All posts by dr. jane
One of the endearing qualities of companion animals is a complete lack of awareness about social norms. If they’re hungry, they eat. If they have an itch, they scratch. And, if they have gas, they … well, they release it. No doubt, gassiness is a subject that can spark the giggles. A comic staple of popular films, whether you euphemistically refer to it as breaking wind, cutting the cheese, barking spiders, a case of the vapors, churchhouse creepers, low flying geese, smoofers, whootzies, silent but violents, talky shorts, paint peelers, caboose rumblers, intestinnabulation, drive by pootings, smurf killers, lighting the afterburners, under-thunder, one-gun salutes or disturbances in the force, excessive gassiness is just another issue pet parents have to tolerate … or do they?" />

Dealing with Gassy Pets

Wink

One of the endearing qualities of companion animals is a complete lack of awareness about social norms. If they’re hungry, they eat. If they have an itch, they scratch. And, if they have gas, they … well, they release it. No doubt, gassiness is a subject that can spark the giggles. A comic staple of popular films, whether you euphemistically refer to it as breaking wind, cutting the cheese, barking spiders, a case of the vapors, churchhouse creepers, low flying geese, smoofers, whootzies, silent but violents, talky shorts, paint peelers, caboose rumblers, intestinnabulation, drive by pootings, smurf killers, lighting the afterburners, under-thunder, one-gun salutes or disturbances in the force, excessive gassiness is just another issue pet parents have to tolerate … or do they?

Let’s look at the causes. Excess gas in canine and feline intestinal tracts can be a function of normal biological processes, but repeated episodes may signal that something is out of whack. While cats do experience episodes, this is a much more common complaint for pet parents of canines than felines (cat lovers, you may now feel appropriately smug). Dogs who eat too quickly can swallow a lot of air along with their food; if it isn’t burped out, gas will find an exit path on the other end. Large meals, especially those eaten rapidly, and a radical change in diet can both lead to poor digestion, resulting in excessive gas. More...

Successful Aging - Mobility Wellness

Untitled 1

Senior Dog

Enjoying daily activity without stiffness and pain is key to our companion animals living “the good life” in their Golden Years. Because joint stiffness, muscle loss, pain and weakness can negatively impact quality of life, maintaining good mobility and strength is vital for better ‘healthspans’, a term we introduced last month, which refers to leading longer, healthier lifetimes.

In companion animals of a certain age, bodily systems start to degrade, breaking down at a cellular level. Just like in the whisper-circle game, where one person tells another a simple message, which is then repeated to each successive person … invariably, the message changes over the course of multiple re-tellings. Similarly, the cells are replicating over and over again, and after so many redo’s, the genetic messages become garbled. On the macroscopic scale, this means a loss of strength and mobility. More...

As part of our unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of all companion animals, we want to take time to alert you about this unfortunate situation. " />

Competing Brands Announce Recalls

I am truly saddened to hear of the current pet food recall concerning possible salmonella contamination. I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of this kind of infection in dogs and cats. Our hearts go out to the pet parents who are right now sitting on “pins and needles”, worrying about the health of their companion animals.

As part of our unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of all companion animals, we want to take time to alert you about this unfortunate situation.

Here’s what we know so far. According to the FDA, Diamond Pet Foods and other brands produced at their Gaston, South Carolina facility between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 have voluntarily recalled dry dog and cat foods due to potential salmonella contamination. This recall affects the following pet food brands:

4Health
Apex
Canidae
Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover's Soul
Country Value
Diamond
Diamond Naturals
Kaytee Fort-Diets (a rat and hamster feed)
Kirkland
Natural Balance
Premium Edge
Professional
Taste Of The Wild
Wellness Complete Health®
Super5Mix®

The scale of this recall is massive … products were distributed to customers in 41 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming) and may have been further distributed to other states through various pet food channels.

Symptoms of salmonella infection in pets include decreased appetite, fever (possibly quite high), lethargy and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dogs and cats may experience vomiting and/or diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and they may refuse food or water. If you know a pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, please contact a veterinarian immediately.

Keep in mind that infected – but otherwise healthy – pets can still be carriers of the disease, potentially infecting other companion animals and humans. You should always thoroughly wash your hands after handling your pet’s food and touching surfaces that might have been exposed to the contaminated products. Since these bacteria can also be present in the feces of your dog or cat, you should dispose of it carefully. According to the Center for Disease Control, 14 people in nine states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis.

For complete information on these recalls, we encourage you to visit the FDA’s web site at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.

Please be assured that this recall does not affect any of our Life’s Abundance products. We are fully confident that our products are completely safe. As you know, we employ numerous safety and quality controls to ensure the highest quality of our products.

When a recall occurs, many pet food companies rely on the media to inform consumers. However, people lead busy lives and often they are not aware of news reports or articles, which can lead to an extremely unfortunate situation for affected pet parents and their companion animals.

The good news for Life’s Abundance customers is that we employ an unparalleled, quick-response system. If we need to share information about a product with our customers, we can do it quickly and effectively. Thanks to our unique distribution system, we are able to pinpoint the lot numbers which identify the individual products shipped to each of our customers. Because we maintain databases with our customer's contact information, we can email them immediately about any issues with their products, should they arise. Also, through our automatic Interactive Voice Response system, we are able to call hundreds of our customers anywhere in the country within just a few hours. At Life’s Abundance, we believe informed consumers make for healthy pets!

Thank you for taking the time to read this important post, and thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Dr Jane Bicks   Dr. Jane Bicks

The Promise of Probiotics

Kitty

Forty years ago, the famous Australian virologist Sir Macfarlane Burnett said, regarding antibiotics, that “By the late twentieth century, we can anticipate the virtual elimination of infectious diseases as a significant factor in social life.”

Unfortunately, his prediction proved utterly wrong.

In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen the development of superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, which has left researchers scrambling for solutions. Even a few years ago, our focus was on the targeted elimination of specific bacteria through the use of antibiotics. In an unforeseen consequence, the prevalent usage of these medications has altered entire bacterial populations. This change represents a paradigm shift in the treatment of both humans and companion animals. Fortunately, there is a tool in our arsenal to help us all lead healthier lives. More...

You may be groaning inwardly at another post on canine periodontal disease, but the doggone truth is, many of us pet parents could stand to freshen up on the topic. That’s not a guess, it’s a fact: 17 out of 20 dogs over the age of three have some level of periodontal disease that needs treatment. One of the most common canine diseases, it’s also one of the most easily prevented. Dental disease not only “stinks” at the source, it’s also known to negatively impact the health of the whole body. It’s not a stretch to say that to have true wellness, your dog’s teeth and gums need to be as healthy as possible. I know all of you are busy, so I’ll briefly cover the three most salient points to remember when it comes to canine dental care. You might want to take notes, or simply print this out for reference, as there will be an oral exam. At least, I certainly hope so! " />

Three Toothsome Tips for Canine Dental Health

Pug

You may be groaning inwardly at another post on canine periodontal disease, but the doggone truth is, many of us pet parents could stand to freshen up on the topic. That’s not a guess, it’s a fact: 17 out of 20 dogs over the age of three have some level of periodontal disease that needs treatment. One of the most common canine diseases, it’s also one of the most easily prevented. Dental disease not only “stinks” at the source, it’s also known to negatively impact the health of the whole body. It’s not a stretch to say that to have true wellness, your dog’s teeth and gums need to be as healthy as possible. I know all of you are busy, so I’ll briefly cover the three most salient points to remember when it comes to canine dental care. You might want to take notes, or simply print this out for reference, as there will be an oral exam. At least, I certainly hope so! More...

Second only to upper-respiratory illness, digestive disorders are the chief reason for feline veterinary visits. Cats with digestive problems exhibit symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea, to weight loss, constipation and excessive gas. While the causes are many, feline IBS and IBD are two common digestive disorders. On many occasions, they are mistaken for one another, which is unfortunate because they call for very different treatments. In this post, we’ll cover the basics and try to clear up the confusion surrounding these disorders." />

Get the Scoop on Feline Digestive Disorders

Girl With Cat

Second only to upper-respiratory illness, digestive disorders are the chief reason for feline veterinary visits. Cats with digestive problems exhibit symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea, to weight loss, constipation and excessive gas. While the causes are many, feline IBS and IBD are two common digestive disorders. On many occasions, they are mistaken for one another, which is unfortunate because they call for very different treatments. In this post, we’ll cover the basics and try to clear up the confusion surrounding these disorders.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, also affects humans. For us, symptoms of this disorder include lower abdominal pain, excessive gas and a marked change in stools, among others. All of these need not occur simultaneously, although they sometimes do. Causes range from suffering from excessive stress, taking a newly prescribed medication and the development of dietary sensitivities. In response, the intestinal tract repeatedly and painfully contracts, like a spasming muscle, leading to stool changes. If you or anyone you know has endured these symptoms, you’ll know that IBS is no walk in the park. More...

Home Design with Pets in Mind

Puppy On Couch

Americans love their companion animals. These days, it’s rarer to not have a pet than to think of one as a family member. For those of us with dogs and/or cats, it’s essential to provide a cozy environment for our companion animals that's not just comfortable, but is one where they will be able to thrive.

Many mistakenly believe that “pet-proof” is code for “absence of style”, but this is simply not true. You can beautifully outfit and remodel your home to be completely pet-friendly, simply by using specific paints, flooring, fabrics and furniture. And these days, there are more options for pet-loving consumers than ever before. More...

Over the course of the last decade, there’s been ample evidence to support the idea that chronic stress plays a contributing role in a variety of medical conditions in humans. It may come as no surprise that researchers have similarly determined that long-term stress can be a factor in the medical and compulsive disorders of companion animals. Conditions such as feline lower urinary tract disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, obesity, gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), noise phobias and separation anxiety have all been found to have a chronic stress component in both dogs and cats (Luescher, 2003). Even so, compared to humans, relatively little research has been published regarding stress and its effects on companion animals. " />

Understanding and Dealing with Pet Stress

Depressed Dog

Over the course of the last decade, there’s been ample evidence to support the idea that chronic stress plays a contributing role in a variety of medical conditions in humans. It may come as no surprise that researchers have similarly determined that long-term stress can be a factor in the medical and compulsive disorders of companion animals. Conditions such as feline lower urinary tract disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, obesity, gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), noise phobias and separation anxiety have all been found to have a chronic stress component in both dogs and cats (Luescher, 2003). Even so, compared to humans, relatively little research has been published regarding stress and its effects on companion animals. More...

“Mom, Dad, can we get a pet? Please?” " />

Can Kids with Allergies have Pets?

Girl with her dog

“Mom, Dad, can we get a pet? Please?”

It’s a question that many parents hear from their youngsters. Unfortunately, the decision process can be difficult to navigate if the child in question suffers from allergies related to dogs, cats, bunnies and birds. Parents shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this situation, as the following brief review of current research may help those seeking a solution that makes everybody happy. More...

Pet-Kidnapping by Dr. Jane

 

Kidnap Dog It’s every pet parents worst nightmare. And, according to reliable sources, it’s a crime that’s on the rise.

According to the American Kennel Club, the number of pet kids reported stolen is rising. In fact, the selling of abducted companion animals has become so common that a new phrase has been coined: pet-kidnapping.

Whether you realize it or not, there is a black market for pets. Dogs in particular are assessed in these underground circles according to their “street value”, the going price if sold illicitly. Puppies, purebreds and dogs with unusual markings fetch the highest prices. Some thieves rob puppies from pet stores and animal shelters. Others swipe dogs left unattended outside stores or in cars. A spokesperson for the AKC said that they now receive pet-kidnapping reports nearly every day, ranging from nighttime home break-ins to broad-daylight attacks in public parks.

The abducted dogs and cats are then sold at roadside stands, flea markets or online through community-based classified forums. Recently a story was published about a Washington family being reunited with their stolen Great Dane, all because they noticed a “for sale” posting for their prized pup on a popular online classified forum for $150. More...