INSIDE THIS ISSUE Food
From the Vet
Scout and Pibb
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The Pet Concierge
The importance of a good diet by Vanessa Hernandez
We all want what’s best for our pets. This includes providing them with the best diet possible. The food question is one of the most prevalent asked at my job (where I work as a vet tech) and one that has propelled me to find the best answer. It is one of the most important but simplest things we can do for our furry loved ones. The first thing we do is head to the local pet store or grocery store and find shelves lined with numerous different brands and flavors of food. When I first became a pet owner I chose the food by picking the one that was moderately priced. I never read through the ingredients -other than the flavor of the food. As I became more involved in veterinary medicine I started to realize that ingredients do matter. Many foods contain too much fat which can lead to weight problems and organ function problems or not enough nutrients to provide a balanced diet. So I began switching my pet’s food to the brands our vets recommended – usually the priciest of the
bunch. At this point I still wasn’t reading the ingredients. Once I became more immersed in my own health I began to understand how nutritionally stagnant corn is for our diets as humans, especially as the main ingredient of a meal. This led to reading about pet foods that use corn as their primary ingredient. After doing some research I learned that meat should be the number one ingredient in my pet’s food, not grain (unless your pet has a medical problem that recommends otherwise). Fortunately, we have many
Holistic foods are geared towards providing our pets with a naturally balanced diet for their overall health and well being.
different choices available to us nowadays. From the lowest priced to the highest priced foods, meat is heading to the forefront as the main ingredient in many pet foods.
November/December 2009 Choosing the food Choosing a type of food for your pet will depend on various things such as their activity level, their breed, and their environment and for many… the cost of the food. These should all be taken into consideration when searching for a good diet. Also consider that what is good for one pet may not be good for another. I have been using Eukanuba’s Naturally Wild for my dog and Halo’s Wild Salmon for my cats. I chose Eukanuba for Remy, my American Staffordshire terrier because 100% real meat was listed as their number one ingredient (and the bag was really cool). For my 3 cats I recently switched them over to Halo’s diets because it is locally produced (Tampa, FL) and I wanted to try a holistic diet. Holistic foods are geared towards providing our pets with a naturally balanced diet for their overall health and well being. It can aid in eliminating reoccurring health problems such as itchy skin, ear infections, and dry/oily skin. Some people choose commercially made holistic diets while other owners choose to make their meals at home. If you decide to try this out make sure you both discuss it with your veterinarian/ holistic vet and do some extensive research. Is it worth it? Though sometimes costly, homemade meals may help pet owners avoid vet bills for conditions easily prevented by a good diet. Preparing meals at home also makes sense for those concerned about what exactly is going into their pet’s food. This is especially relevant after 2007’s scary pet food recall where even some of the best brands were contaminated. Preparing pet food at home has become a more popular idea over the past few years with the recent surge in the environmental movement. There is also the option to buy the best of the lower priced foods. Not everyone has the funds or time to make fresh
meals on a daily basis. However, this should not be an excuse to feed a poor diet. If a commercial brand is all you can afford try adding fresh fruits and veggies to help add essential minerals and vitamins that may otherwise be lacking. The choice you make will depend on you, your pet and like I said before… research. Some extra tidbits We often overlook treats when we think about a pet’s diet. Many treats that are readily available are often high in fat and are for the most part unnecessary. If your pet has a complete and nutritional diet, treats aren’t needed. We often use them for training or when we’re feeling especially warm towards our pets. But why buy fat disguised with an appetizing smell and flavor over something like a carrot or apples, a naturally delicious treat. I can easily vouch for these two treats and know that Remy does not miss his previous treats for a second. Fruits and vegetables add essential vitamins to a pet’s diet that may be missing from his regular food. Of course many pets have lived long lives even on what would be considered “bad” food by veterinarians. But if your pet is having some type of medical problem/condition, many times it could be related to the food they are eating. If you do decide to change your pet’s diet, remember to do it gradually. Start mixing in the new food and slowly discontinue the old food over a week’s time. This will help your pet accommodate to a new food and possibly avoid any negative reactions like vomiting and diarrhea. Holistic vets see the importance of a good diet. Check out this Central Florida holistic vet: http://www.holisticveterinaryorlando.com/ Eukanuba Naturally Wild Venison and Potato (Remy’s food): http://www.eukanuba.com/EukGlobal/US/en/jsp/naturallywild/ NaturallyWild.jsp Halo Wild Salmon (Orie, Velcro, and Kitty’s food): http://shop.halopets.com/Dry-Cat-Food-Indoor/Cat-Dry-IndoorSalmon-3lb Î
Vanessa Hernandez is a veterinary technician of four years, owner of 6 pets, and a freelance writer. She believes in promoting the healthiest care for pets in order to maintain long and happy lives for our little and not-so-little loved ones. Follow Vanessa online as she explores the world of green living.
The Pet Concierge
The Pet Concierge
Holidays and The Gift of Giving by Stephanie Smith Tis the Holiday season, again. I feel like I just put away my decorations from last year. The planted tree from this past Christmas has just started to sprout new pine needles. And here I am, observing the lights that are beginning to hang in the windows, the commercials that are already starting to display specials and the Holiday invitations that are being mailed out. Over the next two months my life is going to involve a lot of friends, family and food. I was brought up to always bring a housewarming present for the hosting family. But the same question arises that boggled me last year, what to get? Instead of buying something that has a high probability of being re-gifted try this new approach. Get something for the host familyâ€™s four-legged family member. Itâ€™s bound to be a smashing hit. This yearâ€™s choice gift is something from the Dogswell Company. This L.A. based business has endless variety of products for both cats and dogs that are all natural. Marco Giannini, founder and president of Dogswell began this journey 6 years ago. Dogswells goal is to produce high quality food and treats that are both all natural and beneficial to your pet. Offering various dry and canned foods along with a whole line of treats (jerky, wrapped, and biscuits) Dogswell is sure to have something for every customer.
Dear Jake, Dear Jake, My dog spends tons of time licking the floors in our house. The house is clean, but I worry that this is bad behavior. What should I do? Tongue-a-licious Dear Tonga, Always check with your vet to make sure your dog is not suffering from any nutritional imbalance, allergy or behavioral problem. If he says thereâ€™s nothing wrong, there are things you can do to discourage the behavior if it gets annoying. If the dragging of the tag on the floor is a pain, you can make a small pouch from felt to go around the tag. Also, most pet stores sell a chew deterrent that will keep your pooch from wanting to lick the floor. Keeping the floors clean is important, but make sure the products you use are safe and non toxic for dogs. Jake
Ask Jake a question, any question and he might choose yours to include in the next issue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN VETERINARY MEDICINE By Juan C. Molina-Brisson, DVM
Lots of people have became very unhappy with the official medicine and have opted for alternative modalities of therapy. Nowadays, we have Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Homeopaty, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, etc. Do they work? Well… I like to quote Dr. Susan G. Gynn, DVM, RH(AHG); Clinical Resident in Small Animal Nutrition – University of Tennessee, published in the Veterinary Information Network: >>> I have resented, however, that people offering acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, chiro, etc are in the business of purposefully taking veterinary clients for a ride just to make an extra buck. I have also worried that should regulators actually listen to their side of the ethical arguments, veterinary practitioners will be prevented by law from trying anything but the best proven treatments for sick patients. This is a very controversial subject where there are a lot of interests on the table. Personally, I don’t believe that none of these alternative therapies should be practiced by anybody not holding a license to practice veterinary medicine. My wife and I, after finishing vet school, graduated in Buenos Aires from a School of Homeopathy more than fifteen years ago, after a very intensive course that took us two years to complete. I have seen great cures with it, but I have also seen great failures. And I always wondered if those failures would have had better outcomes should they have been treated with conventional medicine. The modality that I learned at that time was called “unicist”, that is: only one medication should be prescribed at one time; which opposed to the “pluricists” who would prescribe several medications simultaneously. Somebody has compared Homeopathy medicine as throwing a car key to a river, getting water downstream and being able to start the car with that same water….complicated isn’t?
a disease, after being diluted 10, 15, 1,000 times will cure the condition that produces undiluted. “Similia similibus curentur”: similar cures similar, meaning: whatever produces cough will cure cough. I decided not to practice Homeopathy in the US, I don’t believe people are very receptive to it, (although in certain areas, like California and Vermont is more commonly practiced) I don’t believe is well regulated; in Florida however, the only condition is to have a valid license to practice Veterinary Medicine; and I have seen some practitioners that do absolutely everything: Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Homeopathy, ( think is practically impossible to know it all); and to top it all, they also practice the official medicine or allopathic medicine: they administer vaccines and use everything that a regular practitioner would use: antibiotics, steroids, etc.; and that is not alternative medicine to me. I also found this article published that I wanted to share with you, written by Dr. Angee Dyer, a veterinarian from MSU: It is a popular claim of many alternative remedies is that they are based upon ancient knowledge. The popularity of the idea that an earlier golden era had greater wisdom than our current age is a certain sign of discontent and decline. A hundred years ago, the industrial revolution promised to bring about a modern Utopia. This optimism, however, was premature, and today, as a society, we have a much more realistic idea of what technology can and cannot do, and what the costs of technology are. Since technology has not delivered all we desire, then some will turn to another solution upon which to place their hopes. This is at least one factor in the current popularity of New Age philosophies. Many New Age gurus have turned to Eastern philosophy and ancient ideas, claiming that modern Western science does not have all the answers, so we need to search out alternatives. Traditional Chinese Medicine is an example of one of the many alternative medicine beneficiaries of this trend. Interestingly, there are those practitioners that even try to have it both ways. Despite the current fad of antirationalism, science still is a greatly respected institution in our culture. Its many successes cannot be denied. A new advertising strategy for alternative therapies is to claim that they are the coming together of ancient wisdom and
Their theory is basically that a drug that can produce Continues on page 14
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modern science - the best of both worlds. This claim, however, is just another myth. Ancient philosophies of medicine suffer from the fact that they were formulated at a time when virtually nothing was known about human anatomy or physiology, when the fields of genetics, biochemistry, and infectious disease did not even exist. One to three thousand years ago, when TCM was born, it was not known that the brain was the seat of intelligence, that the heart pumped blood, and no one had any idea what the liver did. It was not even known that specific diseases existed, with their own signs and symptoms, causes, cures, and natural history. People were thought to suffer from their own personal and unique maladies. Medical systems at this time were based upon philosophies, not science or evidence. Most of the philosophies were based upon spiritual or magical notions, such as the idea of Chi or life force central to TCM. Disease, they believed, was caused by imbalances or blockage of flow in these mystical forces. Equally mystical and fanciful methods were invented to restore balance or unblock flow. The chance of any of these systems developing any truly useful therapies is very close to zero. And yet proponents of these alternative practices will claim that the fact that they have survived and have been used for so many thousand years is testimony to their success. How could they have survived if they do not work? But history shows us that this claim is false. The humoral theory of disease, for example, dominated Western medicine for three thousand years. Until the advent of modern scientific medicine, Western doctors diagnosed imbalances in the four humors: blood, phlegm, green bile, and black bile. They treated these imbalances with emetics, cathartics, and blood letting. The utter failure of their treatments did not blunt their acceptance. The only reason why the humoral theory is now dead is because its practitioners in the West changed from philosophy-based medicine to science-based medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine survives because historically their practitioners never made that transition. No one would advocate a return to the
practice of blood letting for the treatment of fevers, but this is equivalent to advocating a return to other outdated philosophies of medicine, such as TCM. Finally, letâ€™s remember that 100 years of science based medicine has doubled the human life expectancy from 40 to nearly 80 years. No philosophy based medicine can make that claim. Three thousand years of TCM added not a single day of human life. However, if you decide to go the alternative medicine route, I would advice that you contact any of this organizations to find a professional that is duly accredited in your area: American Holistic Vet Medicine Association (www.ahvma.org) American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncturists (www.aava.org) Veterinary Botanical Medical Association (www.vbma.org) International Veterinary Acupuncturists Society (www.ivas.org) Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Vet Medicine (www.tcvm.org)ĂŽ
Dr.Juan Carlos Molina-Brisson graduated in Buenos Aires Argentina in 1981. Joined the Army and worked with the war dog breeding/ training facility until promoted to Captain, while owning his own Small Animal Hospital. Dr.Molina obtained the ECFVG certificate of the American Veterinary Medical Association after completing the National Board Exam, the Clinical Competency Test and the Clinical Proficiency Exam. His areas of particular interest are pediatrics and geriatrics.
Andes Animal Hospital 1019 Highland Avenue NE Largo, FL 33770 727-518-PETS(7387) www.AndesAnimalHospital.com