With the growing awareness of natural health for humans and the alternative therapies available to us, pet owners are seeking parallel ways to keep their furry loved ones healthy. With the rising rates of cancer in dogs, our focus on pet health care needs to be updated as well.
Dr. Shawn Messonnier, DVM is a holistic veterinarian and author of “The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats” and “Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs”. Dr. Messonnier is the “The Natural Vet” featured once a week on Martha Stewart Living’s talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. He is also a consultant for the supplement company, Pet Togethers. He discussed with Healthy Beginnings what pet owners can do to prevent serious illness in their animals.
Dr. Messonnier has been practicing holistic veterinary medicine for ten years and he gained in interest in “natural pet care” after treating chronic skin allergies in dogs and cats that would not heal. Dr. Messonnier describes his holistic approach as individualized and he lets the pet’s body tell him what it needs. Some of the same homeopathic treatments that are used for humans, Dr. Messonnier uses on his animals. The differences in treatment are different indications/symptoms and dosing. He attributes the rising cancer rates in dogs to genetics, our toxic environment, improper food and the excessive use of vaccinations.
“Even conventional veterinarians currently recommend that vaccinations should only be given every three years and that’s even too much.” Dr. Messonnier said. “We let the pet’s body tell us what needs to be done.”
At his office, Paws and Claws Animal Hospital, located in Texas, he uses blood vaccine titers every year to gauge the levels of the vaccine still in the blood stream and, depending on the animal, will hold off on vaccinations for up to five years. If your vet does not offer the titer, he recommends vaccinating every three years for safety.
Another important reason for rising cancer rates is the prolific use of animal-by-products and preservatives in dog and cat food. Dr. Messonnier advises seeking better quality brands, such as: Nature’s Variety, Old Mother Hubbard and Enova. Work with your vet to learn which brand and type will be best for your pet.
Chronic allergies, most commonly of the skin, can be hard to treat and very frustrating for the owner, as well as the dog. Frequent bathing, supplements and fatty acids can help. Dr. Messonnier’s book “The Allergy Solution for Dogs” explains in detail how to ease the pain of allergies.
Dr. Messonnier summarizes a total approach to your animal’s health as these four areas of focus:
• Chemicals that your pet is in contact with regularly, such as flea and tick prevention, etc.
Dr. Messonnier also advises getting a smart health insurance plan for your animal, as veterinary costs can be exorbitant. He recommends finding a plan that is simple and covers illnesses, as well as accidents. Pets Best Insurance (www.petsbest.com), for instance, treats 80 percent of your vet bills and even covers homeopathic treatments for cancer and allergies.
“Whenever you prevent a problem, you save money in the long run.” Dr. Messonnier said.
Just as we can prevent illness and maintain optimum health for ourselves, we can ensure a long and healthy life for our furry family members.
Dr. Shawn Messonnier is the medical consultant for Pet Togethers, a pet supplement company: www.pettogethers.net