The Real Risk of Heartworm Disease

When it comes to assessing your pet’s risk of getting heartworm disease, we must first look at the life-cycle of the worm and the environmental requirements for its development.   Heartworm disease cannot be spread directly from dog to dog, the larvae must develop in the mosquito first. So the first risk factor is how many mosquitoes is your dog exposed to?  If you live in, or take your dog to areas where there are many mosquitoes, then the risk may be higher.  It is also very important to understand the temperature requirements for heartworm development in the mosquito. If these requirements are not met, then the larvae will not be able to infect a dog that it bites. 

The development of the heartworm larvae in the mosquito is dependent on a temperature that remains above 57F (14C) for at least 30 days straight and at least two weeks of temperatures over 80F (26C). If these conditions are not fulfilled, the parasitic life cycle cannot be completed and your dog is safe.  Here in Colorado, it is rare for nighttime temperatures to stay above 57 degrees for 30 days, and as for all the mosquitos in the high country – temps typically dip into  the 30’s and 40’s during the night, so there is zero risk of heartworm, even though the mosquitoes are plentiful.  Next, let’s look at what happens if you dog is bitten by an infected mosquito.

When a mosquito carrying the heartworm larvae bites your dog, the larvae is deposited in the muscle tissue. It’s final destination is the pulmonary artery near the heart, but it takes 2 1/2 to 4 months for it to arrive there.  When the heartworm larvae reaches the pulmonary artery, it then takes about three to four months to reach maturity.

It is easy to see that it takes somewhere between five-and-a-half to eight months for the heartworm larvae to mature into an adult worm and that your dog should be safe if you administer heartworm prevention  once every three months, rather than the standard monthly recommendation, even if you live in an area where heartworm disease is prevalent.

If this is all true, then why is the medication recommended every month?  These recommendations come from the manufacturer of the preventative, and these companies are often owned by large corporations looking to make a profit.  Once they determine that giving the medication monthly is effective in preventing heartworm, they have no incentive to investigate the possibility that giving it less frequently will be just as effective.  After all, this would be encouraging consumers to buy less product, cutting into their profits. While it is convenient to just do the monthly preventative, it is important to remember that these drugs are not benign, and are, in fact toxic to the nervous system, which is how they eliminate heartworm.  It is important that you become an advocate for your pet and carefully consider the recommendations for dosing and determine what is most appropriate. 

If you are interested in getting away from drugs completely, there is yet another option.   There is now a DNA test for heartworm larvae  that is much more sensitive than the more commonly used antigen test, which tests for the adult heartworm.  Doing this test at the end of heartworm season where you live will determine if you dog has been exposed, and then can be given the preventative only if necessary.   If the heartworm season where you live is longer than 4 months, based on the temperature guidelines above, then the test should be repeated at 4 month intervals.  It is very important to test your dog  to be sure there are no adult worms present before beginning this program.

This may sound a bit confusing, but if you want your pet to live the best life possible, it is up to you to become educated enough to make the best decisions for your pet’s health and not just follow recommendations blindly.  These days, there is complete access to the information you need to help your pet, you just need to start doing some investigating. 

Detoxification and your Pet

The word detoxification has become quite a buzz word in holistic health circles, both for people and pets.  Why is it so important to assist the body in the detoxification process?  The reason is that we live in an increasingly toxic world, that is becoming more so all the time, and at an alarming rate.  It is impossible to completely avoid toxic exposure so the next best approach is to support the body’s innate processes to eliminate unwanted elements.

The most important place to start is with diet.  This incorporates both avoiding toxic foods and using proper nutrition to support the natural detoxification process in the body.   Herbicides and pesticides are used extensively in our food supply; even foods that are grown organically can be cross-contaminated from crops that are sprayed with chemicals such as glyphosate.  In fact, its use has become so rampant that glyphosate has even been tested in the rainwater of certain areas. Constant vigilance is necessary to ensure the purity of your pet’s food sources.

Because dogs and cats are carnivores, they eat foods sourced from other animals.  It is therefore very important to investigate where your pet’s food comes from.  What an animal eats and how it is raised has a dramatic effect on the nutritional components of the end product. If an animal’s feed is sprayed with chemicals, then that becomes part of the food that you feed your pet.  Many animals raised for food are fed diets that are solely designed to cause weight gain, but this can actually make them sick, causing the food produced to be nutritionally imbalanced.  For example, cattle raised on grass, which is their natural food, have a healthy balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  In contrast, cattle raised or finished on grain have a much higher omega 6 fraction which leads to inflammation when eaten.  Stress will also change the nutritional content of the meat, so animals raised unethically in confinement operations will not produce a healthy end product.

In pet foods, even those that start with healthy ingredients can become toxic due to over processing.  This is the case with all kibble-type diets. Processing at high temperatures or pressures not only destroys vital nutrients, but can denature some proteins and fats causing them to become toxic.  Even some raw food products now use high pressure pasteurization which destroys nutrients in the food. Regulation in the pet food industry is lax at best, and nutritional standards are so weak that a fully inadequate and toxic diet will meet current standards.  The best recourse is to vote with your dollar and favor companies that produce well-sourced, minimally processed products.  This inquiry must be ongoing as companies frequently change their standards due to industry pressure. Always read the label of what you are giving your pet, even if it is a product you have used before.

Now let’s talk water.  Many toxins and pharmaceutical drugs have been found in municipal water supplies.  The water is also treated with chlorine and fluoride, both of which are toxic.  The ideal water source is a natural spring, which also contains important minerals from the earth.  This is not a readily available in many areas, so a home filtration system is the next best option.  Reverse osmosis is the most complete type of filtration, but it will also remove minerals so these need to be added back in.  Toxins can also be absorbed through the skin, so also consider the water you use to bathe your pet.  Water from an outside spicket is just as toxic unless you have a private well.

Ok, we have covered what your pet eats and drinks, but what about the dishes and utensils you are using?  Plastics contain many toxic chemicals, many of which are hormone disruptors that affect the function of the endocrine system.  Hormonal regulation is very important to the health of the body, and requires a delicate balance.  Once disrupted, the system can play havoc with the entire body.  There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ plastic either.  BPA has been incriminated as toxic and many plastics are now labelled ‘BPA-free’ but this is only one chemical and most plastics contain others that are just as toxic.  To prevent exposure, use stainless steel, or ceramic that has been stained or glazed with non-toxic products.

Does your pet have toys?  The plastics used to make toys are also toxic, so favor natural materials.  Chew treats that are animal products must follow the same standards mentioned above for choosing food products.  How about bedding?  Many fabrics and stuffings are sprayed with chemicals such as flame retardants and anti-bacterials.  Your pet comes in direct contact with bedding, not to mention breathing in the fumes.  You will pay more for natural fabrics, but the cost is nothing compared to the financial and emotional cost of treating a disease such as cancer.

Inside your home, carpeting and other flooring, furniture, draperies, certain paints and drywall contain toxic chemicals.  Now, granted, you may not be able to change all of these things right away, but at least consider changing to less toxic options over time.

So far, we have been talking about the toxins present in physical materials.  What about some toxins that you can’t see?  Our culture has become addicted to electronic devices, all of which emit EMF’s, or electromagnetic frequencies that disrupt the health of cells in many parts of the body.  Under the microscope, very dramatic and rapid changes can be seen in red blood cells exposed to EMF.  Constant exposure from cell phones and towers, computers, routers, florescent lighting and smart meters can be devastating to your pet’s health and the risk continues to grow as we become more dependent on our electronic devices.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce your pet’s EMF exposure:

  1. Distance matters. Keep your cell phone and computer away from you and your pet’s body.
  2. Power down. Your modem power can be adjusted down to emit less EMF. Better yet, turn it off completely when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping.  This is a valuable time for your body to regenerate and repair and it is imperative that EMF does not interfere with this process.
  3. If possible, put your cellphone in airplane mode while driving in your car. The phone emits more EMF as it searches for signal.
  4. Spend time outside contacting the earth directly or consider an earthing sheet or mat.

Vitamin D and Your Pet

I am sure that most of you have heard about the recent recalls on many pet foods due to elevated vitamin D levels, many from the Hills company.

Here is a link to one news report, and there are many more that you can find online:
https://www.foxnews.com/health/dog-owners-claim-toxic-vitamin-d-levels-in-recalled-hills-pet-nutrition-dog-food-killed-their-pets

Vitamin D is an important nutrient which actually acts more like a hormone and plays an essential role in the proper function of many body systems. It is well know for its role in calcium regulation and a deficiency of vitamin D causes nutritional rickets, which weakens the bones. In addition, vitamin D can help modulate the immune system, prevent cancer, and support brain, gut and heart health.  It is an essential nutrient for virtually all the cells in the body.  Because vitamin D is fat soluble, it can accumulate in the body and cause toxicity.

So how is it that a well-known company such as Hills can suddenly have too much vitamin D in their foods? Whenever a food company is using synthetic vitamins to supplement the diet, there is always a risk of miscalculation.  Furthermore, there are no stand-alone nutrients; all are meant to be consumed in conjunction with other synergistic nutrients that not only allow the body to use them more efficiently, but can prevent toxicity due to inherent systems of checks and balances.

The best method of providing nutrition to our pets is in the form that nature intended – fresh, whole foods.
If you read the label on many commercial pet foods, you will find that most ingredients are essentially extracts or processed forms of whole food ingredients.  This includes items such as corn gluten meal, soy lecithin, chicken by-product meal, soy protein isolate,  L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate(do you even know what this is?), pork liver flavor, and many others.

The more the ingredients are processed, extracted, isolated, or manufactured, the more the nutritional benefit is altered, destroyed, and some ingredients even become toxic.
Compare this to ingredients such as beef, chicken, beef heart, beef liver, chicken gizzards, broccoli, or kale.  When reading this list, you know exactly what the ingredients are.  In the first list, one has to wonder what exactly is going into the pet food product.  This is also a convenient way to ‘hide’ ingredients that you would not want to see on the label.

The way that food manufacturers make up for the over-processed nutrient-void ingredients is to add vitamins and minerals back in right before packaging, when all the processing is finished.  The vitamin/mineral supplement is literally sprayed on the food, along with flavoring to get your pet to eat it. What can go wrong here?  Enter the latest recalls for Vitamin D toxicosis.

Synthetic vitamins supply the body with foreign chemicals that can have a variety of adverse effects due to the fact that they are not natural, and the body may not be able to assimilate them effectively. Vitamins and minerals fed in a whole food form, such as vitamin D found in well-sourced animal meat, organs, and fat are present in a form that the body can easily absorb and assimilate. Very importantly, in the whole food form, nutrients are consumed along with others that act synergistically and facilitate proper use in the body.  There are built-in checks and balances that can prevent overloading with any one nutrient when whole foods are fed. When the body is properly nourished, and these processes are working correctly, vitamin toxicosis is extremely rare. Deficiencies can occur if the diet is not properly balanced, so it important to consult with a professional who is knowledgeable in blending whole-food diets.

The best way to feed your pet is to use the ingredients that nature intended, and in the case of dogs and cats, those are fresh meat, bone, organs and fat.  The best source of whole-food vitamin D is well-sourced animal fat.  This means the fat from animals that are raised outdoors in natural conditions, eating a diet that is appropriate for that particular species. One of the best sources of natural vitamin D is pork lard, which also contains vitamin A and K2, both of which work synergistically with vitamin D.

Also important to note is that many synthetic vitamin D supplements use vitamin D2, which is an inactive form that needs to be converted to vitamin D3. The animal products mentioned above contain vitamin D as D3, ready for use by the body.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, and knowing your pet’s level is important information.  Deficiencies of vitamin D can also occur if the diet is not properly balanced.  Measuring Vitamin D is done with a simple blood test that costs $85.  I highly recommend that you screen for this important nutrient to be sure that your pet is at the correct level.

Your pet can eat a fresh, whole food diet regardless of age or health conditions.  Please contact me if you would like assistance in this process.

All the best to you and your pets!

Mistletoe as a treatment for cancer

Treating Cancer with Mistletoe
Mistletoe is a very interesting plan with amazing health benefits, including treating cancer and minimizing side effects of conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation.  This is nothing new, just information that is not mainstream in the United States. In Europe, up to 85% of cancer patients receive mistletoe as part of their treatment plan.

So how does Mistletoe treat cancer?  This plant has an amazing history of health advantages when treating cancer, including:

*Preventing tumor metastasis
*Causing cancer cell death
*Improve mitochondria health
*Reduces tumor blood supply
*Stabilizes health DNA
*Stimulates the immune system
*Increases interleukin 2
*Reduces side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
*Reduction of tumor-related pain

Historically, mistletoe-bearing oaks were holy to the early Germanic tribes.  Their priests, the Druids, wearing white robes, would harvest the mistletoe with a golden sickle, catching it in a white cloth to prevent it touching the earth.  Mistletoe was considered a remedy for all diseases and throughout the Middle Ages was used to treat epilepsy, sterility, high blood pressure and depression.

Today, a preparation of mistletoe is provided in sterile vials suitable for injection, either under the skin or intravenous.  Giving injections under the skin is the most practical for dogs and cats, and can be done at home.  The injections are give 3 times per week at increasing doses until a reaction is noticed in the form of skin inflammation at the injection site or a slight fever.  This is a sign that the immune system is activated.  A slight fever will actually enhance the ability of the body to eliminate cancer, but we do not want it to cause lethargy or a  reduction in appetite.  We will monitor your pet’s response to treatment and make dosing changes that are appropriate.

I am now offering this valuable option as part of my treatment protocols for cancer patients.  Once again, there is no magic bullet when it comes to treating cancer, but this is another tool that is safe and can potentially provide significant benefit.

If you would like to read more, here are some links that you may find useful:
https://www.greatandsmall.co.nz/articles/the-use-of-a-mistletoe-extract-for-immunomodlation-and-cancer-therapy

https://believebig.org/mistletoewebinar/?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR0GNyy8rjPyBGAhv22oC_ZwKeUE8OsRJHh6hsrxEBoTlqqeKKSC60NPiIs

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/mistletoe-pdq

Please contact me for more information.

Keeping Your Pet Healthy in 2019

What can you do to help keep your pet healthy in the new year?  Here are three simple steps you can take that will help keep your pet thriving:

1. Diet  
We hear so much about nutrition in both the human and pet health arena.  But truly, this is the most fundamental key to optimum health.  Without proper nutrition, other modalities will not be effective. The most important concept is feeding fresh, whole foods in a balanced, species-appropriate diet. This may sound like a mouthful, and a lot more work than pouring kibble in a bowl, but I assure you that it is not as hard as you think, and well worth any additional time and expense. There are many well balanced raw or freeze-dried/dehydrated raw commercial products available. I do not recommend home-cooking as it is very difficult to achieve an adequate balance of nutrients, and the time and money required to find well-sourced ingredients will not save you anything in the long-run. If changing to a raw diet seems like a big step, then start by adding in some fresh food to your pet’s diet. This can be in the form of meat scraps, a cooked egg, coconut or avocado oil, sardines, or buy a commercial raw product and add in small amounts. These nutritional concepts holds try even if your pet has been diagnosed with disease conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, IBD, and especially cancer. Fresh food is always a better choice.
I am available to help you in formulating a diet that will help your pet with its specific health challenges.

2. Use fewer vaccines and pharmaceuticals
Conventional medicine certainly has a place in treating short-term or in emergencies.  In the long-run, however, building health through nutrition and natural support will create more health and vitality. Vaccinations have been the mainstay in veterinary medicine for many years, the idea being that preventing disease through vaccinating was the best we could do to keep our pets healthy. There has been little talk about the amazing ability of the body to eliminate disease when given proper support.  Every vaccination and pharmaceutical given has potential side effects and the pros and cons should be weighed carefully.
In the case of vaccines, we can do titers to evaluate the level of immunity already present so that additional vaccines are not given unnecessarily.

Pharmaceuticals should be given judiciously, and only when warranted. Antibiotics, for example, should only be given when a bacterial infection is certain, and ideally, after a culture identifies which organism is growing and which antibiotic will be most effective.

3. Lifestyle changes
Our lives have become increasingly fast-paced and stressful. Our increased dependence on technology has many advantages, but can also take its toll on our health, and that of our pets. EMF, or electromagnetic frequencies are emitted constantly from our computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. These frequencies can be disruptive the normal function of many different cells in the body. While we cannot avoid this exposure completely, minimizing it whenever possible, and, most importantly getting outside and spending time in nature is an essential anecdote.

Does your pet spend long hours alone, without the interaction of other pets or people. Cats may be more adept at spending time alone, but will still appreciate your company.  Dogs are very social, and will develop behavior issues if not allowed to play, sniff, run, roll, and just be a dog.

Don’t forget that your stress level will also affect your pet, so spending time de-stressing with your pet can benefit both of you.  Getting outside for walks is an excellent way to do this. You will find that time spent in nature is both soothing and energizing.

I sincerely wish you all the best in 2019.

Stay tuned for special events and, of course, the opening of my new practice!

The Skinny on Fat

Fat has gotten a bad reputation in recent decades and has been blamed for many health issues. The reason for this is that there are unhealthy fats that have become prevalent in our food supply, and thus the pet food industry. Well sourced fats, that is, fats from pasture-raised and appropriately fed animals are not only safe, they contain essential nutrients that cannot be found elsewhere in the food chain. Even butter, which has been given a bad rap, if sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle, contains many important nutrients. Many fats are unstable and become rancid easily; this includes many of the common vegetable oils such as canola, corn, or soy. These fats will actually cause inflammation and cellular damage rather than offering any benefit.

Rather than fat, it is actually the consumption of carbohydrates, either in the form of simple sugars, including ‘healthy’ sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or cane sugar, or more complex carbohydrates such as grains, legumes, root vegetables, or large amounts of fruit that cause the inflammatory changes leading to many of today’s rampant health concerns.

Sugars combine with protein and fat in the body through a process called glycation resulting in an Advanced Glycation End-product, or AGE. These cause inflammation in the body and many of the aches and pains that we typically associate with aging. Some glycation is normal, but when sugar is consumed in excess, this reaction will lead to increased pain and other inflammatory symptoms. AGE’s also cause damage to mitochondrial DNA which can lead to many diseases, including cancer. Inflammation of the brain can lead to Alzheimer’s disease in people, and in animals it contributes to seizure disorders and cognitive decline.

I cannot stress enough how important the sourcing of fat is. Fat from grain-fed, factory-farmed animals has a very different nutritional content compared with that from grass-finished animals. Pasture-raised meat that is grain-finished will have the same nutritional content as feedlot meat, so be sure to use beef products that are grass finished. Poultry and pork should be pasture-raised and fed a variety of foods, all of which should be organic and non-GMO. Only meat products from animals raised and fed the way nature intended them to be, in natural outdoor surroundings will provide the beneficial nutrients we are discussing here.

The bad press that meat and fat has received in the past results from research using diets high in fats from factory-farmed animals, fed in crowded feedlots and fed a diet designed to make them gain weight quickly (high in grains and sugars), which makes them very unhealthy. The fat and meat from these animals is high in omega-6 fatty acids so is very inflammatory, and can absolutely lead to heart disease and other health conditions. When people are taken off of these meats, they are healthier, making a claim for plant-based diets. Rarely do studies compare a diet based on grass-fed meat to one that is grain-fed.

There are many vital nutrients present in fat. In addition, fat is important for the proper absorption of plant-sourced vitamins and minerals. Eating enough fat in the diet is essential to healthy brain function, as well as heart and immune system function. A lack of healthy fat in the diet can lead to diseases such as age-related cognitive decline, auto-immune disease and cancer.

With today’s mineral deficient soils, the plants we eat often do not have the nutrients that they should. This makes the consumption of healthy fat even more important. Eating a diet low in fat can lead to deficiencies in carotenoids, vitamins A, E, D3, K1 and K2, Omega-3 and GLA fatty acids, CoQ10, and a variety of minerals.

Fat soluble vitamins are dependent on each other for proper digestion, absorption and utilization in the body. For example, vitamins A and K2 are necessary for the proper utilization of vitamin D3. Vitamins A, D3, and K2 help the absorption of minerals, and also require certain minerals to perform their specific functions in the body. It is important to remember that singular supplementation is not often beneficial as the vitamins and mineral are interrelated and must be consumed together in the appropriate ratios. This is the importance of getting nutrients from a whole food source; the work is done for you by Mother Nature!

Here are a few of the important vitamins that fat provides:

Vitamin A, or retinol (NOT the beta-carotene found in carrots), is ONLY found in animal food, and is highest in liver. It assists in regulating gene expression, is a potent anti-oxidant, supports thyroid function, supports cell growth and differentiation (very important in treating cancer). Furthermore, it helps support healthy hormone levels, stabilizes the mood, improves skin and fertility, supports digestion, manages the stress response. In addition to liver, it is found in sardines, salmon, egg yolks, emu oil, cultured ghee, and cod liver oil. When obtained from natural, whole food sources, vitamin A comes along with the co-factors necessary for its proper usage.

Vitamin D supports bone health, modulates the immune system, has anti-cancer benefits, is protective for the brain, anti-inflammatory, helps the gut and heart work properly, and protects against migraines and seizures. The vitamin D that is added to foods is often D2, not the metabolically active form D3. Vitamin D2 can be converted to D3 after exposure to the UV light of the sun, but it takes regular exposure, so consuming dietary sources is a better choice. Lard from a pastured pig is one of the richest sources, along with organ meats, marrow, sardines, salmon, and egg yolks. It is important to measure blood levels to be sure there is enough in the diet and it is being properly absorbed.

Vitamin K – Like vitamin D, vitamin K comes in multiple forms. K1 is found in leafy vegetables and is associated with blood clotting. K2 is essential for the activation of many proteins. It is very important for bone development through the activation of osteocalcin, which regulates the absorption of calcium into the bones and through the activation of GLA protein. Further, it removes unwanted calcium from soft tissues such as arteries and joints. It requires vitamins D3 and A for its production and is dependent on K2 for its activation. A deficiency of vitamin K2 can be a leading contributor to the incidence of arterial calcification in people. K2 is also found in large concentrations in brain cells and in the myelin sheath.

Vitamin K2, in combination with vitamins A and D3 has the potential to reverse tooth decay. The Mk-4 version of K2 is found in pastured eggs, dairy and meat from grass-fed cows. Duck and goose liver are the highest.

Here are more advantages of consuming healthy fat in your diet:

  1. Fat is more satiating because it helps regulate the hormones that control hunger. This helps eliminate food cravings and facilitates maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. Saturated fats support the immune system by fueling white blood cell activity and fats enter the lymphatic system directly providing antimicrobial activity.
  3. Hormones require cholesterol and saturated fats for their production and messaging. Eating more fat can help correct hormone imbalances.
  4. Saturated fat, cholesterol, phospholipids and omega-3 fats make up cell membranes in the body. This balance is essential for proper nutrient absorption and communication between cells.
  5. The endocannabinoid system maintains the homeostasis of every hormone and neurotransmitter system in the body and is made up of fatty acids.
  6. The heart prefers saturated fat in the form of stearic acid as its primary fuel.
  7. Bones need saturated fat along with fat-soluble nutrients to assimilate calcium and other minerals.
  8. Lungs use palmitic acid (a form of saturated fat) to make surfactant, an important protective barrier.
  9. A breakdown product of red meat, L-carnitine, is essential for moving fatty acids into your mitochondria.

It is no longer necessary to avoid fat in our diets or what we feed our pets. In fact, well-sourced animal fat provides a host of nutrients not found elsewhere in the food supply. It’s the factory farmed fat or easily damaged vegetable oils that need to be avoided to support optimal health.

 

Ozone therapy for cancer

Ozone therapy is about providing more oxygen for the body to use, and helping the tissues use the oxygen more efficiently.  It is so effective because oxygen is an essential nutrient for every cell in the body.

For cancer patients, in particular, this process boosts the immune system by strengthening the cells that do the work of eliminating damaged cells from the body.  Further, many cancers thrive in a low-oxygen environment as this is how the cells become diseased in the first place.  By providing more oxygen, the cancer cells cannot thrive.

How is this different than the ozone in the atmosphere?  Atmospheric ozone is produced by either lightening or UV radiation splitting oxygen molecules, causing a single oxygen atom to join with O2 to make O3. It gets a bad reputation on smoggy days, so how is it safe to use in your pet? The actual amount of ozone mixed in the smog is actually very small when compared to other pollutants that we see and smell. The reason you hear so much about it is that ozone is easier to measure than the other components of the smog layer. When the ozone level goes up, so do the hydrocarbons and other toxins, but these are in much larger amounts and consequently much more toxic. There is a beneficial layer of ozone far above the earth in the stratosphere, which exits 5-11 miles about the surface of the planet.  This layer protects us from UV radiation so it is dangerous to us if this layer gets depleted.

Medical grade ozone is made by passing pure,  oxygen through a generator that uses an electrical spark to split an oxygen atom off of the O2 molecules. This free oxygen atom will combine with other O2 molecules and produce O3, which is ozone.

Once in the body, the ozone will combine with small protein and fat molecules to form substances called ozonides that can readily enter the cells.  Straight ozone is unstable and will react quickly with the tissues it comes in contact with.  Ozonides, however, are more stable and can provide benefit for days or even weeks after a treatment.

Ozone is nothing new.  The first generator was created by Nikola Tesla in 1896.  It took some time for it to be more widely used as a medical treatment, but it was used in humans as early at 1911 at the Loyola Chicago University to treat tuberculosis, anemia, chlorosis, tinnitus, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, insomnia, pneumonia, diabetes, gout and syphilis.  In other parts of the world it is a mainstay treatment in human hospitals. There are a number of veterinarians around the country that have been using ozone successfully to treat many disease conditions, including cancer.

Please contact us for more information or visit https://drjudyholisticvet.com/ozone/ and we will help you decide if ozone is right for your pet.

 

A healthier way to vaccinate

Are vaccines really the best way to keep your pet protected from disease?  Rather than just relying on vaccines, it is important to look at what causes disease in the first place, and the natural healing response of the body.

A healthy immune system is key to optimal health.   The majority of the immune system resides in the intestinal tract, so keeping the gut lining healthy and maintaining a balanced microbiome is essential to preventing disease.  Proper nutrition is the most important element here, so feeding fresh, whole food ingredients is a must.  Additional support in the form of herbs and supplements may also provide value here, but this will vary from pet to pet.

Puppies and kittens get their initial disease protection from their mother’s milk in the form of antibodies she has generated.  The standard of care in veterinary medicine has been to start vaccinating at 6-8 weeks of age to build longer-term protection against disease.

The problem with vaccines, however, is that they are not given through a natural route of exposure.  This causes the immune system to sometimes react inappropriately, and often excessively,  causing inflammatory disease such as itching and diarrhea.  When given repeatedly, vaccines can lead to more serious autoimmune diseases, seizures and cancer. Over vaccinating at a young age can actually weaken the immune system, making it less effective at fighting disease in general.  This is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

The best way to grow a strong immune system is through natural exposure to disease.  Since we do not want our pets to get sick, what is the best alternative? Here is an outline of the protocol that I follow.  Of course, there may be modifications based on individual circumstances:

  1. Determine your pet’s vaccination history
  2. Determine the current level of immunity by doing a titer test.
  3. Consider your pet’s risk of exposure to the diseases that vaccines potentially protect against.
  4. Evaluate the overall health of your pet.  Only completely healthy pets should receive vaccinations.  In Colorado, a Rabies exemption is an option for pets with any form of disease.
  5. Check for upcoming or past medical treatments or procedures. Pets should never receive vaccines within 14 days of any anesthetic procedure.
  6. We consider legal requirements from your county and state, plus requirements from facilities such as daycare, grooming, and boarding

Based on the above, we will determine if vaccines are indicated.  If so, we implement the following safeguards:

  1. Only use single component (monovalent) vaccines
  2. Only give one vaccine at a time
  3. Do not vaccinate prior to 10 weeks of age
  4. Use titers to determine if your pet has responded to the vaccine and to monitor lasting immunity.
  5. Use Rabies exemptions for sick pets
  6. Understand the rules and regulations in your area regarding Rabies.
  7. Use supportive measures such as homeopathics to minimize vaccine side effects
  8. Assure that your pet is on an appropriate diet and life style to establish an appropriate immune response.

I have seen puppies, vaccinated at 10-12 weeks of age using this protocol, and followed with titer testing maintain a healthy immunity into their adult years.  This is with only one set of vaccines.  In my opinion, this is a HUGE advance in disease prevention – we are benefiting from the immunity provided by the vaccine without causing additional side effects.

Vaccines are not benign medicine, and over vaccinating can, indeed, cause harm to your pet.  Consider your pet’s risk and use only those vaccines that are indicated.  Remember that a strong immune system will be able to fight disease on its own, without the help of vaccines.

Choosing the best diet – know what you are feeding

Do you know what your pet is really eating?  It is so important these days to look beyond the marketing hype and actually read the ingredient list – you may be shocked at what you see!

Here is an example of the ingredients in a typical grocery store food:
CORN, SOYBEAN MEAL, BEEF & BONE MEAL, WHOLE WHEAT, ANIMAL FAT (BHA USED AS PRESERVATIVE), CORN SYRUP, WHEAT MIDDLINGS, WATER SUFFICIENT FOR PROCESSING, ANIMAL DIGEST (SOURCE OF CHICKEN FLAVOR), PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SALT, HYDROCHLORIC ACID, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, PEAS, CARAMEL COLOR, SORBIC ACID (USED AS A PRESERVATIVE), CHOLINE CHLORIDE, SODIUM CARBONATE, MINERALS (FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC OXIDE, MANGANOUS OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, CALCIUM IODATE, SODIUM SELENITE), VITAMINS (VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, NIACIN, D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN), DL-METHIONINE, CALCIUM SULFATE, CARROTS, GREEN BEANS, WHEAT FLOUR, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (COLOR), YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, RED 40, BHA (USED AS A PRESERVATIVE), BLUE 1.

Notice that this diet is primarily grain with a bit of meat flavoring. Five of the ingredients are actually the colors red, yellow, and blue – do you think your dog really cares what color the food is? This is all part of the marketing game.  There are a few vegetables and a whole bunch of synthetic vitamins and minerals.

This one is from a ‘better’ dry food:
Chicken Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture, Spray Dried Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Spray Dried Porcine Plasma, Dried Tomato, Almonds, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Carrot, Dried Apple, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Apricot, Dried Blueberry, Dried Spinach, Dried Broccoli, Dried Cranberry, Parsley, Dried Artichoke, Rosemary, Dried Mushroom, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium bifidium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Pineapple Extract, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract

There are more real-food ingredients, but the second ingredient is millet, which is used as a binder and filler.  The first ingredient is chicken meal, so we really don’t know what is in that one.

Here is one from a ‘high-end’ dry food:
Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken liver, chicken meal, catfish meal, turkey giblets, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, pollock meal, chicken fat, whole green lentils, whole green peas, whole chickpeas, whole blue catfish, whole eggs, rainbow trout, pollock oil, lentil fiber, natural chicken flavor, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, choline chloride, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, zinc proteinate, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

There is more meat in this one, but also red lentils, pinto beans, lentil fiber, green lentils, green peas, and chickpeas.  None of these are necessary in the diet of a carnivore, and can, in fact cause disruption in the normal digestion and absorbtion of nutrients.

Here is the list from a balanced raw diet:

Free-Range Meat (74.58%): Chicken Meat, Chicken Necks  (including bone), Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Livers, and Chicken Hearts.

Organic Vegetables (24.64%): Yams, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Celery, and Parsley.

Special Nutrient Mix (0.78%): Organic Flaxseed Oil, Sea Salt, Inulin, Cod Liver Oil, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin E, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Iodine.

This list is primarily unprocessed, whole-food ingredients. There are a few supplements added to provide complete nutrition.

Look at the difference in these ingredient lists.  If you did not read them, you would have no idea what your pet was eating, and the difference is immense!

Here are some recommendations in choosing a food for your pet:

  1. The best diet will contain fresh whole foods with minimal processing.  This will include raw or lightly cooked products.
  2. The next best diet would be lightly processed such as dehydrated, freeze-dried, or oven-baked.  This type of processing will still lose nutrient value, but is more convenient and can be a good option to mix with some raw food in the diet.
  3. Canned food has the benefit of a higher moisture content, and does not typically contain the fillers that dry food does.  Still, read the ingredients carefully and I do not recommend feeding this as the only food type in the diet.
  4. Kibble is last on the list due to the level of processing that damages nutrients and can even cause toxicity.  Because of the need to hold the pieces together, there will always be some sort of carb or filler.  Although there is some variability in the quality of kibble ingredients, I do not recommend that any kibble constitute a majority of your pet’s diet.

 

Eliminating toxins

We live in a toxic world, and it is becoming more so all the time, and at an alarming rate. No matter how hard we try to avoid exposure to toxins, it is impossible to avoid certain chemicals and carcinogens completely. In this two-part post, we will first address avoiding identifying and avoiding toxins, and in the second part, some specific steps to take after exposure.

Let’s start with diet.  Herbicides and pesticides are used extensively in our food supply; even foods that are grown organically can be cross-contaminated from crops that are sprayed with chemicals such as glyphosate.  In fact, the use has become so rampant that it has even been tested in the rainwater of certain areas. Constant vigilance is necessary to ensure the purity of your pet’s food supply, and yours as well.  Because dogs and cats are carnivores, they eat foods sourced from other animals.  It is therefore very important to investigate the sourcing of the foods you feed.  What the animals eat and how they are raised has a dramatic affect on the nutritional quality of the end product. If the feed is sprayed with chemicals that becomes part of the food product that you feed your pet.  Many food animals are fed diets that are solely designed to cause weight gain, but this can actually make them sick, causing the food produced to be nutritionally imbalanced.  For example, cattle raised on grass, which is their natural food, have a healthy balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  In contrast, cattle raised or finished on grain have a much higher omega 6 fraction which leads to inflammation when eaten.  This is the reason for much of the bad press that red meat has gotten over the years.  It is not the case that red meat is unhealthy; rather meat from cattle raised inappropriately is unhealthy.

In pet foods, even those that start with healthy ingredients can become toxic due to over processing.  Processing at high temperatures or pressures not only destroys vital nutrients, but can denature some proteins and fats causing them to become toxic.  Regulation in the pet food industry is lax at best, and nutritional standards are so weak that a fully inadequate and toxic diet will meet current standards.  The best recourse is to vote with your dollar and favor companies that produce well-sourced, minimally processed products and the stores that sell them.  The inquiry must be ongoing as companies frequently change their standards due to industry pressure.

Now let’s talk water.  Many toxins and pharmaceutical drugs have been tested in municipal water supplies.  The water is also treated with chlorine and fluoride, both of which are toxic.  Water alone could be toxic enough to cause cancer in pets.  The ideal water source is a natural spring, which also contains important minerals from the earth.  This is not a readily available in many areas, so a home filtration system is the next best option.  Reverse osmosis is the most complete type of filtration, but it will also remove minerals so these need to be added back in.  Toxins can also be absorbed through the skin, so also consider the water you use to bathe your pet.  Water from an outside spicket is just as toxic unless you have a private well.

Ok, we have covered what your pet eats and drinks; what about the dishes and utensils you are using?  Plastics contain many toxic chemicals, many of which are hormone disruptors that affect the function of the endocrine system.  Hormonal regulation is very important to the health of the body, and requires a delicate balance.  Once disrupted, the system can cause havoc with the entire body.  There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ plastic either.  BPA has been incriminated as toxic and many plastics are now labelled ‘BPA-free’ but this is only one chemical and most plastics contain others that are just as toxic.  To prevent exposure, use stainless steel, or ceramic that has been stained or glazed with non-toxic products.

Does your pet have toys?  The plastics used to make toys are also toxic, so favor natural materials.  Chew treats that are animal products must follow the same standards mentioned above for choosing food products.  How about bedding?  Many fabrics and stuffings are sprayed with chemicals such as flame retardants and anti-bacterial.  Your pet comes in direct contact with bedding, not to mention breathing in the fumes.  You will pay more for natural fabrics, but the cost is nothing compared to the financial and emotional cost of treating a disease such as cancer.

Inside your home, carpeting and other flooring, furniture, draperies, certain paints and drywall contain toxic chemicals.  Now, granted, you may not be able to change all of these things, but at least consider changing to less toxic options over time.

So far, we have been talking about the toxins present in physical materials.  What about some toxins that you can’t see?  Our culture has become addicted to electronic devices, all of which emit EMF’s, or electromagnetic frequencies that disrupt the health of cells in many parts of the body.  Under the microscope, very dramatic and rapid changes can be seen in red blood cells exposed to EMF.  Constant exposure from cell phones and towers; wifi; florescent lighting; smart meters can be devastating to your pet’s health and the risk continues to grow as we become more dependent on our electronic devices.  There will be an entire section on how to reduce the EMF exposure in your home, but a few things for starters are:

  1. Distance matters. Keep your cell phone and computer away from you and your pet’s body.
  2. Power down. Your modem power can be adjusted down to emit less EMF. Better yet, turn it off completely when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping.  This is a valuable time for your body to regenerate and repair and it is imperative that EMF does not interfere with this process.
  3. If possible, put your cellphone in airplane mode while driving in your car. The phone emits more EMF as it searches for signal.
  4. Spend time outside contacting the earth directly or consider an earthing sheet or mat.

 

We have been talking about some changes that you can make to avoid toxins in your pet’s environment, and these are very important steps.  The reality is, however, that we cannot completely eliminate toxic exposure.  This is why an ongoing detox program is so important.  Once again, proper nutrition is key here as it gives the body the tools it needs to use its own detoxification system.  The liver and kidneys are the primary organs of detoxification and must be supported.  There are herbs that can help with this process, along with drinking plenty of filtered  or spring water.  We will address this further in part two of this post.