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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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Feline leukemia virus infection is a viral infection that is spread between cats by prolonged contact with saliva or nasal secretions. Infection most commonly occurs in outdoor male cats between one and six years of age. Approximately 30 percent of exposed cats are persistently viremic (and remain infected); 30 percent are transiently viremic (infected with the virus and then cure themselves of the infection), and the remaining 40 percent of cats are latently infected and test negative on...

Alfalfa

Common Uses: allergies, arthritis, cognitive disorder, cancer and urinary disorders.

Alfalfa is purported to be one of the best herbal therapies for arthritis. It also possesses cancer-preventing properties by inactivating chemicals that can cause cancer. It is often fed to animals that need to gain weight.

The vitamin K content of alfalfa makes it valuable in pets with bleeding disorders. Conversely, excess doses might...

Both black and green teas are made from the same plant. The highest quality teas are derived from the young shoots comprising the first two or three leaves plus the growing bud; poorer quality teas are made from leaves located farther down the stems. Green tea is preferred as more of the active substances (catechins) remain in the less-processed green form. Green tea contains high levels of substances called polyphenols (catechins) known to possess strong antioxidant,...

This month we continue discussing supplements that may help your pets with rickettsial diseases, which most commonly are caused by ticks.

Fish Oils
Since fish oils can easily oxidize and become rancid, some manufacturers add vitamin E to fish oil capsules and liquid products to keep the oil from spoiling, while others remove the oxygen from the capsule.

Since processed foods have increased omega-6 fatty acids, supplementing the diets of all...

Rickettsial diseases are those caused by rickettsia, microscopic organisms that are not quite bacteria and not quite viruses. In dogs, the most common rickettsial diseases are ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The rickettsial organisms that cause each of these diseases are carried by ticks and transmitted to the pet within 24 hours after the tick bites and attaches to the pet. Tick control is useful to decrease the spread of these diseases. Rickettsial...

Colostrum is the antibody-rich fluid produced from the mother during the first day or two after birth. However, most commercial colostrum preparations come from cows. Whether cow antibodies are good for humans or pets is unclear, although many holistic veterinarians report positive results with both colostrum and the more concentrated form called lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a component of colostrum. By concentrating the intended nutrient (lactoferrin), instead of having a tiny...

In cats, hyperthyroidism results from functional thyroid adenomatous hyperplasia (growth of the glandular cells) or adenoma (a benign tumor). Rarely, a cancerous tumor (adenocarcinoma) causes feline hyperthyroidism. One or both lobes of the thyroid gland are involved (70 percent of cases involve both thyroid glands). Most cats with hyperthyroidism are ten years of age or older.

The most common clinical signs include hyperactivity, weight loss, increased appetite, vomiting,...

Kava, a member of the pepper family, is well known for its use as a sedating herb due to its kavalactone and other chemicals. One of the most active of these is dihydrokavain, which has been found to produce a sedative, painkilling, and anticonvulsant effect. Other kavalactones include kavain, methysticin, and dihydromethysticin.

Therapeutic Uses of Lava in Pets
Kava can be used in place of chemical tranquilizers and may be helpful for pets with...

Colloidal silver has been recommended for treating several internal and external problems in pets. Some doctors and pet owners have reported good results when other treatments have failed.

Depending upon the manufacturer of colloidal silver, which is NOT the same thing as silver sulfadiazine, the actual quantity of silver in bottles is not always guaranteed. Some doctors have reported bottles that had bacteria or fungus growing in the bottles, which makes one wonder about...

Licorice is an herbal anti-inflammatory agent often used to achieve the same effects as corticosteroid medications. Pets with a variety of allergic problems may benefit from therapy using licorice.

Therapeutic Uses
Licorice is a fast acting anti-inflammatory agent. It is also known for its antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties. Many herbalists regard it as "nature's cortisone" due to it glycyrrhizin content, and it is often recommended for...

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, making up nearly two percent of the pet’s total body weight. More than 99 percent of the calcium in the body is found in bones. Calcium is primarily used as a structural component of bones and teeth and also as a messenger that enables cells to respond to hormones and nerve transmitting chemicals. Many enzymes depend on calcium in order to work properly, as do the nerves, heart, and blood-clotting mechanisms. Calcium is absorbed...

Zinc is an important mineral found in every cell in the body and required by more than 300 enzymes in the body. In people, mild zinc deficiency seems to be fairly common. Severe zinc deficiency can cause a major loss of immune function, and mild deficiency might impair immunity slightly.

In people, zinc supplements may have benefits, including directly killing cold viruses in the throat, helping stomach ulcers heal, and relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Zinc is...

Canine distemper is a viral disease affecting dogs of all ages, but mainly unvaccinated or partially

vaccinated puppies. The severity of the disease and the tissues infected vary with the particular strain of the virus infecting the pet and the pet's immune system; pets with antibody titers over 1:100 typically do not develop the disease. Typical clinical signs resemble those of kennel cough in the early stages of the disease, namely runny eyes and a runny nose. As the disease...

There are three different herbs commonly called Ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). The latter herb is actually not ginseng at all, but the Russian scientists responsible for promoting it believe it functions identically.

Common uses for ginseng are for cognitive disorder (antiaging effect), diabetes and cancer.

Asian ginseng is a perennial herb...

Magnesium is the third largest mineral constituent of bone (calcium and phosphorus and the first and second largest constituents, respectively). It is found in significant quantities throughout the body and used for numerous purposes, including muscle relaxation, blood clotting, and the manufacture of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the body's main energy source). Magnesium is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats; it also acts as a catalyst for a number of enzymes....

ANTIOXIDANTS FOR PETS

Certain vitamins and minerals function in the body to reduce oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical process that occurs within the body's cells. After oxidation occurs, certain by-products such as peroxides and "free radicals" accumulate. These cellular byproducts are toxic to the cells and surrounding tissue. The body removes these by-products by producing additional chemicals called antioxidants that combat these oxidizing chemicals.

In...

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...