The Importance of Healthy Immune System

By Dr Jeannie Thomason

Just as the world is filled with disease-causing organisms, God filled the body with defenses to resist them.  In fact, no matter what your pet is confronted with, his/her body has been well-designed to fight back. Studies have shown, for example, that cats that have suffered serious nerve injuries can recover complete muscle function. When pets take medications (or eat poisons), the liver will produce extra enzymes to help detoxify them. Even something as minor as a pulled muscle is quickly addressed with an increase in blood flow, which brings additional oxygen and nutrients and carries off wastes. The main reason a pet gets sick, is that something is interfering with or suppressing the body's God given natural healing powers.

The key to self-healing is a strong defense or immune system, which protects dogs, cats, horses (and of course ourselves) from everything from flu germs to cancer cells. A weak immune system plays a key role in causing disease. Antibiotics are given to fight infection and kill the bacteria taking over the system, but they don't affect whatever weakened the immune system in the first place. We need to focus a little less on the things that cause diseases and a lot more on those that affect the body's natural defenses.

The Immune System
The immune system is actually a network of glands, nodes, and organs that work to protect the body from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other harmful organisms. The immune system requires a constant supply of energy and nutrients to maintain optimum function and performance. Toxins in the environment, poor diet, lack of or excessive exercise, and any stress can all adversely effect the function of the immune system and can cause a decline in its’ proper activity. Without the immune system functioning at optimum levels, the body becomes subject to illness, infections and health problems.

When the immune system is functioning properly or as this natural, built in energy is flowing freely, our pets and ourselves have an awesome ability to resist disease. But when the immune system's energy is blocked or unbalanced due to such things as poor nutrition, stress or injuries, our pets become vulnerable to illness.Once they get sick, the energy becomes even more unbalanced, making it much harder for them to recover.

Everything dogs, cats and horses experience, from the quality of afternoon sunlight to an upsetting afternoon, can actually affect their immune balance. In particular, things such as diet, stress and exercise, play the biggest roles in determining whether pets get sick or stay healthy even when exposed to a dis-ease.

Nutritional Risks

I was taught to look at it this way: Just as the wrong fuel causes our car engines to knock and ping, so, certain diets make the body more vulnerable to problems. Most pets today are fed commercial foods (kibble or canned), which if you will investigate and read labels you will find are made of poor quality, over cooked ingredients and loaded with artificial dyes, preservatives, and additives. How soon we forget that dogs and cats have spent thousands of years eating 'wild', natural foods in a raw or natural form, and this is what God designed their bodies for. It has only been in the last several decades that we have exposed them to over-cooked, commercially prepared, non species appropriate foods, as well as the chemicals these foods contain (chemicals that their bodies simply aren't meant to handle). In addition, just the artificial ingredients alone can trigger an immune response that can, quite literally, make pets sick.

The immune system is designed to attack foreign invaders while ignoring 'normal' molecules, such as those found in fresh, raw meat and bones. The chemicals in foods today certainly aren't natural. If the immune system perceives them as threats, it will mount a defense. A meal of dry kibble can unleash a flood of basophils and other immune-system cells, which in turn, release chemicals such as histamine. Unfortunately, these chemicals aren't entirely benign and in some cases, they can trigger a rash of itching, vomiting or diarrhea. Sound familiar?

Diet affects the immune system in other ways as well. Among the most important components of immunity are antibodies. Antibodies are nothing more than specialized germ-fighting proteins. The only time your pet can make enough antibodies is when he/she is healthy and well-fed.

In addition, for some reason, we have been lead to believe that the dog's and cat's digestive tracts have evolved to digest and process certain kinds of foods such as vegetables and grains. This is quite simply, NOT true! Our lovely little companions are still carnivores through and through. Grains, most vegetables, extra ingredients such as food additives and preservatives put a strain on the whole body as it works to attempt to break them down. It is especially hard on the pancreas, kidneys and liver.

I believe that diet - more specifically a diet consisting of highly processed foods (such as kibble)of questionable nutritional quality - is one of two main reason pets get sick. This is why I believe if one desires their pet to be healthy it WILL involve changes in diet! the second reason our pets are so sick today is toxic overload from over vaccinating and the use of toxic chemical laden flea and tick medications and wormers.

Articles and audio webinars on the dangers of vaccines can be found HERE

The immune system is truly too complex to go into much more detail at this time however, it is vitally important to know and remember that it is designed to defend your pet against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that would love to invade their body at anytime! All of these open the door wide to a variety of diseases that will prey on your pet's health including, but not limited to, diabetes, cancer, leukemia, toxic conditions, tumors, neurological conditions, allergies, kidney problems, infectious diseases, respiratory illness, kennel cough, mange and more.

How Can I Boost My Pet's Immune System?

As mentioned above, a raw, nutrient and enzyme dense diet if extremely important.

The use of nutritional supplements to boost the immune system, especially in times of illness is very important for any sick pet. While supplements can be used to support the immune system during any illness, I am most often asked to recommend something for pets with the following problems:

any infectious disease (especially feline respiratory disease
canine kennel cough
distemper
mange
cancer; and any condition in older pets that just "aren't acting quite right."  Below are a few of the more commonly used immune-boosting supplements: .

Antioxidants are among the most commonly used supplements given to help pets with a variety of medical disorders. Antioxidants are specific vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin E), plant and animal compounds (bioflavonoids such as grape seed extract, quercetin, coenzyme Q-10, ginkgo biloba) that are responsible for maintaining health. Technically, antioxidents do not actually boost the immune system (although proanthocyanidins appear to potentiate the immune system via enhancement of T-lymphocyte activity and modulation of neutrophil and macrophage responses) but rather clean up and cleanse the body of by- products of cell damage (oxidizing chemicals.)

Antioxidants also decrease various chemicals (histamine, interleukin, tumor necrosis factor) that cause cell damage. Because antioxidants minimize damage to cells, they are useful whenever disease is present and immune support is needed.

Glyconutrients/Saccharides & Antioxidents
NingXia Red Juice for it's incredably high antioxident, glyconutients and saccharide contents.

NingXia Red juice on the ORAC scale, which measures the anti-oxidant qualities is very high ....... 1500 as compared to

Xango juice at 550,
Tahitian Noni at 500,
Himalayan Goji juice at 400, and
Limu Juice at 87.

Click HERE for more information on NingXia Red and Pets.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida) is the most commonly known herbal immune stimulant, which also functions as an antimicrobial (antiviral and antibacterial) herb. There are a number of classes of pharmocologically active chemicals in echinacea, including polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid, essential oils, alkylamides, and polyacetylenes. Currently, to prevent long term immune system problems, it is recommend ot only use echinacea for a short period of time (3-4 weeks) followed by a resting period (3-4 weeks) before the herb is resumed.

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant/Flavonoid found in numerous plants which has proven to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that support the liver and build the immune system. Quercetin is available in a formula called Quercenol Again, as with any herb or medicine it should not used forever, only for a short period of time followed by a resting period. If you treating your pet for symptoms that you do not know the root cause of, you should seek a consultation with a veterinary naturopath or true holistic veterinarian to seek the root cause of the symptoms going on with your pet.

Purine pyrimidine complexes are the active fractions found in Colostrum, the first milk produced by mammals. Colostrum contains cytokines and other protein compounds that can act as biological response modifiers. Research supports its use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis as well as other autoimmune conditions. Nucleotides also may play an important role in essential fatty acid metabolism, and may have a positive effect on the functions of the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Nucleotides are usually given to pets in the form of Colostrum

Boosting your pet's immune system, and keeping it in tip-top shape naturally with a proper raw diet, exercise and fresh air, are some of the best gifts you can give your beloved pet!


*A consultation is highly recommended before any preventative program or treatment is started. A consultation includes a personalized diet and holistic program suggestions that are custom-tailored to your own dog's individual and personal needs. While I continue to provide educational articles and information for you here, most of these are general in nature. Therefore, I encourage you talk to a true "Holistic" Veterinarian" and/or set up an appointment with me to tailor a program specifically for your pet's needs. This is particularly imperative in pets that are aging or with complicated health issues, or if you've done a lot of outside reading and have conflicting information.

*DISCLAIMER

The purpose and general goal of the veterinary naturopathic consultation offered by Jeannie Thomason, VND is to educate the client about their animals body systems in relation to function and ability pertaining to maintenance of overall homeostasis (balance) through the removal of various, and typically specific, obstacles to their health, this thereby encouraging their body?s own natural healing processes. Jeannie Thomason, VND does not function as a traditional allopathic veterinarian by diagnosing disease, treating disease, or performing invasive procedures, nor do her services replace that of a traditional licensed allopathic veterinarian.

The information offered by Jeannie Thomason, VND is intended to provide general guidance. Nothing on the web site or during a regular consultation constitutes traditional allopathic veterinary advice. Always consult with a licensed veterinarian before undertaking any course of ?treatment? for your animal or changing treatments or medications your own veterinarian has already prescribed. This consultation will hopefully suggest additional options to think about, and other areas to explore, based on your dog's condition.

This article is the sole property of Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.





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