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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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GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN constitute the major GAGs in the joint cartilage: glycosaminoglycans serve as major components of articular cartilage. Glycosaminoglycans function by decreasing the presence of harmful pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and other inflammatory enzymes that degrade the cartilage matrix. This results in reduced pain and inflammation, decreased enzymatic destruction of the cartilage, and stimulation of anabolic (cartilage-building) pathways. The GAGs also appear to...

Arthritis, or more correctly, osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a common condition in dogs and a rare condition in cats. Arthritis technically means "inflammation of the joint." Inflammation is characterized by swelling, stiffness, and pain; therapy is designed to counteract these effects of inflammation. When possible, the therapy should also slow down the progression of the arthritis, or, actually help the joint to heal.

A joint is the space between two...

Chromium is a trace mineral in the body. Its role in maintaining good health was discovered in 1957, when scientists extracted a substance known as glucose tolerance factor (GTF) from pork kidney. GTF, which helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels, contains chromium as the active component. GTF binds to and potentiates the activity of insulin.

Chromium is necessary for pancreatic beta cell sensitivity (beta cells make insulin), insulin binding, insulin...

Intestinal parasites are commonly seen in puppies and kittens, and less commonly in adult dogs and cats. The most common parasites are: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidian, and a protozoal organism called Giardia. In the majority of the cases, puppies and kittens contract roundworms and tapeworms from their mother around the time of birth. With the exception of tapeworms and coccidian, the other parasites have zoonotic potential, meaning they are...

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...

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