Archive for August, 2012

Seasonal allergy remedies by Dr. Dym

Thursday, 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 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 , 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?

Monday, 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.

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