August 7, 2013

Heat Stroke in Dogs

Filed under: Dogs,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons,Pet Health,Pet Safety Tips — Tags: , , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 11:41 pm

Dog digging

We have all been there – waiting in the car while a friend runs into a store to “quickly” grab a last minute item you forgot before heading out for the day. But “quickly” seems to be the longest wait of your life. What could be less than a 5 minute wait begins to feel likes a daunting 20 minute wait. You begin to feel thirsty, wondering how long your friend will take, contemplating walking into the store to avoid the heat, and overall start feeling agitated. If you feel like this, just imagine what your dog would feel like being left in a car.

At least you would be able to open the doors, windows, or take a stroll in the parking lot. Your pet doesn’t have the same luxury, and as a result could suffer from heatstroke. Being trapped in a car on a hot summer day isn’t the only way that heat stroke can creep upon your dog, it can also be caused by:

  • Being tied up to a post with no way escape into shade
  • Excessive exercise in the sun without water
  • Being in the sun for too long

How is heat stroke created in the body to begin with? It is caused by your dog’s body heating up to the point that that the heat reaches their head. Once the heat reaches their head, it is hard for a pet to control their temperature, because their brain becomes impaired.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Skin turns into a deep red shade
  • Gums turn bright red
  • Unusual breathing
  • Excessive drooling

You can overcome heat stroke in dogs by using cool water to rinse and cool him/her down. You should NOT use ice water. This will make the body shiver, which will increase the body’s temperature. You may also want to set up a fan that your pet can enjoy during the summer months.

My personal recommendation is to focus on the feet. You may have noticed that your dog digs during warm days – they do this because the cool dirt helps cool their feet. A dog’s sweat glands are located in the feet, so providing a cool bath to wade in or visiting a nearby stream will help cool their body down.  I also recommend using the homeopathic remedy, Belladonna. Of course, you should consult a professional regarding the use of this plant because if administered incorrectly, it can be very poisonous.  The best preventative strategy for heat stroke is to provide your pet with shade of lots of fresh water.

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Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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July 12, 2013

Dehydration in Dogs and Cats

Dehydration in Dogs and CatsLike other living animals, your cats and dogs need water to survive. A lack of water and other fluids, as well as diarrhea and vomiting, leads to dehydration. This is especially common in the summer months, due to the tendency of the body to overheat.

Signs of dehydration in dogs and cats include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Less playful
  • Gums become dry and sticky
  • Saliva is thick
  • Eyes appear sunken
  • Pet is in shock

To determine if your pet is dehydrated, lift up a piece of their skin and see if it returns to its normal position. If it doesn’t, your pet may be dehydrated. You can also have your vet perform a blood or urine test. A urine test will detect whether the kidneys are affected or not.

There are several ways to replace fluid loss. This can be done orally, or by injection – either subcutaneously (under the skin), intravenously (in the vein), and in the bone. Orally, I use electrolyte mixes, and for other routes I use balanced solutions and specialty fluids.

 

One homeopathic remedy I use to treat dehydration includes a plant called China (aka: Peruvian Bark), which you can mix into water. It seems to alleviate the symptoms od dehydration quite well.

A common mistake that some pet owners will make in an effort to get their cat or dog back to their normal states, is to give them a lot of fluids However, doing this could cause your pet to vomit, and will result in increased dehydration.. The best way for your pet to take fluids when they are dehydrated is in smaller doses over a longer period of time.

 

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Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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May 31, 2013

4 Best Ways to Get Rid of Cat Dandruff

Filed under: Cat Nutrition,Cat Skin,Cats,Dog Skin Problems — Tags: , — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 7:09 pm

how to get rid of cat dandruffJust as dandruff affects humans, it also affects cats. Cats develop dandruff for many reasons such as parasitic infections, sunburn, diabetes, dry climate, poor diet and lack of grooming habits.

It is a good idea to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice dandruff on his coat, because the dandruff may be a sign of other more serious issues with your cat’s health. Nevertheless, there are some steps that you can take to either prevent or resolve your cat’s dandruff issue at home. Here are the 4 best ways to get rid of cat dandruff:

1. Buy a humidifier. Keeping the air moist in your home is one of the simplest ways to resolve a dandruff problem.

2. Change your cat’s diet. The food you are feeding to your feline friend could be the reason for the dandruff. Try changing to a wet food diet. It would also be wise to supplement the diet with Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which will aid the body in natural oil production, keeping the skin healthy. You should also monitor your cat’s water intake, because dandruff could be the result of dehydration.

3. Groom your cat. Grooming is especially important if your cat is overweight or a senior. Concentrate on areas of the body that your cat is unable to reach, like the tail. Brushing your cat’s fur helps to distribute the natural oils from his body over the skin. If you bathe your cat, use a gentle shampoo that will not irritate his skin or dry it out.

4. Use lotion. You can buy hypoallergenic lotion, just for cats. Lotion is especially useful when it includes colloidal oatmeal. Lotion can also be used if your cat experiences a sunburn.

 

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May 17, 2013

Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Filed under: Cats,Dog Skin Problems,Dogs,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 4:57 pm

health benefits of having a petDoes owning a pet increase your own well being and happiness? I believe that owning a pet has great benefits to one’s health. Throughout my years of practice, I’ve noticed the overall happiness in both my patients and in their owners.

In regards to women, I have specifically encountered women who have expressed that their stress levels dropped after owning a pet. The result of decreased stress meant a drop in their blood sugar and blood pressure and a more positive emotional and mental state. Studies have shown that people’s overall moods and mentality have become more positive with having a pet. Additionally, due to the physical demands that some pets require, a pet can actually keep you in shape.ners.

You have probably heard of stories where people in retirement facilities, people with illnesses, or even people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, have benefited from having the company of our lovely four legged companions. Pets do not judge you. They see you as their friend who will care for them. They are loyal and they respect you. With such a huge boost to your overall value as a person, it is no wonder why so many people own pets.

For many years, I personally volunteered with the Saint John pet therapy program in a dementia unit, with my two dogs. It was one of the most meaningful activities I have done with my pets. My little multi-poo would put so many smiles on the faces of lost people; for an hour, these people would come alive.

Pet ownership can also benefit children. Consider how a child would benefit from a pet in their physical, mental, and emotional health. With pet ownership, your child’s immune system will be elevated, and they will be less susceptible to allergies and allergy symptoms. Moreover, a pet can teach a child about responsibility, love, and companionship.

Owning a pet has been a way of natural healing for people. Instead of medication, pets are able to reduce overall stress and stressors in one’s life. Take the time to consider owning a pet. The health benefits of owning a pet can help you achieve a holistic lifestyle both physically and emotionally.

Don’t believe me? Do a simple internet search on personal stories about how a pet has changed one’s life, overall well being, and holistic health.

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May 6, 2013

Why Dogs Eat Grass

Filed under: Dog Behavior,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:00 am

why-do-dogs-eat-grassHave you ever wondered why it seems like some dogs eat grass constantly? Like they just can’t get enough?

There could be various reasons as to why your pooch eats grass. It could simply be a habit which your beloved companion has developed – even boredom. Or, it may be related to the health of your dog’s digestive tract, such as a stomach irritation, or lack of fiber in their diet. If this is the case, you should consult your veterinarian. Keep in mind that grass is difficult for dogs to digest, and some dogs vomit after ingesting it. Perhaps this is where the common theory that a dog eats grass to help him vomit came about. A study regarding this issue, found on Medicine Net, tries to shed some light:

Question 1: Why do dogs eat grass? Is it because they are feeling ill?
Answer: Less than 10% of dogs were sick before eating grass.

Question 2: Do they actually do it to vomit?
Answer: Not necessarily. Studies have shown that less than 25% of dogs will vomit after grazing.

So we’re back to why do dogs eat grass? And once again, the more common possibilities are:

1. A habit Fido has developed
2. Irritation in their digestive tract
3. Imbalance in their digestive health

Furthermore, dogs have a natural instinct to balance their digestive system. Grass can be a natural source of probiotics, which actually aids with their digestive health.

There are however some precautions you should take, and things to be aware of if your dog enjoys grazing on grass:

• If you use chemicals on your lawn, your dog will ingest these chemicals.
• The risk of parasites such as roundworm, can be transferred to your dog through the ingestion of grass found in areas of high dog traffic, like dog parks.

Every dog is different. And the reason your dog grazes on grass may be different than your neighbor’s dog. Just remember to keep an eye on your dog, particularly if you suspect that his eating grass is associated with health issues. And of course, contact your vet if this is the case.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

 

 

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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May 1, 2013

5 Tips for Pet First Aid

Filed under: Dr. Loridawn's Lessons — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:00 am

Pet 1st aidPet first aid is essential whether you are out camping or just relaxing at home. Accidents involving your pets can happen anytime and anywhere. Here are a few first-aid tips you can use in case of an emergency.

Tip 1: Purchase a Pet first-aid kit for your dog or cat, or build your own.
What will you need to make your own? Items such as scissors, sterile eye wash (not contact lens solution), tick remover tool, and toenail trimmers, just to name a few.

Tip 2: Know your kit.
If you buy a kit, make sure you are familiar with what is included and where each item is located.

Tip 3: Get a first-aid book.
A first-aid book is a great resource. It will provide you with information and what actions you can take to come to your pet’s aid in case of emergency.

Tip 4: Consult your local veterinarian and take a pet-specific first-aid course.
A first-aid course will help to ensure that you are thoroughly knowledgeable on pet-specific first-aid practices and techniques.

Tip 5: Know what to do… and when to do it.
There are many conditions that can affect your dog or cat. Your beloved companion may come down with a fever, have a nosebleed, or experience diarrhea and vomiting. It is important that you know what to do and what not to do in each of these situations.

 

Below are some tips on a couple of the more common issues you may encounter with your pet, which may require first-aid:

Cuts:
When your pet has a cut, first use a clean cloth or gauze to apply direct pressure on the open wound. You can use Arnica, a herb that can be purchased at local health stores, to help stop the bleeding. If you are using Arnica, be sure to read the directions, as there are some side effects which can occur if applied incorrectly. To clean the wound, you can use a Calendula tincture. Calendula is a form of marigold that will reduce inflammation, control bleeding, and soothe irritated tissue. Calendula is a primary ingredient in the Vetisse First Aid Spray. If the bleeding continues after following the steps above, take your pet to your veterinarian or nearest animal hospital immediately.

Diarrhea and vomiting:
Diarrhea and vomiting can be a result of your pet simply eating the wrong thing, or of a more serious nature, such as possible poisoning. The first thing I recommend is to watch your pet closely. Has she vomited? – If yes? Try adjusting her diet for approximately 12-24 hours. This will help relax the gastrointestinal tract. Once rested, offer your pet foods that will be easy on her stomach, and easily digested. I like to use cooked chicken, canned pumpkin, as well as probiotics. If your pet continues to have diarrhea and/or vomit 6-8 hours after you have adjusted her diet, consult your veterinarian immediately.

We all dread the thought of an accident or illness occurring with our pets. And the last thing you want to do is panic because you have no idea what to do. Be prepared, and feel confident that you are doing the right thing for your pet!

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

 

 

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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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

Naturopathy:

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.

Homeopathy:

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:

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.