Newsletter - May 2011

The News At Home

May 2nd is Ishie’s birthday. Ishie is a Great Dane. Please place emphasis on the “great” part, because she’s that and more. Have you ever met a dog that you connected with so strongly that you were instantly in love? Sure you have. That’s what happened when you saw your own dog(s) for the first time, but what if that dog belonged to someone else? That’s how I feel about Ishie. I know her in a way that runs so deeply, I sometimes wonder if she was mine in some other life, and please understand that I’m not even sure there is another life. I love this girl with a passion that makes me want to steal her and take care of her when she’s sick, which is ridiculous at best since her owners are as committed and loving as you’ll ever find. But, the mom in me comes out with a fury anyway. Strange indeed.

Ishie has been through more than any dog should have had to go through. She has Addison’s disease which wasn’t controlled well until she was seen by a new vet, bloated and went through a botched up surgery only to have to go another surgery to correct the blunders. Infections seem to find her and while the list of woes goes on, she has managed to fight like a trooper and remain sweet as sugar. Nobody nibbles a human nose the way Ishie can.

Ishie belongs to photographer Mariah Hilton. Yes, the same Mariah who’s known as the master of the camera lens because she captures the spirit of the dog rather than being just another portrait-taker. You can see her work and Ishie below, so I invite you to raise a glass with me and wish this delicious dog a very happy fifth birthday as you feast on the beautiful photos.

bunchwelunchwith.ca/blog/

What’s New at monicasegal.com

Breed Booklet Sale Continues

In an effort to support the Rabies Challenge Fund, we put breed booklets on sale for $5.95 (regular price: $7.95) last month. Thanks to your response, we’ve decided to do it again this month. Our breed booklets are limited in supply, so be sure to order the one you want because we can’t guarantee it’ll be available later. Thank you for caring about this study and helping us to play a small part in supporting it.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a critical study supported by a grass roots effort rather than corporations. If you’ve never heard of this study, you can read about it here: www.rabieschallengefund.org/

Fact of The Month

Natural remedies can be helpful - or do harm

I receive emails daily from people asking about a natural remedy for this or that. I’m not a veterinarian, so I share what I know and suggest the dog be seen by a vet. Here are a few examples from the mail grab-bag over the last month.

Q: My dog has cancer. How much green tea can I give him?

A: Be sure this is decaffeinated green tea. Although you haven’t stated whether or not the dog is undergoing chemo, most oncologists would suggest that you avoid green tea when chemo is in the picture. Obviously, check with the oncologist before giving your dog any supplements or specialized foods such as green tea, but the general thought is to offer it to dogs proportionate to humans. In people, some studies suggest that 3 cups of green tea per day has a positive effect. We’re probably best not to assume that more is necessarily better. If your dog is taking aspirin for any reason, please consider that both it and green tea can prevent platelets from clotting, so while the dose of aspirin was suggested by a veterinarian, feeding green tea on your own without supervision can be risky.

Q: Do you believe in Bromelaine for a dog with IBD? A: No. Digestive enzymes (full spectrum) may help, and although bromelaine is a proteolytic enzyme product that is good as an anti-inflammatory, side effects can include diarrhea, vomiting and gastritis. Those are the last things a dog with IBD needs. A better plan is to try a diet that supplies novel foods and is low in fat and improve the good-guy bacteria in the gut by feeding acidophilus.

Q: My dog gets car sick. Do you have any tricks that can prevent it?

A: Some dogs are so exited and/or anxious in the car that stomach upsets occur. If this is the case, anti-anxiety medications or herbs might help. My dietary approach is to feed a simple diet (not a long list of food ingredients) and sometimes an elimination diet. Ginger and peppermint can be helpful, as can chamomile if the dog doesn’t have a ragweed allergy. Chamomile and ragweed are similar enough in proteins that an allergic reaction is possible and can be severe.

Q: My dog is taking prednisone for an autoimmune disease and she’s taking Lasix for her heart. I know I can’t stop prednisone but I want to replace Lasix with something because she has calcium oxalate crystals now and a friend told me that Lasix can cause that. Parsley is a diuretic. How much can I give her?

A: She shouldn’t have parsley because it’s high in oxalate, but frankly, there’s no way to give a dog enough parsley for it to act as effivtively as Lasix. Trying parsley instead risks her heart even if she didn’t have the calcium oxalate crystals. You didn’t mention her diet, and that’s where I would focus. A home-prepared, low oxalate diet that is heart and kidney friendly can be quite helpful.

Q: I own a beautiful Husky that developed flakey skin. I know this is because of the zinc deficiency in Huskies and I give him 50 mg every day. Is that enough?

A: Huskies can have a genetic glitch that causes a zinc deficiency, but observation of the skin won’t tell you anything definitive. The condition needs to be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Simply assuming this is the case risks never knowing if there’s a different problem and being able to address it, and the amount of zinc is risky as well. Zinc is a critical component for health, but adverse affects of over-supplementing includes hemolytic anemia and hypotension as well as jaundice. Zinc also impacts the absorption of copper, iron and calcium, so supplementing without knowing the true cause behind your observations can have a severe impact on the health and even the life of your dog.

Monica

“If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.” - Andy Rooney

 
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