Category Archives: PurePet

CANINE BLOAT – GD & GDV Explained

 

Rhett –  Proof that sometimes shite just happens and also a great and  shining example of exactly what Western Medicine does RIGHT! WM excels at mediating trauma. They saved my boys life. And now I continue working my mojo magic on him at home.  I always seek the natural, the holistic, herbal or laying on of hands approach before I even remotely think about Hospitals or Western Medicine and their knives and pharmaceuticals.  I have thought this way since I was a young child and no ideas as to exactly who and what planted these seeds in me because my family was all about the Western Medicine man.

The reasoning in both allopathic and the older modalities is brilliant.  All life is duality. I believe in the herbs, foods and flowers of the field to prevent issues and keep us healthy and heal us when ill, however, there are times when you do everything right and end up in an emergency situation, which is exactly what happened here!

I am thankful I paid attention  to Rhett’s odd behaviour and tied that into the knowledge gained by  a couple of great resource books I had read, (links posted below) which allowed me to understand the full scope of the emergency that this was, act quickly on my gut, and get him to the vet before too much damage had been done already.  It’s a great way to begin a new week by not dying today.

Bloat is always serious and life-threatening in our canine companions.  But under this one moniker, there are actually two stages that happen or can happen. The first is you have gas and air that causes the stomach to fill up (gastric dilatation) and the dog is unable to burp or relieve the pressure.  When this happens, the stomach also sometimes begins twisting (volvulus).   We don’t know exactly why it happens, but some breeds, primarily your large dogs, those with big chests, can be prone to bloat.  There are discussions about ways to help prevent it, such as providing moist foods, avoiding kibble, not exercising too much ahead of or directly after a meal and breaking up meal portions into 2 or 3 smaller meals.
We did all that and still….

And further, Dr. Rutherford says in his article:

“Clinically, bloat is when the stomach fills with gas and becomes distended, but the dog cannot burp or relieve the pressure exerted by the gas. Bloat with twisting or GDV is when the dog’s stomach fills with gas (and often fluid) and twists 180 to 360 degrees on it’s axis between the esophagus and duodenum or the entrance and exit parts of the stomach. When “simple bloat” or gastric dilatation occurs and the stomach swells, a great deal of pressure is put upon the surrounding organs including the liver and lungs interfering with the dog’s ability to breath, and the blood supply to the stomach wall is decreased.

This is very painful for the dog and quickly becomes a medical emergency. When bloat is complicated by twisting, gastric dilatation, and volvulus, the situation worsens rapidly. In addition to the pressure exerted by the gas distending the stomach, the twisting stops the blood supply to the stomach wall and the tissues themselves begin to die.”

The two books that I use as reference material areMartin Goldstein The Nature Of Animal Healing and Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs & Cats. Both books have their own offerings with a natural bent and are great guides with what we can treat at home in a gentler kinder and effective way and when we can do something to help while we also seek the vet for treatment.

Rhett an hour prior was happy, playful, and seemed just fine.  He wanted to romp around, but we didn’t because I was busy getting firewood and chores done, the house staged for when my handsome husband would walk through the door and we could begin a nice Friday evening and Saturday off together.  But as soon as Michael walked in the door, Rhett began acting strangely, laying down oddly, or sitting funny, pacing, panting a bit here and there, trying unsuccessfully to vomit and going room to room clearly feeling uncomfortable.  Michael thought he was hiding because he had gotten into something, some goody he didn’t want to let go of.  And I had let him out just before Michael walked in the door and wasn’t watching him.  So perhaps he licked a frog (he really likes licking frogs) or he got into something else, right?  But he wasn’t hanging out with us as usual and when he was laying on my bed, I looked him over.  His tummy appeared a bit bloated.  When I felt it, I got that sinking feeling as it was ‘taught like a drum’.  By the time we made it to the vets, it was far more obvious that I had made the right decision.

Rhett’s X-rays showed volvulus, twisting of the stomach between the endpoints or where the tummy connects up with the esophagus on one end and duodenum.  I briefly thought about giving him charcoal capsules but I sort of figured out I was too late for that.  If I had perhaps done so earlier, when there were absolutely no symptoms, sure, maybe that would have helped.  But we didn’t know our boy was going to bloat so here we were in a Friday night emergency.

As you might already guess, this is a very painful condition that, left untreated, escalates quickly resulting in certain death as few as a few hours later.  It is NOT a good death.  Rhett was so quiet, no whimpering, no vocalization that would let me know just how bad he hurt.  But his mannerisms told me he wasn’t at all comfortable and so I had to go on my gut.   As I responded and got him to the vet so  quickly,  Rhett was mobile, he was clearly ill, but able to move around, was lucid and basically not yet in shock.  This meant they were able to stabilize him quickly, set him up with fluids and otherwise prep him for surgery.  Once the surgeon untwisted his belly, while very bruised, the tissues engorged with blood and became nice and pink again.  His spleen was intact, he had no permanent damage done to any of his internal organs.  This photo was taken 9 hours after surgery. He could barely stand and was not at all comfortable or apparently happy to see us.  About 6 hours later on the same day, though, he clearly was happy to see us and go home!

During surgery, Rhett had a gastropexy where they attached the stomach to the right side of his body.  In this way, he should never have a twist again.  At the vets I also learned that when a dog is being neutered, you can have them do the gastropexy at that time, saving potential damage and drama from this!  Great information to know when shopping for a new puppy!

 HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?As I noted earlier, we don’t know exactly what the cause is for the twisting or Volvulus when bloat occurs but I just had an epiphany on that one…thinking about this typically hitting the large chested pups, and how bloat presses and makes breathing a challenge, could it be possible that the dog, in trying to deeply breathe, suddenly twists the stomach?  What is known, however, is that once this occurs, the dog is prone to the condition and each time it is worse.  Hence doing a gastropexy when in surgery.  I thought I was doing everything right here.  I fed a varied diet, with fiber, probiotics, 2-3 smaller meals daily with a few snacks in between,  and I limited romping around just ahead of or after mealtime.  Additionally, I primarily feed Dr Harveys, but all of Rhett’s food is home cooked, it is not dry kibble or anything that generally expands once in the stomach.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES – While I feel that I am proof you cannot completely prevent this from happening, I do believe there are things that minimize the risks.
CHARCOAL – Firstly, there is activated charcoal, such as Natures Way.  If you feel your pup is gassy and uncomfortable, give him some charcoal.  This is not something you want to add to his meals because in the detoxification process that charcoal is brilliant for, it can also wipe out the vitamins in your pups food.  You can also provide a treat which may be easier to administer, such as Darford Naturals Charmint Dog Treats.
PROBIOTICS –  I like Primal Defense, to keep the gut healthy and working optimally. I also like that it comes in a capsule or powder with a scoop to just mix in food because our entire family takes this.
GINGER – Such as Dr. Wakde’s Ginger Powder, which can be sprinkled into food, both dog and human, aides in the prevention of gas buildup.
THYME – Fresh or Dried Thyme, such as Spicely Organic Thyme Powder,  sprinkled into food can also help.
PRE-PLANNING – You never want to be here where I was and am right now.  It is soul crushing to see your dog child in such misery and possible early demise.  Honestly, I was proud of the way I cared for Rhett and never saw this coming.  That stated, I read up on this condition because he is a barrel-chested dog and I looked for a vet that was open 24×7 nearby. It happens to be a great place (For those in the Dallas area, I highly recommend Hillside Vet Clinic, where we have been taking our pets for over 2 decades) and I was able to meet with the surgeon prior to kissing Rhett goodbye and leaving for the evening.  The next bit of pre-planning is sort of like a fire drill where you assemble and quietly make your way to the exits.  You want to stay calm for your family member.  Why introduce further trauma and drama?  So be calm.  When working with the folks who will potentially save your pets life, it isn’t their fault the prices are so jacked or that you are even there.  So be polite, patient and absorb the message. They have a stressful job to do.  They will be the ones on the other end of the phone either with grave news or telling you he made it and coaching you through next steps.  Either way, it’s not easy work.
COSTLY SURGERY – This is not cheap and I was mandated actually to pay before they would even proceed although I had told them yes, proceed.  What I liked is that I was provided the best case and worst case scenarios and pricing accordingly.  I didn’t let grass grow, I got my boy to the vet asap.  It actually took them longer to prep and schedule him for his surgery than it took me to notice the signs, make a diagnosis, load him into the car and haul him to the vet! Because my actions were swift, the damage was greatly minimized so that made for the best surgical outcome and less money.  For numerous reasons, bloat is not anything you want to mess around with, get your pup to the vet and quickly.  It was more than 2 hours later when Rhett went into surgery so you want to allow time for the length of time everything takes once your pet is there.
RECOVERY – Rhett is home and healing, we were thankful that he was released the following day, just under 24 hours later.  He is in a lot of pain and is on meds for that.  He kept me up all night whining the first 2 nights home.  And he sure didn’t want to eat anything even though the vet wanted him to.  I have read that it’s tender inside the tummy as well as outside at the scar site and so pups may not feel like eating for a couple of days.  As I type this, Rhett is whining.  But he is eating a tiny amount of food, able to pee and poop on his own and noticed a squirrel on our walk this morning.  Apparently, there is no laparoscopy on this kind of situation.  This means a big ole cut to the gut.  Rhett’s incision site is clean but about 8 inches.  We equate the pain level to what my husband went through during his first hernia surgery where they did it ‘old style’ and he was in unbelievable pain while on the mend.  It took my husband 4 days to go number 2.  When he finally attempted it, he wound up passed out on the bathroom floor. I worked from home and held conference calls for work.  Folks would interrupt to ask ‘Excuse me, what is that moaning sad sound in the background?’ and I would explain my husband had recent hernia surgery and is feeling like death.  Conversely, his laparoscopy (short small opening and swifter healing with far less pain involved) a few years later to fix what never took the first time, was lightyears different.  Michael was up the same afternoon fixing himself lunch!  I have no other comparison to draw upon but assume Rhett feels much like my husband did and is suffering so great right now.  He will heal, however, and every day he does get better!  In hindsight, I would have done more of the above stuff I noted, the ginger, the charcoal treats.  I have all this on the roster moving forward now just in case, god forbid, even with the gastropexy, it somehow tries to happen again.   Rhett is a farter and while that sounds funny, maybe all of this pain (and expense) could have been prevented with a bit less gas. Well, it is time to walk my boy and see if I can get him to eat again.  I hope that this has helped you and yours.  Kindly leave a comment below, and sharing is appreciated.

 

 

Petfood Rant

As a few of you know, Rhett, our resident Doberman, has battled Kidney Failure since 2011, since he was just a year old. This is due to Nestle-Purina Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky treats, which were Rhett’s favorite.  That and duck.  Rhett is a German Dobie with a few 16 year olds in his line.  His great-grand-dad, Buddy, passed away last year at 12 1/2.  Nobody in his line has kidney issues.  I will never get un angry over this injustice, this unkindness, this inhumanity over money, this refusal to remove crap from the shelves of stores that is killing our pets.  I remember when I finally found the culprit, after feeding these treats to my boy, not realizing it was slowly killing off his kidneys.  I took 2 bags of this shite back to PetSmart where I bought them.  I used to spend $300-$500/mo at PetSmart between toys and treats for Rhett and my kitties.  But that day I took the misbegotten bags of Canyon Creek Ranch treats back, with their American Flag emblazoned on the packaging, I asked to see the manager.  I explained the situation and it became clear he knew already.  The answer I wanted to hear did not come, that they had already removed or would remove the products from this company off the shelves immediately.  No, instead I was told they were going to ‘Phase them out over a 2 year period.’  That was in 2014 and I have not spent one dime in that store since.

Logic No?
If I owned a corporation, sure I would want to save as much money as possible, but NOT to the detriment of my client.  No, I want to please them, make the highest level of quality product for them, retain them and hope their health holds up so that they can buy more from me!
Since exactly when did killing off the client base make sense to anybody?  I see it in both human and pet foods but am completely mystified as to why.  It makes no sense.  Even if there is a wee bit of savings initially, you are killing your customer.  Who’s to say you are not sued?  Who’s to say, your secret will not go public and make your products and your company an embarrassing outcast? Many of these corporations also make human food so if you are poisoning our pets, are you poisoning us too?  So many questions arise with questionable ethics displayed.

Several Shades of JADED – I read labels, I was educated on pet foods and biologically appropriate foods etc.  I just had no idea that the high dollar treats I was feeding my boy would be tainted with anything other than pure goodness like the bags promised.  After this happened I went totally off the rails of typical pet foods and went alternative.

Here is a great info book, Buyer Beware, about the pet food industry crimes.

Here is a great link and you can sign up for recall notices too. http://truthaboutpetfood.com/

I encourage you to read labels and vote with your wallet.

PurePet – Pet Food Review – Dr. Harveys

This is Rhett (Full name Hieronymous Rhett Thomas O’Brien Puppy).  He turned 7 this April.  See my separate Pet Food Rant.  I am passionate about creating a tipping point in the food industry where we hold companies accountable, with our awareness and wallets, to producing good quality foods for us and our pets.  I spent a year studying with Hippocrates Health Institute and want to share what I know to help anyone who wants to listen.  🙂

Go Organic – This is the very best way to avoid GMOs, pesticides and questionable meats and other ingredients that will otherwise be present in the pet food you buy.  The label should tell you it is certified organic and many times will also tell you it is GMO free.  The best of both worlds is seeing both statements on the label.

GOOD FOOD – You can make foods at home, and it is really easy once you get the hang of it.  I use Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs & Cats.  It is a great resource to look up  health questions, natural remedies,  as well as some great recipes.   I make up my Healthy Powder and am ready for home made yumminess on the week-ends.  Rhett is used to eating a varied diet, much like how we eat, so I like to change up his flavor profile so he doesn’t get bored.
Another terrific reference book is Martin Goldstein’s he Nature Of Animal Healing. There are some great natural ways to mitigate heartworm (Black Walnut) amongst other remedies. This is one of my ‘go to’ books when I want to look up a problem and how to resolve it.

Dr. Harveys Canine Health and the entire line is just fantastic!  First you have dehydrated dog food, that comes complete, you just add hot water to re-hydrate, like Oracle. Next, you have mix-ins, like  eg-to-Bowl, Oracle, Paradigm, and, Canine Health which has grains that I use predominately.  Mix-ins are great to add in your protein of choice and particularly good for situations like mine, where you have to limit your protein.    What is great about it is that it’s organic, healthy wholesome ingredients created by a man that truly cares about your dog, cat or bird.  I know the ingredients are organic, non GMO and all I have to do is add water, high quality oil and protien source for the mix-ins and let it sit and hydrate a few minutes into a delicious meal for my boy.

I have used Dr. Harveys since Rhett was a puppy but recently, after my holistic alternative vet retired, I was left floundering with how to continue to treat Rhett’s kidney issues.  The vet we use for his regular blood work, just tossed a bag of Science Diet KD at me and that, I already knew, was the wrong path.  Their eyes glazed right over as I ranted about GMOs, corn in the KD, pesticides if the food is not organic etc.  My chart at the vet just says I am refusing ‘standard treatment due to lifestyle choices’ which sounded vaguely judge-y. I find the stance very interesting because they are IN the health care business.  Your vet should be primarily concerned with making your pet live the longest, highest quality life possible.  Sadly, they seem mostly to understand how to prescribe more shots and prescriptions that make the pharmaceutical companies rich and provide sub par foods that kill your companion far faster.  Ah…I am using my brain, what I know, and attempting to make the right choices here.  So, no, I am NOT buying the crap.

COMPLETELY FLOORED
So as I mentioned, our alternative vet retired and I know enough to be dangerous so I have kept him going, however, I really wanted some guidance. The vet we use for Rhett’s bloodwork suggested Dr. Pam who is the only other alternative vet in my area now that Trisha Ballard has retired.  I have tried for 2 full years to see her.  She has refused both years, claiming to be just too busy.   Frustrated, I wrote to Dr. Harvey one day when ordering a sample of the new Paradigm food.  Lo and behold, Dr. Harvey called me back.  He has been checking up on Rhett ever since, offering help which is very appreciated.

Sickness and death happen to us all.  None of us gets out of here alive.  That stated, we can all let food be thy medicine and do our best to support companies that truly care, do our research and make the better choices that improve our quality of life.  The first thing people always say when they meet Rhett, is ‘What a handsome and healthy dog!’  Rhett looks like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Dobermans.  I believe it is the food that is helping him achieve that appearance.

TOXINS – RAW VS COOKED ETC
When you cook anything, particularly at high temps, you ruin the natural enzymes and you create toxins that the body has to rid itself of in the digestion of the product.  Raw or low cooked foods are best, for us and for them.  I go for fresh organic meats for my boy so that his body doesn’t have to work so hard at digesting it.   Then I add in greens, like wheatgrass, Chinese Chlorella, Klammath Lake blue-green algae, Rehmannia along with walks and massage.

Some other sites I go to frequently are:  Onlynaturalpets.com, Petwellbeing.com, pawhealer.com and fiveleafpharmacy.com.

 

Hope that this information helps you and I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

PurePet – The Humane Dilemma

Most of us have an affinity for our fellow earthlings, we are curious, fascinated, protective but not all of us have cultivated compassion or respect and how we treat our fellow animals dovetails into how we also treat each other.

Pet.  The word seems to demean but really, it doesn’t, or shouldn’t.  A pet is something treasured, held upon a pedestal, something adored, loved, something set apart which brings joy to life.  I realise they can also pee on the carpet, wreck the potted plants and chew through a sofa (untrained and unsupervised) but the point is that this word,  when created, was meant as a description and meant in the most positive of ways.

Humane comes from human.  Anything inhumane is something considered barbaric, subhuman, a treatment beneath us, shocking and atrocious, what one wouldn’t ever do.  And yet barbarism, as well as amazing grace and altruism is within our scope, how we are all wired, even the meekest of us.

I have studied the animal condition at great length, read books, watched films and seen what cannot be unseen on the atrocities of farm animals, both dairy and the meat industry.  Perhaps it is simply that social media is now a thing which brings it all to light, but there seems to be far more violence perpetrated upon our fellow animals these days, from kicking a cat to tricking a dog into picking up a firecracker.  It makes my heart ill to see these innocents mistreated because I know now, how they tick, how they think.

As a kid I was not as patient with a bird as I should have been and once over punished a cat I adored.  Both forgave me but the pain of my actions, both immediately afterwards and later have served to remind me that I, too, have the capability of evil, of unkindness,  a set of expectations that, when not met, harbour such impatience within me.  I have evolved, grown in my awareness and understanding, however these two childhood episodes confirmed for me that I am not exempt from and must ever be mindful of my ill-actions, to take power over them, so that I walk the planet ever mindful to cause less harm.

I often wonder about God.  I was brought up that we were created in his image and we are to have dominion, guardianship, over all the animals, land and sea.  I know how we treat them., and I often wonder, what happened because we have fallen so far.  How did we travel such distance in our nature from a creator who made all of them and us in his image?  Or perhaps our creator just has far more control over himself than most of us do.

Animals continue to amaze and inspire me.  They generally have a lot of self-control and patience, such as with their young and with us too.  They are clear in their messages, in their communication of their needs and wants and can be exceedingly loyal and loving, and forgiving.  I like the way that they tend to live life in the present, and with hope for goodness.  Now, I typically wake up in a good mood, but my mind may be on various things, my daily morning chores, for example. I have timelines in my head.  And I used to have a corporate job to go to.  Now that I don’t need to pad down to my office and check the laptop by 7 am, I have really enjoyed observing my bed mates in the morning.  Our Doberman, Rhett, likes his belly rubs and rolls over (generally ONLY in the morning after waking) for a belly rub.  I brush his fur, clean his ears, brush his teeth, tell him how handsome he is and he totally gets everything I am doing.

If the kitties have already gotten up, they run over to me when they hear me stir.   It’s time to share the joy of a new day with me.  I am honored by their sweet greeting.  I am glad for the time not to rush all this, as I had done for countless years.  None of us knows the hours or the days we have left so treasuring now is what they have taught me.

Once Rhett’s feet hit the floor, he grabs a toy and this lets me know his mood.  I also like that his first thought for the day is fun.  What is our first thought for the day?  How often is our first thought on fun?

When I leave the house and return, there again, I get the marvellous greeting home.  They bring such dimension to our lives, each one in their own special way.   We are rushing around, driven by work, chores, finances, keeping house and socializing.  Our fur companions are focused on joy, on play, on being with us, living in the present, getting some yummy food, excercise and relaxation.  When you watch and learn about farm animals or all the exotics in the wild, if you spend enough time with them, you see all these amazing and unique personalities come into play and learn from each experience. And, like any relationship, time adds layers of complexity, of grace and trust and adds to the sweetness of life.

When it is said that the meek shall inherit the earth, I often wonder who that will be.  PS That’s Loki inside the planter and Hydra next to it.

Recommended Reading:

Wayne Pacelle Humane Economy 

Wayne Pacelle The Bond

Dominion Matthew Scully

Carl Safina Beyond Words