Other posts related to health

Hmm.. Does My Pet Actually Need Annual Shots?

July 17, 2011 11:08 pm

I was recently reading an article that surprised me. I was a firm believer in my hounds getting their annual vaccines as I thought this would prolong their health. The article stated that recent research suggests that your animals only receive their annual shots every 3 years. Ongoing research is exploring the possibility that your pet is protected for life once he’s gotten his puppy shots.

You can read the article here: download Dr. Jones’ free report here

Ever since we purchased health coverage for the beagles, we are thankful that we've never had to use it and obviously hope that never have to look into other cheap term life insurance for the hounds. Vaccines and general animal health are not something to be taken lightly. Next time I take that hounds for their check-up, I’m going to ask the vet for their recommendation on how often the hounds should be getting their vaccines and if there is anything else they should or shouldn’t get so often.

Very interesting read for sure.

The Hound Routine

March 30, 2011 10:18 pm

Image via Wikipedia

You know, being a dog owner myself - it's easy to just go through day after day and not even realize how lucky we are to have the pets in our lives that we do. I know that I look forward to seeing my little waggy-tailed beagles every time I walk through the door .. to me, they make our house.. a home.

That said, it's interesting how much these dogs are creatures of habit.. and now that they're 5 years old - they are really coming into their age and people ask me all the time 'How are your dogs?".. I always find that I say the same thing nowadays.. "They're perfect".

They have reached the age where they are ok if they don't get a whole bunch of attention, but really love it when you give them some.. and they're starting to get lazy so when we go to work - they just curl up and nothing is a mess when we get home (unless we leave bacon scraps somewhere....hey, I'd make a mess trying to get them too!).

In the morning, they are the first ones up.. pretty much at 6:50 AM flat - they're up and ready for their food.. then it's out they go to do their business. Back in, and then it's under the table and on the mat to where they're hoping to get some of Liz's extra milk she leaves in her cereal (yeah, not the best calcium supplements out there, but whaddya do?). They then almost always head back to bed.. (yes.. I'm very jealous of this..).

They have their afternoon excitement of barking like crazed mad-dogs at the mailman, and another out-time.. then you know, back to bed... waiting for their owners to come home for their 2nd feeding of the day.. supper!!

Lately we've been trying to add some excitement to their food by giving them shaved carrot, turnip, heck the other day I gave them leftover spaghetti squash - they love it! Why wouldn't they? These are good for them!

It's after dinner that we usually head for a walk now that it's nice enough (and light enough) to head outside again.. and then they're content to go back to bed, and wait till the morning in order to do it all again..

Not only do I love my dogs unconditionally, as they love me... I'm also a little jealous of their great little routine :P

Family dog may help stop eczema in kids

November 2, 2010 11:08 am

I try to keep abreast of all things health related – especially when it comes to my own pets, it was a bit disturbing to me the other day when I was doing a photo shoot and one of the kids that was getting their picture taken had a very big phobia towards my beagles. Of course I was warned beforehand, so I was aware – but at the end of the shoot, strangely enough they asked to see the hounds and I of course obliged.. but yes, the phobia was still there – the kid freaked out!

I found the following story helpful in that it spoke about how having pets from day one will help with certain conditions. Have a read.. pretty interesting stuff.

NEW YORK — Young children with a family history of allergies may be less likely to develop the allergic skin condition eczema if they live with a dog starting in infancy, a new study suggests.

On the other hand, researchers found, living with a cat may increase those odds -- but only among children who have a specific sensitivity to cat allergen.

The findings, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, do not prove that puppies are protective and kitties are bad for allergy-prone children. Instead, they add to what appears to be a complex, and often confusing, relationship between the family pet and kids' allergy risks.

The issue remains a bit of a gray area, and it is too early to give parents specific advice on whether they should or should not have a dog or cat in the house, said Dr. Tolly G. Epstein, an assistant professor at Ohio's University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and one of the researchers on the new study.

However, she told Reuters Health, a number of studies have now found that when it comes to eczema, young children who live with dogs may be at lower risk than those who do not.

The current study included 636 children who were enrolled as infants in a long-term study of environmental exposures and allergy risk. All were considered to be at increased risk of allergies because they had a parent with a history of asthma, nasal allergies or eczema.

When the children were younger than 1 year, researchers visited their homes and collected dust samples. The children also underwent yearly exams, including a skin-prick test to see whether they were sensitized to any number of allergens; sensitization means that the immune system, after being exposed to an allergen such as pet dander or mold, has produced antibodies against that allergen.

Overall, Epstein's team found, 14 percent of the children had eczema at the age of 4. But that rate was lower -- 9 percent -- among the 184 children who'd had a dog in the home during infancy.

What's more, among children who had a sensitivity to dog allergen, having a family dog was linked to a substantially lower eczema risk: of 14 children who met both those conditions, two (14 percent) developed eczema. That compared with 17 of 30 children (57 percent) who were sensitized to dogs but had no dog at home early in life.

When it came to cats, the issue became more complex. There was no clear overall relationship between having a cat in the house during infancy and subsequent eczema risk. But when Epstein's team looked only at children sensitized to cats, there was a connection.

Among 13 children who were sensitized to cats and had lived with one during infancy, 54 percent developed eczema by age 4. That rate was 33 percent among sensitized children who had not lived with a cat, and 11 percent among children with no cat sensitivity who had lived with a cat before the age of 1.

There is no solid explanation for the seemingly protective effects of dogs, according to Epstein. But she speculated that early exposure to dog allergen (substances in pet dander, saliva and urine) affects children's immune system development in such a way that eczema becomes less likely to develop.

"It may be that these children develop a tolerance, but we don't know that for sure," Epstein said.

Cat allergen, she noted, may, in theory, have distinct effects on immune system development.

The findings would seem to stand in contrast to those of another recent study that found that among children at increased allergy risk, those with a dog in the house at the age of 7 were more likely to have asthma than children in dog-free homes. In contrast, having a cat in the house was unrelated to asthma risk.

However, the lead researcher on that work said that there are a number of differences between that study and the current one.

For one, they looked at two different allergic conditions, eczema and asthma, Dr. Chris Carlsten, of Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, told Reuters Health in an email.

They also differed in the length of time they followed the children, and in other specifics of their study methods, he noted. "These are complex studies with multiple views on exposure and allergy-related conditions," Carlsten said, "and I am not convinced that they reach fundamentally contradictory conclusions overall."

It is not clear what biological factors might also underlie the differences in the studies' results, according to Carlsten.

But he noted that his study was consistent with the idea that dogs might contribute to asthma in susceptible kids by exposing them to higher levels of endotoxin -- a substance produced by bacteria that is known to trigger inflammation in the airways.

Dogs carry more endotoxin than cats do, by virtue of being dogs.

Epstein agreed that the differences in the studies' methodology, and the fact that they looked at two different allergic conditions, mean that the findings are not necessarily conflicting. She also pointed out that in her team's study, household endotoxin levels -- measured from the collected dust samples -- did not appear to be involved in the pet-eczema relationships they found.

So it is possible that pet allergens and pet-related endotoxin exposure each have a distinct effect on children's allergy and asthma development.

Given the complexity of the whole matter, Epstein said that for now, it is hard to give parents specific advice on pets. But they can be aware that, as far as eczema, there is a consistent relationship between dog ownership and lower risk.

Epstein also pointed out that the findings apply only to children at increased risk of allergies due to parents' history. Little is known about how the family pet might affect allergy and asthma development in children at average risk of the conditions.

Personally I try not to take any medications (including tylenol) when I don't have to and knock on wood I've had very few health issues over-all. I used to take hoodia diet pills before and I'll take vitamins but that's generally it, heck even when I'm hung over I won't take a tylenol as I figure I did it to myself.

There, it's settled..I'm going to have my pets no matter how many children enter my life!

Thank God – Hunter Seems To Be Alright..

August 10, 2010 4:12 pm

After a lot of rest, relaxation and some anxious times – Hunter seems to be doing alright on his hind leg. In fact he’s doing so well that he’s almost ready to go on a small walk again I think. Definitely not going to be taking him in the field the rest of the summer, but at least it’s a start.

As usual when things like this happen I start to think about insurances to avoid any big vet bills – so I’m going to talk to Liz tonight about getting a bigger package for the guys with my current health insurance provider PC Financial, but if you’re anywhere in the world reading this I suggest that you look it up for sure, in the UK, check out here, in New York check out here, in North Carolina check out bcbsnc and around here I still like PC Financial.

Post Op Treatment for Cruciate Leg Surgery?

July 21, 2010 9:56 am

image Ever since Hunter had (both) surgeries on his knees to have his cruciate ligament repaired I've realized that my boy won't be the same. After long walks he still is struggling a bit and they just don't work the way they used to. I don't really understand why that is as the doctor told me that he should be just fine, but then I have to realize that it's really only been 5 months since his surgery so I'm going to keep walking him and making sure that he gets it out and exercised as much as he should.

It made me think however about what I should be doing otherwise to perhaps aid in the recovery? Is exercise enough? Should I be feeding him more? Less? How about a joint supplement of some sort? Cod Liver Oil?

I took to Google to find out, the first article I found was written by a surgical veterinarian:

I believe that the post operative period is as important as the surgery. Beginning
immediately after surgery we ice the leg as much as possible to reduce pain and swelling.
Starting the next day we want to encourage weight bearing on the leg. Also we train the
owner to do range of motion exercises and massage (as well as icing) to reduce pain,
swelling and atrophy due to lack of use. I also use weekly injections of a drug called
cartrophen which increases joint fluid production which helps to reduce pain and heal the
joint. Starting in the second week after surgery we use an electrical stimulation machine
at least 3 times per week to reduce pain, prevent atrophy and hasten recovery. As each
week passes we increase exercise to strengthen the joint and muscles. Usually with in 1-2
weeks they are bearing more weight than before surgery and by 3 months post-op they are
bearing full weight and can be back to full exercise.

Well I can honestly say that THIS didn’t happen during Hunters surgeries, but a lot of that makes a lot of sense – simple, gradual rehabilitation.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel – I found a great article over at ‘dogkneeinjury.com’ which had all kinds of great information on each surgery type and the post-op care:

After 4 to 6 months your dog will be able to return to normal activities without any restriction. The leader line placed in the knee will break at 2 to 12 months post-op, and your dog’s scar tissue will support the knee on its own. Restriction of movement is absolutely key for the successful healing in patients undergoing extra-capsular imbrication repair surgery. Rest will help to encourage fibrous tissue formation and also prevent the premature breakage of the monofilament suture stabilizing the joint during the healing process.

It also mentions:

All dogs with CCL injuries will go on to develop some level of arthritis. It is a good idea to have your dog’s knees x-rayed during your yearly veterinary visits to examine the presence of arthritis and determine what type of treatment plan would be best for your pet to make them the most comfortable.

I’d also like to share with you the site CanadaVet.com as it’s a good spot to get your online pet medications at a lower cost than what you’d pay for at the vet.