Natural Treatments for Dogs with Arthritis

natural treatments for dogs with arthritis

As animal chiropractors, we see a lot of different conditions walk into our practice.  However, one of the biggest issues we see is arthritis.  Arthritis is particularly tough on a dog’s rear end, but can have whole body effects.  In this article, we want to describe some natural treatments for dogs with arthritis that we use in our practice.

How do we know if our dog has arthritis?  Some of the symptoms associated with the condition are:

  • Slipping and falling on floors
  • Inability to do stairs or to get in and out of a vehicle
  • Difficulty getting up from laying down
  • Difficulty getting comfortable and more

If you see these symptoms, there’s a reasonable chance your dog is dealing with some level of arthritis (although an x-ray will confirm the diagnosis).  Over time, the effects will become more pronounced.  However, there are natural treatments for dogs that can help slow the progression of arthritis and help provide relief.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic is a great treatment for preventing and providing relief for arthritis.  This is because arthritis is the result of chronic inflammation and abnormal stress on a joint.  Both of these stresses are things chiropractic helps address.  When a joint quits moving well it leads to inflammation and abnormal pressure on the bones that hold a joint together.  Over time, these can contribute to bone spurs and other signs of arthritis that lead to discomfort.  By restoring normal motion, it helps slow the progression of arthritis – and provides relief for any dog already afflicted with it.

Supplements

Supplements are another one of the treatments for dogs with arthritis.  They can help repair damaged joints by providing necessary nutrients that a joint needs in addition to lubricating it.  When it comes to supplements, we tend to recommend fish oil and glucosamine products.

Fish oil has numerous benefits throughout the body, but who would have suspected benefits for arthritis?  We wouldn’t, but after reading through a few veterinary rehabilitation books it was noted multiple times in clinical trials.  The belief is that the anti-inflammatory effects are in part responsible, but there are probably other factors in play.  You can find fish oil at local pet stores or online.  We recommend a pump bottle fish oil since it recommends the dose per weight.  You can also add a turmeric supplement for additional inflammation support.

We also like to add glucosamine as one of the treatments for dogs with arthritis.  You can even begin adding joint supplements earlier in life to help prevent the progression of arthritis as well.  We tend to recommend holistic, more natural sources for joint health.  Brands we like are Super SnoutsWapiti LabsWholistic HealthConnectin, and other brands with similar ingredient panels.

Additional Products

For dogs that slip a lot in the house, we recommend runners.  When a dog is slipping in a house, they aren’t able to grip the ground correctly. This will lead to muscle atrophy over time since they aren’t able to use their muscles correctly.  In addition to runners, you can add additional items.  Dr. Buzby’s toegrips can make a difference or products such as Valfrid dog pads can help.   I tend to prefer gripping devices that aren’t a full sock design because the paw still needs air flow.  If you can change the sock periodically throughout the day, the Gripper brand may do the trick.

We also like to recommend pet stairs or ramps for getting into cars or getting up and down off furniture.  When it comes to choosing a product, part of it will depend on the size of your dog etc.  You certainly want something stable.  Pet Gear makes a portable option that can be used in the house for furniture and at the car.  They have multiple options worth considering.  Looking for something a little more aesthetically pleasing?  Check out Best Dog Supplies dog stairs.

Have a larger breed dog that needs help getting into the car?  You may need something a bit more heavy duty.  Pet Loader makes a sturdy option for you.  You can also check out some of the products from Pet Gear if your dog would prefer a ramp with no steps.

There are many natural treatments for dogs with arthritis and we plan to focus more content on it in future blogs.  In the meantime, if your dog is in their senior years and suffering from some of the symptoms we mentioned consider visiting a board certified animal chiropractor, adding some supplements to help their joints, and getting a few items to help with their mobility issues.  Have more questions or want us to focus on some other aspects of arthritis?  Comment on this blog!

 

*In an effort to be completely transparent, we do receive a commission if you purchase any of the products.  Doing so allows us to continue producing content like this to help pet owners.  However, there are many great products out there in addition to what we list in this article.  Feel free to explore other options

Laser Therapy and Chiropractic Care: A Perfect Match!

Chiropractic and Laser – A Perfect Match for Animals?

 

Structure determines function. This statement is the foundation upon which the body and chiropractic works. Optimum structure is important for your spine – just as it is for your house. After all, if the foundation of your house sinks in by a few inches I imagine you will see problems in your walls, floors, roof, and more. Animal chiropractors are like engineers for the spine that help restore the foundation. However, how do we repair the damage done secondary to structural shifts of your pet’s spine? Low laser therapy may be the solution.

What is low laser therapy?

 

lasertherapy

Laser therapy utilizes the power of lasers to therapeutically treat ailments. Essentially, the concentrated energy penetrates the body and stimulates mitochondria in the cells of muscles, ligaments, organs and more. As you may recall from biology 101, the mitochondria produce energy for the body in the form of ATP. This stimulation helps promote cellular regeneration and healing by providing the cells with more energy to work.

What can laser help?

                  Laser therapy can help many problems in the body. After all, injured areas can always use more energy for healing. However, it is better known for treating the following conditions in animals:

  • Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
  • Post-surgical soft tissue trauma
  • Back pain
  • Ear infections
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease

Many of these issues overlap with conditions that may benefit from chiropractic. Is this a coincidence?

Why does laser pair well with chiropractic?

                  Animal chiropractic focuses on normalizing structure in the body. The results of abnormal structure include inflammation, tendon and ligament injuries, arthritis, degenerative disease, and more. As we described previously, structural misalignments in the spine are like shifts in the foundation of your house. It can cause numerous problems throughout the body.

Once we fix the foundation, we still need to address the secondary conditions that are a result of the structural defects. This is where laser therapy is key. It will help flush out inflammation, repair soft tissue damage, help stimulate cells to heal themselves, and assist in treating more problems secondary to structural shifts of the spine. In a nutshell, chiropractic helps stabilize the underlying structure while laser enhances the repair of secondary problems.

As you now know, structure is important for function. To address the structural aspect, chiropractic is a great treatment. However, we still need to deal with all the issues secondary to problems with the abnormal alignment of the spine. That is where laser is the key to a well-rounded plan of care.

The Benefits of Titer Testing

Vaccine Titers and Your Pets

 

There’s a growing trend toward treating diseases naturally throughout the world – for both people and their pets. One of these natural health treatments involves vaccination. One school of thought states that vaccines confer total immunity to many conditions with minimal side effects. The opposition believes that many of the materials used to create vaccines, such as heavy metals, etc. lead to a laundry list of secondary problems. The purpose of this article isn’t to discuss the merits or disadvantages of vaccination. Rather, we will examine the potential benefits of blood tests that can measure your pet’s blood levels for anti-bodies – known as titer testing – to determine if a booster vaccination is necessary.

What does a titer measure?

When a pathogen enters your body, such as bacteria, your immune system recognizes that it is an invader and creates anti-bodies and many other cellular defenses to attack and eliminate it. This is the premise by which vaccinations work. The goal is to introduce weak forms of a pathogen to your body so that it stimulates an immune response without causing the disease. Therefore, after a vaccination we should be able to measure blood levels for certain anti-bodies and see if they are adequate. This is what titer testing does. For example, if your pet gets a rabies vaccine we should be able to test it in 6 months and see if there is still a high level of antibodies in circulation. Pretty cool, right?

The controversy of vaccination

             At first glance, it seems like vaccines are a genius way of getting ahead of diseases before they have a chance to attack. However, it is thought that the extra preservatives and other chemicals in a vaccine may trigger side effects. That is not necessarily unreasonable since many heavy metals are toxic for the body. Therefore, it would be great if there was a way to determine if an animal has sufficient anti-body levels without having to possibly inject a vaccination. This is where blood titers come in.

The potential benefit of blood titers

                  Early in a pet’s life they will receive a number of vaccines such as rabies, distemper, etc. This will boost their immune system and prepare them for these diseases. Usually, a booster will be required a year or so later to keep the anti-body level up. This is where the potential for a titer comes in. Rather than injecting your pet unnecessarily with potentially harmful chemicals, we can run a titer test. If the blood levels come back sufficient, then in theory we do not need a booster. This reduces the risk of any possible side effects of a vaccine while also determining that our pet is still resistant to these diseases. There is one downfall, however, and that is the price. A titer can run $40 to $200 – significantly more than the typical cost of a vaccine.

The debate is still raging when it comes to the efficacy and potential side effects of vaccines. However titers serve as a way to minimize any potential risk while also reaping the purported benefits. Anti-body titers appear to be a middle ground solution that both ideologies can agree with. Want to learn more? Ask your veterinarian about titers during your pet’s next regular check-up.

Hemp Oil for Our Pets?

CBD Hemp Oil For Your Dog?

 

Does your pet suffer from arthritis, immune issues, stress, aggression, seizures, anxiety, or digestive problems? If so, your pet may benefit from CBD hemp oil. According to the online magazine Dog Naturally, many dogs respond well to it. Why is this? Read on to find out.

Is hemp the same as marijuana?

                  There are similarities between hemp and marijuana, but they are not the same. They are both derived from the cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa. These plants feature over 60 chemicals known as cannabinoids. The two major chemicals are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD’s are known for their therapeutic effects while THC is associated with feeling “high”. Knowing this will help us understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp features less than 0.3% THC while marijuana is composed of 10-15%. Therefore, hemp offers many therapeutic benefits without altering a dog’s mind.

How does CBD work?

                  As we mentioned previously, the cannabis plant contains many different chemicals. These chemicals can attach to receptors in the brain, nervous system, and other peripheral organ systems. When this occurs, the cells attached to the receptors begin operating differently. It’s almost like putting a key into your car’s ignition. When you do, the car turns on. The difference is that these receptors activate many effects including changes in:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Appetite
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • And more.

Is it safe?

Fortunately, hemp contains low THC content relative to its marijuana counterpart. Therefore, CBD from hemp won’t make your dog high. There are some possible side effects, however. The most common side effect appears to be that it makes dogs drowsy. The effect is similar to what your dog might experience if you gave it Benadryl. On rare occasions your dog may become excessively itchy or mildly vomit. If these issues appear you should stop giving your dog cannabis. However, CBD hemp oil is safe for the majority of dogs.

To sum everything up, cannabis oil derived from hemp is a natural, effective way to treat many conditions. These conditions include anxiety, stress, digestive problems and much more. Also, it won’t make your pet “high” due to its low THC content and it is safe. Does your dog suffer from any conditions we discussed and isn’t responding to traditional methods? It might be time to try CBD hemp oil.

 

                 

essential oils

Essential Oils And Our Pets

 

essentialoil         Our pets are an integral part of our family. I am reminded of this every time someone brings their fur baby in for an adjustment. Pet owners will do anything to ensure their little companions have the best quality of life possible. Unfortunately, people think there are only a couple of options when it comes to helping pets with joint and spine issues – surgery or medication.

It usually shocks pet owners when they find out that chiropractors for animals exist. A look of disbelief follows when they learn it is beneficial for animals afflicted with back pain, hip issues, arthritis, disc disease and numerous other ailments. As an animal chiropractor, my purpose is to identify misaligned joints in the spine, hips and extremities – then gently correct them back to a state or normalcy. As a complement to chiropractic care, essential oils are a great way to help your pet hold an adjustment while also managing inflammation in the body in a natural, side effect-less, way.

 

essentialoil1What conditions do animal chiropractors see that essential oils might benefit?

The conditions I typically see are back pain, neck pain, extremity pain, arthritis, ear infections, constipation, and paralysis. Many of these issues begin as a consequence of a slight joint misalignment. These misalignments may be the result of playing, falling off a couch, or from constant pulling on their collar during a walk! When these joints are in an abnormal position, the body responds with an inflammatory reaction. Progressively, this can lead to the pain, arthritis, and even paralysis of the limbs over time.

Therefore, it is important to maintain the joints of the spine, knees, ankles, etc. within a normal range (much like we want keep our body temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). However, we also need something to help alleviate the pain, inflammation, and other aspects of a deteriorating joint during the healing process! This is where essential oils come in handy.

The Animal Desk Reference: Essential Oils for Animals recommends certain oils based on the presenting condition. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Arthritis – balsam fir, copaiba, frankincense, helichrysum, lavender, lemongrass, palo santo, peppermint, pine, spruce, vetiver, wintergreen.
  • Inflammation – rosemary, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus.
  • Disc disease – helichrysum, juniper, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, peppermint, wintergreen, palo santo.

dogLavender is a go to essential oil for these conditions because it contains fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, if I could only use one essential oil for the rest of my life it would be lavender. It can be used for purification purposes, healing purposes, and even has calming agents. When I get a cut, rather than dig out the Neosporin I look for my lavender essential oil, and I do the same with my pets. There have been numerous instances when my pet has come home from daycare with a little cut or wound and a drop of lavender often does the trick. In addition, lavender is an awesome anti-inflammatory and can be helpful with arthritic animals. In conjunction with gentle adjustments, these oils are a powerful weapon against many of the conditions I see.

How should essential oils be used with pets?

Essential oils can be used in a variety of different manners when it comes to our pets. For help with calming, healing, and anxiety, diffusing the oil is likely your best bet. Rather than hitting your pet with one concentrated dosage, a diffuser allows the surrounding air to be purified and filled with essential oil particles – promoting overall wellness.

Essential oils can also be used topically or internally, though I would recommend consulting your holistic veterinarian before having any pet ingest an oil. Though they are natural, they do contain potent properties that might not always mix well with your specific pet. For instance, my dog does not do well with essential oils applied directly to him. He gets aggravated, itchy, and red at the spot of application. When I dilute the oil using either coconut or almond oil, he tolerates it much better and his skin doesn’t react. Oil usage will depend on the weight of your pet as well, a 100 pound dog will not require the same amount as a 5 pound pet. The golden rule is to always consult a professional before trying to self-medicate. Guidance from someone who understands oils thoroughly will go a long way toward your pets’ health. Not to mention, there are some oils that are toxic to cats but okay for dogs.

To sum everything up, essential oils are a great way to help our pets naturally. They benefit a number of conditions from inflammation to arthritis. However, you want to be sure the way you apply essential oils matches the needs of your individual fur baby. I would highly recommend consulting an expert on the topic and finding out what works best for your pets!

 

Dr. Christina Cole

Advanced Animal Chiropractic

www.advancedanimalchiropractic.com

The Pro-Arthritis Inflammatory Diet

Carbohydrates have been shown to be highly inflammatory, so why then are these specialized arthritis diets filled with them? This is a question I find myself asking time and time again. Excessive carbohydrates lead to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation in itself leads to arthritis, and more inflammation. Why on earth are we putting more and more carbs into our pets that are already suffering from arthritis?

 

puppy arthritisWhat to Feed and Supplementation for Arthritis:

 

Unfortunately, too many of our pets are not fed a species appropriate diet. What may be the best solution for a pet with arthritis would be to switch to a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. In addition, supplementing with Omega-3 rich oils (naturally anti-inflammatory), as well as putting some joint support into the daily regimen can make a world of difference. A species appropriate diet can be found in many different forms, starting with raw and ranging to high quality grain and corn free, non-GMO kibble. Whether you’re comfortable or not feeding a raw food doesn’t matter, as there are several other options that can fit the bill.

 

weight loss arthritisWeight loss:

A species appropriate diet will help keep your pets’ joints healthy in addition to keeping them at a healthy weight. A diet higher in protein tends to keep your pet at an appropriate weight, whereas carbohydrates tend to cause weight gain and water retention (much like it does with humans). Another huge issue when it comes to arthritis is the increasing amount of overweight animals. Pets on high carbohydrate diets tend to put on an excessive amount of weight, something that then puts unnecessary pressure on the joints.

 

puppy arthritisDevelopmental Years are Crucial:

Another early contributor to food-related arthritis has to do with feeding a high-carb diet during the early developmental years. An animal given too many carbohydrates tends to put on significant amount of weight in a very short amount of time. When an animal basically explodes with growth it can put a significant amount of stress on those developing joints. Cartilage will lag in its development and will ultimately experience deficits.

 

What else can you do?

  • Keep exercising your pet! The more your pet moves, the better those joints will feel. Movement inhibits the pain tract inside the body, thus those who move often feel less pain and stiffness.
  • Massage, massage, massage! Who doesn’t love a good rub down? Make an effort to give Fifi or Fido regular massages to keep the muscles nice and loose while also moving the joints and stimulating lymphatic drainage.
  • Acupuncture is AMAZING at pain relief and regulation. This therapy can do absolute wonders for a pet in pain.
  • Chiropractic treatments are imperative for those with arthritis and just as important for those hoping to prevent the condition. Chiropractic adjustments help to maintain proper alignment and joint motion, they can also relieve any secondary conditions that may pop up as a result of compensating for arthritis.
  • Supplement with Omega-3 and joint support products
  • Passive range of motion exercises are wonderful for your pet. Mimicking normal active range of motion movements will help stimulate the nerves and the muscles around certain joints, this can help to improve nervous system function and relieve pain.
  • Hydrotherapy is fabulous at encouraging range of motion exercises to strengthen the core and the joints while also allowing them to heal!

senior dog arthritis

If you even do a few of the above listed options, a pet with arthritis will thank you. Starting from infancy, feeding the right diet and then supplementing throughout development and adulthood makes a huge difference. I consider my own pets a testament to this, as my youngest has been eating a raw diet for years and he doesn’t have even a bit of arthritis. Our oldest has some as a result of being rescued late in life. He has bilateral luxating patellas and had been fed a high carbohydrate diet almost his entire life, while also being incredibly lazy because he had previously lazy owner. After taking him into our household this little man dropped excess weight, was switched to a high quality and grain free kibble that is high in protein, and has more energy than we can manage sometimes. Age is just a number; don’t let your pet’s arthritis tell him he’s a senior when really he has a lifetime left to live! If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us!

Alternative Therapies for Luxating Patella

Luxating patella, or “floating kneecaps”, can be a very painful condition in an animal that may require surgical intervention. In our practice, however, we see several clients diagnosed with severe luxating patella that have opted to go the alternative route before turning to surgery. Very rarely have these clients ended up having to go the surgical route because they do everything possible as far as prevention and protection. What all does this alternative route entail? We lay it out for you below.

What is luxating patella?

Floating kneecaps are more often a surprise than anything else. They seem to pop up out of nowhere. One minute your pooch seems to be doing fine and running around like normal, and the next they’re standing in the backyard with one leg hiked up high. One minute later they’re back to running around like crazy as if nothing even happened. You likely just witnessed the “floating” part of the floating kneecap. When the leg gets hiked up, it is the pet’s way of dealing with a kneecap that has popped out of place. After it slips back into it’s proper groove, the leg comes back down and all returns to normal.

luxating patella

Prevention at First Sight

At the first sight of a luxating patella, it’s time to start looking into what you as the owner can do to help your pet. Though they may not seem in pain, a luxating patella can easily turn into a painful condition as your pet ages. The constant popping in and out of the kneecap will cause wear and tear on the tibiofemoral joint and the cartilage will likely be widdled down to nothing while excessive amounts of arthritis forms. In addition, the joints above and below often compensate for the floating kneecap and they too form unwarranted arthritis, thus aging your pet at an alarming rate.

What to do

When it comes to prevention and protection here’s what you can do:

  • Keep your pets weight appropriate
  • Feed a species appropriate diet
  • Integrate a joint supportive supplement that includes MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin
  • Keep exercising your pet to maintain (improves strength and decreases inflammation)
  • Find an animal chiropractor and acupuncturist
  • Include core exercises into your weekly routine

 

What can an animal chiropractor do for luxating patella? Most importantly chiropractic will maintain proper alignment and mobility in the spine and extremities. When a specific joint is underperforming, it can lead to other joints overcompensating. Through chiropractic, a state of stability and normalcy can be maintained while the muscular system strengthens and stabilizes during core exercises and daily motioning.

luxating patellaAnimal Chiropractic as an Option

Luxating patella is a condition that can absolutely be alleviated by visiting your alternative options before more drastic surgical ones. Do not be intimidated or scared into thinking you do not have options, because you do. There’s much that can be done before all has been exhausted and most of the time this is exactly what your pet needs. What’s imperative is noticing that a problem exists and then doing what you can to fix it in a timely fashion. With luxating patella, timing is very important. If one waits too long your animal can suffer any number of other conditions such as arthritis, hip and ankle problems, gait changes, and cruciate tears. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact Dr. Christina Cole at advancedanimalchiropractic@gmail.com, or by phone at 248-602-0807.

Fecal Incontinence: Potential Alternative Solutions

With regards to restroom issues in our pets most of us do not immediately think of fecal incontinence. This condition often comes out of nowhere and affects pets of all ages, breeds, and species. Unlike it’s counterpart, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence is not always seen as a result of old age or declining health. It is commonly noted during seizure episodes or in degenerative myelopathy. In fact more often than not, it seems fecal incontinence is a symptom of another condition, rather than the condition itself. Today I’d like to discuss those cases of fecal incontinence that are not associated with any other disease, rather they stand alone.bowel incontinence

 

Fecal incontinence is often seen due to any of the following:

  • Recent surgical procedure
  • Diarrhea or stomach upset
  • Old Age (severe arthritis, spondylosis)
  • Spinal Cord injuries (tumors, ruptured discs, etc)
  • Pelvis Abnormalities

bladder stone

 

Alternative Therapy for Incontinence

What you may not realize is that more can be done to help your pet. For instance, Dr. Becker notes that almost always, fecal incontinence is a direct result of a miscommunication between the brain and the colon. The nerves in the lumbar region are designed to transmit messages from the colon to the brain when it is time to go outside and go potty. When these nerves are lumbar xraycompromised, so is the communication pathway. What might cause said miscommunication? A structural shift in the lumbar region might! A disc bulge, rupture, pinched nerve, or heavy arthritis in the area of the lower lumbars is often found to directly contribute to fecal incontinence. Thus far in our practice, we’ve seen a number of dogs and cats dealing with unrelenting incontinence with no direct cause. In every single one of them there has been a significant shift in both the lumbar and pelvic region. After these get adjusted, a marked improvement, if not resolution, of the incontinence takes place.

 

xray lumbarHow do you know if this is happening in your pet?

Well, most animals dealing with fecal incontinence will have accidents around the house, will often poop while walking and be completely unaware, and may even expel a nugget or two when getting up from a down position or jumping on furniture. Though it may look like an accident, if this is happening more frequently or seems to have started suddenly, the likelihood is that a miscommunication is happening.

 

 

Often times with fecal incontinence, an animal won’t have a clue they’re going to the restroom. They might not even realize what they’ve done until you come home and find the accident. Because the nerves are not functioning as they should, your pet may even go outside thinking he has to go potty, and because of the lag in communication, will end up going inside shortly after being let in. These pets need to be let out more frequently, on a schedule, and given a few extra minutes while they are out to guarantee the communication between colon and brain occurs.

bowel incontinence

What can you as an owner do? Get your pet to the vet at the beginning of any fecal incontinence. Determine whether this is a symptom of something greater or if this is being caused by a miscommunication occurring between brain and body. Regardless, get your pet to the local animal chiropractor and get them adjusted to help stimulate nerve function and increase nerve firing between the brain and the organs. If you have further questions regarding fecal incontinence or you know someone that might benefit from animal chiropractic, feel free to contact us via email at advancedanimalchiropractic@gmail.com, or by phone at 248 602 0807.

 

 

People Food and Our Overweight Pets

ObesityOverweight animals are 99% of the time their humans fault. Let’s take a moment and examine why…Feeding human food to our pets. We’re all guilty of it, a little chicken here, some potato chips there, a bit of scrambled egg in the morning. What starts out as a harmless action can quickly turn into one of the most detrimental things we ever do to our animals. I know, sounds crazy, but feeding table scraps to our pets is one of the absolute worst habits to pick up.

 

Human food has a different caloric content than pet food. Whether you feed raw, kibble, or canned food, the actual calorie count is quite different between species. It doesn’t stop there either. Ever wonder why so many dogs are just waiting to get into the cat food? Well the calorie content is much different, and often times these foods have a much higher fat content. While our pooches foods should focus on protein, our cats have different digestive requirements. Take that a step further and think about what a bunny might eat, much more foliage and of course lots of carrots! Each creature has different biological requirements, however one thing is certain,Obesity human food is not on that list.

 

Firstly, humans tend to eat much less healthy than our animal counterparts. Where a horse may go binge on some sweet green grass or delicious oats, humans often don’t think twice about delving into a colossal bag of potato chips or a king size Kit-Kat. A 21-ounce steak or three burgers is a standard American meal. What a human should be eating, however, is quite different. Perhaps cutting that steak down to 4-6 ounces with a side salad and some asparagus would be the healthier choice. To put things into perspective, our 45-pound dog eats 12 ounces of his food daily. If he were to eat like the average American, he’d be consuming almost four times that amount. With numbers like that no one would be able to afford to feed his or her pets!

 

obesityEach time we choose to slide our pet a few table scraps, we are adding unnecessary calories to their daily intake. Rarely, if ever, is this just a once in a blue moon sort of thing. More often than not those that give people food, continuously do so. One or two pretzels to us could be a big deal to a ten-pound dog. My thoughts on all of this: If you’re going to feed them people food, at least make it healthy. A few carrots, green beans, a bit of pumpkin or apples, these are all fine and dandy. Use them as treats and teach your pet some new tricks. Sit down with some hummus and a bag of celery to share with your dog. That way, you don’t feel like the worst fur mom in the entire world when you look into your babies eyes and can just tell…he’s definitely hungry.

 

Let me tell you something about that look, it’s all a ploy. Your pet is NOT hungry. In fact, he’s totally fine. My advice is to look away, run out of the room, hide in the restroom, anything to get away from that droopy eyed sad face that is begging you for food. If you are anything like me, you will succumb to his wishes if you do not excuse yourself quickly. Lesson learned- next dog will be taught NOT to beg…put it on the to-do list.

 

obesityFor now, however, keep telling yourself that you’re doing them a favor by not feeding them something that wasn’t meant for them. And perhaps, if it’s not something you should be giving your dog, maybe it’s something you shouldn’t be having either? My rule of thumb is simple, if someone gives my dog people food, I need to know about it, so I can either exercise him more or cut an ounce or two out of his dinner. Keeping that in mind has made feeding time a whole lot easier.

 

Why are we so strict in my house? For one, an overweight animal is an unhealthy animal. Obesity is not a joke and there are several conditions that are secondary to this.

For example:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Joint problems
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory distress
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes

 

obesityAll can be linked either directly or indirectly to weight issues. Very rarely will you find a healthy weighted animal to be sick with any of the above listed conditions. Do yourself and your pet a favor, put the treats and table scraps away. There’s always space in the fridge for leftovers for YOU to enjoy, and maybe some carrots that Fido can munch on too.

Myasthenia Gravis: A More Detailed Look Inside

Myasthenia Gravis is likely something you have heard in humans, but are perhaps unfamiliar with in animals. Much like the majority of human diseases and conditions, it is seen across species – although it may present itself a bit differently. Because you may not be as familiar with this disorder in animals, we will delve a bit deeper into the science behind it and explain in detail the disease known as myasthenia gravis.

 

What exactly is Myasthenia Gravis?

muscle atrophyMyasthenia Gravis is a disease of the immune system where there is miscommunication between the brain and body. Signals sent out by the brain to the body are broken down or lost along the way. This breakdown of communication results in a lack of correspondence.

Something to Think About:

Think of it like an average human throwing a baseball to home plate compared to Justin Verlander. When your average Joe goes up to the mound, he can throw a ball hundreds of times and it will likely never hit the catcher’s mitt, nor will it be as fast or accurate. Even though he is focused on making it to the end, it just won’t happen. Now when Justin gets on that mound, his throws will be efficient, accurate, and expedited. He will likely never miss the catcher’s glove (if we’re lucky). Justin is the same as a healthy brain communicating to the body. The average Joe is similar to a depleted system throwing consistent misfires.

 

As the brain’s signals to the muscles get lost, stimulation to the muscular system is decreased. When muscles are unable to contract from lack of stimuli, they will weaken. A weakening of muscles is one of the most common symptoms seen in MG.

 

What is the mechanism behind MG?

 

muscle atrophyThere are two types of MG, acquired versus congenital. The congenital form is rare and mostly limited to a few breeds, including the jack russell and springer spaniel. The acquired type, or immune-mediated, is more common. The mechanism behind immune-mediated myasthenia gravis is simple. The immune system recognizes muscle receptors as foreign invaders, or “bad guys”, and begins to attack them with antibodies. These antibodies interfere with the muscles ability to do their jobs properly and lead to weakening.

 

What are the most common symptoms?

 

Myasthenia Gravis can be confused with several other conditions due to its general symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness that improves with rest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty going to the restroom
  • In severe cases, near paralysis

 

 

What is the prognosis?

 

Myasthenia gravis is often manageable. The beginning couple of months might be the most difficult as you will need to monitor your pets’ eating and drinking habits carefully. Most conventional treatments include drugs that will inhibit the antibodies attacking the muscle receptors, that way messages being sent to these muscles will not be misdirected along the way. As of right now there is no cure for MG, just a healthy way of managing the disease.

 

Myasthenia Gravis

There is promising research in humans showing several natural anti-cholinesterase products coming from both plant and marine origin. These could be used to help naturally inhibit the antibodies from attacking muscle receptors.

 

Beyond this the research is limited. I personally would question the reason behind an overactive immune system. If a structural shift is present, the nervous system will either under or over exaggerate responses to simple stimuli. Sometimes a small stroke down the back will illicit flinching at multiple levels, all of which indicates an overactive nervous system. A nervous system on hyperdrive can in turn stimulate the immune system.

 

When these shifts return to normal through chiropractic adjustments, the entire system is able to relax, allowing the same for the immune system. Immune system regulation through the nervous system is very important and should be considered when looking at any auto-immune disorder. In addition to chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and proper nutrition are all wonderful ways to help improve body function.

 

Though Myasthenia Gravis appears terrifying, there are ways to help manage it both conventionally and alternatively. Being aware of your pet, and knowing when something is wrong is the first step to helping them get better. For questions or comments feel free to contact us at (248) 602-0807, or email us at advancedanimalchiropractic@gmail.com.