Feline Health

Distance Healing for You and Your Pet

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As those of you who’ve been following me for a while know, in addition to being a writer, I’m also a Reiki Master Practitioner.  You can find out more about my work with pets and with people on my Healing Hands website.  One aspect of Reiki that is often intriguing to people new to the concept of energy healing is distance healing.

Distance healing, also known as remote healing, is an energetic healing process that can be best explained through the principles of Quantum physics.  It has been proven to be extremely effective, sometimes even more effective than local, hands-on healing.

How does it work? 

Quantum physics shows us that everything is made up of energy, and everything is connected.  Everything is part of the same, continuous whole.  Long distance healing is “wireless” healing.  We accept that cell phones, televisions and even our garage door openers work in this wireless way.  It’s not much of a leap to accept that all energy travels that way, including the energy of healing.

In a distance healing session, the practitioner connects with the person or animal requesting the healing energetically.  Every living being has a unique frequency, and the practitioner tunes into that unique energy.  We are all part of the same unified field of consciousness, and it’s simply a question of “dialing in” to the correct frequency.  Once the connection is made, the practitioner sends the healing energy to the recipient.  

Recipients of distance healing report the same sensations recipients of hands-on healing experience, such as a sense of heat or tingling in certain parts of the body, a sense of calm and peace, and a deep sense of relaxation. 

Success Story (human):

A client needed major dental surgery and requested distance Reiki to help with pain control and accelerate healing.  Reiki was sent the day before the procedure, during the procedure, the evening after the procedure, and twice more in the days following the procedure, two days apart.  The client reported less pain, less bleeding and more rapid healing than with prior surgeries of a similar nature.

Success Story (pet):

The owner of a fifteen-year-old cat with virulent nasal discharge caused by calici virus requested distance Reiki.  The cat was not eating or drinking and was frail and had very little energy.  After just one distance Reiki session, this kitty started eating – in fact, she got up towards the end of the session and went to her food bowl and ate for the first time in days.  Improvement continued with subsequent sessions.  Her owner reported that she had more energy and seemed stronger.

Why choose distance healing over hands on? 

Other than the obvious reason – the person or animal requesting the healing is not in the same geographical area as the practitioner – distance healing can be a good option for animals who are skittish about being with strangers or too hyper to sit still in a strange environment.  It can also be great in an emergency situation, since a distance session can usually be scheduled with very little advance notice.  For humans with busy schedules, distance sessions allow them to benefit from the energy without having to make time to drive to and from the session.

I offer distance Reiki sessions for pets and for people.  Distance sessions for pets typically run 15-20 minutes, distance sessions for people 20-30 minutes.  Please contact me to schedule a sesssion for your pet or for yourself.

If you have any questions about distance healing in general, or Reiki in particular, please post them here!

A Veterinarian’s Thoughts on Cat Food

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I recently posted an article titled “How to Choose Healthy Foods for Your Pets“.  In it, I acknowledged how difficult it is to find the “right” diet for your pet, given the varying and often confusing information available on this topic. 

As a follow up to my article, I’d like to post a comment Paul D. Pion, DVM, DACVIM, left on The Pet Connection Blog.  Dr. Pion is the founder of the Veterinary Information Network, and he is responsible for saving millions of cats’ lives by being the first to discover the link between taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in cats in 1987.  He is also the co-author of “Cats for Dummies“.   This is what he has to say about cat food:

“The only definitive comment I’ll make about the cat food debates is that anyone who tells you they know THE ANSWER is not worth listening to.

Pet food companies want you to buy their food — and for the most part if you stick to a major brand you can’t go too wrong. Still — without doubt, RESULTS WILL VARY 🙂

Feeding from cans and bags is convenient. And since for most it seems to work, that isn’t a bad place to start.

I still believe in mixing up what you feed. But I can’t say that my wife (also a DVM) follows that. But our cats seem happy and healthy and that’s about all you can hope to achieve.

Plant based dry foods are not a natural foundation for a cat’s diet, but for convenience and cost, they are commonly fed and most cats seem to do just fine.

How much commercial foods are at the root of diseases like feline hyperthyroidism and diabetes are intriging questions.

The hard part is sifting through all the opinion, emotion, marketing hype, and researcher bias when trying to decipher the “science.” Suffice it to say I won’t be surprised if we figure out how commercial diets are leading to these conditions in some cats.

At the same time, it is hard to argue with the observation that cats seem to be living longer in the decades since commercial cat food feeding has become more popular. Cause and effect? Who knows.

I won’t get into the raw food debate, other than to say I wouldn’t be happy if my wife (can you tell she does all the pet care) decided to go down that path. Suffice it to say, my concerns are more for human health than feline health. But still, I won’t claim that I know the definitive answer on this topic.

Raw foods, dry foods, canned foods — my observation is that consumer choices are often made more to please the pet owner (influenced by advertising, peer pressure, and pseudoscience) than the pet.

I probably have said too much already. But I’ll end reminding everyone that everything and everyone dies. Somewhere in the midst of spending huges amounts of time, energy and money trying to cheat death, we have to remember to enjoy life and accept imperfection — it’s the best we got right now.

I personally would much rather live well (for me that means purposefully and doing what I believe is right for those I love and all whose lives my actions effect) than long (or even prosperously).

And to set the record straight, although I consume a lot of diet coke, I have not had a devil dog in over a decade 🙂 ”

(quoted with permission from Paul D. Pion, DVM, DACVIM)

Loss of Appetite in Your Pet

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For most pets, eating is a joyful part of their daily routine.  So when a pet doesn’t want to eat, it is a reason for concern for most pet owners.  When loss of appetite is short-lived, it’s usually nothing to worry about.  But when your pet stops eating for unknown reasons for longer than 24 hours, a visit to your veterinarian might be in order. 

Julie Andrus of Holistic Pet Info takes a look at what loss of appetite can mean:

Moving to a new home or the addition of a new family member can cause stress on your pet and they may not feel like eating.  This type of appetite loss is usually short-lived and can be remedied with coaxing and extra attention to your pet.  When your dog or cat stops eating for unknown reasons, it is time to take a closer look. 
 
A sudden loss of appetite or one that develops over time and continues for several days could indicate a variety of illnesses, including:
 
Digestive Disorders – Partial blockage of the digestive tract (foreign objects or possibly tumors) can make it difficult to swallow and can result in your pet’s unwillingness to eat.  Parasites, ulcers or bacterial infections, even food allergies can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which make it uncomfortable to eat. Additional symptoms to watch for are increased salivation, diarrhea and vomiting.
 
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas secretes its corrosive digestive juices on itself and the surrounding internal organs and tissues rather than on the food in the intestine. The resulting inflammation causes pain and stress in the animal, eventually leading to a complete loss of appetite.  Vomiting and listlessness often accompany your pet’s loss of appetite when the pancreas is affected.
 
Kidney Disease – The kidney’s job is to remove waste products from the blood.  When the kidneys begin to fail, toxins begin to build up in the blood stream and sometimes cause ulcers in the mouth and stomach.  You may notice your pet has stopped eating (because of the ulcers) yet they are drinking and urinating more often because of the kidney disease. With kidney disease, vomiting and lethargy are often present.
 
Dental Disease – One obvious but often overlooked reason for loss of appetite is that your pet experiences mouth pain when eating.  Abscesses, tooth decay and gum disease can sideline even the hungriest pets. 
 
Your pet’s loss of appetite may mean something as simple as his dislike for a new brand of food or it may indicate a more serious medical condition.   If other symptoms are present (difficulty breathing, vomiting, lethargy, drooling, excessive thirst), schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.   A physical exam, x-rays, fecal tests and or blood work can diagnosis the problem and a treatment plan can be determined. 

Remember that early intervention can mean a better prognosis for recovery and less discomfort for your beloved pet.  

Julie Andrus is the owner of Holistic Pet Info.  If you are looking for information on how to manage your pet’s health with holistic or natural pet care products like nutritional supplements, vitamins, nutraceuticals and other natural medicines, Holistic Pet Info is the place for you.  They carry more than 100 natural pet products including vitamins and nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and other natural medicines.  The site also offers a wide range of well-written and researched articles and other information on animal health issues.

Abnormal Love of Cats?

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Those of us who love our cats sometimes wonder whether “normal” people might consider us a bit, shall we say, eccentric?  The following are some definite signs that you’re a cat lover:

  • You cut your after-work activities short just so you can get home to see your cat.
  • You dare not move a muscle when you cat falls asleep at your feet, even if you need to get up to go use the bathroom.
  • You sleep in the oddest positions, just so you can accommodate your cat, even if she chooses to plonk herself in the middle of your bed.
  • You take your cat’s name as your online name. 
  • When you’re telling a friend about having to take the cat to the V-E-T, you whisper and your eyes dart furtively around the room to make sure your cat isn’t within earshot.
  • You feel naked if your clothes aren’t covered in cat hair.
  • If you own more than one cat, you can tell which cat threw up just by looking at the pile.

Of course, none of us cat lovers consider any of these things abnormal!

Photo: morguefile.com

Bloodwork for your pet: what it means and why your pet needs it

Regular and routine blood testing is an important part of your pet’s preventive healthcare.  It used to be that veterinarians only recommended blood work for older pets, but it’s equally important for younger healthy pets.  It’s the best way to detect potential health problems before they become evident through symptoms.  It’s also critically important before your pet undergoes any kind of anesthetic procedure, even a routine dental cleaning.

Typically, your vet will run a blood chemistry panel and a complete bloodcount. The College of Veterinary Medicine of Washington State University has an excellent explanation of what these lab tests mean.

Amber, who is probably 11 years old (best guess – she was a stray when I got her as a young adult), gets complete veterinary exams and blood work (CBC, chemistry and thyroid) twice a year.

Be Kind to Animals Week May 3-9

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Be Kind to Animals Week” is sponsored by the American Humane Organization.  It celebrates the role animals play in our lives and promotes ways to treat them humanely.

We celebrate the bond we have with our own pets each and every day by loving them, caring for them, and basking in the uncondtional love they give us in return.   “Be Kind to Animals Week” may be an opportunity for us to remember animals who are not as fortunate as our pets.  Some suggestions on how pet parents can participate in “Be Kind to Animals Week” are:

– Donate cash, pet food, or cat litter to your local shelter.

– Volunteer as a fost parent with a local rescue group.

– Volunteer with your local shelter.

– Make a donation to your favorite shelter.

– Appreciate wildlife.

– Report animal abuse.

Natural flea and tick control

As a follow-up to my recent post about the EPA’s increased scrutiny of spot-on flea and tick control products for pets, I tried to find natural alternatives that are equally as effective as the chemical-based products.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything that I’m comfortable recommending without reservations, but I thought I’d share my findings with you so you can make your own informed decisions.

Many natural products contain essential oils such as Pennyroyal, Tea Tree or Citrus oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.

It seems that the only safe natural flea control methods are as follows:

  • A good flea comb with tightly spaced teeth.  Comb your pet daily during flea season and drop any fleas you find into a bowl of soapy water to kill them.
  • Bathe your pet with a gentle shampoo such as oatmeal.  Don’t use  harsh flea shampoos, most of them have chemicals in them.
  • Vacuum vacuum vacuum.  I came across one suggestion to cut up a conventional flea collar and put it inside the vacuum cleaner’s bag – it reportedly will kill any live fleas, eggs and pupae you vacuum up.  I don’t know for sure that this will work, but it made sense in a strange kind of way.
  • Adding Brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food may help deter fleas from attaching to your pet.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your yard to cut down on the flea population.  Diatomaceous earth also makes a great natural pantry bug killer, it works for all insects.  It’s reported to be safe around pets, but don’t sprinkle it directly on your pet!

I’ve been unable to find any information on natural tick repellants.

Ultimately, it comes down to weighing the risks of conventional flea and tick products against the risks of the health problems caused by fleas and ticks.  Many pets have been using chemically based flea and tick products safely and without any problems for many years.   Flea contact dermatitis and anemia are unpleasant health problems that definitely compromise a pet’s quality of life.  Lyme disease can be crippling, and, in its worst form (Lyme nephritis), it can kill.

Can my cat or dog get the swine flu?

There is plenty of information in the media about how to protect yourself and your family against the swine flu, but very little has been said about whether it can affect our pets.  While there is no absolute answer, I found this article by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM helpful and wanted to pass it on.

On a slightly different note but on the same topic – I highly suggest that you turn off the news.   The media has a never ending propensity to report bad news and to try and put its audience into a fearful state of mind about the swine flu, or anything else for that matter.  Fear and bad news sell advertising – it’s as simple as that.    Worry is a waste of energy and a sure fire way to attract what you don’t want into your life.    For more on why not watching the news is good for you, refer to “Go on a news diet“, posted in March.

EPA increases scrutiny of flea and tick products for pets

It’s flea and tick season in much of the country, and pet owners are beginning to use products such as Frontline or Advantage to combat these pests on their pets.  While these products are effective, please be aware that they are also loaded with chemicals.

Last week, the EPA issued a cautionary statement about these products and their safety, and began investigating the recent increase in reports of adverse reactions. 

For a more indepth look of what this means, Dr. Patty Khuly, a small animal veterinarian in Miami, FL and founder of the veterinary blog Dolittler, posted an excellent article on her blog.

I’ve been researching natural alternatives to chemical flea and tick products for the past few weeks.  I’m trying to find products to recommend to you that are both effective and safe.  Not everything that’s natural is safe for your pets, and until I’m sure that the products I’m looking at meet both requirements, I won’t recommend them to you.   I’ll share what I find with you as soon as I can.

Animal communication

I came across this utterly cute video of two cats communicating with each other:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHD0halWkFU

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen cats communicate out loud with this level of intensity, but cats do communicate in many different ways – from “verbal” communication ranging from purring to hissing to telepathic communication.   This made me think about animal communication in general. 

How do pets communicate?  Amber is the “purringest” cat ever (and yes, I created this word just for her, there’s just no better way to describe  her!).  She purrs if you so much as look at her.  She is one of the most content beings I have ever come in contact with.   She can, however, be quite vocal when she wants a treat – especially lately, since she’s been on her diet.  Like all cats, she also communicates with her tail – from straight up in the air to indicate happy and friendly to bushy and puffed up to indicate either excited or scared.  

In addition to these behavioral ways of communication, many of  Amber’s, and all animals’, communications are done telepathically.  Research has long suggested evidence of telepathic communication.  If we accept that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings, it’s not much of a leap to accept the concept of interspecies communication.  Communicating with species other than human is not a new idea.  It is interwoven into many of the worlds’ tribal communities.  Individuals such as St. Francis of Assisi and Jane Goodall have demonstrated it in various ways.   We all have this telepathic ability, especially as children.  It is often expressed through imaginary friends or by reporting what the family pet “said.”  Sadly, as we grow up and are told by our parents and society that these abilities are not normal, we tend to block out this natural way of being.   Professional animal communicators have never lost this natural ability, or have trained themselves into recovering it.  They connect with the animals’ unique energy and they may receive information in pictures, or simply as a sense of intuitive knowing.  They can then “translate” what they receive into words the pet’s parent can understand.

What are your views on animal communication?

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

The Conscious Cat cares about all animals, not just those of her own species, so this is a post about a dog health issue that keeps popping up in e-mails forwarded by concerned pet owners with considerable frequency.  Some pet owners think it’s true, others disregard it as yet another internet hoax.  Are grapes and raisins really toxic for dogs?

Miami veterinarian Patty Khuly, VMD, is the author of a veterinary blog titled “Dolittler” which contains a wealth of pet health information you can trust.  Dr. Khuly also writes a weekly pet health column for The Miami Herald and serves as regular contributor to Veterinary Economics, The Bark and Veterinary Product News in addition to her role as reporter for the Veterinary News Network.

Her blog post “Beware the Wrath of Grapes” provides accurate information on something every dog owner should be aware of.

Amber thinks dogs should know better than to want to eat grapes.