We all age, including our canine companions. The goal is to age gracefully. Quality of life is far more important than quantity of life, although both would be ideal, right? Is it possible to improve not only quality but also longevity? The answer to this is yes, but the right approach needs to be taken, making it more of a lifestyle than a passing fad or just a regimen. Our canine pets depend on us to make the right choices. The more understanding we have, the more informed we are in the choices we make.
Metabolic syndrome is a name applied to a collective group of risk factors that raise the risk of other health conditions. In humans, we see a rise in the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, vascular disorders, neurodegenerative conditions and many others. In horses, we generally see an increased risk for insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease and laminitis. The term ‘metabolic’ actually implies an alteration in cellular metabolism or biochemical processes, but is often quickly associated with a state of increased body weight or obesity. The syndrome is actually complex, involving many pathways, but as with other conditions, with a more indepth understanding comes better management.
Happiness and an end to suffering. That is the goal for almost all of mankind. We want it, crave it and desire it on many levels. Disease occurs on many levels and impacts all of us either directly or indirectly. The perception of that disease, whether if it affects us our pets or our horses, can vary from person to person. One may say it is acquired or there is a genetic predisposition to that condition. On the other side of the coin, another person may say the disease is a reflection of our environment, diet and other factors…essentially implying we created it. It is all relative, in my opinion, but one thing is for certain and that is that with a complete understanding of what is occurring, we stand a better chance of prevention as well as management.
The term ‘supplement’ can either be a noun or a verb, implying something that completes or ehances something else, or in the case of a verb context, to add an extra element. In the health industry, we really use the term in both contexts or sometimes both at the same time. We may supplement our horse’s or even our own diet with a supplement, using both the noun and verb, which is commonplace. However, what are we really doing and what are we trying to achieve? Through a better understanding, we may be able to arrive at that goal a little sooner and even reduce end costs in the long term.
The ‘gut’. Homebase to the immune system, source of digestion and nutrient assimilation. We all know how an upset or disagreeing stomach can drain us of our energy, vitality and overall zeal for certain functions, but did you know that the gut may actually be involved with many clinical diseases and even impact joints, soundness and allergies? It’s true and something we have lightly investigated in a clinical study with horses. The connections have been known for a long time in human research data and there are indications in the equine industry as well, but all to often, we fail to recognize the problem or address it properly.
When we think of inflammation, it is often in the form of pain and swelling. Joint pain, stiffness, a wound or cut, sore back, sore throat or even an ear infection. All of this is true and these conditions are associated with inflammation, but the overall concept goes much deeper, often being unrecognized clinically but all too closely tied with other health conditions. It is an important concept to grasp, even on the most basic level, as with this understanding, we have opportunities to intervene which may give us more opportunities to manage and even prevent certain conditions.
Everyone is looking for the ultimate cure or answer to whatever condition impacts their health or lifestyle, whether if that is for themselves, their pets or their horses. Is there an answer out there? A solution to what ails you? The answer is more complex than what you would like to hear, not necessarily a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but more or less in between.