Earlier research demonstrated that a big part of our emotions is influenced by the nerves in our gut. A newly discovered connection between the immune system, the brain, and social behavior furthers the association between the gut and mental health.
Lymphatic vessels (a ‘highway’ of vessels that are part of the immune system and serve as a connection between cells and blood) have been discovered in the brain. Previously it was thought there was no lymphatic system in the brain and, therefore, no physical connection between the immune system and the brain. Moreover, it has been discovered that this connection allows the immune system (much of which is in the gut) to influence social behavior.
This research may help in finding treatments for a variety of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, migraines, brain and spinal cord injuries, and even multiple sclerosis.
The relationship between the gut and the brain suggests we should pay more attention to gut health, including what we (and are pets) eat, the importance of pre- and probiotics, and avoidance of unnecessary antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals and environmental exposures that affect gut health. The impact of the gut on mental health also explains why people and pets with chronic gastrointestinal conditions may be more prone to mental health issues.
For more information on this topic, visit these links.
, News and Announcements
Research Shows Dogs Communicate with Each Other Through Tail Wags! Previous research demonstrated that a wag to the right is indicative of positive emotions, while a wag to the left shows negative emotions. This new research shows that a dog will recognize and respond differently to another dog that wags to the left compared with one who wags to the right. To learn more, go to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031124916.htm
Protection against the rabies virus is an important part of US public health policy. However, the vaccine is not without risks. The rabies vaccine is associated with a high rate of adverse reactions that can lead to substantial illness and even death in some of our pets. Because the risk of adverse reactions increases with each dose of rabies vaccine administered, the Rabies Challenge Fund is working to scientifically demonstrate that fewer life-time doses of the vaccine will provide at least equivalent protection compared with current immunization schedules. Fewer rabies doses over a pet’s lifetime will reduce the risk of adverse reactions and reduce costs to pet owners.
The Rabies Challenge Fund is a Charitable Trust whose goal is to extend the legally required interval for rabies boosters to 5 years and then to 7 years based on the results of rabies challenge studies being conducted at the University of Wisconsin. Two well-known and respected individuals are guiding this project – Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin.
This research is important because of the high potency of the rabies vaccine and its association with a number of serious adverse effects. These include damage to the nervous system, leading to muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of the nervous system control of tissue and organ function, lack of coordination, and weakness; a variety of autoimmune diseases (an autoimmune disease is an abnormal immune response causing the body to attack its own healthy tissue) such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia and autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; serious allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and tumors called fibrosarcomas at the injection site. Because most of these are delayed reactions occurring months or years after administration of the rabies vaccine and because these reactions can have multiple causes, their association with the rabies vaccine is often missed.
The Rabies Challenge Fund is a grassroots effort. They need your financial support to continue their important work. Visit http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/ to learn more about the Rabies Challenge Fund and click here to donate – every penny helps!
Max was a normal, healthy welsh terrier puppy, but as he approached 1 year of age his behavior become increasingly unpredictable, with bouts of aggression toward people and dogs. Max had extensive obedience training and was neutered, but his behavior continued to deteriorate. Traditional veterinary evaluation did not detect any medical issues. His thyroid levels were tested and reviewed by Dr. Jean Dodds (http://hemopet.org/) who found them to be normal. By age 4 the situation was untenable. The well known animal nutritionist Wendy Volhard (http://www.volhard.com/) was consulted. She suggested Max be transitioned from his commercial kibble diet to her homemade raw diet recipe (at that time her NDF and NDF2 products were not available – visit http://www.volharddognutrition.com/ for more info) and given supplemental B-vitamins. She also cautioned against additional vaccine administration. Within one month of making the dietary changes, Max’s behavior began to improve. Within six months the change was dramatic. He was no longer aggressive toward people and less aggressive toward other dogs.
Several years later, on advice of our veterinarian, Max was taken off the Volhard diet for about 20 days. The aggressive behavior returned and Max was placed back on the Volhard diet. Mad Max changed back to Mellow Max and continued to do well on the Volhard diet, living until he was almost 16 years old. (Case study provided by Mary Duafala firstname.lastname@example.org)
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