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How’s Your Pet’s Immune System?

Does your animal’s immune system need help? Whether you’re fighting a bacterial infection, viral infection, cancer, or want a boost for an older animal or just want your pet to stay healthy and avoid disease, the immune system is critical to accomplish this task.

Three of the more common conditions are chronic bacterial skin infections, (where the animal is always on antibiotics), non-resolving mange, and potentially devastating viral diseases such as feline leukemia, feline AIDS or parvo virus. There are a number of ways to treat these conditions, or as with viral disease, support the system to heal itself.

1 Diet - This is the basis of a healthy body. Cheap generic foods, unbalanced or unproven questionable diets provide no support for your pet’s system. Always feed twice daily to keep nutrients and blood glucose steady in the system.

2 Immunomodulators - Staph. Protein A., (a bacterial derived protein), Acemannon (a derivative of the aloe vera plant), immunonegulin (another bacterial protein preparation) and interferon (a human recombinant product) are the strongest and most proven of the immunostimulants. These have been used with variable success and basically no side effects for years, keeping infections at bay. They have helped parvo dogs to recovery and kept leukemia cats alive and well for months to years.

3 Vitamins and minerals - Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Linoleic acid are all linked to the immune system. Proper supplementation can be helpful; improper or excess levels can be toxic. So check with your veterinarian or proven animal text book. Do not use human dosages.

4 Chinese Medicinals - These have been around for centuries and are still employed today with success on compromised systems and include Bing da Ling, Xiang Ling (Shiitake mushroom), Ling Zhi and Yun Zhia which are registered immunostimulants and anti-cancer drugs used in China and Japan.

5 Dimethyl Glycine - This is an amino acid that at the proper dosage increases the white blood cells in the body to fight infections, increases oxygen in the body, and supports liver and neurological functions. This substance has a scientifically proven track record and no side effects if used under doctor supervision.

6 Herbal Medicinals - This vast category has had variable success. We will mention a few although Cats Claw, Ginseng, Suma, Chuchuhuasi, Maca and dozens of others are also touted but beyond the scope of this article.

7 Echinacia - helps the white blood cells in the body destroy more bacteria and viruses as well as wound healing and a mild anti-inflammatory. This herb is not for ongoing long term use.

8 Pau D’ Arco - a bark extract at the proper dose said to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer. We have noted some success with lymphoma in small mammals.

9 Olive leaf extract - This helps your white blood cells kill bacteria, deter fungal disease and interferes with virus replication. Good for long term use with additional success on mange and chronic skin infections.

10 Immunostimulants can be very beneficial either alone or in combination with traditional medicine. You must be careful of the source of the item due to the lack of control on over-the-counter products. Many actually have very little or even none of the active ingredients you are after as well as poor bioavailability to the animal’s system. Remember, these treatments do not replace a proper diagnosis nor can they treat very severe or life-threatening infections. Many animals have an underlying disease such as a thyroid problem, cancer, allergies, or parasites that must be addressed. Otherwise, all of the above may not help your animal. Your animal is counting on you to care for it properly. Consult your veterinarian.

Courtesy of Jack Landess, D.V.M., Nokomis Veterinary Clinic. 941.484.2485.


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