PET HEALTH: The Problem: Declining hormone levels

Natural Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (NHRT), or more precisely, bioidentical hormone therapy, is one our most frequently requested programs. We offer you a level of expertise and scope of practice unrivaled anywhere else in Northern California.

It is well known that the aging process results in lower digestive enzyme efficiency and failing hormonal vigor. This is the basis of menopause in women and the less appreciated but no less profound process of andropause in men.

We see noticeable declines start between age 47 and 52 in women and about 55 to 60 in men. But you may see changes even sooner with profound effects on mood, thinking, performance, motivation, decision-making and sexual fulfillment.

Our goal at the Institute is to restore these waning levels to more nearly approximate the levels and more youthful ratios to achieve the balance you experienced in your mid-thirties. That is why Suzanne Somers new book, The Sexy Years, has become such a best seller, speaking for millions of men and women.

This is how we can offer you the Super-Hormone Rejuvenation promise:

·         More youthful vigor

·         Optimum energy levels

·         Rejuvenated skin appearance and elasticity

·         Enhanced libido and sexual performance.


Why Natural or Bioidentical Hormones?

In saying Natural, we mean that the hormones prescribed and used in our practice are identical to the native sex steroids that your body produces. Thus, the newer term, bioidentical hormones. These are not foreign. Although they may be synthesized in the lab they approximate the normal actions of your own internal hormonal levels.

Women may be used to Premarin, which, incidentally, is an acronym for Pregnant Mares Urine — pregnant horse urine. Not very appealing is it?

And the second most commonly prescribed drug is Provera: MedroxyProgesterone Acetate. Full of well known and undesirable side effects, it is a progestin, not a true bioidentical progesterone. 

We use a compounded form of two plant-based, bioidentical estrogens (called BiEst) that your body is lacking: Estradiol (E2) and Estriol (E3).  We then balance that off with Natural Bioidentical Progesterone.  The balance and dosing is critical -- and all too frequently overlooked in conventional medicine.

Men also have special needs. Men need, and are prescribed, DHEA for its cardioprotective, anti-aging and cancer protective effects. We suggest various forms of testosterone replacement frequently for it strengthening and revitalizing effects.  Testosterone creme or gel, in safe doses, is being widely recognized for an increasing list of medical conditions including the "dwindling" effects of the andropausal state.  This is being popularized as "the testosterone syndrome."

But the most potent and promising hormone of all is recombinant human growth hormone ( hGH), which can be used to replace failing levels. This results in remarkably enhanced sense of well-being, enhanced libido and sexual performance, increased skeletal and cardiac muscle mass, and improved skin elasticity and appearance.

This is our most powerful and advanced program.

Ask us if you qualify for this new and exciting modality.


Solution: Balanced Therapy

The natural bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy (NHRT or BHRT) program here at the Institute is based on the notion that none of these individual hormones exist in isolation. Rejuvenation involves the carefully balanced replacement of multiple hormone levels.

Our real expertise is providing a total replacement program based on sophisticated free  and total (protein bound) blood steroid hormone levels that allow us to accurately see the total cascade from cholesterol to Progesterone, DHEA, cortisol, three estrogens and testosterone. When combined with thyroid, glucose, insulin and growth hormone measurements, we can derive a comprehensive picture of your present imbalance.

This may require a few months, but the results are really quite amazing. You will feel better, have more energy and virtually without any of the side effects of the more proprietary and "standard" hormones.

It's Your Choice

Key Questions

Before adopting or purchasing any pet, talk to all family members, discuss expectations and responsibilities, and take a realistic look at your family's lifestyle. Ask yourselves these key questions before leaping into pet ownership:

·         How much care will the pet require?

·         What role will each family member play in the pet's care? Who will feed the pet, groom and bathe it, clean its living space, and walk it, if need be?

·         What kind of medical care will the pet need?

·         How big will the pet grow to be?

·         Do you have enough space in your home for the pet to live and exercise? If you're thinking about getting a dog, do you have a yard, preferably a fenced one? (Cats, birds, rabbits, and other small animals can generally adapt to any space, but dogs need lots of room to run and jump.)

·         Do you have another pet? How do you think it will get along with a new pet?

·         Who will care for the pet when you're away? (e.g., what will you do with the pet if you work long hours and the kids stay after school for soccer practice? What if your family travels a lot?)

·         Does anyone in your family have a history of allergies or asthma? If so, talk to your doctor about the possibility of pet allergy tests to see whether anyone might be allergic to certain animals.

Are Some Pets Dangerous?

Although the animals your child sees in the woods or parks may be cute to look at, they can be dangerous as pets — they aren't used to being around people and may carry diseases that can be transmitted to your child. People mistakenly believe they can tame a wild animal. Instead, you should teach kids to stay away from animals in the wild, and never to touch, feed, or try to take an animal home.

And just because you can buy a pet from the pet store doesn't mean it's safe for homes with kids. Animals that may not be child-safe include:

·         reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards, iguanas)

·         rodents (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, mice, rats)

·         amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders)

·         ferrets

·         baby poultry (chicks, ducklings, goslings, turkeys)

·         monkeys

·         exotic animals

Reptiles transmit salmonella, a kind of bacteria, through their feces. The salmonella bacteria are transmitted through direct contact with reptiles or by touching surfaces and people who have had contact with reptiles. Pet reptiles are an especially bad idea if anyone in your house, such as infants and elderly people, faces greater health risks from a salmonella infection.

Dogs and cats can also spread infections. For example, pets that are often outdoors easily pick up ticks, which can carry diseases such as Lyme disease. This shouldn't stop you from owning a dog or cat, though. Using effective preventative tick treatments and collars can help decrease the number of ticks that find your pet. If you live in a wooded area, check your pets regularly for ticks.

Pay attention to which dogs aren't recommended for first-time owners. For example, some larger breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers, Dalmatians, and Great Danes, may not be kid-safe because they can grow to be more than 50 pounds. Also, bites from very large dogs can do a lot more damage than those from smaller dogs. And, of course, avoid choosing a dog that's been specifically bred to be an aggressive fighter (such as some Pit Bulls or Rottweilers).

BackContinue Do Your Research

Common domesticated animals that can make good family pets include cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and fish. But be careful about labeling a certain animal or breed as unquestionably safe. There are exceptions to every rule, and any animal may scratch or bite if put in a dangerous situation.

Before choosing any kind of animal for your family, learn as much as you can about your pet-to-be:

·         Read pet guides explaining the various personalities, tendencies, and backgrounds of specific breeds in detail. For example, some dog breeds (such as certain terriers or Chihuahuas) are known for their feistiness and are considered less tolerant of kids — especially if they aren't raised with kids from puppyhood. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, have excellent reputations as family-friendly dogs. Also look around for guides (at your local bookstore, on the Internet, or at animal shelters) about taking care of different kinds of pets. If you're interested in rabbits, the House Rabbit Society is an excellent resource and offers printed materials on rabbits and rabbit care.

·         Set up a consultation visit with a veterinarian to talk about what you're looking for in a pet and to ask questions.

·         If you're thinking about buying a dog from a pet store, first ask where they get their dogs and puppies. Some pet stores purchase dogs from "puppy mills," where they may be poorly bred and, therefore, may have physical and/or behavioral problems. It's often better to buy a dog from a private breeder or adopt one from an animal shelter.

·         Ask neighbors and friends about their experiences with various kinds of pets.

Taking Your Pet Home

These tips will keep kids safe and help both your family and your new pet adjust:

·         Take your pet for a checkup as soon as possible. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a breeder, shelter, or pet store should allow you to have an animal examined and returned within an agreed-upon time if it's unhealthy. Read the fine print on any pet-purchase contracts to make sure.

·         Teach kids how to handle and pick up pets — to never squeeze them too tight, drop them, fall on them, or pick them up too fast.

·         Teach kids never to tease animals or pull their tails or ears.

·         Teach kids never to bother animals while they're eating, sleeping, or tending to their young.

·         Teach kids never to take a toy or bone away from a dog.

·         Teach kids never to pet or try to play with an animal they don't know, even if it's someone's family pet.

·         Closely supervise pets and kids. Never leave an infant or toddler alone with a pet.

·         Don't put pets into scary situations. For example, if you know your cat gets nervous around too many people, then put the kitty in another room during parties.

·         Teach kids to wash their hands with soap and water after handling pets.

·         Don't keep undomesticated animals as house pets.

Pet ownership offers many benefits, and doing a little research before taking the plunge helps ensure that your new pet will be a welcome addition to the family.

When pet owners are asked what they dread most about the summer months, the topic that invariably comes up most is fleas!!

Fleas on dogs and cats! These small dark brown insects prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85%... so for some areas of the country they are more than just a “summer” problem. Dogs and cats often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The strong back legs of this insect enable it to jump from host to host or from the environment onto the host. (Fleas do not have wings so cannot fly!) The flea’s bite can cause itching for the host but for a sensitive or flea-allergic animal, this itching can be quite severe and leads to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Some pets, hypersensitive to the flea's saliva, will itch all over from the bite of even a single flea! The flea information presented here will focus on treatment for and prevention of fleas, which, let’s face it, is just as important to the pet as it is to the pet's caretakers!

How do you know if fleas are causing all that itching (called pruritus)? Generally, unlike the burrowing, microscopic (Demodex) or (Scabies Mites,) fleas can be seen scurrying along the surface of the skin. Dark copper colored and about the size of the head of a pin, fleas dislike light so looking for them within furry areas and on the pet's belly and inner thighs will provide your best chances of spotting them. Look for "flea dirt", too. "Flea dirt" looks like dark specks of pepper scattered on the skin surface. See the image of flea dirt near the bottom-right of this article. If you see flea dirt, which is actually flea feces and is composed of digested blood, pick some off the pet and place on a wet paper towel. If after a few minutes the tiny specks spread out like a small blood stain... it's definitely flea dirt and your pet has fleas! Flea dirt may be your only evidence of a flea infestation but believe the evidence! If there is flea dirt there are surely fleas present. You need to begin your war on the pests.

Almost daily every animal hospital receives a call about canine eye problems; and the diversity of concern expressed by the dog’s caretaker runs a wide spectrum. There are times when veterinarians will check a frantic and anxious client’s dog only to discover an insignificant soreness in the dog’s supporting tissues around the eye (called conjunctiva). The very next “eye case” may be an advanced corneal ulcer that has allowed internal contents of the eye to actually protrude through the corneal surface! And that client might calmly state, “It’s been like that for two weeks but we though it would clear up”.

Fortunately in most veterinary practices the entire staff has been directed to prioritize all calls that express concern about a potential ocular difficulty. The reason for expediting the evaluation of any case relating to eye difficulties is that there is no way for verbal description to convey the true nature or severity of the problem. Seemingly innocent conditions can fool you… and result in an ocular emergency rather rapidly. These cases simply must be seen right away.

Let’s take the “squinting dog” as an example. Surely any dog might develop a mild irritation in an eye and squint for a few moments, and extra tear production would be expected, too. But without direct examination of the eye and attendant structures, no one (not even a Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology) would know if the squinting is due to a tiny scratch on the cornea, a cinder hiding beneath the third eyelid or a penetrating wound from a carelessly aimed BB gun! And one of the very first signs of systemic diseases such as Blastomycosis or cancer could be an innocent looking squint.

I asked a Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology, Deborah S. Friedman, D.V.M., of Animal Eye Care, in Fremont, California what the most common eye condition might be that could potentially fool the dog’s caretaker into delaying an eye exam. Her reply was… “Glaucoma comes immediately to mind. In many cases owners delay treatment of glaucoma until it is far too late. If the intraocular pressure in the eye is elevated for more than 24-48 hours, permanent damage is the usual outcome and this usually means blindness and sometimes loss of the eye. Signs of glaucoma can be very subtle at first and could include a dilated pupil that responds poorly or not at all to light, a cloudy cornea, a red appearance to the eye, and poor vision. Glaucoma can be dangerous because many of the signs of glaucoma are similar to simple conjunctivitis.”

A good general rule for all dog owners to follow is to have any eye or adjacent tissue dysfunction evaluated by a veterinarian without delay. As Friedman states “In my opinion, any injury to the eye (from cat fight, thorn, foxtail, BB gun, caustic substance etc.) should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian immediately (within 12 hours if possible). With eye injuries, the sooner the specific problems are identified and treated the better the chance of saving eye function”.

During routine physical exams internal disorders are often first recognized by subtle changes in the normal appearance of eye structures. A yellowish appearance of the normally white sclera, undetected by the pet ‘s caretaker, signals to the veterinarian that there is likely to be a liver or red blood cell dysfunction. And a faint haziness in the normally transparent cornea can prompt the need to evaluate liver or pancreas function. Tumors of any of the eye structures can occur and need to be addressed at the earliest possible time in their development.

If you are about to acquire a new pup be sure to become informed about common eye disorders for the breed of interest. For example, Friedman states “Cocker Spaniels frequently develop dry eye (see photo: Dry Eye) and glaucoma. Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Boston Terriers among other breeds often develop cataracts (see photo: Cataracts). If a potential owner is aware that the breed they are interested in has inherited eye problems the buyer can educate themselves about what to look for.” The more you know about your preferred breed the better your chances of obtaining a healthy dog. One commonly seen condition in pups, called entropion, is readily seen upon close inspection. This rolling inward of an eyelid will surely require surgery to eliminate the corrosive action of the lid hairs on the cornea; and potentially the condition could be passed on to any future offspring.

Patricia J. Smith, MS, D.V.M., Ph. D., Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and a colleague of Dr. Friedman at Animal Eye Care lists some common ocular problems in puppies. Become familiar with these disorders and be prepared to closely scrutinize any new pup for signs of these common difficulties:

Common Ocular Disorders In Puppies

1.Entropion… inward folding of an eyelid where lid hairs contact the cornea (Shar Pei, Cocker Spaniel, Rottweiler, Labrador Retriever, etc.)
2. Cherry Eye… prolapsed gland of the third eyelid. (Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, etc.) (See photo: Cherry Eye)
3. Ectopic Cilia… an abnormal eyelash that grows through the conjunctiva and is usually very painful and almost always causes an ulcer. (See Photo: Corneal Ulcer)
4. Distichiasis… abnormal position of eyelashes on a lid margin that result in irritation of the eye.
5. Dermoid…congenital defect where haired skin is located in an abnormal place on an eye and will often irritate the cornea and can cause ulcers.
6. Cataracts… opacity of the lens. Inherited cataracts can often appear in young dogs, in most cases a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist will have to make this diagnosis; owners are often
unaware of small focal cataracts. There are also late onset cataracts that may not show up until middle or older age.
7. Follicular Conjunctivitis… itchy, reddened conjunctival tissues, tearing, squinting, often related to allergies.
8. Puppy Pyoderma or Puppy Strangles… eyelid abscesses associated with generalized skin pustules.
9. Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS)… lack of or inadequate production of tears. Sometimes this can be congenital in which case it is often very serious. Pug, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu are some of the breeds that may be born with dry eyes.


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