Category Archives: Vet’s Corner

Springtime Strategies for Immunity for our Canine Friends

Posted by Victoria Farthing, DVM, CVA, CVH, Animal Wellness Center at Concord Farm
[Editors note: We recommend, if you're considering any supplements, to seek the guidance of your wholistic practitioner so as to avoid unnecessary or over supplementation. Do your homework and contact the manufacturer - be sure that all the ingredients are clean and safe sourced and that what is listed on that label is actually what's in the bottle.]

Spring is the time for new beginnings as the energy of winter and hibernation enters into a time of awakening and growth. Many dogs choose this time of year to shed their old coat, start losing the winter weight and become more active. Unfortunately the frequent weather changes can do a number on their mobility- the rain, cold, warmth, storms, snow, rain, sun alternating can make it difficult for a dog with musculoskeletal problems to adjust to the changing temperatures and conditions. This is a great time for acupuncture to help with the transition as well as nutritional supplements to nourish the joints and reduce any “creakiness”.

Also watch the urinary tract as the weather transitions can encourage “holding the urine” and resultant infections. A random urine sample submitted to the vet can be a really smart idea this time of year.

As the energy changes it is also a great time to check the diet, making sure your favorite dog is on a really great food with lots of real ingredients, with a known source, no by-products or chemicals to interrupt the metabolism or encourage allergies- because spring is also the time for allergies and sensitivities. Foods with limited ingredients can be real helpful in eliminating those reactions, especially since pollen is difficult to actually control. if environmental allergens are a problem then exposure can be controlled by reducing the time outside in the middle of the day, saving outdoor time to early morning and late evening.

Many people choose this time of year for a “cleansing” or detox and the same can be done for your pet. This could include having a stool sample and combo heartworm/tick disease blood test checked at your vet to get them started on the right foot. In my opinion it is always a good idea for our animal friends to take probiotics and enzymes to help them digest their foods properly and to inoculate their gut ( a central immune organ) with healthy bacteria which help protect them from toxins of all kinds. Another great supplement is “tripe” which can be bought canned or frozen. An awesome source of enzymes, it smells terrible but dogs love it! And as our dog friends begin to shed their winter selves, it is important for concentrated nutrition to help them regrow a healthy new coat. An assessment of their deficiencies by your vet can help you choose the right supplements.

Learning a new activity, taking a new kind of class can be a fun thing which brings renewed vitality for the spring season. Watch the rewards though, by giving small amounts of super treats that are REAL food.

Spring is also the time to get your flea and tick strategy lined up, whatever that means to you. Every dog and environment are different so this is purely individual. However, there are lots of new (and ancient) methods available so choose wisely for your circumstances and lifestyle and haircoat. One piece of advice is to start with the least toxic options first, you can always call on the big guns if you need them:)

The most important advice is to listen to your pet, let them teach you how to enjoy each day and each moment for what a miracle it is. Enjoy the Spring!!!

Victoria Farthing DVM CVA CVH
Animal Wellness Center @ Concord Farm
Stafford, Virginia
540-752-5835

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