Health checks are essential to have a complete overview on your pet's overall well-being. This is because pets are members of our families so it is our duty to monitor their wellness and ensure that they stay happy and healthy as long as possible.
It 's always very important to monitor any changes, or signs of disease that may occur in your pet even if they have regular veterinary visits and a good diet. An inspection carried out by the owner of dogs and cats is the right method to have a complete and accurate overview of your pet's health. It will allow you to pick up in advance any sign or symptom occurring and therefore predict the onset of potential diseases.
We must start by checking the head of your pet and see if there are any specific signs. For example the eyes must always be clear and free of any type of discharge around them. It 'also important to always check whether the lens of your pet is clear because if it is cloudy it might be an indicator of cataracts.
Cataracts are caused by free radicals that attack the protein molecules of the lens and oxidise them. It seems that the lens proteins begin to "solidify" or "freeze" resulting in clouding of part of it. This process will progress overtime compromising more and more the eyesight.
Numerous studies have shown that blueberry exctract (Vaccinium myrtillus) is very effective for prevention and treatment of ocular disorders associated with ageing, including cataracts, due to its content of anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments belonging to the family of flavonoids that are strong antioxidants capable of neutralizing free radicals which are responsible for the oxidation of the lens protein thus slowing the degeneration.
Ginkgo biloba is also an excellent herb for the treatment of all circulatory disorders related to ageing as it works on the venous, arterial and in the microcirculation system. It has antinflammatory, antioxidant and vasoprotective propreties.
A study conducted in Turkey has shown that ginko biloba has inhibited the development of cataracts due to its antioxidant activity.
The ears should always be checked and cleaned meticulously and avoid wetting. Watch out for scratches on the ears or head as your pet could scratch himself leading to skin infections. If it happens you should wash the ears and the neck of your pet with warm water and then dry everything very accurately. If the problem persists you may want to use herbal formulas for ears cleaning.
The essential oil of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), a native of Australia, is one of the best antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic.
Due to its effectiveness tea tree oil became part of the first aid kit for soldiers during World War II.
Its strong point is its excellent antimicrobial activity while remaining gentle on organic structures.
Essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia is also excellent as an antiseptic, analgesic and to help cicatrize wounds in case of infection.
It 'a safe oil, non-toxic and non-sensitizing making it suitable in a number of situations without causing unpleasant side effects. I recommend to use these two precious substances in the form of ear drops in order to prevent these annoying disturbances and treat them effectively in case they would occur.
The nose is very important when it comes to animals. It should always be fresh and moist but if it is not always the case do not get alarmed. We should dispel a myth that claims that a warm and dry nose in dogs is a sign of disease as it can happen for short periods and it is perfectly normal. However, if your pet's nose appears dry and cracked for some time then it would be advisable to consult the vet. Even in case of excessive nasal discharge it is recommended to have your pet checked because this could be a sign of immunodeficiency.
Teeth and gums should always be checked and a bad breath could be a sign of excessive oral bacteria. Gums should be pink so if they appear bright red it is a sign of inflammation or gingivitis.
In order to figure out if gums are healthy you can use a very simple test. You need to lift a corner of the mouth and firmly press against the gums with your thumb for a few seconds. Once you released you must immediately examine the area and if after pressing the white color under your finger quickly disappear, giving way to natural pink, gums are healthy; otherwise your pet does have a problem.
Once you have finished checking head and neck you can go on and look at the whole body. The first thing to do is touch the whole body to check for injuries, lumps or other abnormalities in the hair. If there is something abnormal run your fingers to determine the size and then contact your vet immediately. A bulge under the skin could be a tumor and it should be immediately analysed.
You also need to check whether the affected area is sensitive to pain or not.
Nature offers different plants that can be useful in case of cancer, especially in the early stages but it is always recommendable to check with your vet first.
Uncaria tomentosa, also called Fingernail cat, has strong immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant and anticancerous propreties.
It seems that anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties attributed to the plant have been confirmed by studies conducted both in vitro and in vivo.
The anti-inflammatory activity seems to be exerted through inhibition of TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor alpha) and was due mainly to certain molecules contained in the plant (phytosterols and triterpenes). Furthermore its content of oxindole alkaloids are responsible for its immunostimulant activity and some in vitro studies have shown how these alkaloids are able to increase phagocytosis (the process in which the cells of the immune system take in bacteria, viruses and invading microorganisms) .
Another precious natural substance is curcumin, a molecule present in turmeric, which numerous studies have confirmed its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properities.
Adding curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, the human cells with multiple myeloma, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas at Houston and his colleagues have not only stopped the replication of cells cancer but they also kill the remaining cells.
Once the body inspection is done you can switch to the feet in order to check your pet's range of movement. We must immediately take into account any abnormality in gait as it could be a sign of injury or a neurological problem; if this is the case notify your veterinarian immediately and have your pet checked.
Another very important thing is to check for fleas or ticks and parasites that can cause many problems and lead to rather serious reactions. If you find t parasites on the body of your dog or cat you must immediately use something to get rid of them.
The essential oil of cedar, and the essential oil of peppermint are able to block the neurotransmitter octopamine which is only only present in insects and regulates their nervous system allowing them to operate. When they are no longer able to operate they will die quickly. The advantage of these substances is that they are completely harmless and safe both for pets and humans making them an excellent alternative to synthetic pesticides which are highly toxic.
These products are available on the market in the form of sprays.
If your dog is no longer a puppy there are some helpful tips to make his life easier and keep him in good health for a long time. The first thing to know is that nutrition is essential to your pet's longevity.
That is why your dog needs proper energy sources which help metabolic processes and healing in case of illness. However, feeding your pet with only fresh food is not enough as his nutritional needs will vary over the years.
Weight control is important in order to prevent degenerative diseases such as arthritis. Do always cover smooth floors with non-slip mats to prevent your dog to slide and consider acquatic therapies, laser or acupuncture to improve his mobility as he gets older.
Even the use of natural supplements is important in helping maintain healthy tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joints of your canine friend.
The root of Rehmannia is a plant known for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its strong anti-inflammatory and cortisone-like properties that are very effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
The active ingredients of Rehmannia are the iridoid glycosides which main function is to stimulate the production adrenal cortex's hormones including cortisol which has powerful anti-inflammatory action.
Sarsaparilla is another plant which is diuretic, purifying, expectorant and emetic.
It is very useful against arthritis, asthma, gout, rheumatism and eczema as it has a strong anti-inflammatory activity and has been used for centuries by the indigenous populations of South and Central America.
Sarsaparilla is also known as "phytodetoxifier"as well as it tolerates metals and accumulates small amounts of lead, zinc and cadmium in its leaves. Therefore it is useful to reduce the risk of heavy metal's transfer in the food chain which are often the cause of intoxication that in time damages the immune system possibly leading to the development of autoimmune diseases.
Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory in rheumatoid arthritis due to inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) in a natural way without damaging the gastric mucosa as most of NSAIDs (pain killers).
It is' also able to inhibit prostaglandins which are inflammatory mediators. (From the book "Ginger, in Principal and Practice of Phytotherapy")
Several studies have shown that the damaged cartilage contains far less than 33% of sulfur which is crucial to joint's health making supplementation with metylsulfonylmethane (MSM) essential in case of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
Metylsulfonylmethane is an organic compound containing sulfur in a highly bioavaliable form (very high absorption rate).
Sulfur is an essential component of living cells and represents the seventh or eighth most abundant element in the human body in terms of weight, compared to slightly more abundant than potassium and sodium and chlorine.
MSN has anti-inflammatory properties, promotes the synthesis of cartilage and helps to reduce pain and inflammation by in creasing joint mobility and prevendendo further cartilage damage.
It is also important to have your dog exercise regularly like running and also socializing with other animals to stimulate his mind. Tests on animals have shown that a dog who is physically and mentally active has higher cognitive abilities than others and will be less likely to develop health issues when ageing.