April 23, 2013

3 Ways to Protect Your Pet From Medication Poisoning

Filed under: Dr. Loridawn's Lessons,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:00 am

Animal Poison ControlThere are several household items and products in your medicine cabinet that could be harmful to your pet without you even knowing it! With all kinds of medications and health aid products (both human and pet), pet owners need to be informed – and cautious. Medication poisoning can even occur as a result of using very common products, such as flea treatments and shampoos. To help ensure your pet’s health and safety, I have listed 3 great ways you can protect the four-legged members of your family!

1. Know which medications are not safe for your pet:

As obvious as it may seem, it is vital to remember that your pet is not human. Their body is different from yours. And so it’s important to not give them over the counter products that could result in them falling ill.

Three medications to never give your pet:

Advil: It can result in kidney failure and serious stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Lunesta: This can result in your pet being agitated and, in cats, may cause liver failure.
Tylenol: In dogs, this popular brand can lead to liver failure. In both cats and dogs, it can cause damage to red blood cells.

Not sure which medications are safe? For more information on medications to avoid, take a look at Med Help.

2. Keep a watchful eye on your pet:

It’s common knowledge that your pet will lick and or eat just about anything. Similar to precautions you would take with having a young child in your home, make sure that your own medications are placed in a safe place, out of reach and out of sight.

3. Check out your pet products and medications before purchase:

As I previously mentioned, even certain pet shampoos and flea medications can make your dog or cat seriously ill. Always check the ingredients, and don’t be tempted to buy a product just because it is on sale. In the end, it may not be such a good deal! In my opinion, natural is the best way to go. Remember your pet deserves the best, and avoiding those nasty chemicals will benefit their long term health!

How would you know if your pet has been poisoned? Observe your pet. Do you notice any changes in his/her behavior? Are they more aggressive? Are there any changes in their eating habits?

In the case that your pet is experiencing medication poisoning, I recommend giving them Ipecac syrup. Ipecac is a natural way to help induce vomiting, which could help prevent the severe consequences of medication poisoning. If you decided to use Ipecac, make sure that you are educated by a professional on how to properly administer it to your pet.
If your pet has been poisoned, you should also immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) at 888-426-4435.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon




Dr. Loridawn Gordon


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April 16, 2013

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

cushing's disease in dogsCushing’s disease is a dysfunction in the adrenal glands, where there is too much of the hormone glucocorticoid being produced. The cause of the overproduction of this hormone is usually connected to two issues:

1. The pituitary gland in the brain sends a signal for the adrenal glands to produce more hormones.

2. A benign or cancerous tumor in the adrenal glands can cause over-production of the hormones (this is less often the case).

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in your dog may include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urinating
  • Pot-belly-like appearance
  • Thin coat and skin
  • Increased appetite
  • Unusual skin bumps
  • Skin and/or bladder infections
  • Hyperactivity

The symptoms of Cushing’s Disease are similar to many other diseases. For this reason, it can be a complicated disease to diagnose, which requires the skill and expertise of a professional. If your vet suspects Cushing’s Disease, they will often take a blood test in order to test hormone levels and adrenal gland function.

Holistic treatment for a pet with Cushing’s Disease includes glandular treatment, homeopathic treatment, and herbal treatment.

Glandular treatment is whereby your pet is fed animal tissue or tissue extracts in order to help them heal. In the case of Cushing’s Disease, an animal would be fed adrenal gland tissue.

Homeopathic treatment may include administering arsenicum, hepar, mercurius, or sulphur to your pet. Whereas herbal treatment may include astragalus, dandelion root, burdock root, or ginseng.

Personally, I treat Cushing’s Disease with a combination of homeopathic remedies, which include Quercus robur (English Oak) and ACTH (a hormone produced and released by the pituitary gland). These remedies will be used in combination with a herbal liver tonic, glandular supplements, and a nutritious diet.

If your pet is diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, seek treatment as soon as possible. Leaving the disease untreated may lead to further health problems such as liver, lung, and kidney disease.

Although generally Cushing’s Disease is more prevalent in dogs, in rare cases it may also develop in cats.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon




Dr. Loridawn Gordon


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April 9, 2013

Natural Pet: Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine, Bach Flower Remedies, and Homeopathy

Filed under: Holistic Pet Care — Tags: , — 1st Pet Naturals @ 9:00 am


Natural Pet - Holistic PetNaturopathic practitioners do not believe in the use of drugs and surgery, but instead believe in a drugless system of therapies. Such therapies may include using the forces of light, water, heat and massage. Specifically, naturopathic treatments can include:

  • Fasting
  • Hot/cold treatments
  • Exercising
  • Sun bathing
  • Good hygiene
  • A nutritious diet
  • Supplements
  • Vitamins and minerals


Many naturopathic practitioners use natural homeopathic drugs. However, there are some who feel that homeopathic remedies are considered drugs, and therefore don’t use them in their treatment regimes.

For more information on naturopathy and certified animal naturopaths visit the American Council of Animal Naturopathy.

Herbal Medicine:

The focus of herbal medicine is to use specific herbal leaves, roots, and flowers to heal one back to health. With a drug store around the corner, you may find the idea of using plants as medicine ridiculous, but there is a long history of people using herbs to help heal their ailments. Even animals seek specific leaves, roots, and flowers to treat themselves back to health.

The concept behind herbal medicine is that plants are living and therefore have energy. This energy helps the body to detoxify, provides the body nutrients, and aids the body in functioning normally. Whereas synthetic drugs, although able to have an effect on the body, do not contain the same energy as a herbal remedy.

Examples of herbal medicine are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Astragalus
  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal
  • Milk Thistle
  • Raspberry Leaf
  • Valerian
  • Crystal Start

Herbal remedies are typically given in large quantities many times throughout the day. This makes it difficult to directly administer to pets, so using capsules or hiding a remedy in your pet’s food might be necessary. Herbal medicine can be also be paired with naturopathic treatments.

It is also wise to note that herbal remedies are medicinal, and if improperly used can have dangerous effects. Consult a veterinarian before administering herbal medicine to your pet.

Bach Flower Remedies:

Bach flower remedies are an interesting holistic treatment because the therapy focuses on treating emotional stress rather than physical body illnesses.

Flower remedies are diluted infusions of flowers and tree buds. There are thirty-eight Bach remedies, with each corresponding to a different mental condition or personality type. Flower remedies can be combined with each other to address different emotional conditions such as fear, uncertainty, lack of interest, despair, loneliness, oversensitivity, and over concern.

Although it is hard to know exactly how a pet is feeling, veterinarians are able to choose the best flower remedy by predicting an animal’s emotions, based on the emotions that occur with different medical illnesses.

Some of the remedies include:

  • Aspen
  • Beech
  • Centaury
  • Chicroy
  • Honeysuckle
  • Mustard
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Willow

You can add a few drops of a flower remedy into your pet’s water or you can put 1-2 drops directly into their mouth. Flower remedies are not medicine but rather just a type of therapy. The remedies are safe to use with other treatments.

For flower remedy success stories in animals visit The Original Back Flower Remedies.


Dr. Loridawn Gordon has discussed homeopathy earlier in this blog, but I will touch upon it once again since it is one of the most popular holistic treatments.

Homeopathy was founded on one basic unifying principle: “Like is cured by like” (aka: The Law of Similars). This means that the treatment found in homeopathy, uses medicine that is known to cause similar symptoms to what an individual already has. Sounds bizarre, right? Well, the miracle in homeopathy is that the medicine used actually triggers a reaction that allows the body to heal itself.

What is even more interesting is that instead of providing a remedy for each symptom that one shows (i.e. headache, fever, congestion, coughing, body pain), just one remedy is used for a whole set of symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies are made from diluted herbs, minerals, and animal products (I’m talking about animal toxins, not animal parts). The more diluted the remedy is, the stronger it actually becomes… again, I know it sounds bizarre, but it’s true!

Since only one remedy is provided to an individual, a doctor has to consider their patient’s unique physical, mental, and emotional health; or in other words, the patient’s whole health. Homeopaths treat a person or animal in their entirety, not just for the problems that they display.

Homeopathic treatment can be paired with naturopathic and nutritional therapies. However, it should not be used with acupuncture or Chinese medicine because they are too similar and may interfere with each other.

Common issues that are treated with homeopathy in pets are:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diarrhea
  • Gingivitis
  • Immune system disorders
  • Kennel cough
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Urinary disorders


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April 1, 2013

Natural Pet: Acupuncture and Chiropractic Therapy

Filed under: Holistic Pet Care — Tags: , — 1st Pet Naturals @ 9:00 am


Acupuncture is a method that has been used for more than 4000 years in Asian cultures. The traditional theory behind acupuncture is that there is a fundamental energy in the body, Chi, which exists as Yin and Yang. Yin represents disruptive, disturbing, expanded, and negative changes; while Yang represents constructive, focusing, contracted, and positive changes.
Our Chi follows a pathway that is marked by the location of specific acupuncture points, which contain nerves and blood vessels. A skilled therapist will correct the balance of your Chi (Yin and Yang) by inserting needles onto the acupuncture points. Sound scary? Well, word on the street is that you don’t feel a thing! The insertion of needles is said to release endorphins that will decrease pain, stimulate the immune system, dilate blood vessels, and redirect energy.

Techniques of redirecting energy through points in the body may be accomplished through the use of needles (acupuncture), finger pressure (acupressure/shiatsu), the burning of mugwort near body points (moxibuston), and electric stimulation (electro-acupuncture).

Natural Pet-chriporactic-acupunctureAcupuncture is used to help the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Esophageal disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Heart disorders
  • Immune stimulation
  • Inflammation
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Respiratory disorders


Possible complications of acupuncture may include: puncturing a vital organ if the incorrect needle is used, infection at the site where a needle had been inserted, surgery if a needle breaks (due to a patient moving during treatment), and mild sedation in pets who need to relax for treatment. This might make you hesitate about the treatment, but the chances of them occurring are slim.

An acupuncturist may recommend that your pet take supplements to aid in their treatment. This is fine, but it’s best not to combine acupuncture with other holistic methods, especially homeopathy, because the treatments may interfere with each other.

In order to find a reputable acupuncturist for your pet, look for a vet who is registered through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society or the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA).

For stories about how pets have benefited from acupuncture visit Animal Wellness Center.

Chiropractic Therapy:

Chiropractors view disease as the misalignment or abnormality of the spine that interfere with nervous system (nerve impulses and blood circulation), and the normal flow of energy that creates life (known as the Chi in acupuncture). The central theory behind chiropractic therapy is that vertebral misalignments, big and small, can block the essential flow of energy through the spinal column. The misalignments put pressure onto the nerves that surround the spine and cause the spinal nerves to become inflamed (known as sublaxation). Sublaxation has the ability to affect body organs that are associated with specific nerves, and as a result impact body functions.

Chiropractic treatment involves the careful manipulation of the vertebrae to realign the spine, while focusing on the interaction between the biomechanics of the spine and mechanisms of the nervous system. Chiropractic therapy can be paired with other treatments.

Since this form of therapy has to do with the spine, a vital part of your and your pet’s everyday life, only veterinarians accredited in chiropractic treatment or chiropractors should perform direct chiropractic therapies on you and your pet.

To find a certified chiropractic practitioner visit the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association . For chiropractic success stories in pets visit Options for Animals.

Stay tuned for next week when I will explore naturopathy, herbal medicine, Bach flower remedies, and homeopathy.


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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.