Myths about Your Pet's Immune System
You're probably somewhat aware of your own immune system with all the commercials about foods and drinks that boost immunity. But did you ever stop to think about your pet's immune system? Your pet's immune system is just as important to its health as your immune system is to yours. But before you start sprinkling Vitamin C in your pet's food, there are a few myths that need dispelling.
Myth: Outside pets are used to the cold and won't get sick from it.
It isn't the cold directly that causes illness, but rather how the cold weakens the immune system and makes pets more vulnerable to infection. Any pet that spends the majority of its everyday life outdoors must have a warm place to rest (out of the wind, with straw or blankets to hold in heat). When the body has to work extra hard to maintain its core temperature, it will often steal nutritional resources that would normally be used by the immune system. While pets often have thick coats which help to keep them warm, they can still become sick if they don't have some place where they can warm up.
Myth: Indoor cats are safe from feline heartworm disease.
Unfortunately, even indoor cats can get heartworm. In fact, a study done in North Carolina revealed that 28% of feline heartworm cases were indoor-only cats. This is because heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes (much like malaria). Since mosquitoes often migrate through an open door or window, indoor cats can also be infected with heartworm.
Myth: Dogs only get Kennel Cough after being kenneled.
Kennel cough is a somewhat common respiratory infection in dogs that can be caused by the parainfluenza virus or the Bordetella bacterium. While both of these infectious agents may be spread in kennels, dogs can also become sick with kennel cough from chronic stress. Bordetella bacteria are commonly found in canine respiratory systems and are kept under control by a good, healthy immune system. Often when dogs are boarded they become lonely and may experience more stress than normal, making them more susceptible to infection, even from bacteria living in their own respiratory tracts.
Myth: The only way to treat parvovirus in dogs is with good hydration since viruses have no cure.
While there are no man-made medicines to cure viral infections, there are tons of herbs used for treating viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections that grow naturally in the environment. This is why you'll often see sick dogs eating strange plants many contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Photo Credit: Vitti jose