Canine Vaccinations..Debunking the Myths, Reporting the Facts ☆

Logo 2One of the most misunderstood subjects in the world of dog ownership has to be that of vaccinations. Most pet owners rely on their veterinarians to provide the information needed to make the correct decision in regards to this very important subject.

Unfortunately, according to immunology expert Dr. Ronald Shultz DVM, veterinary students are not given a complete education in immunology.  The information they are given in college is provided by the vaccine manufacturers.  You would think that since the manufacturers are providing the information that it would be the most thorough, accurate information available on that particular vaccine, and it is, to a point.

The one area that is usually not divulged at length is the instance of adverse reactions and other health related concerns that have been attributed to these vaccines.  Most conventional veterinarians in the United States follow a yearly vaccination protocol.  Their offices send out reminder cards in the mail to remind pet owners of the need to vaccinate their pet.  The vaccines that are routinely “boosted” yearly are typically vaccines for Parvovirus, Distemper and Adenovirus.  Some veterinarians use what we call “combo-whombo” vaccines that not only contain the typical three, but also have other vectors included such as coronavirus and leptospirosis.

Vaccinations are broken down into two groups, core vaccines and non-core vaccines.  The core vaccines, Parvo,  Distemper and Adenovirus,  are the ones that are recommended for the general pet population.  The non-core vaccines such as, Leptospirosis, Coronavirus and Lyme, are only recommended in certain instances where, geographically, your pet might be exposed to a certain vector that is not found in other areas. Non core vaccines usually only have a duration of one year or less.  Dr. Shultz does not recommend using Leptospirosis vaccine on any small or toy breeds because of the high instance of serious adverse effects in those dogs.dog vaccine

The Lyme disease vaccine is only 50-60% effective, so this too is really not recommended until the vaccine company improves its efficacy.  Coronavirus is not found in our area, the northeast, so that is also not recommended.  Any of the vaccines, core or non-core, are not mandatory vaccines.  The only vaccine that is mandatory, by law, is the Rabies vaccine which is given every three years.

The main thing that all pet parents need to realize is that vaccines do not come without risk.  Whenever anything is injected into the body there is a risk of that vector causing an adverse reaction.  This is especially prudent when you are introducing a foreign material that is meant to directly stimulate an immune response.  The adverse reactions caused by vaccines can be as profound as having the animal die immediately after administration or they can be as subtleas the animal displaying symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, hair loss, & itching.  These more subtle reactions are usually seen from minutes after vaccination to months after vaccination.  Since some of them don’t materialize until weeks or months later, they are usually contributed to “allergies” when presented to the veterinarian.

What every pet parent has to know is that the core vaccines have been proven to last a lifetime for most animals.  As long as they are given at the correct intervals initially, the animal does not need to get “booster” shots at any time after the initial series of shots.  The best way to tell if your pet is immunized and protected by the vaccinations is to have a titer test done.  Titer testing is a simple procedure where your veterinarian will draw some blood and send it out to the lab to measure the antibody levels present in the blood sample.  As long as there are antibodies present, your pet does not need any more shots.  The dog vaccine  reactionantibody level does not go down over the course of the animals life.

Although there is no need, for any pet owners that want to re-check the antibody levels, instead of taking your pet for “booster” vaccinations you can take him for a re-check of the antibody levels periodically throughout your pet’s life.  By titering instead of over vaccinating, you can be assured that you are providing the correct care to help keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.  As Dr. Schultz says “Vaccinate but vaccinate Wisely!”

Until next time my furry followers!

Hacking up Hairballs ☆

 

Logo 2One of the most common complaints I hear from cat owners is that their cat is constantly throwing up.  It is so common that  ” hacking up a hairball”  has become a known euphemism.  There are many reasons why some cats vomit on a regular basis.

There are some medical conditions that cause nausea and vomiting.  Kidney disease is one of them.  If the cat is starting to have a decline in kidney function,  one of the signs is anorexia and vomiting.  If these symptoms have been observed for more than a couple of days a veterinary visit is definitely advised.

Another medical cause for frequent vomiting is sometimes cancer.  This is usually accompanied by anorexia, weight loss and lethargy.  If these symptoms are observed for more than a couple of days, this too would warrant a veterinary visit.  These are, of course, extreme accounts and typically not the cat throwing upnorm.

In my experience, the most likely reason for most cats is the diet they are being fed.  Most cat owners feed their cats a dry kibbled diet that is left out in the bowl so the cat can pick on it all day.  Since cats are obligate carnivores, they have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates.  When cats are fed a diet consisting of a high carbohydrate level, which are also typically high in “filler” ingredients, their bodies reject the food because they do not produce the enzymes necessary to digest that type of product.  Another problem with dry kibbled foods is the lack of moisture in them.  Cats need moisture in their food to help them to properly digest it.  Indoor cats that spend a lot of time grooming also have the tendency to throw up, especially when they are fed too many carbohydrates.  The carbohydrates alkalize the stomach acid which, in turn, helps to create hairballs.  Cats that are fed an all meat diet have stomach acid that is corrosive enough to break down the hair before it gets into the small intestine, thereby, preventing hairballs.

If any cat parent wants to alleviate the problem of their cat constantly throwing up, the simple solution is to change the cat’s diet to, ideally, a raw food diet. 33697_1653600382150_3474380_n If there is a reason a raw food diet is not appropriate, a dehydrated (but rehydrated) or grain free canned food is the next best choice.  By feeding a diet that most closely resembles the food a cat has evolved to eat,  you will eliminate the problem of your cat “hacking up a hairball”!

Until next time my faithful furry follower!

Should I set up a consultation with Amy? ☆

Logo 2If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s diet.  If your pet had been diagnosed with a medical condition and you don’t know what the best diet is for him.  The hardest part of researching anything is sifting through all that information and deciphering what is fact and what is opinion.

Many people offer their advice with good intentions, but unfortunately, most of the information they are passing on is not based on facts.  I have spent most of my career attending lectures and conferences given by the experts in each field.  By doing this, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge in nutrition and wellness for dogs and cats.  I have also had the opportunity to gather a lot of anecdotal evidence on many different medical conditions and treatments. If you would like to finally know what you should really be doing for the health of your furry friend it is time to set up a consultation.Amy

No matter what your schedule, we have a few different consultation options for you. All consultations provide:   A 1 hour one on one personal review of your pets current diet, treats, lifestyle and medical records. Diet and/or supplement recommendations customized to your pet based on evaluation of all information you provide. You will also receive any updated research information corresponding to your pets wellness needs. Even if your pet does not have a current medical condition, this consultation will help you make the best decisions for your pet to keep him as healthy as possible.   In Store Consultations: $40.00   Can’t make it to the store? We offer consultations in your home. Within 10 miles $55.00. Within 20 miles $75.00

Welcome to Amy’s Animals Family! ☆

Logo 2Hello!  We’re Amy & Rich Fiumarelli, and we would like to welcome you to our Amy’s Animals family, where we really care about the health of your pet.  We work hard to make sure that we can provide you with everything you need to keep your pet in tip top shape!  I’m not only talking about the products we sell.  AmyI’m talking about the information we can share with you about any new research findings, medical or wellness tips, or other tidbits that we’ve picked up in the 20 years I’ve been in the pet industry.  All the information we provide is based on proven, factual research and also on anecdotal evidence.  We have a passion for helping you learn everything you ever wondered about regarding your pet. 

Check out our facebook page, Amy’s Animals Holistic Nutrition Center, our website, Amy’s Pet Nutrition Center, and my blog, Amy’s Animals Holistic Canine & Feline Nutrition Center for plenty of great information and some fun pet articles!  Also, sign-up to receive our email news..keep in the know, by being part of the Amy’s Animals Family. Join our Furry Followers and have a picture of your pet posted on our website!  You’ll also meet our little pack.  Clyde, our boxer, his chi-bee brothers Ollie, Ernie & Tyler and sister Ellie Crumbles.  Be sure to check us out regularly.  There is always something happening at Amy’s Animals!

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Cats..The lion lurking in the living room! ☆

Logo 2Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, their nutritional needs have not changed at all.  Cats are obligate carnivores. They are meant to only eat meat. In their natural environment, cats will get most of their moisture from their food source. Since they are descended from desert dwellers, they do not have the instinct to drink. They will never drink enough water to satisfy their hydration needs. If they do not get adequate moisture in their food they will live out their lives partially dehydrated. This eventually leads to the common health problems we see in cats such as urinary tract disease and kidney disease. Since they are true obligate carnivores, cats will not voluntarily eat carbohydrates. When they catch prey, they eat all but the intestinal system of that prey. This would be the only source of carbohydrates the cat would be presented with.  A mouse in a can would be the ideal diet for a cat! Think of the lions and tigers you see in Africa.     They are not sitting around a huge bowl of dry kibble! They are hunting and eating prey animals. These prey animals offer all the nutrition the cat needs.

Meat for protein, bones for calcium, organs for fat, blood for micronutrients and 78-80% moisture content! The cat that prowls around your living room needs the same type of diet! Knowing now what the ideal diet for a cat really is, try to buy the closest to this diet that you can find.

Lion with mouth openRaw frozen diets are now available. Just thaw it and feed your cat twice a day. The next best alternative is grain free dehydrated food. Just add water and feed twice a day. The third choice is canned food. Also feed twice a day. Grain free dry food is the last alternative as it doesn’t contain enough moisture for the cat to thrive, but it is a better alternative than a carbohydrate based kibbled food. There is now a starch free kibble food available that would be the ideal choice if choosing a kibble. Even though most cat owners like to leave food out all day for their cats, this is not the best choice. Cats should not be fed free choice. They are not meant to graze. They benefit from the fasting period between meals. In the wild, they only ate if they had a successful hunt. If they didn’t, they would fast, sometimes for days. This allows the cats body to use its Cat with mouth openenergy in areas other than digestion.

For male cats, this is especially important. One study has shown that just in the presence of food, alkaline is directly released into the urinary system of the cat.  In male cats this makes them more susceptible to urinary tract disease. By feeding the cat and then removing the bowl this risk is eliminated. The cat foods available in the supermarket are usually high carbohydrate based foods. Grain is much cheaper than meat. The manufacturers add flavor enhancer’s to them to make them palatable to the cat. Remember, cats won’t voluntarily eat carbohydrates. Read the ingredient label. If the product has wheat, corn or soy in it, don’t buy it. If it has by-products in it, don’t buy it. These ingredients are very poor quality and very hard for the cats body to digest and process. This puts unnecessary strain on the organs of the cat which eventually will cause health problems.

The same rules apply when picking out treats for your cat. Better choices for treats include freeze dried meat or freeze dried fish.  By feeding a more species appropriate diet to your cat you will be assured that you will keep your cat happy & healthy for years to come!

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