Aug 17, 2010

How Global Warming May Affect Our Pets


HealthyLife.Net Radio Show

Wendy’s Animal Talk, Host Wendy Nan Rees

Guest Russell Louie

How Global Warming May Affect Our PetsAugust 17, 2010, 1-2:00 PM PDT


Russell, has studied holistic health for over 30 years and lived a holistic lifestyle for over 58 years. He specializes in integrating his scientific background with his knowledge of health, to holistically help both people and pets. As a wholistic scientist, his greatest talent is being able to cut through all the marketing hype, using his scientific background, to tell people what is truly holistic. Today, our topic is “How Global Warming May Affect Our Pets.”


Russell, how did you ever come up with today’s topic? It does not exactly fit your usual holistic pet show topic.

Today’s show topic was suggested by your producer, Ruthie Bently. When one considers ALL the ramifications of global warming, I actually find today’s topic to be very holistic. It fits with Optimum Choices’ mission to educate people on ALL their holistic options for themselves and their pets. These options do not just include holistic food, using whole food products and remedies but a host of other choices we make in ours and our pet’s lives everyday.


I think you better explain this further for the benefit of my self and my listeners.

OK, first let me explain my holistic perspective of global warming. I have a geophysical engineering degree so I am familiar with the scientific data. But the average person, who looks at global warming from just the last 20-30 years, only sees a microscopic viewpoint. To properly evaluate global warming, one needs to not only look at the last 100 years of weather patterns but the last 100 million years. The average person does not have this perspective, so an accurate assessment is difficult from their point of view.


What else can you share from your geophysical perspective?

When one says “global warming” one tends to only think about an increase in the average daily temperature, the average temperature of the ocean or the increased elevation of sea level. But the consequences of global warming could also mean any increase in extreme, intense or unpredictable weather patterns. When one upsets Nature’s balance, all the above can be consequences, not just an increase in temperature.


You are so right. Are we not seeing an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes and more earthquakes and flooding today?

I believe we are. So, one has to look at the increase in extreme, intense or unpredictable weather patterns and ask ourselves, do these short term changes have any global warming consequences in the long term?


So, by overlooking these short-term changes we may not be accurately predicting the long-term consequences of global warming. That is like the reason people use for feeding dry kibble. They do not see the long-term consequences.

That is exactly right. One can get away with feeding cheaper dry kibble food in the short term but over the life of a pet, the increased medical bills as a senior pet and a shorter life span will outweigh any short term savings. So, it is better to pay attention to all the global warning signs now, rather than pay the consequences of coastal flooding, having to wear oxygen masks because of increased pollution, having many species of animals becoming extinct and having to deal with swarms of locusts or other insects all due to global warming.


OK, those last two consequences got my attention. Can you continue with the animal and insect consequences and tell me how that may affect my pet?

When one species of animals becomes extinct, one has to look above and below them in the food chain to see what consequences may occur. For example, if one particular bird species becomes extinct or even if the bird population in general declines, this will bring an increase in the insect population they formerly ate for food.


Research from The Department of Pathology and Animal Health, University of Naples, Italy. They warned that the effects of these climate changes include the increase in numerous vector borne diseases. A vector in biology could be any agent or organism capable of transmitting disease-causing microorganisms from one infected human being or animal to another. The most common vectors in Nature are mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.


Wow, this is starting to sound serious. Go on.

Let us start with mosquitoes. Any increase in summer temperatures because of global warming could subsequently increase the mosquito population and therefore, the incubation period for mosquito-borne parasites. This could, in turn, bring about an increase in parasitic diseases, one of them being Dirofilaria immitis. Most of your listeners will know this by the more common name, heartworm.


We all know about the obvious consequences of contracting heartworm. Is there any evidence of this happening today?

Let me give you just three anecdotal incidences that I found on the Internet:

  1. Dr. Karen Fling of the East Lake Veterinary Hospital said: “In our Dallas practice we’ve seen a tripling of cases since 2006 and so far in 2010 cases have already doubled over 2009.”
  2. The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) and the Hamilton Academy of Veterinary Medicine (HAVM) in Canada are particularly concerned over a “10-fold increase in the number of seen and treated cases of heartworm disease” since 2008.
  3. Dr. Mike Younker at the Fayette Veterinary Medical Center in Georgia said the clinic has seen a 25 percent increase in heartworm this year.

Granted, this is just current field data and only four years old but I do not think one needs a 20-30 year research study to see the serious consequences.


That looks like a pretty clear trend to me. What about the fleas and ticks?

Using the same vector-borne theory as I previously mentioned, an increase in fleas and ticks could mean a direct increase in Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) in our pets. Also, previously benign ticks are now carrying the same vector-borne diseases as their cousins. In addition, tick season is being extended in some parts of the country.


Did you find any evidence for an increasing trend in these diseases?

Yes, I found two references for humans:
  1. Dr. Stuart Feinstein, a Poughkeepsie infectious disease specialist who specializes in the treatment of tick-borne diseases said, “We’ve seen a lot more hospitalizations, and people have been a lot sicker with ehrlichiosis.”
  2. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services stated the two diseases that increased the most from 2006 to 2007 were Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

So, do these people trends apply to our pets?

As a research scientist, I cannot say that for sure but as a wholistic scientist, I personally believe they do apply to our pets or will in the very near future.


What else does your research as a wholistic scientist reveal?

There are secondary consequences that no one seems to be considering. With the reported increase in these diseases, comes an increased awareness by the general public and a corresponding increase in usage of mosquito repellant and flea & tick treatments. Most commercial flea & tick treatment use deadly pesticides. These pesticides contain neurotoxins to kill the offending pests. But not enough research or long term studies have been done to determine the effects of these pesticides on the host, namely our own dogs and cats.


As a wholistic scientist, what do you see as a secondary consequence?

I have mentioned a particularly deadly disease called IMHA or Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia on your show before. 50% of dogs diagnosed with IMHA die within the first two weeks. There is up to an 80% fatality ratio. The number one trigger for IMHA that I have seen in our clients has been vaccinations. But lately a close number two trigger has been flea & tick treatment and preventative heartworm medication.


Why is that?

The EPA held a Webcast and issued a summary report (03/17/2010) pursuing a series of actions to increase the safety of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for cats and dogs due to reported adverse effects. The EPA’s own expert veterinarian team found that:

  1. Small breed dogs were affected more than larger breeds for some products.
  2. The amount of product in a single dose needed to vary more for small to large dogs – that is, how much the dog weighs matters a lot in deciding how much of a product should be used.
  3. Misuse or accidental exposure of cats to dog products was an important problem; cats can be harmed by dog products.
  4. Label warnings against use of dog products on other animals, especially cats, are not working well enough.

So, the use of preventative treatment for any increase in mosquito, flea & tick-borne diseases might be attributed to global warming?

As a wholistic scientist, I believe that is a very good assumption.


So what can one do holistically to combat these secondary global warming consequences?

I like Dr. Robert Goldstein’s paradigm of flea and tick control, which is to strengthen the immune system of the affected animal first, rather than using an arsenal of pesticides against any offending pests. Using highly toxic pesticides can further weaken the overall health of the affected pet. I would treat any chronic infestation as an early warning sign, much like a smoke alarm. It would show me the pet probably has an immune deficiency, such as a lack of B vitamins, a weakened nervous system and a weakened endocrine system.


That makes perfect holistic sense. What can one do to strengthen a pet’s body?

To continue with Dr. Goldstein’s paradigm, he has developed a formula which he markets as Earth Animal Internal Powder. This is a blend of human food grade ingredients that work synergistically to produce an odor that is detested by fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Parasites can even detect a particular odor in health-compromised animals, or humans, which accounts for why some individuals are plagued by mosquitoes, and why some pets are targeted by fleas.


What if the infestation is particularly bad?

If fleas are a particularly nasty problem, then I might suggest a natural essential oil spray called Flea Flicker from AromaDog.com. Flea Flicker contains leleshwa, peppermint, and citronella. Natives in Kenya animals were rubbing up against a leleshwa shrub. Upon closer examination, the animals were found to be free of fleas, ticks and tse tse flies. So here is a way that Nature provided animals with natural deterrent to fleas, ticks and flies.


But one must be careful if they also have cats. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around sensitive cat’s bodies. AromaCat.com does carry a flea product called, Scat No Fleas!, which is safe for cats because it is a hydrosol of essential oils not the essential oils themselves.


What else can one do holistically?

Going back to veterinarian, Dr. Robert Goldstein, he says, “Show me a dog or cat with fleas and I’ll show you an animal on the wrong diet.” Remember when he said, parasites can even detect a particular odor in health-compromised animals or humans. I would first look at any nutrient deficient food I was feeding my pet, such as a dry kibble diet. Dry kibble contains too much carbohydrates and sugars making them tasty hosts for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Then I would make sure all the body’s glands and organs were operating at 100% efficiency, not just the immune system.


Why is that necessary?

Too many people just focus on the immune system when they see symptoms in their pet. You have heard some of the holistic experts say, “all disease begins in the gut” or “all degenerative diseases begin in the brain.” Well, I believe one needs to normalize ALL the body’s glands and organs to be healthy not just the immune system. In addition to a good species appropriate diet, I add a bio-algae concentrate product to our cats’ and dog’s daily diet. Algae, because it is a whole food product, is known to nourish the entire body, including the all important brain. The brain, as you know, is the seat of the endocrine system and thus is key to a healthy immune system.


Can you give us one more global warming consequence?

When summer temperatures get too hot for extended periods of time (say in late summer), this sets the stage for lakes to produce harmful algae blooms. These blue-green algae blooms can contain a cyanobacterium which is toxic to both people and animals. These cyanobacteria can cause skin irritation, upper respiratory problems and in extreme cases has been known to cause death in animals.


Now is this algae different than the one you feed your pets?

Yes, wild grown algae has to undergo thoroughly testing and there are still inherent risks. So, the bio-algae concentrates that we feed our pets is commercially grown in closed bio-reactors, not harvested in the wild.


You seem to have wealth of pet knowledge. How can we access more of your 58 years of holistic wisdom?

One way is to go to our website, http://www.optimumchoices.com/ and sign up for our free monthly e-newsletters. We have written articles on such topics as, Is glucosamine the answer for arthritis? Healthy water for you and your pets and Whole Food Products vs. Supplements. All past articles are archived online and one can search for a specific topic. If your listeners will check the box at the bottom of the subscription form, we’ll send subscribers a free report entitled What Pet Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know. This report contains 11-points some of which we covered today.


Do you offer any consulting services if I want more personal attention?

Yes, we have Mini- and Extended-Consults for those who purchase one of our holistic products and want to get the maximum usage for their pet. We also offer full Holistic Consultations in 15-30-60 minute blocks.


What other holistic resources do you have that would be of interest my listeners?

We have written a series of Holistic Choices HUe-BooksUH. Readers can take advantage of the latest holistic research we find and absorb the information in a small chunk rather than a 100+ page book. The first three titles that have been published are:

  • Save Your Dog or Cat
  • Secrets of Longevity (for people )
  • How to become a canine massage provider

How can my listeners I and get a copy?

Go to our website http://www.optimumchoices.com/ and click on the e-Books button in the left column on our home page. As a special offer, I will give your listeners a free e-Book with any purchase of one of our bio-algae concentrate products. Just have them enter in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart, “Wendy sent me” and ask for their free Save Your Dog or Cat e-Book or mention it in their telephone order.


Thank you for sharing your holistic wisdom with my listeners today.For more information on Optimum Choices and holistic options for your pet, go to Russell’s website at www.OptimumChoices.com. You can e-mail them at info@OptimumChoices.com or call toll-free 866-305-2306.

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Wendy Nan Rees uses her 25 years of expertise to answer pet health questions and offer expert advice for pet lovers.

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