iPet’s Ally Weekly Q&A Round-up 04-05-21: Are heartworm prevention dangerous to your pets?

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1. How to care for a dog with Degenerative Myelopathy?

Suppose your dog has degenerative myelopathy an is currently on prednisone, gabapentin and famotidine. What you can do is to start with an intensive physical therapy regimen which is proven to benefit pets and keep them walking for longer. Keeping their muscle strong and improve coordination is absolutely necessary. Also, the amino caproic acid, vitamin e, and vitamin c suggestions are all good. Thankfully, this disease is not painful which is one of the few good things I can tell you here. The things that I used to use in addition to those supplements are alpha lipoic acid, and CBD which is another great option.

There’s a lot of research out there that shows that CBD 2 receptors are more plentiful. The thought is that if you give them something to fill them, then the body works better. This is where I would consider using CBD at a high dose. Now, if your pup’s been on prednisone, gabapentin and famotidine for a couple of weeks and you don’t see a big difference, I would consider weaning down off of the prednisone and stopping it which means that you can also stop the famotidine. Gabapentin will sometimes help because it seems to increase the connection between the toe and the brain so I think that’s worthwhile considering. Oftentimes, veterinarians will use a super high dose that is terribly sedating and it’s not a great one. At any rate, this is a situation where physical therapy is going to be very helpful. If you’ve got somebody that can do set you up a PT program, and resistance swimming, those things are going to be super helpful as well.

2. What foods / supplements are anti – inflammatory?

Like everything, we tend to say, “this is the best thing in the universe and you should feed lots of it because it will make everything better.”

On the human side, they’re starting to say that coconut oil is a saturated fat and when people use tons of it, they’re cholesterol goes sky high. Now, the deal with grapeseed oil is that like many of the seed – based oils, it is higher in omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids. What you can do is to go back to light olive oil a monounsaturated oil fatty acid which means that you get this unique type of fatty acids that is less inflammatory and is associated with better health, things of that nature.

I think this really takes us back to everything in moderation. Don’t monofeed something all the time as far as don’t always use coconut oil. We did that and then all of a sudden, we had a terrific amount of dogs developing pancreatitis because there is something about coconut oil and possibly the way it’s processed that really induces pancreatitis. Does that mean that coconut oil is now back to being evil incarnate? No, it’s not. It just means that you shouldn’t use tons of it all the time. And does that mean that grapeseed oil is no evil incarnate? No, it doesn’t. It means that you shouldn’t do it all the time.

The other thing is that many of the bad effects are secondary to cooking. What the cooking does to any oil is to denature it to the point where some of the good stuff becomes bad because they’ve been denatured and turned into something else. Personally, I would avoid the canola oil because so much of it is processed with hexane as can be safflower oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, etc. The things you want to look for are that it is organic, ideally. Secondly, it is cold pressed and not extracted from the seed with a solvent like hexane which is the way most seed oils are produced. Again, I think if we use everything in moderation, that’s probably the way to go.

3. What are the best small piece training treats?

There are tons of stuff out there that vary from the really gnarly stuff that’s got lots of glycerin and things of that nature in it to kind of hold it together. What we use is if we’ve got some left-over chicken, we just shred it practically and then dry it in the oven. However, if your pup is allergic to chicken, you can use whatever protein your pup does well with. Just take it into tiny little bits, dry it in the oven at 250 degrees for a few hours, and then you have these crunchy treats that disappear right off the end of your finger.

4. Are heartworm prevention dangerous to your pets?

I think heartworm prevention isn’t horrible and in fact, it has saved so many dogs. I mean, I started practicing in 1990 when the Valero bits were available and that was kind of it. I treated heartworm prevention at least three times a week and that’s when we still use the injectable intravenous stuff which is just bad. The American Heartworm Society says now that it really is okay to use it every 60 days.

I think that is what we have for this week. I’m glad that you all are doing well and I hope everybody stays happy and healthy. It would be interesting to hear your comments about whether you’re getting or not getting a covid vaccine. This is one that I will be doing largely because it’s going to be really important to continue travelling. They’re going to have vaccine passports and indeed, they should. I’m hoping that we can get the Pfizer vaccine because that seems to be the one that is most effective against all variants out there. They’re just now starting to test the moderna one so we really don’t know what the questions are. You can bet, I will be taking thuja after the vaccine both times because I had a vaccine reaction to rabies a long time ago but that’s when they were basically the beta testers as are millions of American and people around the world right now for these vaccines. So, until next week. Take good care. Give everybody a big hug for me. Thanks!