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eterinary Medicine
 

Are Pets Headed for Extinction?
During more than thirty-five years in practice, I have treated tens of thousands of dogs and cats with these kinds of problems. Many years ago, I was fortunate to discover a common underlying mechanism for multiple illnesses of pets that involves certain imbalances within the endocrine and immune systems of the body.

Endocrine refers to the system of glands that produces hormones, molecules that serve as messengers in an amazing network of inner intelligence that regulates the function of the body. Health and orderliness are based on this inner intelligence. There are myriad hormones made in the body, many of which scientists still don't clearly understand. These substances are secreted by glands - such as the adrenals, ovaries, and thyroid - that are overseen by higher centers in the brain. The problem I have identified starts with hormonal imbalances that affect the immune system, a network of cells and organs that defends the body against bacteria, viruses, and disease.

I have seen these imbalances many times, creating so much bad health that I seriously fear for the survival of our cherished pets. One thing is for sure: if this epidemic continues to grow, basic health care costs of pets may become so prohibitive that many people will not be able to afford pets at all.

The physical starting point of the problem I have identified is a defect in the adrenal glands, important hubs of hormone production. The defect creates a damaging domino effect among other hormones that weakens the immune system. The end result is a major loss of protection against disease and a greatly increased risk for disease.

I became alarmed and concerned early on in my veterinary practice more than thirty years ago. As more clients brought inexplicably sick animals into my clinic, I became dissatisfied with just treating the superficial signs. Moreover, the conventional treatments I was trained to do were having little impact on animals seemingly more susceptible to disease and allergies and who were living shorter and sicker lives.

I saw dogs dying at six or eight years instead of twelve or fourteen. They developed bizarre autoimmune diseases pitting them in a life-and-death struggle not just against bacteria and viruses but against the very food they ate. I saw cats with confounding combinations of inflammatory bowel disease, failing kidneys, and urinary tract disorders.

My medical school training did not prepare me to deal with this inundation of ill health. So I had to learn on my own. Over time I learned that many of the problems I saw had an apparent common denominator of skewed hormones and compromised immune system. Some animals with this endocrine-immune disturbance would develop clinical signs of disease early on in life. Others would develop disease later. I liken this disturbance to a timebomb. Some animals have long fuses. Others short fuses. Sometimes the disturbance manifests dramatically in acute illness. Other times, the endocrine-immune disturbance slowly unravels an apparently healthy and orderly system, infecting the system with increasing chaos like a computer virus. In the process, animals are often unable to absorb medication and respond to conventional treatments. Until the imbalances are corrected, the treatments may not work.

Sometimes stress, poor diet, exposure to toxic chemicals, and parasites such as fleas can aggravate, or even cause, the imbalances. My clinical studies indicate, however, that animals are more likely to react to these factors simply because their immune systems are compromised by hormonal imbalances. For instance, the scratching itching and skin problems typically associated with fleas are usually secondary to hormonal-immune imbalances. Correct the imbalances and the animal becomes healthy. The fleas go elsewhere and target other weak animals.

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