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Beware of the New Anallergenic Dog Foods with Feather Meal

Friday, 19. July 2013 4:22

Dr. Karen Becker ~ Healthy Pets blogpost 17 July 2013

Beware of the New Anallergenic Dog Foods with Feather Meal.

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Thick Green Lawns and Canine Malignant Lymphoma

Sunday, 19. August 2012 10:29

By Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

This is the time of year when many dog owners get their pets outside to enjoy the sunshine and lush greenery.

But according to a study published earlier in the year in the journal Environmental Research, a romp across the lawn might actually be dangerous to your pet’s health.

The study, conducted over a six year period at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, showed that exposure to lawn pesticides – specifically those applied by professional lawn care companies – raised the risk of canine malignant lymphoma (CML) by as much as 70 percent.

According to The Merck Veterinary Manual:

Canine malignant lymphoma is a progressive, fatal disease caused by the malignant clonal expansion of lymphoid cells. Although lymphoid cell neoplastic transformation is not restricted to specific anatomic compartments, lymphoma most commonly arises from organized lymphoid tissues including the bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes, and spleen. In addition to these primary and secondary lymphoid organs, common extranodal sites include the skin, eye, CNS, testis, and bone. Lymphoma is reported to be the most common hematopoietic neoplasm in dogs, with an incidence reported to approach 0.1% in susceptible, older dogs. Despite the prevalence of malignant lymphoma, its etiology remains poorly characterized. Hypothesized etiologies include retroviral infection, environmental contamination with phenoxyacetic acid herbicides, magnetic field exposure, chromosomal abnormalities, and immune dysfunction.

Dogs at Risk for Canine Malignant Lymphoma

From the published study, dogs at highest risk for acquiring CML were:

  • Over 50 pounds
  • Living in homes where pesticides and herbicides were professionally applied
  • Living in homes where owners used lawn care products containing insect growth regulators (insect growth regulators are chemical killing agents)
  • The study collected data using a 10-page questionnaire mailed to owners whose dogs were patients at Foster Hospital. Unfortunately, the study results do not name the lawn care or pesticide products used, or specific chemical ingredients in the products. It also doesn’t address quantities of chemicals used or length of exposure.

    Also absent from the study was mention of genetic factors that might impact which dogs acquire CML. The study dogs were only identified as purebred or mixed breed, with no consideration given to the fact that certain breeds are at increased risk for developing CML. Those breeds include the Airedale, Basset hound, boxer, bulldog, bullmastiff, golden retriever, and the Saint Bernard.

    Dogs and Thick Green Lawns

    Whereas people have the choice to stay off chemically-treated grass, your dog doesn’t have that option – nor does she have the capacity to understand the potential dangers of rolling around in herbicide and pesticide residue.

    People usually wear clothes and shoes outside – dogs don’t. And unlike people, dogs don’t change their fur or foot pads every day and throw the dirty stuff in the washing machine. So whatever collects on their feet and fur outdoors stays there until the next time they get a bath.

    Most dogs, given the opportunity to play on thick green grass, will not only run across it, they’ll roll on it, dig around in it, sniff at it endlessly — even snack on it. So it’s easy to envision how normal canine behavior turns risky when your dog’s outdoor environment has been doused in potentially toxic chemicals.

    Playing It Safe

    Given the Foster Hospital study results, I would certainly recommend dog owners not allow their pets to be exposed to chemical lawn treatments. Specifically:

    • Don’t apply pesticides to your yard, and if you use a lawn care service, don’t allow them to use them, either.
    • Avoid lawn care and other gardening products that contain insect growth regulators (IGRs). (And be aware that the chemical pyriproxyfen, an IGR, is used in certain flea/tick spot-on treatments.)
    • Don’t allow your dog access to any lawn unless you can confirm no pesticides have been used.

    If you think your pet has rolled around on chemically treated grass, my recommendation is to bathe him as soon as possible. If you’ve walked your dog in a suspect grassy area, giving him a foot soak as soon as you get home should flush away any chemical residue that may be clinging to his feet and lower legs.

    Category:Pet Wellness | Comments (2) | Author:

    February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

    Monday, 30. January 2012 13:38

    So, what does that mean? It means taking care of your dog’s mouth is asBrushing Teeth! important as taking care of your own. Chew toys designed for aiding the removal of plaque, raw bones, and brushing your dog’s teeth – ideally weekly – will help tremendously in preventing long-term health problems. The consequences of not doing these things are certainly not worth it. Our family dog, Lulu, died young for a small dog at 12. We did not clean her teeth and towards the end of her life she suffered from gingivitis (infection of the gums) and endocarditis (infection of the heart). There is a direct link between dental hygiene and the health of your dog or cat’s immune system and organs such as the heart, kidney, and liver. I have no doubts she would have lived longer if we had been more aware of the importance of dental hygiene.

    So, how do you get your furry friends, cat or dog, interested in a teeth brushing? First, start early when they’re kittens and puppies. Our littlest pup is now used to getting her teeth brushed and will cock her head to the side and relax her lips in anticipation of the brush. It’s super cute.

    If, you’ve started later in life as I have with my chocolate Labrador then the best is to relax them by stroking their head, cheeks, and calmly talk to them while rolling them on their side. When they are comfortable, lift their lips back and rub their teeth, either with a piece of gauze, or if they are comfortable, ideally with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t use human toothpaste. It contains fluoride; if swallowed in huge quantities it can be toxic and dogs can’t rinse and spit! The toothpaste I use is Kissable! from Cain &Able – all natural pet toothpaste.

    If your dog or cat will not let you brush their teeth then using a pill or powdered form of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Pet Naturals, or Plaque Off is an option. Preliminary studies have shown that CoQ10 is particulary useful in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease and gingivitis in pets. Plaque Off contains Ascophyllum nodosumis, a specific kind of seaweed that shows benefits in dental health for animals and humans. Customers and employees at the Big Bad Woof have noticed the effects they see in their own animals. It takes a few months, but you will see a decrease in plaque on their teeth.

    Chewable snacks are another option for maintaining dental health. At the Big Bad Woof, we usually promote products that do not contain soy, wheat gluten, or corn. The ubiquitousness of these ingredients may lead to the development of allergies in your pet. Some suggested products are below.

    • True Blue – Super easy dental swipes. If using gauze to cleanse your dogs teeth, this product has added ingredients to freshen breath.
    • Breath-less – A company based out of FL sells products similar to Greenies.
    • Paragon – A company based in Holland sells dental chews for dogs in fun shapes.
    • Zukes – A company based in CO sells dental bones for dogs.
    • Smart n’tasty – A company based in California sells dental treats for cats and dogs.
    • For raw food enthusiasts – Chicken necks or turkey necks can decrease the build-up of plaque.

    I hope this finds you excited about the prospect of improving your dog or cat’s health starting the month of February! Don’t be afraid to try new things, research your choices, and consult your veterinarian.

    Category:Nutrition, Pet Wellness | Comments (1) | Author: