Posts Tagged ‘dog disease’

Rabies in Dogs

Why Challenge Current Rabies Vaccine Policy?

Rabies vaccination is required by law in nearly all areas. Even though protection from rabies is documented to last at least three years, current law in some states or areas still requires that boosters be given annually or biannually rather than the standard policy of every three years. However, vaccination against rabies virus is occasionally associated with debilitating adverse effects. According to the CDC domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid. Scientific data indicate that vaccinating dogs against rabies every three years, as most states require, is unnecessary.

Studies have shown the duration of protective immunity as measured by serum antibody titers against rabies virus to persist for seven years post-vaccination. By validating the ‘true’ life of rabies virus immunity and moving to five and hopefully seven years, we will decrease the risk of adverse reactions in our animals and minimize their repeated exposure to foreign substances. Killed vaccines like those for rabies virus can trigger both immediate and delayed adverse vaccine reactions (termed “vaccinosis”). While there may be immediate hypersensitivity reactions, other acute events tend to occur 24-72 hours afterwards, or up to 45 days later in the case of delayed reactions.

Reactions that have been documented include:

  • Behavior changes such as aggression and separation anxiety
  • Obsessive behavior,self-mutilation, tail chewing
  • Pica – eating wood, stones, earth, stool
  • Destructive behavior, shredding bedding
  • Seizures, epilepsy
  • Fibrosarcomas at injection site
  • Autoimmune diseases such as those affecting bone marrow and blood cells, joints, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system
  • Muscular weakness and or atrophy
  • Chronic digestive problems

The Rabies Challenge Fund

Rabies Exemptions and Waivers
Rabies Vaccination is required by law. In some instances, it is possible to secure a written waiver for exemption from rabies booster vaccination. A letter justifying the medical reason for such exemption needs to be obtained from your primary care veterinarian. When seeking a waiver, a rabies serum antibody titer should be performed. Adequate serum rabies titers are at least 1:5 by the RFFIT method. Waiver requests are not generally accepted based on serum antibody titers alone, but may be granted on a case-by-case basis with justification. Waivers are not granted as a matter of personal preference, and localities often do not permit waivers and exemptions regardless of the justification.

This article comes from the Rabies Challenge Fund.  They are an organization that does what they say they will do.  They are currently working on changing the law from rabies being given every three years to every seven years.  Please donate anything you can to help this organization achieve this goal.  Our dogs lives depend on it.  Go to:  http://www.rabieschallengefund.org to make a donation.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

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Probiotics for Dogs and Cats

Probiotics: The One Supplement Every Pet Should Be Taking

October 26, 2010

The use of probiotics in mainstream veterinary practices is on the upswing.

Veterinarians are starting to use beneficial bacteria not only to treat their patients with gastrointestinal disorders, but also as immune system support for puppies, kittens and aging pets.

According to Amy Dicke, technical services veterinarian for P&G Pet Care:

“Sixty to 80 percent of the body’s immune system lies in the digestive tract. This means the GI function has influence on the immune system and how it reacts. A healthy GI tract will help an animal fight disease, so keeping this balance of healthy bacteria alive is an important part of overall wellness.”

“Research isn’t readily available to support every potential use of probiotics in animals, but veterinarians should remain open to benefits outside of a diarrhea remedy,” says Susan Wynn, DVM, of Georgia Veterinary Specialists. “Clients will continue to demand probiotics and the industry will continue to find ways to use them.”

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

As you’re aware if you read the full article at the link, mainstream veterinarians and major pet food manufacturers are getting into the probiotics business in a big way.

That’s both good and bad news, from my perspective.

Probiotic Profiteers

I’m happy to see more attention paid to the enormous benefits probiotics can provide to the health and well-being of companion animals.

However, I’m concerned pet food companies will use the growing interest in probiotics by pet owners and veterinarians to create food formulas containing substandard, essentially useless probiotic additives. Then, of course, their marketing people will get busy positioning these ‘new-and-improved’ formulas in such a way that consumers will believe they are providing high quality probiotics conveniently contained in the food they serve their dog or cat.

It’s troubling to know that some of the very pet food giants responsible for the poorest quality diets available – formulas that have largely contributed to the compromised health of millions of companion animals — are the same ones now leading the industry’s charge to get probiotics-related pet products to market.

A Short Primer on Probiotics

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ strains of bacteria that maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract, and also defend against opportunistic, potentially pathogenic (bad) bacteria.

The digestive tract is the largest immune organ in your pet’s body, and yours. Believe it or not, your dog or cat has even more intestinal bacteria than you do, despite her much smaller size. The GI tracts of companion animals are designed to handle a tremendous bacterial load – bacteria that would quite likely develop into a life-threatening infection if found elsewhere in your dog’s or cat’s body.

A healthy population of friendly bacteria keeps your pet’s immune system in good working order. If the balance of bad-to-good intestinal bugs gets out of whack, your dog or cat will eventually develop GI symptoms and an increased susceptibility to illness.

Studies demonstrate animals raised without friendly bacteria in the gut, or with a poor balance of good-to-bad gut bacteria, are at dramatically increased risk of developing disease.

Why a Healthy Balance of Gut Bacteria is Important

When your dog’s or cat’s gastrointestinal bacteria are in balance with the right amount and type of healthy bugs on board, there is symbiosis. Good things happen inside your pet’s body. For example:

  • Vitamins are made
  • Vegetable fiber is processed as it should be
  • Unfriendly bacteria are kept in check
  • Toxins are well-managed

When unfriendly, pathogenic bacteria take over your pet’s digestive system, it creates dysbiosis, which is more or less the opposite of symbiosis.

Dysbiosis results in increased permeability – leakiness — of the intestinal wall, which means your pet’s GI tract will be less able to allow healthy bacteria and nutrients in and keep disease-causing bacteria out.

A healthy GI tract is selective about what is absorbed. Nutrients are taken in and non-nutritive substances, including toxins, are filtered out.

Exciting Recent Study Results

Back to the good news-bad news department — up until major pet food manufacturers took an interest in probiotics, there was very little research into the ways in which supplementation could improve the health of dogs and cats.

Now that pet food companies have discovered a lucrative market in probiotic products, it’s a very safe bet much more funding for research will be made available.

Study results will benefit pet food producers, of course, but they will also help veterinarians, pet owners and others concerned with the health of dogs and cats learn more about the uses and promise of probiotic supplementation.

A few examples of recent research:

They also maintained their vaccination titers longer and had higher levels of fecal secretory IgA, an important antibody produced in the lining of the intestine that protects against bacteria and viruses. The higher fecal IgA result was also seen in elderly dogs fed E. faecium, as well as kittens. Kittens and adult cats showed decreased incidence and duration of naturally occurring diarrhea and improved good-to-bad gut bacteria ratios.

  • In another study of the benefits of E. faecium involving 11 healthy dogs, not only was their fecal microflora improved, but so were serum lipids. Eight of the 11 dogs given the probiotic supplement showed a decrease in total lipids and normalized cholesterol levels.
  • In a study of the effects of strain L. acidophilus on healthy adult cats, the probiotic altered the balance of GI microflora and in addition, resulted in beneficial systemic and immunomodulatory effects.
  • In this study, conducted by a veterinarian to test a pet probiotic manufacturer’s claims of help for cats with renal failure, results showed the supplement decreased creatinine levels in six of seven cats and improved their health and vitality. This probiotic contained a mixture of three strains: Streptococus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.

The Pet Probiotic I Use and Recommend

Two things I don’t recommend are 1) using human probiotics on dogs and cats, and 2) using processed pet foods with probiotic additives.

Probiotic formulas used by humans were developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic. Your dog or cat must have organisms derived from its own species for best results. You probably won’t harm your pet by offering human probiotics, but you aren’t providing as much benefit as you would be by offering a species-appropriate product.

The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and able to reproduce in order for it to be beneficial. Tests on dog foods claiming to contain probiotic micro-organisms showed the manufacturing process kills too many of the live bacteria, rendering the probiotic effect useless by the time the food is packaged and shipped.

A pet probiotic should have the following qualities:

  • It must not cause disease (despite the fact it contains bacteria)
  • It must survive the acidic environment of your pet’s stomach
  • It must contain enough live organisms to colonize the intestines
  • It must contain the correct strains of bacteria beneficial for pets, not people
  • It should remain stable under normal storage conditions
  • It should be easy to give to your dog or cat

A Great Article by Mercola.com.  Please go to http://www.healthypets.com to order your probiotic specially formulated for dogs and puppies.  Giving your puppy or dog yogurt is not enough probiotic to be of benefit for your pets.  We introduce a probiotic to our puppies at 3 weeks of age when they start to eat.  It has helped our puppies immune system from the start and has cut down greatly on loose stools and diarrhea.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

There has always been controversy as to who is to blame for hip dysplasia in dogs.  Breeders verses Owners.

There are findings that say only breeding dogs that have hip clearances will produce good hips in puppies.  Good breeders know that this is not the case.  All dogs can produce puppies with bad hips occasionally.  Large breed dogs are more susceptible.

There are also findings that say that owners of dogs/puppies determine whether their dog will develop hip dysplasia.  No matter who is right, there are many things that can be done to lessen the likelyhood of your dog developing hip dysplasia and to help your dog if they do develop this crippling disease.

  • In-bred and line-bred dogs all have genetic problems including hip dysplasia. Don’t support this practice usually perpetrated by “show” people and breeders doing the same.
  • Feed your dog a raw meat diet from the beginning.  An easy diet that mimics a dog’s diet in the wild.  Go to our website; www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com and click on our “health and diet” page for more information. This diet is not harder or more expensive.  It is just making better choices for your dog.
  • Limit your dogs vaccinations to the first 3 puppy shots (6, 10 & 16 weeks) and rabies (every 3 years).  Dogs do not need yearly boosters.  Over vaccinating and poor quality of dog food will compromise your dogs system and open up a way for diseases like cancer, kidney and liver failure, hip dysplasia, and other diseases to invade your dogs system.  Once they happen they can’t be undone.
  • DO NOT allow your dog to become overweight.  Feeding carbs, grains and additives found in commercial kibbles is the culprit.  After a dog has been spayed or neutered, they tend to gain weight if they do not get a proper diet and exercise.  Older dogs are also prone to being overweight.   Dogs (not puppies) over 2 years of age need high protein, low carbs and NO grains.
  • Regular and routine exercise.  A dog needs at least 45 minutes of exercise per day.  Of course this will need to be adjusted for older or sick dogs.  Walks, swimming, playing catch, wrestling, and just good play is essential for the health of your dog.  Routine is the key.  A dog that is sedentary all week and then pushed to exercise on Saturday or Sunday will cause injury to your dog.  A little exercise everyday is better.
  • Over exercise is also to blame for hip and joint problems.  Letting your puppy or dog run up and down the steps many times a day. Laying on cold concrete floors all the time.  Jumping off sofas, beds, etc. when dogs are young. Do not let puppies play to exhaustion.  Puppies are like children and need to have their exercise regulated to assure they are not causing harm to joints and hips later on.
  • If your dog develops hip dysplasia there are new findings that support things like; liquid, pharmaceutical grade glucosamine, vitamins and holistic vitamins and minerals to add to your dogs diet.  Seek out new research and clinical trials.  Don’t assume that your dog has to have hip replacements.

Lastly, treat your dog like you want to be treated.  If your dog develops hip dysplasia or any other disease search out and apply every holistic treatment available.  Dogs are living souls, they are not perfect,they are not immune from disease and there are no guarantees when you adopt a dog that they will not require treatment of some kind in there life.  If you want a guarantee, don’t get a dog.  If your dog develops a disease, handle it.  You handle it!  Don’t expect veterinarians to give you an easy way out.

Dogs give us far more in their short lives than we can ever, ever give them.  Love them no matter what!

White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com