Probiotics for Diarrhea

My yellow lab is a 6 months old rescue from North Shore Animal League Long Island. I was wondering if a pro-biotic added to his food will help in controlling his occasional diarrhea. We have tried a number of foods including science diet and taste of the wild and are now transitioning him from Blue Wilderness Puppy Dry food to Wellness Simple Duck and Oatmeal.
~ Suzanne

Hi Suzanne,

Dr Jeff FeinmanCongratulations on your new pup and thank you for giving him a forever home!

Yes, a good probiotic (my preferred probiotics are Rx Biotics for pets, Probio Defense from Xymogen and Culturelle, available in most health food stores) could help balance out his gastrointestinal tract flora and help normalize his stools. You may also want to have his stool checked (or rechecked) for intestinal parasites including giardia.

In addition, a diet upgrade can be very helpful. Meaty, fresh (vs. carbohydrate-laden processed) foods are important both to his short and long term health. Raw feeding (muscle meats/glands/organs/raw bones) has helped many pets with similar problems.

Now is also the perfect time to start working with a veterinary homeopath. Preventing disease before it starts is always more effective than treating it. Raise your pup holistically by following these simple guidelines.

Have fun with your new family member.

Dr. Jeff

Lyme Disease

My 6 year old wheaten/lab rescue was diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated twice, with doxycycline. Now, her titer remains higher than normal, but not as high as it was. She doesn’t show any signs of lameness or anything overt that I can recognize as symptoms of active infection. The vet recommended a urinalysis of her 1st a.m. urine to check for kidney issues, but I’m having trouble getting the sample. Can her immune system fight this off naturally? Should she have a Lyme vaccine? Is there need for further treatment? Does she need supplements to help her immune system? She is fed Blue Buffalo, Life Protection Formula. I’m still searching for a Holistic vet in my area. Thank you!!
~ Donna

Is there a natural and effective treatment for Lyme’s Disease in dogs?
~ Grace

Two Questions:
Homeopathy for Lyme Disease – which remedy is used?
Will a dog need antibiotics as well?
~ Cindy

Dear Donna, Grace and Cindy,

Dr Sara ChapmanThe tick borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, are treated far more often than is necessary. The conventional group of internal medicine specialists, the Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine (AVIM), has issued consensus statements about many veterinary topics, including one regarding Lyme disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The ACVIM specialists do NOT recommend treating dogs solely on the basis of a positive Lyme test. Dogs with a positive Lyme test are checked for protein in the urine to check for Lyme nephropathy, a potentially serious involvement of the kidneys. If a Lyme positive dog has protein in the urine, OR has symptoms associated with Lyme disease (joint pain, depression, appetite loss) the AVIM recommends treatment with antibiotics; for one month if the symptoms are joint pain, for longer (and often with other medications) if there is kidney involvement.

Note that a positive test for Lyme disease, on its own, does not indicate a reason to treat. The AVIM specialists also do not suggest vaccination for Lyme disease; they note that 30% of dogs with Lyme nephropathy were previously vaccinated. The AVIM very strongly endorses tick control as the best means of prevention of tick borne disease. I personally encourage safe and gentle herbal flea and tick control, along with the best possible diet to strengthen the immune system.

In my own practice I treat symptomatic Lyme positive dogs with various homeopathic remedies, depending on their symptoms. The only case of Lyme nephropathy that I have seen so far was in a patient who was positive for Lyme for three years, and was having no problems. The owner took the dog to her local vet for a nail trim, and was pressured to give a Lyme vaccination, despite the fact that the dog was Lyme positive. A month later she came back to me because the dog was lame and urinating excessively; he was now in end stage kidney disease.

A urinalysis is very important in a Lyme positive dog to be sure that we have as much information as possible so that we can optimise our treatment. If it is difficult to get a first morning urine, leave your dog with the vet for the day so a sample can be collected. The most important indicator in Lyme nephropathy, protein in the urine, will still be present in urine collected later in the day.

There is no one remedy which is effective for Lyme disease. I have used a number of remedies, among them Lyme nosode, Berberis, and Eupatorium perf; the remedy is always chosen for the individual patient. Most patients respond very well and do not need antibiotic treatment. Clients may not want to use homeopathy, so if a client prefers antibiotics, I will prescribe them, after explaining the potential negative effects of antibiotics.

I do try to optimize immune system function in my patients who have chronic diseases such as Lyme. I use constitutional homeopathic prescribing and nutritional supplements for this. I give my own Lyme positive dogs non-GM, non-BGH colostrum daily as an immune modulator. I recommend other supplements to enhance immune function, such as omega fatty acids, vitamin E, flavonoids, etc, on a case by case basis. I also use other immunostimulating foods such as mushroom polysaccharides, green tea, and Echinacea in certain cases. It is ideal to work with an holistic vet to determine the best choices for your individual pet and their needs.

S.F. Chapman DVM, MRCVS, VetMFHom

Puppy Vaccinations

I have added a new member to my fur family. He is a 12 week old black Lab. I know I will have to eventually get him a shot for rabies. Is there an age when that is the best to do for him to protect his health? Also does he really need any of the other vaccinations??
Thanks for your help.
~ Beth

Dear Beth,

Jennifer RamelmeierHere are my vaccine recommendations regarding your 12 week old Lab:

I recommend giving just one distemper/parvo vaccine after 14 weeks of age. If the vaccine is given earlier the maternal antibiodies will block proper immune response.

Another option instead of giving distemper is to use vaccines nosodes (prescribed by your veterinary homeopath), but in my practice I prefer to give the one distemper as it can give immunity for up to 10 years. As far as the rabies I recommend you give this 1 to 2 months after the distemper/parvo vaccine and that you insist that your veterinarian use the thimerosal (mercury) free brand, Meriel. Also, I do not recommend any of the other vaccines (Lyme, canin flu, bordetella).

If you decide to go with distemper/paro nosode option, you can find a local veterinary homeopath.

Yours in health,

Dr Jennifer Ramelmeier DVM, CVH

Spirulina and Aggression

Our greyhound gets aggressive when spirulina is in his food. So of course, we stopped it. I recently purchased a product called Plaque Off and didn’t notice what was in it, which is seaweed. Is it likely he would react to seaweed in the same way as spirulina?
~ Carolyn

Dr Jeff FeinmanInteresting observation Carolyn. It is possible that the high protein in the spirulina is triggering his aggression. There does appear to be a clinical association between protein and behavior symptoms. It is also possible however that the spirulina is acting at an energetic and not pharmacologic level. This is similar to the action of a homeopathic remedy and if necessary can be antidoted by using a remedy with symptoms similar to those brought on by the spirulina, e.g. a dose or two of Nux vomica.

I have used Plaque Off in my practice for many years and have never seen a problem. However, I have not treated any idiosyncratic spirulina problems similar to what your dog has demonstrated. I’d therefore advise starting with 25% of the full dose and work up as long as all is well.

Good luck!

Dr. Jeff

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