can staff them with recent graduates who have received free medical school tuition and in return work for several years in these clinics. This arrangement is similar to that which currently occurs in the military where college education is paid for and the graduate repays the free education with several years of employment by the military. This would not only solve the potential shortage of doctors and nurses and provide the clinics with adequate medical staff, but allow underprivileged students to fulfill the dream of becoming a doctor or nurse at no cost to the student. Alternatively, or in conjunction with this idea, doctors and nurses could volunteer to staff these clinics part time as is currently practiced in many cities across the country. If necessary, doctors and nurses would have to volunteer a few hours of their time each year as part of the requirement to renew their licenses, similar to the amount of time they spend each year on continuing education in order to renew their licenses.
- Patients who visit these clinics would be required to pay a small fee to cover services. These fees would be low as these are preventive care clinics which would not offer more expensive medical services available at the county hospital. Payment, made on a sliding scale, would be made based upon proof of income level.
- Those patients who were deemed unable to pay out of their own income would be able to pay by using government issued medical care stamps, similar to food stamps which are currently used by low income households to buy food. This would allow individuals to maintain control over their health care, choosing the care and providers of their choice, rather than leave it up to the government to dictate how, when, and who provides care, as is currently being proposed.
- Finally, payment for all of these medical services and clinics would come from several possible sources. Ideally, most of the funding could come from local sources rather than the federal government to minimize red tape and improve efficiency (meaning no long waits to get care!) This would be possible if the federal government returned tax money to each state to spend as the state deems necessary. Local businesses, including medical supply and pharmaceutical companies, could donate a portion of their profits and/or donate supplies to these charitable clinics as well to reduce costs.
- If federal assistance is needed, most of the funding could easily come from reducing our foreign aid to other countries for a set period of time. Simply saying to our friends around the world that we have a big mess here at home that needs to be solved and in order to do so we will reduce or eliminate their aid for a set period of years might not be politically popular but could easily done to pay for health care expenses here at home (as well as make up our shortfall in the Social Security and Medicare systems!) While it certainly is nice to be charitable to our brothers and sisters around the world, charity really does begin at home and we should focus on helping our own citizens first as much as possible.
The ideas I presented are quite simple but are likely not to be discussed seriously. That’s because when it comes right down to it, our representatives in government seem to be more concerned about controlling health care decisions rather than helping those most in need. The best solution of course is to allow individuals to choose their own health care and to make it as affordable as possible. The ideas I presented here are certainly not all inclusive and many other citizens around the country also have equally valuable ideas. Our representatives should listen to these ideas and try to implement as many as possible that allow individuals to retain control over their own health care.
Pet owners refer to me as a holistic veterinarian, but what does that really mean? What do I do that is different from other conventional/traditional veterinarians?
In general, there are several things that I do differently from a conventional veterinarian.
First, I focus on health rather than disease. While traditional doctors ask the question, “How can I treat or cure this disease?,” I ask the question, “How can I make this pet healthy?”
Second, I have many more treatments available to help my patients than a conventional veterinarian. In addition to conventional medications and surgery, I can also use acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, dietary supplements, homotoxicology, flower essences, magnetic therapy, etc..I’m not limited by just a few treatments as are my conventional colleagues.
Third, I focus on the “whole” pet, rather than just the disease. That’s why, for example, I might treat a pet with allergies with a liver supplement and a GI supplement if I detect disease in those organ systems.
My goal is simple: heal the pet rather than treat the disease, by integrating as many therapies as possible. If needed, conventional therapies can be used, but in general, I prefer to use as many “alternative” therapies as possible. By integrating therapies, I see maximum results in my patients.
A new virus causing dog influenza has been slowly spreading across the country. Similar to human influenza, canine influenza causes upper respiratory disease in affected dogs. It is quite contagious and is easily spread from dog to dog, most commonly from intimate contact, especially among dogs visiting dog parks, doggie day care, and boarding facilities.
Treatment is supportive. Conventional therapy utilizes fluid therapy and antibiotics when needed. A more natural holistic approach would utilize herbs such as echinacea and astragalus to support the pet’s immune system during recovery.
A vaccine is available but in my opinion is not necessary for all dogs. Those pets who are most likely to come in contact with infected dogs should probably receive the vaccine after the owner consults with the pet’s veterinarian. Most dogs who live indoors and are not regularly exposed to infected animals would probably not receive any benefit from the vaccine and would therefore not need it. As is true with human influenza, common sense, reducing exposure to infected patients, and using a rational approach to immune system support through natural remedies can be very helpful in preventing dog flu infecting your pet.
After a lot of prodding from my web designer (and others) and putting it off as long as I could, I’ve now decided to start blogging. I’ll try to write something most days to let you know what I’m doing, share inspirational stories from my practice, and comment on interesting items in the news.
Check back daily to see what I’m writing about!
Since today is Tuesday, that means I’ll be on the radio live tonight, hosting my award-winning show, Dr. Shawn-The Natural Vet, on Martha Stewart Living Radio Sirius 112 and XM 157. Hope you can catch it. If you don’t have satellite radio but still would like to call in with questions, that would be great too. Simply call between the hours of 7-8 p.m. CST any Tuesday night at 1-866-6675.