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Animal Doctor: Indigenous wisdom and pandemic prevention

Animal Doctor: Indigenous wisdom and pandemic prevention

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Dear Readers: A team of Indigenous scientists from the Yukon have published a letter in the prestigious academic journal Science, “arguing that Indigenous principles and knowledge should inform a global strategy for recovering from the pandemic,” per coverage by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

“This is a big breakthrough, I would say, for the two world views and two knowledge systems to begin to acknowledge each other,” said Joe Copper Jack, a Ta’an Kwach’an Council elder and lead author on the letter.

The letter addresses the One Health approach, which links human health with the health of animals and the environment, in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors say that “scientists and policymakers often ignore the fact that Indigenous people have used this interconnected approach for thousands of years,” wrote the CBC.

From my perspective as a European immigrant — coming from the dominant culture where the unbridled exploitation of nature and animals is the accepted norm — and as a veterinarian, I have come to realize the critical importance of advocating the One Health philosophy. If it were an integral, global element of politics, public health and the stock market, the COVID-19 pandemic would most likely never have occurred and any forthcoming ones could be prevented.

Animals’ rights and environmental ethics are not new concepts in Western civilization, despite them now being branded in the U.S. as “left-wing extremism” (which some readers have accused me of promoting!). Rather, these concepts were integral to the Indigenous peoples of North America long before the genocidal and ecocidal European incursion.

So it is no irony that hundreds of mink at a fur farm in Wisconsin have died of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Three people who work at the farm had mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Veterinarians and farmers are culling shocking numbers of mink in northern Denmark due to a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak that has affected more than 60 farms. This tragic consequence is a call to conscience and accountability.

Perhaps the only blessing of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it forces us to examine our relationships and responsibilities toward all lives and all creatures, great and small.

Dear Dr. Fox: My 9-year-old once-feral cat, Buddy, was rescued 1½ years ago and had a whole host of issues, many of which were resolved. Recently, he stopped eating as much, and his vet said that he had bad stomatitis. He wanted to extract all of Buddy’s teeth. Instead, I started giving him a product called George’s Always Active Aloe liquid (¼ teaspoon), and his eating habits resumed miraculously.

I’m wondering if the gel is a better option over the liquid, as I hear aloe gel has minimal alpine or latex, which can be toxic over time. Please advise.

Also, the cat had ringworm, which started to disappear with the usage of the aloe liquid given internally. At the same time, I had started giving Buddy L-lysine (125 mg), but I discontinued that for fear of toxicity. I’m not sure if that helped in the immune response. — C.G.R., Gardiner, New York

Dear C.G.R.: I applaud your diligent approach and successful use of aloe vera and L-lysine in helping to improve your cat’s health. Significant progress in determining the safe and effective use of such herbal and nutraceutical supplements is being made by holistic veterinarians. This, of course, infuriates Big Pharma and has yet to be embraced by conventional veterinary and human medical practitioners.

Aloe vera in liquid form is beneficial in treating gut-related health problems, in part because it is a food for beneficial microorganisms in the gut’s microbiome. It may also help prevent the “leaky gut” issue associated with allergies and impaired immune system function.

Applied topically for various skin problems, aloe vera liquid or gel accelerates healing by stimulating capillary and cellular proliferation.

Applied orally, aloe gel can help improve various gum and tooth problems and could help prevent kidney disease and various chronic inflammatory conditions later in life. I would add two drops of essential oil of thyme (which is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal) to 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Get kittens and puppies used to having their gums and teeth rubbed with a gauze-wrapped finger covered in these gifts from the plant kingdom.

As for beneficial supplements, you are on track using L-lysine, which is purportedly antiviral. I advise supplementing at weekly intervals — one week on, one week off — and I also recommend 250 mg taurine and a few drops of anti-inflammatory fish oil (not krill, for ecological reasons spelled out on my website). You can also try half a canned-in-water sardine (if your cat is not allergic to fish) or a marine algal product containing the essential fatty acids all cats need.

For more details on the feline stomatitis plague, its treatment and prevention, check my website, droxonehealth.com.

Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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