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15.11.2015, admin
March 1, 2015 by Pippa Mattinson Leave a Comment The modern world seems to be highly dependent on chemicals.  Too dependent many would say.
So it is hardly surprising that we look for more natural remedies with which to treat our dogs for common ailments.
We have been talking recently, on my Positive Gundogs Facebook group, about natural treatments for parasites in dogs.  And as always on such threads, a number of natural remedies were recommended by members of the group.
I’m actually quite fussy about what I allow people to promote on my groups and forums, and I thought perhaps that policy needed a bit more explanation.
One of the problems when discussing alternative, or natural remedies, is that they are difficult to define.
There is no doubt however, that both effective and ineffective treatments are often lumped together under the heading natural remedy.
And this can be quite confusing for those searching for alternative treatments for their dog.
We tend to think of natural remedies as ones that fall outside the remit of mainstream medicine.  Substances that would not be prescribed by your doctor or vet for example. But we also tend to think of them as coming from plants, animals, or even the minerals that are found in our environment. This isn’t a great definition because of course, many common mainstream medicines are completely natural in the sense that they are directly obtained from plant or animal materials. If I chew on a piece of willow bark when I have a headache, you’ll probably agree that I am using a natural remedy. What about if took the willow bark into the laboratory in my shed, and extracted the salicylic acid that is inside it.  And what if I mix that up with a little sugar and swallow it? So if we consume the whole plant or part of a plant, instead of removing parts of it or subjecting it to heat, or water for example, is that what defines natural?  And at what point during the processing system does natural become unnatural. It is difficult isn’t it, to define the natural remedy once you start looking in detail at the processes involved in creating medicines. Actually, that doesn’t help us either.  Because herbal and homeopathic products are big business now too. One of the dangers in looking for natural remedies is that as you can see, ‘natural remedy’ is a broad term which lumps together a whole swathe of unrelated products. Many mainstream medicines are natural too, in that they are prepared directly from plants, which adds yet another dimension to the debate. Perhaps the term ‘alternative’ is a better one.  Referring as it does, to anything outside of mainstream medicine. Again, I’m sure you would agree that even an alternative solution, is only a ‘remedy’ if it actually works. Of course, some alternative remedies DO work, and in time, it is likely that many of these remedies will be properly trialled and tested, and part of mainstream medicine. So how can you take advantage of these alternative remedies, the ones that work, but have not yet been discovered by the big pharmaceutical companies? Many people read the labels on health related products in order to find out what they are for.  Sadly, some health products don’t yet seem to be covered by the advertising standards laws. For example, you can still find homeopathic products on the shelves in major stores, despite the fact that homeopathy has been proven to be no more effective than a placebo.
Unfortunately the fact that a substance helps one dog without causing any harm, does not mean it will do the same for all dogs. Added to which is the problem that most people are not well versed in making objective observations and assessments of themselves or their dogs.
Many people will assume that a dog who recovered after eating a blue pill, did so because he ate the blue pill. She hopes he will understand that the rock doesn’t keep away tigers, but instead he offers to buy her rock. Unfortunately, the fact that someone has secured a position involving the production of alternative remedies, is no guarantee of integrity. Where there is money to be made, there are charlatans to be found.  And nowhere is this more evident than in health related products.
We tend to think of clinical trials as only being used on mainstream medical or veterinary remedies.  But that is not the case at all. There have been lots of studies carried out on interesting natural remedies from honey to herbs, and even natural minerals found in the ground.
If you run a google search on the product you are interested in, and include the term ‘clinical trial’ in your search box, you are likely to throw up any helpful studies that have been done.
When you look at a clinical study online, what you usually get is an ‘abstract’ or summary of the experiment, and if you look at the end of the abstract, you will find the conclusion.  In other words, the researchers conclusion (based on the statistical significance of their results ) on whether or not the substance had any effect. It should be underlined that a single study is evidence, but it is not proof.  Scientists draw on hundreds of studies before they can draw conclusions on the efficacy of a remedy, or a remedy system. However, if you are going to spend your hard earned cash on an alternative solution (and they can be very expensive) it is a good idea to find at least some evidence that the substance you are putting in or on, your dog, may be helpful and at the very least, that it is not harmful.
Ideally, before we can conclude that something works, we need to look at a whole range of studies, and discard those studies which are badly desgned or flawed.
People often say, “well, I don’t mind spending the money.  What is the harm in trying something natural. Natural remedies that work are not free from chemicals, the chemicals within them are simply still bound up in the tissues of the plant or animal they were derived from. Even when the alternative remedy is not directly harmful, there is still great potential for harm due to the inevitable delay in seeking treatment that does actually work.  Especially in any condition where rapid treatment is the key to success.

Mammalian bodies are incredibly efficient at distributing substances that we swallow or inject.  That’s why you can put a paracetomol tablet into your stomach and ten minutes later be free of the pain in your toe. Be very suspicious of anything that claims to have no side effects at all, if the claims are true, the substance probably has no effects either.
Regardless of your views on big business, the mainstream medical industry is well regulated compared with the alternative healthcare industry. In addition,  the side effects that all effective remedies (mainstream and alternative) can trigger have been extensively studied and recorded only where those medicines are produced by pharmaceutical companies. The alternative health industry on the other hand is not well regulated at all, at least not in the UK. In many cases practitioners can practice on human patients without any form of regulation.  That means that remedies can be recommended with no proper recording of the outcome (or lack of  it)and no central collection of data on side effects. Dogs are a little better protected than we are because it is illegal in the UK for anyone other than a qualified vet to diagnose or prescribe treatment for an animal. It seems crazy, but anyone can take their child to a fake practioner, who can make recommendations and advise on treatments that have no basis whatsoever in evidence, though thankfully our dogs are protected from this kind of scam. However, the sale of ‘alternative remedies’ for all manner of purposes, from wormers, to flea treatments, coat conditioners etc, is wide open to charlatans and to disreputable or ignorant people who want to make money out of our insecurities, and out of our need and desire to do the very best for our dogs.
There are still great holes in our knowledge where mainstream medical and veterinary treatments are concerned.
And there are sharks out there just waiting to prey on those whose pets are sick.  There are people cashing in by offering special types of massage that claim to awaken cellular intelligence (there is no such thing) and other phoney but scientific sounding nonsense. There are people who want to take your money in exchange for water or sugar pills (homeopathy).  People who will offer you all manner of products and promote them purely on the basis that they are better because they are more natural. My personal view is that the sale of alternative remedies should be better regulated than it is, and that the practice of selling fake remedies to people who are sick or whose dogs are sick, is wrong . Of course, is entirely up to you whether or not you want to pay for or to try out such products.
And of course there are natural therapies that work.  That’s sometimes where we get our new medicines from.
If you look for evidence, especially evidence from more than one source, at least you will be protecting yourself from unnecessary expense.
And if you make your veterinary surgeon your very first port of call, whenever your dog is sick or needs relieving of parasites, you stand your best chance of an effective cure. It looks at a whole range of alternative treatments and examines the evidence that has accumulated for each one. Edzard Ernst also has an excellent blog which examines and analyses a whole range of alternative therapies. Meanwhile, I’m going to be on the lookout for some alternative therapies that have good evidence behind them, and that you might find helpful for your dog, and I’ll report back here when I’ve done so.  You can keep up with my posts by signing up for email updates. Due to the prevalence of hypothyroidism in dogs, it is important for dog parents to be able to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of this disease so that a timely and proper diagnosis can be made. Unfortunately, since hypothyroidism affects a dog's metabolism and as such, different parts of the dog's body, symptoms of canine hypothyroidism are varied and often indistinct. Subtle Weight Gain: One common early sign of canine hypothyroidism is weight gain even food and caloric intakes are restricted. Behavioral Changes: A dog in his early stage of hypothyroidism may show subtle changes in his behavior. If an early diagnosis of canine hypothyroidism is not made, and as a result, no treatment is received, a hypothyroid dog will develop further signs and symptoms. Cold Intolerance: Hypothyroid dogs have low metabolism, and may not be able to generate enough body heat to stay warm. Depression: Many dogs with thyroid problems do not have that playful "spark" in their eyes. GI Problems: Another warning sign of hypothyroidism in dogs is gastrointestinal problems, usually in the form of chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes constipation. Skeletal Muscle Problems: Hypothyroid dogs can experience joint pain and problems, such as loose joints (which can lead to patellar sub-luxation - partial dislocation of the kneecaps), torn cruciate ligaments, and hip joint laxity.
Cardiac Abnormalities: Reduced thyroid function can affect a dog's heart, causing the dog to suffer from heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), and bradycardia (slow heart rate).
Eye Conditions: Eye diseases such as dry eye, corneal ulceration, and uveitis are common in hypothyroid dogs. High Cholesterol Level: High cholesterol level usually does not occur in dogs with early stages of hypothyroidism and is therefore not a classic symptom. In addition, intact (not spayed or neutered) dogs suffering from hypothyroidism also show some telltale warning signs that are related to reproduction. Besides having difficulty reducing her weight, my dog Hana did not show any early signs such as food intolerance or behavioral changes. At the early stage of her thyroid problem, Hana started showing signs of stiffness, especially when getting up from bed.
Then a little while later, more telltale signs started to show - recurrent skin infections that did not seem to heal (at first the vet thought it was "just" a yeast infection with secondary bacterial infection), hair loss, and darkened skin. She is now on thyroxine hormone replacement therapy and the herbal remedy Thyroid Support Silver for Dog Hypothyroidism. On hindsight, I should have asked the vet for the thyroid hormone test much earlier - The weight gain and stiffness (with no signs of joint degeneration on x-rays) should have raised red flags that she might have thyroid issues.
Please learn from my experience and take action (rather, ask your vet to take action) the moment you suspect something is wrong with your dog.

Because they are so friendly to people, Golden Retrievers cannot make good guard dogs - they are "people dogs". Besides being an excellent companion dog, the Golden Retriever is also a wonderful hunting dog, tracking dog, and field trial competitor. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are susceptible to quite a few health problems, as you can see below. Elbow Dysplasia: Although elbow dysplasia is primarily a hereditary disease, it can also occur as a result of injury or malnutrition. Common signs of allergies are itching, sometimes with hair loss; foot licking and chewing, and recurrent ear infections.
This Chinese herbal formula contains effective herbs for joint problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and stiffness due to inflammation of the joints. A great herbal formula that contains nerve-calming and nourishing herbs (such as chamomile, ginseng, passion flower, St.-John's wort, valerian root).
Vomiting is common in dogs and can be acute (sudden onset), or chronic (occurs over a period of time).
If your dog vomits once in a while but does not show any other signs of health problems, there is probably nothing to worry about.
One sign is that the dog tends to lick her mouth incessantly maybe because she drools before vomiting. Another sign is you can see obvious contraction of the stomach muscles, very often accompanied by heaving, and sometimes gagging.
Even before any of these signs are showing, when my dog Hana feels like throwing up, she always comes to me with a "sick look" on her face and her tail is way down between her legs. If your dog often vomits in the morning or before eating and the expelled substance is a clear yellow or brownish fluid, it may mean that she has an upset stomach caused by excessive stomach acids. If you feed your dog once a day, and your dog gulps down the food very fast because she is hungry, it is more likely that she will vomit after eating. As anxiety is a cause for vomiting in dogs, make sure that your dog has no stress or anxiety in her life!
If your dog starts vomiting again, resume just feeding her broth for another 12 hours or so and try again.
If your dog is suffering from chronic vomiting, it is essential that you take her to the vet for a thoroughly check-up to find out the underlying cause. To check for ear mites yourself, first review the symptoms below and then follow the directions on how to conduct a test.
Well, of course you can take your dog to your veterinarian who will take a swab from your dog's ear and examine this under a microscope. The best way to check for yourself is to do as the vet does and take a swab from your dog's ear.
Another method you can try is to carefully swab your dog's ear and empty the debris onto a clean, white, paper towel. If you want a real simple test, although probably less definitive, you can clean your dog's ears and see if your dog has a positive 'thump test'. Once you've determined it's ear mites you're dealing with, then there's an age-old home remedy you can try that is proven to be very effective.
Remember, using pure mineral oil on it's own is the best effective treatment against ear mites in dogs. Conventional treatment for mites is based on using pesticides prescribed by your veterinarian usually one containing pyrethrins and thiabendazole. If you have other dogs or pets in the house they should also be checked and treated as mites are very contagious to animals. Some ‘natural remedies’ fall into this ‘ineffective’ category, whilst others have been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect. That is why I do not permit the promotion of unproven remedies on my websites or Facebook pages. The scripts within this file all do something in the site, such as run your facebook or social widgets, Google analytics, fluid resizing and other functions. Extremely friendly, reliable, and devoted, the Golden Retriever is an excellent companion dog.
Because Golden Retrievers are intelligent, easy to train, and have a good temperament, they are often used as service dogs such as seeing-eye dogs, and therapy dogs. Once they are clean use an eyedropper to apply a couple of drops to the inside of each ear and massage the base of your dog's ear. Once the ears are cleaned you can apply the medication based on your veterinarian's instructions. As they are small and white, it'll be easier to do this against a black or dark background.If you don't have a magnifying glass but you do have a smart phone, ipad, or tablet, you can download a magnifying app that does the job pretty well. Because of the obstruction, the heart must work harder to push the blood through the opening and, over time, this can cause problems and even death.
Restricting the amount and intensity of exercise is necessary for Goldens with moderate to severe AS.

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