December, 2013

Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as
human rights. That is the way of a
whole human being." ~ Abe Lincoln.

Pets and Pain Killers.

By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

When our pets are in pain, we want to do everything we can to help them, but resist the urge to give them human pain killers. Over the counter NSAIDS (non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are harmful to humans in large doses, and animals cannot metabolize them the same way we can. Tylenol and Advil are actually poisonous to animals. I once had a ferret that managed to get to a bottle of Advil sitting on a shelf, knocked it down and it spilled all over the floor. All she did was lick the sugar coating off of one capsule and it was enough to send her to the emergency room that night. Her stomach had twisted (what's called gastric torsion) and she was in extreme pain because of it. Gastric torsion is fatal and if I had not discovered what had happened right away, she would have surely died.
The effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning are quite serious, often causing non-repairable liver damage. Dogs will typically experience acetaminophen toxicity at over 75 mg per kg body weight. The most common symptoms that you may notice in pets suffering from acetaminophen toxicity include:
 
• Brownish-gray colored gums
• Labored breathing
• Swollen face, neck or limbs
• Hypothermia (reduced body temperature)
• Vomiting
• Jaundice (yellowish color to skin, whites of eyes), due to liver damage
• Coma

While Tylenol or Advil are relatively safe for human use in small doses, it has a narrow margin of safety in dogs and cats; the severity of poisoning and development of clinical signs is species-dependent. Cats, who have an altered liver metabolism (specifically, glucuronidation), have a decreased ability to metabolize acetaminophen, making them much more susceptible to poisoning. In cats, poisoning results in severe red blood cell (RBC) injury in the form of methemoglobinemia (metHb). Clinical signs of lethargy, swelling of the face or paws, difficulty breathing, brown or blue gums, vomiting, and not wanting to eat are symptoms associated with NSAID poisoning.

Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is an over-the-counter analgesic that is reasonably safe in the recommended dosage for dogs if used for a short time for home veterinary care. However, aspirin has a very low margin of safety for cats and should not be used. Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin is much safer than regular aspirin because it is less likely to cause stomach upset and duodenal ulcers.
Aspirin remains effective as a short-term analgesic to control the pain associated with musculoskeletal injuries. It is no longer recommended for long-term control of osteoarthritis, because of its destructive effects on joint cartilage.
Note that individual dogs metabolize aspirin at very different rates. This inconsistency can lead to an unexpected accumulation of dangerous breakdown products in the animal’s body. As few as two regular-strength aspirin tablets can produce severe organ damage in some medium-size (30 pounds, 13.6kg) dogs.

Herbal Alternatives for Pet Pain:

White Willow Bark & Glucosamine: Some holistic vets use white willow bark to treat minor pain in dogs. It is sometimes sold in combination with glucosamine in capsules to treat arthritis. Glucosamine works best in conjunction with Chondroitin and MSM which are both powerful anti-inflammatories.

Skullcap: Works on nerve pain and is safe for animals in human quantities but we wouldn't recommend using this herb for longer than a month or giving higher than human doses of it. Use it for a week than stop for a week.

Feverfew: Is a good anti-inflammatory that is very safe. It's bitter taste may be difficult to get passed your pet's nose though, so you will probably need to bury it in some of their favorite food.

Reishi: Works well for many different pet health issues. Reishi is the most powerful anti-inflammatory in the herbal world and the most powerful anti-histamine if your pet is experiencing pain and an inflammatory condition due to food or vaccine allergies or reactions.

Herbs are not a quick, one-time fix. In order to work effectively, they need to accumulate in the body, so your pet may not show much noticeable improvement until after at least 2-3 doses of an herb. Given 3 times a day, herbs can be very effective and well tolerated by animals. Indeed, we have seen them respond to, and do much better with, herbal treatments than conventional and with rarely any side effects, organ damage or the other complications associated with long-term drug use.

Pet Massage Therapy:

We have witnessed very positive responses to simple massage therapy for pets with arthritis, especially along the spine which is often caused be vaccines. The increased circulation along the spine, which is a difficult area for a pet to exercise themselves, helps tremendously to improve their movement and ease pain and stiffness. I personally have a dog with severe arthritis caused by an autoimmune inflammatory response to vaccines. Every morning she insists on having me massage her back along her spine, so it must feel really good to her.

Pets are very susceptible to liver and heart damage due to chemicals and are much more sensitive to chemicals than humans are. For that reason, always take extra precautions with them whenever they are around household chemicals or when using conventional medications. Even if your vet recommends safe pain killers or steroids for your pet, it is harmful for them to be on them long term. You should try to find a safer long-term solution other than drugs for your pet if they are going to be needing pain management for longer than a couple weeks.

Warning Sign: Heart Rate and Irregular Heartbeat in Dogs.

Veterinarians use a stethoscope to listen to the heart. You can listen to your dog’s heart by placing your ear against his chest. The normal heartbeat is divided into two sounds. The first is a lub, followed by a slight pause and then a dub. Put together, the sound is lub-dub, lub-dub . . . in a steady, evenly spaced rhythm. The heartbeat should be strong, steady, and regular. A slight alteration in rhythm as the dog breathes in and out is normal. An exceedingly fast pulse can indicate health-realted anxiety.

 

Laminitis: Research in Europe Confirms the Cause.

By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

Laminitis is a disease that affects the laminae of the horses hoof. It is believed to be a metabolic disease in which overweight, cresty necked horses are most susceptible. Laminitis can also be associated with various forms of stress. The disease can be acute or chronic. "Laminitis‟ simply means inflammation of the laminae.

In the past it was thought to be a circulatory problem with inflammation, swelling and a lack of circulation within the sensitive laminae, and the bypass of the laminae by arterial blood, being the primary problems. The resulting reduced blood flow was thought to starve the laminae and cause their destruction, and although this has been proven to happen, along with pain caused by inflammation and swelling of soft tissue trapped between the coffin bone and hoof wall, it appears that this happens in response to the damage of the laminae rather than being the cause. Research has shown that "normal‟ circulation is necessary to deliver laminitis triggers to the hoof. Experimental restriction of blood flow to one hoof will keep it from developing laminitis while the other 3 hooves are affected (after carbohydrate overload.)

When the horse is subjected to the laminitic trigger, such as poor diet, the laminae rip apart at the coronary band causing the hoof wall to lose its attachment to the coffin bone. This allows the wall to spring away from the coffin bone, not the coffin bone to rotate as previously thought. Sudden "rotation" of the coffin bone is rare; usually it has occurred over a period of time before it is recognized. When a lamella wedge is seen it has probably been about 4-5 months of laminitis. The laminae are producing new wall cells at a constant rate but when separation occurs between the sensitive and insensitive laminae the rate of production increases dramatically and a lamella wedge is formed in the gap, this also increase the pressure on the hoof wall which in turn widens the gap.

European Research Reveals The True Cause of Laminitis:

Laminitis is commonly caused by a poor diet; feeding large amounts of rich feed to inactive horses is one of the leading causes. Spring grass affects some horses adversely after they have been on hay all winter. Other causes of laminitis can be abnormal concussion or weight bearing for the condition of the horse, high fever for an extended period of time and post-parturient mares with a retained placenta.

Horses evolved to eat 20 hours a day, to forage rather than graze. In nature they eat little things of what they need. They have a small stomach and long intestinal tract, meaning they are designed to eat a high fibre, low sugar diet.

Digestion starts in the stomach where there is a pool of acid that breaks down the feed which very quickly is passed into the hind gut where digestive bacteria are responsible for helping the horse break down the feed further. These digestive bacteria, of which there are many types to break down different feeds, sit in the gut in low levels waiting for their particular food and when it enters the hind gut then they start to increase up to a level and digest the feed, when the food source runs out they die back down to a lower, waiting level. When these bacteria die off they put off exo-toxins (their outer shells) and endo- toxins (their insides) which are toxic to a horse but when at a low, steady, normal level the horse is able to cope with it. However we like to feed horses meals, which means he has a large food intake then starves for a few hours before another large meal, or we have him on a lush green pasture, a constant overload.

When we feed large meals the digestive bacteria build into too high levels and then when the food source is gone and they die off the toxins are in much greater numbers and are toxic to the horse. When on lush grass the digestive bacteria build and build to huge levels, especially one particular bacterium which likes the high sugar levels of the grass. This bacterium is called streptococcus bovis. When this dies off it produces so much toxic waste it kills off the good bacteria in the hind gut which means the horse is unable to digest the fibre in the diet meaning whatever it is fed it will starve.

Research by a Scientist and Professor at the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit named Chris Pollitt has shown that the laminae will not separate under mechanical force; the hoof wall will more likely tear before that happens. He has found that the laminae rely heavily on glucose for their attachment and when deprived of glucose they readily come apart.

The body will deplete glucose from non-vital organs such as the skin or hooves (basically the same thing as they are made from the same material) when in dietary shortage. This can occur when the horse is starving or having dietary abundance as both cause high acid levels. The high level dead digestive bacteria comes across as a poison to the body so the horses body will again remove glucose from the extremities allowing the laminae to readily come apart.

Pollitt has also found that there is a system within the hoof between the laminae that anchors it together but at the same time allows the hoof wall to grow past the static coffin bone. This is achieved by a chemical "nip and tuck‟ of proteins called matrix metalloproteinase’s (MMPs) which on a normal horse is at a steady constant rate but when a carbohydrate overload occurs there is a massive overload of streptococcus bovis causing a toxic poisoning. If this toxin gets to the hooves it causes the MMPs to increase their rate thereby allowing the laminae to come apart very easily resulting in the symptoms we know of to be laminitis.

Prevention and Treatment:

Wild horses have to travel great distances to get enough food to keep them alive as most wild grasses are low in nutrients. In comparison our domestic horses are given huge amounts of high nutrient value grasses and large amounts of grain in one feeding then left for many hours with nothing in their stomachs. They also do not have to move very much and consume more sugar than the body can handle.

First look at your horses lifestyle and assess their body condition to make sure they are not carrying excess weight in the danger zones, crests along the neck and apple bottoms are the worst. Then try and decide what might be the trigger, if it is grass then try and limit the amount your horse eats and also what time of day the horse eats the grass.

Sugars in the grass rise from 0% to 22% during daylight hours when the grass is using the sun to store energy and then overnight uses up the sugar for its growth. It is therefore better for your horse to be on the grass at night when the sugar levels are falling rather than rising. Long grass (over 3-4 inches in length) is also better as it has used up most of its growing sugars and is past its youngest growth, whereas very short grass, a typical starvation paddock, can actually be worse as the grass is stressed and producing high amounts of sugar to try and repair itself. It would be better to have a dry lot with no grass and feed hay (that has had its sugar levels tested) instead. Grazing muzzles allow a horse to be out all day with the rest of the herd, so it is better for its emotional well being, but only allowing it to get a small amount of grass. Another good idea is to create a narrow track around the perimeter of your field which will force your horse to move to find its food and thereby causing it to have more exercise.

Photos from top: 1.) Illustration of the stages of Laminitis. 2.) When a horse is "parked out" as horse experts call it, with their front legs parked way in front of them and their legs stiff as in this picture, you can pretty well bet they have laminitis.

© 2013 Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pets who look like their owners:


Find more pet articles in our Archives and pet home remedies are in The Hangout. But you must be a Circkles.com member to access those pages.

 

NATURAL PET REMEDIES: Fleas.

1 part dye and perfume free dish soap such as Palmolive Free and Clear, or Dawn.

1 part white vinegar.

Two parts warm water.

Mix well and apply liberally in the shower, tub, or outside with a squirt bottle. Work it down into your pets fur especially around the ears, neck and belly area. Wait 10-15 minutes and and rinse. Repeat it twice to maximize effectiveness and in case more eggs have hatched since the last time you did it.
Those fleas which do not drop out dead are washed away when you rinse. Very effective.

"I didn't think this would work well but I was blown away. The fleas came off like clumps of dirt. I used half cup each of vinegar & dish soap to one cup water mixed in an empty dish soap squeeze bottle." ~ Scarpia

For more pet remedies, follow The Hangout on Circkles.com. You must subscribe to Circkles.com.

 

DOG BREEDS: Characteristics and Concerns.

(We will get to cat breeds later.)

Australian Shepherd.

Despite its name, the breed was not developed in Australia, but in the United States where they were seen in the West as early as the 1800s. For many years, Aussies have been valued by stockmen for their versatility and trainability. They have a similar look to the popular English Shepherd and Border Collie. While they continue to work as stockdogs and compete in herding trials, the breed has earned recognition in other roles due to their trainability and eagerness to please, and are highly regarded for their skills in obedience. Like all working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive, and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, and frisbee. They are also highly successful search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide, service, and therapy dogs.
Aussies may show reserved and cautious guarding be-haviors. They are kind, loving, and devoted to those they know. They are very loyal to their owners, and are rewarding dogs if treated well. Because the breed was developed to serve on the ranch, a job which includes being protective of its property, it is inclined to bark warnings about neighborhood activity. It is not inclined toward obsessive barking.
The Aussie is intelligent, learns quickly, and loves to play. This means that a bored, neglected, unexercised Aussie may invent its own games, activities, and jobs, which to a busy owner might appear to be hyperactivity: for example, an Aussie may go from being at rest to running at top speed for several "laps" around the house before returning to rest. Without something to amuse them, Aussies can become destructive. Aussies also do best with plenty of human companionship: they are often called "Velcro Dogs" for their strong desire to always be near their owners and for their tendency to form intense, devoted bonds with select people

Size: The Australian shepherd is a medium sized breed of solid build. They can be anywhere from 30–65 pounds and anywhere from 17–26 inches in height.

Lifespan: Results of a 1998 internet survey with a sample size of 614 Australian shepherds indicated a median longevity of about 12.5 years, but that longevity may be declining. A 2004 UK survey found a much shorter median longevity of 9 years, but their sample size was low (22 deceased dogs).

Health Concerns: Vision problems are common. Epilepsy is also a concern.
In merle to merle breeding (Merle is a specific coloring), the puppies who have inherited two copies of the merle gene have an increased risk of being born blind, and/or deaf. The term "lethal white" originated from horses born with "Lethal white syndrome," and has since evolved to often describe dogs born with the double merle trait. This trait is found in many breeds, but most commonly found in Australian Shepherds. Double merling or homozygous merle occurs when the resulting offspring of two merled parents inherit two copies of the dominant merle gene. The odds of this are 25% for each pup born from such a litter. Double merles often have excessive white and can have hearing and vision problems as a result of having two copies of the merle gene.

Other health issues include: Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation (knees), Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Thyroid (Autoimmune), Congenital Cardiac (heart), Multi Drug Resistance Gene (MDR1), Hereditary Cataracts (HSF4), Pelger Huet Anomaly

Looking for an Australian Shepard? Use our Petfinder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, view our Dog Breeds on The Hangout. (Must be a Circkles member to view The Hangout.)

 

 

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