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Recently a member of our community, Barkley the Boxer, who is 8yrs old, was diagnosed with DM. We ask for your positive thoughts and prayers for he and his family.
We also thought it would be a good time to speak about this genetically passed condition to help others potentially; identify, address, perhaps delay and lessen the onset or progression of this disease.
In this K9 Update :
What is DM ?
What breeds have been shown to carry the DM gene?
How can we identify it?
How can we prevent and/or slow its progression?
WHAT IS DM?
Degenerative Myelopathy or (DM) is often a fatal disease that affects less then 3% of dog breeds today. However, it is most commonly found in German Shepherd Dogs, Corgis, Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Standard Poodles.
DM is an inherited, progressive autoimmune disease which occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath of the spinal cord. This leads to ataxia in the hind limbs.
In simple terms; it affects movement and coordination.
Many describe the first indication they notice, is their dog walking like ' he/she is drunk' or ' a wobbly, or swaying ' rear end.
OFA certification is a way for reputable breeders to certify that their litter'ss parents and line are clear of; Hip Dysplasia, Elbow /Knee, DM, ARVC …, whatever the AKC states are he required tests for their specific breed .
In this way, reputable breeders are not breeding genetic defects like DM, ARVC, and that they work towards helping the breed live longer and stronger.
Regarding the genetic results the OFA stated:
“…. factoring the DM test results into the breeding decisions should reduce the prevalence of Degenerative Myelopathy in the subsequent generations while continuing to maintain and improve upon positive, sought-after traits.”
WHAT BREEDS ARE PRONE TO CARRY DM Gene?
American Eskimo Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dog
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
German Shepherd Dog
Kerry Blue Terriers
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
Wire Fox Terrier
How Can We Identify DM?
As mentioned above the AKC provides breeders with breed specific standards on health testing.
When they clear the health testing on their breeding dogs, reputable breeders transmit proper documentation for the registered AKC dog to the OFA , which verifies and presents the certification.
Genetic test are so valuable because in the instances of ARVC or DM as examples the disease does not show until 5 years or older. Without genetic testing an irresponsible breeder -can have bred dozens of pups - who will be affected later in life.
When breeders provide all the required testing,they usually offer the purchaser, the ONLY REAL HEALTH GUARANTEE there is when purchasing a pup:
Should the pup come down with one of the genetic conditions that was granted an OFA, the purchaser will receive a replacement or full money back.
Others will do the same for hereditary conditions, not just those with genetic test available.
Example: German Shepherd breeders who have OFA on Hip dysplasia.
Reputable breeders can do this because they have tested their line and have decades of health history.
Demand the OFA's of the parents and the line. Steer clear of breeders who do not have OFA's of the Parents at minimum.
Using the Boxer as an example, these are the AKC Genetic Testing Requirements for Boxer Breeders:
Aortic Valve Disease
ARVC DNA Test
Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test
REMEMBER : Each breed has their own specific requirements. By breeders testing their potential breeding pups, prior to breeding, it helps each breed grow stronger, potentially live longer, and hopefully eradicate these known genetic conditions, from the breeds we love.
And If you have a rescue, or got your pup from a backyard breeder - you can still check what is recommended and test.
Also, please do notify the AKC non-conforming breeder, if your dog has been diagnosed with a genetic condition, and notify the AKC if they are a member.
Hopefully this non conforming breeder will begin to test their breeding pups, and retire those who are carriers, from breeding. It’s not just responsible, “Bred with Heart “ is more than a title or breeder program- it’s a moral responsibility for those who love canines.
Regarding disreputable breeders, not testing :
Some will deflect or cherry pick, this or that to continue not offer OFA's and perform the required testing. Some will also keep breeding those who are carriers. Know this ! The AKC says " Breeders" meaning those in the " Bred with Heart Program " or "Breeders of Merit", meaning those lines that have decades without disease .... Only they could breed a canine that has a fault gene, usually because the positive traits and outstanding health outweigh the presence of the mutant gene.
A hobby breeder or those without the benefit of decades of line health history, should NEVER breed a dog that carries a gene that is connect to a health defect or disease.
The AKC has a list of these breeders by breed and by State. Sure, a pup may cost $1500 -$2000, but being clear of known genetic defective genes-- will save you and your pup pain suffering and heart ache.
The following a snippet from : Breed or Bloodline Susceptibility to DM
"Out of all of the misconceptions I have heard regarding DM, the most common one is that DM does not occur in a particular breed or bloodline despite the presence of the common SOD1 mutation in the breed. It is true that some dogs do not ever develop DM even when inheriting two copies of the mutation.
This indicates to us that in some dogs, other genetic or environmental factors may play a role in producing a protective effect or slowing the progression of disease such that the disease does not clinically manifest during the dog’s lifetime.
However, the factors producing a protective effect are not known and therefore cannot be manipulated to prevent disease in future litters.
Since dogs inheriting two copies of the disease can have clinically affected puppies even if they never show signs of the disease themselves, the only predictable way to prevent DM caused by the most common mutation is to genetically test breeding dogs and to selectively breed carriers to dogs that did not inherit the same mutation."
How can we prevent and/or slow its progression?
The only treatment protocol currently in the literature was formulated by veterinary neurologist Roger Clemmons (see below).
Clemmons found that dogs placed on an unprocessed diet, supplements and a structured, regular exercise program experienced the slowest progression of the disease, and in some cases stabilized and even improved. An independent study in the UK tested only the supplement regimen. No diet or physiotherapy was implemented. In this case, 70% of the dogs progressed to complete paraplegia within six months.
The above picture represents the short version of Dr. Clemmon’s suggestions, below is a more detailed breakdown.
Coconut oil in its raw form is one of the healthiest fats to consume. It aids in weight loss, increases energy, speeds up metabolism, and boosts the immune system. It also benefits the digestive system and helps memory and cognitive function.
Topically it aids in dry skin and scalp issues. Also promotes healthy looking skin. Coconut has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Many people use coconut oil for medicinal purposes.
In dogs, the Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) in coconut oil balances the thyroid which helps overweight dogs lose weight and sedentary dogs feel energetic. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion and reduces allergic reactions. -Dogs Naturally Magazine. Aunt Lyn's Wellness products use the smallest amounts necessary in order to derive the maximum benefits.
Olive oil is made from the fruit of the olive tree and is naturally high in healthy fatty acids. Some of the benefits include, promoting a healthy heart, fighting certain types of cancer, and supporting brain health. Olive oil can be used to treat or help prevent diabetes, and it helps balance hormones.
The oils used in Aunt Lyn's Wellness products, whether essential oils or carrier oils like olive oil, are given to the pet in small but effective quantities. use olive oil in small amounts as a carrier for EO's we also feel good knowing that the benefits of our Carrier Oils go far beyond what you purchase our products for.
Here is some further information on using olive oil to optimize your furry friends health: "Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil prevents and lessens the effects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It contains oleic acid, in addition to some compounds (squalene and terpenoids) that are believed to be effective in preventing cancer, which kills a staggering 50% of dogs over the age of 10".
Thieves Oil is made up of five essential oils, clove, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus and cinnamon bark. It is known to reduce stress, neutralize bacterial and viral pathogens, improve digestion, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation. It is also well known for lowering fever, healing skin conditions, aiding in weight loss and strengthening the respiratory system.
In this case a picture is worth 1000 words .
The many uses of Thieves Oil :
Known primarily for its ability to add flavor to many foods, Oregano Oil is also used to treat a number of physical ailments. The herb boasts strong antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
It is often used as a digested and respiratory aid (lessening mucus), and has been used for centuries to help get rid of intestinal parasites. Oregano is known to have powerful antioxidant and anticancer activity.
“In a study at Georgetown University, essential oil of oregano inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria in the test tube as effectively as antibiotics did.” - Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
In nature, dogs would eat herbs and grasses that were naturally and readily available to them, in order to help keep their gut balanced and parasites in check. In today's world - many urban dwellings have no yards and even in suburban areas the landscape is not filled with the raw wild herbs that are needed. This is one reason why more and more people are turning to essential oils - essential oils for both themselves and their beloved pets.
“In one study, 77 percent of patients treated for enteric parasites were parasite free after taking oil of oregano in tablet form for six weeks. At this writing, it has inhibited the growth of at least ten different microbes, including Candida albicans (yeast).”
Clove oil, derived from the clove leaf is widely known as a herb, but clove oil has many uses in daily life, especially for ailments that typically strike. Some of the many benefits are, relieving tooth and gum irritations, moisturizers dry skin and treats other skin issues, improves blood circulation. It can also be used as an insect repellent.
At Aunt Lyn’s, we use clove oil for all the therapeutic reasons listed above. If not treated, dogs may lick and gnaw on their wounds, hot spots, itchy feet and ears. This does not aid healing. It can actually delay healing and cause infections. Clove in tiny amounts will deter the dog from licking and aid the healing process.
Be careful with using clove oil – and any essential oil – as it must be diluted properly. If you are interested In learning more begin here http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/clove-bud-oil.
Yarrow is a plant that flowers similar to chamomile and chrysanthemum. It contains flavonoids, plant based chemicals that increase saliva and stomach acid which helps improve digestion. Traditionally, it is used in three ways:
Applied to the skin to relieve wounds and minor bleeding.
Taken by mouth to reduce inflammation, especially in the digestive tract.
Taken as a sedative to relieve anxiety or insomnia.
Yarrow is a powerhouse with regard to your dog’s medicinal needs. In our opinion, it is one of the best staples to have in your first aid kit and we use it often when blending remedies.
Here are a few of its benefits; antiseptic, anti-Inflammatory, astringent, analgesic, expectorant, insect repellant, and worm expeller.
Ginger comes in two primary forms, fresh and ground. Whatever ginger you choose, you can count on it doing great things for your health. The root is full of vitamins, minerals, and compounds that help your body grow and repair itself, and your brain to stay in tip top shape. The root is also packed with phenolic compounds that improve your digestive system. It is also able to reduce nausea and bolster your immune system. Additionally, it helps relieve muscle discomfort, reduce inflammation in joints, improves cognitive function, and reduce levels of bad cholesterol.
We love ginger for ourselves and our furry friends can benefit too. It can relieve arthritis, bloat, and studies have shown success using Ginger as a preventive in both cancer and heartworm. It is a terrific anti inflammatory and even can relieve nausea.
The essential oil of lavender when applied externally treats joint pain, muscle aches, and a variety of skin conditions including insect stings, acne, eczema, and burns. Lavender essential oil when inhaled can relieve headaches, anxiety and stress. A tincture of lavender taken by mouth can relieve joint pain, depression, migraines, indigestion, and anxiety.
Our canine friends can benefit from lavender in a huge way. Of course, it is one of the more pleasing essential oil scents that also repels certain pesky bugs. Lavender from different parts of the world and different varieties can help calm agitated high anxiety or stress canines.
“Traditional treatments for travel-induced excitement in dogs may be time-consuming, expensive or associated with adverse effects. Aromatherapy in the form of diffused lavender odor may offer a practical alternative treatment …” (Wells, D.L. 2006. Aromatherapy for travel-induced excitement in dogs, JAVMA 229(6): 964–67.)
The Rosemary leaf and twigs of the rosemary plant are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is used as a spice when cooking and also used for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Traditionally, rosemary has been used medicinally to improve memory, relieve muscle pain and spasm, stimulate hair growth, and support the circulatory and nervous systems. Rosemary is often used in aromatherapy to increase concentration and memory, and to relieve stress.
Rosemary is one of many herbs that when blended properly can repel both fleas and tick. It is also a great spice to add to your dogs homemade food because it can boost his or her immune system.
Turmeric is a spice with a peppery flavor and mild smell. It is extremely popular as a seasoning, as well as a healthy and great remedy for many illnesses. It can help fight against obesity and it is used as an anti-inflammatory to help reduce joint and muscle pain caused by several diseases. It also treats bowel diseases, helps relieves cystic fibrosis, prevents some cancers, helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and protects your heart and liver.
Turmeric is a staple in Aunt Lyn's home, for herself and her dog friends. Turmeric has been thought to prevent cancer, to aid digestive issues, and to help clean teeth by keeping plaque away and bacteria that causes bad breath in our canine companions.
Basil is from a native plant originally from India. It is one of the most popular culinary herbs. While known for its many varieties, it is popular for its distinct aromas that come from their essential oils contained in its leaves. Medicinally, it has been known to help treat common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Basil can be also used as an aromatic nerve tonic. It clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue, and gives the mind strength and clarity.
Basil is another herb we sprinkle on our homemade dog food and treats. It helps our canines with inflammation, digestion, and fresh breathe!
So add this herb into your precious pet’s food.
Parsley is a surprisingly healthy food for a number of reasons. Having been used for centuries, it is more than just a garnish. It is an incredibly healthy herb that contains a wide range of helpful vitamins.
It is full of vitamin C, which is best known for giving your immune system a boost. Parsley contains ample amounts of folic acid. Foods high in folic acid can help the body regulate blood pressure and produce and maintain cells.
Vitamin K is also found in parsley and is incredibly important nutrient in helping the body respond to injuries. Why?
Because it helps in the clotting process, giving the body a chance to stop the damage and begin the healing process.
Vitamin K has also been shown to help reduce the risk of bone damage and build bone durability. Parsley is known to aid in digestion, can reduce inflammation around the joints to reduce pain and could possibly act as a diuretic.
Using parsley for our dogs enables us to share many of the same health benefits listed above for people.
At Aunt Lyn's we always make sure to sprinkle parsley in our homemade dog food for an immune boost and for fresh, clean breath.
There are surprising uses for eggshells. They are known to be packed with protein. They also contain nutrients that promotes healthy joints, like collagen, chondroitin, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid. The calcium rich shells can act as a natural supplement for certain animals. The gently abrasive shells can be used externally as an exfoliant. As a household cleaner, the abrasive particles will safely buff away stains and grease. The calcium in the shells can also help your plants grow faster and healthier, and take the bitterness out of your ground coffee.
Regarding our canine’s health, many people make the mistake of feeding their four legged companions either cooked or raw eggs (if the dog is on a raw diet) and then throwing out the eggshell. The eggshell contains not only beneficial vitamins but also helps balance the nutrients in the egg yolk and whites. Not including the eggshell reduces the beneficial effects of the egg and could potentially result in a depletion of the calcium reserve.
Another super benefit our dogs and pups can get from eggshells is the ability to naturally express their anal sacs. Having this occur naturally is always much better then doing manually expressing our dogs anal sacs, ourselves or having our veterinarians do it. Either way it is an unpleasant experience for us and our dog!
So add those eggshells!
Activated Charcoal powder is an amazing substance and with many benefits. It adsorbs more poisons than any other substance known to mankind. As the absorption ability is one of the major benefits of activated charcoal, this substance is routinely used in hospitals and by physicians. It can do various things because of its ability to attract other substances to the surface and hold them there. This is called “adsorption” (not absorption). The powder is used for many uses such as cleansing the mouth and the digestive tract. Charcoal is used as a remedy when many different types of poisons have been swallowed. Physicians recognize activated charcoal’s benefits and use the substance for several purposes. To treat insect bites, poisoning, diarrhea, foot and mouth disease, disinfect and deodorize wounds, filter toxins from the blood in liver and kidney diseases. Additional uses are for treating acne and skin issues, indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, bowel diseases, and high blood pressure.
With our favorite furry canine pet partners, activated charcoal can be used to take the “sting” out of bee stings, fire ants, and other bug bites. It draws out the toxins that can cause a histamine reaction.
Cinnamon has been a major component of alternative medicine for thousands of years. It is rich in nutrients making it a well-rounded food that will ensure your body has what it needs to be healthy. The bark contains a number of oils that provide the body with many benefits. Some of the benefits are that it controls blood pressure, boosts brain function, improves essential colon function, protects against heart disease, improves blood circulation, treats respiratory infections, helps prevent some cancers, reduces bad cholesterol, treats neurodegeneration diseases and alleviates arthritis pain.
Cinnamon is a “hot” oil and you need to be very careful when using on your dog. While all essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil, it is even more important that cinnamon oil be diluted and not used at full strength.
With the proper essential oil blend, cinnamon can do wonders in keeping fleas and ticks away, and it also help boost the effectiveness in other natural blends in helping with respiratory and or allergy issues.
Two distinct plants, German and Roman chamomile, are both known as chamomile and are often used interchangeably. They both look like miniature daisies and are traditionally thought to possess similar medicinal benefits.
The modern use of chamomile dates back to 1921 when a German firm introduced a topical form. This cream became a popular treatment for a wide variety of skin disorders, including eczema, bedsores, skin inflammation caused by radiation therapy, and dermatitis.
Chamomile in the form of tea is said to reduce mild tension, stress, and aid in indigestion.
A medicinal use of chamomile in pet health is to reduce vomiting, especially pups who vomit when excited. It can also be used in many essential oil blends to calm anxious dogs.
The eucalyptus tree originated in Australia and Tasmania. There are many different varieties of eucalyptus, with somewhat different constituents. The most common type used medicinally is eucalyptus globules. Eucalyptus oil has a long history of use as a topical antiseptic. It has also been used as a lozenge, and with inhalation therapy for asthma, coughs, sore throats, and other respiratory conditions. Other combination therapies containing eucalyptus oil can be found in aromatherapy.
Eucalyptus leaves include tannins which are used for treatment of inflammation. The oil derived from the leaves and branch tips contain cineole, which is a natural antiseptic.
Some additional benefits are the relief of nasal congestion, headache, and overall malaise.
With regard to our dogs, eucalyptus can be used in blends to keep away dangerous fleas, ticks, and even those annoying horse flies
Castile soap contains vegetable-based ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil, and jojoba oil along with water, and other essential oils. As they are based on vegetable oils rather than animal fat, pure castile soaps are suitable for vegans.
Castile soap is gentle on the environment as it is free of artificial foaming agents, fragrances, chemicals detergents, petrochemicals, and toxic antibacterial agents.
Aside from its super natural formulation, one of the biggest reasons to use castile soap is its versatility such as a nourishing body wash and healthy dog shampoo.
At Aunt Lyn's, we use environmentally and pet safe castile soap as the base in our exclusive Holistic Shampoo. Together with castile and our proprietary essential oil blend, our shampoo becomes not only a great smelling wash but an antibacterial, antiviral, and bug repealing powerhouse.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is a type of essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy. Sourced from the peel of the citrus lemon plant, lemon essential oil is said to offer a number of health benefits.
Lemon essential oil is typically used to ease stress, fight fatigue, insomnia, and address conditions such as acne, athlete's foot, depression, warts, and varicose veins. In addition, lemon essential oil is said to stimulate the immune system, alleviate pain, and promote weight loss.
Some key benefits noted from available studies; lemon essential oil reduced anxiety, was effective in improving mood, and promoted the breakdown of body fat. When diluted with a carrier oil, a drop or two of lemon essential oil can be applied to the skin and added to your bath.
At Aunt Lyn's, lemon is used to ward off viral and bacterial maladies and as a general disinfectant when combined in our essential oil blends.
Dandelionis a Powerhouse Nutritional Source for your Canine:
Vitamins A, C, K, D and he B complex
And many other trace minerals.
This nearly perfect whole food source of vitamins and minerals is easily absorbed by the body and is a great supplement to any dog’s daily diet.
Whether you are using to boost the immune or as a preventive or to help a pet with an existing condition like with Crones, Kidney Stones, Arthritis, Gall Bladder or Heart issues, Dandelion will help eliminate irritants and toxicity. Have you notice gas, dandruff, skin issues ?
Traditionally used herb that is widely accepted by conventional science to have significant medicinal value. It has been called “milk thistle” because of a feature of the leaves, which are prominently splashed with white spots.
The mixture of these three substances is called silymarin.
Silymarin has recently been advocated for use in pets because the benefits that have been examined in humans have also been approved as beneficial for pets. It can be used in dogs, cats, horses, goats, ferrets, and rodents to aid in liver or kidney damage, hepatitis, jaundice, leptospirosis, and parvovirus recovery.
Milk Thistle is also is a powerful preventive and restorative
First, milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us from chemicals in our bodies called free radicals.
Additionally researchers have found that milk thistle can actually prevent or reduce medication induced liver damage. If you have been giving your pet medication and are concerned about the aftermath of chemicals residing in the body, milk thistle will help flush those out.
What about Allergies?
If the liver has been weakened due to a bevy of reasons, it is unable to break down toxins. In order to combat allergens, the body produces histamine. The liver plays a role in this process; it removes the histamine from the body. If the liver is weakened and congested with toxins, the liver struggles and histamine builds up in the body, leading to more allergic reactions.
Milk Thistle is also used to prevent and as a curative aid for Pancreatitis Kidney Disease and decrease the effects of Cancer.
This is way Milk Thistle is included in Aunt Lyn’s K9 Essential Dry Herb Blend, along with the other nutrients contained in these proprietary blend Aunt Lyn’s cover the bases on Allergies, Liver, Kidney, Gastrointestinal issues, as well as a powerhouse Immune Booster.
Ginger – Helps Nausea, Bloat, Arthritis, to name a few. Its Inflammation reducing properties are well documented. Studies have also shown it to be used as a preventive for certain Cancers, as well as Heartworm Prevention.
Oregano is a great Herb for your dog and tasty! Oregano is high in antioxidants, flavonoids and research has shown it to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This herb has been used to help with digestive problems both as prevention and a curative for, stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, bloating. Studies have also shown success with preventing or as a curative for some UTI’s .
Yes we know it freshens your dog’s breath but did you know it’s healthy for them?
It is! Mint is a fantastic nutritional supplement because:
t’s a good source of vitamins A and C.
Mint contains minerals such as calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.
It’s also a source of dietary fiber and protein.
Mint is a powerful antioxidant, and is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
Mint contains rosmarinic acid, which has been studied for its effectiveness in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms.
It also contains menthol, a natural decongestant that helps break up phlegm and mucus.
It is a calming and soothing herb, and can be used to soothe an upset stomach, reduce gas, and stave off nausea and motion sickness.
Mint has even been used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and to help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Aunt Lyn’s K9 Essential Dry Herb Blend Contains the finest Organic Mint along with a powerhouse of additional Herbs to keep your canines system in optimum Health. Additionally, our Herb Blend can be used as a curative for a host of maladies . Click the link and read how it can help.
You may not know it but all Green Teas are not the same. Some have medicinal properties, whether preventive or curative, that address specific health issues and other green teas address other issues.
Aunt Lyn’s uses several kind of Green Teas, all organically decaffeinated and each with a specific preventive and/or curative property.
Green tea’s provide anti-oxidants, and can aid with digestive health. Others promote fresher breath or help with digestion. Other Green tea’s can also help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Our Green tea blend contained in Aunt Lyn’s K9 Essential Dry Herb Blend, targets all of the above but with special properties to address Allergy issue and reduce histamine.