Archive for October, 2011

West Highland TerrierWhat’s the quality of your dog’s life?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably say its great. But is it really?

My dog, Willow, gets walked for at least two hours every day. She gets good meals delivered on time. She has a comfortable bed to sleep on, and I take her with me when I go out whenever possible. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? In fact, I think she’s really one of the most fortunate dogs around. And yet… sometimes I wonder.

Here’s why. Our dogs provide us with companionship, love and stimulation. If we walk them as we should they also get us out of the house and give us an opportunity to exercise. All good stuff, for sure, but there’s another aspect to the relationship, and its this: no matter how good our dogs have it, they are still our prisoners.

If we don’t walk them they don’t get out. Dogs have traded freedom for security, and it isn’t always a fair trade.

Today is a rainy day in Courtenay. We had a good walk in the park this morning, checked out the Salmon spawning in the river, sniffed the tracks where the bear walked through last night, said hello to her dog friends along the way. Right now, she’s curled up on the chair next to mine, sleeping while I work on the computer. She won’t get out again until I take her.

From a dog’s point of view, most of its time is down-time, waiting for its master to do something with it. This is exactly the life a convict leads, mostly just waiting until exercise period, except that dogs can’t read or pursue a hobby to keep their minds alive while they wait.

I’m not trying to pick on anybody here, and I’m not holding myself up as any kind of paragon. I don’t know what the answer is to the quality of life question, but I do think its important that we ask it of ourselves from time to time.

Ideally, our dogs would be partners, not just pets. Every dog would have a fulfilling job to do, one that challenged its mind and gave it lots of exercise. Unfortunately, except for a few working dogs, they are simply our pets and our prisoners.

I don’t know how to move from one state to the other, especially with all the restrictions that modern life places on us, but I can’t stop thinking about it either. What do you think about this? Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.

Lyme disease is a disease spread by ticks, specifically the deer tick. Until recently it was only found in the Atlantic states, but now is becoming prevalent across a much wider area. You owe it to yourself to be aware of what the lyme disease symptoms in humans are.

The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of infected ticks. The blacklegged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States, and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.

Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are much larger and may be more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult Ixodes ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the U.S. In 2009, it was the 5th most common Nationally Notifiable disease. In 2010, 94% of Lyme disease cases were reported from 12 states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The initial lyme disease symptoms in humans are flu-like – fatigue, achy muscles or joints, fever, chills, stiff neck, swollen glands, and a headache. The only unique symptom is a bulls-eye rash. Many doctors use this rash as the key symptom when diagnosing lyme’s disease. Unfortunately, the rash doesn’t always present in the same way and may not be present at all. When it is present, the first bulls-eye usually appears around the site of the tick bite. The rash usually appears between 3 and 30 days after the bite. It may spread across the body. The rash isn’t always present and may be hidden from view if the bite occurred on a hairy area of the body.

lyme disease symptoms in humans - rsahWhile there are tests available for lyme disease, most of them are unreliable and often give false positives. If you watch House MD, you know that treatment is often more reliable for diagnosis than testing, and this is true of lyme disease as well. There is one of the lyme disease symptoms in humans that is completely reliable: treatment with doxycycline. It is simple, cheap and effective. If a patient is suspected of having lmye’s disease start him on doxycycline. If he improves he has it. If you don’t get a positive result then its something else.

All of the common lyme disease symptoms in humans have to do with the acute stage of the disease, which doesn’t seem to be too serious. If the disease is left untreated it becomes chronic and that’s where the trouble really begins. Lyme disease interacts with other diseases or predispositions and amplifies them. It can attack any area or organ system in the body. It may act like a bacterial disease or an auto-immune disease. This is very serious because once the other diseases are activated knocking out the lyme disease spirochettes won’t stop the disease. Missing one of the lyme disease symptoms in humans and allowing the disease to enter this chronic stage may cause a life-long debilitation.

Web resources for lyme disease symptoms in humans


Preventing Tick Bites

While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.

Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin

  • Use repellents that contain 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on the exposed skin for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.
  • Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at Web Site Icon

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

Lyme disease seems to be becoming more common. More likely the medical establishment is simply becoming more aware of the disease and how serious the long term effects can be, so more cases are being diagnosed. The list of lyme disease symptoms in humans hasn’t changed and the tests haven’t gotten any better, so its likely that doctors are more on the lookout for lyme’s today. This is one of those diseases that is easier to prevent than to treat, especially in the later stages.

Ever since we got Willow I’ve been convinced that taking care of her was having good effects on my mental and physical health.  The article below gives some reasons why that may be so.

Five Powerful Reasons Why Owning a Pet Could Make Your Live Longer
by Gloria-Leigh Logan

You may have heard that pets have been scientifically proven to increase your chances of living to a ripe old age. Well the rumour is true, but how exactly is it possible you may be wondering.

Well, it is said that pets are able to penetrate our outer exterior and really connect with us on a deep level where humans are unable. When you look at the facts closely it is hard to argue with.

The first reason why owning a pet could make you live longer, is that they offer you unconditional love without you ever having to ask for it. In fact, this unconditional love is available to you at any given moment, twenty-four hours a day. Next time you are with your pet, take notice of its expressions and you will see that it is full of nothing but love for you.

The second reason is that you can be yourself around your pets. You do not need to put up facades or pretend to be someone that you are not. No matter what you do, you will always have the approval of your pets. Having the freedom to be yourself eliminates the stress that you may be subjecting yourself on a daily basis while out in the real world.

The third reason is that pets offer companionship. You can come home from work to an empty house and that is exactly how it will feel – empty. But with a pet there to greet you, you have a friend by your side as you kick off your shoes and settle in for a quiet night together.

The fourth reason is that they stimulate you physically, especially dogs. You know that if you don’t take them for a walk, then chances are they go without. So you get out in the fresh air, breath deeply and move those joints and muscles as you enjoy the scenery together. There is nothing like a brisk thirty minute walk to wake up your body.

And lastly they also give you the opportunity to share your love and affection. A pet demands this kind of attention and this helps you to connect with your own emotions on many levels. Doesn’t it just feel wonderful to show a pet how much you love them, and see the heartfelt appreciation in their eyes?

Yes, pets are wonderful for you on a mental, physical and emotional level. Taking this into consideration, if you don’t own a pet yet and you are keen to live as long as you can, you might want consider getting one real soon.

If you are looking for quality discount pet supplies online visit Gloria’s site
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Pretty good stuff, eh? But I’m convinced that there’s a lot more going on.

There are definite  health benefits to having a dog that go far beyond the simple ones of getting us fresh air and exercise. Interacting with animals has a calming effect and its just plain good for us. This is most pronounced with dogs and cats, but that may be simply because they are usually in our homes and therefore they are more a part of our lives. Whether the effects are psychic or we are sharing energy with the animals, I don’t know, but there’s something going on.

Some retirement homes have dogs that come to visit, or even live with the residents. Those that do always report significant mental and physical gains from having the dogs around. Residents with dementia are often calmed by physical contact with the dogs when nothing else works. Something about touching the dogs seems to drain the frenzy out of them.

Autism is another condition that responds well to contact with dogs. In fact, the same trainers that produce the guide dogs for the blind are training guide dogs for autistic children. For some reason these children hate to be interfered with or led by people, but they are quite happy to be led by a dog. The dogs energy doesn’t seem to be as intrusive as a person’s is. My theory is that this is because dogs are completely in the moment and honest. They have no hidden agenda and they don’t get impatient. They don’t lie. People, on the other hand, almost always have several different things going on at the same time. Even if they talk nice, underneath they are impatient. A dog, on the other hand, is simple. If he is going straight ahead its because he wants to get somewhere. There’s nothing hidden, nothing going on below the surface, so the autistic child simply follows.

There’s a lot that we don’t understand about the mind and body. I’m convinced that medicine will eventually incorporate the idea of energy exchanges. Until then, there’s no question that having a dog around can extend your life and improve the quality of whatever life you have now.

The United States House of Representatives has passed a wonderful bill called the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act.

The bill establishes a program where shelter dogs receive training from service members suffering from PTSD. The shelter dogs, once trained, will then go on to become service dogs for disabled veterans. It’s a win win situation for all involved.

“When more and more servicemen and women are returning from overseas with PTSD and other injuries, this bill will allow for our veterans to get the therapy and assistance they need and will give some worthy shelter dogs very good homes.” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. The ASPCA offers an Advocacy Brigade to help support humane legislation, such as this bill.

The Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act was introduced by Rep. Grimm of New York, who is also a veteran. The bill passed unanimously. To read a more about the bill and how you can get involved with humane legislation such as this, please visit the ASPCA website.

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