Pet Health

Pets and Humans: Summer Safety Tips

Written by Caroline M. Wieczorek, VMD. Posted in Pet Health.

Healthy Living,Keep you pets safe during hot weather

Summer and warm (hot) weather are upon us shortly. This means a few extra precautions for our furry friends.

We protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun and should do the same for our pets. Animals can get sunburn, too! Apply small amount of pediatric SPF 30 to pale nose tips and bridges of noses, and ear tips. White animals, especially, are prone to melanomas on their ear (pinna tips) and eyelids when exposed to harsh summer sun for long periods of time. Animals that are coated and are shaved for the summer may need sun protection on their backs until their fur grows back, for at least a month or so.


Written by Dr Rose Dileva. Posted in Pet Health.


Approximately 20 years ago I received a telephone call from a physician in California. He was interested in speaking with me about my treatment of cancer with high doses of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). He had heard from the manufacturer who produces the intravenous form of Vitamin C that I was utilizing this treatment in animals with cancer.

Can I give my dog Pumpkin?

Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Pet Health.

Pumpkin is an excellent source of carotenoids,


I read in a recent magazine about pet health that it would be Ok to feed my dog some pumpkin. Is this statement true or a fallacy?

<brA: :
Pumpkin is an excellent source of carotenoids, fiber, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamin A. It is first very important to pick the correct kind of pumpkin. You DO NOT want to use pumpkin pie filler from the baking section of the supermarket. You want to use only canned pumpkin. Pumpkin’s high fiber content allows it to be of benefit in cases of constipation, diarrhea and also for losing weight. The easiest way to help lose some weight is to decrease, by a small portion, the amount of regular food you are giving your dog and to replace it with the pumpkin. Amounts range from 1/4 cup in smaller dogs to a full cup in larger dogs, generally once a day. I actually have one client who brings in a combination of organic plain yogurt, mixes it with some pumpkin and freezes it in a small ceramic bowel. She then allows her dog to eat it as he is getting his acupuncture treatment. It takes awhile to be consumed and lasts about the same amount of time an acupuncture treatment lasts ( 15 -20 minutes). It works very well and provides a great, healthy treat to give your dog as well!

Ask the Vet ?Cancer in our Pets

Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.


My cat “Chance” was recently diagnosed with cancer of the liver. He is 13 years old and has diabetes. I have been investigating the holistic ways to treat it because I do not want to do chemotherapy on my pet. I came across an article that said that Vitamin C was helpful. Can you discuss this, please?

Is Your Cat Sociopathic or Just Territorial A Case Study of Pepper

Written by Lee Arnold. Posted in Pet Health.

 I adopted Pepper from a shelter in 1992, just after I moved to Philadelphia.  I had cats growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, but never had the opportunity to have one as an adult, due to various rental agreements.  From 1992, to 1998 when I met my partner Neal, it was just us two.  I had had relationships during that time, but perhaps Pepper knew that they would not last and therefore didn’t pay much attention. Then I met Neal and after several weeks he began to notice a change in her behavior, saying one day, “You know she’s trying to kill me.”

I don’t want get ahead of the story.  Neal is a psychiatrist and I used to joke that he had previously diagnosed Pepper with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Oppositional Disorder; a charge he strenuously denies.  Since she had the propensity to throw-up if she ate too fast (usually while sitting on one of us), he did characterize her as bulimic.  But this was the first time any type of sociopathy was hinted.
Things started out just fine with Pepper until she figured out Neal wasn’t going anywhere.  First she would just glare at him. Then he said he would notice that while sleeping he’d be woken up with Pepper placing her paw firmly on his carotid artery.  At this point I need to mention that when I had gotten her from the pound, Pepper had only one tooth left (which had to be removed because it was infected), had been declawed by her previous owners, and weighed all of 8 pounds her entire life.  She was not physically intimidating.  She was a good, kind, kitty cat—totally non-violent--a saint really.  If fact she did Yoga with me every morning.
But Neal explained it to me further.  “I think she was upset because I was disrupting her domain and daily patterns.  I was the interloper in her mind.  It really made sense.  She was the focus of your life for so many years, and when I entered the picture things changed a bit.  You were still devoted to her, but your routine adjusted.  We obviously spent a lot of time together, traveled, etc.  Pepper was always well cared for, but things were different and in her mind I was the culprit.”  Even though Pepper’s brain was the size of a walnut, I conceded that he had a point.
Anyway, the good news was that they eventually made a truce.  She figured out she didn’t have enough upper arm strength to do any permanent damage to him and he acknowledged the important role she played in my life.  They actually got along quite well.
Unfortunately in the spring of 2001 Pepper’s health began to deteriorate.  I took her to her regular vet and then to two specialists.  But in the end she simply passed.  I was very distraught and Neal was too.  But I am heartened to know that they both really liked each other towards the end and that I gave her a good life for nine years.  Her ashes are in a pet cemetery in North Jersey.  
Every now and then I still ask Neal: “So, did you think she was sociopathic?”  He usually replies: “Well, let’s just say she had issues and leave it at that.”
Lee Arnold is a librarian, archivist and travel writer living in Philadelphia.  

Ask the Vet :Summer Heat

Written by Dr. Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

 Q:Can you give me some advice on the dangers of heat as it pertains to my pets. I have a dog and cat plus an 8 year old rabbit that we keep in a hutch outside. What can I do to keep them safe during the hot summer months? 

what the government is doing with regards to cat dewclaws

Written by Dr. Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

Q:    I have heard some varying information about what the government is doing with regards to cat dewclaws among other things. Can you elaborate on these topics, please? 

A:  From the latest information that I’ve read, the Santa Monica City Council in California voted to draft a new law that would restrict the process of declawing in cats. It appears that a similar ban is being sought out in San Francisco as well. The way the process goes, once an ordinance is drafted it goes to the city council where it has until December 31st, 2009 to take effect. Public hearings are allowed and required followed by yes or no votes by the second reading of the ordinance. There are numerous reasons why some people find it necessary to declaw their cats and personally I find the legislation appalling. It should be up to the owner of the cat and the veterinarian to determine the benefits or deterrents to such a procedure.

Toxic Foods for you Cat

Written by Dr.Rose DiLeva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

Q:     I just purchased a new kitty and want to know what foods are toxic to cats?

A:    There are a number of human foods that can be toxic to cats and cause anything from intestinal obstruction to gastrointestinal upsets and neurologic sign such as seizures. Since cats are carnivores it is best to purchase a pet cat food that is balanced and nutritious. In my opinion you should look for one of the first two ingredients listed to be of meat origin, i.e. chicken, beef, venison, duck, rabbit. This will ensure that your cat gets the meat protein that it requires.

No bones about it

Posted in Pet Health.

The idea that it’s natural for dogs to chew on bones is a popular one. However, it’s a dangerous practice and can cause serious injury to your pet.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

“Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them,” adds Stamper, who suggests taking the trash out right away or putting the bones up high and out of your dog’s reach until you have a chance to dispose of them. “And pay attention to where your dog’s nose is when you walk him around the neighborhood—steer him away from any objects lying in the grass.”

Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:

1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

“Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog,” says Stamper. “There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.”

“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page4, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.


Hazardous to Your Pet's Health

Written by Sherry Woodard. Posted in Pet Health.

Your pets rely on you to protect them from harm. In general, you should only feed your pets food and treats specially formulated for the type of pet that you have. Some human food and drink can make animals sick, so keep them out of your pets’ reach. Here are some examples:

The Scary Truth About Pet Foods

Written by Dr. Rose DiLeva, VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

What are we really feeding our Pets?

A:    The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar per ?year industry. More than 95% of United States companion animals derive their nutritional needs from a single source; that source is commercial pet food. The quality of pet food is extremely variable. There are literally hundreds of pet foods on the market and they range in quality of ingredients. Some contain grains and by-products, others contain human grade meats. This is where the importance of reading the pet food ingredients label comes into play. 

Cat Heart Disease

Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

Heart Conditions in cats

Q : My 15 year old Siamese cat has been diagnosed with a heart condition. The veterinarian called it cardiomyopathy. Could you explain what this is and if my cat can live with this kind of problem?

Canine Heart Health

Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

Q:     At my dog’s last visit to the veterinarian, he mentioned that he heard a heart murmur and that “James” may have the beginning of heart disease. James is a 12 year old boxer. Can you shed some light on the subject?


Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

The 1970’s were an exciting decade in medicine in the United States.  The introduction of acupuncture from the East opened up many avenues of healing. The public became more aware of alternative methods of healing, both for themselves and their pets.  Individuals that had a positive response to non-conventional treatment modalities, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, Chinese herbs or chiropractic adjustments, began to question whether these same treatments would be beneficial for their companion animals. 

Designers go Fur Free

Posted in Pet Health.

More and more retailers and designers are rejecting cruelty and potential consumer deception by adopting fur-free policies. Listed here are those who’ve announced that they don’t sell animal fur or are phasing in this policy. Be sure to check the current status of the companies listed above—in order to confirm that they are,  or  will be phasing in a fur-free policy. Some fur garments bearing the name of listed brands or designers who have recently gone fur-free may continue to be available in discount and overstock stores and on online auction sites.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

Q:   I’ve recently found out that acupuncture is practiced on pets. What pets exactly?

A:     Acupuncture is the placement of tiny needles into specific predetermined locations, called acupuncture points, on the body for the purposes of healing. The word “acupuncture” is derived from the Latin “acus”, which means “needle” and “pungare”, which means, “to pierce”.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Pet Health.

     How do I know if my dog or cat is experiencing any kind of pain? They are both getting older and “slowing down” but they never cry or whimper.

     First and foremost to understand about animals is that we have domesticated them. As such we can live with dogs and cats in our homes and generally coexist without issue. There is, however, a part of both dogs and cats that is an innate instinct for survival. I usually explain it to my clients by saying that we need to go back a million years or so when survival of the fittest in the forest was the norm. Back then, as now, in the wild, an animal is either a predator or the prey. When either of them became injured or weak, they became an easy target for a hungry predator. 


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Pet Health.

     My pet was just diagnosed with Lyme disease. He was put on antibiotics for a month. What else can I do to help him ?

     The current information on Lyme disease in dogs has been growing over the years. Certainly, more research needs to be done to fully understand the course and status of these pets after they have been treated. Of particular interest is the question of whether the pet is completely rid of the organism once treated. This is still up for debate, however, some studies have come to light. More practitioners now consider that a Lyme-positive dog may never be able to completely clear the infection.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

All companion animals should be provided with clean, fresh water every day (ideally filtered water or spring water). The water bowel is best if made out of stainless steel or ceramic since some dogs and cats do have allergies to bowls made of plastic and this can cause inflammation, irritation and lesions around the mouth and chin.

All pets should receive their food once or twice a day (my preference is twice a day) at approximately the same time. Free choice food left down all day is a NO NO. This allows the pet to pick throughout the day and eventually will lead to an overweight animal. It also interferes with the digestive process that begins in the mouth.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

      I prefer not to use any of the topical and toxic flea preventatives on the market. Do you know of any natural ways I can help prevent fleas from bothering my dogs and cat?


     A successful flea control program involves treating your pet, as well as, the environment. The adult female flea can lay as many as five hundred eggs a day. That can translate into tens of thousands of fleas by the end of the month. Under ideal conditions of temperature and humidity the flea can go through its four-stage life cycle which is egg, larva, pupa and adult within three to four weeks.


Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

      Reiki has long been practiced on humans as a form of energy medicine and energy healing. It originated in Japan with a Dr. Mikao  Usui. Many schools have developed since then but Dr. Usui is considered the founder. It was through Dr. Usui’s line that I became a Reiki Master in 2003. The term Reiki translates into “universal life energy.” Reiki is considered part of the range of holistic healing presently gathering acceptance into mainstream medicine, particularly energy medicine.  Since everything in the universe, us, plants, trees, animals, the oceans, all are made up of energy,  we are all connected. It is through this connection that Reiki is able to help a person or animal heal, not just on a physical level, but also, on an emotional, mental and spiritual level, as well.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

     How would my dog get heartworm disease?


     Heartworm disease is transmitted via infected mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected dog and takes a blood meal. It then takes in the immature form of the parasite. The parasite (Dirofilaria immitis) is incorporated into the mosquitos body and undergoes changes. The next time it bites a dog it passes on the parasite, which finishes it’s life cycle in the dog’s body, ultimately developing into an adult worm. The adult is very thin  and  lodges in the pulmonary artery and top right chamber of the heart (right atrium).


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

     I just purchased my first pet, a 10-week-old terrier mix. We are just introducing him to our Siamese cat. What can I do to keep them healthy in the winter weather?


     One of the greatest potential dangers to animals in the winter months is antifreeze (ethylene glycol). Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets. It has a sweet taste that is often what attracts dogs and cats to taste it. Consequently, even the small amount that may spill on the garage floor can be fatal. Be sure to clean up even the smallest amount.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

     After twenty years in veterinary medicine and almost as many years studying and practicing the holistic modalities involved, I have finally come upon an herbal based formula that appears to have significant fighting power against cancer in pets. Examples of what the world have considered break- throughs in modern medicine in the past were the discovery of penicillin, aspirin and morphine. All of these are botanicals that came from plants or, in the case of aspirin, the bark of a tree! No single botanical base has had more single uses than the common aspirin. We take it for the simple headache, yet, in certain circumstances, we are advised to take it to take it to avoid getting blood clots in particular medical conditions. Basically, botanicals are the basis of most of the pharmaceuticals that exist and have been synthesized in the conventional medical profession today.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

     I have heard that there are specific dietary recommendations for pets with cancer. Is this true? Also, are there any other supplements that can be used to help fight cancer?


    There are numerous options to consider when dealing with a pet that has been diagnosed with cancer. There are many different kinds of malignant cancer. Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is very aggressive and very painful. Squamous cell carcinoma is typically made up of a cell type called squamous cells. It tends to invade soft tissues such as the gums and mouth. It too is very aggressive and fast growing.


Written by Rose DiLeva VMD, MS, CVCP, CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.

     Could you give some advice on fleas and ticks and problems with skin issues in dogs and cats?


     After  twenty years of practicing veterinary medicine, I have seen many diseases vary in their incidence.  Twenty years ago the number of cancer cases was minimal. Today it is the number one killer of companion animals.  In my practice the most common cases I treat holistically are cancer followed by skin problems. Most of the skin cases have been to a number of conventional practices for the typical treatment of antibiotics and steroids.  Antibiotics and steroids have their place in veterinary medicine but it is my personal belief that they are overused and just mask the symptoms rather than treating the true underlying condition. 

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