Helping new cats get along!
Cats are independent, but can be social too! The trick to helping kitties become friends is to make sure there is plenty of space for everyone, including escape routes and hiding places. Use vertical spaces such as shelves or under tables, as well as creative niches such as blankets draped over the arms of sofas or chairs, closets, empty cardboard boxes and baskets. Anywhere a cat can be out of sight, without getting cornered, will allow a bigger sense of safety and opportunity to remove themselves from another cat. Plus, if the other kitty finds them, it can become a playful game of hide and seek. If one of the cats is not yet up for play, then they can exit before the other comes too close.
Pheromone spray such as Feliway mimics the scents that cats naturally exude from their cheek and paw glands when they are happy. These tend to have a calming effect on cats. You can approximate this product by rubbing your cat's cheeks gently, particularly with a soft piece of fabric or sock, and leave the cloth where the other cat will be able to take a sniff of it and explore it in their own time.
Interactive play such as gentle chase, ball in a round tube, or leather string toy, or crinkly balls can be so difficult to resist that both cats will want in on the action. Eventually they'll look to play with each other. If ears are pressed on a cat, they are asking for more space, be sure to watch and listen to body language if trying to introduce new friends. Most cats have a healthy respect for listening to these cues, but some are just not interested in being respectful. Again, have safe escape routes for everyone when attempting new introductions.
Flower essences that help adjust playfulness, anxiety, sense of safety, and openness are available that can be useful adjuncts of enhancing socialization. There are also herbs and acupuncture techniques for helping reduce cortisol/stress, and enhance the "good mood" hormones in pets. Schedule an appointment with us if you'd like to try to help your pets feel more social. Everyone benefits from having friends and playtime on a regular basis. The benefits are truly holistic, in that watching cats play with each other is absolutely heart opening and joyfulness bringing.
If you are interested in more or have any questions, please feel free to send us an email or give us a call!
A bill has been introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives that would amend current Washington requirements for rabies vaccines in household pets. As we all know current regulations require dogs and cats (and other household pets) to be re-vaccinated every 3 years despite the fact that they remain protected for much longer. House Bill 1741 would allow for a positive antibody titer to meet rabies vaccination requirement statewide.
Is hemoaquapuncture the right treatment for your pet? Learn about this acupoint stem cell technique!
Stem cell therapy commonly refers to the process of placing stem cells from the body into diseased or damaged tissues, such as a torn ligament in the knee or perhaps an arthritic joint. This process is often referred to as regenerative medicine, a technique that enables the body to repair and regenerate damaged tissues. Stem cells can differentiate into blood vessel, bone, cardiac, cartilage, fat, ligament, liver, muscle, nerve, and tendon tissue. Stem cells can currently be obtained from the bone marrow and fat (adipose) tissue in dogs, cats, and horses.
Electroacupuncture, EA or E-stim combines traditional acupuncture with modern electro-therapy to create greater stimulation at acupuncture points. In Ancient China, the same effect was achieved by having the acupuncture student manually manipulate the needles (by rotation, redirection, deeper penetration, etc.) throughout a session. The EA unit streamlines this process. Aquapuncture is the use of soluble fluid products - like saline, vitamin B12, homeopathic remedies, or the patient’s own blood (hemoaquapuncture) - injected into acupoints. The fluid injected at these points serves to lengthen and strengthen an acupuncture treatment. Aquapuncture can also be used when a patient cannot tolerate or keep the needles in place.
So you may be asking yourself in cyberspace:
What does all this have to do with stem cells?
The Science-y Bit
In a 2017 study published in the journal Stem Cells, researchers studied the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) on the body, specifically, what happens in the brain and in the blood stream. Here’s what they found:
- EA can activate an area of the brain called the hypothalamus and strengthen beneficial connections to neighboring regions of the brain, like the amygdala. These regions are important for homeostasis and stem cell mobilization.
- Examining circulating blood before and after EA, there was a 313% increase in mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are derived from non-embryonic tissue and can differentiate into several cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, and neurons. They also noted an increase in circulating macrophages and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
- EA can promote “browning” of white adipose tissue. Conversion of white adipose tissue to brown adipose tissue can activate energy use which has positive metabolic effects. This may be a promising avenue for diabetes treatment.
So in addition to reducing pain and inflammation, electroacupuncture may serve as a way to facilitate tissue repair following trauma by supplying a high number of circulating stem cells. Its ability to “brown” white fat can enhance metabolism and influence glucose sensitivity. Harvesting mesenchymal stem cells from the blood of EA-treated patients is a practical and cost-effective collection method, free of the risks and discomfort associated with current, more invasive methods.Now we know more, can we do more?
Armed with new tools (in a new technique we'll refer to as hemoaquapuncture), we can provide improved treatment for the following conditions:
- tendon/ligament injuries
- intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)
- degenerative neuropathies (like degenerative myelopathy)
- metabolic diseases (like diabetes or hypothyroidism)
Research into stem cell therapy is ongoing and we may find additional conditions in which stem cells may be useful. As of right now, stem cell therapy is not recommended for the treatment of cancer, as stem cells may worsen, grow, or spread the cancer more rapidly.
Come see us at Ancient Arts, and we can discuss if this is a good treatment option for your pet!
Salazar, T., Richardson, M. R., Beli, E., Ripsch, M.S., George, J., Kim, Y.,Duan , Y., Moldovan, L., Yan, Y., Bhatwadekar, A., Jadhav, V., Smith, J.A., McGorray, S., Bertone, A.L., Traktuev, D.O., March, K.L., Colon-Perez, L.M, Avin, K.G., Sims, E., Mund, J.A.,Case, J., Deng, X., Kim, M.S., McDavitt, B., Boulton, M.E., Thinschmidt, J., Calzi, S.L., Fitz, S.D., Fuchs, R.K., Warden, S.J., McKinley, T., Shekhar, A., Febo, M., Johnson, P.L., Chang, L., Gao, Z., Kolonin, M.G., Lai, S., Ma, J., Dong, X., White, F.A., Xie, H., Yoder, M.C., Grant, M.B., Electroacupuncture promotes central nervous system dependent release of mesenchymal stem cells, Stem Cells, 2017, volume 35, pp. 1303-1315
Ward, Ernest, “Stem Cell Therapy”, Care and Wellness, VCA hospitals website, 2012
Xie, Huisheng, Preast, Vanessa, Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture , Blackwell Publishing, 2007, pp.330-335
Keep pets safe in the hot Seattle summer!
Summer is here and Seattle is heating up! With most homes and apartments not having A/C, pets can have a difficult time with the record-breaking temperatures. Below are some tips to keep your pets cool and safe.
Make sure your pet has access to cool, fresh water at ALL times! If you're going hiking or on a road trip, bring portable bowls and water bottles.
Keeping your pets well-hydrated should help prevent them from drinking out of potentially contaminated water sources like dirty puddles, swamps, or salt water. Be sure to place all water dishes out of direct sunlight so that they don't warm up!
Signs of Dehydration
Not sure if your pet is dehydrated? Check their hydration levels!
Just Keep Swimming... Kinda
Heading to the coast? Take the dogs for a swim! Many "adventure cats" are also making names for themselves as outdoor enthusiasts, joining their owners on leashed (and sometimes life-jacketed) excursions. Cats, however, aren't usually big fans of swimming--so leave that to the dogs--but some enjoy cruising tandem on a kayak. What enrichment!
Swimming is a great form of physical therapy for aging or ailing pets, but remember that even exercising in the water too hard or too long can result in overexertion and dehydration. Even with bodies of water all around us, your pet should still have access to fresh water.
Play It Cool
Be sure not to overexert your pet nor leave them in a non-ventilated area during these hot summer days. Circulate cool air with fans in rooms where your pet resides. Keep curtains and blinds closed to prevent the home heating up with direct sunlight. Activity in or outside should be limited on hot days.
Additionally, sometimes the shaded outdoors is actually cooler than inside the home--at least a home without A/C! When playing fetch or going on walks, be aware that paw pads don't have anything protecting them from hot ground surfaces, like asphalt, cement, rocks, and sand. Again, remember to restrict playtime, even if your pet is begging for it!
Looking to cool down your pet? Try these cooling options:
If your pet is overheated, dehydrated, or seems to be struggling with the weather, be sure to take them to the emergency room. Remember, Ancient Arts does not offer emergency services! Don't forget to keep pets away from the BBQ this summer, too!
What Is Reiki?
Can a gentle healing touch help your pet?
Reiki is known as a form of healing in the human world, but just like acupuncture and herbs, the holistic modality also extends to the animal world. The energy transferring technique originated in Japan in the early 20th century.
Best combined with other alternative therapies, Reiki can be a hands-on or hands-off practice, with the option of long distance sessions. However, Reiki Masters can only perform the therapy on patients who accept it. But how can we know if animals are open to it?
Animals and Reiki Acceptance
Body language of an animal is a sure sign that he or she welcomes the energy practice. Distantly, Reiki masters can feel if their energy channel is being blocked by the intended recipient, alerting the practitioner that the animal is not open to receiving the healing. Most of the time, the animals have been ready and waiting for this type of healing to come along.
Reiki Masters are attuned with training passed down from generation to generation all dating back to the first Reiki Master and Buddhist monk, Dr. Mikao Usui. Attunement typically involves learning the universal hand postures and Reiki symbols as well as understanding that the energy transfer must be welcomed and accepted by the recipient at all times throughout a session. Treatments can last anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes.
Directed energy flows from the Reiki Master, who acts as a channel, to the patient. Many pet parents have noted their animals seem more peaceful when they are receiving Reiki, be it in the clinic or from afar with the pet in the comfort of its home.
During a session, animals that have been restless are suddenly relaxed. We had a kitty with inappetence rip into a bag of her food when Dr. Rewers started a distance Reiki session. Studies have even shown Reiki to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in Petri dishes. Reiki can also help pets as they begin the transition to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
Reiki at Ancient Arts
Dr. Darla Rewers, Ancient Arts clinic owner and practicing veterinarian, is a Reiki Master. She has practiced Reiki on dogs, cats, birds, mice, rats, and more. Pets have even come up to her and "asked" for Reiki! If you'd like to schedule an appointment for Reiki, give the clinic a call. Remember to schedule a Holistic Exam and be open to other modalities, too, including Food Therapy with our Associate Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Regis!
The Basics of Food Therapy
Nutrition is an important part of medicine in both pets and people.
In case you missed our Open House (or perhaps are in need of a recap!), we thought we'd touch on Dr. Jennifer Regis' food therapy discussion for this month's newsletter. Handouts are also available at the clinic--and include some tasty recipes!
What is Food Therapy?
Specific herbs and food can be combined to treat health conditions, prevent disease, and promote longevity. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), we call this food therapy. When Ancient Arts veterinarians come up with a nutrition plan for your pet, they take into account the animal's age, species, breed, home environment, personality, and any current issues going on with the body. Food therapy has the benefit of taste over herbals that alone might be less palatable.
Commercial kibble diets focus on the average dietary needs of a species based on a Western approach. From a TCVM perspective, food therapy takes into consideration food energetics and taste and addresses the individual. Employing both Eastern and Western approaches is the best way to optimize your pet's nutritional health.
Five Element Theory
Food therapy follows the TCVM Five Element Theory which assigns a natural element to nearly every experience, interaction, or predisposition, including what is referred to as an animal's "constitution." These five elements are:
The Five Energies
The energetics of food describe the food's temperature. However, this doesn't necessarily relate to the heat or measured degrees of the food. Instead, it relates to the metabolic effect the food has on the body. When we refer towarming and cooling diets for treating yin and yang deficiencies we are talking about food energetics. The five energies include:
The Five Tastes
Food can further be described based on taste:
If you're interested in food therapy for your pet, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Regis or Dr. Rewers! All of our Holistic Exams include a Nutritional and Herbal Consultation.
Dentals, Teeth, And Gums, Oh My!
Healthy mouths are important not just to prevent dental disease, but to prevent cardiac disease and more!
Dental disease is the number one diagnosis at small animal clinics around the globe. In fact, many veterinary clinics try to encourage dental cleanings with discounts during Dental Awareness Month in February.
Bad breath is often overlooked as just a nasty but tolerable trait when in fact it can be a sign of something much more serious: dental disease.
Foods high in carbohydrates, like sugars and starches found in many brands of commercial dog kibble, get left behind on the teeth. Without sufficient brushing or chewing to remove the initial layer of plaque, the thick yellow coating begins to accumulate. If not removed, plaque build-up eventually turns to hardened tartar, also known as calculus, which results in gum disease.
Periodontal disease can either affect the teeth or gums, i.e. the bones or the tissue, or even both.
Preventing gum disease is as simple as keeping the mouth clean. Some pets allow their guardians to brush the teeth, but many do not.
Dental procedures may be recommended based on the state of your pet's teeth, and the Ancient Arts team can refer you to a list of board-certified dental specialists while offering holistic recommendations for continued top-notch care of those pearly whites.
Some notable products from our clinic that we suggest for gum and teeth health include:
Preventing tooth decay is as easy as providing a well-balanced diet for your pet. Avoiding high-carbohydrate diets can prevent plaque from piling on and providing free food for bacteria. Additionally, chew toys give pets a playful way to autonomously work at their tooth care by scraping away any biofilm build-up.
Raw diets have natural enzymes to break down tartar. Abrasion from chewing meaty bones further scrapes off plaque. That's right--appropriately-sized bones can act as a natural toothbrush! Many pets don't actually chew kibble, but rather scarf it down whole, so their teeth miss out on the abrasive benefits of chewing. High-quality cooked or canned foods are generally still better than kibble for teeth health because they'll have the natural enzymes, even though these diet options are softer.
Be sure to schedule a veterinary visit to discuss proper nutrition and teeth care for your pet.
By maintaining teeth and gums in tip-top shape, you're not just giving your pet a pretty smile. You're also protecting them from kidney, liver, heart disease, and more! The mouth and gums are the gateway to the rest of the body's organs, so treat your pet's teeth with respect!
Learn about the health benefits surrounding this sustainable, ancient Eastern medicine.
Have you ever noticed the soft fuzz covering the antlers of deer, moose, caribou, and elk? Referred to as "deer velvet," this smooth coating is comprised of numerous naturally-occurring growth hormones and supplements that promote cellular repair.
Adding deer antler velvet to your pet's daily care can help combat a myriad of health concerns.
Deer Velvet: Then & Now
Deer velvet is only more recently hitting the North American medical field, but it has been used for centuries in Eastern and indigenous cultures. As a Traditional Chinese Medicine, its health benefits are widely known, accepted, and appreciated by Eastern medical traditions.
In fact, the first known use of antler velvet dates back to the Han Dynasty which spanned four centuries from 206 BC-220 AD. Silk scrolls recorded the use of this supplement for healing in people.
Antlers are completely shed annually, growing bigger year after year. The ancient Chinese recognized this regenerative phenomenon and put it to the test of human bodily repair. Their assumptions proved correct!
What Is It Made Of?
Velvet appears in the pre-calcified--or pre-bone--growth stage of the antler. It therefore contains basic components that act as the body's building blocks. For example, beneficial joint and tissue repair supplements like hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, glucosamine, collagen, and fatty acids can all be found in deer velvet. Another molecular example is the presence of polysaccharides which regulate blood-clotting.
All of these ingredients are known as bioactive compounds that, when consumed or applied topically, have healing effects on an organism.
What Can It Treat?
Antler velvet's healing properties are still being discovered. Some of the most common diseases and conditions it is used to treat include:
New Zealand Deer Velvet
At Ancient Arts, we carry New Zealand Deer Velvet. The product line is sustainably sourced from a New Zealand farm where the animals have large open terrain to roam and are not harmed to acquire the velvet. Additional natural ingredients in the supplements further help treat specific ailments.
For more case studies on deer velvet's success, read "The Efficacy of Deer Velvet Antler in Veterinary Practice" here.
Is raw dieting right for your dog or cat? Can it be done safely, easily, and cost efficiently? What are the benefits of a raw diet?
Food is the building block for all the cells in an animal's body. As such, it is vital that we as pet guardians pay attention to what we are feeding our dogs and cats.
Raw dieting can be extremely beneficial for many pets because it is essentially the most organic and unprocessed form of food we can offer. It can be relatively user-friendly, too, due to the number of commercial raw options on the market, including avant-garde raw kibble options. Just like any diet, though, raw feeding is individualized for every animal.
Raw vs Dry Kibble
Unlike most dry kibble brands, reputable raw diet companies avoid hormones and antibiotics in their meat sources, but be sure to ask if the livestock is grass-fed and pasture-raised.
Many people shy away from raw options based on the cost, but it can be cost-effective, especially when you take into account that you'll be saving money in the long run on complications often caused by processed dry kibble diets, such as bladder stones and dental disease.
Preparing a raw food diet can be time-intensive, but thanks to commercially prepared raw foods that meet AAFCO standards, prep is easier and more minimal than ever. Freeze-dried options are becoming mor readily available as well.
Raw food has a high moisture content, particularly beneficial for pets who don't often visit the water bowl. The packaged meat is not made up of indigestible byproducts like road kill, ill or euthanized animals, beaks, nails, and feathers. These meaty "leftovers" are usually what make up the crude protein content of a dry kibble diet.
Additionally, dry kibble often contains preservatives like carcinogenic BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin which are linked to mutations and diseases. Wheat and corn fillers attract pets to dry kibble, but that doesn't mean dry kibble is a healthy choice to feed the animals under our care.
Transitioning: How to Feed a Raw Diet
It is important to transition your pet into a raw diet instead of switching from dry kibble all at once. Raw food requires acidic digestive juices, but commercial dry kibble diets often tamper with the normal stomach acid content. To build up the right amount, small raw portions should be fed on an empty stomach alternating with dry kibble meals so as not to overwhelm the system.
If the gut gets too overwhelmed, your dog or cat may vomit after eating. This is often mistaken as being due to the ingestion of bacteria or parasites, a leading argument used by anti-raw dieters. However, gradually you can work your pet up to regular portions of just raw food without any vomiting once their stomach adjusts to the new food.
Prepping a Raw Food Diet
Before feeding, be sure to thaw the meat. Warming it to body temperature is generally okay and sometimes recommended for old, young, or debilitated animals. Most raw pet diets can be cooked if the bone fragments are ground finely enough, and cooking might be recommended by your veterinarian for immunocompromised patients.
It is also worth noting that meat for human consumption is not appropriate for raw food diets. This meat is not processed as cleanly as the raw meat purchased from a commercial dog or cat feed distributor because it's not meant to be fed raw. The meat on our dinner plates would pose a health hazard if fed raw due to the high presence of surface bacteria!
Proper hygeine when prepping the raw food should also be maintained. A clean kitchen is essential before and after prep, and prepping should also be done promptly with no food, tools, or dirty counters left sitting out.
The Importance of Balance
Balance and appropriate portion size are important for raw diets, but many pet parents who turn to raw food without consulting a veterinarian underfeed and/or don't offer a sufficient balance. Be sure to schedule an exam to discuss if a raw diet is right for your pet and gain insight on how to feed a raw diet prior to beginning a new feeding regimen.
Raw diets should maintain a healthy ratio of calcium to phosphorous, organ meat to lean muscle meat, and vitamins and minerals. Both dogs and cats can also benefit from vegetables in the diet, even with cats being obligate carnivores.
Dehydrated foods, non-GMO grains, and healthy oils like coconut and fish oils can also be beneficial additives to a raw diet. Ancient Arts carries nutritional supplements that provide a broad but full spectrum of required daily vitamins and minerals to ensure that your dog or cat receives complete, balanced nutrition.
For more information on raw diets and some recommended commercial brands, visit these sites:
The Power of Mushrooms
Mushrooms... What are they good for?
Medicinal mushrooms (MMs) are important supplements to fight many diseases, including cancer. Scientific studies have repeatedly proven the healing and invigorating effects of MMs due to their biological make-up. MMs are composed of polysaccharides, lysozymes, and triterpenes. This unique combination contains antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties.
In addition to their cellular-fighting capabilities, some MMs also boost the immune system, decrease stress, and fight allergies due to numerous vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, antioxidants, and sterols that comprise the fungi.
What do they treat?
In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), MMs often combat Excess Dampness and Damp Heat, like mucus build-up. MMs also help improve qi flow--or life energy--throughout the body. Here's a list of some of the health conditions MMs can be used to treat:
Are they safe?
The Animal Poison Control Center states that 99% of mushrooms are safe for pet consumption. All MMs used in TCVM fall under this umbrella, with little to no side effects. Rare side effects might include GI upset or allergic reactions, similar to other medications.
However, keep pets away from wild mushrooms and instead stick to veterinary-prescribed MMs to ensure pet safety. Any mushrooms falling into the 1% toxicity category can be fatal.
Raw vs Whole vs Medicinal Mushrooms
Even though eating grocery aisle mushrooms like Shiitake and Portobello in cooked or raw form does have some daily preventative health benefits, to fight an active ailment, MMs are the way to go.
We again must reiterate that despite many avid outdoorsmen being skilled in mushroom foraging, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, it is still recommended that any found mushrooms not be fed to pets. Mushrooms are extremely powerful!
What species are used as MMs?
MMs can be delivered in various oral forms, from capsules to powders to tinctures. Common species used in TCVM include: