Posts Tagged ‘omega 3 fatty acids’



Of all the different diseases veterinarians treat, “allergic inhalant dermatitis”, also known as “atopic dermatitis” or “atopy”, is no doubt the most frustrating for both owner and veterinarian alike.   Why is this you may ask?  Well in this article I will explain the many difficulties veterinarians run up against when trying to diagnose and treat a dog with “atopy”.   To begin with atopy must  first be diagnosed and distinguish from a number of other skin diseases which have as their main symptom itching and scratching.      These other conditions which must be ruled out before the diagnosis of “atopic dermatitis” can be made include mange, yeast and fungal infections, bacterial infections, food sensitivities, fleas and contact dermatitis.      To further confuse the diagnosis, pets with atopy often develop the secondary problems of yeast and bacterial infections and consequently more than one problem often exists at the same time.

To Further add  to both the veterinarian’s and owner’s frustration is the fact that atopy often causes intense itching and because the pet is so uncomfortable the pet owner is desperate to find some way to provide their pet “immediate” relief.     When these atopic dogs are scratching themselves raw it is initially necessary to break the “itch scratch cycle” with some form of cortico-steroid.    Although steroids are not the long term solution there is little else available that will give the necessary immediate relief.   Anti-histamines, fatty acid supplements,  oatmeal baths  or crème rinses, and herbal anti inflammatories may help some but rarely provide the immediate relief owners are expecting.     In spite of the fact that long term use of steroids has  unwanted side effects,  the short term use may be necessary to prevent self inflicted skin mutilation which leads to secondary bacterial infections .    Once the intense itching and scratching has subsided other supplements and medications may be used to replace steroid therapy.   Most veterinarians realize that steroid therapy is a stop gap measure that is simply treating the symptoms and not the cause of the problem, however, a short term, reducing dose course of steroids is often necessary until the other approaches have a chance to kick in.     As a holistic veterinarian I minimize many of the unwanted side effects of steroid therapy by using “natural hydrocortisone” rather than synthetic steroids like prednisone or prednisolone.

Another frustration veterinarian’s face in dealing with allergic inhalant dermatitis is the fact that many animals with atopy may, at the same time, have food sensitivities.    Allergic inhalant dermatitis usually starts out as a seasonal problem and progresses over several years to become a year round one.    Food sensitivities, on the other hand, are year round.    When animals have year round itching and scratching your veterinarian must try to discover whether the problem is atopy, food sensitivity or a combination of both.    If both airborne and food allergens are causing the dogs itching and scratching then both problems must be dealt with if the pet’s itching and scratching is to be minimized.   Because food allergies may be due to both the food and to chemicals added to the food, such as preservatives, coloring agents, flavor enhancers or texturizers, trying to discover the allergic component in the food is often quite difficult and requires the use of food trials that use limited ingredient diets.   A limited ingredient diet is defined as a diet that is made with only a single carbohydrate and a single protein source, such as duck and potato.    When attempting to reduce itching and scratching through a limited ingredient diet trial there is further frustration because the effects of the new diet can take up to 12 weeks to see if it is going to work.

Adding to the owner’s frustration is the fact that successfully treating atopic dermatitis usually requires that the pet be given several supportive drugs or nutritional supplements in addition to weekly baths that will help treat complicating yeast or bacterial infections.   It is also important to give liver and intestinal support supplements in order to reduce the number of air borne and food allergens entering the pet’s blood.   Veterinarians are well aware that giving a pet all these oral supplements along with weekly medicated bath requires a huge commitment on the part of the pet owner.    Understand that this commitment to daily therapy must go on for months.

If a pet owner makes this commitment and has conscientiously applied the therapeutic strategy for months with poor results then the next step would be to have the pet allergy tested in order to find which airborne allergens are causing the intense itching.    Once the offending airborne allergens have been identified a “hyposensitizing serum” made up of these allergens can be prepared and the owner can be taught how to give simple periodic injection just under the skin.    Unfortunately allergy testing and subsequent desensitization can be expensive and is not guaranteed to work.     To add to the frustration it can take up to 9 months of allergy serum injections to determine if the  hypo- sensitization approach will provide the answer.

By now I think it should be obvious that diagnosing and treating a dog or cat with allergic inhalant dermatitis is huge undertaking for both veterinarian and pet owner alike.   A thorough exam and careful history is just the beginning.   Periodic recheck exams at 3 to 4 week intervals will be necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.    Changes in treatment may be necessary depending on how the pet’s skin is responding and how uncomfortable the pet is.     Following the veterinarian’s instructions to the letter is extremely important in order for him or her to judge whether therapeutic changes must be made.

Besides the above conventional approach to treating pets with skin allergies, holistic veterinarian can add acupuncture, herbal therapy, NAET, bio identical natural hormone therapy, FSM therapy, and monolaurin therapy.

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Arthritis in Cats and Dogs: An Alternative Holistic Therapy for Lameness

Arthritis is probably the most common of the chronic diseases that progressively steels quality life from our senior dogs. Osteoarthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can effect any size dog or cat but is seen much more often in larger breed dogs. Arthritis often starts with stiffness and is first noticed when the older dog has a hard time rising in the morning. In time the owner may noticed that their dog is getting more lame, slower going up the stairs and may be reluctant to jump into the car.. A dog with hip displasia or hip arthritis tends to run like a rabbit using both back legs at once. As the arthritis progresses the dog will usually become more lame and betining kjl to hold up or favor one limb. He or she may walk with short stiff steps and the dog’s gait may show a hind end instability (swaying). At the end stages of arthritis the pet may not be able to rise without the owners help. It is a sad thing to see otherwise healthy animals euthanized because their caregiver is undable to lift them up in order to get them outside when they need to eliminate.

It is my opinion much of the arthritis our dogs experience could be eliminated by changing their diets from a grain based food to a more meat based recipe. Just because the first ingredient on the ingredient list is meat does not make the diet meat based. The only way to distinguish if a food is meat based is to asked the company’s nutritionist (not customer support person) “what percent of their food is meat when measured on a dry matter basis ?” Judged on this basis, most pet foods are no more than 20% meat. Grain based diets are hard for carnivores to digest and the poorly digested large grain protein molecules act as allergens which damage the intestinal lining and result in a “leaky gut syndrome”. This leaky gut allows grain protein molecules to get into the blood stream where they can migrate to the pet’s joints and set up an inflammatory reaction. Feeding a meat based diet helps to prevent the above sequence of events. Supplementing the diet with digestive enzymes, fish oil, and antioxidants will help reduce the likelihood of arthritis.

If your dog has already developed arthritis there are a number of ways to help slow the progression and reduce the discomfort from the disease. Injections of “chondroprotective” substances which increase joint fluid production and encourage cartilage repair can be very effective arthritis remedies. Personally I am not a big proponent of using non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce inflammation and pain because their long term use may result in gastro intestinal, liver, and kidney disease. It has also been shown that long term use of NSAIDs in humans actually results in cartilage degeneration. Providing glucosamine, chondroitin , MSM, Gerizyme, Adequin, Legend, Zeel , Trameell,systemic enzymes, hyaluronic acid, Comfort Zone and antioxidants in place of NSAIDs can help restore joint integrity and, in my opinion, is a much preferred approach.

Other ways to treat advanced arthritis include physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, “infra-sonic therapy”, “pulsed magnetic therapy”, prolotherapy, gold bead implants, cold laser therapy, Electro Crystal Rebalancing and massage therapy. Teaching pet owners how to massage their pet and provide passive range of motion can be very helpful in extending and enhancing their pets quality of life.

Finally, I want let my readers know about a very exciting advance in arthritis therapy. Adult stem cell technology is now available to help treat advanced arthritis. The stem cells are harvested from the patients own fat. These stem cells can be injected intravenously or directly into joints. These injected primitive cells will develop into connective tissue and cartilaginous cells which will help to rejuvenate the damaged joint. This technology is has already been used successfully in hundreds of dogs and horses and although still on the expensive side is now available to the family pet. Presently I am one of the few veterinarians certified to provide such therapy.

Detecting the early signs of arthritis and instituting early treatment can make a huge difference in the success of therapy. Providing a high quality meat based diet, with omega 3 fatty acids, digestive and systemic enzymes and antioxidants along with weight management can help prevent the onset of arthritis and help extend both the quality and quantity of the pet’s life.



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, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional andalternative 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 past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw 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, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio