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Today, I have a very special guest I'm interviewing by phone, Dr. Jean Hofve, and we're going to discuss the distressing topic of declawing.

An author and consultant, who writes for several online and print publications and has co-authored two books, The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, and Paleo Dog: How to Give Your Best Friend Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing his Inner Wolf. Dr. Jean also runs the award-winning Little Big Cat website along with Jackson Galaxy. The subject of today’s discussion between Dr. Becker and Dr. Hofve is declawing of cats.

Dr. Becker and Dr. Jean agree that veterinary students aren’t adequately trained in the consequences of declawing procedures, including complications, side effects, and aftercare. Both also agree the procedure is barbaric, and in fact, the first time Dr. Jean viewed an instructional video on declawing, she had to leave abruptly to run to the restroom to be sick.

Dr. Jean explains in graphic detail what a declawing procedure actually is — how it’s done, the methods used, and the fact that the procedure changes everything about the way a cat walks. And she discusses the complications that can arise from bandaging the paws after the procedure, the extreme pain declawing causes, and the fact that adequate pain management is not the standard of care in most cases. The doctors also talk about the behavioral and emotional changes that occur in many declawed cats. These changes are usually pain-related — a fact that many veterinarians and most pet owners aren’t aware of.

Dr. Jean discusses many alternatives to declawing, and the fact that cats can be trained to use appropriate scratching surfaces by creating barriers to the use of inappropriate surfaces. She and Dr. Becker discuss the importance of helping new kitten owners learn to perform routine grooming tasks, like nail clips. Cats — especially kittens — can be conditioned to accept nail trims as no big deal.

Finally, Dr. Becker and Dr. Jean discuss how cat owners react when they learn the real deal about declawing — that it’s not a harmless permanent nail trim, but rather at least 10 unbelievably painful amputations of a portion of a cat’s toes. They discuss the fact that while much of the civilized world no longer declaws, the procedure is still done routinely in the U.S. and Canada. And they agree that we all need to keep spreading the word about the realities of declawing, with the hope that in the future, fewer and fewer cat owners will request it, and fewer and fewer veterinarians will perform the procedure.

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Claw and claw bed diseases are relatively uncommon, affecting just over 1% of dogs and 2% of cats. However, they can lead to considerable discomfort and, though they are usually confined to the claw area, may also be a sign of systemic disease.

Claw problems in your pet may be caused by injury, bacterial and fungal infections, parasites, metabolic or autoimmune disease.

If only one claw is affected, injury is the likely cause; if multiple claws are affected there may be a systemic underlying cause.

Symptoms of claw disease include abnormal claw color, softened or rough claws, inflamed claw bed and pain in your pet’s paws.

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Your pet’s kidneys are very important organs. They regulate your dog’s or cat’s blood pressure, blood sugar, blood volume, water composition in the blood, and pH levels. The kidneys also produce a variety of hormones, including erythropoietin, that stimulates red blood production.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is damage to a pet’s kidneys that has been present for months to years.

There are many potential causes of CKD, including malformation of the kidneys, bacterial infection, high blood pressure, and certain drugs and diseases. CKD is much more common in cats than dogs.

Symptoms of CKD include increased thirst and urination (or in some cases, decreased urination), vomiting, and gradual, consistent weight loss.

Fluid therapy forms the basis of the treatment protocol for patients with kidney failure. Preventing dehydration and keeping the animal well-nourished are essential in managing the disease and maintaining quality of life.

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My guest today is Reverend Sarah Whitten-Grigsby, who was nominated for a Game Changer award by Briana E. Rev. Sarah is the founder and president of ONE MORE DAY Fospice, a wonderful organization that provides homeless dogs with foster hospice care in private, peaceful, loving, forever homes.

Rev. Sarah’s organization uses Facebook to get the word out about hospice dogs in need of guardians, and it is rare that a guardian angel doesn’t step up and give each dog a place to live out the rest of their days.

The ONE MORE DAY foundation is a 501(c)3, and is always in need of two essentials: hospice guardians, and private donations.

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The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) causes leukemia, a type of cancer, as well as other cancers, and also immunodeficiency. FeLV is a retrovirus in the same family as human HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), and also feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Most commonly seen in cats living with infected cats or cats of unknown infection status, those allowed outdoors where they can be bitten by an infected cat, and kittens born to infected mothers.

The most common mode of cat-to-cat transmission of FeLV is through mutual grooming.

Early in the infection, many cats show no signs of illness. As the disease progresses a cat’s health may gradually deteriorate or she may have recurring illnesses followed by periods of relatively good health.

It’s very important to identify feline leukemia before a kitty becomes symptomatic and then offer lifetime immune system support. In these cases, many FeLV-positive cats can live a completely normal life.

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Both dogs and cats can develop cataracts, but they're much more common in dogs. Cataracts in pets can progress very slowly over many years or they can come on very quickly, leading to blindness within a few days or weeks.

Feline cataracts are relatively rare, and are typically caused by an eye infection or injury; canine cataracts are more common and clinically significant.

There are a number of causes of cataracts in dogs, with the primary cause being diabetes. Around 75% of diabetic dogs become blind within a year of developing cataracts.

Cataract surgery should be performed sooner rather than later and provides a profound cure for many pets.

There are many things you can do to help prevent cataracts in your pet, involving the right diet, weight control, avoiding unnecessary vaccines and drugs, and providing appropriate supplementation.

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My guest today is my very good friend Rodney Habib, and he’s here to discuss another exciting project we’ve teamed up on, our second book! Our first book, The Forever Dog, was the “why”— it’s heavy on words, but light on pictures.

The official book release is June 4th, but we’re encouraging everyone to preorder now, because our first book (The Forever Dog) sold out almost immediately, and we want all of you passionate pet parents out there to avoid disappointment and a potentially long wait this time around.

The Forever Dog (book No. 1), was the “why” behind the importance of providing a thriving, sustainable lifestyle and environment for your animal companion; The Forever Dog Life (the new book) is “how” — a step-by-step manual presented in a colorful, photo-rich format.

Listen in or read along as Rodney and I discuss the many ways we believe The Forever Dog Life can help pet parents everywhere learn simple ways they can help their dogs live longer and better from the inside-out and the outside-in with easy-to-follow tools, recipes, and tips.

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Today, I’m talking with Dr. Margo Roman, a fellow integrative veterinarian and owner of Main Street Animal Services of Hopkinton (MASH), which is located in the Boston area.

A fecal transplant is just what it sounds like. Poop from a healthy animal is introduced into the body of an unhealthy animal.

Dr. Roman has used fecal transplants to successfully treat dogs and cats with a wide variety of conditions, including severe gastrointestinal disease, behavioral issues, atopic dermatitis, and coprophagia (poop eating).

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Giardia duodenalis (Giardia) is a microscopic parasite that affects people and pets. Once infected, Giardia lives in the intestines and is passed in poop. Your pet can become infected if he ingests contaminated feces. An infected animal that licks his backside and then licks another animal or human can also transmit Giardia.

If your dog is infected, there’s a good chance you won’t know it, as most giardia infections are asymptomatic.

If symptoms do occur, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are possible, with sudden, chronic or intermittent diarrhea being most common.

Longer term infection interferes with your pet’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from their food and may also damage the lining of the intestines.

A twice-yearly fecal test will also help to catch any parasitic infections early on, before they have a chance to do a lot of GI damage.

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Chronic vomiting in cats is unfortunately so common that many pet parents and even some veterinarians view it as "normal" behavior. However, in my professional opinion, chronic vomiting, even in kitties with hairballs, is a sign something's wrong and needs to be investigated. After all, big cats in the wild don't routinely vomit.

Additional causes of vomiting in cats include problems with diet and feeding habits, enzyme deficiencies and toxin ingestion.

Helping a chronically vomiting cat requires identifying the cause/s behind the digestive upset and then making appropriate dietary/lifestyle changes and/or resolving underlying medical issues.

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In this video, Dr. Karen Becker inteviews Dr. Marci Koski, a feline behaviorist, about understanding and resolving cat behavior issues.

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Margaret Slaby, founder and executive director of Golden Oldies Cat Rescue, is helping to fill a major void in the pet welfare industry — finding homes for senior kitties. Nominated for a Game Changer award by Patty S., Slaby started Golden Oldies Cat Rescue, based in Monterey County, California, in 2016.

Golden Oldies has saved the lives of 162 older cats, ranging in age from 6 to 19, and counting.
Cats come into their care from shelters or guardian surrenders, and live in foster homes until they’re adopted.

Golden Oldies Cat Rescue is supported by a large community willing to not only foster but also donate, adopt and volunteer their time and services.

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Today I’m interviewing a very special guest, Dr. Tom Cameron. Dr. Cameron runs the DeForest Veterinary Clinic in DeForest, Wisconsin, where he offers a combination of traditional and holistic treatment modalities. He also serves in a technical support role to the Standard Process line of veterinary nutritional supplements.

Menadione, which is a synthetic form of vitamin K, is a widely used ingredient in pet food.

Not only does menadione lack many of the important properties of natural vitamin K (derived from whole foods), it has also been identified as a liver toxin.

Even in very small amounts, ingestion of menadione on a daily basis over a dog’s or cat’s lifetime is cause for concern.

Menadione can be found in all types of pet food, including commercial raw diets, so it’s important for pet guardians to check labels carefully for the presence of this synthetic nutrient.

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Osteomyelitis is inflammation of the bone and/or bone marrow caused by either a bacterial or fungal infection. Inflammation may be the result of a chronic or acute infection that originates in another area of the body and travels to the bone through the bloodstream, or it may come from another infection that is located near the bone.

Early symptoms of osteomyelitis include pain, fever, and soft tissue swelling. Your pet may be lethargic, weak, depressed, and unwilling to eat. There can also be episodic lameness and muscle wasting.

Diagnosis includes precisely identifying the infectious organism so that an appropriate treatment protocol can be initiated.

While the bone is healing it will remain unstable. Your pet’s activity must be restricted during this time. Acute cases of osteomyelitis tend to respond better than chronic cases.

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Asthma, which is also referred to as allergic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, or chronic bronchitis, is a condition in which a pet has recurrent attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.

Common triggers for pet asthma are inhaled substances such as grasses, pollens, aerosol sprays, and smoke.

Symptoms of asthma in pets include wheezing, labored breathing, and a dry hacking cough. Cats can have very serious asthma with no or very subtle symptoms that are difficult to detect.

Treatment of asthma in a cat or dog is focused on resolving the immediate breathing crisis, if necessary, and working longer term to eliminate all potential asthma triggers in the animal’s environment. It’s also advisable to work with a holistic veterinarian who can offer effective holistic protocols in conjunction with, or in lieu of, asthma medications.

There are many steps you can take as the guardian of an asthmatic pet to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes, including cleaning the air in your cat’s or dog’s environment, and transitioning to an anti-inflammatory, species-appropriate diet.

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Canine exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is usually shortened to EPI, is a mouthful of a name for a disorder in which the pancreas doesn't produce enough digestive enzymes. These enzymes include amylase to digest starches, lipase to digest fats and proteases to digest protein. Without sufficient quantities of these enzymes, the food that is eaten is poorly digested and poorly absorbed.

Symptoms of EPI include constant hunger with significant weight loss, frequent pooping, coprophagia and/or pica, GI noise and gas, and intermittent diarrhea or vomiting.

Early detection and treatment of this condition is very important; undiagnosed or untreated EPI can lead to starvation, organ failure and death.

Treatment includes giving digestive enzymes, probiotics and other appropriate supplements, and transitioning from a processed to a nutritionally balanced, low-fiber fresh food diet.

Proactive management of the condition, including trial-and-error adjustments to treatment protocols, provides the best outcome and quality of life for EPI dogs.

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Today I'm interviewing Kohl Harrington. Kohl is a documentarian, film producer and filmmaker.

In my interview with Kohl, he discusses his inspiration for the film and the steep learning curve he encountered in his study of pet food.

Kohl also recounts what he learned about the pet food industry while making the film, including several things that shocked him.

“Pet Fooled” also features interviews with pet parents who lost pets after feeding them tainted jerky treats imported from China and sold by U.S. pet food manufacturers.

“Pet Fooled” is available for viewing on most digital platforms, including iTunes, Hulu and Vimeo.

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Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, with the American Holistic Veterinarian Medical Foundation encourages you to join this fundraising campaign for pets and donate today.

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Listen as Dr. Karen Becker interviews Dr. Jeff Bergin, a chiropractor at the Mercola.com Natural Health Center and owner/breeder of Newfoundlands, about what it means to breed dogs in an ethical, holistic and responsible manner.

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Struvite stones, also called triple phosphate stones and magnesium ammonium phosphate stones, are a type of bladder stone or bladder crystal that occurs in both dogs and cats. Magnesium, ammonia and phosphate are common substances found in urine. In high concentrations, they can bind together to form crystals that irritate your pet's bladder and cause inflammation. If the crystals combine with mucus, they can form plugs that partially or completely block the urinary tract.

Symptoms of struvite stones include frequent urination, straining to urinate and blood-tinged or cloudy urine.

Diagnosis will include a urinalysis, a culture and sensitivity test for bacterial infections, and abdominal x-rays or ultrasound.

Treatment of mild to moderate cases involves resolving any existing infection, creating and maintaining a healthy urine pH, and providing a species-appropriate, moisture-rich diet.

Struvite stones located in the urethra or the ureters, and stones that don’t dissolve despite dietary changes and medical management, typically require surgery.

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Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal form of poisoning that can result from eating spoiled raw meat, dead animals, or decaying vegetable matter infected with the Clostridium botulinum type C neurotoxin.

Clostridium botulinum is a gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming, motile bacterium with the ability to produce the neurotoxin botulinum.

Botulism causes weakness that can progress to paralysis of all four limbs. Other clinical signs include trouble chewing and swallowing, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Treatment includes giving a type C anti-toxin and supportive care depending on the severity of symptoms.

To prevent botulism, pets should never have access to spoiled raw meat or animal carcasses.

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Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) is a condition in which the body’s immune system destroys its own blood platelets. IMT is primarily a disease of middle-aged dogs, and while any breed can be affected, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Old English Sheepdogs are predisposed. The disease is quite rare in cats.

Blood platelets are very important types of blood cells. They not only help blood to clot and seal holes in leaking blood vessels, they also produce biochemicals that make permanent repairs to those holes.

The exact cause of IMT is unknown, however, the condition can be triggered or exacerbated by vaccines, especially bacterins (such as lepto and Lyme vaccines) and adjuvanted killed vaccines (such as the rabies vaccine).

Most of the symptoms of IMT are bleeding-related, with spontaneous bruising being one of the most common.

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia is a complex condition that varies from patient to patient, so treatment must be individualized. Most pets with IMT can live normally if they respond well to medical treatment.

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My celebrity guest today to help us celebrate Cat Week here at Mercola Healthy Pets is the wonderful Dr. Celeste Yarnall. Celeste was an actress, and you may know her from her roles on Star Trek and co-starring with Elvis. "That was another life," she says.

Celeste discovered CBD-rich hemp oil on her quest to relieve the symptoms and side effects of surgery and chemotherapy to address her cancer.

She offers a wealth of information about the benefits of CBD-rich hemp oil for cats with emotional and behavioral issues, as well as those dealing with an acute or chronic disease.

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My guest today is integrative veterinarian Dr. Colleen Smith, who was nominated for a Game Changer award by LaRayne H. Dr. Colleen is owner of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute (CHAI) in Tennessee.

Dr. Colleen wanted to be a veterinarian from an early age, but was sidetracked into a career as a chemist until she eventually returned to vet school.

Unlike most veterinarians who become interested in holistic and integrative medicine, Dr. Colleen was skilled in acupuncture before she received her veterinary degree.

Dr. Colleen loves the challenge of working with “hopeless cases;” she also loves helping shape the lifelong health of her puppy patients, and she even performs acupuncture on trailered horses in the alley next to her clinic!

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Bananas have been a part of people's diet for thousands of years. In fact, they are one of the most popular and highly cultivated fruits worldwide, outranking apples and oranges in terms of sales, with around 100 billion consumed globally annually.1 Bananas have become a staple in many cultures because they're filling, versatile and affordable. They're also a good source of various nutrients and bioactive compounds that may benefit not only you but your furry family members too.

One of the most notable benefits of bananas is that they're rich in antioxidants, including phenolics, carotenoids, biogenic amines and phytosterols.

Green bananas contain resistant starches and pectins, making them a good whole food source of prebiotics.

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Created 1 year, 9 months ago.

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Bark & whiskers gives you the most updated information on species-appropriate pet nutrition and care.