Dental Disease In Dogs And Cats: Natural Prevention And Treatment Strategies

Natural treatment and prevention for dental disease in dogs and catsDental disease is the most commonly diagnosed chronic disease in dogs and cats. Poor dental health is much more than bad breath. The chronic infection that ensues in the gums and the bone surrounding the teeth, from the accumulation of dental tartar causes chronic pain, immune suppression, has a direct link to kidney failure (the number one cause of death in cats, number two in dogs), and can cause heart valve infections. The importance of good dental health in dogs and cats cannot be overstated.

The ideal time to be proactive with dental health care in dogs and cats is early on, before dental disease devolves into bone loss, severe gum recession, bleeding, and necessitating tooth extractions because teeth and surrounding bone are in such disrepair that they are no longer viable. Not only does this head off trauma to the pet, but it is also much less costly to prevent dental disease, rather than have to react to it due to severity.

Veterinarians stage dental and periodontal disease from 1-4, stage 1 being the least severe, stage 4 being the most severe. Natural management of dental disease is often successful in managing stage 1-2 dental disease, whereas, stage 3-4 almost always requires a professional cleaning and tooth extractions to get the mouth healthy again. Below is a general overview of the stages of periodontal disease.

Stage of Dental Disease In Dogs and Cats

While nothing replaces a proper dental cleaning, when budgetary concerns or the stability of a patient under anesthesia are major concerns, Stage 1 and 2 periodontal disease may possibly be contained via proactive dental sprays and chews.  Specifically, for a dental spray to be effective, it should contain grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, peppermint oil, and thyme oil.  These ingredients can help to loosen tartar and reduce bacterial infection in the gums.  These products are not FDA regulated, so be certain to read reviews!

Veterinary quality dental chews such as Greeenies, CET Chews, or Ora-Vet dental Chews are not only enjoyable for the pet, but are invaluable for massaging the gums and reducing tartar on the teeth.

Lastly, if you have a cooperative pet, regular brushing with an enzymatically activated veterinary grade toothpaste such as the one made by Vetquinol is a great way to reduce tartar and infection in the mouth.

Like people, however, there is no replacement for a regular, professional scaling and polish.  In order to be properly done, it requires general anesthesia in order to protect the airway, take dental x-rays for teeth with large pockets (that may indicate dangerous and painful root disease), perform extractions if medically necessary, and to scale the inner surfaces of the teeth and back molars.

General anesthesia in an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited veterinary clinic is very safe, so unless there are severe budgetary concerns or health concerns that make general anesthesia overly risky, be sure to engage in regular cleanings when your veterinarian recommends them.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Nutritional Cancer Prevention – Treatment Support In Dogs And Cats

CNatural Prevention and Treatment of Cancer in Dogs and Catsancer forms in our bodies of our pets every day, the vast majority of the time, without notice or consequence to us. Cancer begins through mutations at the cellular level, which leads to an abnormal proliferation of abnormal cells. The reason this process goes un-noticed and is inconsequential the overwhelming majority of the time, is because our immune systems are up to the task of identifying and clearing the abnormal cells before they have a chance to gain an established presence and/or spread in our bodies. The same is true for dogs and cats.

Thus, when endeavoring to prevent cancer or support canine and feline patients that are battling cancer, we must begin with immune system support. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and B complex vitamins, and beta carotenes are all immune system boosting, antioxidant, free radical sponging nutrients, and are invaluable for cancer prevention and support. These items can be found in supplemental forms in pharmaceutical grade, pet multivitamin formulations, as well as in nutritious diets geared toward immune boosting and free radical scavenging nutrition goals.

Pharmaceutical grade Omega-3-fatty acids are an invaluable tool for guarding against the deleterious effects of cancer in the body, namely inflammation at the level of the cells and tissues of the body. This is especially true in the organ systems where cancer wreaks the most havoc, the central nervous system and the circulatory system. By directly blocking inflammatory pathways and directly healing cells through integration into the cell membrane, omega-3-fatty acids both protect and heal the body.

Regarding diet, beyond choosing diets rich in antioxidant and free radical scavenging nutrients, we should also avoid nutrient forms and foods that are known to cause cancer, as well as feed cancer. Simple sugars that result from refined grains are known cancer feeding agents. Cancer thrives on sugar, and carbohydrates presented in this simple form are little more than sugar. Processed meats that are laden with preservatives like sodium nitrate or other chemicals keep the meats from going rancid and make them more appealing, but they are known cancer causing agents.

Ideally, if one has the time to research home cooked diets for dogs and cats that properly represent species appropriate nutrient percentages would be ideal. Meats should be fresh and uncured, and can even be considered for raw feeding if purchased from reputable, raw diet sources. Make certain that you engage in dully diligent research in purchasing meat for raw consumption, however, as prevention of raw meat bacterial toxicity first and foremost starts with the meat’s source. My favorite sources are the ones frozen on site and shipped frozen. The one contraindication for raw meat feeding is dogs and cats undergoing immune suppressive therapy, such as chemotherapy or radiation, as these mitigating circumstances increase the risk of food born bacterial food poisoning.

Vegetables should be fresh, and ideally organic. If organic vegetables are too rich for the budget, make certain that they are thoroughly washed prior to feeding. Good vegetable options to feed dogs and cats include green beans, broccoli, green peas, and sweet potato (in moderation due to simple carbohydrate levels). Dogs and cats benefit from apples and pears in moderation as well (for fiber and antioxidants), however, avoid other fruits, as some are not safe for feeding dogs and cats. If a dog or cat may be finicky about eating veggies and/or fruits, blending them into a paste often make them more appealing. The breakdown of home prepared dietary feeding for dogs should be about 50% meats to 50% vegetable/fruits, for cats, 80% meats to 20% vegetables/fruits.

If schedule, time constraints, budget constraints, or all of the above preclude the ability to home cook/prepared diets for your pets, then seek commercial diets that are preservative free (but vacuum sealed for preservation), free of processed or refined grains, cured meats, and have ingredients that are fresh on site (and not from China!). There are a number of diets that fit this description, but be certain to ask your veterinarian’s opinion on the diet you are considering, or research reviews, Better Business Bureau, etc., prior to feeding.

Lastly, acupuncture is an excellent modality by which the body can be supported to maximize self-healing. From the ancient Chinese perspective, acupuncture works by increasing the body’s life force, called Chi. From the Western medical perspective, acupuncture’s health benefits stem from increased nerve conduction, circulation, and endorphin release that result from its practice. Either way, the health benefits of acupuncture are well documented.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

How To Naturally Prevent Bloat In Large, Deep Chested Dogs

Preventing Bloat In Large, Deep Chested DogsBloat is a common disease seen in large and giant breed dogs, where the stomach accumulates with gas and fluid and distends to a dangerous point. Unable to expel the gas and fluid, this distension leads to a painful, tense stomach that is prone to rupture, or twist on its axis, complications that are very serious and life threatening. Once a dog has an active bloat, alternative medicine has little to offer, as the stomach needs to be decompressed as soon as possible, either by passage of a stomach tube, or surgically. Thus, this article is focused more on prevention for dog breeds are prone to bloat, as well as prevention for dogs who have already survived one or more episodes of bloat.

Given the strong genetic link with bloat, for dogs that are genetically predisposed to the disease, it is believed that it is not a question if a particular dog may bloat, it is a question of when. Since the industry has yet to have effective genetic marker testing, we cannot really know for certain if a dog may be genetically prone to bloat, unless there is a known immediate relative of the dog that had a confirmed case of bloat. Subsequently, without effective testing for predisposition to canine bloat, if you are the owner of any large or giant breed of dog (70 plus pounds), you should simply assume that your dog is prone to bloat and take preventive measures to give the dog his best chance to avoid a bout of bloat.

Prevention starts with diet. You should start by avoiding starchy foods, such as processed grains and simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are not only pro-inflammatory, but they also tend to increase bowel secretions, potentially setting the stage for gut distention. Instead, carbohydrates should be complex in nature, best supplied by vegetables.

Diets should be high in protein and moderate to low in saturated fats. Protein should be of high biological value, meaning that it is easily broken down during digestion; a high percentage of it is absorbed, while only a small percentage is excreted as waste. Poultry based protein sources, rabbit, and venison are examples that tend to fit these criteria quite well. Lean beef is a good option if fed raw.

Regarding raw feeding, done correctly and engaged with maximum safety precautions, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting a decrease in the incidence of bloat in predisposed breeds fed raw. However, given the AVMA’s (American Veterinary Medical Association) stance against raw feeding due to the risk of raw food bacterial toxicity, there is little peered reviewed and/or veterinary college based studies that substantiate this observation at this time.

Pharmaceutical grade omega-3-fatty acids are another good preventive measure against bloat. Omega-3-fatty acids are naturally anti-inflammatory at virtually every tissue level, and the gut is no exception. Digestive enzymes that aid in the breakdown of nutrients for absorption represent another dietary supplement that is a good sense preventive measure for bloat. Maximum breakdown of nutrients leads to maximum absorption, which in turn leads to less gas and fluid accumulation in the gut.

Small, frequent meals are ideal for dogs that may be predisposed to bloat. Breaking down the daily food requirement into 3-4 small meals makes certain that the gut is not filled substantially at any given time. From a metabolic perspective, this approach also helps to maximize metabolic efficiency to help prevent obesity and a stagnant metabolic rate, two predisposing factors for bloat.

My last point regarding diet is to not allow a large or giant breed to engage in strenuous exercise for 45-60 minutes following a meal. Exercise immediately following a meal is a known risk factor for bloat. Thus, immediately following a meal, exercise should be restricted to a short potty break in the yard, or slow, short leash walk.

For young female large and giant breed dogs that are to undergo a spay sterilization procedure, request that while your veterinarian is in the abdomen performing the spay, that he also tack the stomach to the body wall. That way, if the dog experiences bloat in her lifetime, the stomach tack will prevent the stomach from twisting. Tacking the stomach adds only a small amount of surgical time to the spay, requires only a slightly larger incision, and only a modest increase in cost. The result, however, may prove to be priceless, as prevention of stomach twisting in the midst of a bloat episode may mean the difference between life and death.

I will reiterate that there is a strong genetic link to the development of bloat. As such, sometimes despite our best efforts to prevent the incidence of bloat, it still occurs. However, following the natural prevention measures outlined in this article, will give your big dog his/her best chance to avoid the pain and danger of bloat in his/her lifetime.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.