The "Faces" of Inflammation: How To Recognize and What To Do

Inflammation: Unfortunately, just like humans, pets can suffer from inflammation and from the correlated pain and impairment of various body functions. Knowing what to look for, and the different ways that inflammation manifests itself, can assist the pet owner substantially in keeping their pets healthy.

Understanding Inflammation in Dogs and Its Causes

Inflammation, in balance and for short periods, can assist in healing; whereas, excessive or chronic inflammation can lead to serious health impairment or disease. As we alluded to, inflammation will have a number of faces (symptoms), and we will discuss some of the main manifestations later in this article as well as addressing the protocols for treatment. First, let's take a look at some of the major root causes:

  • Poor diet
  • Food sensitivities
  • Intestinal microflora imbalances/dysbiosis:
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxicity

All of these factors can shift normal immune system activity to that of an overactive state, which leads to either systemic or localized inflammation. When the immune system is triggered it sets into motion and inflammatory cascade, which produces proteins known as cytokines. When these proteins are modified or produced in excess, the result is an excessive inflamed state and a much higher risk for disease (i.e. cancer, arthritis).

A look At Three Key Symptomatic Areas

Joint Inflammation

As detailed in past issues, joint inflammation occurs as an immune response to degeneration of the joint. This happens when the cartilage protecting the surface of the joint wears out and comes into contact with the surface of the underlying bone, eventually damaging the joint.

What to look for...

  • Slow to rise from a resting position?
  • Reluctance to jump or leap?
  • Irritable
  • Mood behaviors with increasing disability

Gut Inflammation

Inflammation of your dog's gut can take a number of forms. Leaky gut syndrome (typically caused by a food substance breaching the mucosal barrier of the gut) is thought to be a major contributor to an over reactive, localized immune response in the gut. It is also thought by some researchers that it may lead to, or exacerbate, more serious conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or, worse yet, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Bottom line, it can be a bit complex to target what it is and what the causes are. The one thing they all have in common is the resulting inflammation of the gut. Causes could include food sensitivities, NSAIDs or antibiotic use, and compromised immunity (again why probiotics should be used in young pets as a foundation).

What to look for...

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Bloating

Systemic Inflammation in Dogs

The processes of systemic inflammation are identical to localized tissue inflammation, but it is not confined to a specific area. It involves the endothelium and other organ systems. Interestingly, chronic inflammation is most widely observed in a state of obesity, where it is common to have elevated markers of inflammation, including:

  • Cytokines (IL-6,IL-8, IL-18, TNF-a)
  • Insulin
  • Blood glucose
  • CRO (C-Reactive Protein)

The body attacks excessive fat like it does bacteria. An auto-immune response triggered by adiposity, may cause immune cells to mistake fatty deposits for threatening intruders. In this process, cells release inflammatory chemicals and induce inflammation. Overeating is usually the culprit. Sometimes obesity can be caused by hormonal issues, but usually it is due to overeating. Now, you might smile and say, "Well, I have a fat and happy dog!" But, the truth is that the resulting inflammation could trigger a host of diseases that can reduce the quality or length of your pet's life.

What to look for...

  • Overweight dog
  • Fatigued dog

As inflammation has a number of causes, some are not discussed in this article. If the inflammation is short in duration, it is generally not much of a problem. If the inflammation and related symptoms persist, it can cause some serious problems. Below are the steps you can take to address what we discussed in this article.

Natural Protocols for Dealing with Inflammation

In all cases, diet needs to be addressed. Make sure your pet is, (a) not overeating and, (b) has not developed a food sensitivity. If so, provide a simpler, cleaner (no fillers) dog food (perhaps, no grains).

In all cases fish oils contain high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids play a number of critical roles in the body. One of the most important roles is that they help produce hormone-like chemicals known as eicosonoids. One of the great functions of eicosonoids is that they suppress inflammation. Because of this function, it is thought that excessive inflammation may be due partly to a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Use Celavin™, it’s rich in Omega-3s and, because it is produced at one of the most prestigious fish oil production plants in the world (one of only four of its kind), it is extremely refined to remove impurities and toxic metals (which can cause inflammation).

Specific to the Condition:

Joint Inflammation

In addition to diet, exercise (moderate in this case), and fish oil, use a joint support formula like RJX™. It has all the nutrient constituents in therapeutic amounts to help lubricate and rebuild the joint tissue, which will support function, mobility, and stop the wear and tear of the joint.

Gut Inflammation

In addition to diet, exercise, and fish oil, use the following: Probiotics: this will help to maintain microflora balance, which cures a majority of ills when it comes to gut health. It will help to fight off pathogens and will support overall immune function. Probiotic Miracle® is unique among probiotic formulas because it has strains specifically studied in pets. If you also suspect leaky gut (maybe your dog has been on medications, or is older) then consider an advanced multivitamin and mineral like Spectrin™. This formula goes beyond supplying basic nutrients with its inclusion of advanced antioxidants and other minerals, which fight against overactive immune response by-products often present with allergies.

Systemic Inflammation

Do not let your per overeat, get them plenty of exercise, and give them refined fish oil.


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