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AnimalWELLNESS For a long, healthy life!


heartworm How it helps you make

The benefits of


the BEST decision for your dog

veterinary care


RAW FOOD DIETS -- busting

TIPS for successful

the myths


It’s easier than you think!

Discover the

healing powers


Integrative care for


7 ways to BEAT


without chemicals!


This sweet and spunky French bulldog has thousands of fans worldwide, his own website, and even his own clothing line


feline WELLNESS Hip, cool and healthy!


and your feline Manage hers by managing your own

APRIL/MAY 2014 Display until May 12, 2014



Should you be worried?

Dennis the

$6.95 USA/Canada


– a tiny kitten with a BIG attitude



kitty harness VOLUME 16 ISSUE 2


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Contents April/May 2014

28 FEATURES 18 ALL ABOUT HEARTWORM – PART 1 A thorough understanding of this disease will help you protect your dog.


This tiny but powerful nutrient is vital to his cell health, liver function and immunity.


It can cause a lot of stress to your dog. Help calm him (and yourself!) with this simple acupressure session.


Could you be making it worse? You may be contributing to his fear without even realizing it.


It’s not widely available yet, or even approved for medical use this side of the Atlantic, but it shows promise as a healing modality.


It’s scary, but don’t panic. Many of these conditions can be managed successfully with an integrative approach.


A lot of myths still surround the safety of raw meat diets. Here are the real facts.



Teaching your new pooch where to go potty is easier than you might think.


Meet a famous French bulldog with personality plus and fans around the world.

56 ARE YOU STRESSING HER OUT? Stress is a fact of life for us, but did you know your feelings can have a negative impact on your cat?


They’re less vulnerable to infection than we are, but it’s still important to take precautions.


Soft, stylish and safe, these colorful “vests” are the cat’s meow!


Keep your dog itch-free by taking a well-rounded holistic approach to pest control.


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How is it impacting our animals? Alternative therapies can help combat the issue of antibiotic overuse.


How fly and flea allergies in her animals prompted one woman to create her own green repellent.


Early intervention and a multi-faceted treatment plan can help get the better of this common condition.


Online classes and consultations offer advantages, but can only do so much, and shouldn’t replace in-person training sessions.


A supplement is only as good as what it’s made of. For this company, a superior knowledge of ingredients and a commitment to quality mean effective products that work.


Used to reach oil and gas deposits deep within the earth, this procedure is causing a lot of controversy and health concerns.


34 SOCIAL MEDIA Tips, contests and more! Like us /AnimalWellnessMagazine Updates, news, events! @ AnimalWellnessMagazine Product reviews and tutorials! AnimalWellnessTV



12 Yakkity yak 43 Beyond the label 42 To the rescue


63 Cat chat

8 Editorial

64 FWM tail end 80 Warm & fuzzy

31 Social media

86 Passages

51 MUTTS comic strip shelter contest

91 Book reviews

52 Animal Wellness resource guide

98 Tail end


65 The scoop 74 Product picks 92 Marketplace 95 ClassiďŹ eds 96 Events calendar animal wellness


VOLUME 16 ISSUE 2 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Managing Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Dawn Cumby-Dallin Senior Graphic Designer: Kathleen Atkinson Social Media Manager: Natasha Roulston Social Media Editor: Jasmine Cabanaw Webmaster: Brad Vader Cover Image Courtesy of: Timothy Shumake COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mary Ellen “Angelscribe” Claudia Bensimoun Stephanie Bouchard Sherman O. Canapp Jr., DVM, MS, CCRT John Davidson Michele Dixon W. Jean Dodds, DVM Cynthia S. Evans Lisa M. Fair, VT, CCRA, CMT David Gillespie Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA Deva Khalsa, VMD Ingrid King Eryn Kirkwood Adam J. Lassin, DVM Federico G. Latimer, DVM, MS, DACVS Cheryl Laurent Shawn Messonnier, DVM Sandra Murphy Mark Newkirk, VMD Sheryl Normandeau Karen Shaw Becker, DVM Amy Snow Peggy Swager Cheryl Wirth Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION & SALES President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Accounting: Sherri Soucie Circulation & Office Manager: Libby Sinden


With his big grin, sense of humor, and adorable antics, Manny is quite the character! After Amber Chavez adopted the little French bulldog and got to know how unique he is, she wanted to share his adventures and natural lifestyle with the world. Now Manny has his own website, events, and even a clothing line. Read his full story on page 50.


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SUBMISSIONS: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to: Animal Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to:

ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager: Ann Beacom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Marketing and Sales Assistant: Melissa Wilson, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: Sherri Soucie TO SUBSCRIBE: Subscription price at time of this issue is $24.00 in the U.S. and Canada, including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext 405 US MAIL: Animal Wellness Magazine, 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL: Animal Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Redstone Media Group Inc., publisher of Animal Wellness, does not promote any of the products orservices advertised by a third party advertiser in this publication, nor does Redstone Media Group Inc. verify the accuracy of any claims made in connection with such advertisers. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues. DEALER INQUIRIES WELCOME: Animal Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext 100 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at Animal Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1710-1190) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2014. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: March 2014.

Improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.

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best worlds

The of both

When a straggly husky showed up at our cottage one summer, I had no idea she would be a catalyst for so much of my learning about integrative care. She was barely more than skin and bones, so I immediately started her on a high quality diet and digestive enzymes. She soon stopped eating grass (for a while I thought she was part goat!) and started to gain weight. The EFAs I added to her diet helped change her brittle coat into one that was softer and more lush. Flower essences addressed some of the emotional trauma and reduced her anxiety. Chiropractic and homeopathy seemed to reduce the discomfort that caused her to growl whenever she was touched. After a few weeks, she actually enjoyed being massaged and petted. Despite all the changes, Shayla would still sometimes experience bouts of diarrhea but the potato diet naturally got her system back in line again. I also added slippery elm to her diet to soothe her sensitive intestinal tract. She had a good quality of life with us for five years and I knew she was grateful for all we had done. I could see it in her beautiful blue eyes every time she looked at me. We never discovered where she came from, but the folks at the nearby wolf sanctuary informed us that from her description, she was most likely part wolf, which explained a lot. I am forever grateful to Shayla for teaching me about the real benefits of integrative health as well as how to live with humility. She was the most accepting creature I have ever met. In this issue of Animal Wellness, we celebrate an integrative approach to healthcare for your animals – an approach that gives you the best of both the conventional and alternative health worlds and helps improve their chances for a long and healthy life. For example, conditions such as seizures and osteoarthritis can be treated integratively, and we offer a well-rounded look at both. We also examine the dangers of antibiotic resistance, and how a variety of holistic therapies can help alleviate the situation.


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With the arrival of spring, we’re entering another flea, tick and heartworm season, but before reaching for the chemical preventives and repellents, learn to protect your animal with less toxic solutions. This issue is packed with plenty more topical info. Find out what ozone therapy is about, and discover how fracking might be affecting your animal’s well-being. And if you’ve been hesitant about feeding your dog a raw diet, be sure to check out Dr. Karen Becker’s myth-busting article on raw meat safety. For training and behavior, we offer simple and practical tips for effective housetraining; advice on the pros and cons of online dog training; and how you might be contributing to his separation anxiety. Our bonus Feline Wellness section features articles on Lyme disease in cats (do you need to be worried?), and how to calm your kitty’s stress by reducing your own. Last but not least, be sure to read about our cover dog, Manny, a sweet, spunky, famous French bulldog with a big personality who has his own website, hosts his own events, and even has a cool clothing line!

Dana Cox Editor-in-Chief

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1. Veterinarian Dr. Karen Shaw Becker received her degree from the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. She owns and operates Natural Pet Animal Hospital, Feathers Bird Clinic, TheraPaw Rehabilitation and Pain Management Clinic and Covenant Wildlife Rehabilitation in Illinois. She co-authored the book Real Food for Healthy Pets and hosts a large holistic animal wellness website ( Turn to page 38 for Dr. Becker’s article raw food safety. 2. Veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds received her veterinary degree in 1964 from the Ontario Veterinary College. In 1986, she established Hemopet, the first non-profit national blood bank program for animals. From 1965 to 1986, Dr. Dodds was a member of many committees on hematology, animal models of human disease and veterinary medicine. She received the Holistic Veterinarian of the Year Award from the AHVMA in 1994. On page 70, Dr. Dodds co-writes an article on antibiotic resistances. 3. Veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier authored the Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He’s the pet care expert for Martha Stewart Living’s “Dr. Shawn – The Natural Vet” on Sirius Satellite Radio, and creator of Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics. His practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (, is in Plano, Texas. See page 18 for his article on heartworm. 4. Veterinarian Dr. Deva Khalsa authored Dr. Khalsa’s The Natural Dog and co-authored Healing Your Horse: Alternative Therapies. She lectures internationally and is a professor at the British Institute of Homeopathy. She has almost 30 years of experience in holistic modalities. In this issue (page 22), Dr. Khalsa reveals the secrets of a powerhouse antioxidant called glutathione.


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5. Veterinarian Dr. Adam Lassin received his BA in Animal and Veterinary Science from West Virginia University in 2006, and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2010 from Ross University. He is a Certified Small Animal Veterinary Acupuncturist via the prestigious Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, and is in the process of becoming certified in Veterinary Food Therapy. He is also working towards certification in Veterinary Herbology and Tui Na. Dr. Lassin co-writes the article on antibiotic resistance on page 70. 6. Veterinarian Dr. Mark Newkirk owns Newkirk Family Veterinarians (609-645-2120, and has been taking care of animals in southern New Jersey since 1981. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. His practice offers traditional medicine/surgery for dogs, cats, and other animals, and alternative medicine including chiropractic, homeopathy, herbal therapies, alternative cancer treatments, therapeutic lasers, NAET, rehabilitation, stem cell transplants and more. Dr Newkirk has his own radio show (Thursdays 9 to 10 AM on WOND 1400 AM). Turn to page 32 for his article on ozone therapy. 7. Veterinarian Dr. Jodie Gruenstern owns Animal Doctor Holistic Veterinary Complex in Muskego, Wisconsin. She is certified in veterinary acupuncture and food therapy. She writes for Nature’s Pathways, is a speaker for Standard Process and promotes the integration of holistic care on her radio show, television and her DVD and Animal Doctor product line (Animal See page 34 for Dr. Gruenstern’s article on managing seizures. 8. Veterinarian Dr. Sherman Canapp completed a combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Masters of Science in clinical surgery at Kansas State University. He has completed his certification in canine rehabilitation, stem cell therapy and TPLO. Dr. Canapp practices orthopedic surgery

and sports medicine at the Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) in Annapolis Junction, Maryland. He co-writes an article on canine osteoarthritis on page 76. 9. Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow authored ACUDOG: a Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides hands-on and online training courses worldwide, including a 300-hour Practitioner Certification Program. It is an approved school for the Dept. of Higher Education through the State of Colorado, and approved provider of NCBTMB and NCCAOM CEs. Contact 888-841-7211, or Tallgrass@ Turn to page 24 for their article on canine acupressure for moving house. 10. Peggy Swager is a dog trainer and behaviorist. Her DVD,Separation Anxiety, a Weekend Technique, has helped many people resolve separation anxiety issues in their dogs. Her book, Training the Hard to Train Dog, includes a chapter called “Nervous Nellies” to help with socializing dogs. On page 28, Peggy looks at how you might be contributing to your dog’s separation anxiety. 11. Mary Ellen “Angelscribe” is an award-winning photojournalist, author and animal newspaper columnist. Her column “Pet Tips ‘n’ Tales” is filled with knowledge, inspiration, humor and warmhearted stories ( Her internationally known swimming cats have appeared on Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats. She is the author of Expect Miracles and A Christmas Filled with Miracles. On page 62, Mary Ellen shows you how to make your own cat harness. 12. Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager and award-winning author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher








and Purrs of Wisdom: Conscious Living, Feline Style. Her popular blog, The Conscious Cat, is a comprehensive award-winning resource for conscious living, health and happiness for cats and their humans ( Ingrid is also the Cats Expert for, and the publisher of online magazine News for You and Your Pet. Check out her article on feline stress (page 58). 13. Cynthia S. Evans is a freelance writer and songwriter in the music duet ViCindy. With the support of Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue, OSN (Operation Spay/Neuter) and Alley Cat Allies, she is also an active volunteer participating in TNR (Trap Neuter Return) and a caregiver to cats with no home. In this issue (page 88), Cindy examines the effects of fracking on our animal companions.

14. Stephanie Bouchard is a freelance writer based in Maine, and the author of The LapReluctant Cat, a gift book for cat lovers ( Turn to page 60 for her article on Lyme disease in felines. 15. Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance writer in West Palm Beach who specializes in writing about dogs and horses. On page 82, she looks at the pros and cons of virtual dog training. 16. Sheryl Normandeau is a Calgary-based writer, outdoors enthusiast and gardener. She spends an inordinate amount of time at the public library (mostly because she works there). Her writing has appeared in several North American publications. Sheryl takes a holistic look at flea and tick control on page 42.



Lisa Fair began working with Dr. Sherman Canapp as an orthopedic and surgical technician. She completed her certification in canine massage and rehabilitation therapy, and provides rehabilitative services part-time. She is a moderator for a rehabilitation therapy forum, and assists Dr. Canapp with special projects, research, client services and patient care. Lisa co-writes the article on canine osteoarthritis on page 76. Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she’s not writing, she works as a pet sitter. Turn to page 46 for her advice on the most successful way to housetrain a dog.

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ges Photo courtesy of Getty Ima

With the help of ASPCA animal welfare and shelter experts, Ms. Rappaport is visiting shelters around the country on a year-long search for a variety of outstanding canine and feline contestants. Chosen animals will strut their stuff in front of a panel of judges, including a veterinarian and certified trainer, for a chance to be crowned Best in Shelter – and score a loving home in the process.

There’s a cool new TV show in the works! The ASPCA and Jill Rappaport (shown above), award-winning animal advocate and correspondent for the Today Show and NBC News, just announced that they are developing a TV series and prime-time special called Best in Shelter, to showcase the special appeal of shelter animals.

“It has been my dream – ever since I created my beloved “Bow to Wow” series six years ago on the Today Show – to develop a program that celebrates the beauty, inside and out, of shelter animals,” says Ms. Rappaport. “The win-win here is that hopefully every one of our featured fur angels, whether on the show or in the shelters I will be visiting across the country, will find a loving permanent home, which is what they deserve.”

TOP 12 DOG BREEDS For the 23rd year in a row, the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog breed in the US, according to the American Kennel club (, which recently released its list of our favorite canines for 2013. Other large breeds like the German shepherd and golden retriever took second and third places respectively, while the Doberman pinscher rose ten spots from #22 to #12. “Owning bigger breeds…has been on the rise during the past five years,” says AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. Among smaller breeds, the French bulldog has seen a sharp rise in popularity over the past decade, with a more than 300% increase in registrations since 2003! The affectionate, easy-to-care-for Frenchie rose to number 11 last year – its highest position since the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1898. French bulldogs (like the one shown on our cover!) are loveable lap warmers with minimal exercise and grooming requirements.


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Here’s the complete list:

 Labrador retriever  German shepherd  Golden retriever  Beagle  Bulldog  Yorkshire terrier  Boxer  Poodle  Rotteweiler  Dachshund  French bulldog  Doberman pinscher

A VICTORY FOR HOMEOPATHY Anyone who has used homeopathy on their animals knows it works. But the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t agree. Over a year ago, it introduced a resolution to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that stated: “Homeopathy has been identified as ineffective and its use is discouraged.” This resolution was closely reviewed by the House of Delegates (HOD) at the AVMA Winter Meeting in January of last year. The resolution was then sent back to the Executive Board (EB) with a recommendation to have the Council on Veterinary Services review it. The EB later decided to send the resolution to the AVMA’s Research Committee.

And now the good news. The Connecticut VMA resolution was again considered during the 2014 Winter Meeting on January 9 and 10. When a Reference Committee meeting was devoted just to this one resolution, its members voted unanimously against it. Just a few hours later, over 90% of the full HOD also voted against it, effectively ending the resolution. After a year of worry, those who support the use of homeopathy can finally breathe a sigh of relief!

At the November 2013 Executive Board meeting, the EB concluded that the AVMA already had guidelines for complementary and alternative medicine (CAVM) in place, and that it was not in the purview of the AVMA to adjudicate individual modalities. This recommendation was sent back to all the delegates.

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WHAT A “COOL” IDEA! The weather will soon be heating up again, and it’ll be time to remind people how dangerous it is to leave dogs in parked vehicles on hot summer days – or even warm spring ones. Last July, after a dog died of heat exhaustion in a car at Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre in Ontario, Canada, the mall implemented a new Pet Patrol program. During the summer, when temps rise above 85°F, two security guards are posted at the mall’s parking lot entrances to remind people of the hazards of leaving dogs shut in cars. There are also staff roaming the parking lot looking for dogs in vehicles; if they see a pooch in distress, they are encouraged to call animal services or the police.

Want to keep up to date with animal welfare? The American Humane Association has introduced their new weekly radio show, “Be Humane”, on Pet Life Radio. Hosted by AHA president and CEO, Dr. Robin Ganzert, the show features the latest news and issues affecting animals, along with interviews with some of the country’s most famous animal advocates, including actress Joanna Krupa (Real Housewives of Miami), Prince Lorenzo Borghese (The Bachelor), and renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell. Each show centers around a theme of spreading compassion, caring and hope for animals. For more information about upcoming episodes and special guests, visit

It’s a great idea, and hopefully one that will catch on at other malls and public places this year.


Animals with cancer or other serious illnesses should NOT be vaccinated. 14

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Along with being a glamorous film star, Elizabeth Taylor was also an animal lover. She understood the valuable role animals play in enhancing the health and well-being of people, particularly those suffering from HIV/AIDs. In 1991, she founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), which raises funds and awareness to fight the spread of the disease, and provides assistance to those living with it. Since its launch, ETAF has also been promoting Paws Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), a non-profit organization that nurtures the human/animal bond for vulnerable individuals in communities across the country, including people with HIV/AIDs. ETAF is currently providing funding for PAWS chapters in San Diego and San Francisco.,

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YAKKITY YAK HERDER, HUNTER OR LIVESTOCK GUARDER? A dog’s breed can determine how well he follows human commands, according to a new study from Oregon State University. The study found that dogs bred for predatory traits are better at following some human gestures. The researchers tested three breeds of dog used for specific purposes: hunting (Airedale terrier), herding (border collie) and livestock guarding (Anatolian shepherd). The dogs watched a researcher point to one of two identical empty cans. If the dog then approached that same can, food was placed on it. The test was repeated ten times. When choosing between the two cans, the researchers believe each breed drew on its natural predatory tendency to eye, stalk, chase and ultimately consume food triggered by movement – in this case, a pointing human hand. • The border collies chose the correct can more than 85% of the time. The researchers credit their success to the fact that border collies have been bred for exaggerated eye/stalk/chase behavior. • The Airedale terriers also performed well, showing 70% success in the tests. These hunting dogs have predatory instincts most similar to wolves, and are extremely responsive to movement and inclined to follow it. • The Anatolian shepherds responded to human gestures less than 50% of the time on average (though with additional training, they learned to follow the commands). This finding is consistent with their breeding, say the researchers, because Anatolian shepherds, as livestock guarding dogs, have been bred to protect rather than chase.

MEDICAL CARE FOR MILITARY CANINES If you’ve ever wondered what kind of veterinary care military dogs in Afghanistan receive, wonder no longer. According to a release on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System website, the Kandahar Veterinary Treatment Facility provides both routine and emergency care as well as 48-hour hospitalization to military and contract working dogs in the Kandahar region. Dogs that require more than two days of hospitalization are evacuated to Dog Center Europe in Germany.


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SHELTER STATS NORTH OF 49 A couple of months ago, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies ( released its report on national animal shelter statistics (for 2012). A first of its kind, this report is an accumulation of data from 102 shelters across the country. Check out some of the figures: 53,085 – Number of dogs taken in by shelters 119,198 – Number of cats taken in by shelters 25,379 – Number of dogs adopted 54,270 – Number of cats adopted 14,879 – Number of dogs reclaimed by their guardians 4,823 – Number of cats reclaimed by their guardians

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By Shawn Messonnier, DVM

A thorough understanding of this disease will help you protect your dog.


you have a dog, you already know something about heartworm. But there are several misunderstandings surrounding this disease that need clarification. In the first of this two-part article, we’ll look at the difference between heartworm infection and disease, risk factors and symptoms, and how heartworm is diagnosed.

Infection or disease? To start with, it’s important to know the difference between heartworm infection and disease. Heartworm infection occurs when an infected mosquito deposits immature larval heartworms into the dog while feeding on him. These dogs are not clinically ill, do not act sick, and appear totally normal. Usually, a


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diagnosis of heartworm infection is made through the dog’s annual blood work. People are usually shocked to discover that their healthy dogs are infected with heartworms and are at risk of developing heartworm disease. Most dogs I see with “heartworm” have heartworm infection, not disease. Heartworm disease results when a dog infected with heartworms develops clinical signs (see next section). Fortunately, I very rarely see dogs with heartworm disease. Treatment requires much more aggressive and expensive therapies; dogs with heartworm disease are more likely to suffer side effects from the traditional medication used in treatment than those with heartworm infection.

Signs and symptoms Clinical signs of heartworm disease usually represent pathology of the heart and lungs. In fact, “heartworms” are really “lungworms”. In most cases, the worms are found in the large blood vessels of the lungs, not the heart. The worms only “back up” from the lung blood vessels in severe infections, in which

case they end up in the chambers of the heart (right side) and caudal vena cava blood vessel. When the disease was first discovered, so many worms were found in animals that they had in fact backed up into the heart, so the disease was named heartworm when it would be more accurate to call it lungworm. Clinical signs, especially early in the disease, involve coughing, most often when the dog is active. The coughing is due to the presence of worms in the pulmonary blood vessels, and the associated inflammation the worms produce. With time, the disease may progress and cause more severe signs of lung and/ or heart infection and inflammation, such as weakness, more serious and constant coughing, weight loss, decreased appetite, and fluid accumulation in the chest and abdomen (signs that predispose the dog to sudden death). In some cases, however, the only sign of heartworm disease is sudden death.

Often, heartworm prevention is only needed during the warmer months. Diagnostics have improved Heartworm infection is usually easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. However, there is still some confusion among veterinarians and their clients on what the “best” test is. Three types of blood test can be used to diagnose the presence of heartworms in a dog’s body. When heartworms were originally discovered in animals in the 1970s, the blood test for it involved simply examining a drop of blood under the microscope for the presence of heartworm microfilariae (baby heartworms produced by female worms in the dog’s body). While this test would often reveal the presence of microfilariae, there were two limitations. First, another species of microfilariae (most commonly one that does not cause disease in dogs) was often found.




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Second, it was discovered that many heartworm infections (in some cases up to 70%) are occult infections, meaning that adult worms are present but microfilariae are not. Using this test meant that many heartworm infections were missed or misdiagnosed if another type of microfilariae was detected in the blood sample, or if no microfilariae were seen. The second type of heartworm test to be developed was the filter test. In this instance, a 1 ml to 3 ml sample of the animal’s blood is pushed through a filter apparatus, and then a second sample of tap water is used to flush the filter. The filter is removed, sometimes with a microbiological stain, and is examined microscopically. While this test was better than simply examining a drop of blood under the microscope, it too had the same limitations. Because of the limitations associated with these two tests, they are not recommended as the sole way to diagnose heartworm infection. However, they should be run if there are positive results on the occult test, to determine if additional treatment is needed to kill the microfilariae. The most accurate and commonly run test is called an occult heartworm test. It is an antigen-antibody test that determines the presence of antigen from female heartworms in the dog’s body. Unlike the other two tests, it is very accurate and can pick up infections when only a few worms are present, even if no microfilariae are seen. This test should be done annually on healthy dogs six months of age and older (the test is inaccurate in younger dogs, as it takes a minimum of six months from the time of a mosquito bite before the dog would test positive). This test should also be done on any dog suspected of

having hearworm infection/disease. It is also done following heartworm treatment to ensure success, usually six months after the dog finishes the treatment.

Clinical signs of heartworm disease usually represent pathology of the heart and lungs. If heartworm disease is suspected, or if infection has been proven via blood testing, other tests should be done before proceeding with treatment. This testing is vital to determine the stage of the disease/infection, and to uncover any problems that might complicate or postpone treatment. Heartworm disease is diagnosed when clinical signs of the disease are present after a diagnosis of infection via the testing just discussed. Laboratory tests needed to confirm and stage the disease include chest radiographs (X-rays), a blood chemistry profile, CBC, urinalysis, and an EKG. Dogs with heartworm infection will be normal on all of these tests, whereas dogs with heartworm disease will show some abnormalities. Even if clinical signs of heartworm disease are not present when infection is diagnosed, it is imperative to run these additional tests prior to beginning treatment. Normal test results mean that treatment can begin, severe side effects are not likely to occur, and a baseline value for each test is established in the event complications occur during therapy. In the second part of this article (June-July), we’ll look at how heartworm is treated and prevented, and what steps you can take to protect your companion from infection.

Is your dog at risk? All dogs (and other animals) are at risk of developing heartworm infection. Since exposure to infected mosquitoes is necessary for infection to occur, dogs that spend more time outdoors are at increased risk. Also, because mosquito activity occurs as the temperature increases, there is often a seasonal trend to exposure and infection. As an example, it’s warm all year here in Texas (with occasional daily exceptions), so year-round heartworm prevention is important. In other areas of North America, the warm season is shorter and transmission is less likely to occur year round. Often, heartworm prevention is only needed during the warmer months or not at all, depending on heartworm populations in your area, and your veterinarian’s advise. Heartworm has been found in all 50 states, and across Canada, but some areas are much more prone to it than others. In the US, the prevalence of heartworm is highest in the southeast (including Texas east to Florida), and lowest in the Midwest. In Canada, heartworm is most prevalent in southern Ontario and the Winnipeg region of Manitoba. Wherever you live, it’s important to find out what the heartworm numbers are like in your region, so you and your veterinarian can decide if and/or when your dog needs preventative medication.


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animal wellness


By Deva Khalsa, VMD

– the king of antioxidants This tiny but powerful nutrient is vital to his cell health, liver function and immunity. Mention antioxidants,

and most people think of vitamin C or beta carotene. But there are other, less commonly known antioxidants that are even more important to overall health and well being.

One of these is glutathione. It’s a tiny but powerful and abundant protein compound made up of three amino acids. Glutathione exists in every single cell of your dog’s body, where it protects the minuscule but important energy machines called mitochondria. Though small, glutathione is the uncontested king of antioxidants. Without it, all your dog’s cells would disintegrate and die from unrestrained oxidation. To understand what oxidation is, think about when a freshly cut apple turns brown, a bicycle fender becomes rusty, or a copper penny turns green. Unchecked oxidation is a destructive process that results in breakdown, illness and cellular death.

Other antioxidants depend on it More well-known antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, have short lifespans, but glutathione has the ability to bring these spent antioxidants back from the dead; it even can recharge itself. In other words, all other antioxidants depend on glutathione to function properly. No wonder, then, that doctors respectfully call it the “master antioxidant”. In short, few things in your dog’s body are more important than glutathione. It’s a powerful healing and cleansing agent. Without it, not only would cells die, but the immune system wouldn’t work and the liver would fail from toxic overload (see sidebars).

Giving him glutathione The level of glutathione found in your dog’s body will affect his health and longevity.


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important functions

of the antioxidants you purchase over the 1None counter would work without the glutathione that’s

2 3

already present in your dog’s body. Glutathione acts as very important fuel for his immune system. The highest levels of glutathione are found in his liver. That’s no accident because the liver is the major organ for detoxifying heavy metals, herbicides and other toxins. Glutathione is absolutely necessary because of all the toxins our dogs are exposed to on a regular basis. It’s only because of the vast quantities of glutathione in the liver that the body can detoxify and eliminate these toxins before they do permanent damage. In fact, studies show that half of dogs with chronic liver disease have reduced glutathione levels in their blood and livers.

But here’s the rub. Since glutathione is made up of three amino acids, the oral route of administration simply does not work because the glutathione is digested. For example, asparagus contains more available glutathione than any other food, but the GI tract digests most of it. The best way to administer glutathione is intravenously or intramuscularly. Since that’s not practical (except in cases of Xylitol poisoning when dogs are often hospitalized – see sidebar), I typically use a topical gel preparation placed on a hairless area to be absorbed through the skin.

10 ways to optimize his levels The good news is that there are several glutathione precursors as well as certain foods that will work to boost glutathione production in your dog’s body.

 A little extra vitamin C on a daily basis will recharge the glutathione already present in his body. The powdered buffered form of this vitamin is relatively tasteless and easy to sprinkle on a bit of wet food. The suggested dose is 50mg to 100mg per day.

 Garlic is a sulfur-rich food. A little fresh garlic each day supports glutathione production.  Kale and broccoli have compounds that support the natural production of glutathione in the body.

 Selenium

is an important mineral that helps your dog’s body recycle and produce more glutathione.

 SAMe (S-Adensoylmethionine) is converted into glutathione and readily available at health food stores and through veterinarians. The recommended dose is 20mg/kg/day.

 Another

readily available supplement called N-acetyl-cysteine helps boost glutathione levels in your dog’s blood and liver. As mentioned in the sidebar, it’s used in human hospital ERs to treat people with liver failure from Tylenol overdose.

 Whey protein has been shown to increase glutathione levels. Quality whey protein contains all the key amino acids for glutathione production, along with a unique and highly bioactive compound called glutamylcysteine, which promotes glutathione production.

 There is evidence that vitamin D3 increases intracellular glutathione.  Milk thistle is an excellent source of an antioxidant called silymarin, which may glutathione depletion in the liver.



 Exercise boosts glutathione levels. More health benefits As you can see, healthy levels of glutathione are tremendously important for maintaining health. In people, glutathione deficiency has been linked to cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s. I have successfully used glutathione gel in one dog with senior dementia. And intramuscular glutathione literally saved the life of a dog dying from Xylitol ingestion; it turned him around in a matter of hours. You may not have heard much about glutathione before now, but it’s a good idea to get to know this nearly miraculous antioxidant. It can help give your dog all the support he needs for a long and healthy life.

Toxic overload! You probably know that Tylenol (containing acetaminophen) is toxic to cats but you may not know why. Acetaminophen rapidly depletes a cat’s stores of glutathione, resulting in a high burden of unhandled toxic metabolites and destruction of liver tissue. The artificial sweetener, Xylitol, can do the same thing in dogs. When humans overdose on Tylenol, they’re treated with something called NAC (N-acetylcysteine) to prevent or minimize liver damage. N-acetylcysteine is a pre-curser to the formation of glutathione in the body, and helps replenish intracellular levels of glutathione.

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By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Ease your dog’s stress with acupressure.

Moving house can be stressful. Even if you’re looking

in a completely strange place filled with unknown smells,

forward to the change of scene, it involves a huge amount

sounds and sights. While your human family knows what’s

of hassle and upheaval. And just imagine how it must

happening and has some control over the process, your

feel to your dog. His familiar surroundings are being

dog doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. In many cases,

taken apart before his eyes, and then he finds himself

this can cause stress and anxiety.


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Even if your dog is easy going and doesn’t seem bothered, you may still notice some signs that he isn’t feeling comfortable. He might turn into a “Velcro dog” who won’t leave your side. Or he might try to manage his anxiety by digging holes in the back garden or acting out in some other way. If you notice some unusual behaviors in your dog during or after a move, he is letting you know that he needs you to comfort and assure him that whatever is happening, you love him and aren’t leaving him. Keep in mind that dogs are more attached to their humans than their locations, but that your stress level becomes your dog’s stress level. And moving house is high up on the stress scale.

Comfort him with acupressure One of the best things you can do for the both of you is take a break from the moving mania, sit down together, and enjoy a Comforting Acupressure Session. It’s a way to give your dog your undivided attention for about 20 minutes, and to help yourself feel quieter, more grounded and centered. As mentioned in previous articles, acupressure is an ancient healing art based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The intention in performing an acupressure session is to maintain a harmonious flow of energy and nutrients

throughout the body, thereby nourishing all the internal organs and tissues. This in turn establishes balance within the body and supports and maintains emotional and physical health. An acupressure session to help your dog deal with the stresses of moving involves acupoints that have been proven over the centuries to help both animals and humans feel less anxious and more secure. The acupoints presented in the chart accompanying this article can restore balance and let your dog know you really care about him. By following the instructions on how to perform this brief acupressure session, you and your dog will have what you need most right now – some peaceful quality time together.


Performing the session Start the acupressure session by sitting quietly in a spot that’s away from the chaos of packing. Have your dog join you in a relaxed manner. It needs to be a place where you both feel safe, such as his bed or the couch. Breathe, and focus on your dog feeling loved and secure. Now take four deep breaths, and exhale fully with each.


You are ready for the hands-on part of the session. Place one hand in a comfortable place on your dog. Your other hand will

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be doing the acupoint work. Remember that the acupoints shown on the chart, except for the Bai Hui point, are bilateral – this means you will need to stimulate the points on both sides of your dog.

10 extra tips for a STRESS-FREE move To provide additional support for your dog during a move, combine the Comforting Acupressure Session with the following suggestions from canine behaviorists.

1 Leave your dog’s toys, bed and food bowl where they are until the last minute.

2 Maintain his routine as best as you can. 3 Don’t wash his special things, such as his bedding, either before or for at least a week after moving.

4 If possible, introduce your dog to his new home prior to the move.

5 On moving day, ask a family member or friend to look after him at their own home.

6 Be patient and positive with your dog during the packing and moving process.

7 Go for as many walks as you can both before and

There are two hand techniques you can use to stimulate the acupoints. The Thumb Technique is most effective on the dog’s head, neck, and trunk, while the Two-Finger Technique is good for acupoints on the limbs, and with smaller dogs. Thumb technique – Place the soft tip of your thumb 45° to 90° perpendicular to the acupoint shown on the chart. You can apply about half a pound of pressure or less, depending on the size of your dog. You don’t need to press hard; gentle is better because the dog’s energy flow is just beneath his skin. Slowly count to 30 while keeping your thumb on the acupoint. Two-finger technique – Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to form a little tent. Then place your index finger gently, yet with intentional firmness, directly on the acupoint for a slow count of 30. The hand resting on your dog, the so-called “non-working hand”, can move as needed for you to be comfortable. Feel


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after the move.

8 Take a few minutes twice a day to play with your dog. 9 At your new home, find as familiar a location as you can for his bed.

10 Make sure your mobile phone number is on your

dog’s tag and that his collar fits properly, just in case.

for reactions from your dog, such as breathing more deeply and slowly, that indicate he is more relaxed and comfortable. If you feel him flinch while you are stimulating a point, try using less pressure. Dogs usually let you know if you’re doing a good job through energy releases such as yawning, stretching, licking, passing air, or falling asleep. However, if your dog seems at all distressed by the work, or a particular acupoint seems to hurt him, move on to the next point. Let your dog tell you what he needs. If it seems this is not the best time for him to experience an acupressure session, stop and try again another time.


When you have completed the session, sit quietly for another minute or two, and breathe. Very often your breathing will be in sync with your dog’s. This is the moment to acknowledge how important your beloved dog is to you, wherever you are.



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You may be contributing to your dog’s fear without even realizing it.

Separation anxiety – could you be making it worse? By Peggy Swager


adopted a collie mix recently. He soon developed separation anxiety, and she didn’t know why. Then a trainer told her it was because of the way she acted whenever she left the house. “I hated leaving him alone and always made a big fuss of him, telling him over and over that I’d be home soon,” Wendy says. “I was as worried about leaving him as he was to be left, and it was making him anxious.” As this example shows, separation anxiety isn’t always just about the dog. I have found over the years, when working to solve this issue, that there are several ways people can unintentionally trigger separation anxiety in their dogs. By watching out for these relationship errors, you can avoid or more quickly stop separation anxiety before it becomes a severe problem.

Don’t go away mad Perhaps one of the most common ways you can unintentionally trigger separation anxiety in a dog is by using the wrong kind of leaving protocol. To better identify how your dog may feel, let’s say you are at the dentist’s office and just had a routine cleaning. The dentist comes in and picks up your chart. Looking at him


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hopefully, you notice his jaw tighten. He flips the top page with intensity and quickly flips it back. You know this can’t be good, and your imagination begins to spark anxiety. The dentist snaps closed your folder, puts it down sharply, and leaves the room. The entire time he is gone, your anxiety escalates. What you don’t know is that the dentist wasn’t even thinking about your teeth, but about something else entirely. Perhaps his car mechanic gave him bad news and he left you in a huff because he suddenly decided to call the mechanic back before dealing with you. Meanwhile, you end up feeling a lot of anxiety while you wait for his return. Unfortunately, you can put your dog through a similar experience when you leave the house. For example, maybe you’re uptight because you’re late. A lot of dogs respond poorly to human tension, anger or other negative emotions. If you leave the house after displaying these feelings, your dog can feel the same way you would in the dentist example above. Stressfilled leaving habits can not only result in the development of separation anxiety, but your dog can start feeling anxious the moment you pick up your keys or put on your jacket.

Too much lovin’? Another way you can create unease in your dog before going out may seem ironic because you probably see it as a positive experience. Maybe you speak in a higher pitched tone of voice as you lavish affection on your dog before you depart, and when you return home. But what you think of as communicating love to your dog can actually stress him. Part of the problem is that your heightened energy can give him the wrong impression. He is expecting something fun to follow your excitement, such as a walk – but then you leave and close the door on him. Likewise, the excitement you show when you come back can create an anxious anticipation about your return while you are gone. Not all dogs subjected to these overlyexcited departures and arrivals will end up with separation anxiety, but I’ve met a lot who have.

A sense of security Insecurity is a very common trigger for separation anxiety. There are two common ways people can inadvertently create or perpetuate insecurity. One is when they allow overly submissive behaviors in a dog. If he rolls onto

his back in a submissive manner when you approach, you need to break this habit, because allowing it undermines his confidence. One way I work to change this behavior is to stop approaching the dog the moment he rolls on his back. I try not to show disapproval, but instead turn around and calmly walk away. Often, I will get down to floor level a short distance away and invite the dog to receive attention by coming over to me. Continued on page 30.

When leaving the house, act as if it’s no big deal – don’t get anxious or excited, or give your dog any extra attention.

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humans can create anxiety in some dogs, and that anxiety can trigger separation anxiety. While separation anxiety sometimes stems from factors beyond our immediate control, we shouldn’t underestimate the influence our own emotions and behaviors can have on our dogs. By understanding this, and by being aware of how your dog is responding to what is going on around him, you can help him learn to stay calm and collected whenever you have to go out.

by shown , such as Ab ty ie nx a n tio para you’re out. A dog with se amage while d f o t lo a e caus

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Continued from page 29. Another common way you can create insecurity in a dog is by coddling him. If he becomes afraid, your first instinct may be to snatch him up and cuddle him, especially if he’s a small dog. A fearful dog has his fear confirmed when you show tension in your haste to grab him. Soon, he learns that anytime he feels uncertain, he needs you to survive the situation. Unfortunately, dogs handled in this manner will begin to follow their people around the house like a shadow, because they’re afraid of everything, including being alone, and need to keep their humans in sight. When you leave the house, a fearful dog can begin having full blown panic attacks that we label as separation anxiety.

Another common way you can create insecurity in a dog is by coddling him. Teaching your dog to be more secure begins with a better assessment of any potential threats. If the dog is not in any danger, you need to allow him to calm down with four paws on the floor. Retraining may be needed for dogs that have developed shadowing problems.

Household stressors Some of the separation anxiety I see occurs after something stressful happens in the home. Stress can come from a change in the household, including the loss of a family member or military deployment. The dog not only feels the absence of one individual as a loss, but may pick up on the elevated stress levels among remaining family members. Stressed-out


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An all too common trigger of separation anxiety stems from the adoption process. Some dogs become very stressed in a shelter environment. If a dog was insecure prior to entering the shelter, perhaps because of poor socialization, then he will be more prone to separation anxiety when he is adopted. Dogs coming from a shelter often need help acclimating to a new household. Working to create security in the dog during the first three weeks can help prevent separation anxiety issues. When you first get the dog home, don’t overwhelm him. Allow him to slowly adjust to the household. Once he feels more secure, instead of trying to make up for the injustice he may have suffered before, use training to help transform him into a secure and happy dog.

SOCIAL MEDIA On the Blogs Reading a blog is like peeking into someone’s diary, and then some! But with all the bloggers out there, how do you choose which ones to follow? We think it’s a combination of witty and entertaining posts, and well-sourced information. Here are three pet bloggers we love:

Keep the Tail Wagging Kimberly Gauthier is a dog mom to two sets of littermates and she shares her wisdom of raising and living with four dogs. Her main message is the importance of the human-canine bond and the joy it brings to our lives. She’s also an advocate of rescue groups and anti-breed specific legislation. We also dig all the info her blog has on raw food!

Oh My Dog! If you’re looking for a great dog training blog, this is the one! As the author of Positively Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup, Maggie Marton delivers dog training tips based on personal and professional experience. She says, “Hopefully, through this site, I can share what I’ve learned and gather even more inspiration from the vibrant online community of dog lovers!”

The Pet Blog Lady An ultimate networker, Lisa Taron has created a site that’s full of resources and exciting contest giveaways. There are also the posts based on her daily life as a pet mom, too. While the focus is mostly on dogs and cats, Lisa recently became a chicken mama, and she sometimes shares stories about her feather babies, too!

Don’t forget to follow the Animal Wellness blog to see the latest from our guest bloggers! Animal Wellness readers pose with Tugger!

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Ozone therapy It’s not widely available yet, or even approved for medical use on this side of the Atlantic, but it’s showing a lot of promise as a healing modality for many conditions By Mark Newkirk, VMD You’ve probably heard of swimming pool companies and municipalities using ozone to purify pools, spas and drinking water. It works because it kills bacteria, fungi, mold and even some viruses. It also breaks down waste products to sterilize water without the use of chemicals like chlorine or bromine. But have you ever heard of ozone being used in or on the body to kill pathogens? Ozone therapy, also called Activated Oxygen Therapy (AOT), is showing a lot of promise as an effective medical modality for both companion animals and humans.

What is ozone and how does it heal? Oxygen as you know it makes all life possible. It’s the molecule from which all cellular energy, and thus function and healing, is derived. What you may not know is when “activated” through an ozone generating machine, oxygen turns from O2 (oxygen) into O3 (ozone). This creation of a third oxygen atom is very special and does two things:


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It puts “extra” oxygen in diseased, cancerous, inflamed or infected tissue. Typically, these areas are low in oxygen, thereby decreasing the chances for healthy cells to survive and/or defend themselves. Upon injecting ozone into the bloodstream or a tumor, the O3 molecule breaks down again into oxygen (O2 ) and an oxygen atom (O1 ). The O2 increases oxygen in these areas, greatly boosting the body’s healing powers.

The third oxygen atom ( O1 ), meanwhile, negatively affects abnormal cells (such as cancer cells) as well as pathogens like bacteria, yeast, fungus and viruses. This ozone breakdown creates what is called a “free radical” – in this case the O1 atom. This free radical breaks through the outer “wall” that surrounds an abnormal cell or pathogen. Normal cells have a way of protecting themselves against this effect (via mitochondria), so normal cells get a boost of oxygen to help them heal, while abnormal cells and pathogens have their “walls” broken and die.

This non-toxic therapy can be used for most any resistant or degenerative disease process, such as cancer, antibiotic-resistant infections, and severe yeast infections of the skin and ears. It is also helpful in the treatment of arthritis, colitis, or any other inflammatory condition. Ozone therapy can be used for conditions ranging from arthritis to cancer.

The ozone generator creates ozone by adding an electrostatic charge to oxygen molecules.

How is it administered? A special machine called an ozone generator is needed to take medical grade oxygen (O2 ) and activate it. It does this by putting an electrostatic charge to the oxygen molecule as it passes through the machine, thus creating ozone. The O3 molecule is stable for only short periods, which is why it does not occur in nature except in the upper atmosphere that protects the Earth from many harmful things. There are a variety of ways to administer activated oxygen. The number of treatments vary, depending on the condition we’re treating. We can: • Mix it with saline and inject it intravenously. • Infuse it rectally for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. • Mix it with olive oil and use it as a topical gel for wounds. • Wrap a shampooed animal in plastic (except for the head, of course) and infuse the ozone into the bag to treat skin conditions. • Flush infected ears with it. • Inject cancerous tumors with it for great results. People often report an increase in energy in their companions following a treatment. At my practice, we also often make ozone water for people to take home; they can soak an animal’s infected feet with it, and/or have the dog drink it. At present, not a lot of veterinarians offer ozone therapy, nor is it approved by the FDA for medical use (see sidebar). Nevertheless, I have seen it help animals that are severely ill and/or have been given no other chance. Hopefully, with time, it will become more widely accepted and available. For further information about the use of ozone in humans and animals, visit the American Academy of Ozonotherapy website at To find a vet who offers this therapy, visit

Ozone therapy is widely – and legally – used in Europe on both animals and humans. Unfortunately, here in the US, it isn’t “approved” by the FDA for medical use. Nor is it legal in Canada. Since it is not “recognized” by either the FDA or the “legal powers” of veterinary medicine, a waiver of consent must be signed before a veterinarian can do ozone therapy on your dog. animal wellness


He’s having a

It’s scary to watch, but don’t panic. Many of these conditions can be managed successfully with an INTEGRATIVE APPROACH.

By Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA

Toby was a darling three-month-old Pomeranian puppy when he had his first seizure. His guardian placed a frantic call to the vet, and the receptionist told her to snuggle him carefully in a blanket, avoid getting bitten, and bring him right over. Thankfully, upon arrival at the clinic, the seizure had passed. But he would go on to have many more, and with increasing frequency. The veterinarian performed a battery of screening blood tests to rule out the many problems that can cause seizures, but it

ly ve been effective Toby’s seizures ha s rb t, Chinese he managed with die ts. en and supplem

did not produce any definitive answers or specific therapeutic management. The assumption was that Toby had idiopathic epilepsy, which means the cause is unknown. Toby was fed a variety of premium diets, and conventional anticonvulsants (phenobarbital and potassium bromide), were prescribed. Despite the medication, he was experiencing seizures multiple times a week, and also suffered from pancreatitis due to the potassium bromide. Toby’s heartbroken guardians felt they had done all they could and he was presented for euthanasia. But he was too young to give up on. His guardians agreed to relinquish him and my daughter adopted him. Together, we began to try some holistic options to manage Toby’s condition, and met with great success.

What happens during a seizure? Few things are more distressing than watching your dog have a seizure. The first time you witness it, you may fear he is dying or will need to be euthanized. But it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Many seizure disorders can be successfully managed. If you suspect your dog has had a seizure of any kind, take him to your veterinarian immediately. A prolonged seizure can cause


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permanent brain damage. During the seizure itself, however, the dog is not in any pain. In fact, most humans who have had a seizure say that all they experienced was a lapse in time. They often “wake up” and wonder why everyone is staring at them. During a seizure, dogs do lose control of their jaw muscles and could bite accidentally. They commonly lose colon and bladder control as well. So it is not unusual for them to drool profusely, and urinate or defecate during a seizure episode.

Not all seizures are epilepsy A lot of people assume that seizures and epilepsy are the same thing, but many seizures are not caused by epilepsy. Unfortunately, there is no specific test for epilepsy, so it’s what we call a diagnosis of “rule outs”. In other words, your veterinarian needs to “rule out” the myriad other causes of seizures (see sidebar on page 36) before you can assume your dog has epilepsy. The distinction is important because it affects treatment options and prognosis.

Conventional treatment means anticonvulsant drugs Mainstream veterinarians will usually prescribe anticonvulsant drugs for seizures, but they are not without risks. Phenobarbital is a commonly recommended, addictive narcotic with potential liver side effects. Potassium bromide is often piggy-backed onto phenobarbital, but can cause pancreatitis, as in Toby’s case. Both can be quite sedating. Continued on page 36.

WHAT’S HE EATING? A fresh, species-appropriate diet is an important key to managing idiopathic epilepsy. With any disorder whose cause is unknown, it is not unreasonable to suspect that an underlying deficiency or excess of a particular vitamin, mineral or other nutrient may be a culprit. Even seizure disorders with genetic predispositions are commonly linked to a breed’s inability to properly procure or utilize a necessary nutrient. After Toby was put on a raw diet with Chinese herbals and supplements, and his seizure triggers were avoided, the frequency of his seizures quickly decreased from four to six times per day to one mild seizure every six weeks. As time went on, he was commonly seizure-free for six months at a time!

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Continued from page 35. For patients that must remain on a conventional anticonvulsant, an integrative veterinarian can recommend nutritional support to protect the liver and pancreas. A popular Chinese herbal is prescribed by Oriental practitioners to assist with liver metabolism. This formula is called Bao Hu Jiang Jun Tang and can help prevent liver failure associated with phenobarbital usage. The formula contains milk thistle, bupleurum, schisandra, licorice root, salvia root, white peony and skullcap. You might recognize milk thistle as a commonly used liver supportive herbal. When beginning our integrative treatment of Toby, we first stopped giving him potassium bromide; it diminishes slowly from the body on its own, so a slow withdrawal was not necessary. However, individuals can experience withdrawal side effects if phenobarbital is discontinued abruptly, or even if a dose is late or missed. Discontinuing this medication should be done under veterinary supervision. Herbal care can be initiated while the dog is still on phenobarbital.

Identify the triggers When getting to the root of Toby’s seizures, the most important additional diagnostic tool we used was journaling. I cannot overemphasize how useful it can be for a diligent dog parent to note every seizure. Record the date, time of day, the current weather, and what the dog has eaten recently, including treats. Also record household activities or environmental exposures that occur just prior to each seizure. Just as there are multiple causes for seizures, there are also multiple triggers for epileptic seizures such as Toby was experiencing. Much as an allergic individual is often allergic to several things, an epileptic individual can be stimulated to seizure for many different reasons. Therefore, one of the main goals of therapy is to identify as many triggers as possible and eliminate them. 1. Food triggers A weekend of close observation quickly revealed that Toby had a sensitivity to chicken. Eliminating all chicken and replacing it with beef led to a substantial decrease in the frequency of seizure activity! Although Toby had been given many different diets, they all contained chicken and a starch such as corn or rice. Toby was now being fed a balanced all-beef, starch-free raw diet. 2. Environmental triggers Careful observation and long term journaling also made it clear that lawn treatments and particular household floor cleaners would trigger seizure activity in Toby. Like many epileptics, Toby would also frequently seizure at the time of a full moon. The former triggers could be eliminated or avoided. For those that are unavoidable, like the moon phase, knowing about their involvement allows you to be prepared and predict a seizure. It is also possible to add an herbal or use another modality to try and intervene with the seizure pattern. For example, if you know a dog has a seizure every three weeks in the evening, an acupuncture treatment could be scheduled for the anticipated day, or an extra dose or additional type of calming herbal might be given. Toby’s mom, who is also an acupuncturist, was able to pre-empt a seizure onset with acupressure at GV 26, an acupoint


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found at the groove between the nostrils. If necessary, even an extra quantity of anticonvulsant might be given pre-emptively.

Western herbs and Eastern medicine • Western herbals used to manage seizure activity have a calming influence. These are helpful when stressful situations trigger the seizures. Most popular in this category would be skull cap, valerian, passion flower and oat straw. They are safe to use with phenobarbital; they may potentiate its effectiveness, but this is generally desirable. It may allow an integrative veterinarian to decrease the dose of phenobarbital. • Oriental medicine should first involve a tongue and pulse diagnosis, and a diagnosis of the dog’s constitution. Seizure activity is considered “internal wind” originating from the liver. To understand this theory, think of heat producing fire with a rising wind. A dog with a Fire constitution, red tongue and fast pulse may have internal wind triggered by hot foods such as chicken, lamb or venison. As in Toby’s case, a neutral food choice such as beef or bison might be ideal. An herbal blend that includes cooling and “shen”-calming herbals may be beneficial. “Shen” means mind. A shen disturbance may trigger a seizure. Toby had a red, thin tongue and a rapid pulse. His nose, pads and skin were commonly dry. These are all heat signs. He preferred cool areas like the floor or basement. He had a great appetite. The Oriental diagnosis for him was liver yin deficiency with internal wind, and kidney jing deficiency due to the early onset of his disorder. This diagnosis helped with the selection of a Chinese herbal formulation for Toby. The initial herbal formula we gave Toby was Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin with added schisandra for liver protection. This formula contains 11 herbs. Chinese medical practitioners commonly prescribe it for human patients with internal wind caused by high blood pressure and its associated headaches and dizziness. Di Tan Tang, meanwhile, is commonly called “herbal valium”, and Ding Xian Wan is classically used for phlegm conditions. Toby received a rotation of several different Chinese herbal formulations, and as the frequency and severity of his seizures diminished, he was weaned off the phenobarbital. Toby’s journey is just one example of what can be accomplished with the cooperation of a integrative or holistic veterinarian, and a diligent guardian who is able and willing to identify and manage her dog’s seizure triggers. Toby went on to live a full and happy life, and so can many other dogs with similar conditions.

Healing heat

Dogs are very good at compensating for any pain or weakness. They do this by shifting more stress onto healthy limbs or body parts. Over time, this can lead to serious injuries in the joints, ligaments and muscles. The dog’s balance and coordination are also out of whack. Although the affected body part actually has less stress put on it, the range of motion is impeded. This leads to a lack of nourishment for the joints and muscles around the affected area, and the already weakened joint becomes further destabilized and worn down. Long wave infrared heat radiation increases blood circulation in the tissues, relieving muscle tension, reducing pain, improving performance, and helping prevent injury. Back on Track’s joint and muscle support products ( work with radiant heat. Ceramic particles are fused into the fibers the products are made of. When the particles absorb body heat, they expel heat in the long wave infrared zone of the thermal radiation spectrum. Just like other materials, body tissues have their own absorption spectrum. The wavelength the ceramic particles emit is absorbed into the cells. A signal is sent to the brain telling it that heat energy has increased, and the brain opens up the veins, not only superficially but also in the muscles and around the joints. This increased blood circulation relieves muscle tension and strengthens the body’s ability to reduce inflammation and heal injuries. These products help dogs achieve a more active and comfortable life. Back on Track makes no veterinary claims.

animal wellness



TRUTH By Karen Shaw Becker, DVM

about raw food A lot of myths continue to surround the safety of raw meat diets. Here are the real facts.

“My gosh!

You feed your animals raw meat?” This is one of the most frequent questions I get from visitors to my home – and from clients at my veterinary clinic who would like to feed their companions a raw diet, but are getting an argument from their own veterinarians. The whole debate about raw food doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Dogs and cats have consumed living, raw meat for thousands of years. To this day, cats catch and kill mice, and no one calls poison control. Dogs and cats are specifically designed to consume raw meat. Their bodies are adapted to process raw, living foods.


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FAST FOOD… IT’S BAD FOR ANIMALS TOO Processed commercial dog and cat food is a relatively new phenomenon, introduced only about 100 years ago. However, your animal’s GI tract has not evolved in those 100 years to make good use of a diet based entirely on poor quality kibble – and it never will. Fortunately, the bodies of dogs and cats are amazingly resilient and capable of handling foods that aren’t biologically appropriate. Unfortunately, this has led to a situation of dietary abuse in the veterinary community. Commercial pet foods – especially dry diets – are so convenient that the majority of vets recommend them for all their patients.

It’s easy to feed, inexpensive, and there’s no preparation or cleanup required. You stash the bag in the pantry, scoop out a portion at meal time, drop it in your animal’s food dish and you’re done.

wind up in the guts of prey animals. But here’s the thing. We don’t feed guts to our animals! If you buy a commercially available raw food diet, you will not find guts in the formula because guts contain parasites. If you prepare a homemade raw diet for your dog or cat, you don’t include the guts. Those are the parts of the prey we get rid of, because they harbor parasites.

Because commercial pet food has been so successfully marketed (dog and cat food products are a multimillion dollar industry), and because our animals’ bodies are resilient and can survive on this stuff, we have been lulled into a sense of complacency about the food we feed them.

Muscle meat – the part of prey animals used to prepare raw food diets – is sterile except in rare instances when parasites escape the GI tract and travel there.

Most veterinary students don’t learn about species-appropriate pet food in vet school. The only foods discussed are the processed, commercial pet formulas. The concept of feeding a living food diet is foreign to many vets.

If something potentially harmful isn’t

entirely neutralized by stomach acid, the bile is a secondary defense. It doesn’t take much research to uncover the fact that dogs and cats are designed by nature to eat living foods – unprocessed, raw, nourishing foods. Feeding a commercial formula is a bit like deciding your child can be healthy on a diet of meal replacement bars. A meal replacement bar is fine now and then, but no sane parent would ever consider raising a child on those alone. Yet that’s what we’re doing when we feed our animals nothing but poor quality, commercial, processed foods.

Certain other parasites, like Toxoplasma gondii which causes toxoplasmosis, can get into muscle meat and make your animal sick, which is why you should freeze raw meat for three days before feeding it to your dog or cat. By freezing meats three days before serving (a lot like how sushi is handled) and removing the guts of prey species, you can successfully avoid exposing your raw-fed animal to parasites.

WHAT ABOUT SALMONELLA? This is the second most frequently asked question I receive. The most important thing to understand about Salmonella, or any other potentially pathogenic bacteria, is that contamination absolutely does occur. It’s a fact of life. Salmonella is the reason behind most recalls of dry pet foods (and human foods as well). When a Salmonella outbreak occurs, there has been contamination in the food chain. The word Salmonella is used to describe over 1,800 serovars (species) of gram-negative bacteria. This bacteria lives in many species of mammal. The most common bacteria riding around in your dog or cat is Salmonella typhimurium. Continued on page 40.

Living foods in your companion’s diet are necessary for successful overall immune and organ function.

ELIMINATING PARASITES It seems the biggest problem most people have with raw meat diets revolves around parasites. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are passed up the food chain and animal wellness


Continued from page 39. I want to quote from an article titled “Campylobacter and Salmonella-Associated Diarrhea in Dogs and Cats: When Do I Treat?” It was written by Stanley L. Marks, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (Internal Medicine, Oncology), DACVN, for the Veterinary Information Network (VIN):

Dogs and cats are built to handle bacterial loads from food that would cause significant illness in you or me. Their bodies are well equipped to deal with heavy doses of familiar and strange bacteria because nature built them to catch, kill and immediately consume their prey.

“The clinical significance of bacteria such as clostridium and salmonella causing diarrhea or illness in dogs and cats is clouded by the existence of many of these organisms as normal constituents of the indigenous intestinal flora. The primary enteropathogenic bacteria most commonly incriminating in canine and feline diarrhea is Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.

Your dog’s or cat’s stomach is highly acidic, with a pH range of 1 to 2.5. Nothing much can survive an environment that acidic – it exists to keep him safe from potentially contaminated raw meat and other consumables.

Veterinarians are faced with a quandary when attempting to diagnose small animals with suspected bacterial-associated diarrhea because the isolation rates of these pathogenic bacteria are similar in diarrheic and non-diarrheic animals, and because the incidence of bacterial-associated diarrhea is extremely variable. Salmonella species are commonly isolated from both healthy and hospitalized dogs and cats.” What this is saying, in a nutshell, is that dogs and cats naturally have some Salmonella in their GI tracts much of the time – it’s not some unknown foreign invader but rather one their bodies are familiar with. Here’s a quote from another article written by Rhea V. Morgan, DVM, DACVIM, DACVO, for VIN: “Factors that increase the likelihood of clinical disease from Salmonella include the age of the animal, poor nutrition, the presence of cancer or neoplasia, and other concurrent diseases and stress, as well as the administration of antibiotics, chemotherapy or glucocorticoids [which are steroids].”

In addition to the acid, dogs and cats also naturally produce a tremendous amount of bile. Bile is both anti-parasitic and anti-pathogenic. So if something potentially harmful isn’t entirely neutralized by stomach acid, the bile is a secondary defense. And your animal’s powerful pancreatic enzymes also help break down and digest food.

Muscle meat is sterile except in rare instances when parasites escape the GI tract and travel there.

Providing your favorite pooch or feline with a balanced, biologically sound diet, a healthy lifestyle, digestive enzymes and probiotics (see sidebar below), will optimally nourish him, support healthy immunologic function, and bring overall vibrancy to his body. This is in direct contrast to feeding a low-end commercial formula of highly processed rendered byproducts, chemicals and grains – the typical mainstream pet food sold today. The sooner you transition your companion to the kind of diet he was designed to eat, the sooner he will be on his way to vibrant good health.

The bottom line is that potentially harmful bacteria reside in your animal’s GI tract whether you feed raw foods or not. In other words, he is already “contaminated” with Salmonella.


To help your animal’s digestive system remain strong and resilient enough to handle a heavy bacterial load, and to support overall immune function, there are several things you can do. Minimize stress by feeding a species-appropriate, meat-based diet, the kind your dog or cat is meant to eat. Minimize the drugs your animal takes, such as antibiotics. Re-seed the gut during and after antibiotic therapy with a probiotic. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog or cat on a daily probiotic to balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria (gut flora). A good quality digestive enzyme will help your dog’s or cat’s body get the most out of his food.


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JOINT HEALTH By Frederico Latimer, DVM, MS, DACVS


is common in dogs. Causes include developmental orthopedic diseases (such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis). These negatively impact joint health early in life, especially in large breeds. Other causes include cranial cruciate ligament injury, joint fractures or dislocations, autoimmune disorders, infections, age and obesity. These diseases involve inflammation and loss of joint fluid, resulting in poor lubrication and cartilage nutrition. Adult cartilage has a limited healing capacity. When damaged, it is replaced by scar tissue that cannot withstand the wear and tear that healthy cartilage can easily accommodate. If left unchecked, this process becomes a cycle of joint damage with inflammation, further reducing cartilage nutrition and leading to even more damage and inflammation. Ways to keep joints healthy include maintaining a healthy weight and being active, reducing inflammation in injured or severely affected joints, and feeding proper nutrition to promote cartilage health. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance joint fluid quality, while chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine protect cartilage. These and boswellia, willow bark, and bromelain have anti-inflammatory effects for inflamed joints. Innovative therapies using platelet-rich plasma extracts and culture-expanded stem cells, combined with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also improve joint health and magnify and prolong beneficial clinical effects.

Dr Federico Latimer is a Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon. He earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University in 1984 and was in private practice in Puerto Rico until 1987. He has worked on the surgical faculties at the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Louisiana State University, and The Ohio State University.

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To the Rescue Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love Rescue –

Animal Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code AWA117 to Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love Rescue.

Location: Foster homes throughout North Carolina/upstate South Carolina Year established: 2009 Number of staff/volunteers/foster homes: 40 volunteers and foster homes Types of animal they work with: Great Danes and other dogs, especially those that may be passed up by other rescues due to special needs Fundraising initiatives: “Our biggest fundraising goal is to pay for medical care for the dogs,” says Cinnamon Ellison. “Being in the south, we get a lot of heartworm positive dogs, and we also take on special needs dogs that other rescues may pass up due to expense. Our foster homes provide all the food, toys, bedding and love. We pay 100% of all medical expenses. We have had hip replacements done as well as TPLO surgeries, gold bead implants for Wobbler’s, parvo treatments and bloat surgeries.” Favorite rescue story: “Ella and her pups were surrendered to a local shelter after she gave birth. The runt of the litter was very weak; the shelter thought she wouldn’t make it and asked if we just wanted to leave her. We said no way and brought her back with the rest of them. Ella developed severe mastitis and the pups had to be bottle fed. We split the pups up into individual foster homes. It took several months but with love, medical attention and lots of great care, all the pups survived and so did Ella. All were adopted out into great forever homes – even the little runt, Edwiena. She is now in a home with her own little child owner, and they adore each other!”



Ella before, and 14 days after, being rescued.

French Bulldog Rescue Network – Animal Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code AWA188 to French Bulldog Rescue Network.

Champ (top) and Minkie and Boston (bottom) are just a few of the French bulldogs that have been rescued and re-homed.


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Location: Foster homes throughout the US and Canada Year established: 2001 Number of staff/volunteers/foster homes: 890 volunteers and 575 foster homes Types of animal they work with: French bulldogs from commercial breeding kennels, import brokers, shelters, rescue groups, and owners who can no longer care for them, etc. Fundraising initiatives: “We attend dog festivals throughout the US and Canada to raise money with our ‘Frenchie Kissing Booths’,” says Letitia Wallace. “We partner with small businesses that host special fundraisers to donate a percentage of their sales to foster dogs in need; and larger companies that donate a percentage of their sales to us every month. We sell Frenchie merchandise featuring artwork designed exclusively for us ( We also host online fundraising events through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, such as our annual Pizza Pawty, seasonal auctions, and limited edition product sales.” Favorite rescue story: “Minkie suffers from spina bifida, microvascular dysplasia, and food allergies, and was slated for euthanasia. Through the efforts of a Good Samaritan, a loving foster family, and our generous supporters, little Miss Minkie has beaten all odds and is now a pint-sized warrior available for adoption [as of this writing]. Despite her disability, she can do ‘zoomies’ with the best of them, and even enjoys a good wrestle or game of tug with her foster sister. So long as there is a warm lap to curl up in when playtime is over, Minkie is a happy girl. If snuggling were an Olympic sport, she’d win the gold – and probably the silver and bronze to boot!”

Animal Wellness has supported rescue efforts for almost 15 years and is a proud partner of Best Friends Animal Society. This column honors the work of shelters and rescues across North America. For their full stories, visit

Giant Paw Prints –

Animal Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code AWA164 to Giant Paw Prints.

Location: Valparaiso, IN Year established: 2012 Number of staff/volunteers/foster homes: About 30 volunteers and six to ten foster homes Types of animal they work with: All breeds, especially gentle giants Fundraising initiatives: “Our fundraising goes towards vet bills and care of our dogs,” says Penny Emerson. “We do educational events as well. We did an animal wellness event in February to go along with dental health month. Gibby, our mascot great Pyrenees, has been certified as a therapy dog; we take him in to schools and speak to children about rescue, adoption, dog safety and care.” Favorite rescue story: “Mufasa roamed LaPorte County for seven or eight months before being caught by a child with a slip lead and taken to a shelter. Mufasa had food aggression and was scheduled to be euthanized; we picked him up the morning before. In our care, Mufasa was fed a raw diet. When he learned he would always have something to eat, he got over his food aggression. Mufasa now has a forever home. He can detect when his owner’s blood sugar drops and nudges her awake with his nose. He is a loving, caring boy who now has a job as a self-taught service dog!” Mufasa (top) now has a new home and job. Volunteers (bottom) at a fundraising event.

Duck Team 6 –

Animal Wellness will donate 40% of each subscription purchased using promo code AWA193 to Duck Team 6.

Duck Team 6 focuses on rescuing street dogs and helping animal guardians in low-income areas.

Location: Dallas, TX Year established: 2012 Number of staff/volunteers/foster homes: Over 130 volunteers and roughly 40 active foster homes Types of animal they work with: “We are mainly a street dog rescue but have been known to help other animals too,” says Mandi Schmitz. Fundraising initiatives: “Our fundraisers are continuous and always changing. We are featured on – $7 from the sale of each shirt on the website goes to Duck Team 6 when you pick our organization. We are also currently in the planning stages of our first ever gala, Canines and Cadillacs. Our goal is to raise enough funds to provide veterinary care, particularly sterilization surgeries, for as many dogs in low-income areas as possible. A long-term goal is to have a brick-and-mortar facility where we can temporarily house the dogs we rescue while they are being evaluated for medical and social issues, before they go into foster care.” Favorite rescue story: “Nadine was a stray dog who was wandering around in the woods near Dallas. She was found to have a microchip, and we traced her to a woman named Melanie Barnes in Kellar, which was 36 miles away from where we found the dog. Melanie told us that Nadine (her real name is Bella) jumped her fence and escaped two years before. Needless to say, Melanie and Bella were more than thrilled to be reunited after all that time.” animal wellness


tips for successful HOUSETRAINING By Sandra Murphy

It doesn’t matter whether you’re adopting a puppy or an untrained adult dog. As soon as you bring him home, one of the first things you need to do is teach him not to do his business on the floor. For many people, housetraining a dog or puppy can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are six suggestions to help ensure your pooch learns to go potty in the right place.


animal wellness

1. Pick a location

As with real estate, the first decision to make when housetraining a dog is location, location, location. Start by picking a particular spot in your yard (a place that’s easily accessible for both you and the dog, but away from human traffic). When taking him outside to do his business, use the same door to go in and out by. Eileen Proctor, dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert, says using the same door lets the dog know that he’s going on a potty break. Don’t send him outside by himself. Go with him and take him to the approved area. After all, you don’t want him going in your veggie garden or on your patio. Going for short walks along a familiar route will also encourage your pup to eliminate – just make sure you clean up any solid waste he leaves behind. “Short leash walks not only help with nice leash manners, but the dog will potty multiple times during a walk instead of just going once and returning to the house,” says dog trainer Amy Robinson.

2. Follow a routine

“Get a routine set in stone for the first few weeks,” says Kathryn Smith, who shares her life with several Scotties. “The best investment is a kitchen timer or alarm clock. Continued on page 46. animal wellness


Continued from page 45.


When you adopt a grown dog from a shelter or rescue, you won’t know if or how well he was trained as a puppy. For example, a stray or other dog that has spent most of his life outdoors may not know the first thing about appropriate elimination. “You won’t know if the dog has been trained to go on grass, concrete or newspapers – or if he was trained at all,” says Judy Weisbrot, who has rescue dogs of her own. “Never let an untrained dog have the run of the house. Keep him close to you by leashing him to your waist so you can watch for signs that he needs to go out.” “In my experience, rescues and older dogs want to please you so much it only takes one correction for them to get it,” adds rescuer Barbara Ranson. “When adopting a rescue, ask if there are cue words the dog knows, or any quirks he has about where he goes.”

In the morning, get out of bed, and do not stop at the bathroom, do not brush your teeth, do not turn on the coffee – take the dog out first!” Make sure the whole family knows the routine. “Use the same cue word each time the dog goes out,” says Eileen. “Everybody has to follow the same script or the dog will be confused and training will take longer.”

3. Praise – never punish “When he goes [in the right spot], praise him like he’s just won the Pulitzer Prize,” says Eileen. “Always reinforce appropriate behavior and ignore unwanted behavior.”

If your pooch has an accident in the house, never rub his nose in it. He won’t understand what he did wrong and may learn to hide his mistakes rather than ask to go outside. For all accidents, use a cleaner that will penetrate tiny cracks in wood flooring or go all the way to the carpet pad. Never use ammonia; urine and ammonia smell alike to a puppy and he’ll see it as a big red target that says, “Go here!” “For poop mistakes, one trick is to relocate the mistake, or as I call it, tamper with the evidence,” says Eileen. “Take it outside and put it in the designated area. It will clue the dog in to realize, ‘Oh yeah, I went here before’ so he’ll do it again – where he should.”

4. Monitor access to food and water INDOOR BATHROOM

For small dogs, apartment dwellers, and/or people with mobility issues, a cat’s litter box or pee pad can become an indoor bathroom. “Teach him to use the litter box or pad the same way you would train outside,” says Amy. “Position it where the dog can get to it quickly and easily, but away from his food and water. Take him there as soon as he wakes up in the morning, after a nap, when he’s done eating, has been playing, or 20 minutes after he’s had water to drink. “Change the pad every time the dog uses it,” Amy adds. “It’s like changing a diaper. It will teach him that clean is better.”


animal wellness

“Don’t free feed your dog or give him unlimited access to water,” adds Eileen. “Put your dog on a feeding routine. Regulate the time and quantity of food and water, and that regulates potty breaks. Take up the water bowl a couple of hours before bedtime.” During the housetraining process, a small quantity of water offered frequently is a better idea than a big bowlful. It will keep your dog from getting into the habit of 3am potty breaks.

5. Keep him close

During the housetraining process, keep your pup or dog close by, either with a short leash or by keeping him confined to one area. A crate can be handy for this, as long as he isn’t spending all his time in it. “Two weeks of crate time and leash walking helped housetrain Shadow,” says Cindy Bryan of her year-old rescue dog. “I also made a huge deal of praising him. He had a few accidents at first but now will go to the back door and squeak if he has to go.”


A handy checklist of tips for successful housetraining.

Decide where the dog will go. Follow a routine – take him out first thing after he wakes up, as well as after meals, play, and 20 minutes after water. Use the same cue word and make sure everyone in the family does the same.

6. Know the signs

What are the signs that your pup or dog needs to go out? “Look for a pause in play, a sit, sniffing or a thoughtful look,” says Amy. If he starts wandering distractedly around and sniffing the floor as if he’s looking for something, it’s time to take him out. “Housetraining a puppy takes the vigilance of a Navy Seal,” says Amy. “I liken it to potty training a naked toddler. One moment of inattention and the puppy has found a spot to take care of his business. Take comfort in the fact that puppies housetrain faster than toddlers potty train!” Housetraining is likely the first training experience you will have with your new pup. Make it as pleasant as possible so he’ll look forward to learning more things with you. Know that dogs are eager to please, and that once he’s learned his manners, the rewards of sharing your life with a dog really begin!

Reward desired behavior with praise or a small treat. Ignore unwanted behavior and redirect the dog’s attention to what you want. Never yell. When there’s an accident, don’t comment. Thoroughly clean to remove all odors. Keep him near you or confined until he’s got the hang of it. “WHEN HE GOES [IN THE RIGHT SPOT], PRAISE HIM LIKE HE’S JUST WON THE PULITZER PRIZE.” animal wellness


Manny’s mag ic makes him friends around the world

It’s clear

that Amber Chavez is smitten with her French bulldog, Manny. Little did she know that hundreds of thousands of others would come to feel the same way! As the world’s most followed Frenchie, Manny has friends all over the globe. So how did this precocious little guy – the runt of the litter – work his way into the hearts of so many? “I think what makes him special is how sweet and personable he is,” explains Amber. “We’ve never met a dog with such personality! He is so funny, all on his own, so we try to capture all his hilarious moments to share with the world.”


animal wellness

By Dana Cox

When Amber and her husband, Jon, brought Manny home to Chicago, they were so entertained by his antics they wanted to share them with friends and family. They started an Instagram page so anyone could check in to see what Manny was up to. It turned out he was up to a lot! While rambunctious much of the time, it was his sleeping habits that gained the French bulldog his notoriety. “He honestly likes to sleep in the sink,” laughs Amber. “He actually asks for help to get on the counter every time someone goes into the bathroom.”

Amber posted one of Manny’s sink photos and it landed on the “popular page” of Instagram. From there, Manny’s fame spread at record speed, and now his schedule is starting to reflect his popularity. “We were recently invited to do meet and greets for four of the Chicago Bulls biggest games this season,” says Amber. “Manny has a blast at those kinds of events because he loves to make new friends.” With fame comes responsibility, however, and Amber and Manny do what they can to “give back”. “Manny hosts quarterly dog parties or ‘pawties’ at a great facility – Paradise4Paws,” explains Amber. “We partner with different sponsors and a portion of the proceeds go to different charities.” Manny is also the canine face of American Apparel, a clothing company that contacted Amber about collaborating on a charity fundraiser. They used Manny’s mug on both human and dog clothes, which got a huge response from Manny’s fan base. With such a hectic schedule, Amber is very conscientious about keeping Manny in tiptop form. After all, she and Jon named him after the famous Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao.

Photos courtesy of Amber Chavez and Jon Huang

“Manny lives the good life,” says Amber. “He goes on lots of walks and loves to run. He also stays fit playing with our other two dogs, Leila, a half boxer/half bulldog rescue, and Frank, an eight-month-old blue French bulldog. They run around the house together all day! We feed Manny Evanger’s, which has done wonders for his weight, and I make them all homemade organic dog treats whenever possible. All three of the dogs also take daily supplements pertaining to their age.” Continued on page 50.

When he’s not sleeping in the sink, Manny love Leila and younge s to play with ol r “brother” Frank der “sister” , who now shar the Manny and e his celebrity sta Friends website. tus on animal wellness


Manny has his own clothing line, as well as a calendar. Soon to come – his very own line of bow tie collars.

Continued from page 49. When he’s not appearing at various charity events, Manny’s happy getting as close to his “parents” as possible. “He is so attached to us; you can usually find him next to Jon or I at all times.” Of course, there’s always time for another photo. “He’s such a ham,” laughs Amber. “I swear he poses. He just loves to have his picture taken; it’s adorable!” That’s good news for Manny’s many fans, who look forward to more entertaining shots for years to come. For more information about Manny and Friends, visit his website, or follow him on Instagram – manny_the_frenchie or manny_and_friends.


animal wellness

Manny re c partnere ently d with Evanger’ s food to b pet e official sp their okesdog . Amber (r ig believes ht) Evanger’ s helps kee p in fine form Manny .

See your favorite shelter featured in the internationally famous comic strip!

Readers the world over love following the antics of Earl and Mooch, the stars of the syndicated comic strip MUTTS. Featured in more than 700 newspapers in 20 different countries, MUTTS is the creation of Patrick McDonnell, who started the strip in 1994 as a way of combining his love for animals with his passion for this art form. MUTTS has garnered the author many awards, including the Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year, and several for his environmentalism and animal advocacy.

and his wife Karen share their home with Amelia, a rescued Jack Russell terrier and a formerly feral cat called Not Ootie.

McDonnell is a member of the board of directors for the Humane Society of the United States as well as being involved in the Fund for Animals. He is a strong supporter of pet adoption – he

For more on MUTTS, check out our full interview with Patrick McDonnell at

McDonnell’s last dog, Earl, inspired the antics of the character by the same name in his comic strip. Mooch is an embellished version of all the cats McDonnell has known throughout the years. Readers can check out all the nutty escapades of Mooch and friends in McDonnell’s new book, Cat Crazy.

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Ballantrae Animal Hospital Margaret Hacking, DVM Stouffville, ON Canada Phone: (905) 640-6809 Website: Beechmount Animal Hospital Waterloo, ON Canada Phone: (519) 888-6590 Website:


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Individualized, Integrative Veterinary Care • Acupuncture • Chiropractic •Conventional Medicine •Therapeutic Nutrition •Traditional Chinese Medicine Guelph, Ontario, Canada (519)836-2782 Harwood Oaks Animal Clinic Bedford, TX USA Phone: 817-354-7676 Website: Hawks Prairie Veterinary Hospital Lacey, WA USA Phone: (360) 459-6556 Email: Website: Holistic Animal Care Stephanie Chalmers, DVM, CVH Santa Rosa, CA USA Phone: (707) 538-4643 Home Vet Weston , CT USA Phone: (203) 222-7979 Website:

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Gail Jewell, DVM Kelowna, BC Canada Phone: (888) 622-8300 Website:

Family Veterinary Center Haydenville, MA USA Phone: (413) 268-8387 Website:

Horizon Veterinary Services Susan Maier, DVM Simpsonville, KY USA Phone: (502) 722-8231 Email: Website: Integrated Veterinary Clinic Sacramento, CA USA Phone: 916-454-1825 Lisa Burgess Burgess Veterinary Mobile Services Dundas, ON Canada Phone: (905) 379-3824 Email: Website: Dr. Shawn Messonnier Paws and Claws Vet Clinic Plano, TX USA Phone: (972) 712-0893 Email: Website:

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Steven Marsden, DVM Edmonton Holistic Veterinary Clinic Edmonton, AB Canada Phone: 780-436-4944


Mark Newkirk, VMD Newkirk Family Veterinarians gg Harbor Township, NJ USA Phone: (609) 645-2120 Email: Website:



California Coastal Horse Rescue Ojai, CA USA Phone: (805) 649-1090 Website:

SCHOOLS & WELLNESS EDUCATION PetMassage, Ltd. Toledo, OH USA Toll Free: (800) 779-1001 Phone: (419) 475-3539 Email: Website:


Columbia-Willamette Beagle Rescue Portland, OR USA Phone: (503) 243-4619 Golden Retriever Club of Greater LA Rescue Los Angeles, CA USA Phone: (818) 700-5200 Email: Website: Grey2K USA Somerville, MA USA Toll Free: (866) 2-GREY2K Phone: (617) 666-3526 Email: Website: Greyhound Rescue & Rehabilitation Cross River, NY USA Phone: (914) 763-2221 Email:

DERMagic Skin Care for Animals, Inc. Kingston, WA USA Phone: (425) 637-4643 Email: Website:

New England Brittany Rescue Perkasie, PA USA Phone: (781) 275-0630 Website:

Dog Gone Dirt All Natural Dog & Horse Skin Care Products Crescent City, FL USA Phone: (386) 559-3454 Email: Website:


Boston Terrier Club of America PA USA Phone: (724) 883-4732 Email:

Treetops Rocklyn Limited Alliston, ON Canada Toll Free: (866) 919-8733 Phone: (705) 735-6174 Email: Website: Well Animal Institute Brighton, CO USA Phone: (303) 514-0076 Email: Website:

Pets & People Homefinders Culver City, CA USA Phone: (310) 398-6683 Email: Website: Golden Retriever Club of Greater LA Rescue Los Angeles, CA USA Phone: (818) 700-5200 Email: Website:

SHELTERS & RESCUES Alaskan Malamute Mt. Gilead, OH USA Phone: (419) 512-2423 Email: Animal Avengers Los Angeles, CA USA Phone: (323) 655-4220 Email: Website:

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animal wellness

feline WELLNESS Hip, cool and healthy!


and your feline Manage hers by managing your own



Should you be worried?

Dennis the


– a tiny kitten with a BIG attitude



kitty harness animal wellness


stressing Are you

her out?

feelings can have a

STRESS is a fact of life for most of us. But did you know that your

negative IMPACT on your cat? By Ingrid King

What in the world could possibly stress out a cat? They have their every need met by their faithful human servants, and are blessed with the freedom to do whatever they want with their days, whether it’s sleeping on the sofa, sunbathing in a windowsill, or playing with their favorite toys. To us, with our hectic schedules, deadlines and worries, it may seem an enviable life. But the fact is, a lot of things can stress your feline companion and even make him ill. For example, most cats like their familiar routines, so anything out of the ordinary, whether it’s another new cat, a move, home remodeling, or even a change in the position of household furnishings, can cause them to feel stressed. In addition to changes in the environment, your cat can also be negatively affected by your own stress. Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states. Felines are sensitive creatures, and they can easily take on their humans’ problems. Because of the bond shared between cats and their families, energetic imbalances may also be shared, and illness can result.

Connected by more than


• A study conducted at The Ohio State University demonstrated the connection between external stress and illness in cats. The study looked at 32 cats over a period of 77 days. Twelve were healthy and 20 had feline interstitial cystitis. During the study, researchers created a consistent environment for the cats. The cats were housed in large enclosures that


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offered an enriched environment consisting of elevated resting boards, cardboard hiding boxes, bedding and toys. They had daily playtime outside their enclosures, both with other cats and their human caretakers, and were treated to classical music in the mornings and afternoons. When the cats experienced what were called “unusual external events”, however, such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats in the study were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors such as vomiting or eliminating outside the litter box as were the chronically ill cats. Both groups responded to unusual events with the same number of sickness behaviors, and both also had more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted. The researchers also found they had to manage their own stress levels when they were around the cats. “I had to be careful if I was having a bad day so it didn’t rub off on the cats,” says Judi Stella, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher at Purdue University who participated in the study. • Holistic veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney has seen this same phenomenon in some of his clients and their cats. “Cats will sometimes show signs of illness after there’s been a loss of another animal or human family member in the household,” he says. “Idiopathic FLUTD [feline lower urinary tract disease with unknown physical causes] is a prime example. Frequently, the cat is stressed, and the owner is stressed.” Dr. Mahaney

has found that these clients, while often not aware of the connection between their stress and their cats’, are receptive to feedback and understand that helping their kitties recover involves managing their own stress. • Veterinarian Dr. Jenny Beard has seen the same thing in cats with interstitial cystitis living with guardians who are going through stressful times. “The same neurotransmitters involved in stress responses in the brain can affect the nerves to other organs,” she says. “In these cases, cats’ bladders become inflamed and painful.” Dr. Beard believes that cats will also pick up on their guardians’ distress over an existing illness in their felines. She frequently sees this in chronically or terminally ill cats. Dr. Beard will talk to these cat parents about how important it is to spend time simply “being” with their cats, enjoying their company, and letting the worry go. She has had personal experience with this. “I feel strongly that managing my stress and worry during Squishycat’s last two years of living with cancer, and just allowing us to ‘be’ together, helped boost her immune system and remain healthy much longer than her prognosis predicted,” she says. Stress is a fact of life, and can’t always be avoided. But there is a lot you can do to make life less stressful for your feline charges, and for yourself (see sidebar). Not only will it improve your own well being and state of mind, but it’ll help your cat feel better as well. It’s a win-win situation!


Manage her stress – and your own To start with, look at any environmental changes that might be stressing your cat, and do what you can to remove or minimize them. When making any changes or introducing something new to the household, do it as gradually as you can. Provide plenty of toys, and spend daily time playing with your cat – this is a great stress reliever for both of you, and can also help your cat cope if he’s grieving a loss. If you need to travel, consider having a friend, family member or pet sitter come to your home to care for your cat rather than subjecting her to the stress of boarding.


Managing your cat’s stress may not be enough if you don’t bring your own stress under control. Look at what’s causing your own stress, and see if you can do something to reduce or at least make it more tolerable. Practice stress management techniques such as getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods, making time for yourself, starting a meditation practice, doing deep breathing exercises, etc. animal wellness



nyone who lives where ticks are found is familiar with the dangers of Lyme disease to humans. But we don’t hear as much about it in connection with cats. The fact is, though you may wonder and worry about your cat contracting Lyme disease, it appears felines are less vulnerable to the infection than we are. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is found in infected blacklegged deer ticks in both the US and Canada. In the US alone, the number of human Lyme disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is around 30,000 each year. In humans, if the infection is not caught early enough and treated with antibiotics, the disease can become debilitating. But Lyme disease doesn’t manifest so severely in cats, says veterinarian Dr. Meryl Littman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia. “Cats don’t usually get sick with Lyme disease even when they are exposed to the organism,” she says.

WHY WOULD CATS BE LESS PRONE TO LYME? Ticks infected with Lyme disease transmit the illness by biting. The infection enters the body through the blood, which the ticks feed on. It takes two to four days for a tick to transmit Lyme disease into a cat, says Dr. Littman, but since cats are fastidious groomers, it is likely they remove the ticks before the infection can get into their bodies. Dr. Littman adds that it also possible cats may be naturally resistant to getting ill from Lyme, in the same way they are resistant to getting sick from leptospirosis, a disease caused by a bacteria from the same class that causes Lyme.


CATS get



By Stephanie Bouchard


They’re less vulnerable to infection than we are, but it’s still important to take precautions.


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But just because cats usually don’t get sick from Lyme disease, that doesn’t mean they don’t get exposed to it. Some cats found with ticks, and who have symptoms such as fever and lethargy, have been found to test positive for Lyme. However, testing positive only proves exposure, says Dr. Littman. It doesn’t prove that any signs of illness are due to Lyme. (No specific Lyme disease test is available for cats.) Even treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline doesn’t prove the cause of illness to be Lyme, Dr. Littman notes, since doxycycline treats many other kinds of infection and has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties that may help an ill cat feel better, whether she has Lyme or not.

However, not everyone agrees that cats aren’t susceptible to Lyme. Veterinarian Dr. Cathy Alinovi, owner of Healthy PAWsibilities, an integrative veterinary clinic in northwestern Indiana, is not convinced that cats are unaffected by the disease. “Cats just don’t show clinical signs as obviously as dogs, so they are dismissed as being Lyme patients, in my opinion,” she says.

PROTECTION IS IMPORTANT While cats may not be in as much danger from Lyme disease as humans are, it is still important to make sure they are protected against ticks, says veterinarian Dr. Lisa Feinstein of Plantation Animal Hospital in South Florida. Ticks carry other diseases that can make cats very sick, such as cytauxzoonosis, also known as bobcat fever, which is frequently fatal. •L  imit your cat’s exposure to ticks by keeping him indoors and away from long grass or wooded areas, where the parasites are most often to be found. •T  opical tick prevention can be achieved with natural products. Veterinarian Dr. Cindy Kneebone of the East York Animal Clinic Holistic Centre in Toronto, says she soaks collars with an herbal formula that includes vodka, lavender and rose geranium. The collar is placed on the cat after the mixture has dried, and effectively repels ticks. •T  he best way to prevent your cat from getting Lyme disease is through diet, says Dr. Alinovi. “Great food is my number one treatment to boost the immune system in any of my patients,” she says. “Food is the primary input to everything – from the nervous system to the immune system. So if we can feed the highest quality foods, our cats will have the best immune systems possible.”  r. Alinovi recommends feeding cats a primarily meat diet (raw, D cooked or canned) made from the highest quality ingredients. For cats hooked on dry foods, she suggests looking for products that list whole meat as one of the first ingredients. • For cats that have been exposed to Lyme, Dr. Alinovi uses a combination of antibacterial and anti-parasitic herbs. For antiparasitic herbs, she recommends artemisia, pumpkin seeds and stinging nettle. Antibacterial herbs include neem, noni, coptis and goldenseal.

CATS DON’T USUALLY GET SICK WITH LYME DISEASE EVEN WHEN THEY ARE EXPOSED TO THE ORGANISM.” Dr. Alinovi cautions that this treatment is not as easy as it sounds, because cats are not always cooperative medicine-takers, and because the herbs required are not available in the smaller doses cats need. “One human size capsule is six to eight doses for a cat,” she cautions. Dr. Alinovi usually opens a capsule, mixes the contents with water or chicken broth, then syringes the appropriate dose into her feline patient’s mouths. While Lyme disease isn’t a major issue for most cats, it’s nevertheless a good idea to know something about it, and more importantly, how to protect your kitty from tick exposure and potential infection. feline wellness


By Mary Ellen “Angelscribe”

Soft, stylish and safe, it’s the cat’s meow.

Now that spring’s here, your kitty may want to go outside to enjoy the sunshine and feel the new grass under his paws. One way to safely allow him to explore the great outdoors is by putting a harness and leash on him and taking him for strolls. You can buy harnesses designed to fit cats, but if you’re feeling creative, you can also make one. The lightweight harnesses I sew for our Persians resemble a vest. They support the cats’ chests and don’t put any pressure on their necks. They fit well and curve comfortably to fit their bodies.

What you’l need

Fabric in your choice of color or pattern* 1” D-ring for leash attachment ¾”x4” strip of Velcro for neck fastening 1½”x 5” strip of Velcro for waist fastening ¼”or ½” double-sided bias tape for edge finishing 1” strapping for the back of the harness *Be sure to choose a breathable, lightweight fabric that’s not too heavy or hot, but that also isn’t slippery or stretchy. You want something that will hold its shape and that your cat won’t be able to slide out of. Canvas works well because it holds the D-ring securely in place; as well, the ring won’t pull or distort canvas the way it could with stretchier fabrics. Color choices are up to you, but I use bright neon hues for extra safety.


 Measure around your cat’s neck and midsection, making sure not to go either too tight or too loose – you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between the measuring tape and the cat’s body.


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 Design and create a sample pattern that fits your cat; use an old T-shirt from your “rag bag” to get the right size before making the actual harness. You can find patterns on the Internet or in pattern books to use as a model, or see the photo shown here for what the harness will look like after it’s cut out. Extend the “H” arms at a gentle angle so they will wrap around the cat and overlap. Some overlap allows room for the Velcro fastenings – the advantage of using Velcro is that as your cats loses his winter coat, you can adjust the fastening for an exact safe fit that he cannot wriggle out of. Once you have a properlysized template of your harness, cut it out onto your chosen fabric.  When sewing the harness, use a needle specifically for thicker fabrics. Adjust your sewing machine to a medium to large zigzag stitch for stronger holding properties. Note: when sewing in the “D” ring and Velcro, remember to overdo the stitching to secure them place. You do not want anything pulling or unraveling.  Sew a piece of 1” strapping down the center of the harness back. Stop halfway and slip the “D” ring over the strap and sew in place securely before stitching the rest of the strap down. You don’t want the ring to pull out if the cat strains on his leash.  Sew the doubled sided bias tape around the edges of the entire harness. This strengthens it by preventing it from fraying. Continued on page 62.

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Continued from page 60.

 On the left “arms” of the harness straps at the neck and waist, sew the hooked Velcro strips (¾”x4” strip for the neck, 1½”x5” for the midriff).  Flip the harness over and sew the looped Velcro strips to the straps that are Velcro-free.  If you wish, embellish the harness. Place bows, buttons, lace or rhinestones down the center strap. The next step is to get your cat accustomed to wearing it (see sidebar below). We have tried many other types of harness, but our cats love these.


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friend ?

It’s never easy to decide which cat to adopt when visiting a shelter. What’s the best way to make the right choice for you, your family and lifestyle? It would help if you knew something about the personality and habits of the kitty you’re looking at.

Ontario SPCA’s Meet Your Match™ program, originally developed by the ASPCA, can help. It evaluates an animal’s behavior and interests, and matches them to an adopter’s preferences.


game ON!

When choosing their pieces for a game of Monopoly, it’s unlikely anyone has ever fought over who got the flat iron. Last year, Hasbro replaced the outmoded iron with a cat – and the little feline figurine has subsequently become the most popular Monopoly token. According to The New York Times, in fact, the cat is coveted even more than the Scottie dog, car or battleship! Perhaps it’s not surprising, considering there are currently more than 85 million cats in American households.

With Feline-ality™, each adoptable cat is assessed based on level of interest in play, exploring, “talking,” and being the center of attention, so that he or she can be placed into one of the nine color-coded types that make up program. Visit to find your perfect kitty.

A CARDBOARD BOX with a few holes cut in it makes a GREAT CAT TOY. HIGH


Five shelters have been chosen as participants in Alley Cat Allies’ grant program, Future Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives. The program is designed to encourage animal shelters to move away from killing feral cats, and help them incorporate and expand humane programs for these felines, including Trap-Neuter-Return for cats that live outdoors and are not socialized. The Future Five program has recognized shelters from across the United States that have committed to implementing humane approaches for feral cats. Each of the shelters received an award of $5,000 and expert guidance and resources from Alley Cat Allies: The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association, Charleston, WV Johnson County Animal Shelter, Franklin, IN Lee County Domestic Animal Services, Fort Myers, FL Bay Minette City Shelter, Bay Minette, AL Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, Modesto, CA For more information, visit feline wellness




Dennis By Saralee Perel

How a tiny kitten with a HUGE attitude won our hearts. Recently, my husband Bob and I were at the Animal Rescue League, when a gal put a two-pound kitten in my arms. We instantly fell in love with him, named him Dennis, and took him home with us. “He’s so snuggly and quiet,” Bob said.

vocal rendition of fireworks – and I mean the grand finale, when each rapid-fire explosion can be felt throughout our whole bodies and we begin to wonder if our insurance companies cover permanent hearing damage. Each lion-sized roar was accompanied by Dennis banging the metal door of the crate, adding the effect of detonating bombs to the cacophony. So much for the crate.

What a joke. Little did we realize we were in for a big surprise. Once in our bedroom, we let Dennis out of his carrier. I held out my arms so he’d nestle in them – but instead, he zoomed past me and flew up every curtain, bookshelf and tall lamp he could find. After his first round, he did it again…and again, at breakneck speeds even a NASCAR driver couldn’t match.

This kitten is no bigger than a sweet potato. But despite his antics, I have to tell you something – he’s even sweeter than one. One morning not long ago, when I opened my eyes, I watched my husband holding Dennis in his arms. Bob didn’t know I could hear him softly singing:

What is it with animals who put on a demure “please take me home” act at the shelter, then turn into raucous, whirring flying saucers once in their new homes? Bob can’t even catch Dennis and he has won first place trophies in sprint competitions.

I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom. I’ll love you till the clover has lost its perfume. I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme. Until the twelfth of never, and that’s a long, long time.

We soon learned that Dennis has also clearly been trained in electrical engineering. He shuts down computers with one paw. He turns on printers. He sends faxes.

And then I heard him whisper: “Welcome home, Dennis.”

And do you know what this ball of lightening darts to and then grabs with his sharp teeth if we’re in bed and I’m not wearing a top? Well, let me just say I’m sporting two Band-Aids. Dennis is…well, a menace! On the day before what we now call “D-Day”, we emptied our bank account buying every kind of cat toy we could find. But Dennis nixed the toys and spent hours jumping in and out of the paper bag they came in. On “D-Day”, an exhausted Bob finally corralled the kitten into a huge luxurious crate, at which point Dennis let out a nonstop


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THE SCOOP CLEAN TEETH WITHOUT ANESTHESIA Avoiding dental care because you don’t want him put under? Animal Dental Care offers anesthesiafree dental cleaning provided through licensed veterinarians. Includes oral exam, calculus removal, polishing, irrigation and diagnostic charting of teeth and gums.

BE A SERVICE DOG TRAINER At Bergin University of Canine Studies in Sonoma County, California, students can earn degrees in service dog training at undergraduate and graduate levels. The university recently partnered with to live stream training sessions.

TRIPE – IT’S GOOD FOR HIM! Dr. Harvey’s Oracle Freeze-Dried Complete Raw Food is now available in Tripe. This “just add water” formula uses tripe as its main protein source and first ingredient. Tripe is considered a superfood for dogs and is good for allergies and digestive issues.

FIRST AID APP The American Red Cross recently launched a Pet First Aid App for iPhone and Android Smartphones. Offers step-by-step instructions, videos and images for over 25 common first aid and emergency situations. Learn to treat wounds, control bleeding, and much more.

WELLNESS WEBINARS Expand your knowledge of dogs with quality, up-to-date, online learning opportunities. E-training For Dogs has been offering webinars in animal care and behavior since 2005, with courses in nutrition, fitness, tissue mineral analysis and more.

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ODOR ITS SCIENCE AND ELIMINATION By John Davidson If you have an animal companion, odors of one kind or another will become an issue at some point. It’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. The question is, what’s the best way to eliminate these odors? First, it’s important to understand what odor is and where it comes from. It seems simple, but the science of odor is actually very complex. Once you understand something about this science, it becomes clear why so many so-called odor eliminators fail to live up to their names. Bacterial-based odors are the most prevalent in our environment and can be the most difficult and frustrating to eliminate. What your nose identifies as the odor is actually a very small gas molecule. It’s the natural by-product of bacteria eating and digesting a food source such as biological refuse (urine, feces, vomit or spoiled food). So scientifically speaking, there are three components to odor: refuse, bacteria eating the refuse, and what you smell as odor, the bacteria’s waste gas. These bacterial-based odors should not be confused with fungi odor (mold and mildew). So now that you know what causes odor, and its components thereof, what can you do to eliminate it? Cleaning up the mess might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s impossible to

remove every tiny trace of urine, feces, etc. using conventional methods. Think about dried cat urine, for example – no matter how much you scrub, the smell still seems to linger. You could use air fresheners, candles or aerosols, but this kind of treatment either masks the odor with fragrances and perfumes, or attacks the waste gas molecule. Unfortunately, this only temporarily eliminates the gas produced by the bacteria. As the bacteria continue eating the traces of refuse still present, the odor will return rather quickly. You could use bleach or a similar product, which attempts to kill the bacteria. This should theoretically eliminate the source of the odor, but unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all bacteria from the environment. When traces of refuse are still present, more bacteria will find it, happily eat it, and produce more waste gas. Consequently, before long, you will again smell the odor.

SCOE 10X is an odor elimination product that literally digests and removes the food source for odor-causing bacteria, all the while being completely non-toxic, unlike bleach or air fresheners. Removing the bacteria’s food source not only gets rid of the odor, but also eliminates the possibility of the odor returning.

John Davidson is President/CEO of BioFog, Inc. He developed SCOE 10X in 2006 after being unable to find an odor eliminator product that permanently got rid of odors. To learn more, watch his two-minute video “It Works or It’s Free” on the SCOE 10X video channel on YouTube.


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animal wellness


FIGHT Keep your dog itch-free by taking a well-rounded holistic approach to flea and tick control.


ave you ever heard the term “integrated pest management” management”? It sounds rather dry and intimidating, but it’s actually a holistic strategy for dealing with the threat of insects and diseases in plants. It operates on the tenet that healthy plants are rarely targeted by pests, and takes into account the entire well-being of the plant and everything it needs for optimal growth – soil, water, light and nutrition. Any controls required are applied with minimal impact to the environment. Of course, dogs aren’t plants. But when it comes to flea and tick control, we can draw inspiration from the integrated pest management concept. By taking a fully-rounded holistic approach that goes far beyond what is offered by conventional flea prevention medications, you can not only help keep pest populations down, but also ensure your dog is so healthy he won’t suffer from the few bites he might get.


As with plants (or any other living being, for that matter), healthy dogs are far less prone to being attacked by insect pests. Fleas and ticks are much more likely to go after animals that are sick. By keeping your dog in top notch condition, you can help make him less attractive to parasites.

By Sheryl Normandeau A fresh, clean source of water is also extremely important. Use pure, filtered water, and change it frequently so it stays fresh. Ensure all food and water dishes are cleaned regularly. A case may be made for using metal bowls, since they aren’t porous and are therefore less likely to trap bacteria. Use phosphate-free soap. It is essential to give your dog regular exercise and playtime. Physical and mental stimulation are beneficial to health. Schedule time with your dog as you would with a child, and make it fun and meaningful. Ensure toys are washed regularly in hot, soapy water. Regular grooming not only contributes to your dog’s overall health; it’s also a good way to check for signs of fleas or ticks. A clean, healthy coat and skin are also less likely to harbor these parasites. Clean grooming tools between uses. Avoid the use of chemicals in your home and yard. Rethink everything from toilet bowl cleaners and ant traps to air fresheners and hairspray. Toxins are everywhere and dogs can easily collect harmful residues on their coats and paws, and then ingest them when self-cleaning. Toxins can severely impact the immune system and contribute to disease. As always, avoid over-vaccination.

A varied, high quality diet rich in vitamins and minerals and free of fillers, by-products and additives is crucial. Supplements of “super greens” such as fresh wheatgrass or barley grass are good, as are blue-green algae such as spirulina and chlorella. Fresh veggies contain beneficial enzymes and vitamins, as well as chlorophyll, an excellent antioxidant. When feeding fruit and vegetables to your dog, ensure they’re thoroughly washed to eliminate pesticide residue. Some holistic veterinarians recommend the use of garlic and brewer’s yeast to help repel fleas. Dogs also require Omega-3 fatty acids. These have anti-inflammatory properties that help combat allergies. Use a high quality fish oil.


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PREVENTION – HOUSE AND YARD MAINTENANCE Indoors: Flea larvae are minuscule and can live in cracks in the floor, or in the fibers of rugs, blankets or upholstery. • Regularly wash all soft fabric surfaces in hot water and phosphate-free soap, and if possible, put them in the drier on a hot setting. • Frequently steam-clean rugs, but be careful not to use harsh cleaning products. Vacuum carpets daily and immediately dispose of the collected debris in the bag or canister. Don’t miss the dark spaces beneath couches and beds, where flea larvae like to hide.

• If at all possible, wall-to-wall carpeting should be replaced with hard flooring, which can be swept on a daily basis. Many flooring types can be cleaned and disinfected with a solution of warm water and vinegar. Outdoors: Fleas and ticks aren’t the only pests to be found outdoors. Mosquitoes and other flying, biting or stinging insects may also cause your dog trouble. • Fleas and ticks love tall grass, so keep your lawn mowed and free of leaf litter. • Beneficial nematodes can help get rid of fleas in your yard. • Practice integrated pest management on your garden: keep grass and plants healthy to discourage harmful insects. • Eliminate sources of standing water to deter mosquitoes. • Try attracting insect-eating birds and bats to your yard by creating safe habitations. • Ants are voracious eaters of flea larvae and shouldn’t be disturbed outside. If you have problems with them in house, do not use toxic traps and sprays that could harm your dog. Research more natural alternatives. For example, ants hate fresh sliced cucumbers and will move away in a hurry. • Make sure the house is well sealed, with caulking in window and door frames and other entry points. While it’s true you can’t completely eradicate fleas and ticks, you can go a long way to protecting your dog with this far-reaching holistic approach. Keep him healthy, strong and what you can to make your home and yard unfriendly to fleas, ticks and other pests...and avoid using toxic chemicals to combat them if they do arise.

WHAT TO DO IF PESTS ATTACK Despite strict adherence to clean and healthy practices, pest outbreaks may still occur. Fleas, of course, are the worst offenders. Repellents and dog shampoos containing essential oils and herbs such as tea tree, rosemary, lavender, fennel, neem and rose geranium have proven effective against fleas and ticks. Manually removing fleas using a flea comb is highly effective, if time-consuming and laborious. Carefully comb your dog’s hair backwards, stopping frequently to check the tines for fleas, and clean the comb in a tub of hot soapy water. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled indoors and out instead of toxic flea powders or sprays.

Beyond the label Trim your cat’s waistline! BY MICHELE DIXON

Did you know that more than 50% of cats are overweight? Being obese or overweight can have some serious health consequences for your kitty, such as diabetes, reduced activity levels, struvite crystals, poor grooming habits, depression, and even a decreased lifespan. A cat that’s at a healthy weight will have a visible waist behind her ribs. You should be able to feel her ribs, but not see them, and she should have a minimal “paunch” in her belly area. If you are trying to help your kitty trim her waistline, it is recommended that you feed her a diet that’s higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, for a couple of important reasons:. 1. Protein provides your cat with the same number of

calories as a gram of carbohydrates. The difference is that digesting protein requires significantly more of your cat’s energy than digesting carbohydrates. 2. Feeding your cat a diet that is higher in protein helps

make her feel fuller longer, so you’ll need less willpower to resist those sweet eyes begging for treats! When choosing a higher protein food for your cat, look for a product that provides approximately 35% to 45% of its energy from protein. This has been shown to yield a greater overall loss of body weight per week, as compared to cats eating a higher carbohydrate and lower protein diet.

Michele Dixon is the Health and Nutrition Specialist with Petcurean Pet Nutrition (


animal wellness






How is it impacting our animals? By W. Jean Dodds, DVM, and Adam J. Lassin, DVM

It’s getting a lot of media attention these days. From news articles to health websites, the issue of antibiotic resistance is causing a lot of concern, and rightly so. We mostly hear about it in connection to human medicine, but the fact is, our companion animals are also facing problems with antimicrobial resistance.


WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? Antibiotics and similar antimicrobial agents have been used successfully for decades to treat human and animal patients for infectious diseases. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the organisms they are designed to inhibit or kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. In short, in both human and veterinary medicine, the major cause of emerging resistant bacteria is the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. Other practices contributing towards resistance include antibiotic use in livestock feed (more on this later). Household use of antibacterials in soaps and other products is also a culprit. Infectious organisms that develop resistant strains can be classified as bacteria (e.g. methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and pseudointermedius (MRSP)), viruses like canine influenza, fungi and parasites. Resistant infections most often afflict animals with weakened immune systems, and those with chronic debilitating diseases, cancer, or malnutrition. Resistant infections can also arise due to


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chronic (long term) use, inappropriate dosing or inappropriate selection of antibiotics. Those infected with antimicrobial-resistant organisms are more likely to require longer and more costly therapy, and may even die as a result of the infection.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF “SUPERBUGS” Antimicrobial resistance to one or more drugs is being seen in a growing number of disease-causing organisms (pathogens). Pathogens resistant to multiple antibiotics are considered multi-drug resistant (MDR) or “superbugs”. Exposure to an antibiotic naturally selects for the survival of those microbial organisms that have developed the genes for resistance. This occurs by spontaneous or induced genetic mutation, or by horizontal gene transfer from other bacterial species. Thus, a gene for antibiotic resistance may readily spread through an ecosystem of bacteria.

GREATER NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS As resistance towards antibiotics becomes more common, so does the need for new antibiotics. However, there has been a continuing decline in the number of newly approved drugs. Since 2008, only two new antibacterial drugs have been approved for human use. The cost of development, strict FDA

testing guidelines, and profit margins are all reasons companies are abandoning the search for new medications. Antibiotic resistance therefore poses a significant clinical threat – and that means there’s a greater need for alternative treatments.

A HEALTHY DIET IS PARAMOUNT Eating a healthy diet equates to being healthier. This philosophy is no different for our four-legged friends. Providing a highquality balanced diet is the most important preventative tool. The use of appropriate supplements is also key when treating animals with underlying diseases. Continued on page 72.


When people are feeling sick, they go to the doctor and assume they will walk out with a prescription for an antibiotic to help treat their ailment, even if it’s caused by a virus. Will the antibiotic treat the primary viral cause? Not at all. The immune system will help fight off the virus, so why the antibiotic? It’s most likely a combination of consumer-driven medicine and a lack of diagnostics. Veterinarians face similar problems. For example, Fluffy is presented to a veterinarian for the first time, with a skin infection. Before prescribing an antibiotic, the veterinarian should figure out the primary cause of the infection, whether it be trauma, immunemediated disease, environmental allergy, food intolerance, cancer, or a viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection.

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Continued from page 71. When choosing a diet for your animal, keep in mind that antibiotic drugs are also used in animals intended for consumption, such as cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and fish. The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that inappropriate use of antibiotics in animal husbandry is an underlying contributor to the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance in animals, and that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feeds should be prohibited. However, the regulation of antibiotic use in food animals has been limited to reducing drug residues in meat, egg and milk products, rather than addressing concerns over the development of antibiotic resistance. On April 11, 2012, the FDA announced a voluntary program to phase out unsupervised use of drugs as feed additives, and convert approved over-the-counter uses for antibiotics to prescription use only, requiring veterinarian supervision. In December of last year, the FDA announced the commencement of steps to phase out the use of antibiotics for promoting livestock growth. In the meantime, look for a pet food made from meats that are as cleanly raised as possible. Some premium pet food companies now offer products made from antibiotic-free meats.

SUPPLEMENTS FOR STRONG IMMUNITY Many supplements and alternative therapies can help promote a healthy immune system, treat resistant infections and prevent disease.

• Manuka honey has shown great promise in treating antibioticresistant infections, including MRSA and MRSP. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the main antibacterial components of all honey, and some honey also contains methylglyoxal (MG). Manuka honey has very high levels of MG – it’s labeled as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). Manuka honey is used by placing a thin layer over the area of concern; this should be done under the supervision of a veterinarian.

• Green or black tea poultice works amazingly well for small areas of localized skin irritation, crustiness or infection. Before using antibiotics, select either green or black tea, depending upon the animal’s coat color. Make the tea, let it cool, use a wet nondripping tea bag as a poultice for


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t he affected area, and leave on for five to seven minutes. The tannins and polyphenols in tea are antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

• Murphy’s Oil soap is a very effective, simple vegetable oil cleaner from the grocery store. It helps soothe and remove the itchiness from dry flaky skin and can prevent the problem from progressing to a secondary skin infection. Wet the affected area, apply a thin strip of undiluted Murphy’s Oil, gently massage into the skin with your fingers as it lathers, leave on for five to ten minutes and gently rinse off. Repeat as often as needed to soothe skin and relieve scratching.

• Polyunsaturated fatty acids (ALA, EPA, DHA) come from many fish and plant oils including wild salmon, sardines, herring, cod, trout, green-lipped mussel, anchovies, krill, algae extract, flaxseed, hemp, olive, canola and soybean. These are used for their anti-inflammatory, immuneboosting and anti-cancer properties.

• Probiotics include various strains of Enterococcus, Bacillus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. These bacteria help support natural gut flora, leading to a healthy intestinal tract. This in turn will increase absorption of key minerals and vitamins. Probiotics have been shown to enhance the immune system, decrease cancer-stimulating enzymes and clinical signs secondary to allergies, resolve chronic UTI, and help with chronic intestinal issues. •M  ultivitamins and immune-boosting supplements include sterolins and sterols from fruits and vegetables (e.g. ModuCare by Thorne Veterinary) and Chinese herbal therapy, a safe alternative treatment that has been shown to boost the immune system and decrease allergic responses. Antibiotic resistance is a serious and worrying problem, but you can do a lot to protect your companion by keeping his immune system strong and avoiding the overuse of antibiotics if and when he does get sick. EDITOR’S NOTE


Another way to boost your dog’s immune system and treat infection is with oil of oregano. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that strengthen immunity and help prevent and treat bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. Scientists at the University of the West of England in Bristol demonstrated that oil of oregano can even defend against tough bacteria like MRSA – their research found it was better at eliminating microbes than many pharmaceutical drugs. Companies such as OregaPet ( offer a range of natural first aid and oral hygiene products for dogs.

Repelling Insects,

naturally By Ann Brightman

You don’t want your furry friend harassed by fleas, mosquitoes and other biting insects, but neither do you want repellents that are full of harmful chemicals. That was Linda Warkentin’s stance when her horse, who was allergic to flies, also got cancer. She wanted a way to keep the flies away from him without subjecting him to pesticides. So she made her own fly spray from herbs she grew in her backyard.

That was more than ten years ago, and since then, Linda (pictured at left) has received a lot of requests for her product. “My friends kept asking for it,” she says. So in 2012, Linda launched It Works Green, expanding her offerings to include a repellent for dogs as well. “My dog is highly allergic to fleas and ticks, so I made the product safe for canines so he wouldn’t need steroid shots.” It Works Green for Dogs is an all-natural repellent for crawling and flying insects that includes lemon grass, citronella and clove oils. “It contains castor oil to help the spray stick,” says Linda. She adds that the product does more than repel insects: “It also kills bacteria, mold and fungi.” The repellent can be used directly on dogs (but not cats), as well as on all washable surfaces around the home, including bedding, car seats, and even some flooring, and outdoors on grass and in gardens. “I have a puppy and use it as a cleaner on my tile (not wood) floors for accidents – and the smell is gone too.” Linda continues that more products are in the works. “I am testing a moisturizer to put a barrier between us and bed bugs, ticks, fleas and flying insects, along with a shampoo for animals. I love thinking outside the box, doing research and developing new things, all with the mission of delivering safe, nontoxic products.” Linda proudly adds that It Works Green is currently being reviewed by the Organic Materials Review Institute, and is confident she will soon be able to say that her products are OMRI approved. A portion of every sale of It Works Green products goes to Modjeska Ranch Rescue, a non-profit rescue in Orange County, California devoted to finding homes for abandoned and neglected animals. Linda’s compassion extends to children too. Linda’s Free Library is a non-profit that aims to promote the joy of reading to youngsters. “It has a great program where children write for other children,” she says. “Our goal is to reach organizations and schools around the world.” Linda says she and her company look forward to a world that’s free of pesticide use. “I absolutely love sharing a product that works without pesticides,” she says. “When I started, it was a lonely road, but it’s a road that has grown wider as more people gain knowledge and want a green and safe life.” animal wellness


PRODUCT PICKS Seal in the odor

Arm & Hammer™ Clump & Seal™ litter is the biggest advancement in cat litter history. No other litter forms a tight seal around odor and destroys it with unique odor eliminators and Arm & Hammer™ Baking Soda. Try Arm & Hammer™ Clump & Seal™ for a sevenday odor-free home – guaranteed. Available in Fresh Home and Multi-Cat. $10.99

One potato, two potato

Your dog will definitely want more than one of these. Crumps’ Naturals has added new treats to its line of Sweet Potato Strips. Healthy, natural and delicious, they’re made with just three simple ingredients – sweet potato, citrus fiber, and your choice of oatmeal, cranberry or cinnamon. They’re satisfyingly chewy and dogs love the flavor. No additives, preservatives or artificial colors. $8.49 per package

Bring heartworm to a halt

Fresh food

made easy

Feeding a raw diet doesn’t have to mean a lot of work. Sojos Beef Complete is a wholesome grain- and glutenfree dog food mix that you simply combine with water to create fresh, homemade meals. Made with USDA freeze-dried raw beef and all-natural ingredients, each mix is free of GMOs, fillers, preservatives and artificial colors. Prepared and packaged in the US. 2 lb bag: $25.20 8 lb bag: $89.95


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It’s a deadly disease and treatment can be difficult and costly. Effective Pet Wellness offers a natural way to successfully eliminate heartworms. The Heartworm Kit contains two products – Clearacell to break open infected cells and expose the worms, and Pet Clear to eliminate the worms. Completely breaks all life cycles of the heartworm, and is non-toxic and chemical-free. 1 kit: $100

Knock out odor

If you have animal companions, then you know they can sometimes cause odor. Nok Out Odor Eliminator gets to the root of the problem, and is nontoxic and biodegradable. Can be used on floors, carpets, upholstery and bedding, as well as directly on your dog. Nok Out Pet Shampoo, meanwhile, works quickly and safely to remove offensive smells, including residual skunk odor. Odor Eliminator: 236 ml to 3.8 L – $10 to $80 Shampoo: 236ml to 2 L – $10 to $80

Probiotics versus plaque

Plaque buildup can lead to painful dental disease and that’s no fun for your dog. Kissable Probiotic Anti-Plaque Spray from Ecowelldog keeps his mouth balanced and healthy by reducing the plaque-causing bacteria that cause gum disease, bad breath and infections. It contains 12 strains of probiotics to replenish the good bacteria in his mouth and kill off the bad bacteria. 4 oz bottle: $21

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ways to

BEAT arthritis

By Sherman O. Canapp Jr., DVM, MS, CCRT, and Lisa M. Fair, VT, CCRA, CMT If your dog has osteoarthritis, he has lots of company. It’s the most common joint disease in canines. One in every five dogs older than a year is affected, and by the time a dog is ten or older, that incidence has increased to one in two. Managing osteoarthritis (OA) often involves the palliative treatment of well-established disease using just a few therapies. But early intervention (see sidebar on page 78), coupled with a multimodal treatment regime, could do a lot more to reduce the effects of this prevalent disease.

Diet and supplements Nutrition plays a role in developmental skeletal disease. An excess of specific nutrients can exacerbate musculoskeletal disorders, and fast-growing, large breed puppies are at particular risk. For these dogs, controlled growth, optimum levels of calcium, phosphorus and essential fatty acids, and specific nutrients to enhance development are all essential to reduce the risk of developmental skeletal disease. In all dogs, providing proper nutrition during growth, and maintaining a healthy weight through life, can help minimize OA. Diets that include or are supplemented with these nutrients may reduce inflammation, slow degradation, enhance cartilage repair and provide relief from discomfort:


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• EPA and DHA, two components of Omega-3 fatty acids, reduce inflammation and reduce pain associated with OA. EPA suppresses the enzymes associated with cartilage destruction. • Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), a primary component of joint cartilage. It may influence cartilage structure and restore synovial fluid. GAGs may aid in the prevention of OA. • Chondrotin sulfate is an important structural component of cartilage and helps it resist compression. It may reduce inflammation, stimulate synthesis of proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid, and decrease catabolic activity. • ASUs (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables) help protect cartilage from degradation. Studies have shown a synergy when glucosamine hydrochloride, chondrotin sulfate and AUS are combined. They help inhibit the expression of agents involved in cartilage breakdown. • MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) may have anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests there may be increased benefits when MSM is combined with glucosamine and chondrotin. • SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine) can reduce discomfort associated with OA. Some studies even found it to be as effective for relieving pain as NSAIDs.

Most dogs with OA have some inflexibility due to shortened muscles and joint restriction. • Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Oxidative damage caused by free radicals can contribute to degenerative joint disease. Vitamin E inhibits oxidation, but the levels must be higher than minimal requirements to achieve these benefits. • Vitamin C is well known for its antioxidant activity. Although dogs can synthesize enough to meet minimal requirements, supplementation may improve antioxidant performance. It is important to note that vitamin C supplementation can contribute to calcium oxalate crystal formation in susceptible dogs. • DLPA (DL-phenylalanine) is a natural amino acid used to treat chronic pain. It inhibits several enzymes responsible for the destruction of endorphins, pain-killing hormones. DLPA can be used as an alternative to NSAIDs. • Traumeel is a homeopathic formulation of 12 botanical substances and one mineral substance. It is purported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-edematous and anti-exudative properties. Traumeel is often used as an alternative to NSAIDs. • GLM (green-lipped mussel) contains anti-inflammatory components that may benefit joint health. Clinical studies of GLM powder added to diets showed it to be effective in reducing symptoms. • Several herbs have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, including boswellia, yucca root, turmeric, hawthorn, nettle leaf, licorice, meadowsweet and willow bark. Consult with a veterinarian experienced in using herbs. • Hyaluronic acid (HA) has been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and decrease inflammation within the joint. Specifically, it increases joint fluid viscosity, increases cartilage (GAG) formation, and decreases degrading enzymes and cytokines. Over 70% of dogs have been reported to respond well to HA and improvement can be noted for over six months following administration. My clinical impression is that HA used alone is useful for synovitis and mild to moderate OA.

Weight management and exercise Obesity is a known risk factor for OA. Dogs with excess weight should be placed on a diet management program, which may include food and treat restriction, a change of diet, exercise and behavior modification. Weight management alone may result in significant clinical improvement. Light to moderate low impact exercise is recommended to reduce stiffness and maintain joint mobility. Specific exercise requirements animal wellness


vary based on the individual dog, but short walks (15 to 20 minutes) two to three times daily are typically recommended. Swimming is an excellent low impact activity that can improve muscle mass and joint range of motion. Consistency is critical – exercise should be performed on a routine basis. Excessive and/ or high impact exercise should be avoided.

Acupuncture and chiropractic Dogs have approximately 360 acupuncture points throughout their bodies. Response varies, with some dogs showing significant improvements in discomfort and mobility. Some experience no obvious benefits and a few do not tolerate needling. Consulting a veterinarian trained in TCVM provides the best chance of successful treatment. TCVM can help with weight management as well as joint issues. Chiropractic can improve comfort and mobility in dogs with OA. These dogs often develop improper spinal biomechanics secondary to gait changes. Adjustments can restore proper bony relationships and re-set receptors responsible for maintaining correct posture, balance and mobility.

Rehabilitation therapy This may be used in conjunction with other therapies. In some cases of mild to moderate OA, it may actually eliminate the need for additional medical therapies. The goals of

Catch it early Early intervention offers the best prognosis for minimizing OA. This includes screening for developmental orthopedic diseases, especially in breeds with known risk, as well as a thorough investigation of seemingly indistinct clinical signs in young dogs. Too often, people dismiss complaints such as slow movement, clumsy gait, low playfulness, laziness, and even intermittent lameness as “growing pains”, when in reality they are often early signs of underlying joint disease. If your dog shows these signs, regardless of how young he is, discuss them with your vet and ask for an evaluation. Early intervention is also imperative for traumatic injuries, including those that leave joints unstable. Although these injuries can occur acutely, joint instability can also result from repetitive activities; these types of injuries are common in sporting and working dogs. Early and appropriate management of these injuries can greatly reduce the development and advancement of OA.


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rehabilitation therapy for dogs with OA include pain relief, maintaining or building muscle strength, flexibility, and joint range of motion, core strengthening and overall conditioning. • Cold therapy causes vasoconstriction to reduce inflammation, muscle spasms and pain. It benefits dogs with acute exacerbation of chronic OA. • Heat therapy causes vasodilation. It reduces muscle tension and spasm, improves flexibility of joint capsules and surrounding tendons and ligaments, and provides pain relief. • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) reduces pain. It stimulates large cutaneous nerve fibers that transmit sensory impulses faster than pain fibers. TENS also increases the release of endorphins, which block pain perception. • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) involves the stimulation of muscle fibers for strengthening. Dogs with OA typically lose muscle mass due to weakness and disuse. NMES may help minimize atrophy, and provide proprioceptive, kinesthetic and sensory input directly to the muscle as well as give pain relief. • Therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) uses sound energy to affect biological tissues. It provides deep heating of tissues and can increase blood flow, collagen extensibility, metabolic rate and pain thresholds. It can also decrease muscle spasm. • Low level laser therapy (LLLT) may have positive effects on injured cartilage and may also reduce pain. • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) uses sound waves characterized by a rapid and steep rise in pressure followed by a period of negative pressure. Mechanical and chemical effects on a cellular level may stimulate healing and modulate pain signals. • Manual modalities - Stretching – Most dogs with OA have some inflexibility due to shortened muscles and joint restriction. Performing gentle passive range of motion therapy and stretching can increase overall range of motion. Heat therapy applied prior to these therapies enables collagen fibers to be maximally stretched. - Joint mobilization – May help improve joint range of motion and decrease pain in dogs with mild to moderate OA. It involves low-velocity movements within or at the limit of the dog’s range of motion. - Massage – Decreases myofascial pain, adhesion formation and muscle tension, and increases vascular and lymphatic circulation. Can help reduce edema, improve blood flow, decrease muscle stiffness and improve muscle flexibility and joint mobility. • Therapeutic exercises can be of significant benefit. Most dogs with OA have moderate to severe muscle atrophy and loss of motion within affected joints. Therapeutic exercises maintain and rebuild muscle mass, strengthen muscle force, maintain and improve joint range of motion and overall function and conditioning.

• Hydrotherapy includes underwater treadmill and swim therapy. It encourages range of motion, and improves muscle tone and mass with reduced stress to joints and tissues. Hydrotherapy can help relieve pain, swelling and stiffness, improve muscle mass and tone, increase joint range of motion, and improve circulation.

Regenerative medicine therapy a) Stem cell therapy Published literature supports the use of stem cell therapy (SCT) to treat OA in dogs. Most veterinary research has focused on adult stem cells, specifically mesenchymal stem cells. MSCs decrease proinflammatory and increase anti-inflammatory mediators. b) Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain bioactive proteins and growth factors. These work by binding to cell surface receptors and activating intra-cellular signaling cascades. They promote cell proliferation, cell migration and differentiation, and work as antiinflammatory factors counteracting the inflammatory cytokines at work in OA. SCT and PRP are often administered together.

Assistive devices These provide assistance with mobility. Booties can provide traction for slippery surfaces. Orthotics provide support to joints and can improve comfort. Slings and harnesses can be used to assist dogs when rising, walking, climbing stairs and during elimination. Carts provide independent mobility for dogs that have difficulty walking.

Conventional medications – NSAIDs and corticosteroids NSAIDs have been the conventional foundation for treating symptoms of OA. They have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. However, serious adverse effects can occur, especially with chronic use. These most commonly include gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic and coagulation disorders. The goal is to use the minimal effective dose when other treatments are not successful. In the treatment of severe OA, an intra-articular corticosteroid may be beneficial. It can provide pain relief for end-stage osteoarthritis. Response to treatment is typically seen within a week and benefits may last a year or more. Once established, canine osteoarthritis is incurable. But if joint problems are diagnosed early on, and managed with a range of integrative therapies, you can help stave off the debilitating effects of OA, and that means greater longevity and quality of life. animal wellness


WARM & FUZZY As a pup, Chocolate Boy was full of mischief and energy.

By Cheryl Wirth

GETTING A DOG WAS NOT AN OPTION. I’d never had a dog, even when I was growing up. I wanted my life to be as simple as possible, and a dog didn’t fit into that. All the work and training involved was a scary thought to me, and I just wasn’t willing to do it. Don’t get me wrong…I was not a dog hater. But I always preferred dogs when they belonged to someone else. Little did I know how things would change when Chocolate Boy came into my life. He was an adoption from a local pet hospital – a timid little threemonth-old chocolate Lab puppy. When we first met him, he was undergoing treatment for strangles, and in a few weeks he’d be well enough to go to a forever home. He was a sickly-looking little guy, even though he was on the mend.

Up for the challenge

So I found myself reading a lot of Lab-related literature. I learned that Labs are smart, strong dogs that make wonderful family companions. On the other hand, they also need plenty of exercise, a consistent routine, and a whole lot of attention. Let’s also add that Labs are avid chewers, which we quickly found out for ourselves. How I wished I had done my research earlier!

I was growing frustrated by his antics, but his gentle eyes, constant wiggle, wagging tail and kind heart kept me in check.

His sad brown eyes could melt your heart. When my daughter saw him, it was pretty much a done deal. After great hesitation, I caved. Why not, I thought. How hard could it really be?

During the first fall we had him, we enjoyed watching Chocolate Boy jumping around wildly in piles of leaves. I guess that’s when I knew I was hooked. I was becoming a “dog person”. My daughter said she saw it in my eyes…it was like the loving look a mother gives her child.

Second thoughts

First year milestones

We took the little Lab home a couple of weeks later. But we weren’t prepared for raising a puppy and soon started having doubts. Chocolate Boy was unruly and mischievous, and became a real handful. But we had chosen to have him in our home; he didn’t choose us. We knew that if we decided against keeping him, the poor little guy would end up in a shelter for who knew how long, and…well…he’d been through enough already.


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As a pup, Chocolate Boy was a powerful little guy and full of mischief. I’ll never forget the time we were playing a game of fetch and he came charging back at me like a bull. I should have moved but didn’t; I just stood there smiling, and then wham! I often wonder if the neighbors saw me get knocked over. Other first year milestones included chewing a pair of jeans and stealing toast off the breakfast table.

He has a great personality, and is comical, loving, loyal, and mostly obedient. And so came the toys – good durable dog toys, and lots of them. I must admit I was growing frustrated by his antics, but his gentle eyes, constant wiggle, wagging tail and kind heart kept me in check. Our Chocolate Boy loved us, and I figured he was worth the extra effort. And he was gracious enough to never chew the furniture. When he was a year old, we enrolled our now very handsome boy in some basic puppy training. He passed the short course with flying colors and was a real charmer; he even knew where the trainer kept her treats and made no bones about asking for them. He soon became the envy of the class – and the class clown. Too bad he shredded his graduation certificate a week later, but fortunately we were issued a new one.

Part of the family

Now weighing in at 80 pounds, Chocolate Boy recently celebrated his fourth birthday. He has a great personality, and is comical, loving, loyal, and mostly obedient. Our family and friends love him and he’s a joy to have around. He is good for our souls, and puts a smile on our faces. Yes, I learned that if you’re not willing to be patient and consistent, and to train, walk, play with and include your dog in your everyday life (and pick up his poop), then don’t get one. But with some trial and error, and lots of love, I realized that the benefits you receive in return are huge. We just had to take it slow and not expect perfection. I’m so glad now that I didn’t change my mind about adopting Chocolate Boy when he was a puppy. This is, and always will be, his forever home.

Now a happy, healthy adult, Chocolate Boy knows he’s well loved.

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Virtual Training



CONS By Claudia Bensimoun


elinda adopted Reepo from a rescue







mix was high energy, demanding, playful and sometimes fearful.

He struggled with behavioral issues and panicked every time the doorbell rang. At her wit’s end, Melinda enrolled Reepo in positive training classes, which helped ease his anxiety and build his confidence. Then a friend suggested she combine both virtual and in-person training. Melinda was intrigued, and willing to try everything to help Reepo calm down and learn good manners. So she got online and started researching the world of virtual dog training.

WHAT IS VIRTUAL TRAINING? Thanks to the Internet, people are able to learn almost anything they want from the comfort of their own homes. Many colleges and universities offer distance education in the form of online courses, in which you take part in virtual lectures and email your assignments to your teacher.


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Similar educational opportunities are available to dog parents, and one of the most popular is virtual training. Virtual training websites offer interactive online training classes and learning activities for their students. You may also connect to trainers via Skype or phone conference calls, ask questions, and have discussions with other students. One of the main benefits, besides the convenience, is that it gives you access to help with immediate problems until you are able to register with an in-person trainer.

WHAT IT CAN AND CAN’T DO Virtual training is useful for dog parents who want to brush up on their dogs’ basic obedience, reinforce fundamental training lessons, get quick answers to questions, or supplement existing in-person training lessons. It’s helpful during transition periods such as when you’ve just adopted a rescue, or have moved to a new home and are trying to find a certified trainer in your area. However, virtual training has its limitations, and should not be used as a replacement for in-person training, especially in cases where the dog has behavioral problems.

“Virtual training can be a tricky proposition,” says renowned trainer Victoria Stilwell. “In certain cases with certain dogs, while trying to address very particular lessons or issues, it can be an effective tool, but it can also quickly morph into a problem scenario. For example, often a client will hire a dog trainer to ‘fix’ a given issue, only to find out from the trainer that there are far different (and sometimes more complicated) issues at play than the person was previously aware of. Virtual training generally doesn’t allow for the flexibility to address those types of issues. “It also makes the dangerous assumption that the dog owner and ‘virtual teacher’ are on the same page in terms of what they’re trying to address and how the dog responds to the training,” Victoria continues. “All too often, positive dog trainers see clients who miss important signals in their dogs, and virtual training creates a situation where there’s not a qualified dog behavior expert on hand to oversee the training process. Virtual training can only be considered for the most basic cues and language-building dog training – not any kind of behavioral issue.”

CONFERENCES AND CONSULTATIONS Along with online classes, virtual training can also encompass video conferences or consultations. “At my website ( dog-training/phone-consultation), we connect licensed dog trainers via phone or Skype with clients for remote consultations,” says Victoria. “We see it as an opportunity to get the right information into the hands and minds of those who need it most, and point them towards the right type of qualified positive trainer for actual sessions.” Because a conference or consultation is more one-on-one than an online class, it offers some additional benefits. “Most ‘virtual training’ sites seem to be focused on a static program that is mostly a one-way conversation, whereas the flexibility of a video consult obviously allows for the trainer and owner to interact directly and in real time.” A video consultation can be what you want it to be, or more importantly, what the trainer thinks would be most beneficial to you and your dog. It can include advice, ideas on how to solve issues, as well as training tips and information. Generally speaking, a conference or consult is more advice-based than step-by-step training. During a video conference, expert trainers are able to assist with puppy issues, shelter dog rehabilitation, some behavior issues, and many other dog-related questions.

VIRTUAL TRAINING IS USEFUL FOR DOG PARENTS WHO WANT TO BRUSH UP ON THEIR DOGS’ BASIC OBEDIENCE…. By employing video conferencing, you have easier access to trainers, and therefore a wider support system, whether you’re a animal wellness



For someone like Melinda, who has adopted a rescue and is finding him more of a handful than expected, video consults can help prevent the dog from being returned to the shelter. “They can provide valuable information, and a foundation that can be built on to ensure the dog stays in the home, rather than be returned,” says Victoria. “Part of the reason we offer video consults to the public is to ensure that the first batch of information that is put in front of someone looking for help is the right information. A phone or Skype consult can help ensure you’ll start off on the right track from day one.”

new puppy parent or a shelter dog adopter. This is especially important during the initial transition period when both you and the dog are getting used to a new dynamic (see sidebar above). In fact, video (or phone) consults can be invaluable starter tools. “Consults allow people to gain access to the most up-to-date information from a qualified professional, and provide a great introduction to what they might expect from the teaching process,” explains Victoria. “Also, in the event there isn’t a positive trainer in your area, having the opportunity to talk one-onone about your issues or particular situation can be an invaluable ‘direction-pointer’ to make sure you know what to look for in a local trainer, and what pitfalls to avoid when finding professional help.” As with virtual training classes, video consults and conferences shouldn’t take the place of hands-on training. “Video consults are much better as a continuing backup and refresher, rather than for starting the actual training process or for behavioral issues,” says Victoria. “They are a better tool for continuing training if the trainer has been working with the client in


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person for awhile. However, there is no substitute for having a trainer do an inhome visit where she can physically work with the dog and identify factors in the environment that might affect behavior. That is impossible to do via a video or phone consultation.”

“MOST ‘VIRTUAL TRAINING’ SITES SEEM TO BE FOCUSED ON A STATIC PROGRAM THAT IS MOSTLY A ONE-WAY CONVERSATION, WHEREAS THE FLEXIBILITY OF A VIDEO CONSULT OBVIOUSLY ALLOWS FOR THE TRAINER AND OWNER TO INTERACT DIRECTLY AND IN REAL TIME.” Americans spend an average of 32 hours a month online. By investing some of those hours in taking an online training course, consulting with a trainer, asking for advice and/or viewing videos, you can help get a new dog on the right track, and refresh an existing dog’s training and obedience – just as long as you don’t also sacrifice time spent in person with a certified positive trainer.


IN THE By Ann Brightman

A supplement is only as good as what it’s made of. For this company, a superior knowledge of ingredients, together with a commitment to quality, means effective, natural products that work.

Oscar credits Zizu, his seven-anda-half-year-old Weimaraner, for inspiring the development of PureLife 4Pets.

When Oscar Tenorio moved to southern Florida in 2009 with his dog, Zizu, the young Weimaraner started itching and scratching. “I think the humidity and hot weather gave him skin irritations,” says Oscar. At the time, Oscar had just started working with Vetimed Inc., a family-owned company that traded human supplement ingredients between the US, Latin America and Europe.

launched. “It works naturally with the body to help maintain a healthy weight, with no side effects,” says Oscar. “We have our roots in the ingredients industry and that is reflected in how we formulate our products. Dealing with raw materials for over a decade has given us a lot of knowledge about the industry and how to put ingredients together to get the most benefit from them.

“After consulting with a vet, I started giving Zizu a concentrated Omega-3 we had,” Oscar explains. It worked well (Zizu has had no skin issues since), inspiring Oscar to start creating products for dogs and cats. “These ingredients were only for humans, but we knew we had the chance to improve animals’ quality of life in a significant way. We spent about three-and-a-half years researching ingredients and their sources, and designing the best combinations. We launched four products for animals in 2012, including one called Omega-3 Support, which uses the same concentrated ingredient I gave Zizu.” Soon, PureLife 4Pets was launched as a brand of Vetimed.

“For us, knowledge is key and passing on that knowledge is our responsibility,” Oscar adds. “We publish pet health-related tips every week and a newsletter every month that talks about everything from allergies to dangerous foods. We are a go-to Facebook site for pet care tips. We also pass our knowledge to our retailers so they too can provide good quality advice to dog and cats parents. We work with rescue centers, trainers and others to raise animal health awareness.”

Along with the Omega-3 product for skin, coat and cardiovascular health, the company offers an antioxidant for dogs and cats, as well as supplements for joint mobility and immune support, all made from quality natural ingredients. As well, a new supplement for weight management has just been

PureLife 4Pets’ mission is about making families happier by helping ensure their dogs and cats stay healthy and enjoy a good quality of life. “To see a dog or cat recover or improve his health is priceless,” says Oscar. “For example, we have a customer with an 11-year-old dog that had two hip surgeries and was barely walking. After two weeks of being on our joint mobility supplement, he was jumping in the pool, running and playing tug-of-war again. That’s what I enjoy the most.”

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By David Gillespie


you visit a shelter, you get a variety of responses from the dogs. Most will get as close to you as possible, some rubbing right against the bars, some standing and reaching out with their front paws, most barking with enthusiasm. Some woof in fear, a few even slip away to the outside of their kennels. But few act the way Sweetie did. When I first saw the being who would become one of my best friends and companions, she was lying curled up in the corner of her cage. Dogs often seem to come with names, but no moniker would stick to this Corgi-shepherd mix. We called her Sweetie because she was so loving and enthusiastic (once she was out of the shelter), but it seemed more like a nickname. We tried many other names – Otter because she flowed off couches and benches so gracefully, and Simba because her fur was tawny, her paws big, and she grunted like a lion when we looked into her face and spoke to her. We considered Happy because her floppy ears bounced up and down when she ran, her mouth opening in a wide grin, and even Harpo because she liked to carry a squeaky toy in her mouth and make it honk. But only Sweetie fit, augmented through the years by a few extra letters (Sweetness) or words (Sweet Girl).


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Always by my side With Sweetie, I only needed a leash as a safeguard against traffic because she would never stray far from my side. Whenever a little distance crept between us, she would look up and run back to me. I never had to train her. She would just come when I called, and whenever I said her name, she would look at me with great intensity, even though most of the time I was just saying hello. My wife joked that Sweetie would never allow death to take her from my side.

Drifting away But despite Sweetie’s love for me, death started to approach in her thirteenth year in the form of dementia. She began straying further away from me during walks, and stopped answering my calls. We thought she was just losing her hearing, maybe her eyesight, but as she got older she began walking in circles, especially in the house, and hooting in anxiety. She also began to limp, and despite vitamins, glucosamine shots and medications for pain and anxiety, she seemed to drift away, leaving a broken old dog that needed to be held up when she peed. Dementia stole our connection, that elusive bond best described

by the word “love” but which is really more complex than that – a deep, moving dream river of both darkness and light. Three days before her passing, Sweetie shifted into a worse state. She paced all night long, was losing strength in her back legs, and was even showing less interest in food (that terrible warning). I knew it was time to let her go. I called our veterinarian and set up an appointment for a home visit since Sweetie was terrified of riding in the car, especially to the vet’s.

Her final day That last day, I watched the clock, ticking off Sweetie’s remaining hours. But a funny thing happened. Sweetie slept peacefully most of the afternoon. She didn’t walk in a single circle, didn’t hoot once. During her last two hours, I took her out to the backyard with my other two dogs, Belle and Holly, and stayed with her. As the sun shone and the breezes played, Sweetie licked my hand repeatedly, and I stroked her thick coat, pulling out the little clumps because I wanted her to look her best, and because I had been grooming her that way for over 15 years. When the vet and her assistant came and performed their task, I put my face right into Sweetie’s, so close that I could see my head reflected in her eyes. I stayed that way during the whole

procedure, as the sedative slowed her down and the darker drug eased her away. Over and over, I told her she was beautiful.

The bargain Early the next morning, when I took my two remaining dogs to the backyard, I found tufts of Sweetie’s hair still strewn about – most bird nests in the vicinity were softened by a coating of her brown and white hair. I settled on one of our benches and sipped my coffee. Robins were hopping and bobbing on one corner of the lawn, sparrows landed to inspect and pick up Sweetie’s hair, and automobiles rumbled in the distance, changing gears. Life flexing its limbs. A character from a PBS show called Lark Rise to Candleford responds to the death of a neighbor’s child by telling her husband, “To love is to lay oneself open to loss, and that is the bargain we make with ourselves because it is worth it.” Despite my grief, I had to agree, as I sat peacefully on my bench and watched Belle and Holly ambling about as the sparrows carried Sweetie to the sky.

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Used to reach oil and gas deposits deep within the earth, this procedure is causing a lot of controversy and health concerns.


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If you keep up with the news, you’ve heard about hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. It involves injecting massive quantities of chemically treated water deep underground to fracture rock and reach natural gas or oil deposits. A lot of controversy has arisen around this practice, and whether or not it’s safe or healthy. Not surprisingly, gas and oil companies claim that as long as everything is done to specifications, fracking is safe. But others are just as adamant that it’s a bad idea. Many scientists and environmentalists are warning that this procedure is having a profoundly negative impact on our water and air, and by extension, all living things, including people and companion animals. “One of my biggest concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing is the exposure of dogs and cats to a variety of toxic chemicals that are not disclosed by the companies due to ‘trade secrets’,” says veterinarian Dr. Becky L. Morrow, an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University. “In addition to the unknown chemicals that

are injected into the ground, the fluid that resurfaces often contains additional toxins, heavy metals, carcinogens, and radioactive materials that could lead to cancer, multi-organ failure, and death. Although scientific data is limited, one study showed that 17 cows died only one hour after exposure to waste fluid released into their pasture, and several dogs and cats became severely ill and died within a few days after exposure to waste fluid dumped on roads.”

DON’T LET HIM DRINK FROM PUDDLES, CREEKS, STREAMS, PONDS OR ANY OTHER WATER SOURCES YOU AREN’T SURE ARE SAFE. The study Dr. Morrow refers to is called “Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health” and was done by Michelle Bamberger and Robert E. Oswald; it appeared in the January 2012 issue of New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. “Documentation of cases in six states strongly implicates exposure to gas drilling operations in serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife,” the study states. “Sources of exposure to gas drilling operations that have been associated with ill health in canines are well, spring, pond and creek waters; storm water runoff from the well pad; wastewater spread on road; wastewater impoundment not contained; pipeline leak; flaring of well; and compressor station malfunction. In canines, health problems that occurred in association with the above exposures were reproductive, gastrointestinal, neurological, dermatological, urological, musculoskeletal, upper respiratory, and sudden death.”

7 WAYS TO KEEP HIM SAFE 1 Education and awareness are the keys here. Keep track of what is going on in your region, the food and water you and your dog consume, and where you both go for outdoor exercise. Always report anything suspicious that might be dangerous. And before you allow your property to be used for anything, understand what you’re getting into.

2 If

you live in fracking territory (see sidebar on next page), have your water tested prior to drilling, and also during and after drilling, to ensure your water stays safe for drinking and bathing. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your dog. Continued on page 90.

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Continued from page 89.

3 Give purified water to your dog. Don’t let him drink


from puddles, creeks, streams, ponds or any other water sources you aren’t sure are safe.

4 Outdoor exercise should be supervised. Before letting your dog loose to run or swim, investigate the area for potential dangers such as fracking ponds, where toxic waste water is put after fracking is completed. Be aware that there are cases of this toxic water being illegally dumped along roads, in streams and elsewhere. Know where these areas might be and keep your dog away from them.

5 Air quality is also a concern near fracking sites. Residents have reported upper respiratory ailments and feelings of nausea. Keep in mind that these well sites stink and that your dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times better than yours. Even driving by these wells may make him (and you) feel sick.

6 Ask your veterinarian if s/he has any concerns, but keep in mind that many conventional doctors will not say that fracking has any adverse health effects. I asked my own vet if my cat’s upper respiratory problems could be linked to flaring wells. He assured me he saw no relationship, though he added he would inform me if the concern arose.

Generally, fracking is done wherever there are large formations of shale – and that covers a lot of ground in North America. In the US, shale is found in large swathes from the Great Lakes down to Texas, and across the western plains. The Marcellus Shale formation, meanwhile, which is extremely rich in natural gas, covers an area from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York State. Fracking now takes place at hundreds of thousands of gas wells in more than 30 states. The situation is similar in Canada, where fracking is carried out in almost every province, most notably Alberta.


 o what you can to optimize your dog’s overall health by D feeding him the best quality food you can afford, avoiding over-vaccination, limiting his exposure to stress and household toxins, and taking him to the vet for regular checkups.

Like it or not, fracking has become a fact of life. Depending on where you live, it might not be much of an issue, but if you reside in one of the hundreds of active regions, it’s wise to take steps to stay informed and protect your health – and that of your dog’s.


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BOOK REVIEWS TITLE: Ambassador Dogs AUTHOR: Lisa Loeb Dogs are much more than “pets”. They’re also friends, companions, helpers, protectors and therapists. In her new book Ambassador Dogs, journalist and dog lover Lisa Loeb (who also writes for Animal Wellness on occasion), celebrates the many remarkable roles canines play in our lives. The book features profiles of 24 dogs and the people whose lives they enrich, as well as a visit to several rescue organizations. Lisa introduces you to canines like Chloe, a gentle St. Bernard who served as ring-bearer at a couple’s wedding; Gracie, a devoted and attentive service dog to Tanya, a woman with spina bifida; and Mo the Music Dog, a pug with personality who has honorary professor status at West Chester University. Generously illustrated with dozens of color photos, Ambassador Dogs bubbles over with Lisa’s love, enthusiasm and respect for dogs – and the people who are blessed with their presence.

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

TITLE: The Second Chance Dog AUTHOR: Jon Katz When best-selling author Jon Katz’s 35-year marriage ended, he found himself both emotionally and financially in the dumps. In his search for love, he met artist Maria Wulf. The couple had a lot in common – but Maria’s dog Frieda, a Rottweiler/shepherd mix, didn’t agree. Fiercely protective of Maria, she would bark and charge at anyone who came near her, including Jon. At first, it looked like things weren’t going to work out, but Jon refused to give up trying to win Frieda’s affection, and his chance with Maria. He writes about the journey in The Second Chance Dog, in which he reveals his ultimately successful bid to make friends with Frieda through determination, patience and hundreds of dollars worth of beef jerky. By the end of the book, Jon, Maria and Frieda are living happily together at Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, along with a range of other animals. A true love story!

Publisher: Ballantine Books

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CLASSIFIEDS Animal Communicators

Holistic Veterinarians

Rescues & Shelters

CAROL SCHULTZ – Animal Communicator/ Intuitive Healing Support. Interactive, compassionate, practical, and insightful Consultations and Energy Balancing for all species. Assistance with emotional, behavioral, physical, end of life, in spirit, plus lost animals. Classes & mentoring available. (815) 531-2850

EAST YORK ANIMAL CLINIC HOLISTIC CENTRE – Dr. Paul McCutcheon, Dr. Cindy Kneebone & Dr. Anya Yushchenko. We provide a wide variety of integrative diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Please visit our website to explore our services. www.holisticpetvet. com (416) 757-3569, 805 O’Connor Drive, Toronto, ON, M4B 2S7

SHIRLEY SCOTT – Internationally known Animal Communicator & Clairvoyant connects with your pets here or in spirit. She reads emotional/behavior/ health problems, provides classes & workshops in animal communication & training. (541) 577-3051,,

ESSEX ANIMAL HOSPITAL, REHAB & K9 FITNESS CENTRE – Dr. Janice Huntingford practices integrative medicine for optimal pet health. Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Physical Rehab, Therapy pool and underwater treadmill, Alternative Medicine, Chinese Herbs, Holistic Consults. Please visit our website and facebook page. (519) 776-7325 Essex, ON.

Associations INTERNATIONAL ASS’N OF ANIMAL MASSAGE & BODYWORK/ASS’N OF CANINE WATER THERAPY – Welcome trained practitioners of Animal Massage and Bodywork. The IAAMB/ ACWT supports and promotes the practitioners of complementary care for animals through networking, continuing education, website, online referrals, newsletters, insurance, annual educational conferences, lobbying and credentialing of schools. Books & Publications 1000’s OF DOG BOOKS, DVD’S AND TRAINING TOOLS IN STOCK – Ready to ship. Dogwise has what you want! (800) 776-2665; Distributors/Retailers Wanted CANINE LIGHT THERAPY – Many veterinarians and therapists offer their clients the healing benefits of photonic energy with our Equine Light Therapy Pads! Contact us to learn more about the advantages of offering them through your practice! According to “Gospel”…Equine Light Therapy/Canine Light Therapy.,, (615) 293-3025

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GUELPH ANIMAL HOSPITAL – Offers a full range of conventional veterinary services as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, herbal and nutritional. Dr. Rob Butler is certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and is also trained in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine. Dr. Smolkin is certified in Animal Chiropractic. By integrating conventional and complementary therapies, treatments can be tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences. Contact Guelph Animal Hospital at (519) 836-2781 or

GREY2K USA Education Fund – National greyhound protection group working to end dog racing nationwide. Join our team, support us and buy fun dog-themed gifts at Schools & Training INTEGRATED TOUCH THERAPY, INC. – Has taught animal massage to thousands of students from all over the world for over 17 years. Offering intensive, hands-on workshops. Free Brochure: (800) 251-0007 PETMASSAGE TRAINING AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE – On-site workshops for canine massage and PetMassage WaterWork. Vocational training to work in vet offices, dog day cares, agility events, and with private clients. Curricula for children’s canine massage programs. Workshops approved for CEs for MT’s and RVT’s.,, (800) 779-1001 WALKS ‘N’ WAGS PET FIRST AID – National Leaders in Pet First Aid Certification Courses for dogs and cats. Learn preventative skills and practice emergency bandaging with live wiggly pets. Distance Learning also available. or (800) 298-1152

Natural Product Retailers PETS GO NATURAL – Safe toys, eco-friendly beds and collars, natural vitamins and supplements, natural, organic and grain-free food. Feel good about what you buy your pet. Go natural! Pet Portraits ANNIEO’S PET PORTRAITS – Specializing in oil painting for 31 years. Nationwide clientele. Portraits of any pet of your choice. Credit card, personal check or money order. 44 Church St., Tilton, NH 03276. (603) 524-3778 Website:

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EVENTS The Capitol Pet Expo April 5, 2014 – Washington, DC

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course April 25 – 27, 2014 – Anchorage, AK

also find an extensive exhibit hall with more than 150 booths providing all the latest products and services!

Fabulous Prize Giveaways & Fun for both the Two-Legged AND Four-Legged!

Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm - 10:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class.

Dozens of Rescue Groups and a Mega-Adoption Event, Discounted Vaccinations, Micro-chipping and Heartworm & Flea Preventatives, Free Nail Trims, Agility Demonstrations, Live Entertainment, Obedience Demonstrations, Author Readings/Book Signings. The Latest & Greatest Pet Products!

Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Large Animal Class.

For more information: (800) 248-EXPO

Learn About Pet Care, Volunteerism, Grooming, Pet Behavior & Training, Traveling with your Pet, How You Can Make a Difference, Different Types of Pets/Breeds, Veterinarian FAQ, Fun Activities for You & Your Pet And MUCH MORE! For more information: (800) 977-3609

For more information: (602) 502-3065 Alive! Expo April 26 – 27, 2014 – Atlanta, GA

Houston Pet Expo April 12, 2014 – Houston, TX You will find tons of exhibitors and demonstrations as well as free nail trims. There will be prize giveaways and live entertainment. You can adopt from one of the many Rescue groups and also learn about pet care, volunteerism, grooming, training and much more! Be sure to check out other Amazing Pet Expo events all year around at For more information: (800) 977-3609

Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience.

Every year Alive! Expo brings together local and national companies that specialize in natural and organic products and foods. You will find alternative practitioners as well as many great retailers showcasing their products including eco-friendly products for the home, pets and the whole family. Alive! Expo is “The Natural Products & Green Living” consumer event and is a fun and exciting weekend for the entire family. For more information: Paws in the Park May 4, 2014 – Gaithersburg, MD Registration is now open for the 15th Annual Paws in the Park dog walk and festival! The fun-filled afternoon includes a 1-mile walk for dogs and people, pet games, prizes, demos, rescue groups, a “flealess” market with over 50 pet-friendly vendors, food, music and more. For more information: (240) 401-8144

Healing Touch for Animals® Level 2 Course May 30 – June 1, 2014 – Anchorage, AK Fundamentals Class: Friday / 6:00pm - 10: 00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am - 6:00pm This class is required in order to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses’ large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and a well-rounded experience. For more information: (602) 502-3065 Charlotte Pet Expo May 31, 2014 – Charlotte, NC Fabulous Prize Giveaways & Fun for both the Two-Legged AND Four-Legged! Dozens of Rescue Groups and a Mega-Adoption Event, Discounted Vaccinations, Micro-chipping and Heartworm & Flea Preventatives, Free Nail Trims, Agility Demonstrations, Live Entertainment, Obedience Demonstrations, Author Readings/Book Signings. The Latest & Greatest Pet Products! Learn About Pet Care, Volunteerism, Grooming, Pet Behavior & Training, Traveling with your Pet, How You Can Make a Difference, Different Types of Pets/Breeds, Veterinarian FAQ, Fun Activities for You & Your Pet And MUCH MORE! For more information: (800) 977-3609

Animal Care Expo May 20 - 23, 2014 – Daytona Beach, FL This expo is the largest international education conference in the fields of animal care, control, rescue and emergency services. The Expo offers an opportunity to learn new skills and strategies, and network with animal welfare professionals from around the world. This expo also offers five intensive daylong certificate courses and over 55 professional development workshops. You will


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4–P A W

system By Cheryl Laurent

Charley Poodle visits our local book shop. And the hardware store. And the church. Not to shop or worship, but to keep up his skills as a visiting therapy dog. Charley needs to be able to take everything in stride no matter where he goes, and as his keeper, trainer and social secretary, I ensure his abilities stay honed by taking him various places, including all of the above and then some. During his travels, Charley has formed some clear preferences as to his favorite spots to visit, so I’ve developed a “1 to 4 paws” rating system on his behalf.

1 Paw goes to places that welcome dogs only on special

occasions. A minister friend’s church offers an annual Blessing of the Animals service, but it’s held outside except in bad weather. Charley lives indoors at home and feels slighted that his curly backside is not welcome on padded pews. Nevertheless, he enjoys howling a yearly hallelujah along with the choir.

2 Paws go to businesses with drive-through windows and

a stash of dog treats. When we pull up to our bank, Charley emits a single, gentle “woof” to remind the tellers he’s in the car. That’s my cue to say, “I’d like to deposit one check and withdraw one biscuit, please.” Charley has learned that most local fast-food joints don’t cater to his species – but there is one that does, and he has memorized its scent and location.

3 Paws go to places that allow dogs but otherwise pay them no attention. One local store has a “pet friendly” policy, but no one fusses over Charley’s arrival. No treats and no petting. Such failure to admire a handsome and charming animal is not “pet friendly” by Charley’s reckoning. It is barely “pet tolerant”. Fortunately, Charley’s bruised ego is distracted by searching out the bacon-scented novelty treats amid the overwhelming miasma of patchouli.


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4 Paws

are awarded to stores with staff who know Charley on sight and are quick with ear rubs and dog biscuits. The people who own our favorite bookstore always remember Charley’s name, even though they have to ask mine. He is also on a first-name basis with the folks at our local shipping store – other pups may slobber like Pavlov’s pooches at the sound of a can opener, but Charley dances around the living room in ecstasy whenever I break out the packing tape. The coveted “4 Paws and Tail” prize still awaits some lucky entrepreneur. Maybe someday we will find a furniture store dealing exclusively in canine couches, beds and pillows, where a dog can try out the merchandise over the course of a few naps, and perhaps bring along his close friends Squeaky Bunny and Disgusting Ball too. Or maybe a dog masseuse or a cheese store will set up shop nearby. Then again, maybe it’s better such places don’t exist here yet. Charley only has four paws and one tail, after all!

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