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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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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...

Constipation, often suspected by pet owners but in fact rarely diagnosed, occurs when the pet is unable to properly evacuate his or her bowels. As a result, the feces remain in the colon where water from the fecal material continues to be absorbed by the colon. The fecal matter dries out and forms a hard mass. While constipation can occur in dogs (usually as a result of eating large amounts of foreign material), true constipation usually occurs in cats.

Principal...

Upper respiratory infections are common in kittens and rare in most adult cats. Common infectious organisms include the Bordetella bacterium, feline herpes virus (viral rhinotracheitis), feline calicivirus, mycoplasma, and Chlamydia psittaci.

Infection occurs as a result of contact with the organism, which is present in nasal, eye, and salivary secretions from infected or diseased cats. Common clinical signs include discharge from the eyes and...

Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage; it also helps inhibit enzymes that are destructive to the joints. Chondroitin sulfate is a naturally occurring substance in the body.

Therapeutic Uses
A study in the 1998 journal, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, reported that chondroitin sulfate is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Because chondroitin production by the body decreases with aging, supplementation...

Degenerative myelopathy is a common cause of neurological dysfunction of the rear limbs (posterior paralysis) of dogs. Other causes include intervertebral disk disease, spinal tumors, hypothyroidism, and cauda equine syndrome. Most commonly, middle-aged to older larger breed dogs, especially German Shepherds are affected. The disorder is slowly progressive and often confused with hip dysplasia; many pets mistakenly diagnosed with hip dysplasia in fact have degenerative myelopathy....

Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine (hormonal) disease of dogs and is most commonly seen in middle-aged to older dogs. The average age of dogs with hypothyroidism is seven years of age. While any breed can be affected, increased incidence of hypothyroidism is seen in Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs.

The cause of hypothyroidism is believed to be immunemedicated thyroiditis,...

Common uses for white willow bark are for arthritis, pain and inflammation in dogs, which may affect your pet more in the cold winter months.

In 1828, European chemists extracted the substance salicin from white willow, which was soon purified to salicylic acid. Chemists later modified salicylic acid (this time from the herb meadowsweet) to create acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. Willow bark contains salicin and can be considered a natural form of aspirin. It is used for...

Cushing’s disease, hyperadrenocorticism, results in overproduction of adrenal gland hormones, most commonly glucocorticoids. The disorder is relatively common in middle-aged to older dogs and rare in cats. Cushing’s disease usually occurs as a result of a benign (non-cancerous) tumor of the pituitary gland. Rarely, a tumor (benign or cancerous) of the adrenal gland(s) may occur. Long-term administration of corticosteroids causes a steroid-induced Cushing’s syndrome that...

This month we conclude our series on Autoimmune Disorders in pets. The final article discusses the best type of fatty acids to use for your pet’s inflammatory issues.

FATTY ACID SUPPLEMENTATION
Is supplementation with fatty acid capsules or liquids the best approach, or is dietary manipulation preferred for the treatment of inflammatory conditions? There are, in fact, diets constructed with this “ideal” ratio (of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids)....

This month we begin a three-part series on autoimmune diseases in pets. Autoimmune diseases, which occur more commonly in dogs than in cats, are those diseases in which the pet’s body forms antibodies attacking its own tissues. The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is not known. However, many doctors feel that the immune system may malfunction as a result of infections or chronic exposure to toxins. The fact that an increased number of cases are seen shortly following repeated...

Addison’s disease, also called hypoadrenocorticism, is an uncommon disease of dogs and occurs rarely in cats. The cause is unknown in some cases; in others it appears as an immune-mediated disorder in which the pet’s body makes antibodies that destroy its own adrenal glands. Chronic use of corticosteroids (such as prednisone) can cause secondary Addison’s disease if the corticosteroid administration is suddenly stopped rather than gradually withdrawn from the...

Glandular therapy (cell therapy, tissue therapy) is the use of whole animal tissues or extracts of these tissues for health maintenance and the therapy of mild health problems typically involving the glands of the body. Glandular therapy is “tissue specific.” In other words, liver extracts benefit the liver, thyroid extracts benefit the thyroid gland, adrenal extracts benefit the adrenal gland, and so forth. Current research supports this concept that the glandular supplements...

Epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in pets. Anticonvulsant medications such as phenobarbital, diazepam, or potassium bromide are commonly prescribed conventional medications.

Correcting the diet is important, as there is anecdotal evidence that food hypersensitivity may be the cause of seizures in some pets. A small number of cases treated concurrently with anticonvulsant medicines plus antioxidants (at the dosages used for treating allergic dermatitis) have shown...