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Shawn Messonnier, DVM

As my thank you for reading my articles, enter code “drshawn” at my natural products web store, www.drshawnsnaturals.com, to save 10% on all your future purchases!

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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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...

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,...