Why Is Cholesterol High?

Cholesterol numbers began rising about the time people quit doing as much manual labor and switched eating habits to refined, processed, fast foods. (Note: Animals for the most part are being fed refined, processed, and fast foods.) Then cholesterol really started getting a bad wrap about the time pharmaceutical companies released the first statin compound for lowering cholesterol. That is well and good from an empirical perspective, but what is it really an indicator of and why would it rise in the first place? What is the body telling us?

Cholesterol is an indicator of adrenal and thyroid gland, liver, and gall bladder function. These organs function more or less relative to what they are being fed or exposed to. This includes STRESS. This is why a body can be slender and appear athletic and still have elevated cholesterol levels. Stress signals the adrenal glands to make cortisol, the fright or flight hormone. Cholesterol is a necessary component in the production of cortisol. The more stress one perceives in life, the more cholesterol the adrenal glands stock pile in order to be ready for the next round of cortisol. It is like ammunition for the potential future emergency of survival. Stress in animals can be inclement weather, lack of the right nutrients, separation anxiety, being confined too much, not enough exercise, pain, pack issues, too much exercise, to mention a few.

The liver is the organ that synthesizes and releases cholesterol into the blood at the command of the adrenals. It then synthesizes bile salts from some of the cholesterol, which are secreted into the bile for breaking down fats in the meal. Plasma cholesterol will be picked back up by the liver and secreted out of the body in the bile. If the liver and gall bladder are not functioning optimally or a poor diet is eaten, cholesterol can precipitate forming gallstones. Poor diet for a person would be too many fatty foods. However for a dog, which uses fats as its first energy source, this is not the case. Too many diets are actually heavy laden in carbohydrates (30-50% in dry foods versus 15% in a dog’s archetype diet) and deficient in fats. This leads to obesity, poor coats, poor protein assimilation, inflammation, and a list of other problems.

Both being endocrine organs and a part of the autonomic nervous system, thyroid function closely correlates with adrenal gland function and stress factors. The thyroid gland is the generator of the body. Without its input things begin to run slow. We can see this as poor coat, oily skin, body odor, fur loss, and chronic infections. Of course, by the time you see these symptoms the problem has been going on a long time. Diets heavy in soy bean will reduce thyroid activity. Low calcium precipitates a reduced activity. Chronic stress, parasites, virus or bacterial infections, dental disease, and adrenal overrun will wear out the thyroid too.

Why is cholesterol high?

  • Inadequate diet, low calcium and zinc, too many carbohydrates
  • Endocrine exhaustion affecting the adrenal and thyroid glands
  • Liver and gall bladder over worked and under fed
  • Stress, stress, stress

What can you do to help your animals?

Giving a statin drug is not the answer. Just as in humans they have negative effects on muscle and liver function. Plus this sends the adrenals into an even bigger call to arms when it detects cholesterol reserves are low. Not good.

  • Get a Fur Mineral Analysis test to see how he stacks up
  • Adjust the diet to better fit his needs
  • Supplement where indicated
  • Reduce stress (This means you too. Your animals will pick up your emotions and mimic in themselves what is going on in you!)
  • Exercise to the level that both of you can benefit

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Feeling Sorry For Them

Ava Frick, DVM, CAC

Anyone who cares about animals will have a list of situations that make one feel bad about their plight. Let’s compare lists.

  • Dogs that are chained up all the time and never get to run or play,
  • Dogs or chickens that are used for fighting,
  • Animals left to starve, abused, or neglected,
  • Ones kept in confinement (Even a trip to the zoo while appreciating the salvage of many species still makes my heart a bit sad for many of them. Prairie dogs excluded.),
  • Animals beaten by trainers, owners, and others,
  • Animals used for human amusement like circus acts where they would not naturally do what they are required to do. (This may not be across the board. I have visited Sea World and it really does appear that the sea creatures have a good time doing their acts and getting fish as a reward and making a big splash. I did not feel sorry for them during the act. But maybe it was because they were causing me to smile and laugh.),
  • Horses put on trailers, driven for days, and taken across the border to Mexico for slaughter where there are little to no regulations for humane treatment,
  • The dog or cat or wild creature that was hit on the road,
  • Heck, I apologize to the animal every time before I give an injection.

Add the grossly overweight animals to the list too. Americans are fatter and sicker than ever. We are a culture of mass consumption of refined grains, processed foods, empty calories, too much sugar, fast foods, huge meals portions, and sedentary lifestyle. People will be dying younger than their parents and their children face an even graver future, and their dogs along with them. Have you read the label of everything you are feeding your dog or cat?

Here’s another one for the list. I feel sorry for the dogs that only get to eat dry dog food every meal of every day of their life. The family is cooking a turkey, steak, hamburgers, or fried chicken, and what does the dog get? SOS. (That’s same old stuff.) How healthy would you be if you ate Total cereal every meal of your life? It says, or at least used to, 100% complete on the box. And the worst of it is this; considering a dog can smell 10,000 times what we do it must be torture smelling what is cooking and NEVER getting to have it. Table food, if fresh meat and vegetables, is MUCH more nutritious that any kibble you will ever put in the bowl.

That list can go on and on depending on what you know and how you feel about what is happening, what your responsibility level is to help, and what you are actually doing about it. The ill that befalls animals is committed every day to children and people all over the world as well. During the holiday’s people volunteer to help others by getting gifts for children, ringing bells for Salvation Army, wrapping gifts and sharing the donations with a not-for-profit group, or whatever makes them feel better about themselves and the plight of others.

This holiday season you could quit torturing your dog. Decide to go against what the dry food companies have ingrained in the minds of the pet industry. Share some of the bounty and give them a gift of unprocessed whole nutritious food. They will know that they have received the greatest gift of all, real food! You can give them the chance for a better life. It all begins with what we put into our bodies, and theirs.

Yellow Spots in the Lawn

Understand the Cause: It is the nitrogen, not just the pH.

Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Because dog urine is very high in nitrogen-containing waste products, when the dog urinates, it is similar to pouring a nitrogen-containing fertilizer on the lawn. A little nitrogen is good for the grass, but an excess causes damage. The prevention of lawn burn involves trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming into contact with the grass.

Contributing Factors – There are several factors that make lawn burn more likely to occur:

  • Female dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn than males because females void their entire bladder in one location instead of lifting their leg and marking, like males.
  • Large dogs deposit more urine so they increase the quantity of nitrogen in one location, making lawn burn more likely.
  • The dog’s diet and how it is being processed can allow for more nitrogen excretion.
  • Heavily fertilized yards are already receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen. The additional amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to put these lawns over the edge and cause lawn burn.
  • Lawns that are stressed are more susceptible to damage. Lawns that are suffering from drought, disease, or are newly sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn.

Solving the Problem – Successfully treating and preventing lawn burn often requires a multi-step approach:
1. Saturate the urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, pour several cups of water on the spot to dilute the urine. A watering can works well.

2. Feed a high quality dog food that has the capacity to be recognized by the canine computer system. High quality foods will have more digestible protein sources that are more completely utilized by the pet and create less nitrogenous waste in the urine. WE RECOMMEND A BAKED KIBBLE. LOTUS® BRAND IS THE BEST. Baked food is digested by the dog differently than extruded diets. Extrusion is the most common form of processing by manufacturers. Also feeding a more ARCHETYPE DIET; RAW, CANNED, OR DEHYDRATED FORMULAS also will positively affect what is absorbed and utilized by the dog and then the final elimination.

3. Encouraging your dog to drink more water will help dilute the urine and decrease the risk of lawn burn.

4. Train your dog to urinate in a location.

5. Replant your yard with more urine-resistant grasses. The most resistant grasses tend to be perennial rye grasses and fescues.

6. Some supplements can help but correcting the diet as mentioned above would be the preferred.

7. Reduce the stress on your lawn by not over- or under-fertilizing and by watering frequently.

8. If neighbors’ dogs are causing the problem, using a fence or motion-activated sprinkler may be helpful in keeping these dogs off your lawn.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Teeth Article

It’s easy to ignore things that are not visible. Like your pets teeth. Their cute muzzle lips cover the teeth so well that it takes effort and intention on your part to actually observe what is going on inside their mouth. What you can’t see can be hurting their very existence.

It’s important to become familiar with your pet’s oral cavity. Starting at an early age, you should pull up their lips, touch the teeth, and examine the mouth. This way you know what it normal, so that you can detect subtle changes. Early on there may be a slight discoloration or some food particles stuck between the teeth. Left unobserved, as time goes on, it can worsen.

Periodontal disease begins as bacteria forms plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus, commonly called tartar. Tartar can extend below the gum line creating damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually destroying it.
The bacteria secrete toxins, causing more damage and stimulating the immune system. The white blood cells and inflammatory chemicals, while in part are beneficial, will damage the supporting tissue. Instead of helping the problem, the pet’s own protective system actually worsens the disease where there is severe build-up of plaque and tartar. As a portal to the body, infection here can move to the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs, creating systemic disease.


  • Foul breath
  • Change in eating habits
  • Painful mouth – may growl or snarl if mouth or head is touched
  • Excessive drooling
  • Not wanting to chew on toys
  • Dropping food out of mouth when eating
  • Rubbing face on ground or pawing at face
  • Weight loss

We don’t want it to get that advanced. Prevention is the key. Early attention can make a big difference.

  • Start at a young age perusing the mouth.
  • Provide special canine chew toys and dental aids, designed specifically for oral health, is an easy and effective way to help reduce the build-up of tartar on the teeth. 
  • Oral rinse in the morning, and brush your dog’s teeth before bed.  (Tropiclean has some very effective products.) There are many videos on the internet that demonstrate how to be effective at brushing. For those who resist the brush, I recommend a Q-Tip saturated with a bactericidal dissolving gel or solution. Then roll it across the tooth-gum line. For little pets this is often much more comfortable than a brush.
  • Avoid feeding extrusion processed dry food. If you want to feed dry, select a baked grain free formula (Like Lotus). Better yet, choose raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated grain free diets. Get back to nature and feed more like what they would eat in the real world. It is not the kibble that helps the teeth; it is how the body digests the food that leads to tartar (Or prevents it.).
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian for routine oral examinations. Schedule a dental if gingivitis and periodontal disease is present.

Treating is expensive, so let’s try preventing it. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS

HP Feb 2017

Raw V.S. Dry Food

Raw food & Freeze-dried Raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market.

Raw is a diet primarily of uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs. There are some Prepared or Packaged Raw diets that also include fruit and vegetables. Natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria are found in raw pet foods, undamaged by any heat application.

Freeze-Dried Raw has a freeze drying process that is widely appreciated as the most effective method of food preservation; it imparts the greatest shelf life and the least nutrient damage. The food is not heated; moisture is removed using a very high vacuum, preserving the natural ingredients.

Benefits of Raw and Freeze Dried Raw

  • Palatability is great! – pets like it, Yum Yum 
  • Superior digestibility – leads to improved stools & better overall health
  • Shinier coats & healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth & breath
  • Improved weight control
  • Increased immunity
  • High energy levels

Dry Food

The majority of kibble (dry food) is cooked through an extrusion method. Similar to the microwave, the extrusion process greatly reduces the nutritional value of the food. It cooks at a high temperature for a short period of time. Extrusion type kibble is usually 25 – 45% starch, which has a low nutritional value. I recommend baked kibble.

Diets high in starch are a nutritional problem for our pets. Excess starch erodes a pet’s health in subtle ways, including blood sugar spikes, digestion issues & dermatitis.

“Grain free” kibble can also have starch. Kibble using pea protein, sweet potato and quinoa may be termed “grain-free” but can also have high starch content.

Raw diets and freeze-dried raw are one-sixth the starch content of kibble.*

Bite Out of Dental Disease


Yet another “wives tale” bites the dust. How many of you reading this today have a cat or dog that has had a dental? And how many times was that? What type of food does he/she eat? I would wager that 90% of you say your pet eats dry food. What is it that you have been told or heard on TV about feeding dry over canned or home-cooked or raw diets? Oh yes, that eating dry is better for their teeth. Now tell me, if that was the case why are there so many dogs and cats with poor dental hygiene, calculus, and gingivitis?
Fact is, there is very little even in the best of dry foods that is truly compatible with preventing any kind of a disease. Banfield Pet Hospital did a large survey with more than 2.5 million health records analyzed. They reported that, “preventable problems are on the rise.” This included conditions such as diabetes, ear infections, and obesity, with dental disease topping the list. 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over the age of 3 presented with some form of dental disease! And what is the common denominator? In my opinion it is the dry, highly refined, processed, corn, wheat, glutens, natural flavorings, soy foods they are given as a “complete and balanced” diet. You can feed EXPENSIVE foods that contain these ingredients. Read your labels.
I have had eight year old dogs present for an evaluation who had been on raw diet all their life and they had the teeth of a two year old and never had a dental. I have taken ones with dental calculus, corrected the nutritional deficiencies, put them on a home cooked or dehydrated or canned or raw diet and some raw bones weekly, and in 6-9 months the mouth is amazingly improved to the point of not even needing a dental! EVERTHING that goes wrong in the general health of your animal (or you for that matter), not including injuries like auto accidents, has a nutritional component. Nothing preserves wellness like whole food nutrition.
The American Animal Hospital Association in June of 2010 released the results of a consortium on nutritional recommendations. They say that “every patient visiting a veterinarian should have a nutritional assessment.” A complete nutritional assessment would include a fur mineral, toxic metal, and oxidation rate analysis, called Tissue Mineral Analysis. This is painless and simple. It only requires the clipping of fur. Once the report is complete the next step is to balance the body with specific minerals and vitamins along with helping to chelate out any toxic metals.
A person using this approach can take 18 to 36 months to clear up but animals respond in half or less the time. Getting on the road to better health starts at the food dish. Take a bite out of dental disease other illness and degenerative conditions by putting some real nutrition back into your animal’s life.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Dog Pain

This list is an assessment tool which covers the sensorial and emotional aspects of pain.

Being able to identify a set of behaviors can help to reliably detect pain. For each of these signs, they are frequently present in both low and high levels of pain.

1. Lameness, abnormal gait
2. Difficulty in jumping or moving in a certain way or direction, unable to do stairs
3. Legs splayed out rather than under body
4. Reluctant to move, avoid situations that could elicit pain
5. Reaction to palpation, dislike or intolerance of handling
6. Withdrawn, hiding
7. Sleeping more
8. Playing less. Less interested in going for a walk
9. Licking inanimate objects (can often be a sign of intestinal pain)
10. Overall activity less than normal, moves slower
11. Change in mood, grumpy
12. Restlessness; pacing, getting up and down and adjusting position or place
13. Wobbly
14. Hunched back or sway back
15. Shifting weight off area of body
16. Licking excessively or rubbing a certain area of the body
17. Lower or tilted head, ears in unusual position
18. Temperamental, Yelp or growl when being petted or other animal comes near space
19. Change in form of feeding behavior, type of food preferred, avoiding or decreased appetite
20. Weeping, red, cloudy or squinting eyes
21. Looks depressed
22. Groaning, moaning, grunting
23. Heavy panting, increased heart rate when doing nothing (and it’s not hot!)
24. Hanging or tucked tail
25. Change in toileting habits e.g. not lifting leg, not squatting low, defecating in house drops out
© IVE, Inc. 2016

Cat Pain

This list is an assessment tool which covers the sensorial and emotional aspects of pain.

Being able to identify a set of behaviors can help to reliably detect pain. For each of these signs, they are frequently present in both low and high levels of pain.

1. Lameness
2. Difficulty in jumping
3. Abnormal gait
4. Reluctant to move
5. Reaction to palpation
6. Withdrawn, hiding
7. Absence of grooming
8. Playing less
9. Decreased appetite
10. Overall activity less than normal
11. Change in mood
12. Not rubbing on people or doing it less
13. Temperamental, hissing
14. Hunched up posture
15. Shifting weight off area of body
16. Licking excessively in certain area
17. Lower head position, ears pinned or not up right
18. Involuntary forced blinking
19. Change in form of feeding behavior, type of food preferred, avoiding
20. Avoiding areas of bright light
21. Growling
22. Groaning
23. Eyes closed
24. Tail flicking
25. Straining to urinate
© IVE, Inc. 2016

Animal Pain

Pain is invisible, but its symptoms are not. We can’t point it out, like a growth or broken bone. But we are aware of its presence, at least in ourselves. Knowing when an animal is in pain can be more difficult.
Depending on the nature of the animal, they may hide the symptoms to avoid being targeted. As in an herbivore (rabbit, deer, mouse) not wanting to appear ill and become someone’s meal, or a chicken who doesn’t want to get pecked on by others. Logically they do not think that, but innately they know. And just like in humans, some complain more about their pain and woes, while others grin and bear it.
Animals do speak to us in many ways. Some of them are; the size of the pupil, movement of ears, quivering of the skin, swishing a tail, avoiding being petted, not wanting to mingle with others, stomping, growling, kicking, bucking, or biting. These are all forms of communication. Some in a whisper and others are more similar to hollering, trying to get the point across.
Other indicators that pain is present to some degree somewhere include; moaning or crying, grinding teeth in rabbits, change in personality, abnormal gait, shifting weight, altered posture, guarding a part of the body, difficulty getting up or down, history of a surgery or injury.
Pain can exist from a recent surgery, injury, sprain, internal organ disease, cancer, and the most common is arthritis. Acute pain is obvious and distressing.  Chronic pain is that which lasts over 2 to 3 months and is not resolving. It can often be subtle, and masked as “getting old” or “slowing down.”  Those with chronic pain often develop a familiarity with it and make it even more difficult to determine its presence.
My focus is key on working to eliminate pain. I offer many options to treat the various causes of pain in animals including physical rehabilitation, chiropractic, microcurrent and laser therapy, therapeutic massage and customized exercise programs.   Oral support comes in the form of supplements, herbs, medication, and nutritional optimization.
For more information about pain in animals visit my other websites: www.AnimalRehabStLouis.com and www.Alpha-StimForAnimals.com, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management at www.IVAPM.org.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises can be a part of your dog’s recovery program.
Proper stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion (ROM), relieve certain kinds of joint and muscle pain, stimulate nerve conduction and body awareness, heighten proprioception, improve performance, and help prevent injuries.
Muscles and connective tissue naturally tend to stiffen if they are overused or underused. Stiffness can result in injury, lead to inactivity, and eventually speed up the aging process of the musculoskeletal system. To remain supple, the connective tissue and muscles need regular stretching. Stiffness is a symptom and reaction to pain or discomfort, be it from overworking unprepared muscle groups (sore muscles), arthritis, spinal bone instability or fixation, even dental malfunction.
Massaging the body and properly stretching the joints will loosen muscles and connective tissue, sending signals to the mechanoreceptors about the joints and their capacity to flex and extend. Massage will help to eliminate toxins and lactic acid by improving circulation to the tissue, further reducing soreness.
Stretching also provides a pain-relieving effect, which might be due to an increased pain threshold or simply because the muscle becomes stronger. Through a regular stretching program, muscles become stronger and thus able to absorb more energy, which also reduces injury. The more energy muscle can absorb, the more resistant the muscle is to injury.

Important points to remember:

  • Understand the goals or purpose and how to effectively deliver the exercises
  • Be in a calm area where everyone is relaxed, as the stretching will be more productive if the muscles are not tense
  • Take the time to do them correctly (no shortcuts)
  • Always start conservatively then gradually increase the length of stretch, the angle or height of the stretch, and the number or repetitions
  • Pay attention to the behavior or response(s) your pet gives with each stretch
  • Keep notes on the changes you see so you can report to the doctor on your next visit

Benefits of Stretching Exercises:

  • Pain relieving effect
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Reduce likelihood of injury when standing, sitting, jumping, etc.
  • Relieve spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury
  • Improve posture
  • Good for “cooling down” after a workout and helps reduce post workout muscle fatigue and soreness

A good stretch will be comfortable and effective. A “bad” stretch will be met with resistance or failure to make any positive gain in flexibility, range of motion, or performance. Lack of improvement or an unwillingness to do the exercises indicates the current program should be stopped until you visit with our doctor.
With a regular routine consisting of a few three-to-five-minute exercises several days a week, your pet can begin to show improvement in as early as one week.

Purchase the DVD “Fitness in Motion® Stretching Exercises for Dogs.” Waatch it often, it will help you gain your confidence. $40