Bad Breath - happens to the best of us and our pets

May 17th, 2011

Symptoms

Foul-smelling breath, Bleeding Gums, Periodontal Disease, Gingivitis, Excess hunger/thirst, Toothache, Loose teeth, Xerostomia, Oral dryness post chemotherapy, Upper respiratory Infections, Sinus infections, Frontal headache, Red tongue, Yellow coated tongue.

Bad breath in our animal or human friends is something which we all dislike. The cause of bad breath can arise from a number of health issues.

Kidney problems can give rise to the problem as can unsuitable diet.

Waste products which are not properly filtered by the kidneys back up into the blood, resulting in excess toxicity settling in the mouth.  This causes inflamed or ulcerated gums resulting bad breath.

Secondly, poor quality food results in limited digestion leading to putrification or rotting in the gut which in turn backs up to the mouth, again resulting in bad breath.

Diet is important and should not be neglected

Formulas containing a range of quality carbohydrates, vegetables, (particularly carrots which stimulate elimination and putrifactive bacteria), proteins, fats, etc which all contribute to promote health and vitality and at the same time allows the internal organs to function in a more efficient manner.

High quality ingredients results in smaller stools which in turn indicates ease of digestion and therefore lower levels of food are required. This in turn minimises the possibility of putrification in the gut and hence bad breath.

Owners report that after a few weeks their dogs breath is so fresh they could kiss them with comfort. Wow!

Suggested Herbal Approach

Please note that the suggested herbal or homeopathic approaches are to reinforce diet.

‘Breath Fresh’ herbal nourishment is an excellent aid to counteract foul-breath.

‘Green Power’ concentrated greens from land and sea.

‘Pet Boost’ herbs to support a healthy immune system.

‘Pet DeTox’ a cleansing and detoxing formula.

Diabetes

March 14th, 2011

There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. This in itself does not tell us very much but a look at human diabetes gives a better insight to the problems and how to address them.

Type 1 is classified as Insulin Dependent diabetes Mellitus and occurs most often in children or adolescents. Type 2 is Non – Insulin Dependent diabetes Mellitus which usually occurs in adults over 40years of age.

Type 2 is the more common of the two and more often seen in dogs and cats. In this type of diabetes enough insulin is produced but its utilization by the body is blocked by the effect of a excess fat in the diet. ( Excess sugar is converted by the body to fat).

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs

High blood glucose, Extreme thirst, Diabetes mellitus types 1 & 2, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Diabetic cataracts.

This high fat diet that supports diabetes also cause liver stagnation which in turn creates imbalances in the spleen – pancreas resulting in less than effective pancreatic secretions of insulin.

The obvious remedy is diet – low fat, complex carbohydrates (whole foods), vegetables and legumes (peas, beans etc).

Human nutritionalists have identified that chromium, zinc and manganese as factors which control sugar levels in blood. When grains are refined as much as 80% of these minerals are lost in the process.

Foods which contain a range of quality carbohydrates, vegetables, proteins, fats and seaweed which all contribute to promote health and vitality and at the same time allows the internal organs to function in a more efficient manner. The high quality ingredients results in smaller stools which in turn indicates ease of digestion and therefore lower levels of food are required.

It is recommended that where possible, diabetic dogs or cats are fed a number of times over the course of the day. Five or six small meals help control glucose levels better than one or even two meals per day.

Complementary Herbal Approach for diabetic dogs

Gluco-Stable - Herbal nutrition to stabilize blood glucose levels.

Cardio-Support - Supports the functioning of a healthy heart and maintains healthy circulation and blood pressure.

Ear problems

December 7th, 2010

Ear problems are common in all types of dogs and cats, from infections, inflammation and wax build-up.

It is also perceived that certain breeds of dogs the problem may be genetic - those with long floppy ears which restrict air flow.

It does not help that there is a 90 degree bend in the shape of the ear canal.

In unhealthy pets, those fed a poor quality diet; the ears are a convenient way of eliminating toxic material in the form of wax.

In turn the wax becomes a means to foster bacterial growth and fungi and thus the cycle of the problem goes on.

A healthy diet can improve dogs ears

Robbie’s products contain a range of quality carbohydrates, vegetables, proteins, fats and seaweed which all contribute to promote health and vitality.

At the same time, Robbie’s products minimize the amount of waste material in the body allowing it function in a more normal healthy manner. The internal organs function more efficiently and work in harmony.

The use of high quality ingredients in the diet mean the animal passes smaller stools which in turn indicate ease of digestion and therefore lower levels of food are required.

Complementary Approach

Herbs: Ear Clear

(Buy Ear Clear from our online pet food shop in the UK or from our online pet health store in the USA.

Ear Cleaning: Add 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider to ½ cup of distilled water and wash out the ear canal. Allow your pet to shake out the excess. Then wash outer ear with room temperature Green Tea.

Adrenal Disease in Dogs and Cats

August 18th, 2010

Cushing and Addison’s Disease

The Dr. You in us all, including our pets is working away non stop 24/7. Included in the Dr. You scheme of things is a range of glands known in medical terms as the ‘endocrine system’ The endocrine system supplies a range of hormones into the bloodstream and part of that system includes the adrenal glands.

These adrenal glands normally work efficiently but if either of the two glands produce too much or too little of the desired hormones then the health conditions can be debilitating.

If the adrenal glands produce too much then they are know to be ‘hyper’ thus the term Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocortism).

On the other hand if they produce too little it is known as ‘hypo’ and thus Addison disease (hypoadrenocortism).

What Happens when these gland malfunction?

The hormones produced by these glands regulate the use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Which in turn help to maintain a proper balance of water, salt and potassium in the body.

One of the main hormones produced is cortisol which also contributes to maintaining blood sugars, muscle development and tissue repair.  Cortisol also delivers a rush of adrenalin in stressful situations which will release stored energy in the body and allow the animal to react accordingly.

The story starts to get complicated because the adrenal gland is actually controlled by another gland called the ‘pituitary gland’ which signals the adrenal gland to produce more or less Cortisol.

TOO MUCH CORTISOL – CUSHING DISEASE

Two factors cause this problem and they are both cancers. The more common of the two is a small benign tumor in the pituitary gland. This tumor interferes and causes too much cortisol to be produced. The other cause is a tumor in either or both the adrenal glands and have the same effect – producing too much cortisol.

Symptoms of Cushing Disease

Bloated abdomen, thinning hair coat, drinking and urinating to excess, reduced muscle strength, interferes with normal blood clotting and the body’s ability to ward off infection.

Episodes of panting due to the weakened muscle can accompany the problem and your animal friend may be prone to falling. A reduced ability to break down fat may also be present.

Conventional Treatment

If the pituitary gland has a tumor, then drugs are administered  that supposedly destroy the part of the adrenal gland that is producing too much cortisol. The objective is to manage the problem rather than cure.  Malignant tumours in the adrenal glands is another matter and often surgery is conducted to remove the offending growth.

Alternative Treatments

Usually involves a number of complementing approaches which reinforce each  other.  Holistic Diet is imperative, not so as a treatment, but to provide the foundations of good health.

Diet

Low fat, low protein highly digestible diets are a must in terms of giving our animal friends the best possible chance. The less processing the better thus Robbie’s Holistic Cuisine which is mainly dehydrated ingredients is ideal in this situation.

Homeopathic approaches include:

Corticotrophin (ACTH) 30c – This hormone helps to reduce the excess of fluid and generally improves adrenal function.

Cortisone 30c – This hormone will assist in counteracting over production of crude protein.

Thallium Acetas 30c – This remedy has an effect on skin and hair helping to restore a healthy coat.

(Note: Over use of steroid hormones can produce the same results as the disease itself and Nux Vomica and Thuja may help in overcoming this. A homeopathic vet should be consulted – If you are unable to find one please contact us and we can arrange for an internet consultation with Alan Slater – our homeopathic vet).

Herbal Approaches

Herbal approaches are limited in the treatment of Cushing’s other than providing tonic support for the various affected organs.  As a result of the increased urination, potassium is leeched from the body and nettles, dandelion root, garlic and burdock can help replace potassium and support the liver and digestive system.

Liver HeProtect and Digestive Tonic are the 2 world herbs we would recommend for this problem.

Kelp (seaweed) is beneficial for maintaining iodine and other trace minerals.
Avoid Licorice, borage leaf – these stimulate adrenal activity

Supplements

Phosphatidyl-serine – is an active ingredient of lecithin which naturally suppresses cortisol production

TOO LITTLE CORTISOL – ADDISON DISEASE

The cause of Addison’s is unknown but it is generally considered to be associated with an immune system problem.  Cancer of the lymphatic system or systemic infections have been related to the problem as has over use of steroids or sudden withdrawal from the drug.

Symptoms of Addison’s Disease

Weight loss, occasional vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss, decreased energy and stamina. Degeneration of the adrenal glands is not reversible but progression can be delayed with diet and proper nutrients.

Conventional Treatment

Supplement with synthetic cortisol.

Alternative Treatments

Diet

Foods with excess potassium should be avoided. High quality, easily digested protein should be included. Robbie’s Holistic Cuisine is also well suited for the reasons stated above but is also low in potassium.

Homeopathic approaches

Arsenicum [Ars]
This is the most homeopathic of all remedies to this disease. Both the disease and drug have nerve depression, gastric irritation, general debility, feeble heart action and tendency to vomit. The skin symptoms have also a curious similarity;

The disease, though considered an incurable one, may have its development arrested by the proper remedy.

Among other remedies to be thought of are: Thuja; Natrum muriaticum, which especially corresponds to the symptoms, muscular fatigue, indigestion, melancholia, etc., so often present at the onset of the disease; Belladonna, Calcarea carbonica, Iodine and Phosphorus. Arsenicum iodatum is also especially worthy of a trial. Tuberculinum may also be well indicated.

Herbal Approaches

Herbisone – this World herbal product is very well suited to Addison disease.

Licorice, borage leaf – these stimulate adrenal activity.

Siberian Ginseng - for reducing the impact of stress.

Spirulina - is also well suited this problem although is considered a whole food rather than a herb (1 spoonful per 4lbs (2kg) pounds of bodyweight).

Arthritis

August 2nd, 2010

Dog Arthritis and Stiffness

Arthritis in dogs can be difficult to diagnose. The signs are lameness, stiffness and difficulty getting up.

Typically this will be most severe after resting, especially first thing in the morning or following a long walk. Cold or damp days are often worst.

You may also notice your pet to be less willing to charge around on a walk, looking to come home or sit down sooner than usual.

Causes of arthritis in dogs

The dogs diet can have an amazing influence on the extent of suffering and stiffness.

In simple terms poor quality ingredients in food becomes waste material which flows along the muscle.

If you can imagine the muscle as being made of hundreds of tiny fibers along which travel these waste products, acting like the white of an egg, gluing together all the fibers of the muscle.

Thus when you dog sits or lies down the glue goes to work. On rising, the stiffness and pain is simply the fibres of the muscle separating. This is why the problem seems to decrease during movement.

This is a vicious circle though, because the more exercise our dog gets, the more glue like substances are produced.

Now you need to think about how large muscles narrow down when they come to a joint. It is bit like the narrowing of a river and
all this material is trying to get through. A dam begins to form and results in thickening of the fiber around the joint.

Thus to minimise the waste products traveling along the fibers of the muscle we need to pay careful attention to what we are putting in the dogs mouth on a daily basis.

Too much protein, fat, salt and sugar along with highly processed foods or ingredients which are limited in nutritional value is not good.

Pet food manufacturers are very clever at hiding what is really in their products.

Beat pulp, prairie meal, potato protein extract, chemical preservatives, colours and flavourings all contribute to arthritis.

Mineral imbalances have also been quoted as being extremely influential with calcium status being recognized as a good indicator of mineralization in general.

Calcium inhibitors such as excess meat or protein, refined sugar and excess salt should be avoided, as should foods containing oxalic acid – rhubarb, cranberry, plum and beet greens.

Nightshade vegetables should also be avoided especially tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes.

Chemicals in the form of colours, flavours and preservatives are also considered to toxic and the resultant accumulation at the muscle joints contributes to the problem.

Another explanation is foods which are too acid for the body or in terms of complete foods, the imbalance between acidic and alkaline forming foods is contributing.

Acid forming foods are protein, and brown rice for example.

Alkaline forming foods are green vegetables and millet - the list is much more extensive than this but it gives a general indication.

As pointed out above, it can be difficult to determine the exact problem because of the relationship between muscles and joints.

It is now recognized that high protein and fat diets for puppies forces growth of the muscle mass beyond the capabilities of the bone structure leading to problems like hip dysphasia. In adult dogs, the accumulation of toxic wastes at the joints leads to stiffness and eventually calcification restricting movement further.

Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that problems with the Gall Bladder will result in weakened limbs and stiffness. This in itself indicates that the digestive system, diet and arthritis/rheumatism are all interrelated.

Herbs for arthritis in dogs.

Herbs which are of value are those which help to rid the body of wastes sometimes known as detox. Others help with the inflammation other help with ease of movement - but the herbs are limited in value unless the dogs diet is addressed.

There are many individual herbs available but our experience is about using herbal combinations. Two or more herbs working together seem to help more. Read this article - the story behind herbal formulations.

Fish Oil as anti-inflammatory

Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil are an excellent for reducing inflamation but need to be given daily. This product may prove useful >>>

Choosing the right pet food - what to feed your dog or cat.

April 3rd, 2009

Eating food  is more than  just ‘fuel’. It is a source (or not) of many vital compounds that can represent the difference between top health and disease or symptoms. Food is the major factor in our pets total well-being and while investing in a good quality cat or dog food  may seem costly,  compared to many of the budget pet foods and generic brands available, a wholesome diet can help to reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary vet bills that are incurred when nutrition is poor.

Consider the needs of the individual dog or cat

Age, activity level, breed and health history of your pet, as well as food intolerances or allergies, are all very important factors to consider when selecting a diet for your pup or kitten.

There are many  gimmicky diets for our dogs and cats being introduced to the market each year, designed for specific dog breeds, sizes, life stages and so on – but in actual fact, the nutritional needs of a dog or cat should be based on his or her particular requirements, rather than a ‘category’ that he or she falls into.

Beware generic dog foods and cat foods

We are seeing more and more ‘generic’ pet foods coming on to the market each year. In fact there is one pet food manufacturer in the midlands who has a telephone message while your waiting,  advocating that you can arrive in the morning and leave with your brand in the evening. You don’t need to have knowledge of food, nutrition, diet or anything else for that matter. The company offers you a product it is turning out hundreds of tonnes a year  and only stopping to put it in different customers  brand bags. The customer only needs to add their own ‘bells and whistles’ as the pet food manufacturer claims.

What are the downsides of a poor quality pet food?

It has been suggested that there is a direct correlation between chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, diabetes and other degenerative disease and  poor quality food in humans. In fact the NHS is overrun now with degenerative disease and the advent of the industrial revolution and food processing has been blamed in many quarters . The same for our dog foods and cat foods. Of course other factors like vaccines and genetics also predispose pets to disease, but the incidence of these disorders has increased dramatically in the western world since the introduction of commercial, highly processed pet food in 1950’s.

The long term effects of feeding a highly processed diet can also lead to a compromised immune system and in turn hypersensitivity to the environment. Dogs who enjoy a high quality, fresh and varied diet are often noted to be far less bothered by seasonal allergies and fleas, than their junk-food fed counterparts.

Where does nutrition fit into Holistic Health Care?

Nutrition simply means providing the nutrients to sustain life. Health is something completely different. Diet is  the fundamental cornerstone to total health. But simply feeding a natural, raw or home made diet, or adding supplements to your pooch’s bowl does not constitute ‘holistic health care’ in the true sense of the term. Other decisions like vaccinations, veterinary choices, environment & lifestyle are also important to consider when giving your dog or cat  the best chance at good  health.

Remember your vet only receives training in diet and nutrition from the pet food companies who’s food they are selling. They have no specialised knowledge as a rule. Always ask your vet how much training they had in nutrition and who provided it!