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Shawn Messonnier, DVM

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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids-eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-are derived from fish oils of cold water fish (salmon, trout, or most commonly menhaden fish) and flaxseed. Omega-6 fatty acids-linoleic acid (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)-are derived from the oils of seeds such as evening primrose, black currant, and borage. Often, fatty acids are added to the diet with other supplements to attain an additive effect.

In...

The n/d diet—Hill's Pet Food Company introduced the first cancer diet for dogs called n/d. The diet contains increased protein and fat, decreased carbohydrates, increased omega-3 fatty acids, and increased arginine. The composition of the diet is: protein, 37 percent; fat, 32 percent; carbohydrates, 21 percent; arginine, 3.1 percent (647 mg/100 kcal); omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, 7.3 percent (1518 mg/100 kcal). In controlled studies dogs with lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) that...

Cancer is among the most feared diseases by pet owner. For many owners, the diagnosis brings grief, uncertainty, fear, and a general feeling of hopelessness.

While it is true that cancers can result in the untimely death of our pets, not all cancers carry a poor prognosis. For example, many solid tumors, if diagnosed early, respond quite well to surgical removal before they have spread. In these instances, early surgery is curative.

Other cancers may not be...

Before you start to feed your dog or cat a home-prepared diet, it is strongly recommended you discuss your decision with your veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian in your area. It is essential that you follow any diet's recommendations closely, including all ingredients and supplements. Failure to do so may result in serious health consequences for your pet.

Weight-Control Diet for Dogs

1/2 pound cooked chicken
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1/4...

OBESITY, DEFINED AS AN INCREASE IN BODY WEIGHT OF AT LEAST 15 PERCENT ABOVE WHAT WOULD BE NORMAL FOR THE SIZE OF THE PET, IS THE MOST COMMON NUTRITIONAL DISEASE IN PETS. As with people, obesity results from an excess caloric intake relative to the expenditure of energy.

Many owners question a link between spaying or neutering the pet and obesity. Reduction of the male and female hormones does not cause obesity per se. However, if the metabolic rate...

Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is a common disease of dogs and rarely of cats. It is most commonly caused by the Bordetella bacterium (dogs and cats) or the adenovirus (dogs) or parainfluenza virus (dogs). Usually, kennel cough occurs as a result of exposure to infected pets, through boarding, although this is not necessary for a pet to develop kennel cough.

Clinical signs include coughing, gagging, and retching; many owners mistakenly believe their pets are...

Glutamine, or L-glutamine, is an amino acid derived from another amino acid, glutamic acid. It serves as a precursor to D-glucosamine, an amino sugar well-known for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation and regenerate connective tissue in people and pets with osteoarthritis. Severe stresses may result in a temporary glutamine deficiency.

Sources
There is no daily requirement for glutamine as the body can make its own glutamine. High-protein...

The cranberry plant, a relative of the common blueberry plant, has been used as food and as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases.

Therapeutic Uses
Research has shown drinking cranberry juice makes the urine more acidic. Since common urinary tract infections in pets (especially dogs) are caused by bacteria such as E. coli, which function best in alkaline urine, many holistic doctors promote cranberry juice extracts for treating bladder...

Choline, unlike other B vitamins, which are synthesized by intestinal bacteria, is synthesized in the liver.

Choline is needed for the proper transmission of nerve impulses and is a constituent of acetylcholine, the major neurotransmitter. Choline is a structural element of cell membranes (as the chemical phosphatidylcholine) that promotes lipid transport and acts as a source of methyl groups (after it is transformed into betaine) for various chemical reactions in the...

The volatile oils and curcumin are the active ingredients of this herb, which is well known as a spice in curry powder and as an herb in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

Therapeutic Uses
Whole turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Much of this observed activity seems to be due to the presence of curcumin, which also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric has shown anticancer effects by its antioxidant, free radical scavenging effects,...

Allergic dermatitis is among the most common skin disease seen in private veterinary practice. It is a genetic disease, technically referred to as atopic dermatitis, in which the dog or cat becomes sensitized to environmental proteins called allergens. The most common symptoms are inflammation and itching.

Natural treatments include orthomolecular therapy, omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy natural diet and topical decontamination with frequent hypoallergenic shampooing and...

Two distinct plants are known as chamomile and are used interchangeably: German and Roman chamomile. Although botanically far apart, they both look like miniature daisies and appear to possess similar medicinal benefits.

It has been suggested chamomile’s reported effect is due to the constituents of its bright blue oil, including chamazulene, alphabisabolol, and bisaboloxides. However, the water-soluble part of chamomile may play a role too, especially in soothing stomach...

Boron, Boswellia & Bovine Cartilage

BORON
Boron seems to assist in the proper absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus from foods, and slows the loss of these minerals through urination.

Therapeutic Uses
In people, boron is recommended for the therapy of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, although the evidence is weak for its effectiveness. Boron may speed up the burning of calories in...

Last month we discussed diets for your dogs with bladder infections. This month we will look at a healthy diet for your cat, and the use of Cranberry for both dogs and cats.

Diet for Cats with Bladder Infections
3 1/2 ounces firm raw tofu
2 1/4 ounces sardines, canned in tomato sauce
1/2 ounce clams, chopped in juice
1/2 yolk of large hard-boiled egg
1/3 cup long grain, cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons chicken fat or canola oil
1/2...

Bladder infections usually occur as bacteria normally living in and around the lower urinary tract. The bacteria ascend (go up) the urinary tract through the urethra and infect the normally sterile bladder. Clinical signs of either bladder infections or bladder stones are similar and include increased frequency of urination, painful or burning sensation during urination, excessive licking at the genitals, and occasionally blood in the urine. Increased thirst, increased volume of...

Tea tree oil has been used for the prevention and treatment of intestinal parasites, asthma, bronchitis, sarcoptic mange, flea repellant and wound infections. However, tea tree oil fell out of favor when antibiotics became widely available.

Therapeutic Uses of Tea Tree Oil For Pets

There is little question that tea tree oil is an effective antiseptic, active against many bacteria and fungi. It also possesses a penetrating quality that may make it particularly...

Chiropractic medicine is the use of spinal manipulation to improve health. Like other complementary therapies, chiropractic medicine is designed to work at the appropriate level of the healing process and to work with the normal inborn homeostasis (the ability of the body to remain “normal and healthy”), rather than simply treating symptoms. Spinal manipulation is an old therapy, almost as old as acupuncture. The Chinese used acupuncture from about 2700 BC, while Hippocrates used...

Lavender is a plant with purple flowers and a sweet fragrance. The plant itself is not normally used as is true with other herbs. Instead, the oil of the lavender is commonly used to control nervousness and anxiety in pets and is quite popular in aromatherapy applications.

Therapeutic Uses
Oil of lavender can be used to calm nervous or aggressive animals. It is also recommended to help “lift the spirits” of depressed animals. Many owners place a...

The tree fungus known as reishi has a long history of use in China and Japan as a semi-magical healing herb. Presently, reishi is artificially cultivated and widely available in stores that sell herb products.

THERAPEUTIC USES
In people, this mushroom has been suggested for treatment in the following ways: improve resistance to stress; strengthen immunity against colds and other infections; improve mental function; and prevent altitude sickness,...

SAMe stand for S-adenosylmethionine. It is closely related to the ATP molecule, which the body uses for energy for the cells. When ATP combines with the amino acid methionine, S-adenosylmethionine is formed.

SAMe was discovered in Italy in 1952. First investigated as a treatment for depression, along the way it was accidentally noted to improve arthritis symptoms, which was a positive “side-effect.” SAMe is presently classed with glucosamine and chondroitin as a...