Archive for November, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

My your thanksgiving be full of happy surprises

May your thanksgiving be full of happy surprises

Please can we have a little?

Please can we have a little?

Yum, yum!

Yum, yum!

Some more please!

Some more please!

But remember not too much!

But remember, not too much!

My animal companion has to go under anesthesia – what can I do to help?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

If we are lucky our animal friends only have to go through surgery once, when they are spayed or neutered. However many animals do need to be under anethesia other times either for a dental cleaning, to get sutures, or to have surgery. Whatever the reason, surgery and anethesia are hard on our animal friends. But there are things you can do to help them recover faster and more comfortably.

As always, check with your veterinarian on any supplements you use.

  • 1. Arnica
    Arnica is a homeopathic remedy which helps with bruising and trauma. Over the years I have been amazed and impressed at how much difference this very safe remedy can make in healing. I have seen incisions heal in half the time and dogs have very little bruising and swelling in situations you would normally expect to see it.

    I always recommend Arnica for all my animal patients who have to undergo surgery or any other procedure that there will be tissue or bone trauma. Because it is a homeopathic remedy it is very safe ever for old and debilitated animals.

    I use the Arnica 30c pellets and dose them at 2-3 pellets (usually 2 for cats/small dogs and 3 for dogs) the morning of surgery, the evening after surgery, and then three times a day for three days. Because the pellets are so small they can safely be given the morning of surgery.

    Arnica can be bought at most health and supplement stores or by clicking on Arnica.

  • 2. Acupuncture
    I highly recommend an acupuncture treatment right after surgery or anesthesia. Acupuncture can help with clearing anesthesia from an animal’s system and decrease the chance of them having a hard recovery. Acupuncture can also help ease pain and speed healing.

    If possible acupuncture can be performed the day of surgery after an animal has woken up. Many times this is not possible because of the hours acupuncturists work and I end up treating most animals the day after surgery.

    Acupuncture can also help dogs who have had bad recoveries to anesthesia in the past and and make it possible to perform dentals or surgeries on these sensitive animals.

  • 3.Yunnan Baiyao
    While I don’t recommend Yunnan Baiyao (also called Yunnan Paiyao) for all animals undergoing surgery or anethesia, it is still one of my most important herbal formulas. I mainly use it in any procedure or surgery where there is a concern about bleeding. This includes many tumor removal and abdominal surgeries. I have seen this wonderful herbal formula save animal’s lives before.

    Please see my article, A Magic Vial of Yunnan Baiyao and the wikipedia article.

    I usually dose Yunnan Baiyao at one capsule twice a day for a few days before and after surgery for your average sized dog. Cats and small dogs, I use the powder and put about a 1/8 of a teaspoon in their food twice a day.

    Yunnan Baiyao can be bought in most international districts and by clicking on Yunnan Baiyao above.

  • 4.Reiki
    If one of my animals need to undergo surgery I always give them a reiki session before to get them into a good place for surgery. I usually work with a local practitioner, Rose DeDan, who also does animal communication. She is able to help explain what is going to happen and put their body in the best possible place for surgery and/or anesthesia.
  • 5.Pain medication
    Enough can not be said about pain medication. Make sure your veterinarian gives your animal pain medication before surgery and sends you home with something you can give at home. Nothing is worse then seeing our animals in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Routine dentals do not usually need pain meds.
  • 6. Companionship and love!
    You are the safest person to your animal. They want to be with you after surgery and they want to feel loved and cared for. If possible consider taking a day off work after their surgery or plan your animal’s surgery or procedure on a Friday.
  • 7. Somewhere healing to recover
    It is so important to have somewhere safe, quiet, warm and soft to recover after surgery. Anesthesia can make the senses more sensitive and many animals get headaches coming out of surgery. Often times the drugs used also make our animal friends disoriented. Make sure that there is no access to stairs and nothing to fall off of. Keeping lights dim and sound to a minimum also helps. Sometimes classical music played softly will help relax our friends.
  • I hope these simple suggestions are helpful! I know they have helped many of the animals I work with and my own beloved animal companions.

    The Dance of Life and the Energetics of Food

    Monday, November 23rd, 2009

    Rose DeDan, a local shaman and healer, wrote a wonderful article today on her blog, The Dance of Life, The endless cycle of birth, death and our relationship to the food we consume. It give new meaning to the saying “you are what you eat.” She talks about the energetics of our food and how the way animals are raised can affect our health. We are all energetic beings and just as we take on the energy of those around us, we can also take on the energy of the animals we consume. If they have been treated well and fairly we end up with nutritious food, if they have not been it can lead to many health problems for us.

    The Chinese take this one step further. They also look at the normal energetic characteristics of the animals we eat in determining a proper diet. Many of my clients who have asked about diet for their animals have seen this in action. For example for a flighty nervous dog I would never suggest rabbit or deer because both are nervous animals. An anxious dog would do best on beef or bison which are both large and grounded creatures. On the flip side a very sluggish dog may do better on something light and energetic like a deer or rabbit.

    Food also has a temperature and other characteristics in Chinese Medicine. Trout is the hottest meat and a dog who is always cold would do well on it. Seaweed and Cucumber are considered cold and can cool a dog with excess heat. Sweet potato and pumpkin are sweet and help with digestion. Beef is good at tonifying the blood and helping with weakness. Carrots and other root vegetables are very grounding and help an animal be more connected to the earth.

    There are many great books on this subject!

    For further reading

    My favorite book on this subject (although written for people) Prince Wen Hui’s Cook: Chinese Dietary Therapy

    Another good book although with more information then the average person needs Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

    One of my favorite books on Chinese Medicine with a great food section in back Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine

    Introduction to Tellington TTouch Class offered in West Seattle

    Thursday, November 19th, 2009

    From Rose DeDan

    I became interested in Tellington TTouch, a long time ago, but that interest kind of got sidelined while focusing on my shamanic training.

    Recently I read some very impressive stories by a long-time animal communicator that fanned that interest back into action, especially since I have wanted some additional assistance for Puma, my wonderful dog companion, as he enters his senior years. And lo, and behold, Shannon Finch’s name crossed my path. So, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing is now hosting a TTouch class in Seattle for the very first time! (And I believe there will be a live demo with said dog, and perhaps one of my cats who is shy of being handled – I may borrow a video camera for that!)

    • Do you have a shy or aggressive dog?
    • A cat who is getting along in years?
    • A bird who squawks incessently?
    • Are you interested in enhancing the bond with your animals?

    Then this hands-on workshop is for you.

    For more information on TTouch see What is TTouch?

    When: Saturday, December 5, 2009, 9:30am-12:30pm
    Where: Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing Office, Alki (directions sent at time of registration)

    You’ll learn how to improve your animal’s health and wellbeing with several TTouch techniques
    that release the tension, fear and anxiety that lead to behavior problems.

    You’ll learn how to ease the ailments associated with aging as well as first aid measures that can
    save your animal’s life.

    And while TTouch can assist the healing of injuries and illness, and help change undesirable behaviors, it also builds a deeper rapport between humans and animals, so your critter doesn’t have to have a problem in order to benefit from this class.

    Please do not bring your animal to the workshop, we’ll be practicing on willing stuffies (stuffed animals) this time around!

    Registration: Fee $95/person. Class size is limited to a small number of participants. Call Rose De Dan at 206-933-7877 or email her at wildkingdomreiki (at) earthlink (dot) net for more information or to register.

    Shannon Finch is owner of The AnimalKind Company in Stanwood, focusing on positive training for all species. She is a certified Tellington Touch practitioner for both companion animals and horses. She has worked with of animals of many species, from dogs, cats, and horses, to birds, reptiles, rabbits and pocket pets, and even farm critters such as cows, goats, and chickens.

    Shannon has taught TTouch all over the west, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Hawaii Humane Society, has given presentations for numerous local animal welfare groups, including PAWS, the Alternative Humane Society of Bellingham, Hooterville, (now Homeward Bound), Canines for Citizens’ Independence, Pasado’s Safe Haven, Purrfect Pals, Skagit Humane Society, and the Monroe Pet Expo. She’s also taught animal behavior and TTouch classes for Everett Community College. She is currently working on her thesis for a Master’s Degree in Humane Education.

    Canine influenza is not swine flu but should I vaccinate for it?

    Thursday, November 12th, 2009

    With all the talk of H1N1 in the news, I have started to get some questions on the canine influenza virus also known as N3H8 virus. And this year because a new vaccine for canine influenza came out, many of the questions are about if vaccination is important.

    So what is my overall recommendation.

    Don’t vaccinate for it

    So from the beginning – here is what we know

    • This virus has been around since at least 2004 and probably since as early as 1999 but was originally thought to be a problem in greyhounds only.
    • At first there was a lot of fear because greyhounds can get a hemorrhagic symptom from this virus that involves bleeding into their lungs and often times death. We have since found out that this virus does not cause that problem in other breeds.
    • Most canine influenza presents as a mild kennel cough with a mild fever. A full 20-25% of dogs with canine influenza do not show any symptoms at all. Some dogs do get very sick with canine influenza and a very small percentage die of secondary lung infections. From my research it seems that canine influenza is no more of a problem then kennel cough and most dogs recover with no medical intervention. Occasionally antibiotics are needed.
    • Canine influenza is not causally passed. It usually takes 3-4 days of exposure with an infected dog for a dog to catch it. This is most likely in boarding and shelter situations.
    • Earlier this year a new vaccine for canine influenza was released on a conditional license. What this means is the USDA allowed release of this vaccine without as much testing as is normally needed to release a vaccine. While the minimal drug company studies showed that this vaccine is safe, there is no long term data on how safe this vaccine is in the long run or how effective it is.
    • From my experience, most vaccine side effects in dogs are not immediately observed.
    • The vaccine also doesn’t prevent infection with or shedding of the influenza virus (same as the vaccines for H1N1), but rather decreases the symptoms of the disease.

    So we have a vaccine which we do not know much about and like most vaccines probably has side effects, which doesn’t prevent infection or transmission of influenza, for a disease that is not deadly in most dogs. Hmm…. Once again doesn’t sound so good to me.

    To me the benefits of this vaccine do not outweigh the possible risks. If you haven’t read my article on dog vaccination I recommend it. I have seen more dogs suffer from vaccine side effects in my practice then I have seen dogs vaccinated with a minimal core protocol (as I recommend) come down with infectious disease.

    What is worrisome is that many boarding kennels and groomers are requiring this vaccine. I believe that this vaccine should be a choice between a dog’s person and their veterinarian. I also think most boarding kennels do not realize that this vaccine does not prevent disease.

    For further reading here are some good resources on canine influenza –

    The Center for Food Safety and Public Health of Iowa State University

    Ten thing to know about the H3N8 dog flu from the New York Times

    AVMA puts out FAQ page for pet owners on H1N1

    Friday, November 6th, 2009

    Frequently Asked Questions about the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus and Pets

    Updated November 6, 2009

    These questions and answers are based on what is currently known about the virus, and will be updated as we get new information.

    Q: Can my pet get the 2009 H1N1 virus?
    A:Until recently, we had no reason to believe pets could be infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus because it is very uncommon for flu viruses to jump between species. However, on October 9, 2009, a USDA laboratory confirmed 2009/H1N1 infection in a ferret. The ferret’s owner had recently been ill with the flu. Ferrets are more susceptible to infection with influenza viruses, so this was not altogether surprising. At this time, there are no reports of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus being transmitted from a ferret to a person.

    On November 4, the Iowa State Veterinarian and the Iowa Department of Public Health announced that a pet cat was confirmed infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. The cat’s owners were ill and the cat developed respiratory symptoms shortly afterward. The cat has recovered and there is no evidence at this time that the cat passed the virus to any people.

    Pets that live indoors, especially cats, tend to have close contact with their owners – after all, that’s why we have pets – and that increases their chances of being exposed to diseases. The best advice is to always follow common sense guidelines when dealing with animals (for example, washing your hands). In addition, it’s more important than ever that pet owners keep a good eye on their pet’s health and consult a veterinarian if their pet is showing any signs of illness. Keeping your pets healthy reduces their risk of becoming ill.

    Q: I’ve heard about ferrets and a cat getting the 2009 H1N1 virus. Should I get rid of my ferret or cat so my family is protected?
    A:Certainly not. This is not cause for panic and extreme measures. You are much more likely to catch the flu (any type of flu, including the 2009 H1N1 flu) from an infected person than you are from an animal. So far, all of the pets infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus became infected from being around their ill owners. The main lesson here is that if you’re feeling ill and have flu-like symptoms, you should probably limit your contact with your pets (and other people, for that matter) until you are feeling better. As always, if your pet is showing signs of illness, it should be examined by a veterinarian.

    Q: The 2009 H1N1 virus has infected poultry. What about my pet bird? Can it be infected?
    A:We know it can infect poultry, but we don’t know if it can affect other birds (including pet birds).

    Q: What symptoms would I see in my dog or cat if it developed H1N1?
    A:So far, there haven’t been any reports of dogs infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. Based on what’s been reported, ferrets and one cat – and probably dogs, if they can become infected with the virus – have shown signs of respiratory illness. These signs can include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, runny nose and/or eyes, sneezing, coughing, or changes in breathing (including difficulty breathing).

    Keep in mind that dogs currently have their own flu virus, the H3N8 influenza (canine influenza) virus, going around. So far, this flu virus has only been spread from dog to dog. Dogs infected with the canine influenza virus show the same symptoms as dogs with kennel cough – fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, and maybe a runny nose. For more in-depth information on canine influenza, view our canine influenza backgrounder.

    Q: How serious is this disease in dogs or cats?
    A:We don’t yet know. There haven’t been any reports of dogs infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, and there has only been one cat confirmed to be infected. The infected cat recovered from its illness.

    Q:Should I keep the people in the house who have respiratory disease away from the pet and vice-versa?
    A:Until we know more about the risks of spreading the virus from person to pet, pet to pet, or pet to person, it’s a good idea to limit contact between an ill family member and other family members and pets. If your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian.

    Q: Is there a vaccine that can be used for pets? Can the human H1N1 vaccine be used for pets? What about the canine influenza vaccine?
    A: There is not a licensed and approved 2009 H1N1 vaccine for pets. The human H1N1 vaccine should not be used for pets. The canine influenza vaccine, which protects dogs from the H3N8 flu virus, will not protect pets against the 2009 H1N1 virus and should not be used in any species other than dogs.

    Q: Someone in my home is ill and may have the 2009 H1N1 virus. Should we board our pet(s) until this person has recovered?
    A: That decision is really up to you. Your pet may have already been exposed to the virus by the time the family member starts showing symptoms, so it might not be best to uproot your pet, possibly stressing them, and put them in another environment. If you’re worried your pet may become infected with the influenza virus, treat your pet like you would any other family member – follow good hygiene when you come in contact with them, and limit their exposure to ill family members.

    Q: Can my pot-bellied pig get the 2009 H1N1 virus and give it to me?
    A: To date, the 2009 H1N1 virus has not been reported in pot-bellied pigs. However, the possibility of human-to-pig transmission of the virus warrants extra caution by pig owners. After all, pot-bellied pigs are considered swine, and therefore may be susceptible to the virus. For the time being, a cautious approach would include all contact between your pig and anyone who is ill or has recently been exposed to an ill person. Remember that pot-bellied pigs can become ill from a number of causes, and keeping your pig healthy and free of disease helps protect your pig as well as you. If you have a pet pig and it appears ill, consult a veterinarian immediately.

    Here is the direct link to the page.

    funny pictures of cats with captions
    see more Lolcats and funny pictures

    H1N1 Swine flu confirmed in a cat (and a couple ferrets)

    Thursday, November 5th, 2009

    Yesterday the veterinary community got the first confirmation that a cat had been officially diagnosed with H1N1 (aka swine flu) . So far this is the only case and the cat caught it from its people, not from other cats. The cat has recovered from its illness and has no permanent problems from being sick.

    Here is the official release and the link to the American Veterinary Medical Association website for new releases on H1N1

    At this point we do not know if this will continue to be an issue in cats or how sick cats will get with H1N1 . In fact we have very little information to go on. There is no vaccine for cats and I do not believe there will be.

    H1N1 has not been documented in dogs although has been isolated in one ferret and possibly in another. One of these ferrets has died, the other one is recovering.

    The vaccine for H1N1 in people does not prevent infection or transmission of H1N1, it just reduces severity, so getting vaccinated for H1N1 does not protect your cats from exposure.

    My best advise at this time is to be extra careful with hand washing if you have the flu and keep stress to your cat as low as possible.

    I will update you as more information becomes available.

    2pm update – just found out that the ferret with confirmed H1N1 is recovering. There is another ferret who died but it is not confirmed that it is from H1N1 yet although suspected.

    11/19/09 update – more cats and ferrets have come down with H1N1. There are still very few cases and most animals are recovering well. One cat has however died of suspected H1N1 infection although it has yet to be confirmed. Please follow the AVMA page linked above for further updates.