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What's Behind Our Pet's Chronic Allergy Epidemic?

A conventional veterinarian had diagnosed my dogs and cats with allergies because they were constantly scratching, licking and biting their tails, paws and genital area which were swollen, oozing, bleeding and extremely sensitive to the slightest touch. The vet performed medical tests and diagnosed my animals with allergies to certain meats and other types of foods. He prescribed costly medicated shampoos, lotions, flea products, none of which produced relief. The steroids shots merely suppressed my animal's immune response and worsened their health. Then I learned from a holistic veterinarian that
the real cause of my pets symptoms had little to do with common allergies to food or fleas.

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The Natural Home Care for Pet Allergies

Dog and cat onstant itching and scratching "Has your veterinarian diagnosed allergies and sentenced your beloved pet companion to years of steroid therapy? Each day I help pets with allergies get off of steroids and help them live longer, itch-free lives. Get ready to learn how to improve your pet's life the holistic way!" -Dr Shawn Messonnier DVM

People that have pets with skin problems, allergies, stomach problems and behavioral problems spend hundreds of dollars at the vet on antibiotics, steroids, tranquilizers, and other medication. These medications take a serious toll on the internal organs and defense systems of our pets. It becomes a never-ending circle of medication and sickness. Skin problems and allergies are often symptoms of nutritional deficiency and toxic overload. A deficiency in key nutrients can also weaken the organism and predispose animals to suffer from symptoms of dermatitis or allergies. Pet with allergies can be, and often are, unrecognized deficiency diseases. Recognizing nutritional deficiencies will save you a great deal of frustration and allow you to make the necessary adjustments in your dog and cat's diet.

 Natural Home Care for Pet Allergies Dr. Blanco DVM and other holistic veterinarians believe that when dogs, cats and other animals experience excessive itching, biting and licking, the real culprit may be symptoms triggered by reaction from over-vaccination, as well as a result of environmental toxins and medications.

Dr. Cynthia Harcourt, DVM - "Allergies represent more than a local inflammation of the skin. They reflect a constitutional state. From a holistic standpoint, the approach to treatment recognizes the deeper constitutional state and restores order and balance to the whole animal. inside out, ointments, shampoos, sprays and dips can only provide temporary relief and although are beneficial to use for improving your pet's quality of life during a flare up, long-term treatment must focus on balancing your pet's defense system."

Steroids (also called prednisone, cortisone or the nondescript 'allergy shot') are the least optimal treatment choice, as they work by suppressing your pet's immune system. Steroids actually turn the defense system off, which appears to improves the symptoms remarkably fast, but triggers long lasting side effects and doesn't address the root issue of why your pet's defense system is over-reacting in the first place.

Dr. Cynthia Harcourt, DVM - "I believe that adverse reactions from pet vaccinations, especially the rabies vaccines, are contributing to a lot of the "allergic" skin problems seen today, leading to a problem known as vaccinosis, which is characterized by itchy, dark, thickened skin; especially over the abdomen and under the legs.

Dr. Anna Maria Gardner - "...Skin problems are the tip of the iceberg, and represent a body that is overstressed by the accumulation of years of toxins, vaccinations and poor diet. The problem is really an defense system that just cannot cope with the environment we are living in.

Identify and, if possible, avoid allergens to give rapid relief. Look at the animal's environment when considering allergens (pollens, plastics, nylon, wool, etc.), toxins (pesticides, chemicals, etc.), irritants and more. Use the curative power of nature. By eliminating causes and supporting organ and immune function with good diet, detoxification, internal cleansing, and supplements, the body will heal itself. Prevent the condition. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It is seen in both dogs and cats, but is more obvious in the dog. While we have to continue to vaccinate our dogs and cats against rabies for public health reasons, there are things we can do to at least minimize the effects of the vaccine on the body.

Dog's paw painfully inflamed and bloody Causes and prevention of allergies in dogs, cats and other animals A good general approach to skin problems is therefore to consider them the results of a body loaded with toxins, and anything that can be done to reduce this load will help the animal.

So a good natural food diet is often the single most useful thing that can be done, as discussed in an earlier edition of this magazine. This will often make a big difference and is well worth trying before resorting to steroids, or other drugs.

The use of a good filtered water source or high quality spring water can also help, as can purifying the air in the home your pet lives in. Replace the use of dips, sprays and all strong chemicals to control fleas and ticks naturally. It is a fact that when your pet becomes healthier, and on a better diet and preventative health regime, they will be better able to repel the fleas and not become totally infested. If we can strengthen the immune system, then we can help the body to heal itself, not suppress it further with steroids and strong drugs.

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Pet Allergies: Remedies for an Epidemic

Dog chewed his legs bloodyIn his best selling book, " Dr. Alfred Plechner, DVM, paints a dismal picture for the future of our pets. Animals are being programmed for disaster, for extinction. Many of them are biochemical cripples with chronic kidney disease and with defective adrenal glands unable to manufacture adequate cortisol, a hormone vital for health and resistance to disease." Allergies can be, and often are, unrecognized deficiency diseases. Recognizing nutritional deficiencies will save you a great deal of frustration and allow you to make the necessary adjustments in your dog's diet."

Dr. Jeffrey Levy, DVM - "Have you ever wondered why some dogs and cats have severe flea problems, while others are hardly bothered by the little pests? Fleas can be viewed as an indicator of an animal's general health. Parasites in general, and fleas in particular, are most attracted to the weak, unhealthy, or very young animal whose immune system is not functioning well. The long-term solution to a flea problem is to reduce your pet's susceptibility to fleas by improving his/her health."

Dog's dermatitis tail Dr. Autumn Drouin, DVM, ND  "Do no harm. The animal's condition must not be made worse in the long run to alleviate symptoms. Vaccines and flea and heart worm prevention can add to the body's toxic load, which can lead to further immune system compromise. Identify and eliminate the cause/s and obstacles to cure. First, rule out skin parasites such as mites, fleas, ringworm (a fungal infection), and Leishmaniasis (for dogs from warmer climates).

1. Smell like a corn chip
2. Become insanely itchy, which sends you back to the vet for more steroids

Do you see the crazy cycle? The image does a great job of explaining it further.

As an aside, keep in mind that healthy pets do not smell bad. Yeast exudes a musty smell, and if your pet smells this way he may have a problem with yeast overgrowth. Many people assume their pets should smell this way, but in reality healthy pets should only be bathed with they're dirty -- not because they're smelly. Bathing smelly pets in oatmeal (a grain) shampoo often adds fuel to the fire, requiring the pet to be re-bathed multiple times a week in order for the owners to tolerate the pet's odor.

Severe dermatitis on cat's throat Holistic vets use a natural immune modulator before and after vaccination to help protect the integrity of the immune system. They also give a dose of the homeopathy remedy Lyssin 30 C, which is made from the saliva of a rabid dog, using the premise that like treats like, which is the basis of homeopathy.

This should be given as soon as possible after the rabies shot to try and prevent the development of any adverse reactions to the vaccine. Once the skin problems are evident, it is worth trying a dose of Thuja 6 C every day to also remove the effects of the vaccine from the body, as this is very often needed before other homeopathic treatment can be started. Other homeopathic remedies may be needed, as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, and are very often helpful in cases of chronic allergies, and can replace the use of steroids in many cases.

Nutrition is the Optimal Solution

Nutrition's Influence on Dog and Cat's Health The foods you feed your pet will eventually heal or harm. Feeding your pets a diet of nutritious, healing, and non-allergenic pet foods allows their immune systems to rest. Balance your pet's immune system by offering natural, biologically appropriate wholesome foods is necessary to begin the road to recovery. Also remember that the more variety you include in your pet's diet, the less likely your pet will be to react to the same monotonous foods. Nutritional variety is not only the spice of life, it's critical for a balanced and healthy immune response -- and for keeping your pet allergy-free.

The Immune System Protects from Allergies

Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are among the most commonly used supplements to help pets with a variety of medical disorders. Antioxidants are specific vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin E) and plant and animal compounds (bioflavonoids such as grape seed extract, quercetin, coenzyme Q-10, ginkgo biloba) that are responsible for maintaining health.

One of the most common questions I get is this: "What do you recommend to boost my pet's immune system?" Using nutritional supplements to boost the immune system in times of illness is very important for any sick pet.

While supplements can be used to support the immune system during any illness, I am most often asked to prescribe something for pets with the following problems: any infectious disease (especially feline respiratory disease, kennel cough, distemper;) cancer; mange; and any condition in older pets that just "aren't acting quite right." In this article, I'll discuss some of the more commonly used immune-boosting supplements, along with recommendations on how to keep your pet's immune system acting as healthy as possible all year long.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida) is the most commonly known immune stimulant which also functions as an antimicrobial (antiviral and antibacterial) herb. In people, echinacea is the number-one cold and flu herbal remedy. Currently, to prevent long term immune system problems, most doctors recommend using echinacea for a short period of time (3-4 weeks) followed by a resting period (3-4 weeks) before the herb is resumed.

Shirley I use natural supplements to keep my animals healthy and prevent allergies
Many of the natural healing remedies I use at home to help improve my animal's health (Nuvet, Wheat grass juice, Stem Cell Nutrition, Clay, Plankton) are listed in the product page I also use a unique immune booster.(To close this message, click anywhere on the page.)

While supplements can be used in times of illness, maintaining a healthy immune system important in decreasing the incidence and severity of disease. Follow the following tips to keep your pet as healthy as possible.

  • Feed the most natural diet possible. Learn to read a pet food label and avoid foods with chemical preservatives (BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin) and animal and plant by-products that can damage a pet's immune system and do not help maintain health as much as foods with natural preservatives and no by-products. When possible, prepare and feed a homemade diet (using on of the recipes in The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats) to ensure that your pet is eating the healthiest food possible.
  • Minimize vaccines. Most pets do not need annual "shots." A simple blood test called a titer test can determine which vaccines you pet needs.
  • Minimize chemicals. I prefer not to use chemical flea prevention products unless absolutely needed. Monthly heartworm medication is preferred over the 6 month injectable heartworm preventive.
  • Administer whole food vitamins, mineral supplements, and antioxidants to maintain a healthy body.
  • Administer choline supplementation to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease (cognitive disorder) in dogs and cats 10 years of age and older.
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The Allergy Solution for Dogs
by Dr. Shawn Messonnier DVM

A number of studies have documented the benefits of fatty acid supplements for allergic pets. In the literature, fatty acid supplements made from fish oil were effective in reducing symptoms of itching and inflammation in 11 to 27 percent of allergic dogs and over 50 percent of allergic cats. How well the supplements work in an allergic pet depends upon a number of factors, including the product used, dosage, and the presence of other diseases that can contribute to itching.

Pets with allergy symptoms"Due to their anti-inflammatory effects, I routinely use large doses of fatty acids when treating atopic dermatitis in pets. Like most doctors, I recommend 2 to 4 times the label dose, as research in allergy treatment indicates that the label dose on most products is too low to exert an anti-inflammatory influence."

Maybe Rover's paws are constantly damp from being licked and chewed. Or his scratching keeps you both up at night, even though he doesn't have fleas. The culprit could be allergies. Allergic skin disease, or atopic dermatitis, is an extremely common skin disorder in dogs. It's probably the number one skin problem we treat in my practice. Many of the affected dogs have not only primary atopic dermatitis, but secondary problems like bacterial or yeast infections as well. Dr. Blanco and other veterinarians believe that excessive itching, biting and licking of the paws are triggered by vaccination.

Allergy Solution for Dogs The conventional treatments have relied on corticosteroids and antihistamines. While effective, corticosteroids have numerous side effects, including increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight gain, Cushing's disease, Addison's disease, osteoporosis, increased susceptibility to infection, fatty liver disease, diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal ulceration, cartilage degradation, and blood chemistry abnormalities. Side effects of antihistamines are less common but include sedation and failure to control the itching.

Complementary therapies are used to reduce or preferably eliminate the need for chronic drug therapy, allowing relief from the itching without the troubling side effects so often seen with conventional treatments.

Arthur Young DVM, always advises his clients to add glyconutrients to their pets diet. Decades of consuming nutritionally questionable commercial pet food products, the proven harmful effects of over vaccination, combined with the unfortunate dependency on steroids and antibiotics have, according to many reliable sources greatly contributed to a national decline in animal health. The innate ability of the body to heal itself has been seriously compromised in many animals, particularly dogs, cats, and horses. Glyconutrients are compatible with any type of treatment prescribed by both conventional and alternative practitioners. These essential carbohydrates strengthen the body’s inner environment which, in turn, enhances the energy that stimulates the immune system, as well as a process called “cell communication”. This communication network results in all of the organs working with one another in an orderly sequence of body reactions. Without these activities, good health is impossible to attain. Although the formulation is produced for human consumption, holistic veterinarians have also recognized the importance of glyconutrients in supporting the handling of health challenges in animals. Credit goes to Gunter Blobel, M.D., Ph.D. (Rockefeller University), winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Medicine "for the discovery that (glyco) proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell."

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my Dog's Recovery From Flea Bites and Hot Spots

Care to start a business with your pets? In 1992, my 2 year old dog, Shasta, was plagued with flea bites and hot spots (an area that is inflamed, bleeding, oozing, and hairless.) She was not alone to suffer miserably from itching and burning. Her doggie friends in the neighborhood were suffering just as much.

I began doing research to try to help her and I learned that our dog's and cat's skin problems are often vaccine induced. Many veterinarians believe that vaccines are causing harms to our beloved pets, from skin allergies to cancer and other chronic disease referred to as "vaccinosis". Homeopathic veterinarians recommend a treatment with homeopathic remedies to remove toxins and side effects of vaccines.

I decided to feed my dogs RAW food and to supplement their diet with flaxseed oil (linseed oil), chia seeds, kelp and fulvic minerals and/or marine phytoplankton (consist of an immense arsenal and array of naturally occurring powerful phytochemicals, biochemicals, supercharged antioxidants, free-radical scavengers, super oxide dismutases, nutrients, enzymes, hormones, amino acids, antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals), and bee pollen rich in naturally occurring vitamins. I also treated them with homeopathic remedies. I saw nice improvement in a matter of weeks.

If fleas begin to bother my dogs occasionally during the hot summer time and they begin to bite or scratch herself, I give them homeopathic remedies, and an immune support product which help boost their immune system, and offers her a better resistance to flea attacks. The homeopathic remedies I use are Pullex Irritans 6c and sulphur 30c. Occasionally I also used Calcarea carbonica 30C or 200C.

I place a single pellet of the sulphur 30c in the water bowl ONE TIME ONLY and I wait a few weeks to see the result. Sulfur is very powerful and if used too much or too often can cause a healing crisis. Depending on the animal and the situation sometimes sulfur may not resolve the problem. If they continue to have flea bites allergies, I add in the water bowl one pellet of pullex once everyday for a week or two. Usually those two remedies solve the problem. (pullex is the Latin name for flea. It is a homeopathic remedy made from the flea itself) Part 1: how I saved Shasta's life

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Natural Herbal Skin and Ear Products for Dogs

Fortunately you can purchase external treatment salves and shampoos that contain tea tree oil and other soothing natural ingredients.

  • Need help? Herbal Ear Formula for Dogs and Cats - Effective blend of therapeutic herbs and mild cleansers. Cleans ears, removes wax and debris. Eliminates odor. Non-toxic.
  • Herbal Skin and Coat Shampoo for Dogs and Cats Unique self-adjusting contains just enough cleaning ingredients to balance oily skin and ample nutrients to condition dry skin
  • Soothing Mist for Dogs and Cats, Puppies and Kittens Formulated for hot spots, irritated skin, sore skin, itchy skin, excessive scratching, biting and more. Contains aloe vera gel, zinc, vitamin C and other skin enhancing herbs.
  • Herb Skin Poultice with Comfrey Leaf - Abscesses, Bed Sores, Blood Poisoning, Breasts - Sore Nipples, Bruises, Burns, Chicken Pox, Cuts, Disinfectant, Gangrene, Infection, Open Sores And Ulcers, Swelling, Ulcers, Wounds.
  • 100% safe, all natural and organic pest control products
  • Vinegar for Flea Bites, ear inflammation and other skin conditions

Avoid toxic Cleaning Products

Graphic of dog and cat scratching Hundreds of toxic chemicals are used common household products. You may have safety latches on your kitchen cabinets to protect young children from swallowing the cleansers. Your pets may run on your freshly mopped floor and then lick their paws.

Natural living has reached the mainstream: we are now far more concerned about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the chemicals that surround us, and recognize that government regulations all too often fall short of safeguarding our health.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Everyday Toxics and Harmful Household Products in the Home Use safe products to replace harmful substances we are exposed to in our own homes. Whether you suffer from unexplained headaches, fatigue, or depression, or if you worry about the link between increased use of toxics and the rising rate of cancer, the many suggestions in this book can make your life virtually toxic-free!

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Vinegar for Flea Bites and Skin Allergies

"Vinegar is a naturally occurring germ killer and is one of the very first medicines known to man. It was used as a healing dressing on wounds and infectious sores in Biblical times, and it is credited with saving the lives of thousands of soldiers during the Civil War. It was used routinely as a disinfectant on wounds. It kills germs on contact and it contains bacteria which is unfriendly to infectious micro-organisms. It is a natural remedy and most of all, it is safe. Vinegar is particularly useful for neutralizing alkali burns. And it relieves itchy skin too. We coat the 'hot spots' with vinegar, full strength, using a cotton ball or poured directly from the bottle. For a full body treatment, add four cups of vinegar to the bath water. Be careful not to get the vinegar/water mixture in the ears and eyes. The vinegar/water rinses are a quick remedy to relieve minor skin irritations such as hives, chigger bites, other insect bites and rashes." Carolyn Waller -

Note from Shirley: I have received a few testimonials from people who use organic white or red vinegar internally and externally for their animals, including horses, for flea bites and other minor skin irritation such as hives, etc. I have never used vinegar on or for my animals and cannot verify the validity of these statements. If you decide to use vinegar, it is important to only use only organic white or red vinegar because some commercial vinegars are made from wood pulp. Here is one testimonial:

"Animals need not suffer from flea bites at all. For years our dogs suffered from flea bites.We washed them with flea shampoos, powdered them with flea powders, bombed the house with aerosols, flea collars, etc. A friend told us about a method his grandmother used that was very effective. Take a gallon of water, add four to six teaspoons of white vinegar to it, and give it to your pets as their only drinking water. If they have a water dish outside, use this water for that as well. During the winter ( Ohio) , I give them four tsps.. during the summer ( flea season ) I give them six tsps. We haven't seen a flea in over ten years. It works on any animal. We have a dog ( seven years old ) that has never seen a flea. All of these commercial flea preparations are bad for the health of our pets. We had a dog living with us temporarily that had lived in North Carolina for awhile, that was almost eaten alive by fleas down there. We gave her vinegar water and all of her problems disappeared. I live in the Cleveland Ohio area."

Ear Inflammation, Odor, Wax build up

Dog with ear pain Warning! Dennis W. Thomas, DVM - "As a pet owner, it is important to know that persistent or recurring ear pain infections in a dog commonly are manifestations of other concurring disease processes. Allergies and hypothyroidism are good examples. Systemic allergies often cause dermatitis and itching in the ear canal, which predispose self-trauma and subsequent ear infection. Hypothyroidism may manifest itself as increased thickness of the skin and continual release of exudate in the ear canal, which favors an environment for otitis externa. It is not wise to use cotton tip applicators in the ear canal. This can be quite painful to the dog. Also, I don't recommend using alcohol in a dog's ear. Alcohol will dry the ear, but if there is inflammation or small scratches in the canal, the alcohol will burn and cause tremendous pain and further inflammation. If you must use a product from the shelf at home, use white vinegar diluted 50:50 with water.