June 2011

Retrieving the latest dog health information for you and your best friend.

SUMMER IS HERE. So are fleas, mosquitoes and ticks.

While chemically-based "top-on" products like Frontline are usually effective in killing and preventing fleas, mosquitoes and ticks, as insecticides they have an inherent long-term health risk. It also means each successive generation of fleas is more resistant to the product. That spurs manufacturers to create increasingly stronger and more toxic products in order to be effective.

Fleas do not develop this genetic defense against natural flea prevention products. Flea preventive drops or nosodes from a holistic veterinarian, as well as chewable tablets containing garlic and yeast, can be very effective. It's also wise to use a a fine-toothed flea comb daily and bathe your dog in a non-toxic shampoo. You do NOT need to use a flea shampoo, as many are very harsh on the skin and some are even toxic. Soap/shampoo kills fleas so any brand will work.

For more flea preventative tips, visit dog-health-today.com

BEE STINGS IN DOGS has brought many dog people to my site in recent weeks. The best way to ensure your dog has a successful recovery from a sting is to be prepared.

Whichever means of treatment you choose, buy it today. You want to have it in your home before you need it. If you take your dog hiking or to the dog park, take the treatment along too.

Symptoms of a bee, wasp or hornet sting include swelling in the face, muzzle or nose and hives (bumps) anywhere on the body. In severe cases, the dog may also have trouble breathing, diarrhea or sudden defecation, drooling, depression or weakness. If the dog is having trouble breathing or is in danger of collapse or a coma, better get to a vet quickly. Minor problems, if treated quickly, however, typically resolve with home remedies, often aborting a crisis.

Many conventional veterinarians, including Dr. Mike Anderson, DVM, recommend Benadryl, a human antihistamine, given to counter the reaction. It should be dosed at 1 mg per 1 lb. of dog body weight. Tablets are 25 mg each, which would be the dosage for a 25 lb. dog. A 50 lb. dog would need two tablets; a 12 lb. dog would need half a tablet, etc.

According to Dr. De Haan, DVM, a holistic vet in North Carolina, homeopathic medicine helps the body respond to a disease by stimulating the body’s own healing substances. In homeopathy, a very small amount of the offending culprit—toxin, bee venom, etc.—is greatly diluted to form the treatment, known as a nosode (when made from pathogen, herbal or mineral sources) or iosode (made from organ, tissue or gland).

He offers the following directions for administering apis miel, a natural homeopathic “remedy,” the (non-toxic) venom from the honey bee: Give your dog several of the homeopathic pellets by mouth immediately after seeing the dog stung or when symptoms appear and repeat every 5-15 minutes as needed. If your dog does not take pills easily, dissolve 6 pills in two tablespoons (1 oz.) of water and squirt 12-20 drops on the lips frequently or have him lap it from a saucer with a bit of broth for flavor.

If you choose, you can use both the Benadryl as well as a homeopathic remedy. If you decide to take this route, Dr. De Haan advises using a homeopathic remedy at least 5 minutes or more separated from a drug; meaning there is no contraindication using both, but they must be given separately to be effective.

Most health food stores and some drug stores that sell homeopathics sometimes carry remedies for bee/wasp stings, either as apis miel or similar combination homeopathic products.

Apis miel can be purchased at many health stores or from Dr. De Haan, who offers a 2-oz. bottle for $16. More complex bee/wasp/hornet/insect bite homeopathic remedies are also available. You can order these remedies by calling his office at 704-734-0061.

dog health
Another option is to use powdered activated charcoal as a wet external poultice placed over any sting/bite to draw out and help inactivate the poison. It can be purchased online and at most health food stores. Charcoal is the “universal antidote” for poisoning. Used either externally or internally, charcoal ADSORBS (bonds by electrical charge) poisons till they can be eliminated.

A second poultice to consider in bee stings is the common weed “plantain,” (shown in the above photo), which grows near buildings and along roads and is readily available. Dr. Heinerman in Miracle Healing Herbs calls the plantain “A useful weed for what ails you.”

Directions for making a poultice with activated charcoal or plantain:

  • Mix 2 Tbls. activated charcoal (or crushed/torn plantain leaves) with a small amount of water to form a wet paste. It should be moist but not runny.

  • Spread the paste on half of a folded paper towel or cloth towel. The towel should be moist and covered with the paste.

  • Cover the paste by folding over the other half of the paper towel.

  • Place the charcoal (or plantain) poultice on the area that has been stung.

  • Cover the poultice with plastic, such as Saran wrap, cut to overlap the poultice on each side so that it does not dry out.

  • Bandage or tape the poultice securely in place and leave it on for several hours.

The poultice can be applied in conjunction with any of the above remedies as added protection. According to Dr. De Haan, activated charcoal is rated by the F.D.A. as effective in adsorbing (adsorbing rather than absorbing is the correct scientific/medical term in this case) many drugs, poisons and gases. It is one of the most powerful adsorbent materials known to medical science and it is 100% natural. Watch for Dr. De Haan’s future article on “Activated Charcoal for Emergencies” on the Library page of my web site.