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Sherry’s Corner » antioxidants

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Heard Around the Water Bowl

HEARD AROUND THE WATER BOWL. “No kill shelters” are “limited access shelters”.  For some shelters a temperament test and a physical are required in order to surrender a pet!  (Some shelters use a foster system only.  This has its drawbacks as well as advantages–just as with foster homes for children!  Foster homes can be subsidized mini-boarding kennels without supervision.)  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been called a paper industry!  It has no shelters or foster system.  And, a very reliable source was overheard calling one area shelter “a non-profit puppy mill”.   And last, but far from least, one veterinarian asks, “At the request of a good client, would you inject or dispense an anabolic steroid or a growth enhancing agent for his or her hopeful prize-winning dog?”

      ANTIOXIDANTS seems to be the banner cry of nutritionists.  How do they work and what are they?  GOOD molecules have paired electrons.   BAD molecules or free radicals contain unpaired electrons which attack cells and even scavenge electrons.  Think of these free radicals as thieves trying to steal electrons.  The bad molecules can originate within the body itself or can come from a bad environment–air pollution, exposure to UV light or radiation.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair or by breaking down the free radical to render it harmless.  Because antioxidants are used up in this process, the diet needs to have a constant supply.  It is best to obtain the antioxidants through natural food and not supplements or processed food.  Blueberries are a good example.  A recent article in the AKC Gazette noted that blueberries are added to the diet of dogs at Westminster to help combat damage from air pollution, etc.,  etc.  My Springers have a breakfast ration mixed with non-fat plain yogurt and topped with fresh blueberries when they are in season.  Frozen blueberries will work too.  All colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants.  See which ones your pets might like best sprinkled on their usual meal.  And, let’s hope a  pet food store will  bring a farmer’s market to its front door.

      CAGNEY, my senior canine companion, and I seem to be sharing the same or similar supplements.  We both take fish oil and milk thistle.  She takes CosequinD for her arthritis and I take Cosamin DS for mine.  Both are made by Nutramax.  She now takes Relax Caps since she had a seizure and I am wondering if she should share these with me too.

      When I was able to do pet therapy it was always wise to remember never to visit a resident alone.  I remember one team who suffered because someone felt slighted in the room and later reported the dog had scratched her.  Investigation revealed that she had scratched herself with a nail file.  Still it took awhile before therapy dog teams were allowed back into the facility, preventing others from all the benefits of such visitation.  Two teams can witness the events.   Back to pet therapy guidelines as reviewed in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.  They advise that dogs visiting family members in a healthcare facility who do not have therapy dog certification be CONFINED TO FAMILY MEMBERS ONLY–no sharing because he is so cute and everyone wants to meet him!   The Guidelines  also exclude animals who have been fed any raw or dehydrated foods, chews or treats of animal origin within the past 90 days.  The threat is of course salmonella.  Also excluded are animals who are being treated with antimicrobials, animals receiving immunosuppressive dosages of any medications, animals with open wounds, ear infections, or acute moist dermatitis and of course animals in season.  

      I will finish this  quick review of the Guidelines next week.  Until then your veterinarian has access to this article and I am sure can answer your questions.

Aug 10, 2008 | Comments are off | Humane Society of the United States, antioxidants, blueberries, no kill shelters, pet therapy
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