For “Mammal Monday”:
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." —Groucho Marx
Heartworm Drug Shortage Prompts Use of Cheaper, Safer Therapy
“As is often the case when 'desperate times call for desperate measures,' in the face of the Immiticide shortage, the pet healthcare community has been faced with finding other means for treating active heartworm infections in dogs.
And as it turns out, one alternative therapy in particular is effective and much less costly and potentially deadly than the old standby treatment with Immiticide.
Why I Made the Switch from Immiticide
My own experience with Immiticide is that I've bought a small supply of it every year for several years, only to throw it away, unused, on its expiration date.
A few years ago it occurred to me this was a totally wasteful and expensive exercise, since I've never encountered a case of heartworm that couldn't wait 48 hours for me to order and receive a box of Immiticide.
Shortly after this revelation, the economic downturn descended upon us. The owners of the four heartworm-positive dogs I've seen since then have all opted for the less costly 'slow kill' treatment with a combination of ivermectin (heartworm preventive drug) and doxycycline.
As it turns out, low-dose ivermectin therapy in dogs with no sensitivity to the drug, in combination with the antibiotic doxycycline, can be an extremely effective, inexpensive option for treating heartworm infection.
The cost was about 50-75 percent cheaper than Immiticide and all cases of infection cleared beautifully.
The only time I'll consider using Immiticide in the future (once it becomes available), is when I have an ivermectin-sensitive patient.
Heartworms are parasites, and it was recently discovered that another organism called Wolbachia lives inside heartworms.
"Wolbachia is a genus of rickettsial organisms (sort of like bacteria, but not exactly). They live inside the adult heartworm. These organisms seem to be protective or beneficial to heartworms and treating the dog with the antibiotic doxycycline seems to sterilize female heartworms (meaning they cannot reproduce). Wolbachia is also thought to be involved in the embolism and shock that result when heartworms die. The role of this organism is still being investigated."
Research indicates Wolbachia organisms worsen the effect of both the heartworms themselves and the adverse events associated with heartworm treatment, including allergic reactions, inflammation and embolism.
Doxycycline, a member of the tetracycline antibiotic group, kills Wolbachia. It also simultaneously weakens the heartworms and sterilizes them so they cannot reproduce, which lessens the damage they can do inside a dog's body. It also dramatically reduces the risk of adverse reactions to heartworm treatment.
A study published in 2008 demonstrated that treatment with a combination of ivermectin and doxycycline has the following effects on heartworm infections:
- Sterilizes female heartworms
- Prevents the infected dog from infecting other dogs via mosquitoes
- Hastens the death of heartworms
- Limits inflammation and other damage caused by the presence of heartworms in the body
- Reduces risk of serious adverse reactions to Immiticide
These effects are significantly improved when the two drugs are used together rather than one without the other.
The doses used for the study were ivermectin (Heartgard) given weekly at the usual monthly preventative dose for 33 weeks, and doxycycline given at 10 mg/kg daily during weeks one through six, weeks 10 and 11, 16 and 17, 22 through 25, and 28 through 33.” From: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/11/22/cheaper-safer-therapy-for-heartworm.aspx
The Three Pillars of Health
“Preventative medicine is not only important for us humans, but equally important for keeping our pets with us for as long as possible. You have to "create your pet's health" proactively throughout his life, rather than waiting for pathology to happen and then struggling to reverse it.
By the time disease shows up, the damage has been done.
So often I hear, "My pet was healthy until she got cancer."
But disease doesn't just come out of nowhere. It occurs because your pet's body cannot function optimally, which leads to biochemical changes, which leads to structural changes, which leads to pathologic tissue changes, which leads to an ugly diagnosis you don't want. Being proactive with your pet's health is your best way to prevent an eventual battle with a major illness.
Regardless of what kind of animal you have, there are three important aspects to your pet's well being. I call them "The Three Pillars of Health."
The Three Pillars of Health came into existence in my practice 10 years ago, in an attempt to make sure I was incorporating all the important facets of healing, in every 40-minute appointment, which is always a challenge.
The Three Pillars of Heath are:
- Species-appropriate nutrition: Each animal must consume a diet that is biologically appropriate for that species.
- A sound, resilient body (frame and organs): Muscle tone should be good; body weight should be optimal; teeth and should be healthy; heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and other organs should be working efficiently.
- A balanced, functional immune system: The immune system should be able to protect the animal from pathogens, yet not be overactive, leading to things like allergies and autoimmune disease. The key here is balance.”
The Supplement Most Needed by Your Pet
“Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian discusses digestive health of pets and how to improve it with Digestive Enzymes”
Meet the Scared Dog That Only Wanted a Hug
“Edie was labeled aggressive in a high kill shelter and was saved from euthanasia at the last hour. This is her story.”
Edie is adopted update.
On This Day:
General Motors buys Cadillac, Jul 29, 1909:
“On July 29, 1909, the newly formed General Motors Corporation (GM) acquires the country's leading luxury automaker, the Cadillac Automobile Company, for $4.5 million.
Cadillac was founded out of the ruins of automotive pioneer Henry Ford's second failed company (his third effort, the Ford Motor Company, finally succeeded). When the shareholders of the defunct Henry Ford Company called in Detroit machinist Henry Leland to assess the company's assets for their planned sale, Leland convinced them to stay in business. His idea was to combine Ford's latest chassis (frame) with a single-cylinder engine developed by Oldsmobile, another early automaker. To that end, the Cadillac Car Company (named for the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac, who founded the city of Detroit in 1701) was founded in August 1902. Leland introduced the first Cadillac--priced at $850--at the New York Auto Show the following year.
In its first year of production, Cadillac put out nearly 2500 cars, a huge number at the time. Leland, who was reportedly motivated by an intense competition with Henry Ford, assumed full leadership of Cadillac in 1904, and with his son Wilfred by his side he firmly established the brand's reputation for quality. Among the excellent luxury cars being produced in America at the time--including Packard, Lozier, McFarland and Pierce-Arrow--Cadillac led the field, making the top 10 in overall U.S. auto sales every year from 1904 to 1915.
By 1909, William C. Durant had assembled Buick and Oldsmobile as cornerstones of his new General Motors Corporation, founded the year before. By the end of July, he had persuaded Wilfred Leland to sell Cadillac for $4.5 million in GM stock. Durant kept the Lelands on in their management position, however, giving them full responsibility for automotive production. Three years later, Cadillac introduced the world's first successful electric self-starter, developed by Charles F. Kettering; its pioneering V-8 engine was installed in all Cadillac models in 1915.
Over the years, Cadillac maintained its reputation for luxury and innovation: In 1954, for example, it was the first automaker to provide power steering and automatic windshield washers as standard equipment on all its vehicles. Though the brand was knocked out of its top-of-the-market position in the 1980s by the German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz, it sought to reestablish itself during the following decades, and remains a leader in the luxury car market.
NASA established, Jul 29, 1958:
“The United States Congress passes legislation formally inaugurating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The establishment of NASA was a sign that the United States was committed to winning the "space race" against the Soviets.
In October 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the world, and particularly the American public, by launching the first satellite into orbit around the earth. Called Sputnik, the small spacecraft was an embarrassment to the United States, which prided itself on its leadership in the field of technology. Sputnik also provided the Soviets with an important propaganda advantage in terms of reaching out to underdeveloped Third World nations that were looking for scientific and technological assistance. The initial U.S. response to this challenge was not altogether successful. The Eisenhower administration passed the National Defense Education Act that provided federal funds for improving the teaching of science and mathematics in America's public schools.
In December 1957, the United States attempted to launch its own satellite. Named Vanguard, the "spaceship" got a few feet off the ground and then blew up. America had better luck with Explorer I a month later--the satellite completed its orbit of the earth. It was obvious to many U.S. officials, though, that a more organized and focused effort was needed. In July 1958, Congress passed legislation establishing NASA as the coordinating body of the U.S. space program.
During the next decade, NASA became synonymous with the space race. In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States should set a goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Eight years and billions of dollars later, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon's surface on July 20, 1969. The great space race was over.”
Prince Charles marries Lady Diana, Jul 29, 1981:
“Nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tune in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple's romance was for the moment the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.
In the year following their divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way of achieving her dream of becoming "a queen in people's hearts," but on August 31, 1997, she was killed in a car accident in Paris.
On April 9, 2005, Prince Charles wed his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, in a private civil ceremony. Though Camilla technically became the Princess of Wales with the marriage, she has announced her preference for the title Duchess of Cornwall, in deference to the beloved late princess. Should Charles become king, she will become Queen Camilla, though she has already announced her intention to use the title Princess Consort, most likely in response to public opinion polls showing resistance to the idea of a Queen Camilla.”
Shay came over early to start work, so I wasn’t ready. I unlocked the shed, set her up with the paint, and a paint pad. Pads work so much better than a brush on rough cedar.
Then Ray came over, and we took the screen molding off the porch and ripped off all the old screen. We replaced most of the windowsills which I had carefully saved when we took off the panels to put in that corner post. While we were doing that, Shay painted all the panels on the screen porch, primed most of the new cedar shirting, and then went home. As Jay wasn’t here to do the carpentry work, it fell upon Ray and me to cut the new windowsill boards to go around the new post. We aren’t as fast at it as Jay is, but we got it done. Still more to be done today.