Jenn Pet Vet's Blog

Magic Mushrooms – Cancer Support for Pets December 19, 2012

Solgar's Reishi, Shiitake, Maiake Mushroom Extract

Solgar’s Reishi, Shiitake, Maiake Mushroom Extract

Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms are terrific for supporting the immune system in a dog or cat that has cancer.

The polysaccharides (a large carbohydrate molecule) in these mushrooms have immunostimulating and antitumor activity.  Mushrooms can also increase the body’s resistance to disease, enhance vitality, and improve response to everyday stress.

 

Shiitake mushrooms contain a polysaccharide known as lentinan.  This mushroom is very popular in Japan and China and is considered an elixir of life.  In Japan it is commonly used as an addition to conventional cancer treatments and studies have shown that patients receiving lentinan have longer survival times, better immune system function, and better quality of life.  Some mice studies have also shown this mushroom to be useful in cancer prevention.

 

Maitake mushrooms contain B-glucans which have antibacterial and antitumor activity.  There have have be studies that have shown improved bone marrow health which is vital in natural cancer treatment.  This enhanced immune function comes about from activating macrophages which function to attack foreign material in the body including cancer cells.  T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells are also enhanced and these cell types can directly destroy cancer cells.  Another interesting property of this mushroom is that it can decrease the toxicity of a common chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin.

Note: Caution should taken if using this mushroom in a diabetic pet as it can increase insulin levels and decrease blood sugar levels.  Use Maitake mushrooms in these patients is still beneficial but should only be used under veterinary supervision. 

 

MediHerb (part of Standard Process) is one of my favorite companies because of there excellent quality control and research.  Their product is called Ganoderma & Shiitake and is an excellent choice for mushroom therapy.  This product is only available through medical professionals

Other products that I use in my practice are Vetri Science’s Maitake-DMG Liquid™ and Solgar’s Reishi Shiitake Maitake Mushroom Extract Vegetable Capsules.  The Vetri Science mushroom product is great for my patients like cats that don’t tolerate taking pills because of its liquid formulation.  The Solgar product utilizes both whole mushrooms and mushroom extracts.

 

The dosage I use depends on the type of cancer and the overall health of my patient. A typical safe starting does in any case is around 10mg per pound.  Other than the potential for Maitake mushrooms to decrease blood sugar, I don’t typically see any side-effects from using mushrooms. The biggest thing to watch for are GI problems like vomiting or diarrhea.

 

I hope that this information may prove useful to you and your pet.  Please call Marmalade & Mobile Vet at  (856) 375-1314 if you’d like to schedule an appointment for your pet for alternative cancer treatment or cancer support either with or without chemotherapy.

 

Peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Jennifer Forsyth, VMD

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Winterize Your Pet – Natural Arthritis Relief For the Cold Weather November 7, 2012

Skookum on the first day that we brought him home. After starting CanEVA he’s back to acting like a puppy again.

It’s snowing here today in Sewell, and with the cold weather comes some increased problems with arthritis. But never fear, there are natural ways to effectively combat this debilitating problem.

Recently I have started using CanEVA (elk velvet antler) for my own dog, Skookum, and my patients and I have been seeing terrific results in just a few short weeks!  Skookum is a 2 year old Dogue de Bordeaux who has some pretty bad arthritis in his hips so I decided to start him on CanEVA about 3 weeks ago before the cold weather rolled in. I first learned about elk velvet antler during a lecture given by Dr. James Gaynor, a veterinary pain management specialist, from the Peak Performance Veterinary Group earlier this year.

What is elk velvet antler?

Elk velvet antler is the inner cartilage of the antler that is humanely harvested during the velvet stage of antler development (it isn’t the velvet that covers the antlers).  During the spring, male elk shed their antlers and new antlers begin to grow and it is this time that is the velvet stage.

How can CanEVA help?

Elk velvet antler can help to improve joint mobility, increase stamina, boost the immune system, speed wound healing, and increase blood circulation. I always thought of  Skookum as my “old man” even though he is only 2. Well, let me tell you … he is now a new man!  He has been running around the yard, jumping up on the bed, and playing with the other dogs non-stop.  Another client of mine who also started her older Siberian Husky on CanEVA around the same that time I started giving it to Skookum said yesterday in a phone call that I had with her that her girl was now “puppyish.” So young and old alike seem to respond similarly to elk velvet antler.

And I know that 2 dogs does not equal scientific research so here’s a link to a study of 45 dogs that was published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal in an article entitled Clinical Evaluation of a Powder of Quality Elk Velvet Antler for the Treatment of Osteoarthrosis in Dogs. 

Not just for dogs …

CanEVA can be used for cats too!  This is very useful because cats have a very difficult time metabolizing nonsteroidal antiinflammatories and for them, a natural approach to arthritis is the only safe way to give them relief. 

A note about quality:

After speaking with Dr. Gaynor and the good folks at CanEVA, this is THE product that has the research and highest quality control standards behind it.  So my advice, don’t try and find a bargain on the internet for elk velvet antler. Go with the best, only use CanEVA – you pet deserves it.

I’ll be writing more about arthritis relief in the coming months as there are so many other terrific products that I use to battle this debilitating disease.

Peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Jennifer Forsyth, VMD

Marmalade & Mobile Vet News – a new staff member!

Jessica and her daughter getting their 2 month old photos with Lasagna (previously known as Gibson). They were born only 1 day apart!

Jessica is our new Veterinary Assistant at Marmalade & Mobile Vet.  She attended Randolph College, formally Randolph-Macon Women’s College, in Lynchburg, VA before returning home to NJ.  Her first experience in the veterinary field was through horses and large animals.  The last 10 years were spent in a small animal practice where she found that her passion was getting to know the clients and helping their pets become healthy and happy.  What she finds most rewarding about working in the mobile field is the close connections that can be made while visiting a pet in their home and own environment.

Jessica and her young daughter live in Mantua with their gracefully aging Golden Reteriver named Roary.

 

The Scoop About Vaccine Titers October 24, 2012

Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need???

Sometimes deciding the appropriate way to vaccinate your pet can be very confusing. Beyond deciding which vaccines, there is also the question of how frequently should your pet get those vaccines. The vaccine titer is a useful tool that can help determine when your pet needs a vaccine and result in your pet getting fewer vaccines.

So what is a vaccine anyway?

A vaccine is a weakened form of the disease that it is meant to prevent. When a live vaccine is administered it will cause a mini-disease in order to stimulate the immune response. This immune response should then, in theory, protect your dog or cat from the real deal.

A vaccine is not 100% effective. There are many factors that contribute to a vaccines effectiveness. If a pet is sick, has a problem with their immune system, or is otherwise weak their immune response to the vaccine will be diminished.

What is a vaccine titer and what are the pros and cons?

A vaccine titer is a blood test performed by a veterinarian. It measures the amount of antibody in the blood to a specific disease. An adequate titer indicates that the body should be able to fight off that disease.

Pros: The benefit to performing a titer over blindly giving vaccines at predetermined intervals is that it provides a much more fine tailored approach for vaccination. The decision to vaccinate or not is determined by the individual’s immune response, not an arbitrary vaccine schedule. And because vaccines have been linked to autoimmune diseases and other chronic conditions like allergies, seizures, arthritis, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and cancer – the fewer vaccines, the better.

Cons: A vaccine titer does cost more than the actual vaccine. But providing a pet with good health is definitely worth the extra cost. There is also a small possibility that because vaccine titer can’t predict future immunity, your pet’s immunity could drop in the months after the titer test.

For which diseases are titer tests performed?

The main diseases that are titer tested for in dogs are Parvovirus and Canine Distemper Virus. There are titer tests for Rabies but this is a vaccine that is required by state law. There are times when a rabies titer might be accepted by a certain jurisdiction, but you will need to contact the local authority that issues rabies licenses in your area to see if they will accept a titer result instead of a vaccine.

For cats the main disease that is titer tested for is Feline Panleukopenia.

If you are performing titer tests for your dog or cat make sure that your veterinarian is able to give individual viral vaccines. This means Parvovirus, Distemper Virus, or Panleukopenia on their own, not the typical DAPP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza) or FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia) combination vaccines.

I hope that all of this information is helpful in helping you  and your pets on your journey towards good health!

If you’d like more information on vaccinations, please consider joining me on November 3rd from 7 pm until 9 pm at WonderDogs in Berlin NJ for my complete vaccination discussion. 

Peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Jennifer Forsyth, VMD

 

 

Daminger’s – A Natural Pet Foods Store February 8, 2012

Some of the dry foods found at Daminger's

 

I cannot stress enough just how important good food is to the health of a pet. I’ll admit, I used to provide average-quality food to my dogs when I was in vet school and for a year or so afterwards. But then my dog Lily decided she wasn’t going to eat it anymore while I was visiting family in New York. I ended up stopping in a pet store that carried natural foods. When I asked for something like my current brand they were quick to inform me that I didn’t want that kind of food and they gave me a bag of Wellness. This new food didn’t contain artificial colors, preservatives like BHT/BHA, or animal by-products; but it did contain some ingredients that were very different for me like blueberries and flax seeds AND my dogs loved it!

 

After I arrived back home in my small southern New Jersey town, I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to find my dogs’ new favorite healthy food. You can imagine my surprise when the store locator from Wellness’s website sent me only 3 miles down the road to Daminger’s

The canned food display at Daminger's

 

Daminger’s is the quintessential country store with it’s wooden floors, painted shelves, and old-fashioned charm. It is currently owned by Ken Daminger and Tom Mariner, two of the friendliest and most helpful guys you’ll ever meet.  Daminger’s was started back in 1929 by Ken’s grandfather and they have been providing love through nutrition even since.

 

There are so many wonderful foods there; I won’t be able to cover them all but I’ll give you some of my favorite categories.

 

For the fussy eater: ZiWi Peak is a food in it’s own category as it is a jerky style food. I have a lot of success with small breed dogs accepting this food. Health Extension Little Bites, an organic chicken based food, is also an excellent choice for the little guys that don’t like big kibbles.  Merrick, Nature’s Variety (Homestyle), and Tiki Dog/Tiki Cat are canned foods that look like real food. These are good choices for pets that will only eat table food.  Nature’s Variety also makes a freeze dried powder called Raw Boost that can be used to make a delicious gravy to help get Fido back to his bowl.

Merrick (Campfire Trout Feast ) and Nature's Variety (Homestyle Chicken Stew)

 

Grain-free foods are a good option for dogs that have allergies, as many times grains (especially corn, wheat, and soy) can contribute to creating inflammation. NutriSource is unique in that they use pea fiber (instead of potatoes).  Petcurean makes Now which is their grain free formula and they use only the freshest human grade quality ingredients.  And for completely starch free, Wysong makes Epigen.

 

Daminger’s also carries frozen raw food which is one of the things that I personally feed to my pack. They have Primal, Nature’s Variety, and Rad Cat stocked in their freezer.  For those not ready to take the raw plunge, there are options between raw and kibble like dehydrated foods (NRG), freeze dried foods (Stella & Chewys and Nature’s Variety Raw Boost), and refrigerated food (DeliFresh).

 

Let’s face it, economic times are tough right now, and Daminger’s carries something for every budget.  The chicken formula for both Canidae and Verus are less than $30 for a 30 pound bag. And for those that want to go organic, ProNature’s wild caught Atlantic  salmon formula is less than $50 for a 30 pound bag.

 

 

 

Post Script (AKA Dr. Forsyth’s philosophies) – We personally create the type of community that we want to live in. Our neighborhoods are their own web of life. When we shop at a small family owned business, instead of a big box store, we are investing in our community and ourselves. 

 

How to bake a healthy dog birthday cake February 2, 2012

Margaux's Adoption Day Celebration (1 year)

A year ago today I met Margaux.  I was called by the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America rescue about a dog that was at the Gloucester County Animal Shelter.  They wanted a veterinarian to evaluate her as far a health and temperament.  She was picked up by Animal Control after the police were called because she was trying to escape the winter’s cold by attempting to enter an apartment building.  When I met her she was shy but so sweet – my husband and I fell in love.  She needed a bath, eye surgery, and more importantly a warm loving home.  So today I am celebrating Margaux’s adoption day by baking her a birthday cake.

Ingredients

Ingredients for a natural dog birthday cake

* 3 cups organic spelt flour
* 1 Tbl aluminum free baking powder
* 1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, softened
* 6 organic free-range eggs, beaten
* 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
* 2 jars organic turkey baby food
* 2 cups finely shredded organic carrots
* 2 32 ounce containers organic plain nonfat yogurt (strained overnight through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer)

Notes about ingredients: I used spelt flour instead of wheat flour because it is a healthier choice, but you could use white flour or whole wheat flour.  I used melted coconut oil instead of canola oil to make this recipe healthier, but feel free to substitute oils if desired.  If you forget, or don’t have time to strain yogurt, you can use cream cheese, but I like getting the probiotic benefit from the yogurt.

Generously grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans; set aside. Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat softened butter until smooth. Add eggs and coconut oil; mix well. Add baby food and shredded carrots and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into the 2 prepared 8″ cake pans. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Healthy Organic Dog Birthday Cake

Place one layer on a serving plate and spread yogurt over top. Place second layer on top, then spread yogurt on top and sides of entire cake.  Use Plato Thinker sticks for candles.

I’m donating $100 in honor of Margaux today, please consider joining me in making a donation to the Dogue de Bordeaux rescue.

 

 

 

Just in case you are wondering the star cookies are from Wet Noses and the round cookies are from Barkwheats.


 

 
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