This is a great document drafted by Dr. Duben, D.C.. He is Dr. Fenton's personal Holistic Doctor she sees for herself! Wonderful information and all very accurate for animals as well, especially performance animals. Dr. Fenton believes in providing health and wellness support in agreement with the 9 Foundations listed below when treating her patients.
Neuro Emotional Therapy: improving life quality for all animals. We LOVE this! We OFFER this!!!
Researchers seek ways to ease anxiety in cancer patients
At top, the amygdala "lit up" after the patient listened to a recording about a traumatic event. Below, repeating the test after therapy, the amygdala shows normal activity.
By Ilene Raymond Rush, For The InquirerPOSTED: July 14, 2014
The surgeon delivered the bad news on Elizabeth Koniz's lumpectomy: "We didn't get clean margins."
Stunned, she couldn't think of anything else.
"The words rang in my head," said Koniz, a 48-year-old admissions coordinator at Temple University School of Medicine. "I had terrible anxiety. I was nervous at medical appointments. I had tremendous trouble sleeping and cried for weeks after the diagnosis."
About a third of cancer patients experience high levels of anxiety - intense distress, although not typically to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder - after getting the diagnosis or during a difficult moment in treatment.
To address it, integrative medicine clinicians at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital are testing an innovative treatment that combines Chinese medicine with a type of psychotherapy known as cognitive-behavioral therapy, along with a "muscle test" that helps patients understand the level of stress that can be triggered by experiences long before they got sick.
Early results - far too early to publish - with what is called neuro-emotional technique (NET) are positive, said Anna Tobia, a clinical psychologist at Jefferson's Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine. After three sessions, she said, patients see that "their mood changes, their energy is up, and their distress levels are lowered."
"NET treatment requires patients to examine their emotions around the traumatic moment sparked by their cancer - fear, impending doom, feeling lost, sadness," Tobia said. "We then go back through their lives to find other times when they've felt similar emotions around unresolved traumatic experiences."
The point is to connect the traumatic responses from different times.
"We're interested in examining how trauma gets locked into the body," Tobia said.
To release the tension, Tobia employs a technique from Chinese medicine based on meridians, or energy systems that run throughout the body. According to this theory, when meridians are blocked, they create dysfunction in the body or brain. During NET treatment, Tobia stimulates pulse points on the body to help "release those primal traumas that are holding the body back from healing."
She also uses a muscle test as an indicator of stress in the body. As patients concentrate on a moment of traumatic memory, Tobia grasps their wrists to show how their muscles "go weak" in response to the old event.
"NET cuts through psychological defenses: people see directly and immediately that their muscle strength changes," she said. "I may not think something bothers me, but I can see it bothers my body. It makes it real in a way that talk therapy can't access."
Tobia is leading an ongoing study of the technique - the first, she said, to examine the effects on volunteers with cancer-related anxiety using functional-MRI, which measures brain activity in real time.
The study has tested 24 participants so far, and will eventually enroll 30 to 40. Participants initially are divided at random into two groups - one receives the treatment and one does not - but all volunteers are eligible to eventually receive the full three to five treatment sessions of the therapy for free.
An earlier pilot study of seven volunteers, also conducted at Jefferson, showed statistically significant positive results when cancer survivors with anxiety were treated in three sessions.
In the current research project, all patients rate their anxiety levels on a scale of 1 to 10 before beginning treatment, and then undergo a functional-MRI to get a baseline reading. The f-MRI tracks electrical impulses in the brain while volunteers listen to a description of a neutral experience ("You are at your kitchen counter chopping lettuce") followed by a traumatic moment ("The doctor walks in. He doesn't meet your eyes. You know the news is bad.")
After the final treatment, participants undergo a similar exercise; the technology measures differences in the brain.
Preliminary results show that all of those study participants who reported a high level of anxiety during the initial f-MRI reported a "normal" range of anxiety after treatment.
More important, the imaging actually showed that the amygdala, a center for memory and emotion in the brain, lit up the first time but returned to a normal non-reaction state at the end.
"Simplistically speaking, we see a brain that normalizes itself," said Andrew Newberg, director of research at the integrative medicine center, who described the results as "impressive."
"After the NET treatment, not only do participants show less of a response clinically, but when the amygdala listens to the traumatic story, it acts as though it's listening to any other story. It doesn't listen to the traumatizing moment as an incredibly traumatic event," Newberg said.
"It's great to have an option that's not a drug that has a pretty dramatic effect on people."
That was Koniz's experience.
Following her lumpectomy, she went on to undergo a double mastectomy. But she said the NET treatment helped her "acknowledge my emotions and not to try to suppress them."
"It sounds corny," she said. "But the treatment left me feeling lighter and more at peace. I'm more able to handle what might come in the future, and I don't worry about what will come in the future."
ABOUT THE NET STUDY
Men and women are still being sought.
Participants must be over 18; diagnosed with any cancer but not in the terminal stage and not currently getting chemotherapy or radiation; and have severe anxiety related to the illness. All volunteers will get the treatment eventually.
For details,click here or call Dr. Andrew Newberg at 215-503-3422.
Ten Pet Food Myths Interfering with Your Pets Health RIGHT NOW
By Dr. Jean Hofve, Holistic Veterinarian
1. The best foods are those that the veterinarian sells like Royal Canin, Purina Veterinary and Hill's Science Diet.
2. Dry food cleans a dog's or cat's teeth.
3. Pets do better eating food designed for their life stage (i.e. puppy/kitten and senior formulas).
4. Table scraps and other "people food" are bad for dogs and cats.
5. Only complete and balanced meals should be fed to dogs and cats.
6. Feeding raw food is dangerous due to the risk of Salmonella and E.Coli.
7. Dogs and cats should not eat grains.
8. Ash content is an important guideline in choosing a cat food.
9. Changing formulas or brands of pet food is hard on a dog or cat's digestion.
10. Its fine for dogs and cats to eat each others food.
Vital Equine Holistic Veterinary Medicine in Calabasas, CA announces a new, incredible therapy that is dramatically improving the results with our patients:Neuro Emotional Therapy (NET)
If your pet has been suffering from an ailment and you cannot get to the bottom of it, NET may be the solution. The results Vital Equine Holistic Veterinary Medicine has been seeing are tangible and real. Owners have watched Dr. Fenton perform it on their pets only to turn around and seek an NET practitioner for themselves....
What is Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and why does Dr. Fenton incorporate its use in Vital Equine Holistic Veterinary Medicine?
Watch Discovery Channel's show Innovations to learn more about TCVM and watch Dr. Fenton as she makes a guest appearance!!
TCVM starts at 7:36
Dr. Fenton at 12:38
Vaccine Strategies for Equines
By: Christina Chambreau, DVM, CVH
From IVC Issue: V4I3
How to minimize risk and maximize owner involvement: As more evidence emerges about vaccinosis and acute reactions to vaccines, many horse owners are questioning the need for giving vaccines as often as some veterinarians, barns, shows and transportation issues require.
These concerns are reflected in the integrative veterinary community as well, with many veterinarians seeing clear relationships between increasing chronic illnesses in animals and the frequency and number of vaccines (read Dr. Lankenau’s article, IVC Spring, 2014). Dr. Jean Dodds’ articles in previous issues of IVC (Summer and Fall, 2012) outline the considerations for vaccinating horses for specific illnesses, and provide a review of the immunology many of us have forgotten.
So what happens when owners and veterinarians agree to vaccinate less, but circumstances seem to demand the opposite? What strategies can be used to avoid some vaccines, help caregivers decide which vaccines to give, and mitigate any potential harm that might arise from these decisions?
IVC talked to integrative veterinarians in different zones and types of practice about the protocols they use. All the veterinarians agree on several points:
• Vaccines are responsible for many of the chronic illnesses affecting their equine patients, so they look for the minimum possible vaccines to administer.
• Vaccine timing is important. To avoid stress, the veterinarians spread out the vaccines, avoid giving a vaccine when a horse is ill and administer when most needed.
• Owners should be educated to carefully observe their horses for any health changes secondary to vaccines. If health changes are noted, treatment should be started promptly.
• It’s incumbent upon the veterinarian to educate clients about their choices.
So which vaccines are integrative veterinarians recommending?Equines experience disease incidence differently depending on lifestyle and where they live. We asked veterinarians around the country to weigh in on what they recommend. Due to the housing situation of their patients, the horse’s owner may or may not be able to follow their recommendations.
Dr. Joyce Harman – Virginia
Equine flu is easy to treat with alternative medicine, and symptoms are not lethal, so she does not recommend this vaccine.
Rabies is life-threatening, difficult to treat and the vaccine is highly effective, though often causes chronic illness. Only one or a few shots in the lifetime of the horse will be protective for most animals. Most horses in her practice have titers thousands of times higher than the protective level needed in humans.
Potomac Horse Fever vaccines fall somewhere in the middle. The vaccine has not been shown to have complete protection, or the disease would have been eliminated. Many of her patients live along a major river basin (the Potomac), and cases are seen each year, so vaccination may be wise. This vaccine does not appear to be as hard on the horses as some others. Titers are often seen at a protective level without constant revaccination.
Tetanus is a high-risk, difficult to treat and prevalent disease. The vaccine seems quite safe, though does not need to be given annually.
Strangles is a highly contagious disease, not usually life-threatening if the animal is cared for well, and fairly easy to treat with both alternative and Western medicine. The healthier the horse’s immune system, the less likely he is to get sick, and the easier it is for him to make a full recovery. The vaccine seems to cause more problems than any other vaccine, so Dr. Harman does not recommend it.
Dr. Jane Laura Doyle – Berkley Springs, West Virginia
She recommends rabies (not legally required) and tetanus only. She will let the owner give the vaccines so they can be given several weeks apart. Most of her clients are at their own barns.
Dr. Madalyn Ward – Fischer, Texas
Dr Ward recommends the two combination encephalitis/ tetanus vaccinations at six months of age, and boosting every three years or sooner if there is an outbreak, until 15 years of age.
Dr. Marge Lewter – Southwest Virginia
She administers the combination encephalitis/tetanus and rabies as core vaccines. Rabies titers can be done but rabies is a real risk to horses in her area. If the horse travels and the owner requests it, she may add West Nile (endemic, and most horses have titers to it), Potomac Horse Fever (if the horse lives on a river and it is a serious illness), and/or strangles. She splits the vaccines into two visits.
Dr. Ann Schwartz – Southern Oregon
Dr. Schwartz lives in an area where Potomac Horse Fever and West Nile are endemic. Foals get an initial vaccine and a booster of Potomac Horse Fever and West Nile, then no more. (Exception: there is one stream area that seems to be flowing with Potomac Horse Fever. One owner has had it in her horses twice, so she vaccinates for it about every five years with Dr. Schwartz’s approval.)
Foals get a series of two vaccines of Eastern and Western encephalitis and tetanus at four to six months, two to four weeks apart, and boosts to the comfort of the client. Most of her clients choose annual (not many), some bi-annual, some every five years or less. Dr. Schwartz tries to give tetanus before gelding. She does give boosters after any open wounds that could come in contact with dirt or stool.
She does not recommend rhino, though some clients give it before going to a training barn. She also does not recommend strangles vaccine, telling owners to avoid infected barns. Rabies is given once only, if clients wish.
Minimizing risksIntegrative veterinarians agree there are safer ways to administer vaccines, even in boarding settings, as well as handle possible side effects.
Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Melling of Willis, MI was able to manage barn vaccine requirements (EEE, WEE, Potomac, tetanus and EHV) for her own leased horse by spacing them out every two weeks. Since the horse is allergic to flies, he would not really be considered healthy enough to be vaccinated per the vaccine label, but with homeopathic care seems to tolerate the vaccine.
Dr. Harman reminds us that vaccinating in May is good for the mosquito-carried diseases that occur primarily when the mosquito population builds to high levels in the late summer and fall. The same is true of Potomac Horse Fever, which also occurs in July through October. Rabies and tetanus are yeararound diseases, so these could be given at any time of the year. Educating clients about the timing of illnesses can help owners and barn managers feel comfortable only giving the vaccine once a year. Dr. Harman follows vaccines with a homeopathic remedy, Ledum. Other homeopathic veterinarians use other remedies or wait until symptoms appear. Reiki is used by many owners and practitioners to decrease reactions – first on the syringe itself, then at the injection site, and finally to the whole horse as long as is needed.
Barns and other requirements can be fulfilled with titers. Some university vaccine researchers feel that if any titer is present at all, there will be protection at the cellular level. Even animals with no titer may be well protected. Holistic veterinarians agree that the healthiest horses are the least likely to acquire infectious illnesses, or at least will usually recover more easily.
Michelle Brim, DVM, of Webster City, Iowa, had an ambulatory practice for 15 years doing conventionally frequent vaccines. After observing some health issues and reading about individualizing vaccines, she gave fewer to her own horses, followed by titers only for seven years. Since her horses had protective antibody titers, she began to convince clients to do either titers or change to a three-year vaccination protocol for encephalitis/West Nile. For flu and herpes, she evaluates the horse’s activity and housing.
SummaryThe joy of an integrative practice is that we offer our clients choices based on each individual’s needs. We realize that every choice, including those about vaccines, diet, and treatments, impacts the horse’s health. As more and more vaccines are developed, owners are often concerned about the health damage to their horses. By educating the owners and tailoring the vaccine schedule to the needs of the horse (rather than the barn), and treating sequela promptly, horses can retain their health.
TIPS ON EDUCATING CLIENTSVeterinarian Joyce Harman feels it’s important to include the horse owner in the vaccine decision process. She helps the owner evaluate:
1. The risk and severity of the illness
2. The efficacy, duration and potential damage for each vaccine
3. Ease of treatment
4. Availability of titers
5. The horse’s lifestyle
Ann Schwartz, DVM, agrees with an inclusive approach. She says her discussion with owners often starts the same way. “I ask them ‘Which would make you feel worse – if your horse got an illness you could have vaccinated for, or if your horse develops a chronic illness such as laminitis, Cushing’s, an autoimmune or behavioral disorder that could be attributed to the vaccine? Can you just rest and nurse your horse through the illness rather than vaccinate?” She approaches each disease and vaccine individually and explains concepts such as risk, cross protection, and efficacy to help protect her patient’s short and long-term health.
What is Qi?
· Qi gives life to the world
· It is the pulsation of the cosmos itself
· It is the thread connecting all beings
· Without Qi there would be no Yin and Yang providing balance in living beings
· Life exists ONLY where there is Qi
· DNA regulates an organism’s growth and development, yet it is not life until Qi is present
What does this mean?
· Qi is Energy & Matter and the state in between
· It provides/controls two critical things:
o The essential substances that maintain vital functions
o The functional activities of each internal organ for health
Where does Qi come from?
· We are all born with a certain amount of Qi from our parents, also known as our “Essence”
· Environmental Energy (Less stress = stronger Qi!!)
· Food (This is why it’s important to eat Organic!!)
· Oxygen (We need CLEAN AIR!)
What is Qi Stagnation?
· Excess accumulation of Qi in one location (Blocked and not flowing properly)
· Caused by traumatic injuries, emotional/dietary/lifestyle imbalances
· Major types:
o Local Qi Stagnation
o Liver, Large Intestine and Stomach Qi Stagnation
o Local Pain (most significant)
o Organ dysfunction
· Organ specific signs:
o Liver Qi Stagnation
§ Anger, irritability, hyperactivity, emotional stress, depression, nervous, hypertension, elevated liver enzymes
o Large Intestine Qi Stagnation
§ Impaction, constipation, gaseous colic
o Stomach Qi Stagnation
§ Hiccups, nausea, vomiting, colic, burping
What is Qi Deficiency?
· Fatigue & weakness in the body, spirit
· Shortness of breath
· Weak pulses and pale tongue, often wet
· Caused by lifestyle, diet, emotional and weather imbalance
Time and time again clients ask me about whether or not to vaccinate their horses, dogs and cats. The truth is, you have options in this situation. First, it is important to recognize why there is a dire need to explore other options. Let's start with accepting the fact that there is a large body of research documenting the issue of poisons within vaccines that are known to cause encephalitis (swelling of the brain), toxicity, cancer and even death in severe cases. Vaccines often cause the disease it was designed to protect an animal or person from contracting. On the opposite end of the spectrum, traditional veterinarians many times pressure owners into vaccinating animals based on fear of the animal succumbing to a disease that is not even prevalent in the animal's environment, over-vaccinating year after year and exposing animals to these toxic vaccine components unnecessarily.
Since the AAEP declared several years ago that rabies was to be added to the core vaccines for horses, there has been a documented increase in vaccinosis related to the rabies vaccine. Many horses that were seemingly healthy prior to the vaccine are now having bouts of colic, choke and unidentifiable causes of recurrent lameness and/or laminitis. Please read for yourself the article from Integrative Veterinary Care Journal documenting such events at http://www.ivcjournal.com/articles/rabies-vaccinosis-in-horses.
Below I have included an article by Madalyn Ward, DVM on whether to or not to vaccinate horses. Many of the same principles provided can also be applied to dogs and cats. She discusses options such as vaccine titers and homeopathic nosodes in the face of this vaccine dilemma.
It is highly suggested that you become informed and an advocate for your pet's health. If you are interested in having titers or homeopathic nodoses and detoxes provided for your pets, please contact Dr. Fenton immediately.
Yours in Animal Health and Healing,
I try to tell my clients that "cancer" isn't always a death sentence. There are many things that can be done to help extend life-span and maintain quality of life. Many times, owners are shown a much better philosophy for raising their pets due to seeking holistic care in the face of cancer. It can be a positive, eye-opening experience for better health than ever before becoming ill or having cancer.
I love this article by fellow colleague Dr. Jean Hofve. She writes some really great stuff and literally takes the words right out of my mouth! Enjoy the information and know that holistic veterinarians, such as myself, are willing to be part of your team and provide guidance if your pet has cancer.
Yours in Animal Health and Healing,
Holistic Cancer Prevention & Care in Your Pet
By Jean Hofve, Holistic Veterinarian
Pet guardians fear this diagnosis above all others; not only because the conventional treatments are so perilous, but also because, despite treatment, it is most often fatal. More than 50% of dogs over the age of 10 are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the incidence of cancer in cats and younger animals is growing. As responsible guardians, we need to understand the risk factors that contribute to the development of cancer; do all we can to prevent it; and take effective action when a diagnosis of cancer is made.
Cancer develops due to a variety of factors, many of which we cannot control; such as age, genetics, environmental pollution, and electromagnetic radiation. Other factors include poor nutrition, unhealthy lifestyle, conventional medical treatments (such as vaccination) that can disrupt the immune system, toxic chemicals used in the home, and stress. The stress factor is compounded in many purebred pets by inbreeding, which increases or creates genetic predispositions to poor immune function and disease.
Conventional cancer treatments like radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may destroy the cancer yet create other problems at the same time. And even the most cutting-edge therapies may only prolong a pet’s life without truly curing the cancer. Quality of life issues also impact the choice of treatments once cancer has invaded.
Recent research suggests that cancer is primarily a chronic inflammatory disease. And indeed, many of the factors involved in the development of cancer do cause chronic, low-grade inflammation. Such inflammation not only kills cells directly, but also deposits toxic inflammatory by-products and other “sludge” in the extracellular matrix that surrounds the cells. This toxic build-up reduces the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and wastes between cells and blood, and creating a fertile environment for abnormal cells that can thrive in such damaged environments. Preventing and resolving inflammation and clearing the matrix are primary goals of any program to prevent or treat cancer.
"As responsible guardians, we need to understand the risk factors that contribute to the development of cancer; do all we can to prevent it; and take effective action when a diagnosis of cancer is made."
Prevention and treatment: two sides of the same coin
Both prevention and treatment of cancer involve the same components:
Any cancer prevention or treatment program begins with diet. Nothing will go farther in promoting health than a balanced, home-prepared diet of fresh, preferably organic, whole foods. When the body is supported with the building blocks needed to maintain healthy cells and repair damaged ones, healing from within can begin.
Many types of cancer cells—particularly lymphoma—utilize glucose from carbohydrates as fuel. Limit the fuel, and the cancer’s growth will also be limited. A low-carbohydrate diet can be very helpful in fighting cancer. Additionally, many cancer cells cannot utilize fat as an energy source; so more and better quality fats in the diet will help combat the weight loss that commonly occurs in cancer patients. Holistic veterinarians frequently recommend a diet that is low-carbohydrate, moderate protein, and moderate to high fat for cancer patients.
The most harmful carbohydrates come from processed grains, fructose-containing fruits, and starchy vegetables such as white potatoes and peas. Dry kibble must contain starch due to processing requirements; in general, dry food should be avoided. Veggies with higher levels of fiber and plenty of antioxidants are better choices.
For dogs, a diet of roughly 50% meat, and 40–50% non-starchy vegetables or whole grains is optimal. Fish oils should be added to provide additional fat; omega 3 fats are best and are abundant in fish oil. For cats, a diet of 80% meat (cats can tolerate fattier meats than dogs) and 20% non-starchy vegetables is recommended, again with fish oil added for additional fat. For both dogs and cats, supplementation with vitamins, minerals, marine-source Omega-3 essential fatty acids, and antioxidants should also be part of the daily diet.
When a home-prepared diet is not possible, try ready-made (frozen) raw food, freeze-dried or dehydrated diets, or a very high quality low-carbohydrate canned food:
One other dietary issue needs mentioning, and that is weight management. Overweight pets are at increased risk of many diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease as well as cancer. Food does not equal love; your pet would rather have quality time with you than a big dinner or a few extra treats. Even more importantly, fat doesn’t just sit there quietly; it produces inflammatory mediators that can contribute to tumor formation. Keeping your pet at an ideal weight is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
For additional information about the benefits of fresh food and a healthy diet please read our articleWhat You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Food.
"Any cancer prevention or treatment program begins with diet. Nothing will go farther in promoting health than a balanced, home-prepared diet of fresh, preferably organic, whole foods."
Depending on where you live, the tap water can range from decent to toxic. Distilled water is not suitable for long-term consumption because it pulls minerals from the body; but it can be useful in a short-term detoxification program. Filtered water is best, followed by spring water. However, bottled water can leach toxic chemicals from the plastic into the water. The animal’s water needs to be kept clean and fresh at all times. If your pet is not a great water drinker, try an automatic flowing waterer. Wet foods, including homemade and raw diets, are also an important source of moisture.
Many holistic veterinarians agree that over-vaccination is a significant contributor to the rising rates of chronic disease and cancer in cats and dogs. Some cancers, such as vaccine-associated sarcomas, are directly caused by killed vaccines (like rabies, feline leukemia, and FIV). Most booster vaccines (other than legally mandated rabies vaccines) are unnecessary for adult pets. If your veterinarian recommends multiple or annual vaccinations, consider finding one who is more aware of the risks. Any animal diagnosed with cancer (or any chronic disease) or is exhibiting signs of a weakened immune system should not be vaccinated at all. For more information about limited vaccination schedules please read our article What You Need to Know About Vaccinations.
Indoor Air and Yard Pollution
Indoor air pollution has gotten a lot of press lately; it can be even worse than general air pollution from cars and factories. For our companions’ sake, it is important to examine our home and yard care practices. Cleaning chemicals are the first place to look; if the floor or carpet cleaner you use contains toxic chemicals (as most do), and your companion’s nose is continually close to that floor (as most are), then the body must continually detoxify itself. Plug-in air fresheners are popular with some pet owners to help cover up that “pet” smell, but they are a constant source of petrochemicals in the air our companions breath; they should be avoided. Choosing homemade, natural, and green cleaning products can go a long way to limiting the toxins your companion takes in. We carry several excellent products fornon-toxic stain and odor removal.
Yards and other green spaces are another area of toxic exposure to our companions. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and similar products around the home should be eliminated. There are abundant non-toxic alternatives available today.
Recent research suggests a fascinating connection between electromagnetic radiation and cellular changes that can lead to cancer. Sources of electromagnetic radiation include sunlight, cell phone and broadcasting towers, underground and aboveground power cables (ambient sources outside our control); but also home wiring, electrical cords and outlets, microwave ovens, appliances, cordless and cellular phones, computer monitors, and televisions. This is especially relevant for cats, who love to curl up in warm places, like the top of the TV or computer monitor. Keep your companion’s bed as far away from electrical components as possible. At night, make sure all electronics are turned off. This is important not just for the radiation, but also light. Even the tiny glow from power indicators can be disruptive to sleep, and inhibit the body’s healing cycles.
Flea management is an essential part of health, but spot-on flea control products such as Advantage, Frontline, and Revolution, are heavy-duty pesticides. These poisons absorb through the skin permeate the animal’s system; while a portion of them are eliminated in the urine and the feces, some components may not be cleared and can contribute to the toxic sludge build-up in the extracellular matrix. Tablets given by mouth are no better. A recent report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency makes it clear that every commercial flea product can cause illness and even death in pets; in response, the agency is encouraging more truthful labeling, but it is not requiring safer products.
There are many natural flea control products that offer effective non-toxic alternatives to chemical pesticides. They take slightly more effort than putting occasionally a few drops on your companion’s skin, but they are well worth it for the long-term health of your friend. For more information, please see: The Natural Approach to Flea Control.
"Of course, both cats and dogs are acutely aware of the stress levels of their human companions—the more stressed you and other family members are, the more your cat or dog feels, absorbs, and manifests that stress—whether by acting out behaviorally or internalizing it as illness or cancer."
You may look at the cat sprawled in a patch of sunlight on the sofa, or the dog curled up at your feet, and wonder, “What stress?” Yet our furry companions can and do experience stress as much or more than we do. For instance, dogs with separation anxiety live in extreme stress for a good portion of every day their guardian is away at work or school. Cats in multiple-cat households are frequently stressed over too-small territories (adding cat furniture and other vertical space can be very helpful).
Of course, both cats and dogs are acutely aware of the stress levels of their human companions—the more stressed you and other family members are, the more your cat or dog feels, absorbs, and manifests that stress—whether by acting out behaviorally or internalizing it as illness or cancer. Managing our own stress may be the most important step we can take to improve our pets’ well-being.
For dogs, one of the best ways to reduce their stress is proper training. EVERY puppy should go through a “puppy class” at the very least. Even when you adopt an older dog, both you and the dog can benefit from a consultation with a good trainer or behaviorist. These professionals help you interpret the dog’s behavior and teach you how to communicate in ways that your dog can understand. A well-trained dog is a secure dog—and a much safer one as well.
Cats are not as easily trained (although it’s not impossible, and it can be very helpful for active breeds like Orientals and Bengals). But you can reduce their stress in other holistic ways, such as energy therapies, Tellington Ttouch, massage, and flower essences.
“Indoor enrichment” can be helpful for both dogs and cats to reduce mental and emotional stress. This may include: food-dispensing toys; sensory enrichment (such as a window perch for bird-watching, pet-directed videos, and cat furniture for climbing); and novel objects (like cardboard boxes or paper bags).
You need it, and your pet needs it. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress, and is also crucial for the health of the mind and body—human, dog, or cat. In their natural state, canids and felids roam large territories and hunt for a living. The more we can mimic this natural lifestyle, the better.
Play is wonderful, because s it provides both exercise and the joy of fun and laughter (on your part!). There is truly nothing more hilarious than the antics of a cat chasing a laser beam or feathers on a pole or string. Cats need exercise as much as dogs do, and regular play sessions are the ideal way to accomplish it. Or, try a kitty harness and go for walks. Introduce this activity gradually to increase the chance of acceptance.
Dogs are a bit easier to exercise; a brisk walk can do you both good. A play date with another dog or a romp at the dog park can be great exercise as well as mental stimulation and stress relief. If your dog is a firm believer in staying home, then play fetch in the house, or find some other way to provide exercise every day.
Physical activity is vital for pets for weight control, digestive health, detoxification, immune health, muscle tone, respiratory health, and mental and emotional stability.
A diagnosis of cancer in your beloved companion requires many difficult choices. You will surely forget to ask many important questions when you first hear the dreaded word, so schedule a follow-up visit with your veterinarian to discuss the issues that are likely to arise. Try not to make any profound decisions until you have a chance to educate yourself about all the options available—both conventional and alternative. Ask for a referral to an oncologist who can answer questions about conventional treatment methods. Find a holistic veterinarian, either in your area or one who will provide phone consultations, regarding alternative cancer treatments. Cancer is serious business, and an integrative team approach is best.
offer the chance for a better quality of life, even if it cannot cure the cancer. Holistic care aims to provide the animal with the resources its body needs to heal from within. Every case is different. There is no one way to treat any type of cancer, although the above suggestions can help no matter what type of cancer the animal has. There are also some basic immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting nutritional supplements that can help in many cases.
Diet, of course, is fundamental. You can give supplements all day long, but if the basic diet is “junk food,” you’re just throwing good money after bad, and needlessly stressing your pet.
Helpful supplements include:
Digestive enzymes - they help fight inflammation, as well as help the digestive system break down and more easily absorb the urgently needed nutrients in the food.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - (from marine sources) these are some of nature’s most potent anti-inflammatories. These fats are crucial for immune and nervous system function, and are necessary for rebuilding cell membranes.
Antioxidants - prevent oxidative damage (which promotes ongoing inflammation) and increase immune function. They help prevent cell and tissue injury by scavenging and destroying free radicals and playing an important role in cancer prevention and control. Vitamins A, C, and E are the best-known antioxidants. Other powerful antioxidants include green tea extract, co-enzyme Q10 (which reduces free radical production at the source), N-acetylcysteine, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and quercetin. Curcumin, from the Indian spice turmeric, warrants special mention, as it also inhibits tumor growth and metastasis and tends to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. However, some oncologists recommend against antioxidants for pets receiving conventional therapies such as radiation or chemotherapy, so check with your veterinarian before supplementing with antioxidants.
Medicinal mushrooms - are an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and contain powerful immune-modulating compounds such as beta-glucans. Many holistic practitioners incorporate them into their cancer protocols.
Herbs - many herbs are renowned for their cleansing, tonic, anti-tumor, or anti-cancer effects. Herbs can be extremely powerful, and with power comes potential toxicity, so work with your veterinarian to ensure safe use.
There are two herbal formulas widely used in cancer care: Essiac and the Hoxsey Formula. Both are named for the original formulators of the herbal compounds, (although Essiac is the formulator’s last name, Caisse, spelled backwards).
Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine - acupuncture is very helpful for pain relief in cancer patients. It can stimulate the immune system and assist in promoting detoxification as well. Chinese herbs are also used for cellular health. For a list of practitioners in your area, see the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association referral directory or the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
While cancer is a frightening diagnosis, there is much that can be done to improve the quality of your companion’s life and potentially extend the amount of time you have with him or her. Keep in mind that it is crucial to remain as optimistic as possible. A positive attitude is not Pollyanna, it is completely practical. Remember, your companion senses your stress. All of the therapies discussed will go farther when administered with large doses of love and affection.
Dr. Fenton is a Holistic Veterinarian for her own mobile practice, Vital Equine, which treats all species. She is also a Holistic Veterinarian at Healing Touch Vets in Sherman Oaks, CA.