Feline Hyperthyroidism

Thursday, 20 January 2011 16:51 by Dr. Sarah

Since the late 1970’s, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism, making it the most common feline endocrine disorder in the world. What causes hyperthyroidism, and why is it so common? Previous studies of cats in the U.S., Great Britain and New Zealand have identified a number of risk factors for the development of hyperthyroidism, including genetic predispositions, the feeding of some canned cat foods and cross-breeding. Furthermore, some veterinarians believe feline hyperthyroidism is simply an outcome of cats living longer. But, if thyroid dysfunction is symptomatic of old age, why is it not more common in dogs, or people for that matter?

Veterinarians first noticed a dramatic surge in feline hyperthyroidism in the 1980’s. This rise coincided with the prevalent use of PBDE’s as a flame retardant in many products. A chemical flame retardant used widely in carpet pads, furniture, and electronics, PBDE (or, polybrominated dephenyl ethers) were researched in a recent EPA study that suggested that these chemicals may partly explain the current epidemic. PBDE’s linger in the environment, and cats ingest the substance in both foods and by licking their fur which retains house dust laced with toxic PBDE particles. Furthermore, studies have also shown a link between hyperthyroidism and BPA in the lining of many canned cat foods. Life’s Abundance is proud to inform our consumers that the lining in our canned foods is BPA-free.

An Environmental Science & Technology study reported in 2007 looked at whether hyperthyroid cats had greater body burdens of PBDE’s, and found that all cats have high levels compared to humans, with some cats with incredibly high levels (Dye et. al, 2007). The potential link between feline hyperthyroidism and PBDE exposure may be the veritable “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to evaluating the human health impacts of PBDE’s. People in the United States have the highest PBDE levels reported worldwide, according to a 2004 study also published in Environmental Science & Technology. By gaining a more complete understanding of chronic indoor PBDE exposure and its effects on thyroid hormone levels in cats, medical researchers can better assess whether the same risk exists for people. Researchers believe that further studies need to be performed before concluding a direct link between PBDE’s and feline hyperthyroidism.

There is good news, however. It isn’t necessary to rip up your carpet and throw out your furniture as these chemicals have been or are in the process of being banned in many states. And cats still live longer, healthier lives if they live primarily indoors, and the risk of being attacked by other animals or hit by a car while roaming outside is still much greater than the risk of developing hyperthyroidism from PBDE exposure.

What can you do if your cat has already been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism? What are the symptoms? In this video, Dr. Sarah reviews the signs of hyperthyroidism and treatments available. If you suspect your kitty has hyperthyroidism, schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian.

Potera, C. Environews Forum. Chemical Exposure: Cats as Sentinel Species. Environ Health Perspect. 2007. Dec;115(12)A580.

Wakeling J, Everard A, Brodbelt D, Elliott J, Syme H. Risk factors for feline hyperthyroidism in the UK. J Small Anim Pract. 2009 Aug;50(8):406-14.

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Welcome Home, New Pet! Now What?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:54 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane Bicks
With the holidays just around the corner, many people will consider adding a new pet to their home. According to recent statistics, more and more Americans are adopting not only their first companion animal, but their second and even third. The pervasiveness of multiple pet households indicates just how important pets have become in our lives, and that we want our existing pets to have companions of their own.

Having multiple pets increases everything: the joy, the cost, the hair, and the cuddles. As a veterinarian, I am often asked for advice on how best to integrate a new pet into a home that already has resident animals. In this post, I’ll be focusing on dog-only and cat-only households.

In a Dog-Meet-Dog World

When seeking to add an additional dog to your family, be sure to choose a breed, gender and personality that compliment your current canine. For example, it’s unwise to match a tea cup poodle puppy with a large or giant breed dog, especially an active one. Even if no harm is intended, the puppy could easily be injured. Similarly, be conscientious if you already have an older dog with arthritis, as a puppy could prove overwhelming. In general, opposite genders get along better, as do spayed and neutered pets (procedures I heartily endorse). In general, we would recommend the adoption of a dog younger than the resident dog; if the ages are reversed, tension could result, leading to recurring fights over who claims dominance. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, personality is an important factor. You know your resident dog’s disposition and it’s essential to take that into consideration when bringing a new dog into your home. More...

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They Depend on You to Stay Healthy ... Are You?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:50 by Life's Abundance

The cat’s bowl is full of nutritious Instinctive Choice. Your canine companion has had his daily Wellness Food Supplement. You know that you are forgetting something, but you just can’t seem to place it. Maybe it’s not something you’re forgetting but rather someone! As important of a role your pets play in your life, you are the main character in their lives! Without you who would they turn to?

By changing a few simple things in your daily routine, you could be around for more belly scratches and rub downs!

Get Active – Don’t just let Fido out by himself – join him. A recent survey found that more than 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. Since the health problems associated with excess weight include heart disease, diabetes and stroke, it's important to make weight loss and fitness a priority in your life. So lace up those sneakers and take your dog for a daily walk at the local park or around your block! The fresh air will invigorate you and the companionship of your dog will make this daily activity more enjoyable and seem less like exercise. Not only will this help keep your weight under control, but it will also help make for a healthier heart.

Eat Healthy – You feed your pets the best, most nutritious foods, and you should be doing the same. Hate the word “diet”? Try the 80-20 factor. Eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge for the other 20%. This is a very simple way to improve your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. An easy way to ensure that you are getting health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis is to try Sealogix Omega-3 Fish Oil. Thanks in large part to its superior quality, purity and concentration of nutrients, Sealogix represents an exceptional value compared to other market brands.

Stop Smoking – Many of us grew up when smoking was cool. Well, it’s not cool anymore. The American Heart Association could not have put it any clearer. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death! Your bad habit does not only affect you - it affects everyone in your home – pets included! There are so many cessation programs available these days that quitting may be easier than you think. Procrastination is one of the biggest hurdles, so make the decision to stop smoking today and consult your health care provider for the program that’s right for you.

Let your pets continue to enjoy the life that you have worked so hard to give them. You need to stay healthy, too!

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So You Found a Pregnant Cat…

Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:02 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane BicksDid you know that cats can become mothers in their first year of life? While more and more pet parents spay their cats early in life, many good Samaritans have gotten more than they bargained for, after finding that the stray they adopted is pregnant. As a matter of fact, we here at the Life’s Abundance office found ourselves in a similar situation when a sweet little stray showed up at our door a while back. Of course, food and water were the first order of business. After a few days, she began to trust us enough to pet her. That’s when we discovered that she was pregnant. To make a long story short, we took good care of her and her kittens, and now the whole feline family lives with their new adoptive parents. If you have a pregnant cat, you may be wondering what to expect and how best to care for the expectant mother. More...

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Doggie Dunce Caps: Bad Behavior or Serious Medical Issue?

Thursday, 19 August 2010 16:00 by Dr. Sarah

Have you ever found freshly dug holes in your backyard? Or bits of your favorite chair strewn across your den? Are you the proud parent of a canine that greets your guests by repeatedly jumping on them? Does your furry friend beg at the table, bark incessantly or strategically deposit her poo next to the dining room table? Simply put, if your dog could star in a film entitled “Dogs Gone Wild”, then you share a common complaint among dog lovers worldwide: frustrating behavioral problems. More...

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Two Types of Seniors to Benefit from Foundation Award

Thursday, 22 July 2010 15:28 by Trilogy

Brandy-American Brittany The Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation has made fresh inroads to making the world a better place for senior citizens and senior dogs.

Our charitable non-profit has awarded a financial grant to the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network (NBRAN), a dedicated organization devoted to saving the lives of abandoned American Brittanies both in the U.S. and Canada. A network of foster-care volunteers, NBRAN is comprised of individuals who work passionately on behalf of this lovable breed.

Once referred to as “Brittany Spaniels”, Britts are known to retain their puppy-like enthusiasm regardless of age. Great family dogs, they tend to be gentle, yet active, and are widely recognized for their good humor. More...

Looking Back at Giving Back

Thursday, 17 June 2010 15:56 by Trilogy

Dr Jane FoundationWe’re nearly midway through 2010, and we’d like to take this opportunity to share the progress made by the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation thus far into 2010. While we have highlighted some of the caring animal rescue agencies who have received financial awards this year, many more grants have been awarded.

Before we convey some of the details about these worthy organizations, we want to thank you for all that you’ve done to support our foundation. Even if you have never made a donation directly to the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation, if you have ever purchased any of our products, you have contributed to its reserves and thus helped animals in need. And for that, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

As you’ve probably noted, the vast majority of the animal rescue groups selected for our grants are small non-profits who typically operate on shoestring budgets. In many cases, the only assets these heart-full groups have are the people dedicated to aiding homeless and abused companion animals. Frequently located in small communities, these affiliations fulfill a vital need in under-served areas of the U.S. Not only do they accomplish so much with so few resources, they work every day to relieve suffering and enrich their communities. More...

Why Do Cats Purr?

Thursday, 17 June 2010 15:54 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane BicksAs a veterinarian, I am commonly asked “Why do cats purr?” Most people believe cats purr when they are content or happy. While cats do purr when they are content, researchers attempting to uncover the answer to this 3,000-year-old mystery are finding the answer more complicated than previously thought. All domestic cats purr, as well as many wild cats, like pumas, ocelots, lions and cheetahs. Purring can occur in a variety of situations. When cats purr in the presence of other unknown cats or kittens, the behavior may serve to convey submissiveness or a friendly greeting. While it is true that cats purr contentedly while on their pet parent’s lap, they also purr when they give birth, when they are frightened, severely injured and even while dying. Because kitties clearly cannot be content in all these situations, contentment or friendliness cannot be the only reason they purr.

So why else would they purr? More...

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Tips for Better Nail Care

Thursday, 17 June 2010 15:53 by Dr. Sarah

Nail trimming is a vital part of your pet’s healthcare routine. Unfortunately, it’s often neglected as many pet parents never receive any training about the best method for trimming nails safely. Watch this short video for helpful tips for better nail care. More...

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Vitamin E and Antioxidants

Thursday, 27 May 2010 16:46 by Dr. Jane

Dr Jane Bicks As a holistic veterinarian, I feel it is incredibly important to take the whole animal into consideration when it comes to nutrition. And, whenever practical, my preference is to provide nutrients, minerals and vitamins in their natural forms. In this post, I’d like to talk to you specifically about vitamin E, to review both the strengths and weaknesses of natural and synthetic forms.

Vitamin E is an incredibly complex and important nutrient that, among other things, functions as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are naturally occurring nutrients that promote health by slowing the destructive aging process of cells (a breakdown called “peroxidation”). In peroxidation, damaged molecules known as free radicals steal pieces from other cells, like fat, protein or DNA. The damage can spread, damaging and killing entire groups of cells. While peroxidation can be useful to destroy old cells or germs and parasites, when left unchecked, free radicals produced by peroxidation also damages healthy cells. Antioxidants can help to stem the tide of peroxidation, thus stabilizing free radicals.

Antioxidants like vitamin E are crucial to the health of companion animals of any age. They can improve the quality of the immune response and the effectiveness of vaccines in young pets, and help maintain a vital immune system in seniors. More...

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