Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Q. I'm relocating from the West coast and have never given my healthy (very!) 6 1/2 y o labradoodle heart worm medicine - is it necessary and if so, what's the least toxic, I hate for a preventitive treatment to harm him in other ways
A. This is an important topic, and is especially relevant in these warm months; when mosquitos are prevalent in many areas.
Heartworm disease is a very real disease in dogs and cats; and can lead to potentially life threatening complications. It is true that this disease is more common in certain parts of the country; as it is transmitted by mosquitos. In Tucson we very rarely see heartworm disease; and cases are usually attributed to the animal having travelled to another location where mosquitos are more common. Unfortunately in my practice in DC and during my time in Georgia and Florida, I diagnosed a few heartworm positive dogs; and the available western treatments were harsh.
In general in my practice I tend to favor a more "natural" approach over western medicine if I have a choice. Unfortunately, with heartworm disease, there is not much research regarding the prevention and treatment of this scary disease with herbal, homeopathic or dietary appraches; and there is a large amount of research supporting the efficacy and relative safety of western medications. That being said; I can tell you a bit about holistic approaches to this disease; and what I do with my own pets; and let you make the best decision for your family.
It is interesting to me that many non- domesticated animals (such as coyotes) seem resistant to heartworm disease (as in this study). While we could argue there are many differences between a coyote and a dog; one of the main ones is lifestyle: a "whole foods" diet and exercise.
To mimic the diet of a dog in it's natural habitat; and to help your pet build a strong immune system I would suggest a minimally processed, balanced diet. There are a few books with recipes for balanced "homemade diets"; or you can look at products such as The Honest Kitchen and Natures Variety Instinct raw. In my practice I evaluate a pets' overall health and particular imbalances as well as the medicinal properties of various foods when choosing the best diet for them. I also like to add probiotics and digestive enzymes (especially if your dog is on a raw food) to their food.
There are a few western herbs that are commonly used in the treatment and prevention of heartworm disease; however safety and efficacy studies have not been done. Please consult with your pet's veterinarian before trying these (for example, some herbs such as garlic and ginger can interfere with medications); and note that they should be discontinued with any adverse reactions such as diarrhea.
- Black Walnut: 1 capsule of ground herb/ day. This is often used to treat gastro intestinal parasites as well.
- Tincture formula: 14 ml Ginger, 9ml Wormwood, 4 ml Garlic, 14 ml Thyme, 9 ml Cinnamon. Give 0.1 ml ml of tincture per 5 lb of body weight; divide this into twice daily doses.
- Bromelein: to be given with above tincture formula to prevent potential complications from sudden worm "die-offs." Starting dose is 30 mg/ pound body weight devided into twice daily doses.
It is hard to say what the "safest" prescription product would be for your particular pet. In my practice I tend to favor the Ivermectin formulas (which have been around longer) over some of the newer formulas that aim to prevent many types of parasites at once. It should be noted that Ivermectin should never be used in certain breeds such as herding dogs; so check with your vet about your particular pet, though a labradoodle should be fine. For families with children; I would err on the side of caution and use a product (such as Ivermectin with Pyrantel) that also addresses gastro-intestinal worms; which can migrate into various parts of the human body and cause damage.
I hope this gives you some information and resources to help your decision making process for your pet. This is an important topic that all pet owners in areas with a humid, warm climate need to take seriously.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
When you walk your dog in the summer; be sure you have plenty of fresh water available for her. Even if you dont feel thirsty, your furry friend might need a cool break. Especially in Arizona, make sure the surface you are walking on isnt hot enough to burn her paws! You may want to invest in dog booties.
Friday, June 14, 2013
link to wsj article
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013
In Chinese medicine we describe ear infections as "damp heat" in the ears. In addition to keeping ears clean to prevent infection, in my practice I talk with clients about dietary options to help drain damp and clear heat, as well herbal formulas and acupuncture treatments.
I have clients use "George's Aloe Vera Juice". Pour a cup of the juice over a few cotton balls. You can add 1-2 drops of tee tree oil (a potent anti-microbial essential oil) if your dog is prone to yeast or bacterial infections. Be careful to not use more tea tree oil than this (and never use it in cats); as this medicinal oil can be toxic at high doses.
Use the cotton balls to clean the ears. Never use Q-tips to clean your dogs ears at home; as it can be easy to go a little too far and severely damage your dog's ear drum
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
No information in this blog is meant to replace the advice of your veterinarian
Friday, April 12, 2013
Holistic health care professionals have known for decades that diet can have a profound effect on a person's (or animal's) psychology and therefore behavior. I have seen many dogs and cats with anxiety, phobias, and aggression problems improve dramatically on a more appropriate diet. In my holistic practice, I tailor a patient's diet according to her particular needs and imbalances. A good place to start is with a minimally processed, high quality balanced diet; supplemented with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and fish oils.
No information in this blog is meant to replace the advice of your veterinarian.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
A. First off, cats are nocturnal creatures. This means they have evolved to sleep during the day and hunt and play at night. Many domesticated cats retain these sleep patterns, which can be disruptive to their human family member’s desires to sleep at nite.
See your vet:
If your cat is healthy; this is likely normal behavior for him.
Ignore him: :(
To try to adjust his behavior; dont encourage him during his 5 AM antics. Do not respond to his meowing by feeding him, petting him, or playing with him at this hour. If you do, it will teach him that if he meows at 5 AM he will get rewarded by you.
If his nightime antics are exhausting you, I recommend you try to exhaust him first - so that he will be too tired come nite time to be "restless".
Luckily, many cats prefer the simplest toys; such as foil balls and empty boxes. I like to leave a suprise out every few days for Sam so he doesnt get bored with his toy selection. :) For inspiration; watch this video of a cat named Maru who LOVES boxes. I cant stop watching him - so cute!!
Having said all of this; we must recognize that nocturnal behavior is normal for cats. If your kitty is still waking you up at nite despite stimulating him throughout the day and ensuring he does not have a medical issue; you two may just need to separate at night. Perhaps he can have a nite-time "playroom"; that is separate from your bedroom. Simple lifestyle adjustments such as this can often do wonders.
Please check with your veterinarian before changing anything in your pet’s
health care regime.
No information in this blog is meant to replace the advice of your veterinarian.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Gator is the happiest, fastest, most affectionate (and dare I say most adorable) dog I have ever been lucky enough to know. When he tries something new, like jumping onto a chair, and doesnt quite make it he keeps trying. He never gets sad or frustrated, and he always seems to find a way.
I feel so lucky to have him in my life. If you happen to be contemplating adopting a special needs animal, or your pet may need an amputation, enucleation, or other seemingly life-changing operation; please know that these animals do great. In my practice, most of the special animals I have known dont even know they are different. And if they do realize they are different; they dont dwell on it.
I just wanted to share a little about him because he brings me so much joy; and so many lessons.
Here's a photo of Gator hiking on Mt Lemmon near Tucson (my husband helped him up the rock):
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
I hope yall enjoy! Cheers :)
Katie Stembler Bockstedt DVM CVA
Here's a little shot of my own fur babies, Sam and Gator, playing hide and seek: