Newsletter - November 2004

The News at Home

Zoey may look like a Cavalier but she thinks that she’s the world’s most fierce guard dog. Cars parked in front of our house, strangers walking by and heaven forbid, a dog walking along, are met with barking and growls through bared teeth. Cassie couldn’t care less about any of these events if left to her own devices but joins Zoey in barking when called to duty by her older half-sister.

Zoey has caught on to how powerful she can be if she plays the game correctly. Over the last few weeks, Zoey has taken to leaping on the couch and barking at, well, nothing! Not to be outdone, Cassie races over to see what the trouble might be and while there’s nothing to see, she starts to bark as well. At that point, Zoey bounces down off the couch and takes whatever toy Cassie had or the spot that Cassie was lying on. I swear that I can see a devilishly pleased grin on Zoey’s face. It’s only a matter of time before Cassie’s had enough and my girls won’t be speaking to each other again. Until then, I have to admit that it’s a great break from my day just to be able to watch the antics.

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Myth of the Month

Mucus in the Stool is ‘Just Detox’

Actually, this can be a fact but according to what I’ve been reading in email lately, it needs some clarification. The body tries to remove toxins from the body and mucus can be a part of the picture. For instance, the common cold usually translates to a stuffy nose that eventually starts to excrete mucus. Coughing up phlegm is another way that the body manages to rid itself of harmful substances. Mucus is a slippery secretion of mucous membranes and glands, containing white blood cells, water, inorganic salts, exfoliated cells and mucin (a polysaccharide that is the main ingredient in mucus).

Inflammation is one of the first responses that the body gives when it’s unwell. Think of the last time you cut your finger and you’ll probably recall that the area turned a bit red as it healed. There’s good reason for this response because by creating a swollen ‘pocket’, the body tries to keep debris and infectious materials at bay through isolation of the area. Mucus can be a part of this inflammatory process. When we see mucus in the stool, we’re seeing an inflammatory response. This inflammation may not be serious and in a sense it is ‘detox’ because the body is voiding something that upset it to begin with. However, a food that disagrees with the dog or a change of diet that was made too quickly can be the cause of the upset. When we see mucus infrequently and it lasts for only a day or so, there’s usually not much to worry about. When mucus becomes a regular event or lasts for several days, there’s reason to consider that the body is fighting to manage things.

Certainly, the body can often manage to calm down and react normally soon after responding by secreting mucus but the cause of the secretion isn’t likely to be resolved by suggesting that it’s always ‘just detox’.

Allergy Tip of the Month

Does your dog have environmental allergies? Ragweed is one of the top offenders and interestingly, there are links between ragweed allergies and some common foods. Chamomile, bananas, cantaloupe, zucchini, watermelon and honeydew melons sometimes cause an allergic reaction in dogs (and people) that are highly allergic to ragweed. It’s been labeled as the ‘oral allergy syndrome’. The bottom line is that some allergy stimulating proteins in the pollens that are released from plants are similar or identical to some vegetables and fruits. Best Bet: Omit the foods listed above from your dog’s diet if environmental allergies are suspected.

Monica

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. -- Mark Twain.

 
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