Keep your #Liver #Healthy, avoid these Damaging Habits

Drinking alcohol isn’t the only bad habit that can destroy your liver. Certain kinds of drugs and supplements, junk food, and even risky sexual behaviors can result in a handful of illnesses and diseases. You may not even realize you’re self-sabotaging one of your body’s most important organs. To keep your liver healthy, try not to engage in the following destructive practices.

1. Taking too many dietary supplements

A woman drinks pills with a glass of water.

Dietary supplements aren’t hard to obtain — and if you aren’t careful, your excessive intake could become problematic. Drug induced liver injury from weight loss and bodybuilding supplements isn’t all that uncommon, says Consumer Reports. Unfortunately, many of these supplements include ingredients not listed on product labels, so it’s challenging to identify the ingredients that could be responsible. Follow the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine’s guidelines to use supplements safely.

2. Not drinking enough water

young woman drinking water.

Your liver is your body’s waste processing organ. It’s one of two major team players in detoxification, or the process of ridding your body of harmful waste. According to, water is an essential part of your body’s detoxification process. It flushes toxins out of your liver for disposal, and helps your kidneys filter these toxins properly. Dehydration can interfere with this process, and lead to liver damage. Most people need anywhere from 64 to 100 ounces of water daily, Mayo Clinic says.

3. Not practicing safe sex

A woman holds a condom behind a bright yellow background.

Practicing safe sex protects you from a number of STDs. It also guards you against certain types of cancer, like the type that can develop in your liver. According to the American Cancer Society, unprotected sex can transmit hepatitis B and C viruses from person to person. These chronic viral infections can lead to liver cells being replaced with scar tissue, eventually causing a disease called cirrhosis. People living with cirrhosis have an increased chance of developing liver cancer and dying.

4. Depending on over-the-counter painkillers

bottle of ibuprofen pills on a white background

Whether you seek over-the-counter relief for your pain or have a prescription, taking too much of certain medications — or too many medications at once, too frequently — can cause significant damage to your liver. Acetaminophen — you might recognize it as Tylenol — has been known to cause liver damage in large doses, says Forbes. Never take a larger dose of a medication than instructed, and make sure you aren’t taking multiple acetaminophen-containing drugs at once.

5. Following a junk food diet

Pile of potato chips.

Consuming high amounts of sugar doesn’t just give you diabetes. According to Harvard Health Publications, diets high in sugar can also lead to the buildup of excess fat in your liver, called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Overloading your body with refined sugars also raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. You don’t have to shun processed foods completely from your diet, but try limiting your intake — for your liver’s sake, if nothing else.

6. Not getting enough sleep

Young beautiful Caucasian woman on bed having headache

Sleep deprivation could prove more damaging than you thought. People with sleep apnea, for example, experience fatty liver disease at higher rates than people without the disease, Anahad O’Connor writes in The New York Times. The exact reason why this happens isn’t clear. However, not getting enough sleep can still damage your liver in other ways, like prompting you to eat more unhealthy food. Try to regularly get at least six or seven hours of sleep to keep all your organs functioning properly.

7. Smoking cigarettes

A cigarette in a hand.

Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. According to some research, smoking can negatively impact your liver function in a similar way to long-term alcohol use. Inhaling cigarette smoke causes oxidative stress, which can lead to significant liver damage over time as the cells begin to break down. read more…


Salmon treats are a hit for our furry friends

1503703650904Demand for premium, New Zealand-made pet food at supermarket prices has seen rapid expansion for one Kiwi company.

After the successful launch of New Zealand King Salmon’s quality pet food range Omega Plus in the South Island late last year, the products are now also selling in North Island supermarkets.

The range, which includes wet and dry pet food as well as treats and dietary supplements, is completely natural and made up of sustainably sourced King salmon, which gives the products high levels of health beneficial omega-3 and protein.

But, according to division manager Simon Thomas, the health benefits for pets – including a shiny, soft coat and better joint mobility – are not the only reason the range has proven popular with pet owners.

“Omega Plus also appeals to the conscious consumer, as our range is made entirely in New Zealand from previously wasted material,” he said.

Mr Thomas said the range has had a great response from retailers keen to stock a first-class New Zealand product on their shelves in order to meet an ever-growing demand for quality pet food.

“Premium pet food is the fastest growing segment of this category and Omega Plus is perfectly positioned to offer retailers a product that fills this void,” he said.

Just as importantly, Omega Plus is appealing to pets too, with retailers reporting good consumer uptake and repeat purchasing of the range.

“The product is very palatable, so we’re seeing great acceptance of it from pets,” Mr Thomas said. “It’s great to see the response being so good, especially with traditionally fussy cats.”

Omega Plus is now aiming to reach more Kiwi cats and dogs through further distribution of the product in both the North and South Islands. Future plans for the range also include larger pack sizes in current variants and new variants of their dry cat and dog foods.

Omega Plus is currently stocked in New World and Pak ‘n Save supermarkets throughout New Zealand and is available online at

Omega Plus is a pet food, dietary supplement and treats range by Omega Innovations, a division of The New Zealand King Salmon Company, the country’s biggest salmon producer.

Using previously wasted material, Omega Innovations developed a range of wet and dry cat and dog food and treats where salmon is the #1 ingredient.

Omega Plus is a premium product, 100% NZ-made and is all natural. It is high in omega-3 and protein delivering a range of benefits including a healthy skin and coat, joint mobility, intestinal health and antioxidants.  read more…

Shop Best Treats for your Dog here…


Ensure deworming of cattle during monsoon

With monsoons ushering in the growth of fresh grass, pets and cattle have a stronger chance of developing worms and parasites in their bodies. Internal worms particularly feed on the food and nutrition in animals which hampers their growth, particularly in the case of cattle and goat kids. In view of this, scientists at Goa-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-CCARI) recently held a training programme on the importance of deworming cattle.

“For effectiveness of all vaccines, prior deworming of animals is necessary,” said Dr Sanjay Udharwar, animal scientist at ICAR-CCARI.

 He explained that cattle usually get infections owing to adulterated water and fresh grass in the rainy season. This is because the monsoon environment is favourable for the development of these worms. Animals in the free range system therefore tend to feed on the eggs and larvae of these parasites while grazing or eating food off the ground. These eggs or larvae further develop in the animals’ stomach and absorb the nutrients for themselves.
“Worms cause indigestion, lack of nutrition, and this leads to anemia, resulting in stunted growth of animals. In order to have good health and milk yield in cattle, it is important to regularly deworm them,” said Dr Santosh Desai, director of animal husbandry and veterinary services (AHVS).
AHVS also holds deworming drives three to four times a year at their dispensaries, government veterinary hospitals and sub-centres across Goa. These drives are conducted once every three months wherein the deworming medicine is provided free of cost.

AgriLife Extension helping with sheltering animals displaced by #Hurricane#Harvey


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is supporting community animal issues committees and local emergency management coordinators to set up animal sheltering sites around the state in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey.

“Forecasts have indicated there likely will be from 15-20 inches of rain and there could be record or extreme flooding, with most of the flooding expected in the area between San Antonio and Corpus Christi,” said Dr. Andy Vestal, AgriLife Extension specialist in emergency management, College Station. “Also, some meteorologists have predicted the storm may possibly change course and move toward the Houston area after it comes inland.”

Vestal said while emergency agencies are working to evacuate and accommodate people, AgriLife Extension is helping set up shelters for the many four-legged animals being displaced by the storm.

“AgriLife Extension personnel are coordinating with the Texas Animal Health Commission to develop a comprehensive list of shelters around the state and the types of animals those shelters can accommodate,” he said. “We are asking that anyone needing to shelter an animal call 2-1-1 for their area.”

Vestal said the 2-1-1 Texas program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need.

He said AgriLife Extension is currently collaborating on accommodating smaller companion animals but soon will be addressing more of the sheltering need for larger animals, such as livestock.

One of the small-animal shelter sites already set up and taking in animals is in Huntsville.

“We’ve been working with the county’s office of emergency management to take in animals from people sheltering here in Walker County,” said Reggie Lepley, AgriLife Extension agent, Walker County. “The animals we’re taking in are the ones the owners feel will need food and shelter in the event of flooding or other serious weather conditions.”

Lepley said he and others staffing the shelter have been told to “expect anything” from people in that county bringing in their pets.

“We’re not just accommodating cats and dogs… we’re taking in whatever small animals we can to keep them safe,” he said “We’ve done this before and have had people bring in some pretty unusual companion animals.”

In Travis County, accommodations are already available for larger animals at the Travis County Expo Center.

AgriLife Extension agent Mellanie Mickelson has been coordinating with officials to help shelter some of the larger animals in that area.

“There are many shelters in Austin and the surrounding area to accommodate smaller animals, so it looks like most of the animals we’ll be sheltering will be larger,” Mickelson said.

“Right now, we’re expecting four horses and 40 goats, and there likely will be many more animals coming to the expo center over the next three to five days,” she said. “We estimate we have space available to accommodate about 200 animals.”

Vestal said AgriLife Extension will also collaborate with Texas Animal Health Commission to see if and where it will be necessary to set up Animal Supply Points for larger animals such as cattle, horses, pigs, goats and sheep. Members of the agency’s Animal Response Team will work with TAHC to establish locations where animals can get shelter and obtain fresh hay, feed and water. Read more…

A graceful horse finds her health


If you want to understand how animals flow in and out of the place where I live, you have to pay close attention.

In the past few months, our entourage has expanded, which puts us up to nine four-footed beings under the care of four humans, not always a great ratio.

The newest addition is a matronly Tennessee walking horse named Anna Grace.

She’s tall and proud and moves with that elegant gait that sets apart her breed. She is almost entirely black, with some small white spots on her back that I wouldn’t swear aren’t age-generated rather than genetics.

She is, after all, about 26 years old — or pretty darned old in human years.

When she arrived at Little Bit O’ Farm this spring, Anna Grace didn’t seem so tall and proud.

She was emaciated, her ribs showing in that manner that indicates sad neglect, and she seemed to drag along with a sadness that made you wonder if her next step might be into a grave.

Anna Grace was placed with us by those kind miracle workers at Red Dog Farm in Summerfield. They had rescued her from the neglectful owners, and she needed to be nursed to health.

Where better than at a home where adopted animals roam?

So she arrived with a regimen. We put her in a 2-acre paddock that gave her lots of grass and room to roam, and she was put on a diet that contained enough vitamins and calories to propel a race horse or an Olympic weight lifter.

Twice a day, in addition to all she grass she wanted to eat, Anna Grace was served a concoction of high-protein grain geared for senior horses mixed with something called beet pulp, about 5 pounds in all, and then that was saturated with fresh water before being served to her.

And she quickly became used to that diet.

Each morning and evening she made it a habit when she saw humans around to jog up the fence along the driveway to just across from the garage. She would neigh loudly and sometimes even sprint back and forth like a dog wanting his bowl refilled.

When she saw the mixing bucket come out and her personal caterer headed for the hose and feed bucket, she would sprint back in that direction, then spin and sprint back and forth a couple of times, again bucking and sometimes expelling some gas. Did I say she acted like a dog?

Now Anna Grace is a sweet and lovable horse who is used to being around humans, but don’t you go trying to pet her head while she is starting to eat. She wants to concentrate on her primary role in life, and if you touch her, she yanks up her head as if to rid it of marauding horse flies. Read more…

Shop your Horse Health Supplies here.

Achieve Your Dream of Getting a Small Swine Companion


There are few things that make me squeal more than the sight of piglets, or any well-kempt and reasonably sized pig, really. I’ve wanted a miniature “teacup” pig ever since I first learned they existed. And I’d always heard great things about pigs: They’re smarter than the average pet, affectionate, social, hypoallergenic (also, they don’t shed), and very similar to dogs and cats. They can learn tricks, be walked on a leash, and even be litter box-trained! But pigs are also highly intellectual animals that require a lot of attention and care that dogs and cats don’t, and they can become destructive if they aren’t properly tended to or don’t get the activity they need. They should never be kept in a small pen, or left alone with free range of the house. While they love to lounge around with you, they also need space and a yard to graze, run, roll around, and be a pig in. For pet owners who can provide all that, they can be great indoor/outdoor companions for the suburbs and even the city (just make sure to check the zoning restrictions in your area).

But after doing a bit more research about how to acquire a tiny pig, I was crushed by what I found: innumerable articles with headlines like “Never Buy a Teacup Pig” and “Why I Cringe When People Buy Teacup Pigs.” As it turns out, the terms “micro mini” and “teacup” are merely referring to the size in relation to full-grown farm pigs, and not to actual breeds. A company on the internet selling “teacup pigs” could very well be part of a popular marketing scheme in which dishonest breeders sell tiny piglets (all baby pigs are tiny!), which then grow to be much larger than promised, and are often just regular potbellied pigs. When the pig reaches maturity or an owner decides it’s too much work, many decide to surrender the animal to a shelter.

Portlander Megan Chasteen says her family’s beloved potbellied pig, Bentley Oliver, was an unexpected blessing. “We had a potbellied pig several years ago, but lost her too soon and weren’t planning on another pet until this little guy kind of fell into my mom and dad’s lap,” she says. Chasteen says they have no idea who the breeder was.

“My mom got him from a regular customer (my parents own a pub in Roseburg) whose daughter and son-in-law changed their minds about wanting him,” she says. “Their customer knew my family had had a pig before, and it was pretty much love at first sight.”

Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny.

That’s one way to ethically adopt. Full-grown potbellied pigs can be the size of a dog, but will weigh between 80 and 150 pounds. Paris Hilton, who’s known for popularizing pigs as pets and often scrutinized for using animals as accessories, bought a “Dandie Extreme” piglet from Royal Dandies, a breeder in Oregon. Paris expected her piglet to be around 25 pounds at full maturity, but a recent photo of the $3,500-plus pig shows that Miss Pigelette is much bigger than that. To her credit, Hilton also lands on the side of pet owners who already love the pig and end up keeping it regardless of its size. The “teacup pig” phenomenon has otherwise resulted in shelters reaching their capacity of full-grown homeless pigs.

There’s also a lot of crossbreeding going on to achieve smaller pigs’ more manageable size. Though there’s debate as to whether they’re even a breed, Juliana pigs are said to originate in Europe, and are naturally small (around 40 pounds) due to selective breeding. The folks at Heart2Heart Farms—a family-owned business in Sherwood that prides itself on organic products, sustainable practices, and humane treatment of animals—has four kinds of pigs, including a “City Pig,” which is a cross between a runt American Guinea Hog, Kune Kune, and Juliana. They also offer a “Foster Piglet Program” every year as an option for those who are on the fence about having a city pig as a pet. It started as a way to prevent runt piglets from being culled, but now has become a great way to increase piglet health and survival. After applying, paying a $50 registration fee, and a $50 refundable deposit (when you return the piglet in sound health), you have the opportunity to take care of a piglet for five weeks (it needs to be bottle-fed raw cow and goat’s milk every few hours for the first few days). Then you can choose to either adopt the pig or return it to the farm, where it’ll either become a domestic pet or breeding stock.

Potential pig owners should also be aware of the amount of misinformation that some breeders give about proper diet for teacup pigs, recommending special food in small amounts in an attempt to keep it under a certain weight. Too often, this results in little pigs dying of starvation or malnutrition. Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny. In addition to feed, pigs should be snacking on fruits and vegetables and grazing throughout the day. Needless to say, buying a “teacup” pig from a place on the internet touting “some of the world’s smallest pigs” is not a wise idea. read more…

Shop your Swine Supplies here.

Vaccinate horses against Hendra


EQUINE Veterinarians Australia is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the deadly Hendra virus following three new confirmed cases in just four weeks.

President of EVA, Dr Ben Poole, said it’s critical that horses located in and around high-risk Hendra areas are vaccinated against Hendra virus.

“Another three horses in NSW have died from this preventable disease, which poses serious health risks not just to horses, but humans as well,” Dr Poole said.

From 1994, when the virus was first identified, to August 2017, there have been 60 known Hendra incidents resulting in the death of 102 horses.

During this period, Queensland has recorded 40 incidents and NSW has had 20.

“Every one of these horses that has died because of Hendra represents one more compelling reason for horse owners to vaccinate their horses,” Dr Poole said.

“The risk this disease poses to human health is also very real and it is important that the equine community remains vigilant in protecting horses and people from Hendra,” Dr Poole said.

Since the first outbreak was recorded in 1994, there have been seven confirmed cases in people, all of whom had significant contact with horse body fluids.

Of those who tested positive for Hendra, four sadly died from the disease, including two veterinarians.

Dr Poole said the vaccine is the most effective way to minimise the risk of Hendra virus. The vaccine is fully registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

“Vaccination is the most effective way to ensure high standards of horse health and welfare while also protecting veterinarians, horse handlers and owners from contracting this deadly virus.

“Hendra virus is impossible to diagnose without laboratory testing. The signs of this disease can be extremely variable. When your horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus, the probability of your horse having the disease is extremely low and therefore is more likely to receive timely and appropriate therapies.

“We need to remember that right across the country, there are thousands of equine events every year. These events bring together a large number of horses from a wide range of geographical locations, and this compounds the risks associated with Hendra virus infection if horses have not been vaccinated,” Dr Poole said. read more…

Shop your Horse Vaccines here.