TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF TERMINAL ILLNESS IN COMPANION ANIMALS
All those who love their animal friends wish more than anything for them to live long and healthy lives. Sadly, in today’s society many innocent animals are victimized by marketing schemes, ignorant feeding routines and nutrient poor foods. Because of the money making machines that are so prevalent in today’ society, we are often left watching our aging companion animals fade away. Did you know that treating and/or preventing most early-stage terminal illnesses is within YOUR grasp? Here are five common terminal illnesses that so unfortunately plague many North American companion animals. Alongside them is an explanation of their causes and how YOU can prevent them.
1) DIABETES- More prevalent in cats than dogs, diabetes is a completely preventable illness. Diabetes occurs when there is a deregulation in the body’s insulin levels. Insulin levels in the body become abnormally elevated due to high levels of sugar in the blood. Insulin is produced by the pancreas which is intended to lower blood sugar. When the pancreas does not produce sufficient levels of insulin, the body develops diabetes. In the circumstances of cats, we often see diabetes as a later onset disease. This is prominently due to an increase in grains in cat food. Most dry cat food is composed of human grade cereal. This sugary ingredient is quite harmful to our feline friends in so many ways. Primarily, cats cannot digest grains. In fact their gastrointestinal systems lack the digestive enzyme that is responsible in all other mammals for the breakdown of grains. Thus, when we examine the feline’s gastro system and its attempt to breakdown the grains that it cannot digest in the first place, coupled with the sugary white nature of the human grade cereal which the food itself is composed of, we have a recipe for disaster. When cats eat grains, particularly kibble (dry food), they cannot digest the sugars in the formulas. As the sugar passes through their bodies, it accumulates and creates insulin spikes. This deregulation of insulin in the body wreaks havoc on the pancreas and frequently leads to diabetes. The moral of the story is: to prevent our cats from contracting diabetes, we must ensure that we are feeding them grain free or very low grain-based diets.
2) KIDNEY FAILURE- kidney failure is most prevalent in cats and dogs who eat kibble (dry food). Because dry food is essentially dehydrated food, if ingested for prolonged periods of time the dry food will dehydrate the inner organs by draining them of moisture in an attempt to process them through the digestive tract. The dry food will drain all moisture from the digestive organs in order to moisturize the food to pass it through. After years of dry food taxing the inner organs, the kidneys burn out and are unable to create sufficient moisture to release the toxins from the food in the urine. Once there is a build up of toxins in the kidneys that cannot be released, they shut down which creates kidney failure. Kidney failure is usually a disease that occurs later in an animal’s life. However, between modern day unhealthy food options and other environmental kidney related imbalances, cats and dogs are experiencing kidney failure at earlier and earlier ages. All of this is preventable by ensuring that our animal companions are fed moisture-enriched diets, drinking adequate water and consuming healthy doses of omegas 3&6. Bear in mind as well that water does not adequately hydrate an animal. It does cleanse the organs however often in dry, hot and cold temperatures, water does not get retained in the organs and the animal passes it through urine. By adding omegas 3 & 6 to the diet in the form of coconut oil, salmon oil or CBD oil (to name three), you will be allowing the animal’s body and organs to retain sufficient moisture, thereby nourishing the kidneys and taking positive steps toward preventing kidney failure.
3) CANCER– Finding out that an animal has cancer is one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person can have. Though cancer is often unpreventable, in many cases it is preventable. There are three common ways that an animal will contract this terminal illness. They are prone to it via genetics, environment and food. The first cause, genetics, is the least preventable cause. There are certainly ways to lessen the likelihood that an animal will contract congenital cancer which will be suggested in the following last two causes.
The second cause, environment, is a result of an animal’s living experiences; living with her/his people alongside the human experience. Should an animal live in an energetically toxic environment such as that in which there is constant fighting, abuse (emotional or physical) from one person or another or toward the animal, drug/alcohol abuse, neglect, starvation, excessive cold or heat among many other environmental factors, the animal is likely to contract the illness due to prolonged stress. When in a highly stressful environment, negative energy wells in the energy field. After years of this lingering energy within the energy field, the negative energy attaches itself to the physical body and creates toxicity. Thankfully, all of these environmental factors can be shifted to create a more comfortable living experience for the animal. Many animals who have been rescued or surrendered from intolerable living situations and moved to loving homes will still harbour the energies of their previous toxic environments which can lead to a build up of stress within the body which results in disease. It is important to engage these rescued animals in regular exercise and energy work to best balance the animal’s body and spirit. For more information on how energy affects animals, read ‘Animals & Energy’ by J Morgan Saifer.
Lastly, food choices play a major role in an animal’s health and overall quality of life. Almost all store bought foods contain preservatives, carcinogens and non-food items. Additionally, they are processed which means that by definition they are no longer in their natural state. It would be nearly impossible for all those of us who care for companion animals make their food from scratch. In fact even if we did, we would likely miss out on vital ingredients unless we did a significant amount of research. For dogs, often a raw food diet is a healthy choice. Of course as with any food selection it’s vital to research its origin. Was it made in Canada? Was it sourced from healthy animal?
There are FAR fewer healthy diet choices for our cat and dog friends than there are healthy. Aside from the falsified labels that have gone into law suits, there are a variety of veterinary recommended foods (science diets) whose first few ingredients read ‘pork by-product, corn gluten, hydrogenated oil’…and the list of non-food items progresses. These non-food items are harmful to the body. The more our animal companions ingest these harmful items, the more toxins build up in the blood stream and major organs. The digestive and waste processing organs become strained from trying to pass the non-food items through the body which results in a build up of toxins. This build up often leads to imbalances in the body which can create cancerous cells. It is imperative to thoroughly research all foods, food companies, ingredients and all other food-related information before reaching a decision about which food to feed our animals.
4) THYROID– One of the lesser considered yet equally dangerous diseases in cats and dogs is related to the thyroid. Dogs and cats can fall victim to both hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism. Both of these diseases are mainly linked to diet and genetics. Hypothyroidism is a metabolic disease. It occurs when the metabolism does not make enough of the hormone thyroxine which is partially responsible for turning food into fuel. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the metabolism produces too much thyroxine, creating an overactive metabolism. If left untreated, these diseases can be fatal. Both hypo and hyper thyroids are often the body’s reaction to an oversaturation of “nutritional” vitamins and minerals in store-bought cat and dog foods. Because of the North American food and drug’s requirements for cat and dog food, cat and dog food companies are forced to adhere to guidelines that were set long before scientists and animal nutritionists had a firm grasp on modern cat and dog nutritional requirements. Because of these laws in place, these companies are legally forced into over-saturating their foods with excess vitamins and minerals that cats and dogs do not need for a balanced diet. Unfortunately, this excess of seemingly healthy ingredients messes with the metabolisms of our furry family members. Though professionals are seeking to re-examine the North American cat and dog food regulations, the process is a slow and painful one. Thankfully, by paying particular attention to the ingredients of our cat or dog’s food, we will be able to treat or prevent both of these diseases.
5) OBESITY- Perhaps the most common and most easily preventable of the terminal illnesses that companion animals contract is obesity. Far too many humans fail to realize that a balanced diet is one of the most crucial elements to a long and healthy life; for animal and person! Sadly, many consumers fall prey to marketing schemes and medical industry propaganda. Companion animal obesity is 100% the responsibility of the human caregivers. It is unequivocally up to us as the guardians and caretakers of our animal friends to ensure that they are receiving a species appropriate diet and NOT a diet full of preservatives, inappropriate proteins, grains, carcinogens and other filler-type substances found in most store bought dog and cat food. As supremely important as it is to feed our animal friends a balanced, holistic diet, it is equally so to provide them with adequate exercise. Like humans, animals gain many benefits from regular exercise such as cardiovascular and respiratory health, muscular endurance, self confidence, healthy circulation of blood (especially in the wintertime!), and many, many more. By combining a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise, we as caregivers will have the power to keep obesity out of our homes!
Quite clearly, almost all dog and cat terminal illnesses are largely linked to poor diet. Though genetics play an equally important role in the health and longevity of companion animals, we have the power to lessen the likelihood of early stage illness and lessen the pain of later-onset illness. We can ensure that we research and feed species appropriate diets. We can manage their health by taking daily notice of their health so that we are able to spot the first signs of a shift and react accordingly. By spotting the early warning signs, we will potentially be able to save an animal’s life. By not blindly trusting marketing companies and medical professionals, we are able to understand that every cat and dog has her or his own individual dietary needs. We can take the time to learn what works for our animal friends as individuals. This way we will be able to ensure that our animal family members live long and healthy lives!