Thrush and HorsesThrush is a degenerative bacterial (Fusobacterium necrophorum) and fungal (Spherophorus neaophorus) infection of the central and collateral grooves of the frog. It is typically caused by standing in moist areas such as very damp, dirty stalls, bedding and/or wet grounds. This bacterium is aggressive and invasive, causing destruction to the frog. If left untreated this can cause destruction to the frog and expose the deeper tissues.
- John Belcher
4-P's Against Parasites
We love spring here in New England with budding trees, daffodils and green grass everywhere and it is finally here! This is what it must feel like to be a bear coming out of hibernation, shedding his coat out, feeling warmth from the sun’s rays and looking for something to eat.
As humans, we too are happy to “shed” our wools and fleeces for lighter fabrics, shift our diets towards lighter, (more aerial), veggies in lieu of root-based options, and move our activities outdoors thanks to the longer, lighter days. Along with the sunshine, tall grasses, and increased outdoor time comes the dreaded infectious bugs that can put a damper on our warm weather fun. With the right protection for your pup or horse you can run and play to your hearts’ content, leaving your worry behind!
As pet owners we start to worry about how best to protect our dogs, cats and horses from parasites like mosquitoes, biting flies and of course, the dreaded ticks. We hear friends and relatives talk about how sick they or their pet was with Lyme, Anaplasma or a myriad of other tick-borne diseases, and suddenly we find ourselves in a state of near panic, frantically trying to do everything we possibly can to protect the ones we love.
My 4 -P’s to help you keep Fido healthfully protected from parasites…
You are the advocate for your pet; the keeper of his/her health and wellbeing. You would stand on your hands and walk backwards in traffic if it meant the pet you love and want nothing bad to happen to would remain healthy. Honestly, it doesn't have to be a gymnastic event to be sure that you're making the right decision in choosing how you are going to protect your pet from parasites this and every season moving forward.
→ Do your research! If you don’t know what the ingredients listed on the label are and what they do in the animal body, whether it’s a topical or ingestible form of “repellant/tick &flea control”, find out. Your “need to know” should kick in high gear here.
Did you know that the majority of over-the-counter or by-prescription products for flea/tick/heartworm control are based with neurotoxins?
→ Neurotoxins are toxins that directly affect the Neurological (central nervous) system (thought, emotion, sight, taste, hearing, smell).
Research shows that many of the prescription flea/tick/heartworm products that are prescribed on a regular basis contain 1 or more neurotoxins that can cause seizures, respiratory failure, kidney issues and many other health issues. Below is a link to a government site that provides amazing detail on hundreds of chemicals and their potential side effects. I highly recommend using this list to determine if the product you may be considering or are currently using contains ingredients that could be neurotoxins or something even worse.
→ Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
- Joyce Belcher
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"- 5 tips to keep the holidays magic for your pets
The holiday season is a busy festive, happy time that we all seem to love and look forward to each year. Family and friends gather and share the years stories, decorated homes, abundance of food, drink and appreciation for each other.
This can be "the most wonderful time of the year" as the song states but may also be the most stressful time of the year as well. What starts out as magic can lead to manic preparation with all the expectations and extra workload to our already hectic and busy lives. The next week or so can take a toll on our physical and emotional bodies.
As the hustle and bustle of preparations to make everything perfect closes in on us and the stress takes over our otherwise happy and cheerful selves, our immune system kicks into high gear working overtime, our adrenals are on high alert working overtime creating extra cortisol in order to manage stress and increased activity, perhaps making our temperaments a bit short. Remember to breathe, stretch and smile.
Now is a good time to remember that our pets are also on high alert and perhaps high concern and worry for what is about to happen in their world as well. Remember, they mirror us for most of our emotions, especially when it comes to stress and excitement. For example, when we make our voice higher or loud with excitement to engage their happiness for a walk in the park, play date at the beach or any other favorite activity of theirs, they jump, bark, wag, run to the door, etc, you get what I'm saying here. It's their happiest moment ever knowing that this voice and energy you're exuding is just about them and the fun they're about to have. They feel our anxiety and stress in the same way, turning on an "uh-oh" moment wondering what is happening next.
Changes in the home that may seem subtle to us may not be as subtle to our pets. Changes like moving their bed from the normal place they sleep during the day to a less conspicuous place, rearranging furniture, guests in the home, etc. can all cause stress and anxiety as well increasing cortisol production that may change the way they respond to the changed activity. I'm not saying don't do any of these things, just be aware that these type of changes may be cause for insecurity that can lead to stress.
Stress and anxiety can show in a dog via increased barking, hiding, feeling insecure leading to anti-social behavior, panting without obvious cause, running away when guests arrive, the tail tucked and other signs as well. Cats may urinate in places other than the litter box, hide endlessly, bolt from the home when a door opens seeking quiet and safety elsewhere, stop eating or exhibit destructive behavior.
Keep an eye out for changes whether subtle or direct and consider one or more of my tips below to help your pup or cat cope. Shutting them in a room or garage should not be an option as this will only conclude their worry and anxiety, not help them to find ease, peace and safety.
5 Tips that can help keep the holidays magic for your pets
- Flower Essences for Emotional Support reassure that "this too shall pass" and all is really well, just busy. For use with all creatures, including ourselves. My favorite one is "Blue Calm" co-created by Christine Tolf of Lichenwood Herbals in So Berwick, Maine read about it here www.lichenwood.com
- Organic Herbal Calming Products working directly with the central nervous system may be the best answer for some pets to bring the happenings into perspective so they can respond to anxiety positively, not reactionary. Our Pet Calming Formula is a liquid and can be used acutely by administering orally, with affects lasting up to 5 hours. The Canine & Feline Calm is a powder that can be added to their food with lasting affects up to 8 hours.
- Talking, Cuddling and Reassurance that comes from us is key first and foremost. There is nothing that says "I'm safe and fine" more than a hug to assure and soothe our pets, bringing tension into calm. Hug your pets everyday:)
- Lavender Essential Oil Diffused in the home is a natural stress reliever that brings calm and lowers anxiety to all that enter! Lavender can help with sleep and mood (who couldn't use that help this time of year), and was used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers. If you have cats in the home, you should use caution with essential oils in general, diffusing can be a safer way to use them as you would use approx 10 drops of lavender in 1 oz of carrier oil, or you can simply put a few drops on Fido's pillow or bed if you prefer.
- Get Out and Play! Extremely important is the almighty exercise to increase circulation, prevent boredom, breathe fresh air, spend time having fun with your pup, expels energy and clears focus and the list goes on. While you may say "yeah, right" where am i supposed to find time for that? The answer is: make it, even if it's only for 15-20 mins a couple of times a day and you'll all benefit from it immensely.
John and I wish you and your furry friends a safe, happy and healthy holiday season full of love and cheer with fabulous food.
Joyce Belcher, Ava Gardner, Reggie, Lily and Rudy Valentino
- Joyce Belcher
Paper Vs Plastic….
Paper Vs Plastic….
Packaging is a rapidly evolving field especially in ingestible markets. Besides keeping foods and supplements safe from contamination and retaining the nutritional properties and virility of the ingredients, packaging provides additional features that are important to us consumers. These include resealability, tamper evidence, and the display of product information, as well as reuse or recycling features.
When we first started making organic pet supplements, the containers that were available to us in our very small required quantity were food grade plastic, period. That never felt good to us as we did not like the idea of supplying Certified Organic herbal and superfood products in plastic containers, it just felt wrong. We definitely spend time researching many of the expressed health concerns regarding chemicals migrating from plastic packaging into food or supplements that come in contact with it and are not at all comfortable with the reported information. We do not store our own food or our dogs’ raw diet food in plastic but use glass or ceramic. So why put our pet supplements in them?
We spent nearly a year sourcing a paper tube that could be lined to add a moisture barrier, would be recyclable and from a sustainable source and not leach any toxins into our finished goods.
Voila! We found the current canisters that we now use and have for the past 3.5 years in all our herbal powder blends that are additionally made to be shelf stable in retail store environments. These canisters are recyclable and use a much more sustainable material source. We feel so much better!
To take this one step further, we’ve offered refill “sachets” (bags) that are made of recycled Kraft paper that are thermally sealed for repeat customers locally, eliminating the need for a new canister each time a refill is needed. We are pleased to offer these same “sachets” for our online customers now as well! The bags provide a lower cost to ship due to much less packaging, creating an overall lesser footprint in use of materials, and they too can be easily recycled after use, a win-win. Simply dose from the bag that is zip locked for easy closing OR transfer the ingredients into your existing Pet Wellness Blends™ canister.
Our buckets are lined with a bag made from corn and are biodegradable.
Check out our supplements and thoughtful packaging www.petwellnessblends.com. Now that is forward thinking!
- Joyce Belcher
A Heartfelt "Thank You" to Holistic-Integrative Veterinary Medicine
Last week we attended the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) conference and trade show in Augusta, Ga. Our booth was lined with our Pet Wellness Blends Supplements and our Veterinary Botanicals herbal medicinals to showcase the unique formulas that we create to veterinarians from all over the country, and a few other countries as well.
We met many holistic and integrative vets and vet students, along with several conventional vets that attended to educate themselves with the scientific evidence based research and teachings that AHVMA filled the conference with for 4 days.
These veterinarians study hard and long, devoting themselves to higher education in their field of alternative medicine while helping animals all over the country live healthier lives. For this, we cannot thank you enough! The number of holistic and integrative veterinarians is on the rise and much needed. It does our hearts a world of good knowing there are organizations such as AHVMA, VBMA and IHS to support and educate.
The International Herbal Symposium (IHS) is another venue for herbal based education, open to all that want to learn that introduced the Vet Track a few years ago.
One woman that really made an impact on me at the AHVMA conference last week, I had met earlier this year at IHS in Massachusetts. She has practiced conventional veterinary medicine for about 30 years in Arkansas. There, she sat at the table where I was eating lunch with my vet and a few other holistic vets and told us her story which immediately had my head saying, never give up. I'm guessing she's in her late 50's early 60's, and is now learning holistic veterinary medicine for the first time in her career! She was overwhelmed with "where do I start," there's so much information and so much to learn. We all said "one day at a time, you'll find your path with what clicks for you and off you'll be running with it."
I had the pleasure of seeing her again last week at the AHVMA conference in Georgia and she was beaming with all of the new information she was learning, really taking it all in and with such grace and ease. She told me that she would spend the rest of her career learning and practicing holistic medicine. This was her quest. And that..........was the highlight of the conference for me and what I took away.....Never Give up. It's never too late to do the right thing, to learn, to teach and educate ourselves so that we can provide our pets with the best possible health that we can with the knowledge we gain, every day.
AHVMA is an organization that started in 1982 with 32 members and hosts nearly 1,000 today.
If you're looking for a holistic veterinarian for your pets, there are hundreds listed on their site www.ahvma.org
- Joyce Belcher
Immune System Balance
The primary role of the immune system is to defend the body against foreign invaders or abnormal cells that invade or attack it. The immune system functions in the same way in horses as it does in dogs, cats and humans.
When the immune system is out of balance, it can sometimes cause itchiness, fever, or swelling in the body to signal if there is something wrong. Just think of the immune system as a search and destroy system. It kills invading pathogens and antigens to prevent them from causing harm.
Most vaccines work by stimulating the development of specific immunity. Vaccinations have been developed for many diseases in animals as an effective way of enhancing the immune response to a specific invader.
However, overuse of vaccinations can create an imbalance in the immune system by overstimulation. When this happens, the animal can have an auto-immune reaction.
This can be true with constant use of “stimulating” herbs as well.
This brings us to: HOW can we balance our pets immune system?
If we constantly stimulate the immune system, it’s possible to can create an auto-immune reaction, especially if vaccines and various drugs are being used or the animal is in a stressful situation (physical as well as emotional stressors), all can affect the thymus.
But we don’t want to ignore the immune system hoping for the best by doing nothing.
So the short answer is BALANCE. The ideal combo platter for your pets immune system includes the use of Essential Fatty Acids, Pre and Probiotics, Phytonutrients that have specific immune modulating capabilities (Adaptogens) that contain a myriad of vitamin and minerals, creating total synergy for the immune system.
The base of our Wellness Blends, Canine, Feline and Equine are species selected Adaptogens, pre/probiotics and some essential fatty acids that are found in hemp seeds though dogs and cats should have added Omega 3’s, EPA and DHA.
What is an Adaptogen?
Definition by David Winston, RH, AHG
Nontoxic to its recipient
Produces a nonspecific response in the body
i.e., if the immune system is heightened, adaptogens can depress for balance. If depleted, can enhance.
Increases the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical or biological agents.
Has a normalizing/balancing effect on the organs caused by stressors.
They help to counter chronic immune cell depletion and improve the body’s defenses by increasing the production of specialized cells.
Also help produce an increased secretion of cortisol in response to injury or infection
Have a direct effect on the nervous system, allowing for an improved mind-body connection.
They also offer an increased resistance to pathogens and infections by providing increased immunity.
Immune amphoteric: this is an immune modulator. An herb that can enhance or depress immune function or reduce overstimulated immune response to bring the body to a normal state.
Ashwagandha-American Ginseng- Asian Ginseng -Cordyceps -Holy Basil-Licorice-Reishi-Eleuthero-Shilajit
Immune stimulants: boost the immune system
Astragalus, Lycium, and Schisandra and Cat’s Claw (to a certain degree)
Eleuthero root is one of my favorite adaptogens for all animals as well as humans. It increases energy, endurance, longevity, immunity, skin and muscle tone and bone strength making it a necessary herb for athletic or working dogs and horses. It prevents lactic acid build up while enhancing circulatory action and is especially good with older animals as it relieves stress and improves resistance to infections.
Adaptogens by David Winston, RH, AHG
- Adam Jacobs