October 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.

Your Pet's Thyroid is Very Important Too.
By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com.

Just as most people are not aware they may have an under productive thyroid leading to many health issues, they are also unaware that pets can have the same problems stemming from inefficient thyroid function or a thyroid that has quit altogether.
The thyroid is responsible for many body system functions and can affect your pet's entire body. With HYPOthyroidism - or an under productive thyroid, most frequent in dogs - the skin is often smelly, dry, and dull. The hair falls out and your pet gains weight. Some pets don't experience normal heat cycles or develop normal sperm. Most dogs seem mentally dull, lack energy and may be abnormally hot or cold all the time. Fortunately, hypothyroid disease is easily avoidable if you know what to look for, and mild cases can be remedied by owners themselves. The thyroid is responsible for the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, digestive system, skin, and brain as well as for strengthening hair and bones. It also helps the body convert calories into energy and process carbohydrates and fats. During growth and development, thyroid hormones play an essential role in normal formation of the neurologic and skeletal systems. Puppies and kittens that develop congenital hypothyroidism show dwarfism or very stunted growth as one of the main clinical signs or symptoms. In the adult dog or cat, thyroid hormones function affect the function and metabolism of virtually all tissues and organs in the body. Because thyroid hormone is central to many processes in the body, this means that dogs with hypothyroidism can show a wide range of signs.

Cats usually experience HYPERthyroidism- or an over-productive thryroid - and have the opposite symptoms as mentioned above. Many holistic veterinarians blame the increase in pet thyroid disfunction on the frequent use of combination vaccines, commercial pet foods and cortisone drugs.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in dogs:

There are two ways your dog can end up with hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is usually considered an immune system disorder also known as autoimmune thyroiditis, it means the dog's body is attacking the tissues of his thyroid gland. In response to this attack, the thyroid will first try to compensate by producing greater and greater amounts of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. But after awhile, the gland becomes depleted. It’s at this point your dog develops symptoms of the disorder and is diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

The other way your dog can end up hypothyroid is his body simply produces less thyroid hormone over time, and eventually he does not produce enough for normal biological processes. Thyroxine is an extremely important hormone in your dog’s body. It plays a significant role in bodily functions such as food metabolism, growth and development, oxygen consumption, reproduction and resistance to infection.
Hypothyroid dogs may develop blepharitis, corneal ulcers, deafness, adult-onset megaesophagus, chronic constipation, and anemia. Hypothyroidism has been found in association with dilated cardiomyopathy, strokes, coronary artery disease (rare in dogs), Von Willebrand’s disease, and myasthenia gravis. At least two-thirds of hypothyroid dogs have high serum cholesterol levels. Finding elevated serum cholesterol on routine blood screening warrants a workup for hypothyroidism. Behavior changes, including aggression, have also been noted in hypothyroid dogs, particularly German Shepherds.

Hypothyroid Symptoms Can Include...

Mental changes:
• Lethargy
• Slow movements or reluctance to go for walks
• Increased time spent sleeping
• Lack of endurance; easily tired
• Increased sensitivity to cold

Weight changes:
• Tendency to gain weight, even on the same diet
• Inability to loss weight, even if less food is fed

Skin changes:
• Tragic facial expression, puffy face or dropping of the upper eyelids
• Increased shedding of hair
• Dry, coarse, thin or sparse coat
• Lack of hair regrowth, e.g. after clipping
• Dry and flaky skin (dandruff), that is not usually itchy
• Loss of hair on tail (eg, rat tail)
• Thickening of skin
• Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation)
• Dry and flaky or very oily skin
• Recurrent skin infections

Neurologic abnormalities (rare):
• Seizures
• Vestibular disease
• Peripheral neuropathy

What Puts a Dog at Risk?

Virtually all breeds, including mixed breeds, can be affected by hypothyroidism. However, labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, doberman pinschers, cocker spaniels, airedale terriers, greyhounds, Irish setters and boxers are among those breeds that are predisposed to develop the disease. Dogs between 2 and 8 years of age are more commonly affected.

Other potential causes of hypothyroidism include:

Some medications, in particular corticosteroids, can bring on hypothyroidism. Lack of exercise can also play a role in reducing the production of thyroid hormone. If your dog is exposed to a lot of toxins, including vaccinations, it can increase their risk of developing hypothyroidism as can tumors. Poor diet or commercial foods that lack proper iodine supplementation can also contribute.

Usually by the time your pet has enough auto-antibodies to be measured on a blood test there has been irreparable thyroid damage synthetic hormone replacement for the rest of their life is inevitable. The signs often develop slowly and are not always very obvious to the dog owner. Signs of hypothyroidism only develop after about 75% of the thyroid gland is destroyed and are often mistaken for natural aging. This process of destruction is gradual but slowly progressive, taking from 1 to 3 years in most dogs before a diagnosis is made.

Treatment for Dogs:
If there’s no autoimmune disorder present, it's possible to stimulate remaining thyroid tissue to begin working again with natural forms of iodine supplementation used for humans. The trick to iodine is to start out with very small doses at first and gradually increase the dosage very, very slowly or the thyroid may decide to over-react and cause the opposite thyroid condition. Meaning, too much iodine too soon will cause a hypOthyroid to go hypERthyroid and your pet will have the same problem and symptoms. Straight liquid iodine (with nothing else added) is ideal because you can add just one to two drops to their food and it is odorless and tasteless.
Kelp, dulce and bladderwrack are all members of the seaweed family and naturally contain high amounts of iodine that are easily tolerated by pets. Start with a quarter the recommended manufacturer's dose for a large dog for 2 months sprinkled on their food, then increase it to half the dose for 2 months, then three quarters the dose for 2 months and then the full dose appropriate for their weight. Do not forget to give them their iodine treatment too many days in a row or the thyroid will start to fail again. Iodine supplementation must be consistant - on a daily basis - in order to work and your pet will need iodine supplementation for the rest of their lives, but it's much less expensive than glandular thyroid treatments or medications. Don't expect immediate results. It can take up to a week or two for your pet to start perking up and showing signs of recovering thyroid function. Most pets don't show significant improvement for a month or two.

The best advice is to find a holistic veterinarian who is willing to monitor all your pet’s blood values, sending thyroid panels out for analysis (recommended is Hemopet), and can also prescribe thyroid glandulars and the cofactors (tyrosine and iodine) in the right dosages for your dog.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in cats:

Hyperthyroidism in cats is usually caused by a benign tumor, not an autoimmune disease. The symptoms in cats are weight loss, hyperactivity, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hyperthyroidism can also cause cats to exhibit behavior changes. One of the things cats do is vocalize, and thyroid disease can cause more vocalization. So if your cat is "talking" more than usual, it's time for a thyroid test. Cats can also develop heart problems like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is the most common cardiac disease in felines.

• Weight loss even with a ravenous appetite (steeling food that is not normal for their behavior)
• Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever
• Excessive vocalization (howling)
• Restlessness, behavior changes
• Blindness (associated with high blood pressure and retinal detachment)
• Poor coat quality, loss of hair
• Large goiter in throat

The best treatment for cats is radioactive iodine, I-131. The term "radioactive" scares most people, but it's one tiny injection in the skin and the thyroid disease is cured. The cat does have to be kept in the hospital for a week, because he or she will be slightly radioactive for few days post-treatment.

For people who decide against I-131, Hill's Pet Nutrition has developed a whole line of prescription diets called Y/D. It's a very controlled iodine cat food that actually can treat feline hyperthyroidism in many cases.

Treatment for Cats:

Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus) is a specific herb to help moderate the overactive thyroid. In addition, it’s a heart tonic, strengthening the heart as well as reducing its rate. Bugleweed is also a valuable sedative, helping to relax your cat when it’s hyper from the excess thyroxin.

Kelp, bladderwrack and dulce are very safe to use as natural forms of iodine for cats, and because they taste like fish, are easy to add to your pet's food and they will actually enjoy the taste.

Liquid iodine: As with dogs, you can use a liquid form of straight iodine. Just start out with one drop on your cat's food once a day then increase it after 2 months to 2 drops once a day. That should be enough to keep your cat's thryroid functioning properly as long as the liquid iodine is good quality and potency.

Photos from top: 1.) Dog losing hair due to hypothyroidism. 2.)Lackluster appearance, drooping upper eyelids and lack of energy due to hypothyroidism. 3.) Hair loss in Doberman, one of the breeds susceptible to this condition. 4.) Hair loss on a dog's tail is common. 5.) Hair loss, weight loss in hyperthyroid cat. 6.) Large goiter in the neck of a hyperthyroid cat.

© 2013 Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com. All rights reserved to images and articles.

FDA Pet Product Recalls for 2013.

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: Using herbal remedies or supplements for pets.

More and more pet owners are looking for natural and herbal alternatives for their pets. When it comes to using herbal remedies or supple-ments, you cannot just assume what works for, or is safe for, humans is also effective or safe for pets. They have a different anatomy from ours, and using supplements manufactured for humans can sometimes cause problems for pets. For instance, many dog owners give their canines glucosamine chondroitin for arthritis and joint issues, however, some human-grade glucosamine supple-ments also contain vitamin C, which for humans is a good thing, but the big difference between dogs and humans is that a dog's body will store vitamin C while a human's body does not and we flush vitamin C out of our system usually within 8-10 hours. So if you give your dog a glucosamine supplement with added vitamin C every day, you will be giving your dog way too much vitamin C and it will make them sick.

Herbal Essential Oils: Numerous pet sources warn cat owners not to use herbal essential oils on cats because cats can easily get an overdose of any essential oil due to the fact that they absorb it so readily and cannot assimilate it through their skin. In the case of felines it is best to only use oral forms of herbs.
It is wise not to use essential oils on the skin of any animal because it will go directly into their bloodstream and bypass their stomach's natural defense against anything that may be poisonous to them, that goes for putting any herbal oils on their fur as well since they lick themselves and hair is absorbent.

The safest way to use herbal products on pets is to do your homework. Research reputable pet sites to see if that herb has been used with that particular animal before and what the outcome was. Then, start with only a very small dose at a time to see how your pet reacts to it. You can always give them more later, but you cannot take back on overdose if they have an adverse reaction to it.

There are also some good books on herbs for pets available now and you can always follow our Pet Remedies on The Hangout where we post herbal remedies that have been tested on pets and shown to be safe. However, keep in mind that just as with people, any animal can react to anything they are not familiar with, so always test a new herb in small quantities first and monitor your pet closely for the first 24 hours.

For more pet remedies, follow The Hangout on Circkles.com.

 

DOG BREEDS- Characteristics and Concerns.
(We will get to cat breeds later.)

Anatolian Shepard

Anatolians are a large and very strong breed with superior sight and hearing allowing them to protect livestock. Males can stand about 29 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 110 to 150 pounds. Females 27 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh 80 to 120 pounds. With its high speed and agility this breed is able to run down a predator with great efficiency.
The Anatolian Shepherd was developed to be independent and forceful, responsible for guarding its master's flocks without human assistance or direction. These traits make it challenging as a pet; owners of this breed must socialize the dogs to turn them into appropriate companions. They are intelligent and can learn quickly but might choose not to obey.
According to Turkish shepherds, three Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are capable of overcoming a pack of wolves and injuring one or two of them. These dogs like to roam, as they were bred to travel with their herd and to leave the herd to go hunt for predators before the predators could attack the flock. Therefore it is recommended to not leave them unattended and keep them in a well-fenced yard.
This breed is not recommended for living in small quarters. They do well with other animals, including cats if they are introduced while still a puppy and have their own space. They mature between 18–30 months. Both puppies and adults seem to have little interest in fetching. Rather, they prefer to run and sometimes swim.

Life Expectancy: There appears to be only one health survey of Anatolian Shepherds, done in 2004 by the UK Kennel Club. The median life span for the 23 deceased dogs (a small sample size) in the survey was 10.75 years. This is several years longer than other breeds of their size, which have median longevities of 6–8 years.

Health Concerns: The leading causes of death of the dogs in the survey were cancer (22%), varied illnesses (17%), cardiac (13%), and old age (13%).
Based on a small sample of 24 still-living dogs, the most common health issues cited by owners were dermatologic, musculoskeletal, and benign skin growths called limpomas. Entropion and canine hip dysplasia are sometimes seen in the breed. Eyes and hips should be tested before breeding.

Looking for an Anatolian 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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