by Laura Weis
Optimizing a pet’s health always starts with providing a species-appropriate diet that is minimally processed. When cats and dogs eat diets that nourished their ancestors for thousands of years, they are at a significantly lower risk of modern disease epidemics associated with chronic inflammation and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, even when we provide fresh whole foods and take care to balance our pets’ diets, there are still often imbalances in essential fatty acids that can lead to numerous degenerative and disease processes. Continue reading
by Laura Weis
Thawing temperatures and longer days are early harbingers of spring, but unfortunately so is the appearance of ticks and the diseases they carry. Ticks can be active anytime the temperature climbs above 45 degrees, which means that the month of March signals the beginning of consistent tick problems in Pennsylvania.
Understanding the Problem
All ticks feed on the blood of their host animals, and most go through four life stages and often prefer different host species for each stage. Ticks can sense their hosts’ body heat, breath and odor, as well as moisture, vibrations and even shadows. Ticks cannot jump or fly. They find potential host animals by attaching to grass or leaves with their hind legs, holding their front legs outstretched in a behavior called “questing”. When a promising host brushes past, they quickly climb aboard, attach and begin feeding. Continue reading
by David MacDonald
When things are going well, it’s easy to take for granted the functioning of internal organs. One goal of veterinary medicine, however, is to minimize or prevent the onset of illness, and optimizing internal organ function to its fullest potential is part of this process. Continue reading
by Laura Weis
Creating an oasis of calm for pets during the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult, but does require some planning to provide support and mitigate stress. First remember the basics: exercise, sleep and good nutrition. When holiday scheduling leaves pets at home for long hours, they become bored and can experience anxiety. Exercise (for pets and people) is an antidote to physical and mental stress and improves sleep. If pets are getting more treats during the holidays, cut back their regular amount of food and try to keep high fat treats to a minimum. Continue reading
Louis Pasteur, French chemist, microbiologist and founder of the field of medical microbiology, was said to have declared on his deathbed, “I was wrong. The microbe (germ) is nothing. The terrain (milieu) is everything.” While his exact phrasing is unknown, the intent of his statement is clear: the health of an individual plays a key role in determining who gets sick after exposure to infectious agents.
Much of medicine focuses on the prevention of disease transmission (hygiene, vaccinations, quarantine) and combating illness. While those strategies have merit and can be life-saving, bringing the focus back to individual vitality is the only path to true health—for people and pets. Continue reading
by David MacDonald
Medicine, in all its permutations, is an ever-evolving practice, seeking to understand how the body functions to maintain health, as well as understand the nature of change, what is referred to as disease. Veterinary medicine follows this path as well, and the full depth of this responsibility obligates veterinarians to use all available tools for the benefits of animal patients, large and small. Continue reading
by Laura Weis
Almost 90 percent of dog owners feed their dog kibble, but what about other commercial options such as frozen raw food or canned diets? The optimal dog diet is the least processed and the closest to a wild canid diet, and with a little research it is possible to improve even the best commercial foods. Continue reading
There’s no such thing as a free lunch—and in the world of flea and tick control products for pets, that phrase has never been more true. Fleas and ticks, and the diseases they carry, are the bane of our companion pets. One in 12 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease (carried by ticks) in our area last year, with actual cases thought to be much higher. Ticks and fleas transmit additional diseases, and fleas can cause horrific skin conditions and allergic reactions. But is administering poisons to your pet every month the right solution?
Ask any veterinarian and they will most likely tell you that their phone is filled with pictures of poop. Clients text and email photos, and they engage their veterinarian in lengthy discussions about frequency, color, consistency and odor.
Poop is the end product of the complex digestion process that starts with food and requires the assistance of trillions of microorganisms that rent space in the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of our companion animals. In exchange for nourishment and a place to live, these organisms provide essential elements needed for regulating our metabolism, healthy digestive functioning and a competent immune system. It is estimated that one-third of the microbiota in humans is common to most people, and the remaining two-thirds constitute a sort-of individual fingerprint; each dog likely has its own unique microorganism populations.
Everyone of all ages, vegans and non-vegans alike, are welcome to attend the second annual Peaceable Kingdom Conference, held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on May 12, at Bucks County Community College’s Rollins Center Gallagher Room, in Newtown.
The Peaceable Kingdom Conference goals are to respect animals’ emotions and intelligence; to increase our reliance on plant-based foods; to be kind to Earth, its inhabitants and ourselves; and to strengthen the human-animal bond.
Environmental pollutants both outside and inside our homes have greatly increased the toxins we and our pets are exposed to every day. Our pets are sentinels of chemical hazards to human health. As they walk through urban neighborhoods with industrial activity, and are exposed to numerous household and garden chemicals, our pets accumulate toxins on and in their bodies, often at levels that far exceed those found in humans.
Holistic veterinary medicine encompasses many modalities, including Western herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine—nutritional therapy, chiropractic, and homeopathy. These methods are not new in treating disease; in some cases they have been used for centuries. In the United States, homeopathy is experiencing a resurgence of interest after many years.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were 22 colleges of homeopathy in the United States and more than 15,000 practitioners. A statue of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was erected in 1900 in Washington, DC, by grateful patients due to the success of homeopathy in treating epidemic disease. Veterinary homeopathy offers a gentle approach to wellness throughout the lifetime of each pet.