Hefty, hefty, hefty…

January 8th, 2014

The beginning of a new year and we always look at ourselves negatively, mainly about our weight. Why is it that we are never satisfied with how we look? Good question…don’t know the answer.:) If you are thinking about trying to loose some weight I know a great companion to help you out…YOUR DOG!!! Yes, your four legged family member is most likely a little over weight and can use a health check by getting some extra exercise. Exercising alone can be boring and doesn’t give you much incentive to continue. But when you are exercising with your dog you have your best friend with you, supporting you plus making them happy by spending special time alone with them. Taking a walk is FREE and you can bring your dog with you. I promise you will feel better after you make the first step to help yourself and your dog.

Did you know an overweight dog is at jeopardy of getting heart disease, diabetes and joint/knee complications? It is so so true!!! When I meet people for the first time and they introduce me to their dog, the first thing I notice is the dog’s waste line. I am being honest with you when I tell you it is very disturbing to see a dog obese. To me it is a form of abuse…sorry…just being honest. If your dog doesn’t have a waste line and you can’t feel their ribs…they are over weight. Did you know it is harder to take weight off a dog than it is a human?

The cost of owning an over weight dog is outrageous. Heart disease could cost you much more and can deplete the productivity and longevity of your dogs life. If your dog’s ACL tears because their weight is too much for their knees, you are looking at surgery plus physical therapy which will cost you close to $1800.00 to @2400.00. Hip Dysplasia is very painful for your dog and when they have too much weight on them it increases the discomfort. A Diabetic dog can cost you between $100 and $200 per month.

What you don’t realize is how costly it is too take care of an over weight dog. You might disagree with me right now because your dog isn’t showing any signs of poor health (at least to you they are not showing signs). Just wait…your dog will start screaming at you which means you have to make a vet appointment which will cost you between…guess?
All it takes is for you to reduce the amount of food you are feeding him/her or replace the treats with sodium free rice cakes (apple/cinnamon are my dogs favorite). If you reduce the food intake replace with green beans (very low in calories). The green beans will also make them feel fuller longer.

Don’t be cruel take care of your dog by putting them on a diet…it will save you a lot of money now and in the future. If you are open to a diet that will reduce your dogs weight in 3 months to a healthier size…reach out to me and I can fill you in.
Until then, have a happy and healthy New Year to you and your entire family…especially your four legged members!!!!
Chef Loreen

Stressed out for the holidays?

December 10th, 2013

Chef Loreen here to help you understand that you dog(s) feel your emotions. When you are all stressed out on getting all the shopping done, gifts purchased and wrapped or just worried about the guests that are coming for your holiday dinner, you may notice changes in your dogs behavior or their bowel movements. I know, I know it is easier said than done…but you do need to calm down for your own sake. A good way to instantly relax (or somewhat calm down) would be to take in a couple of deep breaths but hold each one before you exhale. Do this about 3 or 4 times…remember to hold…then release out of your mouth with a visualization of blowing out all the anxieties you are feeling. Just think of feeling less stressed and how you are helping everyone around that feels your emotions…your four legged family member. Happy Holidays from Chef Loreen and her family of canines (Hershey Kisses and Stewey).

Dr. Dym’s Pearls on Heart Disease in Canines.

December 10th, 2013

Medical Pearls From Dr. Dym
Holistic Veterinarian

We see many types of heart disease in our canine patients. In some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Boxers and King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, they are genetic. Other types of heart disease, the most common of which is mitral valve regurgitation, occur more in aging, smaller and mixed breeds.

There can be a wide variety of presentations of heart disease symptoms, from the asymptomatic dog, whose disease is initially detected through hearing of a heart murmur at the time of physical exam, to dogs that present sudden congestive heart failure and even sudden death. Between these two extremes of presentation are a variety of symptoms one should be aware of, ranging from exercise intolerance to a chronic progressive hacking cough. Symptoms of canine heart disease can mimic signs of chronic airway disease, especially in toy breeds, and some dogs can even have both chronic airway disease and heart disease at the same time.

The only way to properly diagnose and stage heart disease in dogs, as well as whether specific treatment is needed, is through a proper physical exam, chest X-rays, an EKG, and often, ultimately an echocardiogram.

While long standing drugs such as furosemide (lasix), digoxin, and enalopril have often improved quality of life, the recent availability of the drug Vetmedin (Pimobendan) has truly extended both quality and length of life in many dogs.

And while heart disease can and will affect many dogs, certainly dietary therapy and nutritional therapy can help play a role in prevention and treatment. Stay away from high salt, fatty processed commercial diets, and stress either minimally processed natural commercial diets or fresh home made quality ones, such as K-9 Pet Chef, can be of great help.

Essential fatty acid supplementation is critical in both healthy and unhealthy dogs as a preventative supplement for so many conditions, as well as even more critically in those pets diagnosed with heart disease. Other nutrients, such as dimethylglycine, coenzyme Q-10, hawthorne berry, and minerals, such as magnesium, can all help in managing heart disease.

In my practice I also include as part of my therapeutic regimen in many patients the wonderful whole food supplements from standard process www.standardprocess.com
www.doctordym.com email: michael@doctordym.com

Seasonal allergy remedies by Dr. Dym

August 23rd, 2012

Dr. Micheal Dym’s pearls on allergies:
One of the most frustrating problems facing any small animal veterinarian, especially during the spring time is the high prevalence of inhalent/contact allergies in our dogs. Amongst the most common offending allergens include pollens, grasses, trees, dander, molds, and ragweed to name just a few. Many pets suffer from chronic itchy skin, affecting any part of the body, including behind the front legs , but also very commonly the feet and ears, leading to secondary yeast and bacterial infections. While conventional medicine will often suppress these symptoms with antibiotics and cortisone, many pets become resistant to this treatment over time, as well as there can be long term side effects on internal organs such as the liver and/or pancreas, as the imbalance moves deeper in the body in what we call suppression in homeopathy. And while seeing a veterinary dermatologist for blood and/or skin allergy testing and the development of allergy vaccines is an option, this is quite expensive, and even with this extensive conventional approach only 60- to 65% of dogs have some sort of response to allergy desentization therapy. . Holistic medicine such as herbal therapy and constitutional homeopathy are both viable options for treating patients with skin allergies long term. However holistic modalities often require much time, patience and comittment on the canine guardian’s part, as sometimes skin symptoms can even initially worsen, before slowly improving. The patient is treated as a whole, rather than just focusing on the skin, as is done in conventional medicine. It is important to work with a holistic veterinarian on an individualized approach with any long term skin allergy cases. There are some excellent herbs that one could start with including licorice, stinging nettle, burdock, dandelion and milk thistle. The company animal essentials at www.animalessentials.com has some wonderful easy to use combination products that are sometimes helpful.. Standard process is another great company that makes excellent supportive whole food supplements including immuplex, dermatotrophin PMG, antronex, and canine enteric support, all which can be helpful in managing allergic pets. Classical homeopathy is another approach one could take www.drpitcairn.com , but does require a long term approach and much patience as the goal of homeopathic treatment is to cure the patient of susceptibility to disease on all levels over time. It is important for an animal guardian to realize that patience is critical if progress is truly to be made long term, and if one wants to avoid the potential long term side effects of conventional immune suppressive drug therapies.

Spaying/Neutering: Is it really healthier?

August 6th, 2012

Conflicting Ideas, Information Cause Confusion. Here Are Some Facts To Consider.

Medical Pearls From Dr. Dym, South Jersey’s Holistic Veterinarian
Probably the hottest topic being tossed around in veterinary journals and meetings is when or if to neuter/spay your dog. For decades, this procedure has been routinely performed in everyday veterinary practice, usually on dogs who are six months of age.

Why? Because it’s always been assumed that doing so was for the health and well being of our canine companions. In fact, many shelters and rescue groups are now neutering and spaying dogs at age six to eight weeks in hope of controlling the pet overpopulation problem and the overcrowding of their facilities.

While done on a herd health basis, the perspective taken by humane societies and shelters across the country, spaying and neutering pets early and before adopting them out is better for controlling the pet overpopulation problem, the data and evidence show that early spaying/neutering may increase certain significant health risks in pets as they age.

Studies have shown that dogs that undergo spaying/neutering before sexual maturity at one year of age are at increased risk for certain cancers, such as bone, prostrate, bladder and malignant hemangiosarcoma. Other possibilities are thyroid disorders, incontinence, and some of the exact behavioral issues such as aggression. These are the same problems that the surgeries are said to prevent, which was demonstrated by a recent University of Pennsylvania study.

A 2004 study in a reputable orthopedic journal confirmed that spayed and neutered dogs have a higher incidence of anterior ligament-cruciate ligament rupture in the stifle or knee joint (a condition that costs thousands of dollars to correct), as well as their having significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia later in life.

And while female dogs spayed before too many heats have a decreased risk of future breast cancer, uterine abscesses, or infections called pyometras, it seems one can make a generalized statement that if an animal guardian chooses to have a pet spayed or neutered, that these issues should be taken into consideration, especially when considering an individual breed who may be predisposed to some of these conditions.
From my review of the current data for the future health of individual pets (which is always the holistic perspective, rather than treating our companion animal pets all the same as a herd of cattle), for those clients who choose to have their pets spayed or neutered, I strongly feel that it is best to wait until those pets reach sexual maturity at the age of 12 months, unless there are other factors that necessitate earlier sterilization.

I feel that allowing our pets to reach sexual maturity has been adequately demonstrated by scientific studies to have significant future health benefits that both veterinarians and animal guardians should become aware of, before just going with the standard of practice of early neutering/spaying that has been widely practiced over the generations.

Does your dog love fruits and vegetables? If so, let us know so we can share your stories with our readers. Send comments to Chef Loreen at www.k9petcheftlc.com.

Dog/cat Vaccination…do or don’t?

July 9th, 2012

Age and Long-term Protective Immunity in Dogs and Cats
R.D. Schultz, a, , B. Thiela, E. Mukhtara, P. Sharpa and L.J. Larsona
a Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Available online 3 December 2009.

Vaccination can provide an immune response that is similar in duration to that following a natural infection. In general, adaptive immunity to viruses develops earliest and is highly effective. Such anti-viral immune responses often result in the development of sterile immunity and the duration of immunity (DOI) is often lifelong. In contrast, adaptive immunity to bacteria, fungi or parasites develops more slowly and the DOI is generally short compared with most systemic viral infections. Sterile immunity to these infectious agents is less commonly engendered. Old dogs and cats rarely die from vaccine-preventable infectious disease, especially when they have been vaccinated and immunized as young adults (i.e. between 16 weeks and 1 year of age). However, young animals do die, often because vaccines were either not given or not given at an appropriate age (e.g. too early in life in the presence of maternally derived antibody [MDA]). More animals need to be vaccinated to increase herd (population) immunity. The present study examines the DOI for core viral vaccines in dogs that had not been revaccinated for as long as 9 years. These animals had serum antibody to canine distemper virus (CDV), canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) and canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) at levels considered protective and when challenged with these viruses, the dogs resisted infection and/or disease. Thus, even a single dose of modified live virus (MLV) canine core vaccines (against CDV, cav-2 and cpv-2) or MLV feline core vaccines (against feline parvovirus [FPV], feline calicivirus [FCV] and feline herpesvirus [FHV]), when administered at 16 weeks or older, could provide long-term immunity in a very high percentage of animals, while also increasing herd immunity.
Keywords: ageing; cat; dog; duration of immunity; immunosenescence; vaccine
Article Outline

Active Immunization
Duration of Immunity
The Case of Canine Parvovirus
Protection and the Level of Antibodies
Conflict of Interest

Age has a profound effect on the development and the decline of the immune system including innate and adaptive components. Clearly, the innate immune system is more mature at birth than the adaptive immune system; however, neither is fully developed and only after several weeks to months of life does the immune system become immunologically mature. The young of all species are dependent on immunity that is passively acquired from the dam. Thus, the very young of all mammalian species are at greater risk of developing disease and these diseases, once they develop, will often be more severe during the first weeks to months of life than they would be in older, immunologically naïve animals. However, age not only affects the quality of the immune response in young animals, but also impacts on immune function in very old animals. The decline of immunity in older animals (‘immunosenescence’) may make them more susceptible to certain infectious diseases. Studies on immunosenescence in the dog and cat have suggested a decline in the immune system with age, but the significance of the decline with regard to increased susceptibility, especially to infectious agents, has not been shown ([Schultz, 1984], [Schultz and Conklin, 1998], [Campbell et al., 2004], [HogenEsch et al., 2004], [Blount et al., 2005], [Greeley et al., 2006] and [Day, 2007]).

Active Immunization
In general, adaptive immunity following vaccination with modified live virus (MLV) vaccines develops earliest and most effectively in that it is often complete (e.g. sterile immunity is induced) and duration of immunity (DOI) is often lifelong. In contrast, adaptive immunity to bacterial, fungal or parasite vaccines develops more slowly, rarely induces sterile immunity and the DOI is generally shorter compared with viral vaccines.
In the studies presented herein, we determined the antibody response that developed after immunizing dogs of different ages to different kinds of ‘novel’ antigens including sheep red blood cells (SRBCs), multiple Leptospira serovars and killed bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV).
Beagle dogs were placed into three groups: animals 5–7 weeks of age (n = 25), animals 6–10 months of age (n = 24) and animals 7–9 years of age (n = 20). They were immunized three times at 2-week intervals and serum was collected at the time of immunization and again 2 weeks after the last dose of antigens was administered. There was no difference in the titre of haemolytic and agglutinating antibody induced after administration of SRBCs to dogs in the different age groups (Fig. 1).

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Fig. 1. Haemolytic and agglutinating antibody titres to sheep red blood cells (SRBCs) in dogs injected three times with SRBC at 2 week intervals.

Serum antibody to heterologous bovine and guinea pig red blood cells was also measured and there were no differences based on the age of the dog in the heterogeneity of antibody responsiveness (Fig. 2) in the different age groups. Similarly, when serum antibody specific for ovine, bovine and caprine albumin was measured (by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay; ELISA) in dogs immunized with sheep serum, the responses were again very similar among the age groups (Fig. 3).

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Fig. 2. Agglutinating antibody titre to ovine, bovine and guinea pig red blood cells (RBCs) in dogs injected with sheep RBCs three times at 2-week intervals. Serum was collected 2 weeks after the final injection.

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Fig. 3. Serum antibody titres to sheep, bovine and goat serum albumin in dogs immunized with sheep serum. Titres are determined by ELISA.

The dogs were also vaccinated with a bovine leptospirosis vaccine, which included the serovars canicola, grippotyphosa, hardjo, icterohaemorrhagiae and pomona. Apart from hardjo, which is never used in canine vaccines, the same four serovars are used in a commercially available canine leptospirosis vaccine that is available in the USA. Serum from the vaccinated dogs was tested for the presence of antibody to each of the five vaccine serovars, as well as to bratislava and autumnalis (two serovars not found in canine vaccines.) The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) showed an age-related difference: serum from the youngest dogs, which had not been given leptospira antigen prior to the study, showed no cross-reaction with bratislava (Fig. 4). However, serum from these young animals showed excellent cross-reactivity to autumnalis. The dogs of the 6–10-month-old age group, which had been vaccinated several months previously with the four component canine vaccine, showed cross-reaction against bratislava and autumnalis, as did the dogs of the mature age group, which had received several booster vaccinations during their lives with the four component canine vaccine. All age groups showed similar antibody responses to the five serovars of Leptospira in the vaccine (Fig. 4). Regardless of age, the responses were similar and an anamnestic response was not apparent.

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Fig. 4. Anti-Leptospira antibody titres against various serovars as detected by the microagglutination test (MAT) in dogs immunized with the bovine five component Leptospira vaccine. Those serovars included in the vaccine are indicated (*).

It would seem that the long-term immune memory for an immunoglobulin (Ig) E (type I hypersensitivity) response, as determined by skin tests, to the Leptospira antigens lasted for over 4 years in older dogs, while the Leptospira antigens only induced a short term IgG/IgM antibody response, as determined by MAT. The IgG antibody is believed to provide protective immunity against leptospirosis.
The dogs were also vaccinated with killed BVDV type 1, but no antibodies were produced by dogs in any of the age groups. This would obviously not have been the case if calves had been vaccinated instead of dogs and it is not clear why the dogs failed to respond to this antigenic stimulus.
An earlier study demonstrated no association between age and blood lymphocyte responsive to stimulation with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) in dogs of different ages (Schultz, 1984; Fig. 5). Similar studies of lymphocyte responses to mitogens by other groups reported no significant change with increasing age or showed a significant decline in response with age. However, this decline appeared to relate to the method used to express the results. When a stimulation index (SI; i.e. the counts per minute [CPM] obtained from cultures of stimulated cells divided by CPM of control unstimulated cells) was used, a significant decline in response was seen. In contrast, when the mean difference in CPM between stimulated and control cells was used, as in the present study, a significant decline with age was not reported ([Schultz, 1984], [HogenEsch et al., 2004], [Blount et al., 2005] and [Greeley et al., 2006]).

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Fig. 5. Lymphocyte blastogenesis test response to phytohaemagglutinin in dogs of different ages (Schultz, 1984).

Duration of Immunity
An ideal means of estimating the DOI that could be expected from a vaccine would be to determine the DOI that develops after natural immunization (e.g. recovery from natural infection/disease). It is likely that an effective MLV vaccine will provide a DOI similar to that following natural infection, but it is very unlikely that a vaccine will provide a longer DOI than would be achieved following natural infection. The DOI may persist via immunological memory involving B and T lymphocytes, long-lived plasma cells that continue to produce antibodies for several years (‘memory effector B cells’) and possibly long-lived ‘memory effector T cells’ (Schultz and Conklin, 1998).
When dogs recover from natural infection/disease due to CDV, CAV-1 or CPV-2, they develop life-long immunity to these diseases. Long-term immunity also develops in cats that have recovered from infection by FPV. Although immunity to the other core feline viruses (FCV and FHV) is less effective (no sterile immunity), immunity from severe disease does persist in most pet cats for years after vaccination (Scott and Geissinger, 1999; Schultz, 1998).
In our studies (Schultz 2006) we have examined the persistence of antibodies in vaccinated dogs kept in natural as well as virus-free environments. The longest period of time after initial vaccination that dogs were sampled and that antibody was found to persist was 14 years for CDV (vaccination with MLV), 14 years for CAV-1 (MLV against CAV-1 or CAV-2) and 10 years for CPV-2 (MLV) (Table 1). Similar studies have been reported in the cat (Scott and Geissinger, 1999).
Table 1. Immunity as defined by antibody persistence after vaccination for canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) and canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2)
Environment Pathogen DOI (antibody persistence) in years Vaccine used
Not virus-free CDV 14 CDV modified live virus (MLV)
Not virus-free CAV-1 14 CAV-1/2 MLV
Not virus-free CPV-2 10 CPV-2 MLV
Free of CDV, CPV-2 CDV 9 CDV MLV
Free of CDV, CPV-2 CDV 5* CDV canarypox recombinant
Free of CDV, CPV-2 CPV-2 9 CPV-2 MLV
* Study still ongoing.

In environments free from CDV and CPV-2, we have not been able to keep dogs for longer than 9 years, thus the minimum DOI as defined by antibody persistence was 9 years for CDV (MLV), CAV-1 (MLV) and CPV-2 (MLV). In the same environment, the minimum DOI measured thus far for the canarypox recombinant virus-vectored CDV vaccine is 5 years (Larson and Schultz, 2007). These results suggest that the presence of overt antigenic stimulation may not be necessary for the persistence of immunological memory or serum antibody (Schultz and Conklin, 1998; [Schultz, 1998] and [Schultz, 2006]).
Dogs maintained in a CDV and CPV-2 free environment were also shown to resist challenge at 9 years post-vaccination. The serum antibody levels in these dogs had decreased over time, but not significantly. However, when challenged all animals were completely protected regardless of antibody titre pre-challenge. In contrast, dogs that were not vaccinated and had no specific serum antibodies and were kept in the same environment as the vaccinated dogs, were susceptible to infection. These control animals shed virus and/or developed disease and/or died (Schultz, 2006).
Another study demonstrated that dogs that had been vaccinated once as puppies (at a time when they no longer had maternally derived antibodies [MDA]) and which were kept in an environment free of CDV, CAV-1/2 and CPV-2, maintained antibodies for at least 4.5 years and when challenged, were completely protected (Abdelmagid et al., 2004). A study that measured the antibody titres in dogs of different ages (2–14 years old, n = 127) showed that there was no significant difference according to age in the antibody response to CPV-2, CAV-1 and CDV (Fig. 6; Schultz, 2006).

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Fig. 6. The effect of age on antibody titre to canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) and canine distemper virus (CDV).

Thus, all studies based on persistence of antibody as well as challenge show that immunity to CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-1 persists for a lifetime after vaccination, similar to the persistence of immunity after natural infection (Schultz, 2006).
The Case of Canine Parvovirus
In view of the number of variants of canine parvovirus that are now described, the question arises as to whether older dogs vaccinated at an early age maintain protective immunity to all the variants of CPV-2 that are currently circulating (CPV-2a, b, c). Our studies have shown that vaccination with any one of these variants provides cross-protection against the others (Table 2). Dogs that were vaccinated with CDV and CPV-2 or CPV-2a and then challenged 4–9 years later with both CDV (by intravenous injection) and CPV-2c or -2b (by administration intranasally and per os) showed 100% protection (Table 2). This study indicates that the CPV-2 variant used to vaccinate does not affect the minimum DOI (Larson and Schultz, 2008).
Table 2. Dogs vaccinated against canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus type 2 or 2a (CPV-2, -2a) and then challenged with CDV (intravenous) and CPV-2c or -2b (intranasal/oral)
Challenge viruses Number of dogs per group Years since last vaccine given (average) Type of CPV-2 vaccine component CPV titre at PC Day 0 (average log2) CDV titre at PC Day 0 (average log2) Age at challenge in years: range and (average) Outcome (% protection)
CDV-SH, CPV-2b 10 4.5 CPV-2 6.3 6.6 4–8 (6.2) 100
CDV-SH, CPV-2c 10 5.5 CPV-2 7.5 8.4 5–9 (6.8) 100
CDV-SH, CPV-2c 10 5.9 CPV-2a 7.8 8.3 7–8 (7.3) 100
CDV-SH, CPV-2c 10 4.8 CPV-2 8.2 5.1 5–9 (6.8) 100
SH, Synder Hill strain; PC, post challenge.

Protection and the Level of Antibodies
Antibody titre as it relates to protective immunity for CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-1 is of importance in passively immunized (unvaccinated dogs with MDA) dogs (Table 3). In contrast to passively immune pups, in actively immunized pups (either following natural or vaccine-induced immunization) the actual titre of antibody is not of importance, as long as the titre is detectable (Table 4). Actively immune dogs will develop an innate and a rapid anamnestic humoral and cell-mediated response, thus will be protected from infection and/or disease. The presence of antibodies, regardless of titre, in these dogs demonstrates protective immunity ([Schultz, 1998] and [Schultz, 2006]; Schultz and Conklin, 1998).
Table 3. Minimum protective antibody titre required in passively immune dogs to protect against experimental challenge with canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) and canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2)
Challenge Virus Antibody titre: range and (mean) Test
IV/IN CDV 16–64 (32) VN
IV CAV-1 32–128 (64) VN
IN/oral CPV-2 80–320 (160) HI
IV, intravenous; IN, intranasal; VN, virus neutralization; HI, haemagglutination inhibition.

Table 4. Protective antibody titre required in actively immune dogs to protect against experimental challenge with canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) and canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2)
Challenge Virus Antibody titre: range and (mean) Test
IV/IN CDV 4–16 (8) VN
IV CAV-1 2–8 (4) VN
IN/oral CPV-2 10–40 (20) HI
IV, intravenous; IN, intranasal; VN, virus neutralization; HI, haemagglutination inhibition.

Based on experimental studies that have been ongoing since the 1970s, in which large numbers of vaccinated animals were challenged and/or tested for the titre of serum antibody, in addition to observations in the field, in particular in animal shelters experiencing outbreaks of CDV and/or CPV-2, it may be concluded that:

• Old dogs and cats do not die from vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. It is rare to see an old dog die from distemper, canine parvovirus or infectious canine hepatitis (CAV-1), unless it has never been vaccinated.

• Unlike elderly people, who often die from respiratory disease complex (i.e. pneumonia), old dogs and cats rarely die from canine/feline respiratory disease complex.
• In contrast to old dogs and cats, many younger dogs and cats do die from vaccine-preventable disease because they are not vaccinated or were not vaccinated at an appropriate age (i.e. at or after 16 weeks of age) or with effective vaccines.
• In spite of the relatively high percentage of vaccinated pets in the USA, only an estimated 25% of cats and 50% of dogs are ever vaccinated.
• Only one dose of the modified-live canine ‘core’ vaccine (against CDV, CAV-2 and CPV-2) or modified-live feline ‘core’ vaccine (against FPV, FCV and FHV), when administered at 16 weeks or older, will provide long lasting (many years to a lifetime) immunity in a very high percentage of animals ([Schultz, 1998], [Schultz, 2000] and [Schultz, 2006]).
• Two doses of the core rabies vaccines given 3–4 weeks apart are likely to provide many years of immunity in both cats and dogs (Schultz et al., 1977).
• If we wish to enhance the herd (population) immunity, we need to provide vaccination for animals that never see a veterinarian. When the percentage of vaccinated dogs or cats reaches or exceeds 50%, herd immunity will help protect many of the unvaccinated animals (domestic and wild) that are susceptible to the core diseases.
• It is strongly recommended that current vaccination guidelines for dogs and cats be followed whenever possible (Day et al., 2007).

Conflict of Interest
The first author was an invited speaker at the Merial European Comparative Vaccinology Symposium and received travel expenses and an honorarium for this presentation.
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Day et al., 2007 M.J. Day, M.C. Horzinek and R.D. Schultz, Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats, Journal of Small Animal Practice 48 (2007), pp. 528–541. View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (10)

Day, 2007 M.J. Day, Immune system development in the dog and cat, Journal of Comparative Pathology 137 (2007), pp. S10–S15. Abstract | Article | PDF (158 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (7)

Greeley et al., 2006 E.H. Greeley, E. Spitznagel, D.F. Lawler, R.D. Kealy and M. Segre, Modulation of canine immunosenescence by lifelong caloric restriction, Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 111 (2006), pp. 287–299. Abstract | Article | PDF (262 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (12)

HogenEsch et al., 2004 H. HogenEsch, S. Thompson, A. Dunham, M. Ceddia and M. Hayek, Effect of age on immune parameters and the immune response of dogs to vaccines: a cross-sectional study, Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 97 (2004), pp. 77–85. Abstract | Article | PDF (182 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (14)

Larson and Schultz, 2007 L.J. Larson and R.D. Schultz, Three-year duration of immunity in dogs vaccinated with a canarypox-vectored recombinant canine distemper virus vaccine, Veterinary Therapeutics 8 (2007), pp. 101–106. View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (2)

Larson and Schultz, 2008 L.J. Larson and R.D. Schultz, Do two current canine parvovirus type 2 and 2b vaccines provide protection against the new type 2c variant?, Veterinary Therapeutics 9 (2008), pp. 94–101. View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (3)

Schultz et al., 1977 R.D. Schultz, M.J. Appel and L.E. Carmichael, Canine vaccines and immunity. In: R.W. Kirk, Editor, Current Veterinary Therapy VI, WB Saunders Co., Philadelphia (1977), pp. 1271–1275.

Schultz, 1984 Schultz RD (1984) The effects of aging on the immune system. In: Proceedings of the 33rd Gaines Symposium on Canine Geriatrics, Vol. 6, p. 12.

Schultz, 1998 R.D. Schultz, Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs, Veterinary Medicine 93 (1998), pp. 233–254.

Schultz and Conklin, 1998 R.D. Schultz and S. Conklin, The immune system and vaccines, Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian 20 (1998), pp. 5–18.

Senior Dogs – Hershey

June 5th, 2012

Well, back in April Hershey was declared a senior dog. That hurt to hear. Besides the hip dysplasia she was born with she looked in perfect health. Had her yearly blood work done and it came back, as the vet said “Fantastic”. Good to hear.
Well, one week later I am taking Hershey to see Dr. Howe-Smith at the Cherry Hill Pet PT. She torn a ligament in her left knee stemming from the hip dysplasia in the same hip. Not only did she tear the ligament but she has developed arthritis in her left shoulder which is now causing muscle spasms in her neck. My poor girl went down hill fast ever since she was called a senior.lol Since I became a chef for dogs I have concentrated on feeding Hershey nothing with preservatives or chemicals. Now she is on pain medication probably for the rest of her life. She is doing very well with special thanks to Dr. Howe-Smith and his team for introducing to me another option over surgery. Her numbers for muscle mass and extensions have exceeded the vets expectations. You go girl!!!

NJ Life Article about K9 Pet Chef

March 28th, 2012

The K-9 Pet Chef
By Amanda Wright, NJ Life Magazine

How did you come up with the idea of cooking only natural food for pets?
During a life-coaching session, I pinpointed my three major interests as dogs, nutrition, and nature. I Googled those three words and found a company called K-9 Pet Chef (30 year old company), which creates a home style dog food for different breeds according to their needs using only natural ingredients. I contacted the owners, Lynda Kramer and her son, John Kramer, and expressed my interest in canine nutrition. John trained me the proper way to cook foods to help treat specific illnesses in dogs as well as nutritious meals for healthy dogs. I then went on to become a certified pet chef, creating meals with the cooking process I learned from them to keep dogs healthy in a natural diet, which I have been doing since August of 2008.
How is this food healthier than other store-bought diets?
With the help of a dog nutritionist, Dr. Donald Collins, we formulate exactly the right diet for the dog, and that includes not just the protein, but also the carbohydrate that’s required for the dog’s system. For protein, we use the dark meats of the chicken and turkey as well as chopped beef, ground lamb, and salmon. The carbohydrate source is a range of brown rice, oatmeal, millet, and barley. Wherever the breed initiated determines which ingredients the dog should be fed. To give an example, my Labrador’s body cannot assimilate beef fat, so her protein should not be coming from beef—instead, I feed her poultry.

Also, the only two ingredients we cook are the meats and the carbohydrates. The rest of the ingredients — fruis and vegetables, flaxseed oil, garlic, and powdered eggshells for pure calcium — do not get heated, so the animal gets the full potency of the vitamins and minerals from those ingredients. That way, they’re getting the proper proteins and carbohydrates, and the rest of the nutrients are coming to them in fresh ingredients. The foods are not losing their nutritional value, and they keep the dog’s system running smoothly and properly so he has fewer health issues when he gets older.
Is this kind of diet geared toward dogs with illnesses or for healthy dogs as well?
It’s an all-around healthy way of being. We also do special diets for dogs that have already succumbed to diabetes, thyroid disease, or cancer because dogs get all of the same ailments as we do. Our meals are custom-made according to the health conditions.
It’s noted on your website that this food is safe for humans. Would you ever try it?
Yes, I would eat it until I put the powdered eggshells in it, which makes it a little gritty!
What other benefits does the food have?
It can actually calm down dogs that have a tendency of being hyper, like the Jack Russell terrier. Some dogs are high-strung because of their diet. Our food is known for calming the dogs because it does not include any chemicals, preservatives, or colors and dyes which are known for enhancing hyper-tension. We are practically the only pet food company out there that can say its food is all-natural.
Do dogs adjust well to this kind of food even if what they are used to originally is processed with preservatives and chemicals?
You know the old saying, “Do not feed a dog table food”? Well, when fed this food, the dog thinks it’s getting table food. Even the finicky eaters are diving into K-9 Pet Chef meals.
As the proud owner of a chocolate lab yourself, what tips do you normally share with people about caring for their pet?
A tip I give to everybody and anybody is that they should feed their dogs a sardine a week. That helps boost the immune system. We also advise people to give their dog a biscuit a day so that they can keep their teeth clean. And pet owners should be feeding their dog twice a day.
Where can consumers purchase the food?
Our food is being carried by Whole Foods in Marlton, NJ and Plymouth Meeting, PA Whole Foods. They can also order it by calling Chef Loreen direct at 856-461-3736 and the delivery will be made to their door step or email her questions to loreen@k9petcheftlc.com. Effective April 1, 2012 a Grain FREE line of K9 Pet Chef will be introduced. Keep your eyes and ears open to the surrounding stores that will be carrying this fantastic nutrition bound food.

Loreen truly loves pets and wants them to be as happy and healthy as they can. Hopefully, her tips and ideas help you keep your pet in the healthiest condition possible, but if you have any specific issues that you would like to discuss about your pet, Loreen takes all kinds of questions from pet owners about food, nutrition, healthy pet tips, and more. She can be reached at Loreen@k9petchef.com. For further information about her all-natural pet food or ordering information, please visit k9petchef.com.

Beware of Poisions

March 26th, 2012

Pet lovers here are Poisons to be aware of:

Depending on the dose ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, and an increased heart rate.

Licorce mulch is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Please keep an eye out if your dog or cat is digging in mulch…they then lick their feet and digest the mulch.

Candies or gum containing the sweetener xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures.

Bones can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy, spicy, and fatty foods can cause an upset stomach.

Alcohol can cause a pet to go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Aluminum foil
Aluminum foil and cellophane wrappers can cause vomiting and intestinal blockage.

Toxic lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.

Mistletoe and holly berries can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea), cardiovascular problems, and lethargy.

Considered very low in toxicity, poinsettias might cause mild vomiting or nausea.

Christmas tree water
Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers that can upset a pet’s stomach. Stagnant water can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Decorations like ribbon or tinsel can become lodged in intestines and cause an obstruction.

If your pet digests poisonous objects or foods follow these steps:
1. Give granular activated charcoal. Mix five heaping teaspoons of granules in 1 cup of water. Depending on the animal’s size, give about 1/4 to 1 cup by spoonfuls in the cheek pouch. If this causes excess struggle or worsens symptoms, discontinue. Your veterinarian will be able to apply treatment under sedation or anesthesia.
2. Keep the animal warm and as quiet as possible. Stress has a very negative influence.
3. Call the National Animal Poison Control Center if you know where the poison came from. Call 800-548-2423 for specific advise on treatment or antidotes.
Otherwise, bring the suspected poisons and container (if known), as well as any vomited material, to the doctor for possible identification of the poison.

Sardines – a great source of…

March 13th, 2012

Try a Sardine a Week!
Sardines provide
dogs with large
amounts of good fatty
acids, such as Omega
Giving your pet one
sardine a week can
boost his immune
system, help keep
him allergy-free, and
keep his coat looking
its very best.