WINTER WARMERS FOR LOCAL PET RESCUES

That cold weather is coming soon and our smaller, local pet adoption groups could sure use some winter warmers for the dogs. Now through December 31, when you buy any coat or sweater to be donated to a rescue dog, you’ll receive both 20% OFF on that item plus 20% OFF on one for your own dog. We’ll deliver them to your choice of Caring For Creatures, Peaceful Passings, Animal Connections or Green Dogs Rescue.

HOLIDAY PARTY FOR PETS!

Join us Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 for the most fun holiday party for dogs and cats! REGISTER TO WIN a $500 Gift Certificate. Take home a FREE GOODY BAG filled with yummy treats and surprises. Enjoy holiday cheer and refreshments while you’re shopping for “SANTA SALE SPECIALS” all over the store. PET & FAMILY PHOTOS by photographer, Theresa N. White will be available Saturday only, sittings by reservation.

Male veterinarian examining Great Dane on cancer in vet clinic

Neoplasene: Safe or Dangerous for Your Dog?

A canine cancer diagnosis is devastating. If your dog has cancer, you want to do everything possible to help him. Neoplasene, a treatment derived from bloodroot, may help with some cancers. Even though it is a natural substance, it does hold potential dangers. If you decide to go this route, it is imperative that you work with your holistic veterinarian every step of the way. Neoplasene is available only by prescription.

 

Neoplasene

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadanesis, has long been used in herbal medicine to treat skin issues, including warts and fungal infections. This native wildflower appears each spring in the eastern woodlands of North America. Native Americans also used it for red dye. Only certain components of bloodroot are used in the making of neoplasene.

Neoplasene causes cancer cells to die – but it can also kill healthy cells, so extreme caution is necessary. Neoplasene treatment may lessen the cancer’s spread, or metastasis.

 

Canine Cancer Treatment

Neoplasene is only effective for certain canine cancers. These include:

  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Hemangiosarcomas
  • Nasal tumors
  • Mammary gland tumors
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Perianal cancers

Neoplasene doesn’t cost as much as common cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, but it is labor intensive and unpleasant to apply topically. When the tumor cells die, they leave behind a gaping hole – perhaps down to the bone – requiring vet care. Your vet may initially inject neoplasene into a tumor, and the growth will necrotize – die off – within a week. After that, you must apply neoplasene salve to the wound at least twice daily. When done correctly, scarring is minimal for small tumors. That’s not the case with large growths.

Don’t force off the dying tissue, even though it appears repulsive. Unless your veterinarian indicates otherwise, merely clean the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution daily.  

There is an oral form of neoplasene used for cancers that have metastasized. The dog will likely require this supplement for the rest of his life. However, oral neoplasene usually causes nausea and vomiting, so it is accompanied by specific diets designed to combat these side effects. Your vet will recommend a diet for your dog’s therapeutic needs. Raw and dry food diets are out. Neoplasene is mixed with food, as giving it directly to your dog will almost certainly result in vomiting.  During the neoplasene regimen, your dog can’t receive any treats and is put on a strict twice-daily feeding schedule. His access to water is also limited.

 

Neoplasene Precautions

Your dog can’t lick or eat the neoplasene ointment, so he may have to wear an Elizabethan collar or other device to keep him from getting at the wound. Elizabethan collars, the so-called “cones of shame” are uncomfortable and your dog will have to wear one for weeks. That’s just one of several precautions during neoplasene therapy:

  • The salve may cause pain when placed on the wound, so your vet may prescribe analgesics for your pet. Certain painkillers have their own side effects. Dogs receiving neoplasene therapy cannot receive anti-inflammatories.
  • Do not give your dog any supplements, including vitamins, without your veterinarian’s consent.
  • Buck Mountain Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of neoplasene, warns, “Prolonged contact with healthy tissue is to be avoided.”
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs should not receive neoplasene.
  • Treatment for any other common dog disorders must cease during neoplasene therapy. That means no arthritis supplements, whether prescription or natural.

Neoplasene won’t “cure” cancer, but in combination with other holistic treatments, including diet, it can help your dog live longer with a good quality of life. In a best-case scenario, your dog succumbs to the infirmities of old age, not cancer.

A picture of a vet brushing dog's teeth

How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Naturally

The majority of dogs suffer from some type of dental disease, and signs of dental issues are apparent as early as age 3. It is not natural for dogs to have plaque and tartar on their teeth, and it doesn’t happen to their wild carnivore cousins. This buildup, which leads to dental and periodontal problems, is preventable via holistic dental techniques. These techniques focus on the entire dog, not just the mouth itself.

Poor dental health affects more than the teeth or gums. The bacteria from tooth infections can travel throughout the body, leading to heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. Even if your dog already has signs of teeth troubles, it’s not too late to begin a holistic approach, with guidance from your veterinarian.

 

Conventional Teeth Cleaning

If your dog requires conventional teeth cleaning, that means undergoing anesthesia. The vet uses an ultrasonic scaler for removing large pieces of plaque and tartar, and then each tooth is cleaned via a hand scaler. It can take several hours for your dog to recover from the anesthesia. Although deaths from anesthesia are rare, they do occur. If you use a holistic approach to canine teeth cleaning starting when your dog is young, he may never need to undergo veterinary cleaning under anesthesia. One caveat: If your dog is very small, dental issues are more common. That’s because little dogs still possess the full complement of 42 teeth, crammed into their tiny mouths. Brachycephalic breeds – those with short noses and “pushed-in” faces – are also more likely to need professional dental cleaning. These breeds include the bulldog, pug, and Boston terrier.

 

Food for Dental Health

The best foods for your dog’s dental health are those designed for the way canines naturally eat. That means most of their teeth adept at tearing apart animal protein – meat – with a lesser number intended to crush this food prior to swallowing.

A typical commercial diet is one of the primary causes of canine tooth decay. Such diets often contain sugar and are full of carbohydrates – a recipe for dental disease. Your holistic vet will recommend the best food for your dog, and that typically consists of a commercially made, gently cooked or raw diet or a high protein, low carb dry diet. Add a good quality digestive enzyme to their food or a pinch in their water bowl will keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher, too. Look for dental chews that contain essential enzymes and are free of sugars and rice products for safe, effective chewing.

 

Regular Brushing

Your vet or your groomer can instruct you on the best way to brush your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog resists at first, he’ll probably come to tolerate brushing and develop a taste for canine toothpaste.  Toothbrushes designed for children do well for small dogs, while you can use adult-sized toothbrushes on larger animals. Always use soft-bristled toothbrushes. Look for canine toothpaste containing antibacterial enzymes to limit bacterial growth. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. If that’s not possible, brush them once daily or as often as you can.

 

Signs of Dental Issues

If you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you’ll notice any dental issues right away. Also watch your dog eat, so you can see if there’s any change in his chewing pattern or if he experiences eating difficulties. Signs of dental issues include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pawing at the mouth.

Take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Even when using holistic dental techniques, dental problems can occur. In some dogs, genetic issues make them prone to dental disease.

A holistic approach to dental health benefits your dog’s entire body. Because your dog consumes an appropriate diet and good dental health minimizes the risk of systemic infection, you’re likely to have your best friend around for a long time.

 

References

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_4/features/Maintaining-Canine-Dental-Health_20501-1.html

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/alternative-dental-care/

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-disturbing-cuase-of-dental-disease-in-dogs/

NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS FOR HOLIDAY PHOTOS

We’ll be hosting photographer, Theresa N. White at our store on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 — bring your dogs, cats, kids… the whole family for holiday fun! The sitting fee is $25 and 20% goes to benefit Caring For Creatures pet rescue in Palmyra, Virginia! Photos will be available online so you can quickly order your own prints, postcards and gifts from your digital files. Theresa will have a big variety of holiday, winter and traditional backdrops, accessories, props on hand and her creative eye will help make your photographic memories a cherished gift. To reserve your sitting appointment, please call the store. Don’t wait, spaces are limited and will fill quickly.

overweight dog

Natural Treatment for Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

It’s not unusual for aging canines to develop the endocrine condition known as Cushing’s disease.  Formally known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease generally results from a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. This gland “rules” the endocrine system and produces various hormones, and the growth causes it to overproduce adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH. In about 20 percent of cases, a tumor on one or both of your pet’s adrenal glands induces excess cortisol production. Cortisol is a natural steroid, but excess amounts leave your dog’s body vulnerable to all sorts of maladies.

Standard treatment for Cushing’s disease involves powerful medications which can cause serious side effects. Some of these drugs are contraindicated in dogs suffering from kidney and liver disease and other afflictions common in senior dogs. Find a reputable holistic veterinarian to see if a natural treatment regimen may benefit your dog with Cushing’s disease. Natural treatments are more helpful to dogs diagnosed in the early stages of hyperadrenocorticism.

Symptoms

Suspect Cushing’s disease if your older dog develops any of the following symptoms:

  • increased thirst and urination
  • constant hunger
  • hair thinning and loss
  • muscle weakness
  • frequent panting
  • darkening skin
  • recurring infections
  • lethargy
  • insomnia.

Since these symptoms mimic those of other diseases, it is crucial that you have your dog tested. A simple blood test reveals excess cortisol in your dog’s system. An ultrasound shows whether there is a tumor on the adrenal glands. Approximately half of such tumors are benign – but that means there’s a 50 percent chance of malignancy. For some dogs, surgical removal of the tumor is an option.

 

Diet

Changing your dog’s diet may ease many of the Cushing’s symptoms. Your vet may recommend a raw diet or suggest home-cooked meals. If your dog is not currently consuming grain-free food, it’s time to make the switch. Avoid dry foods and feed your pet as little processed food as possible – that includes treats.

 

Acupuncture

The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has many uses, and regular treatments can help regulate hormones and relieve symptoms. Tiny needles inserted into the corresponding acupuncture point are no longer the only game in town. Veterinarians can now use lasers on these points with the same effect as needles. Nervous dogs or those that tend to squirm a lot at the veterinary clinic may do better with lasers than needles.

 

Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs help control Cushing’s symptoms. Dandelion helps restore normal functioning to canine adrenal glands. Another common herb, ginkgo biloba, slows down the adrenal glands’ release of cortisol. Astragalus boosts the immune system, while burdock helps eliminate toxins from the body. Various Chinese herbs, such as Si Miao San, are useful for treating dogs with particular symptoms. These include overweight canines experiencing constant panting.

 

Supplements

Your vet can recommend supplements to help your dog fight Cushing’s disease. Common supplements that help reduce the inflammation occurring with Cushing’s disease include:

  • fish oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • glucosamine
  • turmeric.

Melatonin may help your insomniac dog regain a regular sleep schedule.

 

Specific Regimen

Natural remedies may help your dog in his battle against Cushing’s disease, but don’t start making dietary changes and giving your pet herbs and supplements on your own. Your dog needs a specific treatment protocol that only an experienced holistic veterinarian can develop. Your vet must see your dog regularly for blood testing and an overall evaluation.

Keep in mind that natural treatments may work for a while on your dog, but you might eventually have to go the conventional treatment route. Your vet will let you know when it is time. If your dog does require conventional medication – such as Trilosten – he may require a smaller dosage if he continues to receive dietary and herbal therapy and acupuncture treatment.

 

References

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/natural-solutions-for-cushings-disease/

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/herbs-for-cushings-disease/

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm151209.html

Join us for The Animal Connection’s 15th Anniversary Celebration! Saturday, October 29th from 9 – 4 pm

We’d like to thank the Charlottesville pet community for your many years of loyal support. So join us for a day of fun and special surprises!  We’ll have FREE TREATS, GOODY BAGS and REFRESHMENTS for all our friends. REGISTER TO WIN $100 GIFT CARD. Visit with our SPECIAL GUESTS from 1 – 4 pm…. Pet Portrait Illustrator, Jennet Inglis… Pet Photographer, Theresa White… Animal Communicator and Author, Rosalyn Berne. And a very special presentation by Mary Birkholz, founder of Caring for Creatures about how to adopt a rescue pet into your family. You’ll also be able to visit with friendly CFC pets who are looking for good homes. Please don’t miss this special celebration!

Dog Fest & Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest is Sunday, October 30 from 1 – 4 pm at the Darden Towe Off-Lead Dog Park & Picnic Area

Meet local pet businesses – visit with area pet lovers – or take home a rescue pet! Costume Contest begins at 2pm. with prizes for dogs, kids, theme and rescue groups. Free treats, goodie bags, raffle baskets, pet photos. Refreshments available. Sponsored by Animal Connection, Rovers Recess, Pampered Pets, Autumn Trails Veterinary Center, Canine Adventures and Old Dominion Animal Hospital (plus 20 more pet friendly vendors) Note: all dogs must be on a leash and good with other dogs. If weather related decisions are necessary, please check our Facebook page for updates.

NEW! LONGER WEEKDAY HOURS! AND SUNDAY HOURS!

Due to popular request, we’re extending our hours! Beginning September 6th, our new hours will be: WEEKDAYS from 10 am  – 6 pm. SATURDAY from 9 am – 4 pm and introducing SUNDAY AFTERNOONS from 1 – 4 pm! We hope this new schedule will give everyone the shopping opportunity they’re looking for. But, as always, if you have special needs that don’t fit the schedule, please contact us and we’ll try to help. We’re going to do some special events on Sunday afternoons this fall, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and this web site for all the scoop.

FALL IS COMING — ARE YOUR PETS READY?

Your pet’s “seasonal inner clock” starts changing when the days get shorter, not necessarily when the temperature changes. Already now, they are “blowing coat”  — shedding the old coat  to get ready for winter coat growth. These variable temperature months can be tough for pets, so make sure they get some extra care!  Now’s the time to book your fall grooming appointment, which includes our special de-shedding treatment, smoothing those rough paws and elbows and making sure those nails are properly trimmed and ground for more time indoors. Fleas and ticks will still be a problem until the first frost, so check their skin frequently. Fall is also the time to make some changes in your pet’s diet and begin choosing “transitional proteins” before the cooler weather begins. September 21 marks a big food energy shift, so come see us and let us help you make adjustments to the meats and vegetables your pet should be eating.