Archive for February, 2012

DEGENERATIVE KIDNEY DISEASE AND KIDNEY FAILURE

Kidney failure is the number one killer of older cats and dogs.    If a dog or cat lives to a ripe old age the likelihood is that degenerative kidney disease will progress to kidney failure and finally take his or her life.    Kidney disease is a slow, progressive process that begins in youth and little by little destroys so many kidney cells that the organ ceases to function properly.   Unfortunately symptoms of kidney damage do not appear until late in the process when at least 70% of the functional kidney is destroyed.   Consequently, a pet owner will have no idea that a serious problem exists until the disease has reached an advanced and critical stage.   Semi annually testing your senior pets urine and blood will detect kidney disease somewhat earlier than waiting for symptoms to appear.    A relatively new urine test known as the ERD (Early Renal Disease) will detect evidence of kidney disease which might be missed by a standard urinalysis.   It is important to not that unlike the liver, when kidney cells die they are not replaced.   That is to say that the liver has regenerative capabilities not found in the kidney.    Consequently, serious damage done to the kidney is permanent.    Each year our pets loose a little more of there kidney function until the critical stage of kidney failure is reached.   Things that can destroy your pets kidneys include:  Bacterial infections, food and environmental toxins, allergic reactions, auto immune disease, trauma, high blood pressure, drugs and any inflammatory reaction in the body.    Once enough damage is done to the kidneys the organ becomes progressively less efficient at removing metabolic toxins from the cat or dogs blood and toxins build up until death occurs.   Symptoms of advanced kidney disease include weight loss, increased drinking and urinating,  and loss of house training.    If any of these symptoms are noticed it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian and bring in a urine sample for testing.

Traditionally kidney failure is treated with a prescription kidney diet and the administration of subcutaneous (under the skin) fluid therapy to help rehydrate the pet and to flush toxins out of the body and a faster rate.   Fortunately, with alternative medicine and holistic veterinary care,  we have a number of additional options can help to prolong your dog or cats life.    Oral or injectable antioxidant therapy will help neutralize many of the free radicals which are destroying the kidney cells.   Important antioxidants include coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid,  resveratrol and nega hydrate.   The use of Celtic sea salt will help reduce acidity which develops with progressive kidney damage.   Chiropractic care helps support the bodies ability to neurologically control the kidney.   There are very specific acupuncture points which address kidney issues and are very useful at helping with kidney failure.   Systemic enzyme therapy utilizes powerful proteolytic enzymes which once in the kidney reduce inflammation and dissolve scaring which inhibits kidney function.     Pulsed magnetic therapy can help to rehabilitate kidney cell that have been damaged but are functioning poorly.    Pulsed magnetic therapy works  by restoring diminished cellular voltage that is necessary for the cell to perform its many activities.   “Frequency specific microcurrent” is a holistic modality which uses very specific electrical frequencies to slow the progression of kidney damage.  A chinese herbal remedy known as Rehmania has been used in Asia for centuries in the treatment of kidney disease.   Although stem cell therapy for treating kidney disease is not yet a possibility it is exciting to know that scientist are very close to making this a reality for our dogs and cats.

Because the loss of kidney cells from disease is presently permanent any thing you can do through out your pets life to avoid such damage makes so much more sense than trying to treat an already diseased kidney.    Protecting your pet’s kidneys begins with proving your pet a clean and healthy life style.   A superior diet that has a minimal number of chemical toxins that may be present  in the form of preservatives,  artificial coloring agents,  and chemical texturizures.   Other toxins encountered may enter your pets  food accidently or intentionally such what when cows were accidently fed fire retardant chemicals or when the chinese provide food ingredients that contained melamine.   Of course, a superior food not only avoids dangerous toxins it also has a full compliment of nutritional ingredients that are essential for the proper functioning of the liver and immune system.   Such a diet will be much better prepared to fight off invading bacteria and to remove ingested toxins from the blood stream.    Providing fresh, alkalinized water which contains few or no toxins is very important for the health of the  kidneys and the body as a whole.    Unfortunately with the limited space available it is impossible to go into more detail about optimal nutrition.       For a much more in depth discussion on optimal nutrition for dogs and cats you can visit either of my website doc4pets.com or my blog myholisticpetvet.com

 

Kidney disease is a silent killer that is much better prevented than treated.   Unfortunately,  avoiding damaging substances in our environment, food and water is becoming more and more difficult given the toxic world we and our pets live in.   All we can do is our best to help our pets live a clean and healthy life.

For mor information on alternative or holistic medicine please visit us at www.doc4pets.com.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.   Visit us at Doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.   Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Beverly Hills, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Clarkston, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe,  Romeo,  Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint, Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

 

 

TREATING ITCHING AND SCRATCHING: A ticklish subject

Why is my dog itching, scratching, or chewing at himself? Is one of the most common questions dog and cat owners are asking their  veterinarian.    Just as with humans  there are many reasons why dogs and cats may itch, scratch or chew at themselves.   Keep in mind that itchiness is a symptom and not a disease and that  scratching is almost always the result of itchiness.    The often daunting challenge  the veterinarian is faced with is identifying the cause of the itching and the prevention of the scratching.  There are many causes for itching and scratching.    Included are parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites.   A bacterial dermatitis known as a “pyoderma” produces pimples that are very irritating .   Allergies result in skin rashes which cause severe itching and scratching and can lead to a  secondary  bacterial or yeast infection.   Autoimmune reactions can cause the skin to become red, raw, and itchy especially at the sites on the body where the skin
turns in ward and becomes the mucous membrane.    Nutritional deficiencies of such things as fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins and zinc can cause dry unhealthy skin which results in a dull, lack luster hair coat and itchy skin.

Some of the above causes of rashes,  itching and scratching are easily diagnosed while  others require a good bit of detective work.   Laboratory test used to diagnose itchy  skin problems include impression smears for yeast and bacteria infections, skin scrapings for mange mite infestations, cultures for bacterial or fungal infections, biopsies for helping identify cancer, hormonal diseases, allergies and auto immune processes.   Special ultra violet lights can discover certain types of fungal diseases.   Other laboratory test involve sending blood to an outside laboratory for measuring hormone levels .    Urine tests are available for detecting elevated cortisol levels that could cause a dog to itch and scratch.

Of course many diseases which cause itching, scratching and rashes can be treated symptomatically without actually knowing the cause of the problem .    However masking symptoms without  also treating the cause will  only be a temporary solution and the problem
will return as soon as the medication is stopped.    There are times  when the itching and scratching is so severe that drugs like corticosteroids must be used, short term,  to break the itch scratch cycle and give the pet relief .   In such cases giving the minimal amount of  a steroid  drug on an every other day dosage schedule helps to minimize the possibility of serious side effects.     Combining steroids with  anti inflammatory remedies like antihistamines and fatty acid supplements will allow for using lower doses of steroids.    The use of “natural hydrocortisone” which comes from the Yam  plant is an excellent alternative to synthetic cortisone such as prednisone or rednisolone.   Natural hydrocortisone is  “bio-identical” and thus produces fewer side effect than its synthetic drug counterparts.    If the itching and scratching is not too  severe then cortisone therapy may be avoided by using a number of other less aggressive approaches.    Frequent bathing with  a gentle herbal shampoo can help to calm the skin and wash off offending allergens.   Crème rinses that contain colloidal oatmeal, moisturizures, and a local skin analgesic like “pramoxine” can be used after a shampoo or all by themselves.     Clipping your pet’s coat short will make bathing and medicating much easier.  Sprays containing aloe and calendula can be applied  to localized rashes.    Licorice root is an herb given by mouth that  stimulates the pets  adrenal gland to produce more cortisone and thus reduce itching and scratching.   Doubling the recommended dose of oral omega fatty acids is recommended during seasonal outbreaks  when itching
is most intense.    Using an antihistamine such as benidryl  may be helpful both for its anti allergic effects and its mild sedative properties.

Regardless of the cause of itching and scratching,  the most important first step is to stop self mutilation  In the initial stages of treating severe chewing and scratching  an elizabethan  restraint collar can be placed around  the animals neck to stop licking but does little to prevent scratching unless the pet is scratching at his or her ears.    You may also want to consider clipping you pets nails short and/ortaping  padded socks over  the  dog or cat’s back feet.    You may be reluctant to use an Elizabethan collar or to pad the feet  but if you do not the self trauma becomes  a vicious cycle that even cortisone therapy won’t stop.

In summary ,  the causes of itching and scratching are numerous and  successful treatment of the problems depends on an accurate diagnosis.    Even after the problem is diagnosed successful therapy may be challenging  and frustrating  especially if the  pet’s caretaker does not thoroughly comply with their veterinarians recommendations .

For more information on alternative or holistic medicine please visit us at www.doc4pets.com.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.   Visit us at Doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.   Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Beverly Hills, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Clarkston, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe,  Romeo,  Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint, Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio