Page 1


For a long, healthy life!


Why it affects his overall health



How to assess your dog’s


A landmark study reveals the truth!




Tips on using conventional meds safely

Calming Games


for hyper dogs

for DOGS


for arthritis

– how it eases pain and stiffness

ffeline elilinne WELLNESS Hip, cool and healthy!

FEB/MAR 2016 Display until March 9, 2016




$6.95 USA/Canada


HOSPICE for cats

It’s a growing option for aging or terminally ill kitties






Finding solutions that benefit everyone animal wellness



animal wellness

animal wellness


Contents February/March 2016


Tooth and gum issues may harm your dog or cat’s kidneys, lungs, liver, heart and even his immune system.


Training is necessary, and the lessons you teach him should be practiced regularly. Here are the best times of day to do it.


His posture, range of motion, and the way he moves can have an influence on his overall well-being.


Celebrating 20 years in business, this company takes pride in producing premium, all-natural pet food and treats for dogs and cats.


This “snuggly” golden retriever calms the fears of young patients at a pediatric dental clinic.

If you can’t brush your dog or cat’s teeth, these easy-to-use no-brush dental gels, drops and sprays may be the answer.


This new ground-breaking study reveals they shouldn’t!

Canines offering comfort to grieving families is a growing trend.



A look at the three body types defined by Ayurvedic medicine, along with four herbs used in this modality.




Spinal misalignments can lead to inflammation and infection in an animal’s body. Regular chiropractic care naturally helps prevent illness.


This common herb offers a range of natural health benefits to canines.



Drugs like antibiotics, NSAIDs and steroids are sometimes necessary, but it’s important they’re not used indiscriminately.


Over-excitement can be a problem if your dog won’t settle down. These three games help by rewarding relaxed behavior.



animal wellness


Combining veterinary care with this gentle therapy can help heal these dogs, both physically and emotionally.




58 ADOPTING MADE EASY Shelters and recues find homes for more

Cats seem prone to problems with their teeth and gums. Here’s how to help prevent these painful conditions.


More people turn to palliative care for aging or terminally ill felines.

animals by bringing them to special events and venues, and featuring them on social media.


Does your canine companion have osteoarthritis? Massage therapy helps ease the pain and stiffness.


These modalities offer many healing benefits to dogs. This school teaches both with onsite and online courses.



Addressing problems caused by feral, stray and free-roaming felines – and finding solutions that benefit both cats and communities.





12 Yakkity yak 42 Warm & fuzzy 50 Rewind 60 Passages 72 To the rescue 80 Book reviews 93 Cat chat


98 Feline Wellness


Product picks

90 Social media


Animal Wellness resource guide


The scoop


Social media




Events calendar


ClassiďŹ eds

87 Tail end

book reviews

Tips, contests and more! AnimalWellnessMagazine News, events, and tips! @ AW_magazine

Tips, pet photos, and more! AnimalWellnessMagazine Crafts, laughs, and more! AnimalWellness



animal wellness



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: Kyle Dupont Web Design & Development: Brad Vader Tail End Illustrations: Libby Sinden Cover Image Courtesy of: The Dog Photographer Feline Cover Image courtesy of: Scott Leman


The Dog Photographer This grinning canine can attest that clean, healthy teeth and gums translates to a happy dog! Dental health is often overlooked, but it’s an important key to optimal wellness in both dogs and cats. This issue offers several articles to help you look after your own companion’s oral well-being – from no-brush dental products to the best foods for dental health.


Scott Leman Indoor cats tend to live longer, healthier lives, and with the proper environment, they can be just as happy, as this sunbathing kitten demonstrates. Our bonus issue of Feline Wellness looks at the problems associated with feral and free-roaming outdoor cats, and also features helpful articles on feline dental health and hospice for elderly and ailing kitties.


animal wellness

COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Audi Donamor Fanna Easter, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, ACDBC Michael W. Fox, DVM Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC Paulette Jolliffe, CMT, CCMT Ingrid King Deanna L. Krantz Craig Landry, DC Lisa Loeb Lisa Mackinder Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA Ramona Marek, MS Ed Shawn Messonnier, DVM Sandra Murphy Bill Ormston, DVM, CVC Paul Owens Julianne Pierce Julie Sabin Amy Snow Tejinder Sodhi, DVM, CVC Charlotte Walker Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION & SALES President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Accounting: Karen Jeffries Circulation & Office Manager: Libby Sinden SUBMISSIONS: Please email all editorial material to Ann Brightman, Managing Editor, at We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif 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. You can also mail submissions to: Animal Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to

ADVERTISING SALES National Accounts Manager: Ann Beacom, (866) 764-1212 ext. 222 Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Multimedia Specialist: Kat Shaw, (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 Marketing/Retail Specialist: Michelle Macaulay, (866) 764-1212 ext. 115 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: Libby Sinden 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 115 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© 2016. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: January 2016.

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

Editorial Something to

smile about Twenty years ago, before kids and the 24/7 demands of running our labor of love, Redstone Media Group, my husband, Tim, and I had only one real baby – our Siberian husky, Sabrina. We were just on the cusp of discovering the world of holistic medicine for both people and animals so we took care of Sabrina’s needs as best we could, with lots of love, daily exercise, a good diet, regular grooming, and of course proper dental care. While Sabrina wasn’t keen on the grooming (she would spin in circles when you tried to brush her tail), she absolutely LOVED getting her teeth brushed. Maybe it was the beef flavored toothpaste, or just the attention, but as soon as Tim or I hit the bathroom to get ready for bed, Sabrina would appear out of nowhere and plant herself by the sink, waiting her turn at the nightly ritual. Good dental health is sometimes overlooked, but it is crucially important to your dog or cat’s overall health and well-being. This issue of Animal Wellness focuses on dental issues and looks at ways to make caring for your companion’s teeth and gums easier. Not every dog loves getting her teeth brushed like Sabrina so start by checking out what’s available in natural nobrush dental products, which are an effective and convenient alternative. Our “Rewind” column features a fantastic article by Audi Donamor about foods and herbs you can give your companion to help support optimal dental wellness. And be sure to read veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney’s piece on the systemic health problems that can be caused by periodontal disease – you might be surprised at how many parts of the body can be impacted when oral health is poor. We also turn the tables a bit in this issue with an article about a wonderful therapy dog named Brooke, who helps calms nervous children visiting a pediatric dental clinic in New York State.


animal wellness

Also in this issue: If you and your dog have the February blues, why not step up his training with Paul Owens’ article on the best times of day to practice those favorite tricks and obedience commands? We also look at hyperactivity in dogs, and how to resolve it, along with the benefits of canine massage, and how acupressure can help heal traumatized puppy mill rescues. For dogs who might be under the weather, Dr. Shawn Messonnier presents some valuable pointers on the safe use of conventional medications like NSAIDs and steroids – those drugs that are sometimes necessary but that can cause serious side effects. Our Feline Wellness bonus section offers some great tips on cat dental health (made simple!), hospice care for kitties, and the feral cat debate. As always, you’ll find plenty extra in this issue to keep you engaged and informed throughout the rest of the winter. Warmest wishes,

Dana Cox Editor-in-Chief

Animal Wellness Exclusive: The truth about vaccines for small dogs

Dr. W. Jean Dodds recently completed research on whether small dogs require the same amount of vaccine as larger dogs in order to be protected. She shared her eye-opening results with AW on p. 56.

animal wellness











1. Veterinarian Dr. Michael W. Fox ( writes the nationally syndicated newspaper column “Animal Doctor” and also authored the best-selling books Understanding Your Cat and Supercat: How to Raise the Perfect Feline Companion. Turn to page 96 for the first part of Dr. Fox’s article on the feral cat issue, co-written with Deanna Krantz. 2. Veterinarian Dr. Amy Hayek graduated from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1998. She opened her own practice in 2001 in Summerville, South Carolina. She teaches for Animal Chiropractic Education Source, has published in the Journal of the AVMA, and lectures for the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and others. Dr. Hayek coauthors an article on how chiropractic can boost an animal’s immunity (page 32). 3. Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. He is a certified veterinary acupuncturist from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. His practice, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, offers integrative medicine. Dr. Mahaney writes a veterinary blog for and is working on his first book, The Uncomfortable Vet. On page 18, he writes about the health problems arising from dental disease. 4. Veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier wrote 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


animal wellness

creator of Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics. His practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (petcarenaturally. com), is in Plano, Texas. See page 38 for his look at how to use conventional meds safely. 5. Veterinarian Dr. William Ormston graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. He received certification from the AVCA and began using chiropractic to treat his animal patients. Jubilee Animal Health is a mobile practice in the Dallas Metroplex area where he cares for animals using mostly alternative methods. On page 32, Dr. Ormston co-authors an article on how chiropractic can boost an animal’s immunity. 6. Dr. Craig Landry earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. He decided to pursue his lifelong ambition to work with animals by becoming a Certified Animal Chiropractor. He graduated from the Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre – Canada’s sole Animal Chiropractic program approved by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Dr. Landry now practices at a wellestablished human/animal chiropractic practice in Toronto. In this issue (page 24), he looks at how a dog’s mobility affects his overall health. 7. Paul Owens began training dogs in 1972. He is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and a leading proponent of positive, nonviolent animal training. He is author of The Dog Whisperer and The Puppy Whisperer and is featured on the Dog Whisperer DVDs, Volumes One and Two. Paul is also director of the Raise with Praise Teacher Training Program, and the founder/director of the children’s afterschool violence prevention program,

Paws for Peace. On page 22, Paul shares tips on the best times to train your dog. 8. Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are authors of Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure and Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass, offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps and meridian charts. Tallgrass provides hands-on and online training courses, including a 300-hour Practitioner Certification Program. It is an approved school for the Dept. of Higher Education through the State of Colorado, an approved provider of NCBTMB Continuing Education credits, and accepted by NCCAOM. Contact 888841-7211, or Tallgrass@ See page 52 for their article on acupressure for puppy mill rescues. 9. Fanna Easter is a professional dog trainer and writer for She is currently teaching dog manner classes in Dallas, Texas with the local veterinary behaviorist. She shares her home with Miss Stella Mae (miniature bull terrier) and Sobek (Rottweiler) and her very understanding hubby, Rick. Check out her article on calming hyperactive dogs on page 44. 10. Paulette Jolliffe, a certified canine massage therapist, graduated from the Los Angeles Pierce College Veterinary Technician program and has worked for three years at a holistic veterinary clinic in Sherman Oaks, California She is also a student in the Canine Osteoarthritis Case Manager Course through the University of Tennessee, Canine Rehabilitation Program. On page 62, she writes about massage for arthritic dogs.







11. Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager and 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 an awardwinning resource for conscious living, health and happiness for cats and their humans ( Ingrid is also the Cat Expert for, and the publisher of online magazine News for You and Your Pet. Read her article on feline hospice care – page 94. 12. Deanna Krantz has worked in animal and environmental protection since the 1970s in the US, Europe, Africa and India and shares her avocation


with her husband, veterinarian Dr. Michael W. Fox. Deanna co-wrote the article on feral cats on page 96. 13. Ramona Marek is an author, freelance writer, and contributing writer. Her work has been printed in numerous national and international print and digital magazines. She is a former director of the Cat Writers’ Association and has been a professional member since 2007. She is also one of a handful of non-veterinarian members of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, and a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). On page 74, read Ramona’s article about grief therapy dogs in funeral homes.

If you are interested in submitting an article for Animal Wellness Magazine, please contact Ann Brightman, Managing Editor, at :



14. Julianne Pierce is a freelance writer and animal lover who lives in New York City. She has been an active volunteer with Bideawee, one of New York’s oldest animal welfare organizations, since 2006. Turn to page 36 to read her article about catnip’s health benefits for dogs. Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter. For this issue (page 58), she looks at some of the things animal shelters and rescues do to increase their adoption rates.

animal wellness


Yakkity Yak AWARDS FOR CANINE EXCELLENCE These dogs are extra special! The AKC Humane Fund ( announces the winners of their 16th annual Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards commemorate five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly impacted the people in their lives. This year’s winners:

q Uniformed Service K-9: Pablo is a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois military working dog who regularly serves on Secret Service details for visiting dignitaries. He has provided protection for President Obama, Vice President Biden, Former President Clinton and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

w Service Dog: George, a great Dane, was paired with Bella, a little girl with a rare genetic disorder that makes mobility very difficult. George has given her the strength and determination to walk and take part in activities she otherwise couldn’t do.

e Therapy Dog: Wynd, a Rottweiler, served on the therapy dog team for military surviving family members at the Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National in DC. Wynd is a regular at the Hampton Veterans Domiciliary program, interacting and working with with PTSD and substance abuse.

Tragedy Seminar Hospital veterans

r Search and Rescue Dog: Ty, an eight-year-old German shepherd (right), is trained in human remains detection and live find search and rescue. He is the go-to dog in his department for recovery searches, and has been deployed on over 60 missions with great success. Ty serves as the Bay County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue PR dog.

t Exemplary Companion Dog: Mufasa is a Bernese mountain dog owned by Kristen and Robin Greenwood of Bel Air, Maryland. He won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2014, and is an ambassador for Bernese mountain dogs and the AKC. He greets visitors at the Greenwoods’ dog wash business.

LOOKING FOR A SPECIALIST? If your dog or cat has cancer, a heart condition, a neurological problem or other serious illness, you may need to take him to a specialist. You can get a referral from your veterinarian, or visit, a new searchable database of board-certified veterinary specialists launched by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Just plug in the type of specialist you’re looking for, along with your location, for a listing of vets in the field.


animal wellness

Pieces of

raw carrot and apple make great

training and dental treats.

TWO SHINING STARS When Donna Lawrence was attacked by a pit bull, she miscarried her child and was unable to have any more. Yet she knew it wasn’t the dog’s fault; it was due to the brutal way the breed is often raised and treated. So when Donna encountered a badly beaten and burned pit bull mix pup, she rescued her, named her Susie, and raised the funds needed to pay for her extensive veterinary treatment. Together, Donna and Susie spear-headed the passing of North Carolina’s Susie’s Law, which seeks stricter punishments for animal abusers.

This amazing true story was made into a motion picture called Susie’s Hope, now available on DVD from Green Apple Entertainment. It can be purchased through Walmart and Amazon. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Susie’s Hope non-profit, which raises awareness of animal abuse through education.

Despite being attacked by a pit bull and losing her unborn child, Donna Lawrence befriended and adopted a badly abused pit bull pup named Susie and went on to push for stronger anti-cruelty legislation in North Carolina.

Thanks to Donna, Susie became the 2014 American Humane Association Therapy Dog and the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog.

BE AWARE OF IVERMECTIN TOXICITY Many white-footed herding breeds have a genetic mutation that makes them sensitive to ivermectin, the active ingredient in some heartworm preventives, and other meds such as many chemo drugs. Last fall, a four-year-old Australian shepherd named Bristol (below) ended up at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University with severe ivermectin toxicity, which occurs when the drug crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes neurological damage.

With intensive treatment, Bristol recovered, but Tuft’s veterinarian Dr. Terri O’Toole recommends that people have their herding breed dogs undergo a simple genetic test to determine if they have this genetic mutation. The kits are available through veterinarians.

IN HONOR OF MILITARY DOGS Like human soldiers, military dogs are real heroes. They work alongside their handlers in dangerous, difficult situations in some of the worst war zones in the world. These military working dogs are honored on National K9 Veterans Day, which is held every year on March 13.

Among the organizations that will be marking this important day is the Military Working Dog Team Support Association (MWDTSA), based in Canton, Georgia. Founded in 2007, its mission is to provide support to military working dogs and their human handlers, ranging from training, health and welfare to funding memorials and events, and educating the public on the history and use of military dogs. animal wellness


Yakkity Yak HELP DOGS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES “Some 20 million dogs in the developing world are killed every year due to preventable issues like overpopulation and peoples’ fear of rabies,” says Beth Sharpe of World Animal Protection (formerly the WSPA). “We want people to help give these vulnerable dogs a #newleashonlife by signing a pledge to protect them. The more voices we have behind us, the quicker we can influence governments to stop mass killings and protect dogs.”

World Animal Protection works with governments and partners to create safer and healthier communities for dogs and people in places like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, China and Africa, with rabies vaccination and spay/neuter programs. Sign the pledge at worldanimalprotection. ca/google_pledge?utm_source=Generic_PR&utm_medium=referral&utm_ content=sponsored_story&utm_campaign=LG_DPM_2015.

7 FACTS ABOUT CANCER Cancer can strike anyone – including dogs and cats. BluePearl Veterinary Partners offer the following seven things to know about the disease.

q Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all annual disease-related deaths in older animals.

w Warning

signs are similar to those in people – persistent, abnormal swelling, sores that don’t heal, loss of weight and appetite, persistent lameness.

NEW DISASTER RELIEF PROGRAM When hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters strike, you need to keep your four-legged friends safe. Since many evacuation shelters can’t take in dogs and cats, families with companion animals are often left in a very difficult position when planning for emergencies.

The American Humane Association has teamed up with DogVacay to create a Disaster Relief Program that helps displaced animals in times of need. It provides temporary homes to animals in the wake of natural disasters. AHA’s Red Star® Rescue team connects displaced animal guardians with trained DogVacay sitters who volunteer their homes and services at no cost. Visit for disaster tips, to sign up for the program, or to learn how to become a volunteer to house displaced animals.


animal wellness

e Spaying/neutering, oral care, sun protection and no exposure to cigarette smoke can help prevent cancer. [Editor’s note: a high quality diet and minimal vaccines are also important.]

r Some cancers can be cured, and all patients can be helped to some degree with a proper treatment plan.

t Many of the same treatments offered to people are also available for animals, including chemo, immunotherapy, etc. A nimals y

don’t experience many of the debilitating side effects of cancer treatment that humans do.

u The development of new cancer treatments for animals may also benefit humans. or

animal wellness


Yakkity Yak

gingivitis can lead to tooth loss.

Left untreated,

SOBERING STATISTICS Economic, social and other problems can profoundly impact animal guardianship, according to the ASPCA. The organization recently released results of a study addressing the re-homing of cats and dogs in the US, as well as why people give up their animals.

Published in the Open Journal of Animal Sciences, the study says an estimated 6.12 million households re-home or surrender their dogs and cats every five years.

“Many reasons given by the respondents might have been easily resolved through affordable, accessible veterinary care, pet-friendly housing and access to other supplies and resources,” says Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of research and development for the ASPCA. For example, among the 46% who said they gave up a dog or cat due to an issue related to the animal itself, 26% said they could not afford veterinary care for health problems.

“Knowing that many people would’ve opted to keep their animals with them if they’d had access to such critical services illustrates the need for programs and services that intervene and reach these people before they’re forced to make this difficult decision,” says Dr. Weiss. “This is especially crucial in underserved communities where poverty rates are high and access to resources is limited.”


animal wellness

animal wellness


Dental disease linked to organ problems

D gs Cats

Tooth and gum issues may harm your dog or cat’s kidneys, lungs, liver, heart and even his immune system.

By Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA


animal wellness

Do you factor your dog or cat’s dental wellness into his overall health regime? If not, his internal organs are at risk of potentially life-threatening damage. Veterinarians have established February as Pet Dental Health Month, but you should strive to take care of your companion’s teeth and gums all year round in order to avoid the potential for kidney, lung, liver and heart problems.

EFFECTS ON ORGANS AND IMMUNITY One of the most severe aspects of periodontal disease involves the toxic effects oral cavity bacteria have on the internal organs and immune system. Bacteria escapes from the mouth and enters the blood through inflamed gums or exposed blood vessels in fractured teeth, and circulates around the body. It also causes inflammation in the lymph nodes and vessels in the neck and other parts of the body. "Dogs and cats with periodontal disease are more likely to have histopathologic changes in the heart, kidneys and liver," says veterinary dentist Dr. Curt Coffman, when discussing the deleterious health implications associated with oral cavity bacteria. “Histopathologic changes” are cellular abnormalities seen during microscopic examination of body tissues. Dr. Coffman’s perspective that periodontal disease "can shorten a pet’s life by affecting vital organ systems” is good motivation for committing to a daily, lifelong home dental care regime for dogs and cats. Continued on page 20.

How periodontal disease develops

Periodontal disease affects the gums (gingiva) and the structures underneath the gumline that hold the teeth in place (periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, etc.). It’s primarily caused by an accumulation of oral cavity bacteria (plaque). • Within hours of eating or tooth-cleaning, plaque accumulates on tooth surfaces. Plaque is thin and translucent, which means it often isn’t visible to the naked eye, but it can be seen as a tan residue when the teeth are wiped with a soft, white cloth. • If not removed, plaque gradually thickens and turns into opaque tan to brown dental tartar. • Calculus subsequently occurs when tartar mineralizes, appears yellow to brown, and feels abrasive (sandpaper-like) to the touch. • Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is present during all steps of periodontal disease, and weakens the otherwise firm attachment the periodontal ligament creates by attaching the tooth to the underlying alveolar bone. No dog or cat should be forced to endure the more advanced stages of periodontal disease. Along with bad breath, anorexia (decreased appetite), difficulty chewing or swallowing, ptyalism (drooling), and behavior changes (lethargy, exercise intolerance, mood changes, etc.), the deeper, potentially life-threatening problems covered in this article can also arise.

animal wellness


Continued from page 19. The heart and respiratory tract are two areas where dental disease can cause problems.

1. THE HEART Heart murmurs occur when the heart valves open and close improperly, affecting the control of blood flow. They can appear or worsen as a result of inflammation and damage associated with mouth bacteria. I’ve actually had heart murmurs improve in patients after anesthetic dental procedures are done to eliminate the source of oral cavity bacteria, and an appropriate course of antibiotic therapy is administered. The heart muscle can also be affected by periodontal disease, preventing the heart from filling and emptying properly. Arrhythmia, abnormal electrical conduction through the heart’s muscular walls, can also occur and be potentially deadly if not readily resolved.

2. THE RESPIRATORY TRACT The mouth connects to the respiratory tract through the trachea, which is also known as the windpipe. The movement of bacteria from the mouth into the trachea can cause a thickening of airway tissues and a reduction of the diameter through which air moves, ultimately decreasing an animal’s ability to breathe and oxygenate. Additionally, bacteria can seed the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli, which are all portions of the lungs, and cause pneumonia and other airway diseases.

3. THE KIDNEYS AND LIVER Since the kidneys, liver, and other organs lie deep within the body’s cavities, the damage caused to them by mouth bacteria may not be readily apparent. Blood and urine testing may be needed to establish the degree of normal or abnormal function in these organs. Blood testing may reveal changes in kidney or liver values, while urine testing can reveal dilute urine (as the kidneys lose their ability to normally concentrate the urine), the presence of protein resulting from kidney cell damage, or other findings.

4. THE IMMUNE SYSTEM Periodontal disease is also taxing on the immune system. Inflammation and bacteria in the mouth inhibit the complicated processes involved in the production and movement of white blood cells in the blood, lymph and other body tissues. Blood testing may reveal an elevation of globulins (immune system proteins) and changes in white blood cell counts. As a result, the immune system cannot effectively manage stress, prevent infection on exposure to pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.), fight cancer, eliminate dead and dying cells, and perform other essential functions that promote whole body health. The best way to keep these serious problems from impacting your dog or cat’s health and longevity is to resolve any existing periodontal disease, and prevent recurrences. Consult with a holistic or integrative veterinarian about the best way to address your animal’s mouth and whole body wellness, and get started as early in your canine or feline’s life as possible. Remember, prevention is always the best medicine.

Editor’s note:

The mouth also is intimately associated with the nasal cavity, since the roots of upper teeth abut against the sinuses. Tooth

abscesses (pockets of bacterial infection) can erode through to the respiratory passages in the muzzle and lead to nasal discharge with a variety of appearances (blood, mucus, “pus”, etc.) or swelling around the eye socket.


animal wellness

One way to help prevent periodontal disease in your dog or cat is to feed him a high quality, whole meat-based, species-appropriate, raw, canned or homemade diet. Avoid feeding cheap kibble, which can actually contribute to dental disease.

Dental Care & More

Special feature


Fight plaque & tartar Bluestem™ oral care products are scientifically developed and clinically proven to be safe and effective for everyday use. All of the ingredients are food-grade (no harsh chemicals). The active ingredients help fight plaque and tartar, which in turn freshens breath and promotes good dental hygiene.

PetzLife Complete Oral Care – No Brushing! Naturally removes plaque and tartar, heals gums and freshens breath without brushing. Now infused into a natural healthy dental chew! Both guaranteed and widely recommended by vets.  Does your pet have a great smile? Enter the PetzLife “Best Smile” contest for a chance to be featured in a Full Page AD! Use code “AW20” for 20% off online.

Wild and simple Sojos has launched a new freeze-dried treat line called Simply Wild. The all-meat treats are available in free-range venison, wild boar, or wild-caught salmon. These bite-sized raw treats are packed in 2.5-ounce re-sealable pouches, and contain no fillers, preservatives, artificial colors or ingredients from China.

Animals Connection From heart and soul into words. Through telepathic communication, Animals Connection helps  restore   balance between pets  &  their beloved ones. The origins and causes of health issues and challenging behaviors like anxiety, hyperactivity, or sadness are addressed by exchanging feelings, thoughts, and sensations with your pet. Just let your pets express themselves. Contact Animals Connection today! 304-906-6915

EVER NEED AN EXTRA HAND? …now you have it with SMOOCHY POOCHY’S versatile hands free lead. Smoochy’s leash is great for just about anything including leisurely walking, shopping, running, training, texting, visiting, or just extending some extra attention to that other dog! 416-407-8898

animal wellness




By Paul Owens


Training is a necessary part of having a dog, and the lessons you teach your canine companion should be practiced regularly. Finding the opportunity to do so can be a challenge, but this article will help with useful tips on the five best times to work on your best friend’s training and obedience.



There are three things dogs want to do in the morning: eliminate, eat and explore (the three “E”s). Use this time to practice training by asking your dog to sit, lie down or stay before granting his desires. This category is related to “Best Time #3”, but is especially important so it has its own category.



Capturing the behaviors your dog spontaneously performs is one of the easiest and quickest methods you can use to train him. Simply watch him, and whenever he does something you want, praise him and toss him a treat. Over time, he will start offering the behaviors more frequently. Then it’s simply a matter of weaning him off the treats. The six “capture” behaviors we stress in our training classes are: • Sitting • Lying down • Going to bed • Picking up a toy • Walking by your side • “Checking in” (the most important – whenever your dog glances up at you before doing anything)


animal wellness

Remember to jackpot the “aha” moment when the dog finally “gets” what the game is. An example is when a guest walks in the door and your dog, without being asked, pauses, lies down and looks at you. Super praise and multiple treats should rain from the heavens! That’s a jackpot.



You don’t want to have to carry treats around with you for the rest of your life. Thus it’s important to ask your dog to do one of the behaviors you’ve been capturing throughout the day and use “life rewards” instead. Life rewards are anything your dog wants that isn’t food: • Want to go outside? Sit first. • Want to chase the ball? Lie down first. • Want to get on my bed? Go to your bed first. • Want to sniff the fire hydrant? Walk ten steps by my side first. • Want to go for a ride? Get me a beer out of the fridge.



If your dog steals food off the table, runs out the door or jumps on you, it indicates one of two problems – the behavior has not been properly managed/prevented, or you haven’t taught the dog an appropriate substitute behavior. Prevention and management refer to the proper use of tethers, baby gates and exercise pens. Substitution simply entails teaching the dog what you’d like him to do instead.

The 60 seconds immediately following an unwanted behavior is the perfect time for training – it’s fresh in your mind and in your dog’s. Taking one minute to teach your dog to “leave it” when food is placed on the table, or to lie down and stay when the door opens, helps both of you become more aware. In short order, the new behavior becomes more reliable.



Parents often call the hours between 4pm and 9pm the “witching hours” because they notice a real energy uptick in their children. In the canine world, it’s called the “crepuscular” time. Think of it as the time of day when Mother Nature is screaming in your dog’s ear: “Your ancestors were wolves! Go hunting!” The trick is for you to harness your dog’s sudden burst of energy and use it as a training opportunity. Take your dog for walks or runs, play hide-and-seek or fetch, and teach him to hunt treats around the house or yard. All these are easier when your dog is already geared for action. How do you turn the switch off when it’s time to settle down for the night? Just because you’re ready to stop doesn’t mean your dog is. The easiest way to teach a dog an “off switch” is

to say something like “that’s it” or “all done” and have him run to his bed and lie down. Then get a long-lasing treat like a good quality bully stick or a treat-filled Kong. The dog’s chewing will actually help dissipate that last bit of energy. Taking advantage of these ideal times for training will keep your dog sharp and well-behaved, and strengthen your bond of friendship.

If you don’t train

Consider the flip side. If you don’t work on your dog’s training, he’s likely to become “self-employed”. To keep themselves busy, dogs will become unwanted gardeners, home decorators, clothing designers (i.e. destroyers) and official protectors of the castle. It’s much easier and fun for both of you to teach your dog what you want him to do, rather than try to take his self-employment away. Reliable behavior is built on a solid foundation. Making use of the five best times for training does exactly that through a go-with-the-flow training model that makes the education process part of your everyday routine. And dogs thrive on routines!

animal wellness


How’s your dog’s

MOBILITY? By Craig Landry, DC

HIS POSTURE, RANGE OF MOTION, AND THE WAY HE MOVES CAN HAVE AN influence ON HIS OVERALL WELL-BEING. When was the last time you really watched how your dog stands, walks or stretches? How he moves and holds himself may not seem all that important, but his mobility and posture can have a profound effect on his general health. Many of the conditions that can affect him are related to the health of his spine and nervous system.

Dysfunctional top-lines are often described as having a “roach” or “sway-back” appearance. These abnormal postures are the result of mechanical and muscular imbalances, which can negatively affect the function of the nervous system. Action step: Assess your dog’s posture. How does it look?

I’ve compiled a list of fun and simple things you can do at home to help appreciate the importance proper mobility has on your dog’s overall health.

POSTURE Yes – dogs have posture too, and many have “bad” posture. In general, “good” posture means the dog’s back, or “top-line”, has a relatively flat appearance from the shoulders to the pelvis.


animal wellness

STRETCHING All dogs have a stretch routine that they instinctually perform daily. This is quite amazing as humans do not have this instinct. These “upward dog” and “downward dog” stretches are extremely important for maintaining balance between the ventral and dorsal (front and back) musculature, as well as for proper mobility in the low back and pelvis.

Dogs that have stopped stretching often do so because of joint stiffness, pain and muscle spasm. One of my biggest goals when treating senior dogs is to get them to start stretching again. Action step: Pay close attention to how your dog stretches. Does he do both “upward dog” and “downward dog”? Is the depth of the stretch equal on both sides?

SHAKING OFF Our dogs are smarter than we think. We often see them shake off after they wake up from a sleep, or just after they do their stretching. The purpose of this “dry” shakeoff is to mobilize their spines after a period of rest. This rapid rotational movement stimulates the joint capsules to produce synovial fluid, which lubricate joints.

CANINE LIFE Dogs may stop shaking off for a few different reasons. If they have sustained an acute injury to one or more joints they may stop shaking off all of a sudden, whereas senior dogs will progressively decrease the frequency and quality of shake-offs due to stiffness and arthritis. Continued on page 26.




Creating a Fresh Whole Foods Diet for Your Dog’s Optimum Health! Special Cancer Formulation available •

A percentage of the proceeds from all Canine Life products is donated to The Smiling Blue Skies ® Cancer Fund.

animal wellness


Continued from page 25. Action step: How often does your dog shake off? Is it a full body shake or just the neck and upper body?

RANGE OF MOTION Range of motion can tell us a lot about a dog’s mobility. If joints are restricted or inflamed, they do not move as well as they should. This often causes a decreased range of motion in a particular direction in any region of the spine. Assessing the range of motion in your dog’s neck is both fun and easy. It’s important to remember that all nerve supply to the front legs comes from nerves that exit the neck. I often find joint inflammation and restrictions on the same side of the neck as a dog’s front leg limp. Action step: Hold a tasty treat in front of your dog’s face. Now, slowly move the treat around the side of his body to assess how far he is able to rotate. Repeat on the other side. Are the rotations both full and symmetrical?

Temperature is also a clue

When movement between adjacent joints becomes abnormal, it can change the way blood circulates in the area. Acute injury causes increased blood flow and inflammation to surround the area, whereas chronic injury can actually decrease blood circulation. Acute injury can be felt as increased temperature on the surface of the skin or coat. The warmer it is, the more inflamed it is. One of the most common places I detect a warm area is in the animal’s mid-back, at a spot known as the “thoracolumbar region”. This area is especially prone to mechanical stress since the joint surfaces abruptly change direction at this point. Action step: A simple way to assess temperature change is to slowly run the back of your hand down your dog’s spine (see photo above). If you notice an area of increased temperature, this could be an area that is stiff and inflamed. What do you feel?


animal wellness

HIND LEG STRENGTH Dogs are “rear wheel drive”, so to speak. All their driving force is meant to come from the lower back, pelvis and hind legs. What frequently happens in older dogs is that this propulsion system begins to shut down. As a dog ages, his joints become stiff and dysfunctional, which can cause compression to the nerves that control these hind end muscles. Over time, this results in progressive weakening of the hind end, which in turn leads the dog to compensate by using his front legs as a pulling force. For example, we’ve all seen older dogs struggling to pull themselves up from a seated position, or pulling themselves up the stairs. All too often, this presentation is frequently ruled as “hip joint arthritis” or “hip dysplasia”. Action step: Watch your dog move around the house. Does he have trouble getting up from lying down? Does he hesitate before jumping or ascending stairs?

PROPRIOCEPTION Dogs have nerve endings in their paws that relay information about limb position back to the brain. The sensations picked up by these nerve endings are collectively referred to as “proprioception”. Improper joint mechanics and inflammation can cause compression to these nerves, which can actually stop this pathway from communicating. When this occurs, the dog is not able to sense where his paws are in space and may actually start to walk on his knuckles instead of the pads of his feet. Action step: Lift your dog’s paws one at a time and attempt to place his body weight on his knuckles. If he allows you to place his paw upside down without correcting it, it is usually a positive test for advanced proprioception problems. Watch him walk. Does he drag any of his limbs? Does he knuckle or scrape his nails on the sidewalk? Does he have a hard time finding stability on slippery floors? By keeping an eye on your dog’s movement and posture, and performing these simple observations and tests on a regular basis, you can help detect potential mobility issues early on, and get him to a veterinarian and/or animal chiropractor for assessment.

animal wellness


By Ann Brightman



ealthy teeth and gums are as important to your dog or cat’s well-being as good nutrition and regular exercise. Yet dental wellness in animals is often overlooked, even though most of us know from personal experience that toothaches are painful and debilitating, and can affect our whole quality of life, not to mention our ability to chew and digest food properly. The same applies to dogs and cats. Sore gums and infected or rotting teeth are very painful, and even though your animal may not be showing overt signs of discomfort, that doesn’t mean he’s not suffering. Take a look inside his mouth. If you see red inflamed gums, brownish teeth, and/or notice a foul smell, he needs dental attention as soon as possible. Maintaining good dental health in dogs and cats involves regular veterinary checkups, along with professional cleanings when necessary, as well as home dental care between appointments. Along with a nutritious good quality diet (whole meat-based, free of empty carbs and additives), daily brushing is often recommended, using a special toothbrush or finger glove along with toothpaste formulated especially for animals. But what if your dog or cat won’t let you brush his teeth? With training and patience, some will learn to accept it, especially if started young, but with others it will always remain a difficult and stressful ordeal. If your companion falls into the latter category, consider using a natural no-brush dental product, such as an oral gel or spray.


animal wellness


A variety of companies make brushless oral care products, but it’s important to choose a high quality product formulated from natural, nontoxic ingredients. • LebaLab uses herbs in its Leba III dental spray. “The herbs are mints and rose, stabilized in ethyl alcohol and distilled water,” says Lise Guerin. “All the ingredients are human grade. The herbs are the active ingredients. They stimulate the enzymes and change the chemistry in the mouth. They activate the saliva and the tartar softens and comes off slowly over time.” • “PetzLife uses a unique blend of essential oils and extracts,” says Andrew Groth. “It works within the saliva to kill the bacteria in the animal’s mouth, allowing plaque and tartar to be broken down, even under the gum line.” For example, the grapefruit seed extract in the product reduces periodontal inflammation, while grape seed extract helps prevent dental plaque and mitigates oral and gum disease. Other ingredients include peppermint oil, neem oil and thyme oil, all good for dental health and hygiene. • “Bluestem oral care products are scientifically developed and clinically proven to be safe and effective,” says Erika Linden of Kane

Biotech Inc. “All the ingredients are food-grade (no harsh chemicals), and meet the safety standards set out by Health Canada’s Low Risk Veterinary Health Products (LRVHP) program. The active ingredients help fight plaque and tartar, which in turn freshens breath.” • TropicClean is another good choice for brushless oral care products. “They all have a natural blend of gentle and safe ingredients that freshens breath, cleans teeth, and promotes overall periodontal wellness,” says James Brandly. These ingredients include chlorophyllin (a natural breath freshener derived from green leafy vegetables) as well as green tea leaf extract and spearmint oil.


SHOP FOR BRUSHLESS PRODUCTS Bluestem, LebaLab Inc., PetzLife, TropicClean,

Most brushless dental products are designed to be as convenient as possible. Some are applied directly to the animal’s mouth via a dropper or spray, while others can be added to his water. “Our water additive is very simple to use,” says Erika. “Just add a capful or two to your animal’s drinking water. We offer several flavors to appeal to a wide range of animals. We also have an oral spray to be applied directly to the teeth. Our clinical studies show a reduction in tartar after 28 days of continued use.” Continued on page 30.

animal wellness


Continued from page 29. Leba III is sprayed into the animal’s mouth. “It starts working immediately, although the time it takes for complete cleaning will vary according to the animal’s age, the medications he’s taking, and so on,” says Lise. PetzLife’s oral gels are administered by pumping the suggested dosage onto your finger and gently wiping it on your animal’s teeth and gums. “If he will not allow this procedure, quickly swipe the gel onto the lips and muzzle,” says Andrew. “He will lick the product, which will disperse it through the mouth via the saliva. With the spray, gently lift the animal’s lips and spray the suggested dosage directly into his mouth. All the teeth do not have to be covered.” The company recommends applying its product twice a day for a month. “Once the teeth are free of build-up, two to three times a week will suffice for maintenance, keeping the plaque from forming into hardened tartar,” Andrew says. “Nighttime is best because it allows the product to activate throughout the whole night.” TropicClean’s products include drops that can be added to the

Photos courtesy of Tropiclean

animal’s water bowl; a whitening gel that’s applied via two drops



THE BENEFITS OF GOING BRUSHLESS “The most important benefit is ease of use,” says Andrew. “No one really likes the battle with the toothbrush. Case in point – only 5% of people actually brush their animals’ teeth on a regular basis.”

to each side of the dog’s mouth; and a breath freshening foam to be squirted onto the teeth and gums. “Apply our Clean Teeth Gel directly to teeth with plaque and tartar buildup, once daily in the evening,” James advises. “After application, you’ll soon notice your dog licking his lips repeatedly. This is normal and helps the gel mix with the saliva and coat all surfaces of his teeth and gums. It begins removing plaque and tartar immediately when used as directed.” Given the availability of natural, convenient, brush-free oral care products for dogs and cats, there’s no longer any excuse to neglect the dental health of our animal companions!


animal wellness

“The major benefit of our non-brushing dental and oral care products is the simplicity for animal parents,” concurs James. “It used to be a fight to brush your animal’s teeth or provide oral care. Now it’s as simple as three drops in his water, or a small drop on his back teeth depending on the product.”

animal wellness


By Bill Ormston, DVM, CVC, and Amy Hayek, DVM, MA, CVA, CVC


HIS immune system Spinal misalignments can lead to inflammation and infection in an animal’s body. Regular chiropractic care naturally helps prevent illness.

D gs Cats

Did you know your dog or cat’s nervous system controls his immune system? This means a properly functioning nervous system should be the first priority when it comes to strengthening his immunity, since it’s the nervous system that controls all the animal’s bodily functions. The nervous system works by sending and receiving nerve messages or impulses to all parts of the body. The nervous system is protected by the spine, which consists of a variable number of moveable vertebrae (depending on the species). When the spine is in its proper position, it protects the nerve pathways. The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms


animal wellness

and substances that invade body systems and cause disease. A properly functioning immune system is one of the keys to a healthy, happy animal that will resist infections, allergies, and chronic illnesses.


An immune-mediated inflammatory disease (IMID) is any of a group of conditions or diseases that lack a definitive cause, but which are characterized by common pathways leading to inflammation, and may result from, or be triggered by, a dysregulation of the normal immune response. IMIDs include inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and many other conditions in dogs and cats. Recurrent or chronic infections only occur when the immune system is weakened.

Animals with diagnosed conditions such as leptosporosis, Lyme disease, and parasites are sure to have a weak immune system. Infection causes damage to the immune system, which further weakens resistance. In either case, enhancing the immune system can provide the answer to breaking the cycle. According to Andrew Weil, MD, “The cornerstone of good health is a properly functioning immune system.”


The nervous system plays an important role in both the control and activity of the immune response. Dr. Robert Ader, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, School of Medicine, performed key experiments to prove the brain/ nervous system/immune system connection. The central nervous system is linked to both the bone marrow and thymus, where immune system cells are produced and developed; and to the spleen and lymph nodes, where those cells are stored. Researchers found that inducing an immune response causes nerve cells in parts of the brain to become more active, and brain cell activity peaks at precisely the same time that levels of antibodies are at their highest. The brain monitors immunological changes closely. “Whenever the immune system deals successfully with an infection, it emerges from the experience stronger and better able to confront similar threats in the future,” writes Dr. Weil in his book, Spontaneous Healing. “Our animals’ immune systems develop in combat. If, at the first sign of infection, we always jump in with antibiotics, the immune system is not given a chance to grow stronger.”


When vertebrae become misaligned, interference to nerve impulses occurs – which reduces the overall functioning of the nervous system and of the particular organ to which that part of the spine is assigned. These spinal misalignments are known as "vertebral subluxations". Continued on page 34.


animal wellness


Continued from page 33. The effects of vertebral subluxations have been well documented by leading scientists and researchers from all over the world. “Subluxation is very real,” stated Chang Ha Suh, PhD, of the University of Colorado. “We have documented it to the extent that no one can dispute its existence. Vertebral subluxations change the entire health of the body by causing structural dysfunction of the spine and nerve interference. The weight of a dime on a spinal nerve will reduce nerve transmission by as much as 60%.”

Dr. Ormston performs a chiropractic adjustment on a canine patient.

One way chiropractic care can enhance immunity is by relieving stress on the nervous system.

BOOSTING IMMUNITY HELPS PREVENT ILLNESS As we learn more about the immune system, we are prompted to shift away from treating illness and toward preventing it. This approach begins with a focus on strengthening the immune system, something that should be a top priority for all animal caretakers. The immune system consists of the tonsils, adenoids, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, appendix, Peyer's patches, lymph nodes, and circulating white blood cells. Many characteristic symptoms of illness, from nasal discharge to fever and swollen glands, are signs that the normal immune response is proceeding on schedule. These symptoms represent the body's best efforts to heal itself. By treating symptoms, we are suppressing the body's natural response and inhibiting the healing process. Instead, we should attempt to support the body's defenses to allow for completion of the healing process.


animal wellness

And as early as 1981, an article in Science reported: “Nerve dysfunction is stressful to the visceral nerve and other body tissues and the lowered tissue resistance modifies the immune response and lessens the overall capability of the immune system.”


An experienced animal chiropractor will determine the presence of subluxations via motion palpation and by finding abnormal movement between adjacent vertebrae in your animal’s spine. As these subluxations become more severe, you may begin to notice an alteration in how your dog or cat moves and reacts to his surroundings. In an article published in the German medical journal Manuelle Medizine, Dr. Gotfried Gutmann, a leading researcher in the field of manipulation medicine, reported on spinal nerve interference and immune disorders. He stated that blocked nerve impulses in the cervical region can cause many clinical features, from central motor impairment to lowered resistance to infection. Chiropractic examinations are of "decisive importance" in the diagnosis of this blocked neurological flow. Chiropractic can often bring about successful results because it aims at the cause of the problem. The science of chiropractic is founded on the premise that a proper nerve supply is essential in controlling and regulating bodily function. By releasing stress on the nervous system, chiropractic permits the immune system to function more effectively. Studies done in Australia that measured the effects of • chiropractic treatment on the immune system have shown that chiropractic may influence T and B lymphocytes, NK (Natural Killer) cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity, and plasma bet-endorphin levels. •A recent study by Dr. Ron Pero, a leading cancer and genetic research specialist, found that chiropractic patients of all ages had a 200% greater "immune competence" than people who had never received chiropractic care, and a 400% greater immune competence than people with serious diseases. • Recent research by Patricia Brennan, PhD, suggests that spinal adjustments may have a direct effect on certain aspects of immune function. Her group showed that when the thoracic spine (middle of back) was adjusted, the ability of white blood cells to release reactive oxygen species (superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide as they come into contact with different bacteria or fungi) was enhanced. Routine chiropractic examination and adjustment of your dog or cat should be as important a part of his wellness program as a good diet, regular exercise and dental care.

animal wellness


Catnip is good for dogs too! By Julianne Pierce

This common herb offers a range of natural health benefits to canines. When I return home from a trip to the pet supply store, my Jack Russell terrier makes a beeline for the bag, anxious to get his paws on his new catnip toy. Yes, catnip. While Bruno’s love for this feline herb may seem unusual, Nepeta cataria (the Latin name for catnip) actually provides a variety of health benefits for dogs. Known for its distinctive heart-shaped leaves, delicate pearlcolored flowers – and, of course, its tremendous appeal to felines – catnip actually first gained popularity as a favorite tea leaf in early 16th century Britain. Also used as a home remedy for a variety of human ailments, catnip is a versatile herb that can benefit canine wellness in many different ways.

1. HELP HIM RELAX Does your dog get nervous before a visit to the vet? Does he tense up when the groomer tries to trim his nails? Catnip can be a safe and gentle way to reduce canine anxiety during stressful situations. While the herb causes a frenzied reaction in many felines, it typically has the opposite effect on dogs. A mild relaxant, catnip takes the edge off when pooches start to stress out. “It calms them down,” says holistic veterinarian Dr. Randy Kidd. “Some dogs don’t respond, but the ones that do become more relaxed, calmer.” Most herbs, including catnip, take around 30 minutes to become effective, so administer at least one-half hour before a stressful event.


animal wellness



Buying and growing: A common perennial herb, catnip plants and seeds are available at most nurseries. Growing your own is fairly easy and the herb will even sprout indoors if placed on a sunny windowsill (and kept out of the cat’s reach!). If harvesting the plant yourself, use the leaves and avoid the stems. When purchasing dried catnip, fragrance and hue are good indicators of quality. “It should have some color; it shouldn’t be brown,” says clinical herbalist Courtney Fischer. “Make sure it has some smell. That gives you an indication it’s fresh.” Organic herbs are a must and locally grown plants are often the freshest. Administering: To administer orally, Dr. Kidd suggests starting with one-half teaspoon of catnip (or one-quarter teaspoon for very small dogs). Sprinkle over the dog’s food, or try mixing it with yogurt or kefir for palatability. Storing: Courtney suggests keeping your catnip in a glass container to maintain freshness. “The best way to store herbs is in a glass jar (like a mason jar), out of direct light,” she says. Contraindications: Catnip should not be used in pregnant animals, and while herbs are safe for short term use, you don’t want to overdo it. “Short term, we understand the safety profiles of these herbs,” says Dr. Wynn, “but we have to be careful about long term use.”


Speeding down the highway is a strange sensation for many dogs, and can make them disoriented, nauseous or dizzy. Veterinary anti-nausea medications are effective, but they often leave dogs a bit spaced-out. Catnip can be used as a natural alternative to treat motion sickness, without the nasty side effects. Dr. Kidd reports that a colleague frequently recommends catnip for travel. “It’s one of his favorite anti-motion remedies,” he says. If your dog suffers from motion sickness, try giving him a bit of catnip before your next road trip. “If you’re going to use it for travel, I’d give it at least a half hour beforehand,” Dr. Kidd recommends.


As a member of the mint family, catnip has historically been used as a digestive aid in humans, soothing ailments such as heartburn and flatulence. Catnip can help relieve an upset stomach in dogs as well. “All of the mints tend to relax the belly,” Dr. Kidd says. If your dog suffers from occasional bouts of indigestion and gas, a little catnip is worth a try.


“For topical use, the most promising recent studies [involving catnip] show [it makes an effective] insect repellent,” says veterinarian Dr. Susan G. Wynn. “You would use the oil as part of a spray to repel mosquitoes.” In fact, researchers at Iowa State University report that “nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET – the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.” A subsequent study conducted by Rothamsted Research in the UK showed similar results, finding catnip oil to be an effective deterrent against several species of mosquito. Not surprisingly, catnip oil is also effective at repelling fleas. When using catnip oil (or any other herbal essential oil) it’s best to consult a professional veterinary herbalist, who can offer advice on how to create and apply a catnip oil spray. Catnip is much more than a stuffing for kitty toys! This common, easy-to-source herb is also a good addition to your natural health cabinet for you and your dog. To find an herbal specialist near you, contact the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association ( or the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (

A cup of catnip tea Stressed out? Catnip tea can calm you down (avoid if pregnant). Courtney shares this simple recipe for human use: 1 teaspoon catnip 1 teaspoon peppermint leaf or lemongrass Steep in one cup hot water for several minutes.

~ Enjoy! animal wellness


Using c o nv e nt io n a l

meds safely D gs Cats

By Shawn Messonnier, DVM Drugs like antibiotics, NSAIDs and steroids are sometimes necessary to treat canine and feline illnesses, but it’s important they’re not used indiscriminately.


animal wellness


As a holistic veterinarian, my goal is to help dogs and cats using as many natural therapies as possible. My use of conventional medications is kept to a minimum. In most cases, I can realistically help and often cure my patients using no drugs or surgery. Sometimes, though, conventional therapies and medications are necessary. This article will look at how to use mainstream medications in the most holistic way possible. Many people are surprised to hear that holistic doctors sometimes use conventional medications. To me, “holistic” not only means looking at the “whole” animal (rather than simply the diseased organ or tissue) – it also means looking at every available option for treatment, including allopathic medications. While I say “no” to mainstream drugs whenever possible, I do realize that sometimes I need these conventional medications to help my patients. Here’s a look at the three most common categories of veterinary medication, and how they can be used in the safest, most holistic way.


In my opinion, steroids (corticosteroids) are the most commonly abused, misused, over-prescribed, and misunderstood medications in veterinary medicine. When needed, steroids can be life-saving for the patient. In many cases, using them correctly provides relief for animals suffering from inflammatory conditions. But they are often used incorrectly, especially in patients with allergies and other skin conditions. Many doctors use steroids per “textbook” guidelines. This means they use the “standard textbook” dosage. Steroids are typically given daily for seven to ten days. A lower dose is used for another seven to ten days, then given every other day for seven to ten days, before the treatment is stopped. That’s a lot of steroids for most allergic dogs and cats! I have found that when I need to use steroids for an allergic patient, they are best and most safely given “as needed”. This means that when the animal’s body

tells me it needs a dose of steroid, then I administer it (I also teach my clients what signs to look for so they know when their dogs or cats are telling them they need a dose of steroid). I also use steroids sparingly, typically at about half the “correct textbook” dose. On a first visit, for example, in addition to my natural therapies I will give the animal an injection of a short-acting steroid (see sidebar on next page), then prescribe an oral dosage for three to five days. The client then stops the treatment, only giving more steroid when the animal’s body says it needs more. If the client realizes he/she is using “too much steroid”, then I need to see the patient again and fine tune my treatment. This is the holistic way of doing things – there is no cookie-cutter method, since all treatments are tailored to each animal’s needs. There is also no reason to give steroids at decreasing dosages over three to four weeks as many doctors do for patients taking anti-inflammatory doses for skin disease.


This is another class of mainstream drugs that is overused and abused, both in human and veterinary medicine. It’s such a serious problem that infectious disease specialists are very concerned about the new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria arising due to the improper use of these drugs. As antibiotic usage increases, so too do these serious and often life-threatening bacteria. Notice I did not say that antibiotics should never be used, as they can save lives when administered correctly. Too often, though, doctors and veterinarians prescribe these medications when they’re not needed. They do so because people expect to animal wellness



There are several types of injectable steroid, both short-acting and long-acting. Many doctors use long-acting steroids, but in my opinion they should rarely be used for most animals. Short-acting steroids are preferable. They immediately reduce itching and inflammation but only last about 24 hours. Long-acting steroids release small amounts of medication over a one- to two-month period. This isn’t good since the positive effects from the shot (decreased itching) only last a few weeks, but the harmful steroid effects (immune suppression) last several months. Unless the dog or cat is too difficult to treat at home with short-acting oral steroids, there is never any reason to use long-acting injections. have pills after a visit with the doctor, and because the only pills (non-holistic) doctors can offer for the conditions in question are antibiotics and steroids. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time your doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic for two of the most common disorders clients seek veterinary care for. • Bladder diseases usually do not require antibiotic therapy. Cats rarely have bacterial infections (they usually develop idiopathic FLUTD, which is not caused by bacteria). Dogs tend to have bacterial bladder infections but often get better with natural therapies (I use Herbal AM and Olive Leaf Plus in addition to homeopathic support). The only two times I use antibiotics are when a urine culture tells me the bladder problem is caused by bacteria, as well as which bacteria are the problem and which antibiotics are the best to use; or if the urine contains large quantities of blood (and even in these patients, I often wait for culture results before using antibiotics). • Skin infections can be bacterial (which may


animal wellness

require antibiotics) or caused by yeast (these infections will get worse with antibiotics). For minor bacterial infections, I do not use antibiotics but again use Herbal AM and Olive Leaf Plus, along with frequent bathing. (Dermatologists are now finally recommending against antibiotic usage for minor skin infections!) For severe infections, I will start the dog or cat on the antibiotic most likely to help (plus many supplements). For any condition in which antibiotics are needed, you must use the correct antibiotic at the correct dosage for the correct length of time (many doctors don’t treat infections long enough in order to reduce client costs; many infections can be expensive to treat if it’s done correctly.) Failing to follow these guidelines actually increases the cost to you, fails to cure your companion, and increases antibiotic resistance in bacteria.


Many doctors incorrectly prescribe NSAIDS (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) for animals with arthritis. NSAIDS are powerful pain relievers but also can cause kidney, GI and liver problems if used chronically or at high doses. I also see these drugs being prescribed for animals that supposedly suffer from arthritis, when the diagnosis has never been proven. When I see these dogs and cats, x-rays or blood tests often reveal a totally different disease for which NSAIDS don’t prove helpful. For animals with proven arthritic pain, we have many alternative choices for arthritis, such as herbs, homeopathics, nutritional supplements, cold laser, acupuncture and chiropractic. These therapies are as effective as NSAIDS for most animals with arthritis. When NSAIDS are needed in my practice, they are used with natural therapies so we can lower the dose and frequency of the NSAID therapy. I tend to start with a dose of NSAID that is 50% to 75% lower than the textbook dose, and use it infrequently (only on days when the animal shows increased pain). As a result, my patients don’t suffer from the side effects that occur when higher doses and longer treatment times are used in NSAID therapy. Conventional medications are useful – they can improve a dog or cat’s comfort and possibly save his life. There’s nothing wrong with using them, as long as they are used correctly and safely.

PRODUCT PICKS Support joint Herbs for healthy


The immune system works constantly to keep environmental disease forces at bay, including viruses, harmful bacteria, and external heat and cold. His immune system can get run down, making him susceptible to illness. Natural Canine Herbal Pet Boost supports weakened immune systems, improves digestion, and can be used for bronchitis, kennel cough, fatigue, slow recovery from injury, and cancer support.


If your dog is strong and healthy, you want to keep him that way! Response Products introduces Cetyl M® Regular Strength, featuring cetyl myrisoleate, resveratrol and blue green algae. It’s formulated for healthy active dogs, and maintains optimal health with immune system support. It also helps keep dogs in peak condition by supporting healthy joints and flexibility. 60 tablets: $18.97

50 grams: $28.95

Take lameness


If your dog is limping, seems stiff or is reluctant to exercise, he could have arthritis or some other form of joint degeneration. It’s important to have him checked out, and look into ways to help him feel better. Osteo-X™ by Animal Nutritional Products is a full circle powerful joint, muscle and antioxidant formula made and manufactured in the US. It’s available in liquid form or as a soft chew. 16 oz. liquid or 60 chews: $19.99

Travel in


If your dog travels in a crate, he needs something comfortable to lie on, especially if his joints are a bit creaky. Back on Track's dog crate liner features unique therapeutic Welltex® ceramic fabric with a protective coating to provide soothing thermal infrared warmth. It can help relax your dog's muscles and relieve joint pain. Available in five sizes from XS to XL, it’s machine washable. $45-$75 animal wellness


Warm & Fuzzy Warm & Fuzzy


doggy tour By Lisa Loeb

Crossing the pond to the land of monarchs, I wonder how the historical sights and countryside will affect me. With the curiosity of a passionate dog lover, I also wonder how British canines fare. On my first day in London, it pours with rain. Ducking under my umbrella, I scout the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral for a warm café. Finding a cozy spot, I gaze out the window and am rewarded with the sight of a tiny black pug pup trotting confidently beside her person. Seconds later the rain dissipates, and sunshine breaks through. Sprinting out of the café, I catch up with the puppy and am flattered when she joyfully jumps into my arms and covers my face with welcoming kisses. Her “mum” laughs and explains: “Lea is a little wild…but she is also a born cuddle bug.” This spontaneous meeting sets the stage for a week filled with dog-loving people and their friendly, curious pooches.

1 42

2 animal wellness

in a doggie stroller. At 14, Angus has severe arthritis, but this doesn’t stop him from from enjoying daily walks via carriage ride. In the land of kings and queens, Angus leads a royal life.

 Relaxing on the tour boat, I watch the rolling hills pass by when a sudden flash of black and white zigzags across the landscape. Two dancing dogs are racing over hill and dale. A man meanders toward the edge of the river and his two dog companions leap at the water.

 Walking

along the Thames River, I notice three cocker spaniels promenading beside an ancient stone wall. While taking their photos, I learn their names – Bonnie (11), Pippi (six) and Jilly (five)

 While

waiting for a tour boat to take me down the Thames, I spot a woman with two white highland terriers, one being pushed




meet Digby in the Cotswolds. His unusual looks – tousled curls covering his body except for smooth short hair around his muzzle and tail, make me question his breed. His “dad” responds with pride: “Digby is an Irish water spaniel, the clown of the spaniel breed.” He affectionately tickles the dog’s cheek. Digby kindly sniffs me and eyes me with interest.

 Rosie is a tiny bit of a dog. Outfitted in a pink collar and leash she coordinates with her “mum”, Ann, who is wearing


a periwinkle coat and scarf. They look like they have stepped out of a storybook.

 Union

Street in Bath bustles with people against the backdrop of ancient Roman baths. My attention is pulled to a woman with a sleek puppy in the middle of the square. Leo is a 15-week-old Saluki. He nervously watches the crowds and pigeons. His guardian, Katrina, is helping him acclimate to the city. “I want to socialize him to the sounds and movement of the town.”


 Stone


farmhouses stand solidly beside marshes in New Forrest Park. I hear barking in the distance, and a brilliant springer spaniel dashes over a rise in pursuit of a ball. Reaching the top of the rise, I see several people exercising their dogs. A nearby gentleman calls his dog and says with a grin: “We both love this place and come three times a week.”

 In

the small town of Gerrards Cross, a woman is walking a spectacular liver-spotted dog named Livvie. She is a young German short-haired pointer with magnificent liver markings that look like artwork. Her guardian says Livvie is the star of the family, “and with her noble looks she should be acting in Downton Abbey!”

8 animal wellness


CALMING GAMES FOR Over-excitement can be a problem if you can’t get your dog to settle down. These 3 games help by rewarding relaxed behavior.

ve hyperactiDOGS By Fanna Easter, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, ACDBC


animal wellness


dentifying a hyperactive dog is pretty easy. He wiggles around a lot, is easily distracted and has a really hard time settling down even in quiet environments. Some hyper dogs become so excited they’ll drool, pant, whine and bark, especially in new situations. Basically, these dogs seem to have unlimited energy. First of all, understand that occasional overexcitement is totally normal. Most canines get excessively exuberant at times. But it may not be appropriate in many circumstances and can turn into an issue if the dog is unable to bring his excitement levels down.


Daily exercise is a help for hyperactivity, and I highly recommend 20 to 30 minute walks every day, but it’s not the magic cure. If you focus solely on daily exercise, you usually end up with a very fit dog that is still unable to settle down on his own. Same thing applies to supplying an endless number of food-stuffed toys for mental stimulation. One or two of these a day is good, but unless the dog learns to settle, he or she will plow through the puzzles like a seasoned chess player, and still bounce off the walls. So while physical and mental stimulation are vital components in dealing with hyperactivity, so is teaching your dog how to settle on his own.

table next to my favorite chair, by the front and back doors to reward calm greetings, and so forth. Hyper dogs are usually lean, but if weight is an issue, choose low-fat treats like bits of apple or carrot, and break rewards into tiny portions.


Start with lots of really yummy pea-sized treats. I hide treat stashes in many locations throughout my home, such as inside an end

When playing the following calming games, refrain from making fast movements or rapid high-pitched sounds, which can easily excite dogs. Instead, move slowly, speak softly, and take deep breaths – it’s very calming for both of you.


People usually breathe a sigh of relief and refuse to move once their excited dog finally settles down – they’re scared to awaken the beast! A better response, when animal wellness


your dog is lying quietly next to your feet, is to reward this behavior. It’s much easier to reward calm behavior while it’s happening, then to convince an excited dog to lie down calmly and stay there. As your dog is quietly lying at your feet, slowly and lightly stroke him with your hand. Each stroke should take one to two seconds depending on your dog’s size. Now slowly reach for a treat, and place it next to or in your dog’s mouth. The goal is to reward good behavior without disturbing it. You can reward as often as you like; just make sure your dog continues to lie quietly. You’ll know you’ve overdone it if he stands up and wags. If this happens, ignore him and wait until he lies back down. Reward him again once he has settled. Dogs learn quickly that lying down makes treats appear, so you will more than likely notice an increase in quiet behavior!


Teaching dogs to ignore something they want is extremely valuable. In this game, your dog learns to control his behavior in order to get the treat. Hold a treat in your closed hand, and place your hand right next to your dog’s mouth. At first, he will try to get the treat out of your hand by licking it. The moment your dog moves away from your hand (stops licking, turns his nose away), open your hand and give him the treat. After a few sessions, you’ll notice him sitting still and refusing to touch your treat hand. He has learned that ignoring your hand makes the treat appear. Always reward him by giving him the treat.


You’ve probably heard about programs aimed at enhancing children’s reading abilities by having them read to shelter dogs. Not only do these programs improve a child’s reading skills, they also teach the dog how to calm himself. What a great outcome for both participants! Using this knowledge, try reading to your own dog. Leash him with a six-foot lead; it’s important he stays with you. Now find a nice comfy spot and read aloud for 15 minutes. At first, your dog will probably pace, whine and have a hard time settling, but just ignore him and continue reading in an even tone. Usually after ten or so minutes, most dogs learn to control their restless behavior by settling down. Ideally, reading to your dog 15 minutes every day will provide quicker responses, but once or twice a week works too. Don’t forget to reward him when he quiets down. The takeaway message is to reward calm behavior when it happens rather than trying to make your dog calm down when he’s being hyperactive. You don’t want to discourage him from being excited and happy when the situation warrants it, of course, but by teaching your dog that quiet behavior results in a reward, he’ll learn to quiet down more quickly and easily.


animal wellness


Easily excited dogs react this way because it’s all they know. Puppy brains are not pre-programmed with polite human etiquette at birth, so dogs naturally respond with zest and animation when they’re excited. Plus it’s fun to buzz around at warp speed!

This means it’s our job to:

1. Teach our dogs through training and obedience how to politely respond in new situations, such as sitting still while meeting new people or walking politely on leash. 2. Teach them how to calm themselves; this is just as important as teaching manners!


quality By Charlotte Walker

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS in business, this company takes in producing premium, all-natural pet food and treats for dogs and cats.


s kids, Jeff Baikie and Howard Bloxam were avid hockey players. In fact, they first met and made friends while playing a hockey game in Canada. When the boys grew up, they went their separate ways, both becoming entrepreneurs in different fields. But they never lost touch with each other, and in the 1990s, they began talking about starting a company together. The result was Redbarn Pet Products, which specializes in premium dog and cat food and treats. “They recognized a need for a healthy, wholesome dog food that was developed, produced and sold with integrity, honesty and top quality ingredients,” says Allison Arcos, the company’s media marketing manager. Their very first product was a premium rolled dog food made from natural, quality ingredients, and it was an immediate success. “It quickly prompted many requests for matching quality treats,” says Allison, adding that a bully stick was next to be introduced. Today, two decades later, Redbarn offers over 200 premium food and treat products for dogs and cats. They range from rolled dog foods to canned patés and stews for both dogs and cats, all made from natural ingredients and including protein sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, duck and salmon. The patés are all-natural and grain-free. “Every recipe in the paté line features added functional ingredients to support common health issues such as immune support, weight control, and skin and joint health,” says Allison, “‘Superfoods’ like green-lipped mussel,

dandelion greens, brewer’s yeast and salmon oil, respectively, have anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids that support a dog or cat’s optimal health.” The treat line is just as extensive, and features a huge variety of natural bully sticks, bones, antlers and chews for dogs, along with turkey, chicken and salmon semi-moist treats for cats. “Our goal has always been to produce healthy, wholesome and innovative pet foods and treats,” says Allison, adding that educating customers as well as maintaining high standards of quality at their manufacturing plant in Great Bend, Kansas are also important aspects of the Redbarn mission. “We care about pets in need,” Allison continues. “We donate our products to a variety of charitable organizations. Jeff and Howie started Redbarn with the belief that all pets deserve high quality, natural food and treats. For the past ten years, we have been donating food, treats and chews to shelters, rescue groups, and other animal-related organizations. In 2015, we donated over $140,000 worth of products and provided over 2,000 meals for animals in need." Allison is as proud of Redbarn as its founders are. “I love interacting with our customers and reading the testimonials submitted about our products. Every day, I read about a positive interaction a dog or cat experienced with our products. It’s incredibly rewarding to make products that consumers trust and their animals enjoy.” animal wellness


Animal Wellness Exclusive

Should small dogs receive the same amount of vaccine as

big dogs?

Editor-in-chief note:

Currently, all dogs, no matter what the size or breed, are vaccinated with the same quantity of vaccine. A five-pound Chihuahua receives the same dose as a 150-pound mastiff. The conventional veterinary community has maintained that this is a safe practice, but overvaccination can cause a range of health problems and even death. Studies have shown that vaccines last years longer than was initially believed, triggering a new protocol of vaccinating every three years instead of annually (not all veterinarians follow this new protocol). But even every three years is unnecessary, according to research done by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). If frequency is an issue, then what about dosage? Wouldn’t it be prudent to give as little vaccine as possible in order to mitigate vaccine-related injury? Isn’t that what we do with other medications? Eminent researcher Dr. W. Jean Dodds recently conducted a pilot study to determine if a half-dose vaccine would protect small dogs as effectively as the current full-dose now used. For her study, Dr. Dodds chose the canine parvovirus and distemper vaccines. We’re grateful she is sharing this research with us at Animal Wellness.


animal wellness

Efficacy of a half-dose canine parvovirus and distemper vaccine in small adult dogs: a pilot study* By W. Jean Dodds, DVM

BACKGROUND Many veterinary practitioners simply believe what they have been taught about vaccines, and so are less inclined to change or “fix” what is perceived to be unbroken. Other veterinarians use canine vaccination programs as “practice management tools” – annual vaccination has been and remains the single most important reason why most people bring their dogs and cats for an annual or, more often, a “wellness visit”. When you combine this with a failure to understand the principles of vaccinal immunity (that portion of immunity conveyed by vaccines), it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created significant controversy. A “more is better” philosophy still prevails with regard to pet vaccines, but clearly, the accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered a “one size fits all” program. With the advancement in vaccinology comes the increased risk of adverse reactions, called vaccinoses, some of which are serious, chronically debilitating and even fatal. We need to balance the need to protect animals against serious infectious diseases with the attendant risk of adverse events. As vaccine expert Dr. Ron Schultz states, “Be wise and immunize, but immunize wisely!”

THE PROBLEM WITH THE “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL” APPROACH One of the concerns about the potential for over-vaccination and its inherent increased risk of adverse vaccine reactions is the question of giving vaccines on a “one-size-fits-all” basis rather than based upon body weight of the dog. Why do toy breed and giant breed dogs receive the same one ml dose of vaccines, when the manufacturer’s vaccine clinical trials are typically performed on laboratory beagles with little field testing in different breed types prior to licensure and clinical use? Surely, a giant breed dog should require more vaccine than a small or medium-sized dog to fully immunize, and toy and smaller breeds logically would need even less. As Dr. Link Wellborn, Chair of the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force, stated in the article

“Injecting insight into vaccinations”, “Vaccines should be thought of as medications – use as little as possible to accomplish what’s needed.”

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE Five decades of clinical research experience with vaccinations of companion animals by this author and others have shown that the dose of canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) vaccines can be reduced to 50% for small breed type dogs and still convey full duration of immunity. This experience applied to puppies and older dogs of small breed types that weighed 12 pounds or less as adults. Follow-up serum vaccine titers performed three or more weeks after vaccination documented that more than 95% of these dogs given a half dose of two-way bivalent CDV/CPV (DPV) vaccine mounted what is known to be protective antibody titers to both viruses. To document this clinical field experience, I completed a formal clinical trial study.

PILOT STUDY DESIGN AND RESULTS Small breed dogs between three and nine years of age participated in a clinical research study to determine whether giving them just a half-dose of a two-way, bivalent DPV vaccine generated a protective serum antibody titer response one month and six months later in comparison to pre-vaccination titer levels. None of these dogs had received a vaccination for at least three years and all were healthy. Informed consent of the owners was obtained. The result: the half-dose vaccine generated increased serum vaccine antibody titers for all the dogs studied. The median titer and endpoint titer levels had a sustained increase in all dogs at six months post-vaccination.

CONCLUSION Results of this study confirmed that small adult dogs that received a half-dose of a two-way, bivalent DPV vaccine provided a sustained protective serum antibody response. *Dodds, WJ. “Efficacy of a half-dose canine parvovirus and distemper vaccine in small adult dogs: a pilot study”. JAHVMA 41:12-21, Winter, 2015.

animal wellness


This column features comprehensive articles from our Animal Wellness library.

Foods for your dog’s

dental health What you feed him has a profound effect on his dental wellness. These 11 foods can help support strong teeth and gums. By Audi Donamor


animal wellness

Strong teeth reflect a robust immune system and a wellnourished body. Start by feeding your dog a high quality diet made from whole meats and other natural ingredients. Then try adding these other foods, supplements and herbs to further enhance his dental health. (It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before giving your dog a new supplement or herb.)

q B ee

propolis has significant anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. It’s excellent for infected gums and mouth ulcers. Use one drop per pound of body weight.

w B ones (raw, not cooked) provide the calcium necessary for strong teeth and bones. Chewing on raw meaty bones does a great job of cleaning a dog’s teeth and helping to prevent the tartar formation that leads to gum inflammation. Raw bones also contain probiotic bacteria and enzymes that help maintain healthy bacterial flora in the dog’s mouth. These healthy bacteria act like soldiers, fighting and killing the harmful bacteria such as Streptococci sctinomyces before they take hold and multiply, causing gingivitis and other infections. Supervised chewing sessions are like a visit to the dentist without the anxiety. Choose big organic marrow bones and knuckle bones for dogs.  oenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that not only eC supports cardiovascular health but also helps keep gums healthy. Consider adding it to your dog’s diet for long term dental support. CoQ10 is best absorbed in oil – first pressed olive oil makes a great partner. The suggested dosage is 0.25 to 1.0 mg per pound of body weight every day.

r Cranberries contain numerous biologically active compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins and condensed tannins. Research has shown that pure cranberry juice may be just as powerful for fighting cavities as it is for bladder infections. A team of researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and New York's Rutger's University, found that many of the special substances found in cranberries may not only inhibit the enzymes associated with the formation of dental plaque, but can also stop the bacteria sticking to surfaces. These compounds also prevent acid formation and reduce the acid tolerance of the bacteria that cause decay. Continued on page 52. animal wellness


Dental delights These biscuits contain parsley and cranberry for dental health and are also crunchy enough to give your dog’s teeth a good workout! Choose organic ingredients wherever possible.

Ingredients 2 cups cooked chicken giblets (hearts, liver, gizzards) 2 garlic cloves 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon fresh parsley 1 tablespoon cold pressed oil, e.g., olive, hemp, cranberry, blueberry 1 whole egg 1½ cups stone ground whole grain flour, e.g., oat and spelt, or choose alternative flours, like hemp or quinoa, an ancient gluten free grain that contains more calcium than milk 1/4 cup cranberry essence or finely minced sun-dried unsulphured cranberries 1 egg white Parmesan cheese

Instructions Place chicken giblets in a pot and cover with filtered water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up. In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients except the flour. Blend until you have a thick paste. Add the flour slowly, so it’s well incorporated into the "paste." Add a bit more oil or filtered water if your dough is too dry, or add a bit more flour if you find it’s too wet. Dust your hands with flour and sprinkle it on a board or counter top. You can use oatmeal in place of flour. Knead the dough well, and then roll it out to about ¼” in thickness. This part is particularly easy if you roll out the dough on a piece of floured wax paper or parchment paper. Cut the dough into desired shapes and sizes, or take small pieces of dough, roll out to the thickness of a pencil, and cut into small treats, like biscotti, that make a great training treat. Place cookie sheets in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºF and remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Beat or whisk the egg white until soft peaks begin to form. Baste the biscuits with the egg white, then liberally sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese. Return the biscuits to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the biscuits until they are completely cooled. This recipe yields more than 50 medium sized biscuits. It can easily be doubled. The biscuits store well in the refrigerator and also freeze well.


animal wellness

Continued from page 51.  A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that a unique component in cranberry juice – a high molecular weight nondialysable material (NDM) – has the ability to reverse and inhibit the coaggredation of certain oral bacteria responsible for dental plaque and periodontal disease. NDM has also been isolated in blueberries, raspberries, mangos, peaches, and plums.

t Dill has long been recognized for both its culinary and medicinal properties. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, used dill seeds and leaves in a recipe for cleaning the mouth and freshening the breath. Along with being a carminative healing herb, dill also has potent antimicrobial properties and helps to fight infections.

y Fennel

is a close relative of parsley, carrots, dill and coriander, all of which have beneficial dental properties. Fennel's phytonutrients include flavonoids like rutin, quercetin and kaempferol glycosides. It’s packed with vitamin C, has antiinflammatory effects, and will also help freshen breath and fight gingivitis as well as protect the liver.


 rapefruit seed extract is one of nature's antiseptics. It can be G used both topically and internally. GSE came on the scene back in the 1970s, when immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich was looking for a natural non-toxic alternative to antibiotics that would help the body resist bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. He found what he was looking for in the seeds and connecting tissue of the grapefruit. GSE exhibits significant antimicrobial activity at low concentration. Always dilute before use. Place one to six drops in five ounces of water, then use a Q-tip or gauzecovered finger to gently clean your dog's teeth and gums.

 reen tea is a rich source of flavonols. The principal flavanol iG compounds in green tea are called catechins and include eipgallo catechin gallate (EGCG), thought to be the tea’s primary anti-cancer agent. Green tea is recognized as being beneficial to oral health. In humans, it has been shown to help prevent cavities. Check out decaffeinated freeze-dried green tea solids, commonly called green tea extract.  ats oO

are a strength-giving cereal. They are low in starch and high in minerals, especially potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Oats are also rich in vitamins B, E and G. They are a nutritive food and support strong teeth while also serving as a nerve, blood, and hair tonic.

a Parsley is one of the world’s most concentrated food sources. It has potent antimicrobial properties that make it the perfect breath freshener. Parsley can be fed as a whole food or as a tincture or cool tea. When mixed into your dog’s food, an herbal tea provides most of what a dried or fresh herb offers. It can be added to his regular diet, where it is quickly and easily absorbed.  ild sW

strawberry (Fragaria vesca) has a colorful history and has long been revered for its healing properties. The fruit acid cleans the teeth while the seeds act as an abrasive. Native Americans mashed wild strawberries into a paste and used it to remove tartar, clean the teeth, and alleviate toothaches. The recipe accompanying this article incorporates some of these foods into a crunchy biscuit that will really give your canine companion’s dental wellness a big boost!

animal wellness


By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Combining veterinary care with this gentle therapy can help heal these dogs, both physically and emotionally.


Pet shop puppies are adorable. Your heart melts and you have to go inside to see them. The sales clerk assures you the pups are pedigreed and from a reputable breeder. You want to believe her, but you’ve heard that pet shop puppies often have health and behavioral issues. Sadly, puppies from pet stores are most likely the product of puppy mills, also referred to as commercial breeders. There are over 14,000 of these facilities in North America, and this doesn’t even count “backyard breeders”.

The puppies are taken from the dams at five or six weeks of age and shipped to pet stores. The International Humane Society estimates that over 50% of the puppies die before reaching a store. Unsuspecting buyers assume they are getting a “quality” dog, but the truth is, they’re paying a premium price for a puppy that will probably have or develop congenital or hereditary conditions. Other common health issues these animals experience include musculoskeletal disorders, blood problems, respiratory conditions, kidney disease, epilepsy, and a host of other illnesses and infirmities.

Unfortunately, the profit motives of these commercial operators lead to miserable conditions for breeding dogs and severe health and socialization problems for the puppies. Breeding females are kept in small, filthy cages. The dams are malnourished, receive little or no veterinary care, and are bred continuously. When their reproductive years are over, they are killed. It’s a life of pure misery.

Governmental agricultural departments are supposed to be the watchdogs of commercial breeding facilities, but they have lax standards and not enough people to monitor the huge number of puppy mills. However, many non-profit animal welfare organizations are trying their best to close down puppy mills and commercial breeders, even though their resources are limited.


animal wellness

CARING FOR A PUPPY MILL RESCUE If you have adopted a pup or breeding dog rescued from a puppy mill or commercial breeder, what’s the best way to care for her? How can you make life as healthy and loving as possible for your new friend? An integrative approach that combines conventional veterinary care with alternative therapies is the best way to help a breeding dog recover from the horrific conditions she has endured, or help a puppy learn to enjoy being a household companion.

q Veterinary care. All dogs rescued from these facilities must first receive immediate and ongoing medical attention. Most mill dogs are in poor condition and need extensive care. Though they may be extremely fearful because they have no experience of positive contact with humans, veterinary assessment and care are essential.

w Plenty of TLC and gentle human touch. You need to get the dog used to being touched and stroked in a loving, positive, non-threatening manner. Be patient and take it slow and steady – it will take time for him to adjust.

e Acupressure-massage. This complementary therapy has proven over thousands of years to be effective in resolving

Definition of a puppy mill

The term “puppy mill” or “commercial breeder” generally refers to a high volume, substandard dog breeding operation that sells purebred or mixed breed dogs directly or indirectly to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to these facilities are: • Substandard health and/or environmental issues • Substandard animal care, treatment and/or socialization • Substandard breeding practices that lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders • Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background –No Puppy Mills Canada,

animal wellness


Acupressure– massage session – how to do it • To begin, use the flat portion on the heel of one hand to gently trace the Bladder meridian shown in Figure 1. By doing this, you are introducing the dog to intentional touch in a noninvasive manner. The Bladder median is located just to the side of the dog’s midline. It begins at the inner canthus (corner) of the dog’s eye, although we suggest you begin to trace the meridian from the top of his head for the sake of ease and comfort. Your opposite hand can rest comfortably somewhere on his body. • Slowly and gently stroke from head to hind paw, tracing the meridian three times on each side of the dog. Use light pressure, but make sure it’s firm enough that he is aware of your caring intent. • After you have completed tracing the Bladder meridian segment, the dog is usually relaxed and will be open to more specific acupressure point work. Li 4, St 36 and Bai Hui are three acupressure points that when stimulated are known to offer dogs a general balancing of energy and a sense of well-being (Figure 2). There are two basic techniques for stimulating acupoints: Thumb technique – Gently place the soft tip of your thumb on the acupoint and count slowly to 20 slowly, then move to the next point. This technique works best on larger dogs and on a medium-sized dog’s trunk and neck. Two-finger technique – Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to create a little tent. Lightly put the soft tip of your index finger on the acupoint and count slowly to 20. This technique is good for small dogs and for the lower extremities on medium-sized to large dogs. Figure 1

Bladder Meridian

LATERAL Figure 2

General Energy Balancing




LI 4

Between the 1st (dewclaw) and 2nd metacarpal bones, on the medial side of the 2nd metacarpal.

Bai Hui

St 36

SI 36 LI 4 Lateral



animal wellness




Located just lateral to the tibial crest on the lateral aspect of the hind leg.

Bai Hui Located at the lumbosacral space on the dorsal midline.

health and behavioral issues in animals. Once your puppy mill survivor has become comfortably receptive to touch, he can be given an acupressure-massage session (see left).

BENEFITS OF ACUPRESSUREMASSAGE Acupressure-massage is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The intent of an acupressure-massage session is to balance the flow of energy throughout the dog’s body. When energy is flowing harmoniously, the dog’s body and psyche can function optimally. In Chinese medicine, when a dog’s internal organs are functioning properly, his entire body is receiving the nourishment necessary to be healthy and happy, both mentally and physically. Specific acupressure points located on the dog’s body are known to enhance the flow of energy to provide general balancing. There are also acupressure points that address specific health issues, but this approach would require an assessment of the individual dog and the issues he’s presenting with. The acupressure-massage session included with this article can offer your mill survivor a sense of wellbeing. And that’s an excellent way to start you and your rescue on a shared journey of creating a healthy, loving bond.

animal wellness


The shelter isn’t the only place to go. Organizations are finding homes for more animals by bringing adoptable dogs and cats to special events and venues, and featuring them on social media. By Sandra Murphy


animal wellness

From top: Motley Zoo’s executive director, jme Thomas, poses with Snoop Dog and feline friend, Kitty Gin. Four pups get individual attention from the members of Halestorm at a concert venue. Jme and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top give Kitty Legs a cuddle. The Washington Humane Society increases its reach by bringing adoptable dogs to various sites in downtown DC via its Adoption Force One unit.

animal wellness


Passages heaven Passages

A minute from

By Julie Sabin

When I was nine, I would lie in bed at night, thinking about death. What happened after you died? I didn’t buy the idea of Heaven taught at Sunday School – the grand joyful place in the sky with pearly gates and a seat at the right hand of God. It didn’t seem likely. Just another story concocted by the grownups, like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. I imagined dying would feel like permanent dreamless sleep. Eyes closed and that’s it. No feeling and no thoughts. Black. Forever. After all, where did the phrase put to sleep come from? Never-ending darkness is what I thought about as my husband, Pete, and I stood in the veterinary hospital’s waiting room. Pete held our bulldog, Cecil, and I looked around the room full of animals and their people. Their eyes met mine before looking away. My tear-stained face announced what was to come.

Cecil’s last moments gave his guardian a special gift of hope.

and chased after a delivery truck, putting us on a path that ended here in the waiting room. When the vet tech walked in and motioned for us to follow her, my feet rooted to the floor as if the electrical connection from my brain had failed. I took a deep breath. One step…then another. Following the tech, I turned and looked at Pete. He pulled Cecil tighter to his chest. We walked through the exam room door. Cecil yelped. His high-pitched screech bounced off the bare walls and his eyes darted around the room. Squealing and squirming, he tried to break free of Pete’s arms. Panic clawed its way from the depths of my intestines to the back of my throat. Dear God, what are we doing? Dr. Shannon stood on the other side of the exam table.

Three years earlier, we’d brought Cecil home to be a companion to our first dog, Huxley. A scrawny ten-week-old pup, Cecil quickly transformed into a 50-pound ball of muscle. Looking at him, I had to laugh. His wide grin and two-toned face, one half white and the other half brown, reminded me of a clown. But the clown had a serious side when it came to chasing balls and cars. One afternoon, Cecil escaped the confines of the yard


animal wellness

“Put him down. He’s so used to being poked and prodded. I think that’s why he’s afraid.” Was that really why? How could she be so sure? She held a syringe in her left hand. “Let’s give him a sedative. It’ll calm him down.”

She was right. Cecil had been poked and prodded excessively. After he was hit by the truck, he endured numerous procedures: emergency surgery, a leg amputation, steroid shots, chiropractic care and acupuncture. We agreed to everything the doctors suggested, hoping to cure his chronic pain. Yet, we’d still ended up here and Cecil seemed to know what was coming. Dr. Shannon injected him with the sedative. The yelping stopped. His eyes closed and he lay curled on the floor. Low rumbling snores kept pace with his breathing. His body relaxed for what seemed like the first time in a year. Tears flowed down my cheeks, burning my skin. I looked at the doctor and saw water behind her glasses. “I’ll give you some time,” she said as she slipped out the door. I sat on the cold cement floor cradling my little buddy. The rhythm of his snores did nothing to soothe the hurt in my chest. I couldn’t catch my breath. The word “heartbreak” ran through my mind, and how accurate the term really felt. Cecil’s head was wet from my tears. I stroked his velvet, triangleshaped ears and fiddled with his paws. I breathed in his earthy smell, wishing to imprint it on my brain. “You’re such a good boy,” I said as I hugged him. “You’re not gonna feel bad anymore, I promise.” Dr. Shannon walked in the door. “Are we ready?” she asked, holding the needle in her hand. I nodded. “I love you, buddy,” I whispered in his ear. I never saw her stick Cecil with the needle, yet I knew the exact moment when she did so. As his spirit left his body, my eye caught movement in the air, so visible, tempting me to touch it. It lifted off like a carnival balloon you accidentally let slip out of your hand. You know it’s too late to grasp, and as it peacefully floats away, it leaves you feeling a mixture of sadness and awe. The moment of death wasn’t anything like I imagined at nine years old or saw in movies as an adult. It wasn’t lights out at the end. There was no last breath. No open sightless eyes. The moment of death was a sendoff. Cecil’s soul visibly left and headed somewhere, leaving his shell of a body behind. In my grief, there was a sense of beauty. Here was my proof of the Other Side. The last minute of Cecil’s life was his special gift to me, and I’ll be forever grateful. animal wellness


Does your canine companion have osteoarthritis? Massage therapy helps ease the pain and stiffness.

Massage for arthritic dogs By Paulette Jolliffe, CMT, CCMT

Audrey Rose is an 11-year-old poodle with osteoarthritis. "If she moves her head around too much she will yelp,” her “mom” says, pointing at the dog’s upper back to indicate the arthritic area. Usually hesitant with strangers, Audrey Rose is a bit reluctant to sit for a massage. But once she feels a pair of warm hands on her, slowly and gently massaging her tight neck muscles, she allows herself to slip into a prone position. Her eyes begin to close, all resistance melts away, and she seems to smile.


There is no cure for osteoarthritis – once the cartilage is affected, the change is permanent. But there are many therapeutic treatments that can slow the progression of arthritis and keep the affected dog ambulatory with reduced pain. Canine rehabilitation facilities can be found nationwide, offering physical therapy exercises, hydrotherapy, laser treatment, chiropractic care and acupuncture, all of which have


animal wellness

been shown to greatly improve mobility. Massage therapy can work hand-in-hand with these modalities to minimize the degenerative effects of OA. For example, Lady is a 13-year-old Lab mix who was diagnosed last year with severe osteoarthritis in her hips and knees. Her walking deteriorated to the point where she required assistance, she was unable to get up without help, and her brown eyes looked worried. Lady was taken to a canine rehabilitation

facility where she began to swim, walk on an underwater treadmill, receive acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments, and participate in a physical therapy exercise program tailored to her needs.

OSETEOARTHRITIS – A COMMON CONDITION Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, affects one out of five dogs, and comprises 90% of all arthritic cases. Dogs of all ages can experience different types of arthritis, but OA is by far the most common. It makes joints stiff and painful to varying degrees and diminishes flexibility and mobility.

OA affects the entire joint, including the: • cartilage, which surrounds the ends of long bones and acts as a shock absorber • synovial fluid and membrane that lubricates the ends of the cartilage and provides a near frictionless environment • ligaments and surrounding muscle that stabilize the joint • bones, which are the foundation of the joint. Rumi is an 11-year-old therapy dog with arthritis in his back and shoulders. He adores his massage sessions.

Massage therapy and stretching treatments were also provided, giving relief to sore muscles that had been working hard, and helping increase her flexibility and mobility. With the combined treatments, Lady is now able to rise on her own, can walk independently, and has regained the sparkle in her eyes.


Canine massage therapy is getting more recognition as an effective healing tool, and is one treatment that can really enhance an arthritic dog’s quality of life. Although any dog is a candidate for massage, it can play an especially therapeutic role for those with osteoarthritis. • Massage increases circulation, which is very important because it feeds tissues and muscles that have been damaged by joint degeneration. • It breaks up adhesions that tend to form in the connective tissues of a stiff, arthritic dog. • Gentle manipulation of the tissues and muscles reduces pain, inflammation, muscle spasms and stiffness.

All these joint parts normally work together, allowing our dog friends to easily jump, run and play. But with OA, the cartilage has thinned and the cartilage cells have died, releasing enzymes that cause inflammation. The tissues become damaged, tendons and muscles contract, limping begins and muscles atrophy. Many potential signs of arthritis are obvious – limping, bunny hopping, lethargy, inability to get up, refusing to go for a walk or get in the car. Pain and discomfort may also cause obsessive licking of a painful limb, depression, and possibly a decreased appetite. Be sure to consult with a veterinarian and get a definitive diagnosis. Integrative and holistic vets can provide excellent counsel and treatment plans and can suggest alternatives to the conventional antiinflammatories that may put your dog’s kidneys and liver at risk with long term use.

CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS VARY 1. A  ging, the leading cause, in which many years of wear and tear lead to cartilage erosion and joint instability. 2. Trauma, resulting in bone fracture. 3. Excessive weight on a joint, often related to obesity.

• Constricted muscles and tissues around the joints are loosened, allowing further reach when stretching the limbs, plus increased range of motion, flexibility and mobility. This all translates to less stiffness, better walking ability – and a happier dog. Continued on page 64.

4. O  verload of repetitive activity, which stresses the joint beyond its capability. 5. Developmental or structural conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia. 6.  Cruciate ligament tears in the knee, which can trigger the start of OA. animal wellness


Continued from page 63. You can learn how to do canine massage yourself (see references below right) or hire a certified animal massage therapist to treat your dog. A massage session usually lasts about one hour, giving the therapist plenty of time to investigate all the dog’s tight and tender spots and to stretch each limb, including the toes. Your dog may not immediately relax with the therapist, but give it time. Usually after 15 minutes or so, he will be persuaded by the therapist’s gentle hands to just relax and enjoy the treatment. Once the message is received that massage feels good, you can bet there will be a wagging tail and smiling dog the next time the therapist comes to visit.

Massage increases circulation, which feeds tissues and muscles damaged by joint degeneration.


q One of the best things you can do is make sure your dog is not carrying extra weight, which is hard on the joints.

w Good nutrition is critical – after all, what your dog is eating is what’s feeding the tissues and muscles of the compromised joint.

e It very important to give the arthritic dog regular exercise, but switch from a long walk to more

Thor has arthritis in his shoulders. He can't stop smiling while receiving massage!

Learn how to do canine massage through: PetMassage, Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure & Massage,

At 16 years old, Redford has severe arthritis in his hips and knees. Massage helps relieve the discomfort and stiffness.

frequent shorter walks.

r Helpful nutraceuticals include Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, to slow joint degeneration and cut inflammation and pain. Turmeric and hyaluronic acid also decrease pain and inflammation.

Audrey Rose had almost fallen asleep by the end of her massage. An easy stretch was given to each limb, resulting in a big sigh and a release of gas, both good signs indicating utter relaxation. Later that day, her mom reported that Audrey Rose wanted to go on two walks instead of the usual one. "She has been so active – I can't believe her energy. She is even running. It’s amazing!"


animal wellness

Learning canine

massage & acupressure

Acupressure and massage offer many healing benefits to dogs. This school teaches both with onsite and online courses.

By Charlotte Walker If you want to maintain your dog’s well-being between vet visits, you’re probably learning what you can about alternative approaches. Massage and acupressure are two therapies you can learn and use at home, thanks to educational facilities like the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure & Massage. Based in Colorado, RMSAAM was founded in 2003 by Lisa Speaker, who was inspired by her own dog, a Basset hound named Betty. “The breed is predisposed to joint and skin issues, and Betty was aging,” says Jenny Rukavina, a certified canine and equine massage practitioner, and the school’s Executive Director. “Lisa flew to California with Betty to attend animal massage and acupressure courses, and noticed a difference in Betty’s mobility and skin/coat health before they even got back home. Betty once fractured her pelvis after being stepped on by a horse, and Lisa believes massage and acupressure were very helpful in her recovery.” Thanks to these positive experiences, Lisa wanted to teach others how to do massage and acupressure, and RMSAAM was born.

Students practise their technique on live dogs at the school.

Since its founding, the school has grown steadily and has three campuses – two in Colorado (Longmont and Elizabeth) and one in Fort Myers, Florida. There are also some online courses for distance students. “We offer Canine and Equine Massage programs in Colorado and Florida, or online,” says Sarah Gonzales, Assistant to the Director. “They consist of three levels that give students well-rounded knowledge and allows them to become certified if they want to start their own career. We offer 14-day Canine and Equine Acupressure programs in Colorado, and one- to two-day workshops in Animal Communication, Laser Therapy, and Essential Oils for Animals. We’re building up our online programs, and along with the massage programs, offer small correspondence programs on essential oils, and building your animal massage/acupressure business. We are approved and regulated through the Colorado Department of Higher Education and are an approved provider through NCBTMB, IAAMB, and RAIVE.”

Learning massage and acupressure enables you to use these healing, non-invasive modalities on your own dog.

In 2014, Lisa decided to move on, and sold the school to Jenny. “I started working for Lisa as a massage instructor in 2008, and have a great deal of respect for what she did over the years she owned and operated RMSAAM. For example, she was instrumental in helping to get the bill passed through the Colorado legislature that made massage and acupressure legal to perform if you were not a veterinarian. I have added some courses, am working to improve our online programs, and have updated the curriculum.” If you want to start your own animal massage or acupressure business, the RMSAAM website advises you to first check up on your state or provincial laws to make sure you’ll be able to practice these modalities as a non-veterinarian. Either way, having these skills under your belt will enable you to give your own dog some extra healing help when he needs it. animal wellness



INTEGRATIVE VETS Affordable Holistic Animal Therapies West Hollywood, CA USA Phone: 323-304-2984 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: Dr. Lisa Burgess Millgrove Veterinary Services Millgrove, ON Canada Phone: (905) 690-4557 Email: Website: Sharon R. Doolittle, DVM, Inc. Smithfield, RI USA Phone: (401) 349-2668 Email: Website:

Janice DeFonda Can We Talk Fayetteville, NY USA Phone: (315) 329-0116 Email: Website:

Dr. Autumn Drouin, DVM, ND and Dr. Sasan Haghighat (Hyatt), DVM, CVA North-East Newmarket Veterinary Service Newmarket, ON Canada Phone: (905) 830-1030 Email: Website:

animal wellness

• 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:

Carrie Hutchinson, VMD Rockledge Veterinary Clinic Rockledge, PA USA Phone: (215) 379-1677 Email: Website:

Lynn McKenzie Animal Energy Sedona, AZ USA Phone: (512) 827-0505 x 8642 Email: Website:


Individualized, Integrative Veterinary Care

Horizon Veterinary Services Susan Maier, DVM Simpsonville, KY USA Phone: (502) 722-8231 Email: Website:

Lydia Hiby Mysticviz Burbank, CA USA Phone: (818)-244-0091 Website:

Shirley Scott Pet Psychic & Clairvoyant Imnaha, OR USA Phone: (541) 577-3051 Email: Website:

Dr. Caroline Goulard, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVPP Paws on the Go Laguna Woods, CA USA Phone: (949) 707-1696 Email: Website:

Essex Animal Hospital Essex, ON CAN Phone: (519) 776-7325 Email: Website: Family Veterinary Center Haydenville, MA USA Phone: (413) 268-8387 Website:

Integrated Veterinary Clinic Sacramento, CA USA Phone: 916-454-1825 Gail Jewell, DVM Kelowna, BC Canada Phone: (888) 622-8300 Website:

communicators • integrative vets • natural products Reiki therapy • schools & wellness education • shelters & rescues

Steven Marsden, DVM Edmonton Holistic Veterinary Clinic Edmonton, AB Canada Phone: 780-436-4944 Dr. Shawn Messonnier Paws and Claws Vet Clinic Plano, TX USA Phone: (972) 712-0893 Email: Website:

REIKI THERAPY Aileen D’Angelo, RMT, Cn. TPM Hoof, Paw & Claw Reiki Northboro, MA USA Phone: (508) 393-3684 Email: Website: Amy Pikalek Hikari Natural Healing Madison, WI USA Phone: (608) 886-8778 Email: Website:

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


Dr. Judy Stolz, DVM, ND Phoenix, AZ USA Phone: (480) 838-9724 Email: Website:


MANUFACTURERS & DISTRIBUTORS Azmira Holistic Animal Care Tuscon, AZ USA Phone: (800) 497-5665 Email: Website:

NATURAL PRODUCT RETAILERS DERMagic Skin Care for Animals, Inc. Kingston, WA USA Phone: (425) 637-4643 Email: Website: Dog Gone Dirt All Natural Dog & Horse Skin Care Products Crescent City, FL USA Phone: (386) 559-3454 Email: Website:

PetMassage, Ltd. Toledo, OH USA Toll Free: (800) 779-1001 Phone: (419) 475-3539 Email: Website: Healing Touch for Animals Highlands Ranch, CO USA Phone: (303) 470-6572 Email: Website: 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:

SHELTERS & RESCUES Alaskan Malamute Mt. Gilead, OH USA Phone: (419) 512-2423 Email: American Brittany Rescue Sugar Grove, IL USA Phone: (866) BRIT-911 Email: Website:

Animal Avengers Los Angeles, CA USA Phone: (323) 655-4220 Email: Website: Animal Rescue of the Rockies Breckenridge, CO USA Phone: (970) 389-8324 Email: Website: Boston Terrier Club of America PA USA Phone: (724) 883-4732 Email: California Coastal Horse Rescue Ojai, CA USA Phone: (805) 649-1090 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: New England Brittany Rescue Perkasie, PA USA Phone: (781) 275-0630 Website: Pets & People Homefinders Culver City, CA USA Phone: (310) 398-6683 Email: Website: Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch Walla Walla, WA USA Phone: (509) 526-5020 Email: Website:

Advertise your business in the Wellness Resource Guide

1-866-764-1212 animal wellness


This “snuggly” golden retriever calms the fears of young patients at a pediatric dental clinic. By Ann Brightman

Brooke, the dental therapy dog Parents come from miles around to bring their kids to Dr. Paul Weiss’ pediatric dental clinic in Williamsville, New York. Some live as far away as Syracuse, choosing to make the three-hour trip rather than go to a dentist in their own city. It’s because they want to see Brooke, the clinic’s resident therapy dog, a friendly golden retriever who comes to work at Dr. Weiss’ office every Wednesday and Thursday morning. Her job is to calm and comfort children who might be scared of climbing into that big intimidating chair for dental procedures – and she has a true gift for what she does. Now six years old, Brooke was two when she became a part-time staff member at Dr. Weiss’ clinic. Prior to that, she was his family companion, but Dr. Weiss knew from early on she was meant to be much more than that. “When I walked Brooke in the local park, I noticed that as people passed us, everyone who looked down at her immediately smiled,” he explains. “I decided that if it was so easy for her to make people smile, she must have a greater purpose than to just be my ‘pet’. I needed to find a way to share her. Therapy dog work came to mind.” Because therapy dogs are known to help relax and cheer people, having one at the dental office seemed like the perfect idea. “I decided to share Brooke with my patients, thinking she could help set kids at ease in what otherwise might be an uncomfortable setting.”


animal wellness

Dr. Weiss did some research to find out if there were any other dental therapy dogs out there, and came across one dentist in California who was bringing his dog into the office. He also called the attorney for the New York State Dental Association, to see if he would be legally permitted to bring Brooke to work with him. “They said it was a great idea, and actually encouraged it,” Dr. Weiss says. Brooke next went through the appropriate training and was ultimately certified by Therapy Dogs International. A page dedicated to her on Dr. Weiss’ website explains the process: “Like all therapy dogs, Brooke was required to pass a rigorous training program and evaluation. She mastered basic obedience and proved she is able to accept common medical appliances, clumsy handling (petting) and various distractions.” “She trained pretty easy, although I wanted to make sure if I had her in the office, we'd have absolutely no issues,” Dr. Weiss adds. “We had to make sure she could handle loud and sudden noises, and would tolerate handling from kids.”

playful demeanor,” he says. As he goes on describe how Brooke interacts with his young patients, it almost seems that this intelligent and intuitive golden has a “sixth sense” for helping children feel more at ease about being at the dentist. “New young patients are scared to get into the chair,” Dr. Weiss says. “But Brooke will jump in it, and the kids will follow. She’s particularly good with kids with special needs, such as emotional disabilities, autism or cerebral palsy. She seems to sense their need. She’ll rarely jump on the chair during a procedure, but if the child is disabled, she will. I’ve been able to do procedures on autistic kids that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do without Brooke. She keeps them calm. I’ve had parents in tears because of the good Brooke has done their children.” Continued on page 70.


Turns out Dr. Weiss didn’t need to worry. Brooke’s temperament, which he refers to as “tremendous”, means she’s ideally qualified to do therapy work. “She’s a snuggly dog, with a

animal wellness


Brooke comforts a child having dental work done staying close by and soothing the youngster with his reassuring warmth.

Continued from page 69. Not surprisingly, Brooke has become a celebrity among the clinic’s clientele, and many parents will only book their kids in for appointments when they know Brooke is going to be there. It means Wednesdays and Thursdays – also known as “Brooke Days” – are especially busy times, but her gentle and relaxing presence helps the staff cope with the extra patient load. “Her energy is so happy and positive that she transmits it to the whole office, and makes it more upbeat,” Dr. Weiss says. “Her tail’s wagging, she wants to play and suck up love, and it changes the whole mood of the office.” Brooke hangs out in the reception area as well as the examination room, so families coming through the door are put instantly at their ease. “Her calm and gentle demeanor, friendliness to strangers and receptiveness to physical contact make her the perfect addition to the playful child-oriented surroundings of the office,” says Dr. Weiss’ website. “The match between Brooke and the patients seems perfect… She gets the love that she needs and she can help take the child's and parent’s mind off their fears.” In the future, Dr. Weiss hopes to do additional therapy work with Brooke in hospitals and other facilities within the community, but for now, his focus is on making his young patients’ visits to his dental office as comfortable and pleasant as possible. And

Brooke is especially sensitive to the anxieties of special needs children.

given how good Brooke is at her job, it’s clear she’ll excel in those other settings as well. “She knows when you need her,” Dr. Weiss says. “She brings happiness and positive energy to everyone she’s in contact with.”


animal wellness

animal wellness


To the Rescue Second Chance Rescue Rescue code: AWA084

From left to right: Baby Joey had his back paws partially severed in an unknown incident, but is now thriving and happy; Abbot (puppy) plays tug-of-war with another rescue; Sienna Rose grins for the camera.

LOCATION: Whitestone, NY YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2009 NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/FOSTER HOMES: Two paid staff, 25 core volunteers, and over 50 foster homes TYPES OF ANIMAL THEY WORK WITH: “We mainly focus on the pit bull terrier breed,” says Jennifer Brooks. “However, we also will help any dog who needs it if there is no other hope. We also focus on animals who are critically injured, and need emergency veterinary care.” FUNDRAISING: “We run on private donations from the general public, as well as private grants from private foundations.” FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: “Baby Joey was found on the side of the road by a trucker in North Carolina. He was just an eight-weekold puppy, and something was very wrong. As soon as this good Samaritan pulled over and was able to secure this tiny puppy, he realized that both of his back paws had been severed. It isn’t known how this occurred – whether it was a case of blatant cruelty, or if Joey was stuck somewhere and an object had severed his paws.


animal wellness

Follow on Faceb o





“We immediately took Joey into our rescue when we received the trucker’s urgent call for help. Joey was rushed to a veterinarian for the critical medical care he needed. After a few weeks of care, he was released to us and he is now in a loving foster home. “Joey will be fitted for a prosthetic limb on one hind leg, since it is longer than the other leg. The orthopedic specialist feels he will be just fine and will lead a normal and happy life. Right now, all of us at the Second Chance Rescue family are giving Joey as much love and care that we can. “Joey has so many supporters who have helped him along the way. Merrick’s Pet Food has taken on his care and is funding all his rehabilitation and medical care. We couldn't be happier for this little puppy who has beaten all the odds.",

“We also focus on animals who are critically injured, and need emergency veterinary care.”

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


DINO Rescue Calgary, AB Rescue Code: AWA203 Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund Calgary, AB Rescue Code: AWA138 Pilots and Paws Canada Vancouver, BC Rescue Code: AWA112 NWT SPCA Yellowknife, NT Rescue Code: AWA005 Boxer Rescue Ontario Oakville, ON Rescue Code: AWA217 Canadian Dachshund Rescue Hamilton, ON Rescue Code: AWA226 Guelph Humane Society Guelph, ON Rescue Code: AWA218 Helping Homeless Pets Markham, ON Rescue Code: AWA024 Peterborough Humane Society Peterborough, ON Rescue Code: AWA151 Westies In Need Tottenham, ON Rescue Code: AWA039


Rocky Ridge Refuge Midway, AR Rescue Code: AWA089 Canine Cancer Foundation Phoenix, AZ Rescue Code: AWA013 Boxer Rescue LA Venice, CA Rescue Code: AWA191 Bullies and Buddies Redondo Beach, CA Rescue Code: AWA206 Leave No Paws Behind, Inc. Sun Valley, CA Rescue Code: AWA229

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue San Francisco, CA Rescue Code: AWA116

Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue Ranch Imnaha, OR Rescue Code: AWA032

Delaware Humane Association Claymont, DE Rescue Code: AWA009

GROWL Williston, SC Rescue Code: AWA176

Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. Oakland Park, FL Rescue Code: AWA168

Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance Richardson, TX Rescue Code: AWA134

The Cat Network Miami, FL Rescue Code: AWA045

Furry Friendz Animal Rescue & Wildlife Rehabiliataion Kaufman, TX Rescue Code: AWA135

First Coast No More Homeless Pets Jacksonville, FL Rescue Code: AWA095 Angels Among Us Pet Rescue Alpharetta, GA Rescue Code: AWA120 Georgia Center for Humane Education Atlanta, GA Rescue Code: AWA177 Lifeline Animal Project Atlanta, GA Rescue Code: AWA021 Anderson Animal Shelter South Elgin, IL Rescue Code: AWA172 Animal House Shelter Huntley, IL Rescue Code: AWA072 Gentle Giants Rescue and Sanctuary Wayne, NJ Rescue Code: AWA068 One Step Closer Animal Rescue Sparta, NJ Rescue Code: AWA027 Bobbi and the Strays Glendale, NY Rescue Code: AWA085 North Shore Animal League America Port Washington, NY Rescue Code: AWA107 Sanctuary for Senior Dogs Cleveland, OH Rescue Code: AWA092 West Side Cats Youngstown, OH Rescue Code: AWA231

SAVE Rescue Coalition Houston, TX Rescue Code: AWA212 SPCA of East Texas Tyler, TX Rescue Code: AWA077 Greyhounds Rock Spotsylvania, VA Rescue Code: AWA157 Wags to Riches Yakima, WA Rescue Code: AWA050 For Cat's Sake Rescue West Milwaukee, WI Rescue Code: AWA241 Lakeland Animal Shelter Elkhorn, WI Rescue Code: AWA180 Dog is my CoPilot Jackson Hole, WY Rescue Code: AWA080




It's easy!

1 Choose a rescue from this list Subscribe at 2 3 Enter rescue code for chosen rescue 4 Enjoy your subscription! animal wellness


Therapy dogs

in funeral homes

By Ramona D. Marek, MS Ed

Canines offering comfort to grieving families is a growing trend.


herapy dogs are used in many settings, from schools and correctional facilities to hospitals and nursing homes. They brighten the lives of people of all ages, bringing comfort, love, healing and companionship to those in need of some extra TLC. More recently, therapy dogs are also making an appearance in funeral homes, where they console bereaved families suffering through the loss of a loved one. In fact, some funeral homes consider their therapy dogs part of the staff because of the key role they play in helping grieving families, according to Jessica Koth, public relations manager for the National Funeral Directors Association.


animal wellness

“Therapy dogs have an amazing ability to put people at ease in a very emotional and difficult situation,” Jessica says. “I’ve heard of families coming into a funeral home to make arrangements for a loved one’s funeral, and when the therapy dog comes into the room, the mood changes and the family begins to open up and share their loved one’s story so the funeral director can help them understand how to plan a meaningful funeral.” She adds that some funeral homes also use their therapy dogs in the grief support groups they offer. As the trend grows, Jessica says she sees more funeral homes choosing a certified therapy animal rather than just any dog. “This offers the funeral home owner the assurance that the dog will be able to have positive interactions and provide comfort to a wide range of people,” she says.


“Like most industries today, the funeral service is rapidly changing,” says Brian Merkle, president of Merkle Funeral Service in Monroe and Erie, Michigan. “We find it essential to constantly reinvent ourselves as professionals to find new ways of reaching our clients.” This includes incorporating a grief therapy dog into their services – in this case, a seven-year-old cockapoo named Lola. Lola was originally the Merkle family dog, and was initially chosen because of the breed’s hypoallergenic qualities and minimal shedding. “From the moment we welcomed Lola into our family we knew she was different from any other dog we had previously shared our home with,” Brian says. “She has an amazing temperament and a gentle spirit, she rarely barks and has a quiet unassuming nature.” Continued on page 76.

Lady eases the pain Jessica shares a particularly moving story from a funeral director in California who has a grief therapy dog named Lady: “I recently met with a young couple to make funeral arrangement for their baby girl, who hasn’t been born yet. This precious baby has a fatal birth defect that will cause her to die shortly after birth. I brought Lady into the room and the baby’s mother asked if she could hold her. “Once on her lap, Lady immediately rested her head on the mother’s stomach, next to the baby, and cuddled in. As tears streamed down the mother’s face, I looked down at Lady and believe I saw a tear in her eye as well. “I am so blessed to serve this community and offer assistance and resources, including comfort in the form our therapy dog, to families suffering loss and tragedy.”

animal wellness


Continued from page 75. Brian’s partner, Tammy, thought a therapy dog would be a great service to offer at the funeral home, so they took Lola to obedience training to prepare her for her future career. Renee Mullendore, who later joined the business as the funeral home’s outreach coordinator, researched the certification process for Lola and became her handler. Renee chose Therapy Dogs International to complete Lola’s therapy dog certification, and the little dog is now on staff to give comfort to the bereaved, and help bring smiles to sad faces. Brian recalls one particularly moving funeral. “A young mother died unexpectedly, leaving several children, including a teenaged daughter, behind. The daughter was sitting in our lobby, crying uncontrollably. Lola knew she needed comfort, so she climbed up on the couch and lay right next to the emotional daughter. The girl soon began stroking Lola’s soft coat and stopped crying. Lola helped ease her burden, if only for a moment.”


Shari Wallace is the trainer and handler for Judd, a golden retriever and grief therapy dog at Armes-Hunt Funeral home in Fairmont and Marion, Indiana. “Therapy dogs need basic obedience training,” she says. “They should pass the Canine Good Citizenship test through AKC, as well as therapy dog training, then be registered and certified.” Shari says the use of therapy dogs is fairly new to her area but that people have been very supportive. “They were wonderful about allowing me to take Judd into different businesses to expose him to real life situations as part of his training. People are also very excited and encouraging about this new trend in grieving. “Interacting with and petting therapy dogs can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, lower blood pressure, banish negative

"Therapy dogs have an amazing ability to put people at ease in a very emotional and difficult situation."


animal wellness

thoughts and ramp up the feel-good hormone, oxytocin,” Shari continues, adding that therapy dogs seem to have the ability to sense a person’s emotional needs and act on them with unconditional love. “Judd has developed his own signature act of comfort by lying on the grieving individual’s feet.” Shari has seen firsthand how the act of petting, hugging, or simply touching Judd helps people relax. She cites one example involving a young girl. “The family came to the funeral home before the visitation was scheduled to start, and on entering, there sat Judd. A younger sister of the man who had passed immediately saw Judd and stopped in her tracks, knelt down and hugged him for a long time. Her tears began to flow as if she was passing her sorrow onto Judd, as if he would care for her and return love and comfort to her during her time of sorrow and loss.” The use of grief therapy dogs in funeral homes is an extension of the services therapy dogs offer in the community. Adults and children, previously unable to openly discuss their losses, open up to the dogs, who provide a calm, loving presence to those in grief. Words aren’t required. As Jessica says: “Sometimes all it takes is a nuzzle from a wet nose to help people share their feelings and begin the healing process.”


Free of synthetic chemicals, KalvatinTM Dental Spray and Dental Gel use a powerful , easy-to-apply, cold water marine enzyme that works with your animal’s natural defenses to create an active barrier on teeth and gums, protecting against bacteria that cause gingivitis, plaque and tartar. Ask your veterinarian about this product.


Thanks to a grant from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and the Kislak Family Foundation, Penn Vet is helping save the limbs – and lives – of animals at area shelters. The “Saving Lives by Saving Limbs” program allows surgeons and students to repair the fractured limbs of animals at risk for amputation or euthanasia.


Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid is Canada's longest-standing Pet First Aid Certification program. Empower yourself to assist an animal in need by signing up to earn your certification. Work with live animals at an in-class course or register for self-paced distance learning. Instructor programs are also available.


The American Pet Products Association recently announced the winners of the Pets Add Life 50|50 Giveaway, which issued $1,000 to 50 winning rescues and shelters across the US. “We really struggle to raise funds to help our dogs,” says Angela Bauknecht of Groovy Paws Rescue, Oklahoma’s winning shelter. “This generosity will go a long way in helping us in our mission.” For the full list of winners, visit


Help maintain his health with ESSIAC and TRU-PINE for Pets legendary formulas, trusted worldwide by holistic veterinarians and families alike. With these long-established products, animal parents can be sure that their furry companions have optimal immune system support.


I’M-YUNITY® is a proprietary medicinal mushroom extract that helps reduce pain and fatigue, and improve energy levels, mobility and appetite in animals with cancer Recommended as nutritional and immune support, complementary treatment with chemo post-surgery, or when surgery is not an option or you opt against chemo.

animal wellness


D gs Cats

Ayurveda for animals

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India around 6000 BC. We look at the three body types as defined by Ayurveda, along with five herbs used in this modality. By Tejinder Sodhi, DVM, CVC

Body typing in Ayurvedic medicine is expressed as the Tridosha:


Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic principles in the body. It is associated with Air and governs all movement in the mind and body. • Vata types are the most slender of the three body types, and are taller or shorter than normal. • Chests are flat, with veins and muscle tendons visible. • They have a tendency toward cold paws, and discomfort in cold climates. • Nails are dry and brittle. • Skin is cool, rough, dry and prone to cracking. • They have variable appetites and digestive efficiency. • Urine is scanty, and feces are dry, hard and small. • Sleep is short and restless. • Vatas experience high energy in short bursts; they tire easily and overexert energy. • They respond to stress with fear and worry when out of balance • Are quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget. • Changeable moods are likely. • Full of joy, excitable, lively, fun and enthusiastic when in balance


animal wellness


Pitta is created by the dynamic interplay of Water and Fire. These forces represent transformation. • Pittas have a medium to slender physique; the body frame may be delicate. • They show a medium prominence of veins and muscle tendons. The bones are not as prominent as in the Vata pet. • Fur is soft and warm. • Claws are softer. • These animals display medium eye prominence. • Sleep is of medium duration but uninterrupted. • Paws are warm, and they’re bothered by hot weather – it makes them tired, and skin feels warm. • They pass a large amount of urine. • Pittas have a strong metabolism and good digestion, with strong appetite and thirst. • They may display irritability if they have to wait for their food, or are stressed. • These animals have sharp minds and good powers of concentration. • They are assertive, self-confident, aggressive, demanding, even pushy when out of balance. • Pitta animals are competitive and enjoy challenges, so they make good pack leaders.


Kapha is a combination of Water and Earth. It provides both structure and lubrication. • Kaphas are physically strong, with a sturdy heavy build. • They have an aversion to cold, damp weather and may have asthma or allergies. • These animals have the most energy of all constitutions, but this energy is steady and enduring, not explosive. • Kaphas are slow-moving and graceful • They have soft fur, a tendency for large “soft” eyes, and a soft temperament. • They’re often overweight though they may eat little; they may also suffer from sluggish digestion. • Stools are soft and pale in color, and slow evacuation is typical. • Kaphas sleep soundly and long. • They have excellent health, good stamina, and resistance to disease. • These animals are easy-going, relaxed, slow-paced and happy. • They may be slower to learn, but they never forget so can be possessive; they have good long-term memory. • Kapha animals are affectionate and loving, forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental, stable, reliable, faithful, and are peacemakers.

Ayurvedic herbs

• Ashwagandha (Wilhania somnifera) Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, is one of the most highly regarded and widely used Ayurvedic herbs, believed to increase energy and overall health as well as longevity. Ashwagandha literally means “to impart the strength of a horse”. The key constituents of Ashwagandha are called withanaloids, and play an important role in the herb’s ability to promote physical and mental health. Ashwagandha can be used on a long-term daily basis without the risk of side effects. • Boswellia Serrata (Salai, shallaki) This is one of Ayurvedic medicine’s most potent anti-inflammatory herbs. Boswellia is a promising alternative to conventional NSAIDS, with the added advantage of sparing the GI lining. It is therefore useful for inflammatory disorders of the intestines, respiratory tract and skin. Boswellia significantly reduces the production of prostaglandins E2, cycloonxgenase-2 and prevents collagen degradation. The most common use is for osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and any inflammatory condition of bones, joints and spine. It is also neuroprotective, analgesic and antifungal. • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Turmeric is a perennial herb-rhizome commonly used as a cooking spice. Curcumin is the yellow pigment extracted from turmeric. In Ayurvedic tradition, turmeric is a general tonic and blood pacifier. A potent antiinflammatory agent with analgesic properties, curcumin’s essential oil has shown antimicrobial activity against gram positive and gram negative bacteria in vitro studies.

Curcumin also possesses anti-asthmatic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective and anticancer activity. It is known to have strong anti-ulcer activity due to its immune-modulating and stimulating properties, thus making it very effective in IBD cases. Curcumin maintains healthy cyclooxygenase-2 (Ld4) activity while supporting prostaglandins, leukocytes and thromboxane metabolism. Like Boswellia, it has neuroprotective properties, so it can be used by neurologists for spinal injury and inflammation. • Neem (Azadirachta indica) Neem has attracted worldwide attention in the medical community due to its wide range of medicinal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. Practically all parts of the neem tree are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Fresh new leaves are used in concoctions for a variety of skin and other inflammatory disorders. Oil extracts from the leaves and seeds are potent antiseptics and insect repellants. Neem has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is also considered anti-hyperglycemic. Since it is considered a valuable insecticidal, it can be used for external parasites. All parts of the neem plant – leaves, bark and oil-based products – pare used for this purpose. While fewer holistic veterinarians may specialize in Ayurvedic medicine than in modalities such as acupuncture, homeopathy or Western herbs, for example, it’s an approach that's becoming more widely known and used. It can offer effective and gentle healing for many common conditions in dogs and cats. Be sure to consult with an integrative or holistic veterinarian before giving your dog or cat any new herbs. animal wellness


Book Reviews Title: The Dogist Photographer: Elias Weiss Friedman Documentary photographer Elias Weiss Friedman, aka “The Dogist” as he’s known on Instagram, walks the streets of America to capture striking portraits of dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds. Now, a collection of more than 1,000 of these images has been brought together in Friedman’s fun and colorful new book, The Dogist. Using a few special tools (including a squeaky ball and a pocketful of treats!) Friedman is able to coax even the most reluctant subject into having his or her portrait taken, and the results are stunning. You’ll meet therapy dogs, “tripawds”, grizzled seniors, fun-loving mutts and pampered purebreds, from Frances Bacon the French bulldog, to Foghat the bird-tracking English pointer, and hundreds more canine characters. Organized into whimsical categories, including “soulful eyes”, “scruffy beards” and “head tilts”, this delightful photo collection is sure to brighten your day.

Publisher: Artisan Books

Title: Encounters with Rikki Author: Julie Strauss Bettinger Therapy dogs are among life’s greatest heroes. They selflessly bring comfort, hope and unconditional love to people traumatized by many crises, from natural disasters to terminal illness, sex crimes and other devastating challenges. In Encounters with Rikki, author Julie Strauss Bettinger paints a detailed portrait of an exceptionally-gifted therapy dog named Rikki, and her guardian and team partner Chuck Mitchell. Both heart-rending and gritty, this book pulls no punches when it comes to describing human suffering, and the depths to which some people can go to harm others. But this only serves to highlight Rikki’s amazing abilities as a therapy dog. No matter what situation she and Chuck find themselves facing, she is able to help lift the spirits of those affected by violence, loss and illness. This book is a heart-wrenching read in places, but you’ll come away from it with a renewed appreciation for the power of the human-canine bond.

Publisher: Inkshares


animal wellness

Title: 101 Doggy Dilemmas Author: Tony Cruse Why does your dog bark at people wearing uniforms? Why does he lick you, pull on his lead, or guard his food? These and dozens of other puzzling questions about dog behavior are asked and answered in 101 Doggy Dilemmas by UK dog trainer Tony Cruse. This comprehensive guidebook will help solve just about any behavioral issue you might have with your dog, or at the very least give you insight into why it’s happening. Topics run the gamut from house soiling and begging at the table, to chasing squirrels, chewing table legs, digging in the garden, and much more. Each entry includes a section explaining the reasons for the behavior, along with some quick tips on how to resolve it. Whether you have a dog that “acts out” a lot, or are just curious about canine traits and quirks, this book is packed with useful information.

Publisher: Tony Cruse (available through Amazon)

Title: Buster Author: Will Barrow and Isabel George Buster is an English springer spaniel and military dog who has saved thousands of lives in the line of duty. Buster is this remarkable dog’s story, as told by his human partner, RAF Police Flight Sergeant Will Barrow. With Will by his side, Buster served five tours of duty in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan – more than any other military dog – and accomplished some amazing feats, such as sniffing out explosive vests that led to the arrests of two suicide bombers. In 2012, he won the Crufts Friends for Life Award, and went on to become the official lifetime mascot of the RAF Police, the only dog in history to have received this honor. Now enjoying a well-earned retirement, Buster continues to give Will his devotion, loyalty and unconditional love. A true canine hero, indeed.

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

animal wellness


Follow us on Facebook for your daily dose of natural health and wellness contests and more.

tips AnimalWellnessMagazine

We want to hear from you!


us your thoughts on the latest issue.

@AW_magazine #AnimalWellness

New! We’re now on Instagram!

@animalwellnessmagazine #dogs #cats #naturalhealth #wellness


animal wellness


animal wellness




animal wellness

If you would like to advertise in Ad Spots, please call:1-866-764-1212

ADVERTISE in the #1 Animal Health & Wellness Magazine DISTRIBUTE MAGAZINES • SUBMIT STORIES

1-866-764-1212 animal wellness



Contact us to order your classified ad 1-866-764-1212 or

Animal Communicators

Books & Publications

CAROL SCHULTZ – Animal Communicator. Intuitive Healing Support. Consultations and Energy Balancing for all species. Assistance with end of life, emotional, behavioral, and lost animal concerns. Classes and mentoring available. (815) 531-2850,

1000’s OF DOG BOOKS, DVD’S AND TRAINING TOOLS IN STOCK – Ready to ship. Dogwise has what you want! (800) 776-2665;

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,,

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.

Holistic Veterinarians EAST YORK ANIMAL CLINIC HOLISTIC CENTRE – Dr. Paul McCutcheon, Dr. Cindy Kneebone & Dr. Candice Chiu. The first and oldest integrative veterinary clinic in Ontario with over fifty years of service to the community and our collective veterinarian experience of 95 years. We provide a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic methods utilizing the latest research in integrative medicine. Please visit our website to explore our services. (416) 757-3569, 805 O’Connor Drive, Toronto, ON, M4B 2S7 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

EVENTS Las Vegas Pet Expo February 6-7, 2016 – Las Vegas, NV 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 Pet Lover Show February 27 – 28, 2016 – Abbotsford, BC Celebrating animal lovers, this show has now doubled in size and includes informative seminars and exhibits by top professionals. Some of the featured attractions include rabbit and dog agility shows, horse clinics and K9 detection demonstrations as well as rescue animals for adoptions and so much more.

For more information: (203) 532-0000 Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course March 18-20, 2016 – Denver, CO Introduction to Healing Touch: 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. Registrations & payments in full must be received and/or postmarked by February 21, 2016, to qualify for the Early Bird Tuition prices. For more information: (303) 947-5455

Global Pet Expo March 16 - 18, 2016 – Orlando, FL

Whiskers Wine & Dine 2016 March 19, 2016 – Lakewood, WA

The pet industry’s largest annual trade show, Global Pet Expo is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers and other qualified professionals. The 2015 show featured over 900 exhibitors and more than 3000 new product launches with almost 6000 pet product buyers from around the world attending.

In its 11th year, this annual fundraiser’s goal is to help raise money to end pet overpopulation. This event will be held at the Sharon McGavick Convention Center and includes dinner as well as a silent, live and dessert auction.


animal wellness

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!

Schools & Training PETMASSAGE (FOR DOGS) TRAINING AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE – “Remove Disease from Your Pet’s Body Using Only Your Hands.” Skype and written interview: Jonathan Rudinger with Dr. Karen Becker – Dr. Mercola’s August 2014 Healthy Pets Newsletter: Link on homepage of 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

Email your event to:

For more information: (888) 960-7584

This event is presented by the American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association.

can be tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences. Contact Guelph Animal Hospital at (519) 836-2781 or

Proceeds support Northwest Spay and Neuter Center, a local nonprofit providing affordable spay and neuter services for cats, dogs and rabbits.

For more information: South Florida Pet Expo March 19-20, 2016 – West Palm Beach, FL 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 Canadian Pet Expo 2016 March 25-27, 2016 – Toronto, ON The Canadian Pet Expo is a world class pet show that promotes responsible pet ownership and celebrates all type of pets, from all walks of life. This show features hundreds of vendors as well as interactive events, demonstrations, workshops and renowned speakers. Whether it is entertainment, education or other opportunities you are seeking, there is something for everyone at this show. For more information:

Tail End

Marley’s BIRTHDAY SUIT By Lisa Mackinder

“It’s too short!” my sister exclaimed, peering through the windows of the farmhouse door that separated our kitchen and laundry room.

She was referring to Marley’s white hair. Formerly hanging within a few inches of the ground, it was now fashioned into a buzz cut. Before receiving this new “do”, our Komondor looked like a white mop-head with paws. Lengthy cords covered his legs and face. Lying outside on the porch, Marley’s backside looked indistinguishable from the front. Passersby might easily have mistaken him for an enormous braided rug. I came alongside my sister, watching as more and more hair dropped and accumulated in massive piles. Our laundry room looked like a sheep-shearing shed. Finally, the hum of clippers ceased. The creaky door opened. Marley forlornly emerged from his makeover. My eyes widened. My sister gasped. “I’ll get better at it,” assured my husband. Our beautiful Komondor looked like a stray dog with mange. Bald spots appeared randomly over his body, displaying pig-pink skin. Some places still had intact curls, but they varied in length. The bottom halves of his front legs were pretty much bare, but long hair still covered the corresponding paws. It looked as if Marley was wearing tights and fuzzy boots.

But the haircut had been unavoidable. Besides acting as a breeding ground for allergens and a residence for wasps, stones and sticks, Marley’s long coat was further irritating a bothersome skin condition. While the “hairstylist” cleaned his workspace, my sister and I tried to cheer up our freshly shorn friend. Marley wanted none of it. He unsuccessfully tried to hide his “unclothed” 169-pound frame behind various household objects. Finally, we decided to take him on a walk. Marley always loved walks. But as we ambled down the sidewalks of town, he tiptoed along while peering warily around, as if humiliated about traipsing outside in his birthday suit. Marley’s canine psyche eventually recovered. Even though he was completely mortified that day, and seemed briefly embarrassed after the next few trimmings, his self-conscious behavior finally disappeared. In fact, he came to enjoy haircuts. Whether the clippings made his skin feel refreshed or simply gave him a fancy-free mindset, Marley experienced a 180 in attitude. No more shuffling away in disgrace. No more hiding. No more tiptoeing. Instead, Marley’s brave demeanor returned, and after every cut, he gallivanted boldly around town like an exhibitionist at a nudist colony.

“It just kept getting worse the more I tried,” my husband said. To his credit, working with horse shears – purchased because regular dog clippers wouldn’t cut through Marley’s thick cords – didn’t look easy. “He feels naked!” said my sister, watching as our normally courageous, happy dog inched his way along the walls. He slinked against the kitchen cabinets, skulked past the built-in bookshelves in the family room, and flopped into a corner, head down. Marley was definitely embarrassed. Without his heavy coat of dreadlocks, he acted as if he were naked in public. animal wellness



animal wellness

feline feli fe linne WELLNESS Hip, cool and healthy!






for cats It’s a growing option for aging or terminally ill kitties



CAT DEBATE Finding solutions that benefit everyone animal wellness


Feline dental health

made simple

Cats seem PRONE TO PROBLEMS with their teeth and gums. Here’s how to HELP PREVENT these PAINFUL CONDITIONS. By Ann Brightman


feline wellness

Does your cat have bad breath? Are his teeth brown, and his gums red? Does he drool, paw at his mouth or have difficulty eating or chewing? Is you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to address his dental health as soon as possible.


Up to 85% of cats aged three or older have some degree of dental disease. It starts as a buildup of plaque and tartar (that yellowish brown coating you might see on his teeth when he yawns), and can eventually lead to full-blown periodontal disease, complete with inflamed gums, infected and abscessed teeth, foul breath, tooth loss, and even systemic diseases of the heart and kidneys. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause your cat a lot of pain and discomfort, and may even shorten his lifespan.

Look at what he’s eating The main cause of periodontal disease is poor diet – more specifically, low quality dry foods high in empty carbs, fillers and additives. A lot of people feed their cats commercial kibbles because they’ve been led to believe that these hard crunchy foods are keeping their kitties’ teeth clean. Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth. Poor quality dry foods simply don’t offer the cat enough sustained chewing action to remove plaque, and when the kibble pieces have been softened by saliva, they can get stuck between the teeth and actually increase the risk of dental problems. What to do: One of the best ways to help prevent dental disease in your cat is feed him a high quality diet rich in whole muscle and organ meats, with some raw (never cooked) chicken necks or backs, all of which encourage the kind of chewing that helps keep teeth clean. The food should contain no or minimal grains and also offer some fresh veggies and other nutritious ingredients such as Omega-3s, herbs, etc. Avoid products with fillers, additives and unnamed meats, and those that contain more grain than meat. Supplements such as digestive enzymes and probiotics may also help (the mouth is part of the digestive system after all). For treats, try him on small chunks of raw meat, and/or see if he’ll chew on a piece of raw broccoli or carrot. Cats that enjoy snacking on raw veggies aren’t common, but they do exist. You can also buy freeze-fried and dehydrated treats made from real meat – just make sure their ingredients are domestically sourced. Read labels carefully – the fewer and more natural the ingredients, the better. Continued on page 92. feline wellness



Continued from page 91.

Give him adequate dental care If your cat has any sign of dental problems, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a professional cleaning. Even if he doesn’t have any oral symptoms, it’s still important for him to see the vet once a year for a checkup, to catch any developing issues before they become painful and problematic. Some people balk at the idea of having their cats’ teeth cleaned, because it usually means anesthesia. But it’s better than leaving the cat to suffer. Try not to put it off, even if you think it’s not really necessary. It’s far easier on the cat (and less expensive for you) to have your kitty’s teeth cleaned when the veterinarian recommends it, rather than wait until the problem is so advanced that he needs surgery or extractions. Your veterinarian will probably also advise a home dental care regime to help keep on top of your cat’s oral health between checkups. This regime will most likely include daily tooth brushing. What to do: Your first thought might be that there’s no way your cat will let you brush his teeth. It’s true that some cats won’t let you put your fingers in their mouths, but don’t dismiss the idea without at least trying. It is best if you can start the cat from kittenhood to get used to having his mouth handled and his teeth brushed. • Carefully open the cat’s mouth, put one finger inside, and gently rub it along his teeth and gums. Be calm while you’re doing this, and don’t get impatient or angry if he starts to pull away. Just quietly stop what you’re doing and try again another time.

Your veterinarian will probably also advise a home dental care regime to help keep on top of your cat’s oral health between checkups. This regime will most likely include daily tooth brushing.


feline wellness

• If your cat gets to the point where he doesn’t mind having his mouth opened and his teeth and gums touched, be sure to give him a highly-valued treat immediately after each session. • Cleaning should be done with a brush designed specifically for animals, or else use a finger glove. Be sure to clean around each tooth, on both sides. Never use human toothpaste – we might like that strong, fresh minty flavor, but it’s too overpowering for cats. Animal toothpastes are formulated to be tasty and palatable to them, and help make brushing a more pleasant experience. • If your cat refuses to have his teeth brushed, no matter how much you try, don’t despair. Several natural products are formulated to clean an animal’s teeth without having to use a brush at all. These easy-to-use sprays and gels can often just be added to his water bowl, although others require direct application to the oral cavity. Turn to page 28 in this issue for more about these products. As you can see, caring for your cat’s dental health isn’t rocket science. A proper diet, along with regular dental care, will go a long way to keeping his teeth white and his gums healthy.


good for you!

It’s been proven that sharing your life with an animal companion is beneficial for your health, and researchers have found specific advantages to cat guardianship. Companionship through a cat is especially helpful to those who live alone or are widowed, according to Dr. Jonathon Lidbury, assistant professor in the feline internal medicine department at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Cats offer a great balance between being easy to take care of but at the same time being very good companions,” Lidbury says, adding that cats are smart, independent, low-maintenance animals that are also naturally clean. “They are playful, intelligent and engaging pets that are very fun to take care of. Their companionship is especially beneficial to people who are socially isolated due to various reasons. Cats also offer stress relief and light exercise if you play with them.” He adds that the positive emotions you experience from playing or cuddling with your feline can help boost your immune system. Cats can also sense when their people are sick and often offer them company, and their purrs can have healing effects.


cat lovers

If you’re a stamp collector, you’ll adore these. In 2015, Canada Post issued a set of cat and dog stamps to promote awareness of responsible animal guardianship. Designed by Lara Minja and illustrated by Genevieve Simms, the “Love your Pet” stamp series includes three colorful cat images, and offers reminders of the importance of spaying or neutering, regular visits to the veterinarian, proper nutrition, creating comfortable surroundings, and plenty of play, exercise and attention. Like the popular 2013 “Adopt-a-Pet” stamp set, this issue was produced with the guidance of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS). The stamps can be ordered at

Genetic sequencing


Scientists recently completed the first ever genetic sequencing of a cat. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are searching for ways to fund the genetic sequencing of more cats through a project called “99 Lives”. Leslie Lyons, the Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says cats suffer from many of the same genetic diseases as humans, and if scientists can sequence the genes of more cats, they can gain a better understanding of how to treat these diseases in cats and in people. “Many cats suffer from obesity, diabetes, asthma, urinary tract infections, cancers, heart disease and infectious diseases, just like humans,” Lyons says. “The responsible DNA variations for any individual birth defect or inherited condition that affects health later in life can now be identified in any individual cat. We currently only have one cat’s genetic map to study, so the more cats we can genetically sequence, the better we will understand what causes many genetic disorders and possibly even how to prevent them.” feline wellness



Hospice for cats



In the past, euthanasia was often the only option for cats with terminal illnesses. Today, hospice or palliative care is a very real alternative.

Palliative care should not be considered a last resort. It is not about dying, but rather, about finding ways to help the cat live comfortably with a terminal illness.

If you want to provide hospice for your cat, the first step is to talk to your veterinarian. The decision to give your cat palliative care during the final stage of his life needs to be a team effort that includes yourself and your vet, his/her staff, and if needed, a bereavement counselor. Keep in mind that it will require a commitment of time on your part. Here’s what you need to consider:


COMFORT: Provide clean, soft bedding with easy access to food, water, litter boxes, favorite sleeping spots and interaction with family members. Handle ill and/or elderly cats gently.


feline wellness

NUTRITION AND HYDRATION: Sick cats may need encouragement to eat, and you may need to experiment with different foods. While a high quality canned or raw diet is ideal, this is a time when your cat gets to eat anything she wants, so if she wants lots of treats, let her have them. Always have fresh water available.

3 4 5

Hospice involves providing supportive care to cats in the final stages of their lives so that when the time comes, they can pass naturally and peacefully. The primary goal is to keep the cat comfortable and free of pain, with a focus on quality of life.


By Ingrid King

CLEANLINESS: Ill felines may not be able to groom themselves. Assist your cat by gently brushing her. Keep her eyes, ears, and the areas around her mouth, rectum and genitalia clean if she can’t do it by herself anymore.

PAIN MANAGEMENT: Cats are masters at hiding pain. Watch your cat carefully for signs of discomfort – these may be subtle and can include hiding, avoiding contact with family members, or changes in sleeping positions. Cats only rarely vocalize when in pain. Work with an integrative or holistic veterinarian to develop an appropriate pain control program for your cat. HOLISTIC THERAPIES: Many non-invasive, gentle holistic therapies can provide relief to terminally ill cats. Energy modalities such as Reiki, Healing Touch, Tellington TTouch and others can be particularly effective.

A terminal illness in your cat doesn’t have to mean euthanasia. With hospice care, it can become a time of bonding and transformation, during which you and your cat can spend hours of precious, peaceful quality time together.


peace bonding AND

Despite the emotional and practical challenges hospice care presents, it can also be a time of great peace and increased bonding between cat and human. “There is no deeper communication than with a living being as he reaches the end of his path here,” says Bernadette Kazmarski, who for the past 20 years has been providing hospice care for each of her cats when they’ve reached the end of their lives “After a couple of decades, I thought I was as close to my cats as I could get, but the closeness went ever deeper when I gave them palliative treatments, saw the gratitude in their eyes, and was able to keep them feeling well enough until they were ready to let go. “Getting over my fear of inadvertently hurting a fragile cat never goes away, even after multiple hospice instances, especially as I’m not a master of anatomy or disease,” Bernadette adds. She found that having a caring veterinarian guide her through the process was invaluable. Veterinarian Dr. Mary Gardner, co-founder of Lap of Love International (a network of vets whose goal is to empower every guardian to care for their geriatric animals) and a hospice veterinarian in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, offers a view of hospice care from a doctor’s perspective. “I never thought I would find hospice rewarding… until I started doing it every day,” she says. “I am able to help pet parents during the most difficult yet precious time with their pets.” She knows personally what people go through when their furry loved ones get old or sick. “I’ve lost many myself, and each one is a huge loss. As a hospice veterinarian, I am able to provide families a sense of hope when most feel so helpless.”

feline wellness


The Outdoor cat

Debate Part 1

Addressing problems caused by feral, stray and free-roaming felines – and finding solutions that BENEFIT BOTH CATS AND COMMUNITIES. By Michael W. Fox, DVM, and Deanna L. Krantz

Over the past few years, we have live-trapped several free-roaming cats on our suburban property. None had any ID so we had no way of knowing if they had homes and were lost, or were simply feral and living wild. They were mostly very hungry, especially given our cold Minnesota winters, and we saw some of them killing wild birds and small mammals. Most were easy to handle after they had overcome their fears, and were adopted out after being socialized, vetted and neutered. Most cat lovers have a soft spot for all felines, including the scruffiest, most unfriendly ferals, but many will also agree that outdoor free-roaming cats – whether wild and homeless or allowed out unsupervised by their families – can also cause some issues. In Part I of this article, we’ll take a detailed look at these problems. In Part II, which will appear in our Apr-May issue, we’ll look at solutions that work for both the cats and the communities they live in.



Unspayed/unneutered free-roaming and feral cats are at the root of the feline overpopulation problem. A single pair of cats and their offspring can produce over 400,000 cats in just seven years. Many are killed or die from disease or injuries, while others land in shelters that are already overcrowded and short on resources, and end up being euthanized because there aren’t enough homes for them all. In addition, without knowledge of proper, responsible care, including early spay/


feline wellness


neuter, people sometimes abandon young male cats when they start spray-marking in and around the home, and female cats who become agitated when in estrus and want to go out, are allowed out to become pregnant. This also adds to the seasonal influx of litters of kittens into shelters.

Cats are natural predators with a strong hunting instinct. When permitted to roam freely outdoors, they kill birds, small mammals and other wildlife, even when they’re well fed, and this does no good to populations already being decimated by pollution and habitat destruction. Along with strays and ferals, millions of household felines are indooroutdoor animals (it’s still a cultural norm in the U.K. and many other countries). They compete with indigenous wild carnivores for prey, and often bring home wild animals they have killed or injured, such as chipmunks, voles, baby rabbits, songbirds and lizards. The cats themselves may require veterinary treatment for injuries and disease contracted from prey and rival predators, and can bring infections and infestations into their home environments, putting human health at risk at well. Cats can carry several diseases transmissible to humans, notably rabies and toxoplasmosis, which can be especially risky for children and the immunocompromised. Exploiting cats as “working animals”, a biological weapon against rats and mice, should be a highly restricted and monitored practice.

Cats will kill many species other than rodent “pests” and can also be poisoned by rodenticides put out by property owners.


 When they prowl through people’s yards, feral, stray and free-roaming felines can cause a lot of stress to resident indoor kitties and their families. House-soiling, redirected aggression that can seriously damage feline relationships, and stress-related health problems such as cystitis can result from indoor cats being upset by a strange feline wandering around outside or looking in the doors and windows. Other indoor cats may show displacement behaviors such as excessiveself grooming and self-mutilation. Chronic and subclinical health conditions like arthritis and hyperthyroidism may be aggravated by the stress of territorial invasion by freeroaming and wild cats.

In the next issue, we’ll look at ways to solve these problems as they relate to feral and other homeless cats. In the meantime, if you have one or more of your own, keep them indoors (see sidebar) unless you can supervise them or keep them safely confined to a limited area (e.g. by training them to a harness or leash, or investing in a cat enclosure system). It’s the best thing to do, not only for your community and its human and wildlife populations, but also for your kitty’s own health, safety and well-being!

Your cat should be…. ✓Confined to your home and immediate property

✓Microchipped ✓Spayed/neutered ✓Given any necessary vaccines

(without over-vaccinating; indoor cats require very few, if any, vaccinations)

✓Given the companionship of another cat (if possible)

✓Provided with a safe and stimulating environment.

✓Fed a biologically appropriate diet rather than one with high carbohydrate and vegetable protein content from GM ingredients

✓Cared for by someone who knows the

basics of feline behavior and appropriate care and handling – i.e. you!

feline wellness


Book Reviews TITLE: Cats on the Job AUTHOR: Lisa Rogak We hear a lot about working dogs, but there are lots of working cats out there too! Author Lisa Rogak celebrates them in her new book Cats on the Job, a fun and fascinating portrait of 50 kitties, past and present, with widely varied careers. From inn hosts to therapy assistants to bookstore greeters, there are felines filling just about every occupation you could imagine. Other jobs are more honorary, like boat captain, furniture tester, and train stationmaster. You’ll meet Baker and Taylor the library cats; the infamous feline celebrity Grumpy Cat; Brandy and Monster, two orange kitties who played the role of Data’s pet cat, Spot, in Star Trek: The Next Generation; and many others. Filled with delightful photos, this book is proof positive that cats can take on just as many working roles as dogs can!

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

TITLE: Catify to Satisfy AUTHORS: Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin Last year, Jackson Galaxy, renowned cat behaviorist and host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell, along with co-author Kate Benjamin, published their book Catification. Not only did it become a #1 New York Times bestseller, but the DIY projects and designs featured in its pages inspired a community that Galaxy has dubbed “Catification Nation”. As a follow-up to this first successful book, Galaxy and Benjamin recently released a new volume called Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-Friendly Home. Just as colorful and inspiring as the first book, it offers new projects and countless design tricks to help cat guardians address everyday cat care issues, from litter box problems to cats who want to sleep in inconvenient places. Also included are décor advice and photos for creating safe, attractive outdoor spaces for kitties.

Catify to Satisfy is sure to appeal to every cat lover who wants to treat his/her feline friend to the better things in life. Publisher: Penguin Group USA


feline wellness

feline wellness



animal wellness

Animal Wellness Magazine, Vol. 18 Issue 1  
Animal Wellness Magazine, Vol. 18 Issue 1