A Good Night’s Sleep

Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep. Right? Well, for some pets that means day and night. Aside from looking out the window longingly, eating if they can find something, or grooming themselves, what do they do while you are at work? Sleep. Depending on who you are quality of sleep can be even more important than quantity of sleep. Smaller animals, which often have higher rates of brain metabolism, tend to require more sleep, while larger animals generally get less sleep. Herbivores and land-grazing animals use so much time eating they don’t have much time left for sleep.
A lot of research is spent studying sleep patterns in animals. “The only way to understand human sleep is to study animals,” says Jerome Siegel, PhD, professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research. “If we could better understand animal sleep, we could better understand the core aspects of sleep.”
Rapid eye movement (REM) and the brain wave pattern during REM sleep are similar in animals and humans. REM is the sleep state that is associated with dreams. Both humans and all other mammals display the same level of brain activity and increased heart rate variability during REM sleep. You have probably seen your dogs bark or twitch their legs while sleeping. That is REM sleep.
Then there’s the biological clock. Much of the sleep pattern – feeling sleepy at night and awake during the day – is regulated by light and darkness. Light – strong light, like bright outdoor light (which is brighter than indoor light even on cloudy days) – is the most powerful regulator of a body’s biological clock. The biological clock influences when one feels sleepy and when one feels alert. As a result, finding the balance of light and darkness exposure is important.


  • Light – For diurnal creatures light during the day sets the internal clock for the night’s rest and repair. Make sure to expose yourself and your dog to enough bright light during the day. Find time for sunlight, take the dog for a walk or ride the horse. Infrared sauna is good for this too. Then before bedtime start dimming the lights in the house so that by bedtime all is dark. Cats are somewhat nocturnal so who knows what they will decide to do!
  • Noise – Animals are even more tuned in to changes in sounds around them than humans are. Avoid a lot of commotion when it’s sleep time.
  • Temperature – Better to be a little cooler than too hot. The internal thermostat lowers as sleep ensues so a bit cooler environment will accommodate that natural effect.
  • Age – Along with the physical changes that occur as everyone gets older, changes to sleep patterns are a part of the aging process. The older one gets the harder it can be to fall asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. However, sleep needs remain constant throughout one’s life. Medical problems and physical illnesses tend to increase with age and the effects of medication on the body can further aggravate sleep disorders. Arthritis can make it difficult to get comfortable and then stay asleep. Cognitive dysfunction in dogs typifies sleep disorders in the elderly.
  • Surface – Nobody likes to be cramped. It is clear that the sleep surface plays a role in getting a good night’s sleep. The bed needs to provide good support. Research on patients with back pain found a supple comforting mattress may lead to better sleep. If your dog has allergies you may also wish to purchase hypo-allergenic covers designed to protect from possible allergic triggers such as the dust mite.

I have found a revolutionary new dog (and cat) mattress based on superior science. The Underdog Comfort Rest System is the only brand of dog mattress that uses Comfort Float Technology™ to provide medically-proven, therapeutic benefits. Based on 35 years of science applied to humans restricted to wheel chairs and bedridden, this system uses a network of soft, flexible air cells interconnected by small channels that allow air to flow from one cell to another at a controlled rate. Infrared thermography has proven that the pressure points are protected when a body lies on this type of cushion or bed. The liner and cover are hypoallergenic, durable, and easy to clean. You can find more information at www.moxiusa.com/forpets.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 67% of respondents reported that their bed partner snores. It didn’t say if that partner was an English Bull Dog or a Pug. Sweet dreams!

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

FitPAWS® “Power to the Dog, Fun Dog Fitness”

If you are looking to find fun ways to build a stronger bond between you and your dog, then learning the FitPAWS® way could be just the ticket! FitPAWS® is a successful conditioning program designed by veterinarians, physical therapists, and trainers that relies upon in-depth communication between the Master Trainer™, the dog handler, and of course the dog.

Canine total health focuses on mental stimulation, balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio fitness. Each plays a varying role throughout the many stages of the fitness program. Not only will the conditioning exercises help the physical components of dogs, they also bring about behavior modification, helping dogs live a healthier, longer life.

FitPAWS has developed canine conditioning, fitness and performance tools and techniques for dogs of all abilities, life stages, and jobs. Their program model is based upon scientific research from canine and other animal species including horses, as well as quadruped robotic research. They utilize new technology and uniquely designed equipment to accelerate the training goal with novel approaches, while increasing the fun index. Some of the tools include paw pods, balancing disc, K9FITbone™, wobble board, donuts, peanuts, rocker boards, agility cones and hurdles.

Each tool will be introduced at just the right time for the dog’s safe and successful progression. A goal-oriented exercise program with frequent fine-tuned assessments by a Master Trainer ensure deeper development and improved outcomes for participating dogs and their handlers. The Canine FitPAWS model works to establish a connection between all parties, to identify body performance, and then train toward a goal.

Exercise alone has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic disease in humans and dogs. Overall muscle function improves with daily exercise. If there is an injury, even with devastating issues, often these dogs will return to high quality function that defies the odds. Dogs with musculoskeletal imbalances and weaknesses tend to have higher rates of injury. A dog that has a good base of fitness developed over several years will be able to move on to tougher challenges with fewer injuries compared to a less fit dog of similar age, mental focus and body shape without a fitness base.

We realize that all dogs do not start at the same point or have the same capabilities. Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior, a performance or working dog, a family pet, or one with special conditions (like obesity), our program concepts can be applied across all life stages. Keeping our dogs fit throughout their life will ultimately reduce injuries, increase self-confidence and improve our dog’s ability to enjoy a full and high functioning life.

Some of the benefits of the training activities include:

  • Improved reaction and control
  • Increased trunk and core strength
  • Stabilization of weak areas
  • Improved balance and proprioception (awareness of the body’s position in space)
  • Increased range of motion in joints & elongation of the muscles
  • Improved sensory & body awareness
  • Preventing sports-related injuries

Contact the FitPAWS® Master Trainer™ Canine Fitness Coaches at Pet Rehab & Pain Clinic today to start having private lesson fun with your dog. “Git Fit – Play Fit – Stay Fit!”

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Ava and Dr. Bill Ormstron Talk

Audio file. Click here to listen: [audio:http://d3160627.a615.response-hosting.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/02/DrBillOrmston.wma]

Upcoming Seminar – Building a Nutrition Practice

Clinical Animal Nutrition

Presented by: Dr. Ava Frick, DVM
Saturday, June 9, 2012

Applied for 8 hours of DVM, VMD & CVT
Continuing Education in all New England States

Dr. Frick will cover topics such as:

Annual Nutrition Examinations
-­ How to make it work!

What Our Pets Eat
-­ Archetype diet vs. Processed diet

Food Synergy
-­ The Key to Whole Food Nutrition

Using a Clinical Animal Nutrition (CAN) Survey

Diagnostic Tests & Case Examples

And More!!!

Event Details:

Saturday, June 9, 2012 8:30am -­ 5:30pm
Registration begins at 8:00am -­ Buffet lunch included

Sheraton Boston Colonial North
One Audubon Rd Wakefield, MA 01880 781-245-9300

Mention Standard Process for $99 room rate until 5/25/12

Health Care Professional  –  $99
Students/Staff/Spouse  –  $79

Register Online and receive $10 off: www.NewEnglandSeminars.com

Live Presentation by Dr. Ava Frick at Equine Affaire in Ohio

Dr. Ava Frick did a live presentation of equine chiropractic at the Equine Affair in Ohio. Her presentation was warmly received.

Here are some photos from the presentation:

Equine Affair Presentation Dr. Ava Frick Horse Chiropractic Animal Chiropractor

Equine Affair Presentation Dr. Ava Frick Horse Chiropractic Animal Chiropractor

Equine Affair Presentation by Dr. Ava Frick

Getting a Jump-Start on Pet Allergies

It was a mild winter, and now we already have days in the 80s. The word is out that fleas, ticks and allergies will be worse this summer because we did not suffer through a long, cold and icy winter. I’m okay with not having the last part, but I am certain everyone would rather do without the first.

The more an animal lives in a chemically-doused, processed life, the more we can expect allergies to appear. One isolated allergy may go unnoticed, but the accumulation of several of them likely will tip the scale enough that the body can no longer compensate, adapt and adjust—and the symptoms become obvious.

Allergic symptoms can include: red, itchy skin and/or ears; licking feet, legs or body; scooting; inflamed eyes or anus; change in texture or color of fur or skin; sporadic vomiting or diarrhea; lethargy; weak immune system and frequent infections. Often, the treatments for the symptoms actually perpetuate the problem.

There are some things you can do now to help your animals prepare for the potential allergies ahead.

  • Understand the source of allergies. There are antigen/antibody reactions linked to many areas of the body. It can occur in the gut from gluten and carbohydrate overload, on the skin surface from pollens sitting on your pet (go figure—you need to dust your dog, too!), inadequate vitamin and mineral levels to support the immune system and toxins of all kinds. Anything processed, denatured, treated or chemically laden can alter the body’s defense mechanisms, allowing for an allergic reaction to occur at a later date. The body’s pH will also determine if your pet will be more likely to be allergic.
  • At Animal Fitness Center, we have a simple in-clinic way to check for the pH, parasitic interactions, mold, pollen, grasses, yeast and fungal allergens.
  • Have the diet reviewed. Dry, processed diets containing rice, wheat, oats, corn, gluten, barley and other grains are culprits in starting the food allergy cascade. Grain-free diets are less stimulating. Canned, raw, home-cooked or dehydrated foods are the best bet. Have a food allergy screening done to determine what is safe to feed your pet. At Animal Fitness Center, we have a simple in-clinic way of doing this, so you go home with a shopping list of what to feed and not feed.
  • Look for the underlying etiology. Allergies begin from a stressed immune system and a liver that is not working at full function. The liver and the digestive tract are the two primary areas that need to be addressed in order to become allergy free. The endocrine system, which includes the thalamus, hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, thyroid, adrenals and pancreas, also needs specific nutritional items to be built up so it can protect and not overreact. We have a system that uses a fur sample that can delineate the precise direction the pet requires to go for rebuilding its body.
  • Start early and expect to work on it for a year. Your pet did not develop the allergies overnight and they may not go away quickly either. Drugs are a quick fix, but nutrition and body organ support is progressive and usually requires nine to 18 months for a good resolution. You can, however, expect see improvement every few weeks, as our clients typically do.
  • Eliminate as many chemicals and toxins from your pet’s environment as possible. Sure, you can’t possibly get rid of all of the toxins, but being aware and doing what you can is a great start to a cleaner, healthier body.

The Human-Animal Connection


What is it about animals that make us feel good when we are in their space?
How do they bring out the best in us? How do they improve our health and overall well-being?

There are all kinds of research studies proving the rewards of human animal connections. But even those who do not read know this to be true. It is a feeling they emanate of wanting us, kindred spirits, sharing souls, the look from those eyes, that pulls us in and warms our hearts. It is what and how we feel when we are with them.

At the age of three I already knew my purpose in life was to be an animal doc- tor. Growing up on a farm in Missouri I spent many hours in the barn with the cats and kittens. Watching their behav- ior, mostly for the goal of being better able to catch them! Then there were the cows and calves, sows and piglets, horses, chickens, and later a funny goat. (Oh yeah that’s right, all goats are funny.) We generally had a dog or two, some indoors, some not. That’s the farm life I suppose.

With each encounter and time spent with the animals I learned by observing, yet grew by feeling. Those feelings, or emo- tions, were related to some kind of com- munication, received and perceived.

That communication was sometimes translated into; “She likes me” or “I need you too” or “thank you for that” and the occasional “I’ve had enough now.”

This becomes more accurate as we learn the communicating signals a specific spe-cies uses. Animals are much more in tune to all facets of body language be- cause, different than humans, they do not exist by our extensive use of verbal communication. Animal signals can be the eye; changes in shape and size of the pupil, position of ears, nose, lips, swish- ing of the tail, erection of feathers or fur, body contour to exhibit definition of size or intent, an odor, showing of teeth, or dancing for joy.” Click here to read the entire article.

Human-Animal Bond and Animals in Therapy

The impact of animals on our lives transcends the eons of our existence. Today it is common to show affection and love for the animals with which we communicate. A growing body of research currently documents the significance of the human- animal bond (H-AB) in child development, elderly care, mental illness, physical impairment, dementia, abuse and trauma recovery, as well as the rehabilitation of those in prisons. One can also not overlook the enormous value of canine assisted therapy for our wounded warriors. 1,2

National and interna-tional conferences first
brought attention to the
H-AB in the 1970s and
1980s, along with media coverage of community animal-assisted programs such as a dog obedience club giving an obedience demonstration at a residential facility for teenagers with delinquent behavior and school or hospice pet visitation. Others highlighted included therapy such as therapeutic horsemanship, and service dog training programs. The Delta Society encouraged research in this area, with the majority of funding coming from companies within the pet industry. Now H-AB has its focus on the importance of human- animal interactions to human health and well-being. Click here to read the entire article.

Tissue Mineral Analysis Patterns in 564 Dogs


Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) is a technique using soft tissue hair or fur biopsy that provides a reading of the mineral deposition in the cells and interstitial spaces of the hair over a 2 to 3 month period. TMA can be used to understand metabolism. It is another scientific measure that can expand our understanding of health and processes that impact illness in dogs. Mineral excess or deficiency is known to produce certain physical and psychological symptoms.
The correlation of TMA results with clinical signs seen in patients is discussed in this paper.

Tissue mineral levels and electrolyte patterns of calcium(Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), and potassium (K) were analyzed in 564 dogs (300 male, 264 female; 99% neutered or spayed) of variable breeds. Their ages ranged from 1 to 15 years. Cases included all dogs presented to the
authors within a 12-year period. Click here to read the entire article.