Seeking Healthy Alternatives For Pets

Despite technological and medical advances, age-old remedies continue to provide a beacon for pet owners who seek alternatives to traditional health treatments. Unfortunately, many alternative and complementary therapies haven’t been tested and may adversely affect an ill pet.

Nutraceuticals, foods or food components that may provide medicinal benefits, are the latest buzzword in today’s medical markets. Nutraceuticals, which include probiotics, often provide hope for patients with chronic problems, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD). Their rising popularity on grocery store shelves has experts like Dr. Craig Webb, a scientist at Colorado State University, seeking scientific data to support marketing claims.

With Morris Animal Foundation funding, Dr. Webb and his colleagues are testing the efficacy of probiotics on pet cats that suffer from chronic vomiting and diarrhea, two common signs of IBD. Probiotics, which are sold for human and veterinary uses, contain live cultures thataccording to marketing claimsalter the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and calm IBD symptoms.

“It hearkens back to the days when grandma used to give you yogurt when you had an upset stomach,” says Dr. Webb. He emphasizes that though yogurt contains active ingredients found in probiotics, it shouldn’t be given to cats because they could have an allergic reaction.

Overall, when it comes to probiotics, the problem is that they are being used based on anecdotal reports. Dr. Webb’s goal is to gather scientific evidence to see if the anecdotal reports ring true.

He likens IBD to a neighborhood gone bad. In this scenario, “bad guys” (inflammatory bacteria) make cats sick; “good guys” are the body’s microflora that have been beaten into submission.

“Resident bacteria become dominated by bad, inflammatory bugs,” Dr. Webb says. “The million dollar question is, ‘how do we change who’s hanging out in there?'”

In theory, probiotics give the good guys a needed boost. Each probiotic product contains a specific species and number of microflora, and the combination affects efficacy.

By testing stool samples before and 10 days after probiotics are given, Dr. Webb has identified the feline gastrointestinal bugs that probiotics seem to combat. So far, owners of cats in the study say their pets’ diarrhea improved after treatment.

During his threeyear, Foundationfunded study, Dr. Webb will also conduct intestinal biopsies to see whether probiotics remain in the intestinal tract and continue to influence microflora levels.

“A lot of people use products that have nothing to do with the GI tract or do not have enough of the right bug to effect a change,” he explains.

To avoid expensive, ineffective products, Dr. Webb advises pet owners to talk with their veterinarian. While most commercial probiotics do no harm, they may not help either. Dr. Webb’s goal is to find out why some probiotics may help and how they can be used to promote better health in cats.

What’s Up With Celtic Animals And Their Symbolism

Celtic animal symbolism is a part of Celtic lore that many people have been analyzing as they try to understand the meaning placed on these animals by the Celtic people. Since there are no written accounts provided for us by the Celts, understand that this information is the result of many different interpretations.

Because of the fascination with this animal symbolism, people love to wear it through their Celtic jewelry. This is one area of Celtic designer jewelry that is quite popular. Let’s take a quick look at some of the animals that are linked to Celtic lore.

The Celtic dog: The ancient people held their dogs in high esteem and as a necessity to their way of life. Dogs were present with them while hunting and, in general, throughout life as a close companion. The dog symbolized good health.

The Celtic cat: Knowledge of the mystic world is held by the cat. They were seen as a guardian to what was called the Otherworld, or the eternal. Cats were seen as intelligent and crafty and bearers of an internal knowledge regarding the unseen.

The Celtic goose: Since geese were quite common over in Ireland, it would seem natural that this animal would have meaning to the ancients. The thought of “home” is symbolized by the goose. Geese always come back to the same area each spring and since the Celts were often involved with war, they looked at the goose as a reminder of home. They also saw this animal as a representation of changes in our moods or heart. In addition, the idea of “oneness” was symbolized by geese.

The Celtic duck: The duck represented gracefulness and agility as well as resourcefulness and honesty. Since ducks are quite sensitive to all that is around them, they also represented sensitivity to the ancient people.

The Celtic bull: Wealth and abundance is represented here. The ancient people used the bull for food and it represented good times in terms of abundant living. Also, the bull symbolized strength in terms of sexuality. This symbol was used in the bedroom to help bring the correct mentality for sexual strength. It represented fertility in women and virility in men. Another representation was that of being stubborn, being of strong will and/or being uncompromising in personality.

The Celtic dolphin: Luck is quite often associated with the dolphin. Since the ancient people most often saw dolphins off their shores whenever the seas were calm and easygoing, this idea of luck or good times came to be represented. Friendship and intelligence are represented by the dolphin in addition to idea of luck. The Celts liked the dolphin, also, for its ability to be fast swimmers in the sea and for its overall cleverness.

Get the Most from Bristol Zoo

No family holiday in Bristol is complete without a visit to Bristol Zoo Gardens. Not only will you and your children enjoy the vast array of exhibits, but your visit also supports the Zoo’s mission to conserve endangered species and habitats. And with so much to see and do, it helps to know how to get the most out of Bristol Zoo and plan ahead for your visit.

The Zoo is designed as a loop, with the Coral Caf conveniently situated near the halfway mark, making it an ideal stop for lunch. Through the main entrance and left down the Top Terrace, your journey takes you first past the colorful flamingos, the majestic Asiatic lions, the red pandas, and the Livingstone fruit bats. The Twilight World on the Terrace is a fun display of nocturnal animals in their active nighttime environments.

Next along the path come the giant tortoise, the reptile house full of cold-blooded creatures of slime and scales, and the aquarium, loaded with fish. Then, just before the Coral Caf is Bug World, home to most of the creepy-crawly invertebrates in the Zoo.

After lunch, take a jaunt past the children’s play area and spend some time in the Activity Centre at the middle of the Zoo, where Bristol offers face painting, brass rubbing, and crafts designed to educate children about animals and habitats. Then, a slight backtrack will put you back on the loop and take you to Gorilla Island.

Unique among Bristol’s breeding collection include the aye aye lemur native to Madagascar, the western lowland gorillas, and the unusual zebra-striped okapi with its stunning red coat, all in the vicinity of Gorilla Island. Just past the gorillas you’ll find the Pygmy Hippo House on your right,, and the Seal and Penguin Coasts tucked in the corner of the Zoo on your left. Take a WC break before winding your way through the last portion of the loop, including the aviaries, Smarty Plants display, and Butterfly Forest. Once again past the flamingos and you’re at the entrance, ready to relax in one of the many hotels Bristol has to offer.

One way to maximize your visit to Bristol Zoo is to review the Zoo map in advance. Many hotels in Bristol can help you find a map in advance, so that you and your family can plan your visit around the exhibits that interest you the most.

Bird Netting

Many avid birdwatchers observe birds to learn about their habits and to enjoy their beauty. On the other hand, there are homeowners and businesses looking for solutions like bird netting to keep birds away.

Pest birds like pigeons are a big problem in many areas. Bird droppings are not only unsightly, they cause safety and occupational hazards for humans. For example, pigeons are infested with bird mites and other parasites that transmit a number of terrible diseases.

A safe and effective way to block birds from an area is to install a durable netting that prevents birds of all sizes from settling into or upon windowsills, pipes and gutters, roofs, statues, support structures, ledges, outdoor air conditioning systems, billboards, eaves and louvers, domes, steeples, trees and gardens and more.

Bird netting is used in many large cities at universities, companies and other municipal buildings to prevent pigeons and other pest birds from entering the area. It’s a cost effective solution that saves these cities millions of dollars in the labor and material it would take to constantly keep these sites clean and in good repair.

Bird netting prevents pest bird droppings from corroding and destroying metal, finishes and paint. It also ends the threat of exposing occupants of a building to any illnesses related to birds like West Nile, E. Coli, Avian Flu and Salmonella. These diseases and others are health concerns can create legal liabilities that could potentially put a company out of business if not properly addressed. If a health department inspects a property and finds bird infestations, the fees and fines can be astronomical.

Bird netting comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate large and small birds. For seagulls and pigeons, 1-1/8″ mesh should be adequate. For sparrows and smaller birds, a 3/4″ mesh is available in various strengths. Many bird netting manufacturers offer flame resistant and waterproof netting that is durable and designed to withstand the elements. Bird netting is more or less invisible from a distance, but it is offered in a variety of colors and tones.

Bird netting is also available for gardens. This type of netting will protect trees, bushes and plants from birds and other garden intruders. Gardeners simply drape the lightweight netting on growing garden vegetables or wrap it around bushes and trees. Larger commercial growers often frame their crops by creating a netting roof over a larger site. Garden bird netting can be purchased as bags for wrapping bushes and sheets for the garden.

Berlin’s Zoo

The Zoologischer Garten happens to be the most visited zoo in the whole of Europe and this is largely due to the fact that it presents the widest range of animal species in the entire world. It opened for business in 1844 and was constructed as a gift to the city by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. He actually provided the animals from his very own collection.

Initially the brainchild of Alexander von Humboldt and Heinrich Lichtenstein the zoo is situated in the southwest portion of the Tiergarten which is also the largest public park found in the middle of the city. The number of animals housed at the zoo increased rapidly after its inception and many thousands of different animals have called the zoo home over the years. During World War Two massive destruction took place to the zoo and as a result fewer than 100 animals remained.

Today visitors enter the Zoologischer Garten through either its Elephant or Lion Gates and there are now in excess of 15,000 animals that effectively represent more than 1,400 species on display. There are not many cages as most of the animals enjoy being able to roam freely in re-creations of their natural habitats which means that they are more contented.

Among the different species on offer are the Pandas and they are very popular with visitors especially when one reaches a significant birthday! The Birdhouse is also very popular and happens to be one of the most modern of its kind anywhere in Europe with more than five hundred different species of birds. Many of those represented are very rare making it an excellent opportunity for visitors to see birds they would not otherwise have the opportunity to see.

Knut, the polar bear cub, contributed to a significant rise in publicity both in Germany and indeed around the world. He was rejected by his mother and hand reared by one of the zookeepers. Unfortunately Knut has since passed on but the polar bears continue to attract attention and visitors to the zoo.

Of course the polar bears are not the only main attractions. They share that title with other animals such as the wolves, gorillas, pandas, seals, lions, giraffe, etc. A beautiful and technologically advanced aquarium sits adjacent to the zoo and tourists can purchase a combo ticket when they visit so that they can visit the zoo and the aquarium. There you will find more than just fish however as there are also insects, amphibians, and even reptiles to be seen.

For the children there is the kid’s zoo and here they can get up close and personal with different animals in the petting zoo as well as expound pent up energy in the playground.

For family vacations the Berlin Zoo is definitely something that should not be missed!

Do animals have a soul

I was taught that only man has a soul and that animals are different kinds of creatures, with no soul or feelings. I disagree entirely with this concept, because we were once so-called primitive; man is not detached from the other living creatures, but has evolved from them and, after all, the next life would be terribly boring without these other lovely creatures that have contributed to make our lives more pleasant. Knowing that chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas are extremely similar to us, our genes being almost identical, that these species are, in turn, very similar to others and that we all evolved from the same branch, why would God be so egotistical to have privileged only humans? Would chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas be in line to receiving a soul? Or have they already got one? Wouldn’t lovely common marmosets be touched by God’s hand at the same time? Another important question is that man was once a primitive creature, living in caves, hunting to survive, with no elaborate language, behaving as cannibals, killing each other and what’s more is that we were once not really human-looking, like we are nowadays. So I assume that those who believe that only man has a soul would be reluctant to believe that these non-human creatures would have had a soul. Thus, I ask: when exactly in evolution did man become human and consequently, receive a soul? Did this primitive creature have a soul back then? All creatures are formed by molecules arranged in a specific way, which make them look like a bush dog, a coati or a snake. The molecules that form my body today may, in the past, have belonged to a tree, to a bacterium, to a frog or to the litter in the forest. This breaks down the concept that humans are a kind of isolated and privileged creature, detached from the rest of the beings. The same molecules blessed in man that are worthy of a soul are the same molecules that once formed the body of the frog, or the coati, and these same molecules, when a man dies, will disarrange themselves again to form another matter. They were, nevertheless, blessed once though, and will still carry a little of God’s hand in it. Therefore, if a soul is to exist, I assume that it is a condition of any living thing, which is formed by blessed atoms and molecules, the principle and the end of beings, the alpha and the omega. To know more about the subject, about animal protection and respect, and also about life of large mammals and of a scientist in the jungle, read: AMAZONIA AND OTHER FORESTS OF BRAZIL, by Janus Publishing, London, found from www.amazon.com