Home' Nova National : December 2009 Contents ANIMAL HEALTH
© NOVA DECEMBER 2009 37
DR CLARE MIDDLE, BVMS CVA CertIAVH
I guess there are two main issues to
discuss here, leading up to the time
when many of us are off and away on
our annual holidays.
One is regarding the decision about
where your pets are going to spend their
vacation, when you and your family are
away on yours.
I know many people who have actively
made a decision not to get a dog, or to
get a certain breed or size, bearing in
mind they will need to cater for their
pet when they go on holiday. I think this
"vacation awareness" should be always
part of deciding whether to get a pet or
not, in the first place.
Of course, many people have friends,
neighbours or family who will have your
pets at their house while you are away, or
visit your house regularly or even spend
time in your house with them for you
while you are away. This can work very
well for cats, and for some dogs.
The other option is to take them with
you, which can be easier than you think!
Holidaying With Your Dog (or
even your Cat)
Holidaying with your Dog is actually the
title of a great booklet written by the
R AC, with names of camping, chalet
and other accommodation in Western
Australia where you can take your dog
with you when you go on holiday, instead
of leaving him behind. You can buy it
from the R AC and other outlets like
camping shops and bookshops. There
are increasing numbers of holiday chalets
in the best holiday areas that allow you
to take your pets. There are even some
private individual homes which are
available to rent which allow you to take
pets, although most don't, but it is worth
checking out the private home rental
websites, as well as the tourist bureaus in
the area you are heading off for.
Remember to give your dog a dose or
two of Kennel Cough 30C or 200C before
you leave to prevent having a coughing
dog keeping you awake in the caravan.
For cats, give Cat Flu 30C or 200C. A few
days of immune-boosting herbs are good
prevention, too, such as Echinacea or
Andrographis, dosed proportional to body
weight of the human dose recommended
for that product.
An xious dogs and cats will settle into
the change better with homeopathic
Ignatia and Aconite of any potency, or
flower essences such as Rescue Remedy,
honeysuckle and walnut in the Bach
Flower range, or Emergency essence,
bottlebrush and Sturt Desert Pea in the
Australian Bush Flower range, or the Pet
Calm Living essence spray. An important
help to getting pets to settle well while
away from home is to take their familiar
bedding with you for them to sleep on, or
at least take some lovely smelly unwashed
clothes or towels of yours to allow the pet
to settle with your familiar smell.
Homeopathic remedies to take
with you would be covered in the basic
travelling homeopathic first aid kit and
include Apis for bee stings, Arnica for the
odd accident or sprain and Hypericum
for a pulled toe nail. Eating rubbish or
someone else's food can lead to a bout of
the runs, so Arsenicum Alb can be very
useful here. Also useful to treat diarrhoea
(in any species) is some Slippery Elm Bark
powder -- mix a teaspoon or two into food
or liquid, to soothe the bowel lining very
quickly and safely.
Car sickness settles well with some
ginger mixed in a small meal prior to travel,
a drop of peppermint oil on the collar,
and then, if needed, the homeopathic
remedies Petroleum or Cocculus.
Whether you are taking your pet with you
on holiday, or leaving them for friends
to look after, or at a boarding kennel
or cattery, all these above tips apply for
helping them to settle, and to avoid them
catching kennel cough and cat flu. These
two respiratory diseases are more likely to
occur when your pets are separated from
you, because I think these infections can
be triggered more by stress than actually
being exposed to the virus. As Traditional
Chinese Medicine says, "the lungs are the
seat of grief". So it is not surprising to
TCM that it is respiratory diseases which
predominately occur in boarding animals!
This brings us to another common
question I am asked in regard to the
boarding of pet animals: why is it that
many boarding establishments still
require annual vaccination certificates for
all major diseases, when the Australian
Veterinary Association has released a
Dog and Cat vaccination policy which
stipulates boosters are needed only every
three years or less often if a blood test
shows immunity. (See http://w w w.ava.
com.au and click on "policies". At the time
of writing, their home page discusses
this very question!) Kennel cough and
cat flu vaccinations may still be needed
annually if your animal is going boarding,
and giving these vaccines only is less
likely to injure the immune system than
over - using the full combination vaccines
annually. The new intranasal kennel
cough vaccine for dogs is more effective
and less immunosuppressive than the
However, there are now kennels/
catteries that will accept homeopathic
cover for these respiratory diseases,
and have also changed their protocol
on conventional vaccines to fit the new
AVA vaccine policy. I am compiling a
list for my website of these enlightened
establishments. I have had a starting list
for a while now, but please let me know
if there are more out there, so we can
reduce disease which may result from
Please help me increase my list -- let
me know (phone, fa x or post) or tell
NOVA Magazine, if you know a boarding
kennel or cattery which accepts triennial,
instead of annual vaccination, or blood
titre test results, or/and homeopathic
cover for kennel cough and cat f lu.
The other issue regarding pets and holiday
time is abandonment. Unfortunately, after
Christmas there is a high rate of pets that
have been bought and given as Christmas
presents who end up abandoned and in
the dog pounds and cat havens.
All that we have been discussing in this
article helps towards awareness of options
other than abandoning "inconvenient"
pets at holiday time.
But for those pets already abandoned,
there are some wonderful people out
there who have been doing a great job
over many years in finding good homes
for these pets, and caring and fostering
them until they do get a home.
These institutions are always grateful
for volunteers who can either walk and
spend time with the animals in the
In the excitement of the holiday season don't forget the
needs of our loyal companions, our pets, urges holistic vet
Dr Clare Middle.
I think this "vacation awareness" should be always part of
deciding whether to get a pet or not, in the first place.
shelters, or foster an animal until a home
is found, or of course find a permanent
home for them.
I am reluctant to give a list of
contacts for specific establishments,
in case I miss some out! Look under
"Animal Welfare Organisations" on the
Internet or the Yellow Pages and you're
sure to find somewhere close to you.
And don't forget the wonderful efforts
of the RSPCA's Guardian Angel Project
to help with the Christmas crisis of
unwanted pets. (See http://www.rspcansw.
So why not give a stray "Christmas
present animal" a Christmas present of
their own by taking them out for a walk
or helping them find a home?
I wish all our readers and their pets a
peaceful and joyful holiday season.
Dr Clare Middle BVMS CVA Cer tIAVH is
a qualified holistic veterinarian. She welcomes your
questions on animal health and diet. Please send them to
in NOVA this January
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