Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control?

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Scanning Electron Micrograph of a Flea Content...
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Diatomaceous Earth are the remains of diatoms prehistoric microscopic phytoplankton (single celled plants) that lived in the ocean millions of years ago. Large deposits of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can be found throughout the world and is mined for a variety of uses. The majority of DE is used to control insect pests, such as weevils, in stored grains, used for human consumption. The rest is processed and used in filters such as for swimming pools and processing beer. It is also used in toothpaste.

OK, so the stuff is relatively safe since the EPA has approved it for various insecticidal and food supplement uses, not to mention in toothpaste. However, it may not be the safest to breathe and it is recommended when using it a dust mask is worn; however the only incidents of cancer can be found in humans that are mining the stuff for over 20 years.

DE does kill insects. It has been proven to be effective in killing insects, by the USDA and other researchers. Supposedly since it is made up of very sharp silica it makes cuts in the exoskeletons (insects skeletons are on the outside of their body if you remember your biology) causing dehydration and dries the little buggers up.  Now this is where my logical mind says – how in the world can it cut up an exoskeleton and still be safe for human consumption. It does irritate the eyes and you shouldn’t inhale large quantities, but my brain says well heck if it can cut up a hard skeleton I shouldn’t breath any of it in! But regardless, it kills insects and it is safe for humans – WIN- WIN!

So how about for fleas? Fleas are insects. Look all over the internet you can find that it is recommended by many places that it will keep fleas under control (usually by the people and companies selling DE). So does it work?

I did some research and DE has to be dry to be effective. It works well – 100% kill of fleas in dry conditions. If DE gets wet, it is not effective – the research shows it is less than 20% effective when wet.  So what does this mean? It will not work outside in areas such as where I live, near Chicago, because of the dew in the mornings and the rain.  Now there is another problem with using it outdoors, the concentration needs to be higher than just a dusting.  Research from the Texas Department of Agriculture (Laboratory Evaluation of Diatomaceous Earth for Control of Cat Flea) showed that it was necessary to have a 2.5% concentration of DE to soil for it to have a 99.6% effective kill. So that means 2.5% of the soil needs to be diatomaceous earth for it to work effectively, a light dusting will not provide that type of concentration.

Practically – it is impossible to treat your yard in the Midwest for fleas using DE. In Arizona, it would work, if you use a large amount to make sure you have a high enough concentration in the soil.

So it seems that it will work on fleas and if used appropriately such as indoors and in your pet’s bedding, it can be an effective control. Possibly even on your dog, if you could get enough to stay on the skin and your dog doesn’t become wet.

Now on to horses – some say it is an effective control against internal parasites for horses. Hmmm – DE not very effective when wet so I am not sure how that is going to work when the insides of a horse are pretty wet. Off to do some more research.

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How often should my dog have a chiropractic treatment?

December 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

A very common question for me – How often should my dog have chiropractic  treatment? In fact @KempEquine asked the question via Twitter (@Dr_Dan_DVM) this morning. To which I answered with the great all encompassing cop out answer – it depends.

It depends on why you are doing chiropractic treatment for your dog. Chiropractic is a technique, a tool, to use to help correct biomechanical and neurological problems; however it is also an entire medical system used to help the body’s ability to heal and to stay healthy. A healthy spine will in fact help maintain a healthy body.

So do you have a dog with an injury or a physical problem and you are trying to resolve that problem? Do you have a dog that competes? Do you have a dog with a chronic physical condition? Do you have a normal dog with no problems but would like to maintain a healthy spine for your dog? In each of these cases and in each of the individual dogs in those cases would require different chiropractic treatment schedules. A treatment schedule needs to be individualized for the patient.

With that said I will give you some guidelines for some maintenance schedules –

Competition Dog – once a month to maintain flexibility and proper biomechanics to perform optimally and comfortably.

Chronic Physical condition such as arthritis – once a month to once every other month depending on how well the symptoms are alleviated by a treatment. Sometimes at the later stages of the condition may need to be treated more often such as once a week to once every 2 weeks to try and maintain the comfort of the dog.

A dog with a specific physical problem that you are trying to resolve – once  a week to once a month for  the first 3 times then extended out to a maintenance of once every 3 months or until the next  problem arises.

A normal dog – once a month to once every 3 months for maintenance of the health of the spine.

In general, if your dog has a spine, you should be having a chiropractic treatment once a month to once every three months and if the dog is showing symptoms of a physical problem then it will be more often on a case by case basis.

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Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy for your dog

October 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a viable alternative to drugs for the treatment of pain in dogs due to a variety of causes such as arthritis, surgery, inflammation, and wounds.  Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF affects pain perception in many different ways. It affects calcium ion movement, endorphin levels, acupuncture point stimulation, nerve regeneration, circulation, tissue oxygen, and even cellular metabolism. All these affects help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

How does it work? No one really has a definitive answer but there are some good theories and some good scientifically based research pointing to some very likely causes of the success of this treatment. One of the more prominent and most likely reasons for the reduction of pain and inflammation has to do with the calcium ion movement that an electrical field causes in the body. PEMF therapy causes a natural anti-inflammatory process to occur more rapidly. It binds Calcium and in a cascade of events produces Nitric Oxide (NO), a natural anti-inflammatory. NO then continues the natural healing process by reducing pain, improving blood flow, reducing swelling and helps in the production of a molecule called cGMP, a growth factor producer. This growth factor producer helps in the regeneration of blood vessels and tissue growth and remodeling.

portable PEMF

In the past the machines that produced the electromagnetic fields were large and very powerful. New research however has suggested that the fields do not have to be so large to produce great healing effects. Also with the advancement of technology now we can produce a good healing PEMF with a very small device powered by simple batteries. One of the devices available for dogs is made by the company ASSISI Animal Health. Assisi makes 2 types of units one for the veterinarian for use in the office and a portable PEMF unit for an owner to bring home and do treatments at home. Considering that treatments should be given for up to 15 min twice a day for 2 weeks or even longer for dogs suffering with arthritis, the portable units are an excellent choice. The cost is about $250 for a unit which gives 90 15 min treatments which is about $2.75 a treatment and should last about 6 weeks. For an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear and subsequent surgery this is perfect.

One of my clients is currently using them for her dog and the severe degeneration in its knee joints. The dog is doing very well with nutritional supplements and using the unit every other day for 15 minutes and no need for pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, so there is no risk of stomach ulcers or liver damage. PEMF is a great tool for veterinarians and dog owners in the treatment of pain. Check out Assisi if your dog is experiencing pain. they will send information to your veterinarian for you.

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