Processed commercial pet foods that are full of harmful pesticides, preservatives, food colouring and chemicals have been linked to disease. If you want your pet to have a shiny healthier coat, with sweeter breath and stools then you must feed a wholesome diet. If your pet has particular problems, then there are Nutritional Treatment guides that you can follow to help it. Below are some suggested recipes. Wherever possible buy organic foods. For overweight dogs substitute brown rice for potatoes and for white rice.
Disclaimer:Each animal is an individual and must be monitored for weight gain and loss and general health on any diet regime. These diets are an aid and may not suit specific individuals and we recommend a diagnosis and thorough work up be performed by Dr. Sherebrin. Treatments will be integrative, with both traditional and complementary medicine modalities as required.Many thanks to Drs. Elaine Cebuliak, Bruce Ferguson and Ihor Basko for the development of these recipes.
I was very excited to learn about this groundbreaking long-term study. It is unique in the collaboration of a very diverse group of company sponsors, and I believe it is is the first comprehensive longitudinal study in dogs. Similar studies in people, such as the Nurse’s Health Study, have revealed very important results that are used today in health maintenance, as well as providing directions for future research.
This long-term study will follow 2,500 Golden retrievers through their lifetimes to learn more about the nutritional, environmental and genetic facts that influence the development of cancer in this breed. Learn more by watching these videos.
I recently had a question about what can cause shaking, especially in the legs of an older dog. The most common cause of shaking legs in the young dog that I see is fear- these are dogs that do not want to be in the examination room! But for the older dog shaking at home, muscle weakness is often the root cause. Several systemic illnesses can result in muscle weakness. Kidney disease often causes loss of muscle tissue as well as imbalances in the electrolytes, various minerals that are essential for muscle function. Adrenal gland disease can also cause muscle loss and electrolyte imbalances. Cancer must always be on the list as well, due to the unpredictable nature of the disease. Systemic disorders are diagnosed with blood and urine testing, sometimes x-rays and ultrasound as well, usually on an outpatient basis. Therapy can include dietary modifications, mineral supplementation and physical therapy, as well as medications where needed.
Pain from arthritis is an often unrecognized factor in shaky legs and muscle weakness. When it is more difficult to get up and move, your pet exercises less, and muscles gradually atrophy. While leg joints such as hips, knees and elbows are often affected, don’t forget all the joints in the back. As many of us know, when the back hurts, everything hurts.
Acupuncture and cold-laser therapy are the basic tools that I utilize for my patiens with arthritis. Prolotherapy and stem cell therapy very successful, but are more “invasive” interventions, and must be done with sedation or anesthesia, so are not suitable for all pets. Massage is wonderful because it is usually available from travelling therapists who will come to your home. Some massage techniques are also very easy to learn to do yourself, and are a special close bonding experience for you and your dog or cat. Herbal and nutritional interventions such as high levels of omega-3′s from fish oil, green-lipped muscle extract, cucurmin (turmeric extract), MSM, glucosamine etc. can be very effective in reducing the pain and mobility restrictions of arthritis. Physical therapy is also a very valuable part of a multi-modal approach to arthritis, to help strengthen muscles and the tissues that support the joints.
Recently when suffering a barometric pressure-change headache I was thinking about pain in our companion animals. We can’t ask them where and how it hurts, if the pain is worse with certain activities or at certain times of day. As veterinarians we have to play detective, and try to figure things out with physical examination and lab test findings, and integrative veterinarians have extra tools such as knowledge of trigger points, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine diagnostic points and meridian flow. Guardians need to be ever aware of subtle changes in behaviour that may be an indication of pain in your beloved companions. Here is a good article on picking up those subtle changes, http://bit.ly/apdFOb
All of the injuries and disorders that can cause human beings pain can cause pain in animals.
Complementary therapies for pain such as acupuncture, massage, cold-laser therapy and herbal medicine can safely combine with or even replace the use of painkillers such as opiates, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) and other pharmaceuticals.
Recently there has been media attention to an issue that has been building over the past two years. Urban wildlife, including raccoons and skunks, are becoming sick and dying from a virus that also causes disease in companion animals such as dogs and ferrets. Distemper virus is still very present in our environment.
This has made the issue of vaccinating companion animals against distemper prominent, and I get questioned regularly on the pros and cons of vaccinations.
This is not a simple issue. There is ample evidence that overvaccinating contributes to an increase in chronic health disorders. On the other hand, having a pet permanently disabled or dead from a potentially preventable disease is definitely not desireable.
If you see a wild animal acting unusually, kepp your pets secure and stay well away, then call Toronto Animal Services for instructions.
There is great upcoming opportunity available, but only to the first 12 people to respond!
Hilary Watson, veterinary nutritionist, and Janet Craig, a licensed chef, are offering Canine Culinary 101, a workshop to train owners how to prepare home-cooked dog food recipes safely and in bulk using a community kitchen.
Normally these classes cost $55 per person; you receive 4 kilograms of food at the end of class.
A private class is being planned for Dr. Sherebrin and her clients, at a special reduced ratre of $10 per person.
Date: TBA, Bloor-Sherbourne area
A 3-hour cooking workshop AND 4 kilos of healthy prepared dog food for only $10.00!
What owners should bring:
• Tupperware storage containers or large
Ziploc bags that can hold 4 kg of food
• an apron
• a small cutting board
• a knife of choice
• a jar of HILARY’S BLEND supplement*
If you need to purchase a jar of Hilary’s Blend supplement, please let me know ASAP to allow time to order in stock.
No experience necessary! Novices very welcome!
Enjoy the company of other dog owners who
are as committed to their dog’s health as you are!
Pass this message along to any others who may be interested.
Stem cell therapy is a very exciting, relatively new treatment for arthritis. It has only became available in Canada about 18 months ago, and is definitely living up to the hype!
Large joints such as the elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee are currently available to be treated in private practice. The spine is in investigational treatments at this point, as techniques are being refined.
But is is not the right procedure for every pet. It requires a general anesthetic for the initial tissue harvest, then sedation 2-3 days later for implantation of the stem cells in the joint. Pets must be in good health other than the arthritis, as evidenced by blood tests.
Other requirements are a stable joint, as instability as is the case with an anterior cruciate (knee) ligament (ACL) rupture will interfere with the effectiveness of the procedure. The joint also needs to be accessible- the stem cells are injected into the joint space through a needle- so very obese patients or those with calcifcation of the joint capsule can be much more difficult for correct placement of the injection.
Recently there has been media attention to an issue that has been building over the past two years. Urban wildlife, including raccoons and skunks, are becoming sick and dying from a virus (canine distemper virus) that also causes disease in companion animals.
This has made the issue of vaccinating companion animals prominent, and I get questioned regularly on the pros and cons of vaccinations.
This is not a simple issue. There is ample evidence that overvaccinating contributes to an increase in chronic health disorders. On the other hand, having a pet permanently damaged or dead from a preventable disease is something most people want to avoid.
Over-vaccinating can pose significant health risks, including over-stimulation of the immune system resulting in allergies, recurrent skin and ear infections, immune mediated diseases (such as thrombocytopenia or hemolytic anemia), as well as certain kinds of cancer.
“What to vaccinate for” and “how often to vaccinate” remains a controversial topic amongst veterinarians. Many veterinarians are now changing their protocols based upon clinical studies that show that many vaccines labeled to be given annually actually provide protection for a much longer period of time. Due to increased pressure from enlightened veterinarians and pet guardians, pharmaceutical companies are now making vaccines that are licensed and labeled for 3 year duration of immunity. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust raises money to support research on rabies vaccine duration of immunity. The goal is to extend the required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then to 7 years. This project depends primarily upon grassroots gifts for funding the costs of conducting the requisite vaccine trials.
Annual vaccination is NOT required by law in Ontario. Compulsory rabies vaccination is governed by Ontario Regulation 567/90, which requires all catand dog owners to ensure that their pets are immunized against rabies. Under provincial legislation, a pet is considered vaccinated against rabies if the time that has elapsed since the vaccination was given is less than the duration of immunity as set out on the vaccine’s label.
To reduce the health risks of vaccinations I suggest:
Regular physical examinations (once a year up to age 6, then two to four times a year for senior pets) to optimize health and maintain balance.
Supporting your pet’s immune system using nutrition, acupuncture and herbs.
Individualized vaccine protocols based upon your pet’s risk of exposure, age, lifestyle, and health.
Checking antibody* levels (titres) annually and only vaccinating when levels are low.
Using thimerisol (mercury) free vaccines wherever possible.
Using adjuvant free vaccines to reduce the risk of vaccine-associated sarcomas (cancer).
Using 3 year labeled vaccines when available.
Puppy and kitten core vaccines given at about 12 weeks of age, boosted 3-4 weeks later, and again 1 year later.
Vaccinating for rabies is the law and is given every 3 years where possible, unless the pet has had a documented vaccine reaction.
Lyme, leptospirosis, bordatella, and feline leukemia vaccines are given on an individualized basis dependent upon specific risk criteria (indoor versus outdoor; family pet versus show pet; travel plans, daycare/kenneling, etc)
Vaccination for FIV is not indicated at this point in time as the vaccine is only partially effective, and there is no test that differentiates a vaccinated cat from an infected cat. Vaccination may increase the euthanasia rate of stray/homeless cats at shelters due to positive FIV tests in vaccinated cats.
Avoid vaccinating pets when they are sick, as this could result in worsening of their current condition by creating more stress on an already burdened immune system. In addition, certain antibiotics inactivate Bordatella vaccine, making it ineffective.
Canine corona virus vaccine is not indicated at this time because studies show that many dogs that are exposed to the virus do not develop any evidence of disease (enteritis, diarrhea), and many infected animals have very mild clinical signs that are self-limiting and resolve on their own.
*Antibodies are immune proteins that neutralize specific foreign materials such as viruses or bacteria in the body. They form part of what is called the “Humoral” or “Memory” immune system response. The body retains a “memory” of prior exposure to foreign material so it can quickly neutralize it at future exposures. There are 2 other components to the body’s immune response, called the “Cellular” and “Mucosal” systems. Unfortunately, tests of the latter two systems are not available at present.
My vaccine protocols are based upon the individual pet’s risks and comprehensive integrative physical examination findings, the American Animal Hospital Association’s 2006 Vaccine Guidelines, and the 2007 American Association of Feline Practitioners Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccinations. For more information visit AAHA guidelines AAFP guidelines
Recent studies have shown that most core vaccinations last longer than one year. One study found adequate serum antibody titres to last for at least 6 years for feline panleukopenia virus, 4 years for feline calcivirus, and 3 years for feline herpesvirus. Many veterinarians are now adjusting their vaccination protocols and determining the frequency of vaccination based upon each individual patient. When determining the frequency of vaccination, several things must be taken into consideration:
Medical history and presence of disease or active allergies
The age of the animal
Prior adverse reaction to vaccination
Potential for exposure to the disease
Prior vaccination schedule
Titres are tests that determine the amount of antibodies to a particular agent in the blood (i.e. a virus such as parvovirus). This information helps to determine an animal’s immune response upon exposure to the agent, and is used to help decide whether revaccination is required. Titres do not distinguish between immunity generated by vaccination and exposure to the “wild” disease; generally the magnitude of immunity produced by vaccination is lower. An adequate titre is only a measurable quantity of the immune system’s “Memory” response. Neither vaccination nor an adequate titre guarantees protection, which is why it is essential to ensure proper function of the immune system.
Benefits of Checking Titres:
May reduce the frequency of vaccination
Reduces the risk of allergies, cancer, and other immune mediated diseases
Reduces the risk of an anaphylactic reaction associated with vaccination
Reduces exposure to toxic chemicals and foreign proteins that are found in some vaccines
I want to dedicate this article to the memory of Clara, who left our world peacefully on Sunday Feb. 14th, surrounded by friends and companions. She was a real little tiger for all her 21 years, and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.
We have entered the Year of the Yang White Metal Tiger (Geng Yin) in the Oriental 12-year Lunar cycle. This is a time of change; in Chinese astrology, the tiger is one of the most dynamic and powerful signs. Its nature is unpredictable, courageous and volatile. Therefore the year of the Tiger is usually associated with major changes and social turmoil.
On the health front the Metal element system includes the lungs, colon, skin and immune system. This means that your pets may be much more predisposed to developing conditions like skin allergies, rashes or infections, asthma, bronchitis or kennel cough, colitis, irritable bowel disease, diarrhea or constipation, compromised immunity or autoimmune conditions such as IMHA, thrombocytopenia and polyarthritis. The Metal element controls the Wood element, much like an axe prunes a tree. Wood element system organs are liver, gall bladder and nervous system. Over- or under-control leads to disharmonies such as anxiety, hepatitis, cholangitis and liver tumours. I would advise you to work on preventing the development of these type of condition by ensuring that your pet gets regular exercise, a proper diet for his or her constitutional type, and the use of acupuncture, as well as herbal and nutritional supplements.
Walking your dog and playing with your cat engages you both, with the added benefit of reducing your own stress and tension by lowering your stress hormones. Incorporating functional foods that possess healing properties into your diet as well as your pet’s diet can help you avoid illnesses. This is one of the main foundations of Chinese medicine. I would suggest adding a small amount of the following foods into your pet’s diet (but not all at once!): dill, *oregano, cilantro, *rosemary, sage, peppermint, turmeric, basil, coriander, fennel, anise, cardamom, ginger, collard greens, Swiss chard, *mustard greens, parsley, dandelion greens, *daikon radish, turnip, beets, artichoke, pear (especially Asian pear), papaya, pineapple, cherry, blueberry, almonds, pine nuts, and flax seeds. There are also foods that should be avoided, such as: cow’s milk dairy products, sugar, wheat, deep fried and fatty foods, processed and refined foods, tomato, eggplants, green peppers and white potato. All foods marked with a * should be avoided by our feline friends, the “little tigers” in our lives.
Being proactive also includes using herbal and nutritional supplements appropriately to support your pet’s health and wellness. I have considered herbs and supplemental nutrients as part of my family’s diet and have used them effectively for prevention for many years. Be aware that our furry companions have different digestive and metabolic systems than we do. Consult with a veterinarian trained in herbal and nutritional therapy before using any supplements for your pets.
In summary, the Year of the Tiger will bring about more change, even turmoil in the world and in your life. However by using this as an opportunity to shape your life, like sculpting a beautiful and useful object out of raw wood or molding from metal you can ride the tiger triumphantly towards your goals. Cultivate patience, kindness and peace so that your interactions with others can promote harmony and love. Take walks and get out in nature with your pets to refresh your spirit. Eat well and get plenty of sleep and cultivate health in the five areas of your life—body, mind, spirit, finance and relationships so that you can manifest balance, wellness and fulfillment in 2010, and be able to be the best companion to your pet that you are able to be.