Saturday, June 4, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Still on Xylitol, Zoopharmacognosy, and more ...

Canine Cushing’s Disease
Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Opposing counterpart to Addison's disease, there is Cushing's. While Addison's is caused by adrenal glands that are unable to keep up with the required hormone production, in Cushing's, they produce too much cortisol.

Cushing's. Photo Spot Speaks

Cushing's is quite a common condition in middle-aged or older dogs. The important thing to determine when your dog is diagnosed with Cushing's is WHY are the adrenals going crazy with cortisol production. Is it because the pituitary gland, the gland that controls the adrenals, has a problem and sending out excessive order? This is most often the case. Is it because there is a tumor on an adrenal gland, spitting out all the hormone? Or is it simply because your dog is on cortisone-containing medication? This is important in order to determine the appropriate treatment.

Read Dr. Kay's article to learn some great information about Cushing's disease.

Xylitol Intoxication in Dogs – A Not-So-Sweet Problem
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM

Yes, I'm highlighting another article on xylitol. And I will continue to do so until no dogs get poisoned by this stuff. Xylitol has gained all new attention in the media because it is making its way into more and more products. You never know where it might pop up. It got me so paranoid I study the labels of everything and confirm on manufacturers' websites. And if I'm not satisfied with what it says I'll even call or email them before giving anything to my dogs.

Xylitol poisoning can be quite deadly with just a tiny amount. Unlike in people, dog's digestive tract absorbs xylitol very fast. This causes release or massive amounts of insulin, leading to potentially life-threatening drop on glucose levels in the blood. It can even cause liver toxicity and bleeding disorders, though nobody knows why or how exactly.

There is no known antidote and IV dextrose is the only treatment to address the low blood sugar levels. If acute liver failure is also present aggressive treatment is needed and often not successful.

Do carefully read the labels on everything you're about to give your dog and keep anything containing xylitol away from your dog. This is one of the things where one needs to be extremely diligent.

Empowering Pets to Heal Themselves Through Self-Medication
Dr. Karen Becker, Mercola Healthy Pets

How did all animals, including man, survive before the dawn of medicine and medications? How did we all make to where we are?

If you remember Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs were designed with a specific amino acid deficiency so they'd die if not supplemented. However, when things got out of hand and the animals ended up left to their own devices, they did not die out. Instead, they found a way to supplement themselves. Fact or just something the creators concocted? "Life will always find a way."

With our dogs, we control every aspect of their lives, including what they eat. Quite often this means one type of commercial kibble for life. They don't have a choice of what they eat or what they would supplement themselves with if they could. Is that a good thing or bad?

If our dogs could make their own choices, would they be wise ones? Would they be able to find what their bodies need? Let's not forget that majority of modern medications have their base in nature. On the other hand, our environments are altered and likely void of many things that could serve as medicine.

On any account, it's an interesting notion to consider. With all the modern illnesses our dogs are plagued with, having all our picky eaters, poop and grass eaters, perhaps we should at least give such things a second thought.

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