First Line of Defense

By Ava Frick, DVM, FAIS

(Part 1 of a 2-part article)

Keeping a body healthy can be a challenge whether young or old or even in between. Stressors face your pet around every corner. Environmental chemicals and toxins in the foods, carpet, drywall, grass, asphalt, and even the air, are constantly picking away at the body’s ability to do its best.

Vaccines, while helpful to a degree, can further stress an already struggling immune system. Owners who are stressed further add to an animal’s stress. Yes, they can pick up on our emotions and mimic what is going on in their “aura” space. This too will suppress the ability to mount good immune responses.

Anything that drills the adrenals to get to work becomes a negative factor in optimal survival. Then, when the body is exposed to some potential “invader,” it is not able to get on top of the situation and illness sets in. You end up at the doctor’s office getting blood tests and medication in an effort to kill off the “invader” and hopefully bring your pet back to his former self. Unfortunately cancer also fits into this category and it is met with months to a lifetime of attention, or having to say good-bye.

Let’s look at the vast immune system. The primary or central focus is at the thymus and bone marrow. Secondary or peripheral support arises in lymph nodes, spleen, blood, and lymphatic tissue found in the gut, mammary glands, and lungs. There are the T-Cells that are categorized by their job as “Helpers, Suppressors, or Effectors.” B-Cells mount protective immunity known as IgM, IgG, and IgE (for atopy or topical allergy reactions). There are also macrophages and Killer Cells. Killer Cells are there to attack tumor cells, microbes, and viral infections.

With all of that going on how could we see so many infectious diseases? Maybe it is not going on as flawlessly as the body needs it to. Here are some reasons why. Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances as well as exposures to various chemicals, drugs and toxins present an ongoing immunological challenge, which can suppress immune function. Protein deficiency leads to premature atrophy of thymus and suppression of T-lymphocyte, Helper T-Cell function, and a decreased antibody production.

In testing results tabulated for 569 dogs I have found that 94% are deficient in calcium and zinc. These minerals are well established as being crucial to immune function. Without these very important minerals, multiple enzyme reactions struggle to take place and organs, such as the liver, cease to function optimally. This does not mean there is liver destruction. It simply means it can’t do all of its jobs properly and there are not tests for everything the liver is involved in doing.

Our goal then will be to reduce stress in our pet’s lives and to maximize the availability and assimilation of nutrition so that he can have an ample supply of exactly what the immune system needs when the challenge arises. Next month I will outline a plan that you can use to do exactly that!

For more information please contact Dr. Ava Frick at 636-549-9100 or visit online at www.AnimalRehabStLouis.com.