Can your pet become infected with the COVID 19 virus? The most recent consensus is this: pets do not appear to be easily infected with this virus. Is it possible for your pet to spread the virus to others? Here is the official statement from the AVMA:
Infectious disease experts including the CDC and OIE indicate that there is no evidence to suggest pets spread COVID 19 to people. Animal owners should continue to practice good hygiene during interactions with animals, this includes washing hands before and after handling pets, animal food, waste, and supplies.
My advice is to update your pet’s emergency kit – have two weeks of their food and meds ready that way if you become ill, it’s easy for someone to step in and be the one that cares for them. This would be beneficial to a person who is ill in general as rest is one of the primary things needed to recover from the virus.
Certainly, you have been thinking of your immune strength during this global pandemic, but what about the immune system that belongs to your furry, four-legged family members? How can you be sure their immune system is strong? While this is a bit of a loaded question, just like in humans, we are only as healthy as our intestinal microbiome (the bacteria in the gut). Here are a few tips for how you can be sure your pet’s gut flora remains healthy and balanced.
1. Probiotic: Since there are a multitude of products out there, I’ll make it easy by recommending this rule: If it isn’t kept in the refrigerator from the time it’s made until the time you give it to your pet, it may not be a good product. My preference for pets under 40# is Visbiome Vet, for pets over 40# I use the human version of this product. Publix pharmacy now carries the human version behind the pharmacy counter (or they will order it for you). Your vet’s online pharmacy likely has Visbiome Vet available – this is a way to shop locally!
2. Fermented foods: My favorite is raw goats milk by Answers Pet Food. Shop local using shop.muttsandmeows.com, they deliver for free in Nashville. The goats who provide the milk are pasture-raised and grass-fed. Adding raw goats milk to your pet’s regular diet provides digestive enzymes that help the good bacteria live happily in the gut. It’s a wonderful thing to freeze in ice cube trays with some blueberries or on a lick mat to entertain pets who may eat treats too quickly.
3. Prebiotic fibers: Beta-glucans from medicinal mushrooms is the way to go here. The benefits of adding these edible fungi (mushrooms) reach far beyond feeding the good bacteria in the gut. They also contain potent antioxidants to keep your pet’s cells healthy and help them have an appropriate response to stressors. This in turn results in a healthier pet with a long life that consists of fewer trips to the vet! As you can imagine, not all mushroom products are created equally. There’s only one brand I use with my pets and it’s Real Mushrooms. They grow the mushrooms on wood and only include the medicinal part of the plant. This is unfortunately not the case in many mushroom products.
It may not come as a surprise that it can be difficult to keep a pet healthy when they are eating a highly-processed diet. You can dip your toe in the water of adding whole foods to your pet’s diet with these antioxidant-rich foods: Blueberries and/ or leafy greens. Start with no more than 1 tsp of greens per 20 pounds of dog. Before making any of the changes mentioned, read this blog: https://nashvilleholisticvet.com/be-ready-for-the-runs-naturally/ so that you’re prepared for any intestinal upset. Stomach upset is somewhat normal when you add something new to a pet’s diet so I recommend being ready for this rather than the wait and see approach. And as always, it’s best to talk to a holistic or integrative vet about your pet’s energetic issues to see what foods will be best tolerated.
Dr. Neely North is a Nashville native who recently returned to the area and opened her practice, Nashville Holistic Veterinary Care. She attended UTCVM (The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine) and was trained in TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) at Chi University as well as at IVMI (integrative Veterinary medical Institute) for spinal manipulation (much like chiropractic care for your pets spinal health). She sees patients to help them add holistic options for their pets who already have regular veterinary care. Her services are to be used along with or in addition to traditional veterinary care. For example, if your pet has some aches and pains and you would like to try acupuncture and adjustments rather than traditional western drug therapy, this is a great option. Dr. North has been practicing with this integrative approach to pet health since 2013. To ask more questions please use the contact us tab on her website here.