Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is a fairly common respiratory event seen in dogs that can be quite frightening for dog owners to witness. Some owners may think their dog is choking, suffocating or even having a seizure during an episode, but dogs do not lose consciousness, nor do they collapse.

Reverse sneezing, also known as paroxysmal respiration or pharyngeal gag reflex, is not actually a sneeze but a spasm that occurs when the soft palate and throat become irritated. It is termed “reverse sneeze” because the dog is inhaling air rapidly and forcefully instead of expelling air, as with a normal sneeze. This phenomenon is usually harmless and, in most cases, does not require medical treatment.

During a reverse sneeze, which lasts a few seconds up to a minute or two, the dog is usually very still with head and neck extended, mouth closed and the corners of the mouth pulled back. The trachea becomes narrow and it’s more difficult to get a normal amount of air into the lungs. The chest expands as the dog tries harder to inhale.

Corgi during a bout of reverse sneezing

These spasms normally end on their own and pose no threat to your dogs health. Once the episode is over, the dog resumes normal behavior. Smaller breeds are more prone to reverse sneezing and may have several bouts in a row or during a day.

Reverse sneezing can be caused by various types of irritants and even some dog allergies. Dust, pollen, mites, household chemicals and cleaners, perfumes, viruses, nasal inflammation and post-nasal drip are some causes. Some triggers of reverse sneezing are rapid eating or drinking, pulling on the leash and excitement.

Gently massaging your dogs throat may help to stop the spasms. Covering the nostrils is sometimes effective because it makes the dog swallow, which can clear out whatever is causing the irration. Try depressing the dog’s tongue if the episode does not end quickly, as this will open the mouth and aid in moving air through the nasal passages. You can also pick up your dog or take him outside for some fresh air.

If reverse sneezing becomes a chronic problem rather than an occasional occurrence, your veterinarian may need to look up the nasal passages (rhinoscopy), and may even need to take a biopsy to determine the cause of the problem. Sometimes, however, no cause can be identified.



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You’ve undoubtedly seen them in your mailbox. Cute little reminder cards from your vet that it’s time for Beauregard’s annual vaccinations. But after looking a bit closer at the risks and benefits of these vaccines, you might want to paws before making that appointment.

Could these vaccines not only be unnecessary, but actually harmful to your pet’s health?


We overvaccinate our children — but at least we eventually stop after puberty. But with our pets, we continue vaccine boosters until they are well into their senior years.

As adults, we don’t assault ourselves with annual boosters, and we certainly wouldn’t do this to our elderly family members. So why do we inflict this upon our pets, regardless of their immune status or age, when common sense would tell us those vaccines should last longer than a year?

Additionally, there are no adjustments in dose for size or age of your animal. Your five-pound Miniature Pinscher receives the same size vaccine as your 150-pound Rottweiler. Your 10-pound housecat gets the same amount as a 400-pound lion.

All of these vaccines are overwhelming your pet’s immune system. Vaccine reactions are at an all-time high.

A study of more than 2,000 cats and dogs in the United Kingdom by Canine Health Concern showed a 1 in 10 risk of adverse reactions from vaccines. This contradicts what the vaccine manufacturers report for rates of adverse reactions, which is “less than 15 adverse reactions in 100,000 animals vaccinated” (0.015 percent).

Additionally, adverse reactions of small breeds are 10 times higher than large breeds, suggesting standard vaccine doses are too high for smaller animals.

A few bold veterinarians have paved the way for ending overvaccination, but the research is sparse and the opposition is great, just as with the human vaccine industry — and for similar reasons.

In this article I will be addressing three main points:

1. There is no scientific evidence that annual vaccines are necessary, and in fact once animals achieve immunity from their initial vaccines, they appear to have immunity that lasts for many years, and often for life, without boosters.

2. There is growing alarm that overvaccination appears to be causing a multitude of serious medical problems, particularly with the immune system, including allergies, seizures, anemia and cancer.

3. Vaccines are a very profitable part of veterinary care — in fact, some vet practices are built around them. Long-term studies of animal immunity would require a substantial outlay of money — the kind of money that only the drug companies have, and Big Pharma is much more interested in selling more vaccines than challenging the need for them.

How Current Vaccine Schedules Were Determined

The current recommendation from many veterinarians is for dogs is to receive rabies, parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, coronavirus, hepatitis, lyme (borelia), and annually, bortadella (kennel cough) sometimes being recommended every 6 months.

Cats are advised to have rabies, feline leukemia (FeLV), distemper (panluekopenia), rhinotracheitis, and calcivirus annually–and depending on risk, chlamydia, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and ringworm can be added.

Many vets advise both puppies and kittens get their “core vaccines” at ages 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 14 weeks, and 16 weeks. Then, they get boosters at one year, and annually thereafter.

All of these shots add up to a tremendous vaccine load over your pet’s lifetime!

How did these recommendations for annual vaccines come about?

One of the veterinary pioneers, Dr. W. Jean Dodds, president of the nonprofit animal version of the Red Cross called Hemopet, reported that the recommendations for annual vaccines were just that — recommendations. They were not based on any scientific evidence.

The recommendations for annual vaccination were put forth jointly by the United States Department of Agriculture and the drug companies, more than twenty years ago. And veterinary medicine has continued to do it that way because, well, that’s the way it’s always been done.

And it’s a good deal for them financially. So far, protests to annual vaccines have been mild.

Now the USDA puts the annual vaccination recommendation right on the product label.

Veterinary Vaccines are Big Money for Many Vets — and Even Bigger Money for Big Pharma

Without some driving force for change, there is no motivation for the industry to change the most lucrative part of its practice.

Many vets cling to annual vaccine schedules because of economic dependence more than maintaining a “cautious” standard of care. This is particularly true for the typical small vet practices (1-3 people, non-specialty, non-emergency practices).

Consider this …

One dose of rabies vaccine costs the vet about 61 cents. The client is typically charged between $15 and $38, plus a $35 office visit. The markup on the vaccine alone is 2,400 percent to 6,200 percent — a markup equivalent to charging $217 for a loaf of bread.

According to one estimate, removing the one-year rabies vaccination and consequential office visit for dogs alone would decrease the average small vet’s income from $87,000 to $25,000 — and this doesn’t include cats or other vaccinations.

According to James Schwartz, author of Trust Me, I’m Not a Veterinarian, 63 percent of canine and 70 percent of feline vet office visits are for vaccinations.

Clearly, radically changing the vaccine schedule for dogs and cats would result in a huge economic loss for any veterinary practice that is built around shots.

And chances are the vaccines you are paying so much for are creating even more income for vets, because the adverse reactions and other medical issues caused by the vaccines keep Fluffy coming back often!

The profits for vets pale in comparison to the profits being enjoyed by vaccine manufacturers. Veterinary vaccine sales amounted to more than $3.2 million in 2004 and have risen 7 percent per year since 2000. This figure is projected to exceed $4 billion in 2009.

Six companies account for more than 70 percent of world veterinary vaccine sales. The market leader is Intervet, with sales of almost $600 million in 2004. That’s a whole lot of 61-cent vaccines.

The United States has by far the largest share of the national market with revenues of $935 million, and Japan comes in second with $236 million.

Medical Risks Outweigh Benefits

In 1991, an unfortunate observation led many vets to begin rethinking the vaccine protocol.

A lab at the University of Pennsylvania noted a connection between a troubling increase in sarcomas (a type of cancerous tumor) and vaccinations in cats. Mandatory annual rabies vaccinations were leading to an inflammatory reaction under the skin, which later turned malignant.

At about the same time, researchers at University of California at Davis confirmed that feline leukemia vaccines were also leading to sarcomas, even more than the rabies vaccine.

Further investigations led to alarming statistics: vaccine-induced sarcomas were estimated to be one cat in 1,000, or up to 22,000 new cases of sarcoma per year.

It wasn’t long before veterinary professionals began to suspect vaccination as a risk factor in other serious autoimmune diseases. Vaccines were causing the animals’ immune system to turn against their own tissues, resulting in potentially fatal diseases such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia in dogs (AIHA).

Delayed vaccine reactions were also the cause of thyroid disease, allergies, arthritis, tumors and seizures in both cats and dogs.

These findings led to a 1995 article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association that concluded:

“There is little scientific documentation that backs up label claims for annual administration of most vaccines.”

And then there’s the issue of adjuvants.

Thimerosal, mercury, and aluminum-based adjuvants are still being allowed in veterinary vaccines. So, your pet is being exposed to potential antigens that could abnormally stimulate his immune system, but last a lifetime and cause chronic disease. The less of this, the better.

For more on thimerosal, mercury, and aluminum, please visit Dr. Mercola’s site.

Is Non-Vaccination a Greater Danger?

Giving your dog or cat a vaccine when it is already immune does not give any additional immunity, and it creates an unnecessary risk to your animal.

Evidence suggests that, like humans, dogs and cats could be vaccinated with certain vaccines early in life and be protected for a lifetime. With the exception of rabies, the core vaccines probably last at least seven years and should not be given more often than every three years.

In one study, the antibody levels of more than 1,400 healthy dogs of all ages were measured for parvo and distemper. Nearly all the dogs were immune (95-98 percent), suggesting that annual revaccination may not be necessary.

Many of the non-core vaccines are bactrins, vaccines created to treat non-viral infections (Lyme disease and Chlamydia, for example) and may have a shorter duration; about one year. But not all animals are at risk of exposure, and the vaccines have proven to be significantly more reactive to the immune system, so assessing risk versus benefit is very important before considering these very reactive vaccines. .

Researchers say there has been no increase in disease rates among dogs who have gone to vaccines every three years. And there is ample evidence that the dangers of repeated vaccinations are real.

A study published by Purdue in 2005 found correlations between vaccine reactions in dogs and variables such as age, size, and number of vaccines given. The study found:

  • Smaller dogs are more prone to vaccine reactions than larger dogs
  • Risk of reactions increased by 27 percent for each additional vaccine given per office visit in dogs under 22 pounds, and by 12 percent in dogs over 22 pounds
  • Risk increased for dogs up to 2 years old, then declined with age
  • Risk increased for pregnant dogs and dogs in heat
  • More reactions were found in small dogs given Leptospirosis vaccine

As in humans, one of the reasons why dogs and cats need vaccine protection at all is that they aren’t eating an ideal diet. The better your pet’s nutrition is, the healthier his immune system will be, and better able to fend off pathogens.

My Vaccine Recommendations

  1. Wellness visits are important for other reasons than vaccines, such as checking for heartworm and tumors and assessing general health status. I do recommend continuing these checkups every six months, although I do not recommend annual vaccines.
  2. Rabies vaccines are required by law. There are approved 1-year and 3-year rabies vaccines. They are the same product. Please ask for the 3-year vaccine, if you opt to vaccinate your pet against rabies. I also recommend you consider finding a holistic vet that will provide you with the homeopathic rabies vaccine detox, called Lyssin.
  3. Ask for a Vaccine Titer Test: this is a how you can determine if your pet has adequate immunological protection from previously administered vaccines (puppy or kitten shots). Antibody levels can be measured from a blood draw, in place of revaccination. The type of titer that best assesses immune system’s response to vaccinesis called IFA, or indirect immunofluorescent antibody.

    Please discuss with your vet the risks versus benefits of the diseases you are considering vaccinating for, before you automatically assume additional vaccines are necessary.

  1. Indoor housecats should not be vaccinated annually, especially if they never go outside or have access to other cats (potentially exposing them to infectious disease). I believe overvaccination is one of the main reasons the general health of our feline patients is deteriorating.
  2. Do not vaccinate your dog or cat if it has had a serious life-threatening vaccine reaction.
  3. Do not patronize any boarding facility, groomer, training facility or veterinarian that requires you to vaccinate your pet more than necessary.

The decision by some vets to come forward with the truth about pet vaccines is a positive step toward changing our animal health care system. Veterinary vaccines are one more unfortunate example of the corporate greed that permeates the pharmaceutical industry.


Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of HealthyPets.Mercola.com. You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to MercolaHealthyPets.com, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.


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Are you going crazy listening to your dog scratching his ears all night long? Have you about had it with your dog licking her paw non-stop? At your wit’s end over your dog biting his own tail?

If you think you’re uncomfortable, imagine how your dog feels.

Compulsive scratching, licking, and chewing behaviors are quite common in dogs and have a variety of causes. They can also be harmful. One of the first signs your dog has a problem might be the development of a “hot spot” — a red, wet, irritated area that arises from persistent chewing or licking. Although hot spots, or “acute moist dermatitis”, can occur anywhere on your dog’s body, they are most often found on the head, chest, or hips. Because dogs often incessantly scratch, lick, or bite at an area once it becomes irritated, hot spots can become large and incredibly sore rather quickly.

Reasons Why Dogs Compulsively Scratch, Lick, or Chew

Dogs scratch, lick, or chew for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from allergies to boredom to parasite infestation:
~Boredom or anxiety
~Dry skin
~Hormonal imbalances
Read more on each category by clicking here

Skin Problems in Dogs Slideshow

Treatment for Your Dog’s Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing

Because there are so many reasons why dogs chew or scratch, be sure to check with your veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem. The veterinarian will help figure out the cause of the behavior and determine the best treatment plan. Depending on the cause of your dog’s compulsive behavior, this might include:
~Eliminating parasites
~Changing foods
~Using medication
~Preventing the behavior
~Addressing anxiety or boredom
Click here to learn more about these treatments

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Ear Cleaning Basics
written by: MeShell~PLP Administrator

Regular ear check-ups and cleaning contributes to healthy ears, free of painful infections. Between grooming appointments pet owners should practice ear health maintenance and check their dog’s ears at least once a week. When pet owners request grooming services, professional groomers include an ear inspection and cleaning. Whether the groomer is giving the dog a bath-only service or a complete styling, ear cleaning and deodorizing is typically be included as part of the basic grooming service fee. A few pet owners may ask for ear cleaning only services.

Many pet owners do not realize that dogs can grow hair in the ear canal, even large amounts common to some Poodles and Terriers, as well as other breeds. For this reason, many owners never check their dog ears unless the dog is shaking or scratching its ear(s). By that time there is usually an ear health problem requiring veterinary medical inspection.
Keeping your dog’s ears clean is very important to maintain good health. Many dog insurance plans do cover ear infections for breeds who are known to have problems, such as Cocker Spaniels. Pet health insurance is very useful if you have a breed that is prone to health issues. Compare pet insurance plans to see which is the best choice for you and your dog.

Ear infections “Otitis Externa” may arise from water trapped in the ear canal. The damp environment creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, often leading to painful sensitivity, redness, swelling and infection. Dogs with ear flaps are the most affected since the flaps cut air circulation and trap moisture.

Ear mites may also be present in ear wax. Dogs with this problem often shake their heads and scratch ears. You may be able to locate ear mites by looking at ear wax removed from the affected dog. Under a bright light, spread a sample of ear wax on a piece of white paper, and look for tiny white specks. They are very contagious and will require the owner to treat their pet for ear mites for over 3 weeks. Insecticides kill the adult mites only, so repeat applications are in order. Based on the life cycle of mites, treatment usually consists of applying insecticide for 7 days, then waiting 10 days for baby mites to mature. Groomers seeing the evidence of ear mites should recommend veterinary inspection for a determination of whether there the dog is infested, and for treatment.

Accumulations of wax and a lack of air circulation can lead to ear canker. Canker infection often causes a dark-colored discharge and foul odor. The pet requires veterinary inspection of the condition.

Some dogs scratch their ears as a result of allergies; they should be inspected and treated by veterinarians.

Sometimes groomers will discover weeds and other organic matter in ears. In fact, some weeds can work their way down into the ear canal and cause serious, even life-threatening conditions. On the West Coast of the U.S. the infamous “foxtail” weed finds its way into the ears of thousands of dogs every year, even cutting into the fleshy skin between feet pads and posing a serious health threat.

Professional groomers understand the serious nature of ear problems and always ensure that pet owners are advised of any suspect conditions and recommend veterinary inspection.

Procedures Before Ear Cleaning

Inspect every dog’s ears for potential problems before proceeding with ear cleaning procedures. Be prepared to record written descriptions of any suspect conditions so that you may report them accurately to pet owners and veterinarians.

Realize that some dogs may have very little or no hair to remove from their ears. However, almost all dogs will require some excess wax and dirt removal from their ears and ear flaps as noted below.
Common ear problem signs are:

– Head shaking and ear scratching.
– Ears sensitive to touch.
– Discharges and powerful odors.
– Hematomas (blood blisters) on the ear flap.
– Swelling and skin redness.
– Melanomas (tumors).

When you discover serious ear problems you may choose to gently clean the exterior area of the ear of dirt, wax and other matter, and contact the owner and suggest immediate veterinary care. Other groomers stop all ear cleaning and suggest the pet owner to seek immediate veterinary care, especially when the pet is in distress.

Sterilize any tools that you have used during the cleaning process, actually a process you should do between all ear cleanings as well.

Ear Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Grooming suppliers normally stock all the tools and supplies required for dog ear cleaning.
You will need the following tools and supplies for the ear cleaning procedure. Carefully read and follow instructions supplied with all products before using them.

· Hemostat (sterilized before and after each procedure).
· Commercial medicated ear powder (deodorizer too).
· Commercial ear cleaning solution.
· Cotton (sterile medical grade preferred).

Do not use Q-Tips or alcohol.

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