Pet-friendly fabrics and flooring make decorating a breeze for dog and cat lovers

February 25th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Pet Connection

by Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker

By Kim Campbell Thornton  –  Andrews McMeel Syndication

 

We’re in the market for a new sofa, and my friend Tamela Klisura, an interior designer, is urging me to get one in a light neutral shade instead of the colorful patterns that I love — in part because they hide pet hair so well.

“It’ll get dirty,” I argued. Dogs will be napping on it all the time, after all.

Tamela, who has three dogs herself, pooh-poohed that.

“They have performance fabrics now that clean up really easily,” she says.

She’s right. You don’t have to buy furnishings that are the same color as your pug or Labrador’s fur — or the Holstein cow pattern I’d need for my chestnut-and-white cavaliers. If you’re considering buying new furniture, reupholstering what you have or putting down new flooring, you have a lot of options to help keep your home looking and smelling clean, even if you have multiple dogs and cats.

Many fabrics and carpets these days are made to withstand odors and stains from spills, dog drool, pet accidents or animals who simply need a bath, thanks to a moisture barrier that keeps liquids and other messes on the fabric’s surface instead of soaking in. They can even be safely disinfected with a product that knocks out pathogens including E. coli, salmonella, MRSA, parvovirus and canine distemper virus.

“Those Crypton fabrics are made for a variety of high use and abuse,” says commercial architect Heather E. Lewis of Animal Arts, a firm that designs veterinary hospitals, shelters and other facilities. “What I have seen as an architect is an explosion in the number of cleanable fabrics that are used in health care, and those fabrics are also appropriate for use in a home.”

Flooring and carpets are also more pet-friendly, thanks to advances in materials. Vinyl, for one, has come a long way. Rosemary George replaced her wood floors with commercial-grade vinyl. “It looks just like wood but holds up better and is impervious to accidents,” she says. Melissa Frieze Karolak has vinyl planks in her basement, “luxury” vinyl in one bathroom and old-fashioned linoleum in the laundry area. “I like them all, and so far they have held up well to our two dogs and three cats,” she says.

If you’ve ever wished that you could just throw large rugs into the washing machine, well, now you can. A company called Ruggable makes lightweight rugs that go over a nonskid pad. The low-pile rugs, which come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors and patterns, are stain-resistant and waterproof. When they need to be cleaned, even the 8-by-10-foot size fits in a home washing machine.

“I have Ruggables and love the look, durability and washability,” says Marion Schuller, responding on Facebook to a friend who was considering buying one. “There is little or no padding, but the dogs like them and choose the rug instead of tile.”

Another option is carpet squares made with solid vinyl backing. When vomit, urine or poop accidents happen — and they will — the affected squares can be pulled up and cleaned or replaced altogether.

Wall-to-wall carpets are also made now to resist depredations from dogs and cats. Some are treated to prevent stains from forming after spills or pet potty accidents, prevent urine from penetrating to the pad and resist soiling. They can be good choices for people with asthma or allergies who prefer carpet to hard-surface flooring.

Whether it’s furniture or flooring, homes are being designed around pets. “I think that’s cool and it makes it easier for busy families,” says Lewis, who has kids and pets. “I love to see that.”

Please don’t rush up to pet my dog!

February 24th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Dear parents,

I realize my dog is super cute. I know it is fun to watch her playing fetch with me and it drew your child’s attention when I walked by with my pup.

I am guessing that your family probably doesn’t have a dog right how and it appears from all the fuss I’m overhearing that your kids really want one. I applaud your determination to not get a pet until you really have the time for one. It is a very responsible choice to wait.

But here’s the thing, just because I’m out and about with my dog, doesn’t mean she is public property to be approached or touched. She isn’t that used to kids and in fact, isn’t all that comfortable with strangers in general. I bring my dog out for walks and to the park so I can spend time with her and we can enjoy the fresh air together.

I honestly don’t want to appear rude or say anything harsh to your kids, but if they rush up to her or try to hug her, it will make her nervous and I’m not 100% certain how she might react. It’s my responsibility to keep her safe in the world so I’d appreciate if you would simply admire and keep your distance.

I’m sure you would feel the same if I was excited and came rushing up to hug your kid because he was wearing such a cute outfit. Actually, I wouldn’t blame you if you called the cops on me if I actually did that!

But you see what I mean? Personal space is a big deal for both humans and dogs. Let’s just be mutually respectful of one another and simply smile and nod as we keep walking and pass by. I promise that if I wanted you to come say hi, I would invite you and your kids to come pet her. If I felt like interacting, I’d make it obvious, but if I didn’t issue that invitation, please keep moving or just ADMIRE from a distance.

Thanks for understanding and for helping raise your kids to understand that dogs need to feel safe too.

Sincerely,

A responsible dog owner

Ground, barriers broken at Temple Grandin Equine Center

February 24th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation
By 
Temple Grandin Equine Center
Temple Grandin, CSU’s world-renowned professor of animal sciences and autism advocate, speaks Monday, Feb., 10, at the ground breaking of the Temple Grandin Equine Center

Temple Grandin, the world-renowned professor in Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and autism advocate, didn’t have an easy road in life.

Far from it.

“High school was a disaster for me,” she said. “I was always getting picked on.”

She recalled the day she reached her breaking point when a student called her a derogatory term. “I chucked a book at her,” Grandin said.

‘Horses saved my life’

That incident got Grandin, now in her 30th year on the Department of Animal Sciences faculty, kicked out of school, but it also opened up a completely new world for her. Her new boarding school included opportunities to ride and work with horses.

“Horses saved my life,” she said. “I loved to ride them, and working in the barns taught me how to work. I fed them, took care of them and cleaned out nine stalls every day.”

It was fitting then, on Monday, Feb. 20, that CSU broke ground on the Temple Grandin Equine Center on the Foothills Campus. The new facility, adjacent to the B.W. Pickett Arena, will be home to what may be the leading equine-assisted activities and therapy (EAAT) research program in the world. It will serve children with autism, veterans with PTSD and seniors with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Two-phase project

The overall project, which includes two phases, is projected to cost $10 million. Construction on the first phase of the project, approximately $5 million – a 40,000-square-foot building featuring a riding arena, classrooms, horse stalls and space for CSU’s Right Horse program – will begin this spring. CSU has raised $4.7 million to date.

Temple Grandin groundbreaking
James Pritchett, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Temple Grandin, CSU President Joyce McConnell and Adam Daurio, director of the Temple Grandin Equine Center, prepare to dig in at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Temple was our inspiration, so it’s appropriate this facility be named in her honor,” said Jerry Black, head of CSU’s Equine Sciences Program and one of the project’s original planners.

The project first was envisioned in 2014, and planning and fundraising began shortly thereafter. Grandin not only consulted on the facility’s design, she has been a donor and tireless advocate.

Two Temple Grandin centers

The Animal Health Complex at CSU’s SPUR Campus at the National Western Complex in Denver will also include programs hosted by the Temple Grandin Equine Center. Programs at that location will focus more on outreach than education and research; the facility is slated to break ground in April.

When completed, the Foothills Campus center will elevate CSU’s already renowned EAAT program. The leadership team has already invested thousands of hours in research and practical application, reviewing every known equine-assisted therapy-related study from around the world.

“We are now considered the leader in researching equine-assisted activities and therapy,” said Adam Daurio, director of the Temple Grandin Equine Center. “This will be a place where individuals with physical, emotional and developmental challenges can heal, where therapists can treat, where students can learn, where scientists can research, and where horses can be studied, cared for, and advanced. Our graduates already are the leaders in many aspects of this industry.”

Becoming the world leader

Daurio said CSU’s current EAAT programming already provides services for 70 people per week, and has successfully launched three tracks of research. Students – both undergrads and those working on advanced degrees – do the bulk of the hands-on research and partner with licensed practitioners and certified instructors to host appointments for participating children, veterans and seniors.

Several key donors attended the groundbreaking, and CSU President Joyce McConnell told the gathering how proud she was of the program and the donors who helped make the facility a reality.

“CSU is a place that dreams,” McConnell said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we will be the best in the world. We need to tell everyone else we are the best in the world because we are cutting-edge, and we are pushing the boundaries. And when we push the boundaries because of the research we do, we actually get it out into the world, so this gets to spread far and wide.”

You can donate to support the Temple Grandin Equine Center. CSU hopes to launch the next phase of the facility, which will include a second arena, advanced clinical and therapy facilities, and administration offices in 2024.

Temple Grandin Center rendering

Innovative therapy puts Blaine, WA dog’s cancer into remission

February 24th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation
The Northern Light Community Newspaper, Bellingham, WA
Blaine dog Wiley with his veterinary team at Bellingham Veterinary. From l., Brittany Grant, Sebastian Grant, Dr. Kevin Steele, Sharon Pozzi and Dr. Edmund Sullivan.
Blaine dog Wiley with his veterinary team at Bellingham, WA Veterinary. From l., Brittany Grant, Sebastian Grant, Dr. Kevin Steele, Sharon Pozzi and Dr. Edmund Sullivan.
  • by Jami Makan

When Jackie Craig got her dog Wiley from a ranch when he was eight weeks old, she expected him to have a long, healthy life. That’s because he’s a Blue Heeler, a type of Australian Cattle Dog known for its long, healthy lifespan and lack of predisposed conditions. Wiley quickly became a beloved figure at The Hair Shop on Martin Street in Blaine where Craig works. “He’s the barbershop dog,” she said. “Everybody knows him.”

So it came as a shock when Wiley, at the age of seven and a half, was diagnosed with lymphoma in August last year. Craig first noticed that Wiley was gaining weight and would start coughing when he drank. She took him in for an appointment at Bellingham Veterinary, where Dr. Edmund Sullivan performed blood work and diagnosed Wiley with B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. It is also known in people as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “It turns out the lymph nodes in his neck were extremely enlarged,” Craig said. “He was in very sorry shape, and they said he would’ve died within two weeks.”

Although she didn’t have pet insurance – “My biggest mistake,” Craig said – she decided to pay for chemotherapy for Wiley. “I did not think he was going to make it,” she said. “I just wanted to prolong his life. It was agonizing trying to decide whether to put my dog to sleep.”

At first, Dr. Sullivan performed chemotherapy on Wiley once a week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working well. “Wiley had a very poor response to standard chemotherapy,” said Dr. Sullivan. “On the standard therapy, he didn’t get into any kind of remission at all. He quickly would relapse.”

That’s when Dr. Sullivan decided to try a new approach being developed around the country. Through a separate Bellingham company named Aurelius Biotherapeutics, of which his wife Dr. Theresa Westfall is the CEO, Dr. Sullivan has been working for years in conjunction with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, as an off-campus research partner. “We have developed therapies for dogs as patients through that relationship,” said Dr. Sullivan. One of those therapies is known as adoptive T-cell therapy. It is a therapy that is also used on some human patients, and Dr. Sullivan decided to try it on Wiley.

“Basically, it is a method where we first take blood out of the dog,” explained Dr. Kevin Steele, Dr. Sullivan’s Blaine-based lab researcher. “We take anti-tumor T-cells away from the influence of the tumor. The T-cells, the anti-cancer cells, they are in culture now. We give them dead tumor to attack. They expand and get very anti-tumor. All of this is happening in culture. Then we inject them back into the dog.”

Dr. Steele said that adoptive T-cell therapy is typically used in conjunction with standard chemotherapy. First, the chemotherapy kills off rapidly dividing tumor cells, and then the T-cells, after being “jazzed up” in the laboratory, are injected to “hunt down” any surviving cancer cells. The first time Dr. Steele and Dr. Sullivan tried the technique was in 2016, and since then, they have treated about a hundred dogs together. They have conditional USDA approval to provide the treatment, and they are currently working on overcoming additional levels of regulatory hurdles to expand their facility.

“With standard therapy, we don’t have any cures,” said Dr. Sullivan. “So none of them survive. This immunotherapy, meanwhile, has resulted in a fair percentage of dogs living for long periods of time, and some of them being cured,” which he defines as being cancer-free for longer than two years after a diagnosis. Some dogs he has treated have gone as long as four and a half years (and counting) without relapsing. “We believe there’s something to this.”

The experimental treatment was performed at no cost to Craig. The doctors grew T-cells for Wiley and then gave him an additional dose of standard therapy followed by two infusions of the T-cells. Wiley went into remission and has gone without additional chemotherapy for several months now. “Just last week, we did an analysis and he was free of disease – there was no detectable disease,” said Dr. Sullivan. “We will generate another batch of T-cells for him to see if we can extend his remission even longer. There’s a chance he may be cured – we don’t know that until he’s gone two years since his diagnosis – but we’re already six months in. We’re a quarter of the way there.”

During the entire process, Craig said that Wiley’s suffering was minimal, and that he didn’t lose hair. “Now he’s got the puppy bounce,” said Craig. “He was pretty sick when he was going through chemo. I could only get him to eat steak. Now he’s eating completely normal and he’s right back to his old self, playing with other dogs.”

Craig is extremely grateful to Dr. Steele and Dr. Sullivan, who will continue to monitor Wiley’s condition. “Kevin is an angel,” she said. “And Dr. Sullivan, he sits on the floor and talks to the animals. He loves the animals. His entire staff is just very compassionate.”

Craig said that with so many dogs getting cancer, these treatments have come a long way and are worth it. “It gives other people with dogs hope,” she said.

The First Thing To Do After Getting A Dog from A Shelter – DECOMPRESSION

February 18th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation
From kdmatthews.com

The First Thing To Do When Getting A Dog From A Shelter – Learn What “Decompression” Is

It’s pretty damn awesome of you to look to the shelter to rescue a dog when searching for that new furry family member.I mean that.

Our nation’s shelter’s, pounds, and humane societies are overflowing with perfectly healthy and awesome dogs who desperately need good homes where they can live out their lives. The fact that you have decided to go there first is great.

But all that greatness will be meaningless if you do not do your homework first, and even more importantly, introduce them to their new home properly. We want it to truly be their fur-ever home right?

I’m not even talking about having the Barkbox subscription underway or spending 200$ on chew toys. There is something even more important that you must be aware of, be cognizant of, and be prepared to implement the moment you take that dog from the shelter.

SHELTERS ARE NOT FUN PLACES

If you have ever walked through the kennels of an animal shelter you surly can attest to the stress of the experience.  Perhaps you can remember the first time you entered one.  It might have been a memorable experience!

They are very very loud.

It is non stop barking, howling, whining, and yelping.  The sound can be deafening at times and if you are not used to it or it is your first time, it can cause a heavy dose of anxiety to rise up your bones and make you want to turn around and walk out.

It’s intense.

Now realize that you CAN turn around and walk out.  Those dogs can’t. They are there all day, all night, all week, all month.  It shouldn’t take too much contemplation to realize this isn’t the ideal setting for any dog. Some dogs can be there for months on end if it is a no-kill shelter.

The longer they are in there the worse the mental trauma can be.

While some dogs will completely shut down others seem to amp up developing numerous anxiety based behaviors that border on neurotic.  While the observable behaviors might be different, the source is the same, stress from being in there.

Recognizing that this type of experience can have an impact on a dog’s state of mind, it baffles me how people think that simply putting a leash on the dog and taking it home means everything is suddenly going to be O.K. As if anything is that simple!

So many of these dogs end up back at shelters for a wide variety of reasons, including aggression, because their well intentioned new family did not take the time to research the proper way to bring a dog from this type of environment home.  When the dog starts acting in inappropriate ways or even worse, becomes aggressive, everybody is quick to blame the dog’s “troubled past”.

It’s not the dog’s past, it is the dog’s present.

The first day in a new home is not the day to meet other family members, loud and energetic toddlers, other dogs, the cats, the super nosy neighbor who wants to give your new dog hugs and kisses….

NO……NOT AT ALL……

DECOMPRESSION

The name is indicative of the what it means in terms of what the dog has been through and what the dog needs. All the stress from the living conditions the dog is coming from needs to be addressed.  The dog has been under a lot of stress and pressure.

The dog needs to “decompress” and take some time getting back to a balanced state of mind.  This will not be achieved with going from one crazy high activity place to another. The dog should not be introduced to the couch for endless hours of belly rubs on day one because you feel bad the dog had a rough past.

That makes YOU feel good.

This isn’t about you and what you like, this is about what is best for the dog.  Remember?

For at LEAST 2-3 WEEKS, your new dog’s life should be incredibly simple and boring. Keep the affection to a bare minimum, keep talking and training to non- existent levels.

A nice calm and quiet beginning is essential

You want as much silence as possible.

Have a daily routine or schedule 100% planned out prior to the dog coming home. This should be the dog’s day mapped out.  From bathroom breaks, to crate time, to short walks in quiet boring places, the entire day should be on a schedule.

Dogs find exponentially more comfort in routine than they do belly rubs and cuddles.  For that reason, keep the affection to a bare minimum.  This is not the time to shower the dog with affection as all that will do is reinforce an unbalanced state of mind and confuse the dog as to YOUR role in their lives.

The premise behind decompression is allowing the dog to get back to a neutral and relaxed state of mind, opposite of what it just came from.

Your dog needs leadership and calm predictability.

These two things are crucial to the dog becoming appropriately integrated into your home.  Allowing the dog time to decompress without having to deal with a whole new set of intense stimuli will set you all up for a successful future.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

My free E-Book is the instruction book that should have came with your dog.  It’s short and sweet and easy to get through.  Learn the very basics of owning a dog FIRST before worrying about the other stuff.  What color you paint your walls doesn’t matter if the foundation is wrong.  My intention was to sell it, then I realized it’s too important to allow even a penny to come between this book and somebody who needs it.  Click below and download your copy!

Click HERE!

While the book has a bunch of super important chunks of information you need, it’s still just a book.  If you really want to ensure that you are going to give your new furfamily member the best chances of success and happiness I have put together a crash course designed to give you EVERYTHING you you need to make your furkid’s new home it’s last!  One on one, you and I, online will cover all the essentials and I will explain to you how to implement the information into YOUR unique home environment.

Simply send me a message via my contact page for more information and we can get you and your home ready!  Even if you have already brought them home, we can make sure they are getting everything they need in a way that will help them be completely fulfilled and balanced.

Pancreatitis in Dogs

February 18th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation
Date Published: 01/02/2006
Date Reviewed/Revised: 05/07/2019

The Normal Pancreas and What it Does

We eat food, chew it up into a slurry, and swallow it. It travels down the esophagus to the stomach where it is ground up further and enzymes are added to begin the break-down of dietary nutrients (digestion). When the food particles are small enough, they are propelled into the small intestine for further digestive treatment and ultimately nutrient absorption. The upper part of the small intestine (the duodenum) is for further digestion/break down of nutrients while the lower parts of the small intestine are for absorption of the digested nutrients.

Normal Pancreas

Graphic by MarVistaVet

The pancreas is a pale pink glandular organ that nestles cozily just under the stomach and along the duodenum. As a glandular organ, the pancreas is all about secretion and it has two main jobs: the first job is to secrete digestive enzymes to help us break down the nutrients we eat, the second job is to secrete insulin and glucagon (to regulate how we use the nutrients we eat). It’s the first job (the digestive enzyme part) that concerns us in pancreatitis.

Canine Pancreas

Graphic by VIN

Pancreatitis is Inflammation of the Pancreas

In pancreatitis, inflammation disrupts the normal integrity of the pancreas. Digestive enzymes are normally stored safely as inactive forms within pancreatic granules so that they are harmless. In pancreatitis they are prematurely activated and released internally, digesting the body itself. The result can be a metabolic catastrophe. The living tissue becomes further inflamed and the tissue damage quickly involves the adjacent liver. Toxins released from this rampage of tissue destruction are liberated into the circulation and can cause a body-wide inflammatory response.  If the pancreas is affected so as to disrupt its ability to produce insulin, diabetes mellitus can result; this can be either temporary or permanent.

Specific Pancreatitis Disasters

  • A syndrome called Weber-Christian syndrome results, in which fats throughout the body are destroyed with painful and disastrous results.
  • Pancreatitis is one of the chief risk factors for the development of what is called disseminated intravascular coagulation or DIC, which is basically a massive uncoupling of normal blood clotting and clot dissolving mechanisms. This leads to abnormal simultaneous bleeding and clotting of blood throughout the body.
  • Pancreatic encephalopathy (brain damage) can occur if the fats protecting the central nervous system become digested.
    Inflammed Pancreas

    A swollen, inflamed pancreas with areas of hemorrhage. Graphic by MarVistaVet

The good news is that most commonly the inflammation is confined to the area of the liver and pancreas, but even with this limitation pancreatitis can be painful and life-threatening.

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic, mild or severe.

What Causes Pancreatitis

In most cases we never find out what causes it, but we do know some events that can cause pancreatitis.

  • Backwash (reflux) of duodenal contents into the pancreatic duct. The pancreas has numerous safety mechanisms to prevent self-digestion. One mechanism is storing the enzymes it creates in an inactive form. They are harmless until they are mixed with activating enzymes. The strongest activating enzymes are made by duodenal cells which means that the digestive enzymes do not actually activate until they are out of the pancreas and mixing with food in the duodenum. If duodenal fluids backwash up the pancreatic duct and into the pancreas, enzymes are prematurely activated and pancreatitis resuls. This is apparently the most common pancreatitis mechanism in humans, though it is not very common in veterinary patients.
  • Concurrent hormonal imbalance predisposes a dog to pancreatitis. Such conditions include: Diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, and hypercalcemia. The first two conditions are associated with altered fat metabolism, which predisposes to pancreatitis, and the latter condition involves elevated blood calcium that activates stored digestive enzymes.
  • Use of certain drugs can predispose to pancreatitis (sulfa-containing antibiotics such as trimethoprim sulfa, chemotherapy agents such as azathioprine or L-asparaginase, and the anti-seizure medication potassium bromide). Exposure to organophosphate insecticides has also been implicated as a cause of pancreatitis. Exposure to steroid hormones have traditionally been thought to be involved as a potential cause of pancreatitis but this appears not to be true.
  • Trauma to the pancreas that occurs from a car accident or even surgical manipulation can cause inflammation and thus pancreatitis.
  • A tumor in the pancreas can lead to inflammation in the adjacent pancreatic tissue.
  • A sudden high fat meal is the classic cause of canine pancreatitis. The sudden stimulation to release enzymes to digest fat seems to be involved.
  • Obesity has been found to be a risk factor because of the altered fat metabolism that goes along with it.
  • Miniature Schnauzers are predisposed to pancreatitis as they commonly have altered fat metabolism.

Signs of Pancreatitis

The classical signs in dogs are appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, painful abdomen, and fever or any combination thereof.

Making the Diagnosis

Lipase and Amylase Levels (no longer considered reliable)

A reliable blood test has been lacking for this disease until recently. Traditionally, blood levels of amylase and lipase (two pancreatic digestive enzymes) have been used. When their levels are especially high, it’s reasonable sign that these enzymes have leaked out of the pancreas, and the patient has pancreatitis, but these tests are not as sensitive or specific as we would prefer. Amylase and lipase can elevate dramatically with corticosteroid use, with intestinal perforation, kidney disease, or even dehydration. Some experts advocate measuring lipase and amylase on fluid from the belly rather than on blood but this has not been fully investigated and is somewhat invasive.

Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity

A newer test called the PLI, or pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity, test has come to be important. As mentioned, lipase is one of the pancreatic digestive enzymes and only small traces are normally in the circulation. These levels jump dramatically in pancreatitis, which allows for the diagnosis to be confirmed with a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive test. The PLI test is different from the regular lipase level because the PLI test measures only lipase of pancreatic origin and thus is more specific. The problem is that technology needed to run this test is unique and the test can only been run in certain facilities on certain days. Results are not necessarily available rapidly enough to help a sick patient.

The PLI, or pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity, test has come to be important. Photo courtesy of National Institutes of Mental Health, Department of Health and Human Services

Spec CPL and DGGR Lipase Assay

More recently a new test called the SPEC cPL (specific canine pancreatic lipase) test has become available. This test is a newer generation immunological test for canine pancreatic lipase and can be run overnight by a reference lab. This test is able to detect 83 percent of pancreatitis cases (the test is 83 percent sensitive) and excludes other possible diseases in 98 percent of cases (i.e. the test is 98 percent specific for pancreatitis). The CPL test has been adapted into an in-house test kit and can be run in approximately 30 minutes. Some kits provide a numeric value while others are simply positive or negative depending on whether the CPL level surpasses the normal level. These kits have made diagnosis of pancreatitis much more rapid and convenient.

A similar lipase assay called the DGGR Lipase Assay (Precision PSL® test). This test can be run at a reference laboratory with results obtained usually overnight; there is no in-hospital test kit.

The diagnosis of pancreatitis is not made solely on the basis of a lab test. These tests are not used to screen patients that are not sick; the entire clinical picture of a given patient is considered in making this or any other diagnosis.

Imaging

Dr. Jon Perlis of DVMSound performs an ultrasound exam on a dog. Photo by MarVistaVet

Radiographs can show a widening of the angle of the duodenum against the stomach, which indicates a swelling of the pancreas. Most veterinary hospitals have the ability to take radiographs but this type of imaging is not very sensitive in detecting pancreatitis and only is able to find 24 percent of cases.

Ultrasound, on the other hand, detects 68 percent of cases and provides the opportunity to image other organs and even easily collect fluid from the belly. Since pancreatitis can be accompanied by a tumor near the pancreas, ultrasound provides the opportunity to catch such complicating factors.

In some cases, surgical exploration is the only way to make the correct diagnosis.

Treatment

The most important feature of treatment is aggressively rehydrating the patient with intravenous fluids as this restores the circulation to the pancreas and supports the natural healing mechanisms of the body.  This means that the best route to recovery involves hospitalization. Fluids are continued until the patient is able to reliably drink and hold down adequate fluid intake, a process that commonly takes the better part of a week. Pain and nausea medication are needed to keep the patient comfortable, restore interest in food, and prevent further dehydration.

Plasma transfusion is somewhat controversial in treating pancreatitis. On one hand, plasma replenishes some of the natural blood proteins that are consumed by circulating digestive enzymes and would seem to make sense. In humans with pancreatitis, however, no benefit has been shown with plasma transfusion. Whether or not the protection afforded by plasma is real or theoretical is still being worked out. Higher mortality has been associated with patients receiving plasma but this may be because they were sicker than patients who did not receive plasma to begin with.

Drawing by Dr. Wendy Brooks

In the past, nutritional support was delayed in pancreatitis patients as it was felt that stimulating the pancreas to secrete enzymes would encourage the on-going inflammation, but this theory has been re-thought. Currently, earlier return to feeding has been found to be beneficial to the GI tract’s ability to resume function. If nausea control through medication does not give the patient a reasonable appetite, assisted-feeding is started using a fat-restricted diet. Return of food interest and resolution of vomiting/diarrhea generally means the patient is ready for return to the home setting. Low-fat diets are crucial to managing pancreatitis and their use should be continued for several weeks before attempting return to regular dog food. Some dogs can never return to regular dog food and require prescription low fat foods indefinitely.

How Much Fat is Okay?

There are several ultra-low fat diets made for pancreatitis patients and your veterinarian will likely be sending your dog home with one of them. Remember that pancreatitis is a diet-sensitive disease so it is important not to feed unsanctioned foods or you risk a recurrence. If your dog will not eat one of the commercial therapeutic diets, you will either need to home cook or find another diet that is appropriately low in fat (less than 7 percent fat on a dry matter basis). In order to determine the fat content of a pet food, some calculation is needed to take into consideration how much moisture is in the food.

The Guaranteed Analysis on the bag or can of food will have two values that we are interested in: the % moisture and the % crude fat. To determine the % fat in the food, you must first determine the % dry matter of the food. This is done by subtracting the moisture content from 100. For example, if the moisture content is 15%, the dry matter is 85%. If the moisture content is 75%, the dry matter is 25% and so on.

Next, take the % crude fat from the label and divide the % crude fat by the % dry matter. For example, if the moisture content is 76%, this means the dry matter is 24%. If the crude fat content is 4%, the true fat content is 4 divided by 24 which =0.16 (16%). Such a food would be way too high in fat for a dog with pancreatitis. You want the number to be 0.07 (7%) or less. Simply reading the fat content off the label does not take into account the moisture content of the food and will not tell you what you need to know. If this is too much math, the staff at your vet’s hospital can help you out.

When in doubt, canned chicken, fat-free cottage cheese and/or boiled white rice will work in a pinch.

Beware of Diabetes Mellitus

When the inflammation subsides in the pancreas, some scarring is inevitable. When 80% of the pancreas is damaged to an extent that insulin cannot be produced, diabetes mellitus results. This may or may not be permanent depending on the capacity for the pancreas’ tissue to recover.

Do Horses Like Humans?

February 18th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

A New Study Shows That They Understand Our Emotions

Mark Evans/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings. A new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

This latest study was done by researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth and was published in the journal Current Biology. While it’s certainly not the first study down on horse behavior, it is the first one to find something like this.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth research Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with this person.”

The researchers came to this conclusion after a series of experiments where they showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry facial expression. Later, they showed the horses the people in the photographs, making neutral expressions. During the real life meeting, researchers watched the eye movements of the horses. They found that the horses saw those who had been photographed with angry faces to be more threatening (previous research has shown that horses look at negative or threatening things with their left eye). It’s important to note that the humans did not know which photographs the horses had seen before, which was done to eliminate the risk of the humans behaving differently.

This research is incredibly interesting for so many reasons. For one thing, it proves exactly how intelligent and emotional horses really are — that connection that you might feel with one of these magnificent mammals is a real thing. For another, it’s an important step toward learning more about these important animals, and maybe even animals in general. We still know so little about what goes on in the minds of some of our favorite animals, and this is one way to understand a little bit more about at least one of them.

In fact, this is more proof that horses may have more human-like behavior than you thought. Previous research has found that horses can deal with chronic stress, experience allergies, and even get the flu. Anyone who has spent a lot of time around horses may not find this type of research particularly surprising.

AHF Pet Partners at CSUF

February 18th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

From DailyTitan

Titanwell advocates self-care with four-legged friends

Students with AHF Pet Partner Jen McCormick and Moana

A photo of students gather in front of the Titan Wellness patio to de-stress with therapy animals.
(Jiyo Cayabyab / Daily Titan )

Before the full force of the sun shined on campus and thousands of students rushed to their classes, the early risers got the chance to play with some four-legged friends.

Titanwell hosted its monthly Animal Therapy session yesterday at the Student Wellness patio. Animal Therapy gives students a new way to de-stress from the challenges they face at school.

“As students, we get so caught up in being focused on when the next paper is due — when our next exam is — but pet therapy allows us to really take in the moment, live in the moment and just pause,” said Angelika Sann, a social work graduate student.

After signing a liability form, everyone is welcome to spend time with the animals. In order to make the animals feel safe, groups are limited to 2-3 people at a time. Each animal has a handler with them at all times who is happy to answer any questions visitors may have about the animals.

“I believe that it’s a good way to advocate self-care, which is really important for college students,” Tiffany Nguyen said. “It’s our stress reliever because now school is getting harder.”

Titanwell is focused on giving their students and faculty members the best resources they can for mental health, which includes picking the right animal therapy organization to team up with.

Pet Partners and Animal Health Foundation have very high standards. They’re one of the few organizations that are allowed to be around children. So we figured Cal State Fullerton deserves the best,” said Gloria Flores, peer health educator at the wellness center.

Pet Partners is a nonprofit organization with more than 10,000 volunteers that offer animal-assisted therapy to diverse facilities such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

The Animal Health Foundation is a charity organization that works together with the California Veterinary Medical Association to improve the health and well-being of animals by supporting and promoting animal-related activities.

People wanting to become Pet Partner volunteers go through a screening process where the AHF assesses the interested applicants. The pet and pet-owner are viewed as a unified “team”; therefore, both must pass the screening process together. The test depends largely on the pet.

Jen McCormick, a therapy animal handler, registered her jet-black mini-rex rabbit, Moana, after being told that Moana would make a good therapy animal.

Before Moana helped the mental health of Titans, her partner saved her from a high-kill shelter. Moana had a mangled leg when Jenn adopted her, but she got help from SomeBunny Rabbit Rescue for an amputation.

“It’s very different from what dogs have to do. The dogs have to know how to sit, stay and leave it. The rabbits have to be calm. This is not normal for a rabbit. Rabbits, because they’re prey animals, they don’t like to be touched or picked up,” McCormick said.

The prey mentality makes rabbits unlikely therapy animals; however, Moana is one of 150 registered rabbits with Pet Partners. Her velvet-soft fur and big, entrancing eyes made her a big hit with students.

The student wellness center introduced animal therapy between 2015 and 2016. The positive reactions from students have motivated the center to provide more animals.

“We like the simplicity of it, so we try to keep it that way but decided to bring more animals because more people were coming,” Flores said.

Student Wellness workers look forward to seeing the students’ reactions with the therapy animals.

“First, [the students] come in and they come out and the reaction to all the animals is really rewarding,” said Sabrina Gonzalez, a peer health educator.

All forms of mental health care are equally important. Even if some methods like animal therapy seem small in comparison to more formal ones, like one-on-one therapy, every step counts.

According to CRC Health, some of the benefits from animal-assisted therapy can include a decrease in feelings of anxiety, loneliness and grief. It can also improve focus and attention, as well as offer an alternative to those who are resistant to other forms of treatment.

“Things like this are very important for us to have access to. I feel like people don’t realize  that even just petting animals is very therapeutic,” said Sarah Stahl, a social work graduate student.

Almost 40% of college students struggle with mental health issues; therefore, they can benefit the most from something as simple as petting animals.

DEMENTIA IN DOGS | COGNITIVE DYSFUNTION SYNDROME

February 17th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Unfortunately, just like people, dogs and cats also develop degenerative brain diseases known as canine or feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome. But unlike humans, often the signs a pet is in mental decline go unnoticed until the condition is so advanced there’s little that can be done to turn things around or at least slow the progression of the disease.

Often, even an animal’s veterinarian is unaware there’s a problem because he or she doesn’t see the pet that often and always in a clinical setting vs. at home. In addition, according to Dr. Jeff Nichol, a veterinary behavior specialist in Albuquerque, NM, many DVMs aren’t aware of just how common cognitive dysfunction syndrome is. Vets assume pet parents will tell them when an older dog or cat is experiencing behavior changes, while owners assume the changes are just a natural part of aging.

In a large Australian study published in 2011 on canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), scientists at the University of Sydney reported that about 14 percent of dogs develop CCD, but less than 2 percent are diagnosed. In addition, the risk of CCD increases with age — over 40 percent of dogs at 15 will have at least one symptom. Researchers also estimate the prevalence of cognitive dysfunction in geriatric dogs at 68 percent.

In a study also published in 2011 on cognitive decline in cats,2 a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, Hospital for Small Animals estimated that a third of all cats between 11 and 14 years of age have age-related cognitive decline. That number increases to 50 percent for cats 15 years and older.

Our blind Jack Russell Terrier of 18 years old started to pee and poo all over the place even though when he got blind, he was able to find his pee/poo area. Initially, we did not think much about it except for the fact that he was getting old and he had trouble locating his usual spot.

We were so wrong. Whenever we left the house for a while, he would be found sitting by the main door quietly for our return. One day, when we opened the door, he was not there. He was pacing in circle. We knew almost immediately this is bad news. So this began our quest to find a holistic approach for Dementia.

REFERENCES

Wendell O. Belfield, DVM
Author of How to Have a Healthier Dog

Jeffrey Feinman, DVM, BA, VMD, CVH
Jeffrey Feinman holds both molecular biology and veterinary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jeff was the first dual degree recipient at Penn in the prestigious University Scholar program (which was designed to foster medical scientists).

Karen Becker, DVM
Diplomate American Veterinary Medical Association, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy

Stephen Tobin, DVM
Holistic veterinarian who provides treatment using homeopathy, herbs, and nutrition. He is a veterinary graduate of the Ludwig Maximillian Universitat in Munich, Germany.

Peter Dobias, DVM
Founder and CEO of Dr. Dobias Healing Solutions Inc. Advanced Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy. Homeopathic Master Clinician  (human homeopathy)

Steve Marsden, DVM ND MSOM LAc DiplCH AHG

Shawn Messonnier, DVM

What causes Dementia in Dogs?

At present there is no conclusive cause known although it is believed that certain changes in the brain can contribute. Nerve function is vital to cognitive function and this relies on the chemical reaction of transmission of information across nerve pathways – from structures known as synapses.

Each nerve firing is a message to the body to react, whether this is physical or mental, the nervous system has overriding control of the speed of reactions in the dog.

Although the exact cause of cognitive dysfunction syndrome is currently unknown, genetic factors may predispose an animal to develop the condition.

However age related cognitive decline is not the only condition that causes dementia in dogs. Some other conditions that can cause dementia include:

  • Brain tumors
  • Brain trauma or other acute injury
    encephalitis from various causes
  • Tick-borne diseases
  • Liver abnormalities

Another theory on a contributing factor to dementia is as the dog ages a protein known as beta amyloid accumulates in the brain clustering around the nerves (known as a plaque). The build-up acts as an insulator to the chemical process of the nerve firing and thus prevents or slows the nerve sending the message to the receptors in the body.  As the amount of beta amyloid increases it becomes increasingly difficult for the nerves to work effectively.

Another view related to the nerve action is that decreased dopamine production has been identified in cases of dementia. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and its presence is essential for effective nerve transmission.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia in Dogs

Signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome can be wide ranging, some may appear slowly but others can occur and become an issue for the dog relatively quickly. It is important to talk over the signs with your Vet or Vet nurse as some signs can potentially indicate underlying conditions.

Some of the most common signs are as follows:

  • A blank, lost look in the dogs eyes – they appear distant and unreactive
  • Circling – walking round in a circle continuously
  • Getting lost/stuck in their own home – may get stuck in places around the house
  • Repetitive actions
  • Urinating /Defecating in the house
  • Makes uncharacteristic noises – may whine, pant or bark at inappropriate times
  • Change in sleeping patterns – erratic sleep patterns may be sleeping all day and awake all night , excess sleeping or insomnia
  • Behavioural changes – often due to confusion dogs may become irritable and snappy, even one that was once very placid can withdraw into itself and snap when interrupted.
  • Change in family behaviours – your dog may no longer react to his name or your voice, and may not greet you happily at the door as he has done in the past.

Diagnosis process of Dementia in Dogs

There is no single test which can diagnose canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Your veterinarian will base the diagnosis on examination, observations and exclusion of underlying conditions. As your veterinarian carries out a full examination he will take notes on your concerns and what you have noticed at home, he may recommend a blood test and a urine sample. These simple tests will allow the vet to exclude any other conditions often found in senior pets and monitor the function of your dog’s vital organs such as heart, liver and kidneys. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated the unusual behaviors or complications.

Your vet will be likely to ask you to return for a review after a few weeks of trying any treatments and will wish to monitor the progression of the symptoms.

Dementia-Like Conditions in Dogs

Conditions that Resemble Dementia

There are also conditions with similar symptoms to dementia. They include hepatic encephalopathy, with its signature symptom of head pressing, and vestibular disorder, a condition of the inner ear and brain.

Head Pressing

Head pressing is most often associated with a liver condition called hepatic encephalopathy, but can be a symptom of other conditions, all of them serious.

In head pressing, the dog presses her head against a wall. This can resemble the behavior of standing in corners or next to walls that dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction perform, but is different in one important way: the dog visibly presses her head against a surface.

Geriatric Vestibular Disorder

Geriatric vestibular disorder is an abnormality of the parts of the brain and inner ear that control balance. The behaviors that dogs suffering from it exhibit can resemble those of a dog with dementia, but there is generally no cognitive decline involved.

Vestibular disorder often has an unknown cause, but can sometimes result from an ear infection, so a vet visit is in order.

Current Available Treatment in Singapore for Dogs diagnosed with Dementia

There is no magic cure for age-related dog dementia, but a number of treatments appear to help slow the process somewhat, and to varying degrees. The following canine cognitive dysfunction treatments have been shown in scientific studies to help. Please check with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has canine cognitive dysfunction.

Anipryl (U.S. brand name for selegiline)  has been shown to slow the progression of canine cognitive dysfunction. It is a drug that is used to treat Parkinson’s in humans. It is available now for dogs in tablets and chewables. If your vet prescribes it, try to shop around. Its price really varies. The doses for dogs that you can buy on cards are quite expensive. But it can also be purchased in generic tablets quite cheaply.Some prescription drugs commonly used in Europe for canine cognitive dysfunction are nicergoline, propentofylline, and adrafanil. Of these, adrafanil has shown the most promise in studies.

Like all drugs, Anipryl comes with a risk of side effects, including — but not limited to — diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness or hyperactivity, loss of appetite, seizures, staggering and lethargy.

(There is no drug approved for treatment of CDS in cats, although some veterinarians report promising results using L-deprenyl in cats.)

IMPORTANCE OF PROPER NUTRACEUTICALS FOR DEMENTIA DOGS

Choline

The most important and widely used anti-Alzheimer’s drugs are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, so called because they inhibit the action of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine molecules (this is a necessary function that can, however, get out of balance). By interfering with the action of this enzyme, the drugs effectively increase the amount of acetylcholine available to the brain’s neurons. In one particular study of reversing clinical signs of cognitive disorder , Choline has shown 82% success in clinical signs reduction over 21 dogs of various breed 10 years of age.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a plant extract containing several compounds that may have positive effects on cells within the brain and the body. Ginkgo biloba is thought to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, to protect cell membranes and to regulate neurotransmitter function. Ginkgo Biloba is widely considered as an “antiaging herb”. It has proved effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease in both people and canine. Ginkgo enhances both long-term and short-term memory in puppies and senior dogs alike.

However, Ginkgo Biloba has very mixed research.

* Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is one of the most economically important species of the family Lamiaceae. Among the most important group of compounds isolated from the plant are the abietane-type phenolic diterpenes that account for most of the antioxidant and many pharmacological activities of the plant. Rosemary diterpenes have also been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents both in vitro and in vivo.

If you are attempting to use Rosemary Essential Oil, you have to look for 1,8-cineole (Tunisia).

Bacopa

Bacopa is a creeping perennial herb that thrives in wetlands and on muddy shores. Its therapeutic use has its origins in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it has been used for its adaptogenic, tranquilizing, and antioxidant properties. Today, modern science is trying to confirm traditional wisdom about Bacopa. In studies conducted in Australia and the U.S., Bacopa improved study subjects’ ability to retain new information — and it also helped them increase their visual processing speed in as little as 3 weeks.

However, there is a side effect that might concern pet owners. Bacopa might slow down the heart beat. This could be a problem in people who already have a slow heart rate.

Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is an herb that is commonly used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.  According to modern studies, gotu kola does offer support for healthy memory function. A study conducted in 1992 by K. Nalini at Kasturba Medical College showed an impressive improvement in memory in rats which were treated with the extract (orally) daily for 14 days before the experiment. The retention of learned behavior in the rats treated with gotu kola was 3 to 60 times better than that in control animals.

However, animals who are known to have liver damage or cancer should not take this drug. Asiaticoside contained in gotu kola has been shown to encourage the growth of tumors in mice.

Asiaticoside contained in gotu kola has been shown to encourage the growth of tumors in mice – See more at: http://www.vitaminsestore.com/gotu-kola-benefits-reviews-side-effects-and-dosage/#sthash.bEGgaBcI.dpuf
Asiaticoside contained in gotu kola has been shown to encourage the growth of tumors in mice – See more at: http://www.vitaminsestore.com/gotu-kola-benefits-reviews-side-effects-and-dosage/#sthash.bEGgaBcI.dpuf

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They’re thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage that can put you at higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease.It’s in the skin of red grapes, but you can also find it in peanuts and berries. Manufacturers have tried to capitalize on its powers by selling resveratrol supplements. Most resveratrol capsules sold in the U.S. contain extracts from an Asian plant called Polygonum cuspidatum. Other resveratrol supplements are made from red wine or red grape extracts.

Bottomline, from most research, this supplement has very little use for dogs who have been diganosed with dementia.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides [MCT], which are a good source of energy, in the form of ketone bodies … MCTs are converted in the liver into ketones, which can be used by the brain as fuel; they are a more immediate source of energy than other fats. There are however mixed reviews on whether it really helps in managing dementia in dogs. But given the health benefits of it, there is no risk in giving it.

As a daily supplement, work up to about 1 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight per day. Start with ¼ of this amount to avoid loose stool from the extra oil going through your dog’s digestive system, then increase gradually until you get to the recommended dose.

SAMe

SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) is an amino acid derivative normally synthesized in the body that may become depleted with sickness or age. Supplementing with SAMe plus folate, trimethylglycine (TMG or betaine), vitamins B6 and B12 appears to be an effective way to overcome this deficiency.

Oral s-Adenosylmethionine, or SAMe, alleviates signs of age-related cognitive decline in dogs as well as humans. According to one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, SAMe-treated dogs showed significant improvements in activity and awareness of their surroundings without serious adverse effects. How it accomplishes this remains unknown for now.

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, has been shown to improve cognitive dysfunction in affected dogs. Interestingly, DHA appears to slow the progression of human dementia and Alzheimer’s disease too.

A study was performed on 142 older dogs with a variety of behavioral abnormalities (disorientation, disrupted sleep patterns, altered interactions with family members, altered activity levels and loss of house training). During the 60-day period, dogs fed a DHA-supplemented food showed significant improvement in every one of these behavior categories. However, it is very important to take note that pet owners should supplement their pet with Vitamin E if they are feeding their dogs with Omega-3.

Wild Blueberry Extracts

The blueberry, already labeled a ‘super fruit’ for its power to potentially lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, also could be another weapon in the war against Alzheimer’s disease. New research being presented today further bolsters this idea, which is being tested by many teams. The fruit is loaded with healthful antioxidants, and these substances could help prevent the devastating effects of this increasingly common form of dementia, scientists report.

“Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults,” says Robert Krikorian, Ph.D., leader of the research team. He adds that blueberries’ beneficial effects could be due to flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve animals’ cognition.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. Melatonin used as medicine is usually made synthetically in a laboratory. It is most commonly available in pill form, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue. This allows the melatonin to be absorbed directly into the body.

Melatonin is also used for the inability to fall asleep (insomnia); delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS); rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD); insomnia associated with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); insomnia due to certain high blood pressure medications called beta-blockers; and sleep problems in children with developmental disorders including autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. It is also used as a sleep aid after discontinuing the use of benzodiazepine drugs. But pet owners, take note that Melatonin might increase blood sugar and increase blood pressure.

Turmeric

Turmeric has been used as a spice and a medicine for millennia. Turmeric has been called a super food and a super spice. The health and medical benefits attributed to it include pain reliver, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cancer-preventative.  It can also lower cholesterol and protect the cardiovascular system.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric is part of the reason it gained such a high standing in traditional Eastern systems of medicine. Since etanercept is an anti-inflammatory, it is not an entirely capricious leap of faith to suppose that anti-inflammatory substances in the spice turmeric should act in ways similar to the pharmaceutical etanercept. In fact, there is mounting clinical evidence that turmeric might protect the brain from the onset as well as the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Acetyl-L-carnitine

Acetyl l-carnitine (ALCAR) is a modified form of carnitine, an amino acid derivative found in red meat, which is readily absorbed throughout the body, including the brain. It is involved in fatty acid metabolism and may improve several aspects of brain health, including mitochondrial function, activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and possibly cognition.

So, how exactly does ALC work? Mind Boosters author Dr. Ray Sahelia believes that Alzheimer’s patients may benefit from ALC in three ways: It is able to travel through the blood-brain barrier, where it then helps form the brain chemical acetylcholine; it keeps mitochondria working efficiently by clearing them of toxic fatty-acid metabolites; and it helps regenerate neurons damaged by free radicals.

But the evidence of it is still weak at this moment of time.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a synthetic version of lipoic acid, which helps cells make energy. It has antioxidant properties and may reduce inflammation. Oxidative stress and neuronal energy depletion are characteristic hallmarks of Dementia’s disease. It has been hypothesized that, because of this, pro-energetic and antioxidant drugs such as alpha-lipoic acid might delay the onset or slow down the progression of the disease.
Separate research also revealed that alpha lipoic acid, in combination with vitamin E and acetyl-l-carnitine, led to improvements in potential biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and showed promise for slowing the progression of the disease.

In one study of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, those given 600 mg of alpha lipoic daily for 12 months had a stabilization of cognitive function. A follow-up study, which increased the number of patients in the study and extended the observation period to 48 months, the progression of the disease was “dramatically lower” among those taking alpha lipoic acid, compared to those with no treatment or those taking choline-esterase inhibitor drugs.

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is a class of phospholipids found in cell membranes. Its levels and location within the brain can affect important signaling pathways for cell survival and communication. Phosphatidylserine includes two fatty acids that can vary from saturated or monounsaturated to polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 versions like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Some clinical trials of phosphatidylserine supplements have shown modestly improved cognitive function.

Our bodies need this phospholipid to build brain cell membranes that are fluid enough to release the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine, but luckily, our brains normally manufacture enough phosphatidylserine (PS) to keep us in top mental order. However, when we reach middle age, our levels of PS begin to decline — an effect that is worsened by deficiencies of other essential fatty acids, folic acid or vitamin B12. Because PS is necessary for effective neurotransmission, PS deficiency is linked to mental impairment, including Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease among middle-aged and elderly people.

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Record your pet’s life in a diary

February 17th, 2020 by Animal Health Foundation

Pet Connection by Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker

A Life in Words

Pet Connection
By Kim Campbell Thornton

Andrews McMeel Syndication

When you find a diary, are you tempted to read it? Do you keep a diary yourself, under lock and key? Diaries feature in some of the world’s most famous literature, social history, fiction and children’s books: Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl.” The diary of Samuel Pepys. “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” “Harriet the Spy.” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

Diaries bring history to life, store secrets, record lives. They can make for fascinating reading. But they can also make for fascinating writing, especially if they focus on your best friend: your dog, cat, bird or other pet. It’s not just in Nancy Drew mysteries that a diary is filled with clues.

Susannah Charleson is a K-9 search and rescue handler and author of “Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Story of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunion.” She spoke last month at the K-9 Sport Scent Work Conference in Palm Springs, California. While her topic was the importance of logs for search and rescue handlers, she also touched on how keeping a log can make a difference in the health, confidence and success of any dog-human team — including the partnership between people and their companion dogs. And there’s no reason to leave out cats, birds, rabbits, horses or other pets. Anyone can benefit from tracing the story of their relationship with an animal.

“I think for pet owners it’s invaluable,” she says. “If you’re doing any kind of training, even just to be a good companion animal, it’s all coming fast — the dog is new, the training is new, how the dog views the world versus how we view the world is completely different.”

When you keep a diary and document the changes you see in your pet and yourself, you are capturing the journey of your developing friendship, as well as making observations that can help you solve behavior problems and identify health issues before they become serious.

Bringing a record to your veterinarian or behaviorist of when a behavior began and how frequently it occurs can be the first step in solving a problem.

Some owners track daily blood sugar curves and insulin doses for diabetic pets, delivery of medication, occurrence of seizures, and pets’ eating habits or weight.

People who participate in dog sports log trials and practice sessions to track their progress.

“Log entries allow you to start seeing a pattern and learning about your dog,” Charleson says. “They assist in self-evaluation. You’ve got all these beautiful signals that can tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are and find areas where you can improve, where your dog can improve and where you can improve together.”

Keeping track of a pet’s life can be done with a paper journal, on computer apps or social media, or on a calendar. I have a pile of calendars that I can’t bear to throw away because they record so many of the events of my dogs’ lives. Supplement diaries with photos and videos.

At the end of a pet’s life, a diary is a way to look back at the journey you and your pet have shared. The memories can help to heal grief and establish a foundation for the next partnership.

“When a career or life ends, logs trace the journey that you and a dog have shared,” Charleson says. “Logs tell a story. They trace the arc of our understanding and our ability as separate entities and together. They’re a history of the earliest days that we might forget. Write it all down. You’ll have a wealth of information to learn from, and at the end of a life, those words may save you.”

Q&A

Do kittens need

socialization?

Q: Do kittens have the same type of socialization period as puppies?

A: They do, but it starts even earlier and doesn’t last as long. My colleague Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist and emeritus professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says the social period in kittens is between weeks 2 and 7.

During those early weeks, kittens soak up knowledge of everything around them, that clever kitty brain making new neural connections daily to generate learning and behavior. Kittens who see, hear, smell and experience many different people, animals, sights and sounds during this sensitive period grow up to be sociable, smart and curious.

Young kittens need to have many different positive experiences with children, friendly dogs and cats, people of all ages and appearances, common household sounds such as vacuum cleaners and blenders, car rides, being transported comfortably and safely in a carrier, and visiting the veterinarian. In an ideal world, they haven’t had any bad experiences with those things, and they don’t have preconceived ideas about what to expect from such experiences.

Limiting fear during this impressionable time is also important to a kitten’s development. A normal amount of fear is valuable because it helps kittens to avoid things that might hurt them, but protecting them from aversive experiences can help them to have more fulfilling lives as adult cats because they are more calm in the face of new experiences.

When young kittens encounter these things in a positive way during the socialization period, their brains store the good memories and help the kittens develop resiliency if they later have negative experiences with, say, dogs or scary noises. The neural connections their brains make during this period is how they become well-rounded, adaptable cats.

You can learn more about feline development at FearFreeHappyHomes.com. — Dr. Marty Becker

Do you have a pet question? Send it to askpetconnection@gmail.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.