Keeping Your Pets Safe This Summer!

Summer is here and every year, dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand. Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in an hour. According to research on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website (, cracking the windows does little to nothing to keep pets cool. During these warm month, ask yourself,”Does my pet really need to come?” It can be a matter of life and death for your pet.

funny_dog_pictures-2Something else to consider is what time of day you are interacting with your pet outdoors. Exercising with pets should be done during the cool hours of the day– early morning or later in the evening. They, just like humans, are susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Another thing to consider is how hot the surface is that you are walking on! Dogs have thick and calloused pads on their paws, but these can still easily burn. Sidewalks and asphalted roads can quickly reach extreme temperatures in the morning, and hold onto heat from the day. If you aren’t sure if the pavement is too hot, feel it! If there’s even a doubt in your mind that it’s too warm, don’t subject your pet’s paws to it.

Remember that panting is your dog’s primary method of staying cool. They also dissipate heat through the pads on their paws. Another way they stay cool is by their fur–this may seem counter-intuitive, but fur acts as insulation against the heat as well as the cold. Making sure your pets have access to shade, fans/air flow, and clean water are imperative, especially if they are outside.

When travelling with your pet, have a full water container (bottles, gallon jug, etc.) and dish/bucket for them to drink out of.

Some other things to keep in mind are:

-having unscented baby sunscreen for dogs with pale or pink skin and thin hair around their face

-having a child’s play pool (small plastic shallow type) filled with clean water for dogs to play in while supervised

-having a wet towel or cloth available for the pet to lie on outside

-using a spray bottle to mist water over your pet when out and about on warm days (if they tolerate it)


Written by Callie Rulli- Skylark Animal Bodywork, LLC

Is your Dog a ‘Senior’?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, less than 15% of people get senior checkups for their pets.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, less than 15% of people get senior checkups for their pets.

[Article credit:, (Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, Castle Rock, CO.)]

Many people don’t realize that their pet is a “senior pet” and, as such, should receive regular senior wellness visits. These visits can help pets stay healthier and improve their quality of life as they age. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, less than 15% of people get senior checkups for their pets. Are you one of these few?


Slowing down and gaining or losing weight are normal signs of aging.
A) True B) False
Which pets benefit most from regular wellness exams?
A) All pets benefit B) Puppies and kittens
C) Senior pets D) Adult pets
Which of the following signs could indicate a potential problem in a senior pet?
A) Lumps or bumps B) Abnormal odors
C) Weight loss D) All of the above
What kind of exercise might be appropriate for a healthy senior pet?
A) Swimming B) Jogging
C) Long walks on the beach D) Hiking


Answer Key:
1. B. Sort of. Sudden changes in weight or energy level could indicate a medical problem. But even if the change is gradual, there may be treatments that can help your pet feel better as he or she ages.
2. A. Medical problems can happen at any age, so all pets benefit from routine wellness exams—even seniors that appear to be perfectly healthy.
3. D. Signs of illness can be subtle, so call us if you notice any of these.
4. Gotcha! It’s all of the above. If your senior pet is in good overall health, any of these activities could be appropriate. A wellness visit is a great opportunity to assess your pet’s health and discuss which exercises might benefit him or her most. If you haven’t talked to us about safe exercises for your senior pet, do it today!
As pets age, their bodies become less able to cope with physical and environmental stress. Since pets are very good at hiding signs of illness, health problems may seem to appear suddenly when, in fact, they have been gradually worsening over a period of months—or even years.

Just as with people, it’s important for pets to see their doctors more often as they age. A thorough senior wellness exam is designed to recognize and control known health risks for older pets and to detect signs of disease as early as possible, when there may be more options for treatment or control.

Call your vet to schedule a wellness appointment that can help your pets live the longest and healthiest lives’ possible.

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Pet Emergency; are you ready to act?

Would you know what to do when your pet needs you most?
(Lisa Faust; RMSAAM PetTech CPR instructor) Would you know what to do when your pet needs you most?

As pet owners and animal practitioners it is our duty to make the lives of animals better. As your knowledge in animal care advances, are sure you have the information and skills to be ready in an emergency? Have you kept pace with the changing needs of the aging animals in your life or practice? Would you know what to do when your pet/client needs you most?

Younger dogs are curious, active and quick, all the while doing some really silly things like swallowing a pair of your knee high stockings; would you know what to do? Or the car is leaking anti-freeze and your dog runs in the garage and rapidly laps up the spill. Now what?

What about emergency pet care, are you prepared? Do you have a Starter First Aid Kit for your pet along with a muzzle for YOUR safety? What about your Senior Pet-izen™, elder pets require a different level of care; do you know those signs, symptoms, and risk factors?

What about ongoing dental care for your pets, things you can do regularly to avoid expensive dental surgeries and tooth loss. Just like us, if the mouth is filthy, and not cleaned up regularly gum disease and tooth-loss occur. Periodontal disease causes more problems than tooth pain. Four-legged’s with unchecked gum infection may be at a higher threat for heart, kidney, and liver disease.

Join certified PetSaver™ Instructor Lisa Faust for an eight-hour course covering the following topics, on September 9th! Click here to register.

  • Restraining and Muzzling – any pet that is in pain or is going to be moved into pain can and will bite.
  • Primary Assessment – in the first 15-25 seconds of you being on the scene you will know what to do and what actions to take.
  • Rescue Breathing – the pet has a heartbeat and is not breathing.
  • Canine and Feline CPR – the pet has no heart beat and is not breathing.
  • Choking Management – conscious choking, unconscious choking (witnessed and found).
  • Bleeding and Shock Management – restraint, muzzle, elevation, direct pressure, pressure points, immobilization, shock management, and transportation.
  • Snout-to-Tail Assessment for Injury and Wellness – a deliberate and systematic assessment from the snout to the tail of the pet with intent and purpose, looking for any injuries the pet does not present to you; or for wellness to create a base-line for your pet’s health.
  • Assessing the pet’s vitals – if you know what is normal for your pet you will be able to quickly recognize when your pet is presenting not-normal.
  • Pet First Aid Contents – equipment and supplies for putting together your own first aid kit for your pet.
  • Insect Bites and Stings and Snakebite – definition, causes, signs, and actions for survival.
  • Heat and Cold Injuries – definition, causes, signs, and actions for survival.
  • Seizure – definition, causes, signs, and actions for survival.
  • Caring for your Senior Pet – Senior Pet-izen care, signs and symptoms, risk factors, and euthanasia.

RMSAAM Welcomes New Staff Members!

"There is definitely something to be said about living and working away from the hustle and bustle, of city life!"
“There is definitely something to be said about living and working away from the hustle and bustle, of city life!”

Contributed by Hayley Pierce, and Theresa Gagnon.

City Girl, to Country Girl… Greetings!  My name is Hayley Pierce, and I have recently joined the team at RMSAAM as Receptionist and Administrative Assistant, which without a doubt, is a wonderful opportunity I have encountered! My professional background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, which gives me the skills to be a great asset to the team.  I am looking forward to contributing to the RMSAAM blog!

A Student recently commented to me earlier this week, how lucky I am to have a job working out in the countryside!  Originally from a busy town in Hampshire, England, I moved to the states nearly eight years ago, and settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  My husband had another great opportunity with his profession that prompted a move to Colorado, so here we are!

My friends and family back in England would not believe the transition, but there is definitely something to be said about living and working away from the hustle, and bustle, of city life!  My husband and four children, Hanna; 20, Jamie; 19, Tamara; 11, and last but not least, Yazmin; 9, moved to Colorado a year ago.  In that time, we have acquired a horse, a cat, and most recently rescued two lovely Belgian Malinois: Logan, and Levi.  Needless to say, I am in the right place if the instructors need extra, not to mention very willing, volunteers for massages during the hands-on portion of the class!


Theresa decided it was time to do what she loved best; go back out into the field and work directly with animals.
Theresa decided it was time to do what she loved best; go back out into the field and work directly with animals.

Theresa Gagnon has been involved with animals her whole life. Dogs, cats, and horses, have always been part of her life. After holding a “real job” in computer management and programming for many years, she was drawn back to working with animals. She started working as a veterinary assistant, and then went on to obtain her Certification in Veterinary Technology and began teaching at the college level in the Becker College Veterinary Technology program in Massachusetts. When one of her horses had an odd front end lameness that veterinarians and farriers were unable to fix, she turned to massage. One short massage session to the shoulder, completely took care of the problem.

Theresa then turned to Jack Meagher and took his workshops. Drawing on her passion for anatomy, and Jack’s books, and workshops, she continued to work on her own horses. In 2003, she was asked to collaborate with the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy to create a curriculum for a Canine Massage Program. Once this was established, the Equine Massage Program was then created.

Theresa also enrolled in Bancroft’s human massage program and became a licensed human massage therapist. She continued to take classes in many modalities to hone her bodywork skills, and used her animal anatomy knowledge to bring those new skills to the animal world.

While at Bancroft, Theresa met Amy Snow, and Nancy Zidonis, of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, and was asked to be part of a group that eventually became The National Board of Certification Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). After several years of working Bancroft and being on the board, Theresa decided it was time to do what she loved best; go back out into the field and work directly with animals. She partnered with a former student, Jodi Clark, and they formed Mending Fences Animal Wellness, LLC.  Theresa’s move to Colorado last year, worked out well for both RMSAAM, and Theresa! RMSAAM is proud to have her teaching their programs!

RMSAAM welcomes you Theresa, and Hayley, as part of the team! We’re happy to have you both on board!


Spring is Here, Stop Hibernating, and Let’s Not Get Angry!

A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility, arthritis and eye problems.
A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility, arthritis and eye problems.


by Beth Pelosa (RMSAAM Animal Acupressure Level 1, and Level 2 instructor.)

Spring is a happy time. The spring grass is emerging, and the animals love the return of longer days of sunshine, and warmth of the spring air. But according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, being angry is exactly what we can expect of our animals if we don’t balance their Wood element.

In TCM, spring is represented by the wood element.  Wood represents birth and newness. Wood governs the spine, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, and the eyes.  A wood imbalance can lead to spinal problems, poor flexibility, arthritis and eye problems.

But most important for the emotions, wood governs the liver.  The Liver meridian is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) and smooth flowing Qi means health and vitality.  The emotion associated with the liver, and the wind of spring, is Anger.  If your animal’s liver is imbalanced their Qi will be disrupted and they can become irritable and even angry.

A spring acupuncture practice of balancing the wood element and caring for your liver will make for a happier and healthier spring! So spring into action and give yourself, your animals, and your clients’ animals a Spring Acupressure Session.

Massage the following points clockwise with your thumb, for thirty seconds on the right of  side of the animal, and then do the same on the left.

  • Liv3 , the Source Point of the Liver Meridian, to promote the smooth flow of Qi,  and balance the emotions.
  • LI11, to help support the immune system. Extremely, helpful for animals with allergies.
  • Sp6, Three Yin meeting to promote Yin energy, and balance Kidney, Liver, and Spleen.

In addition, this is the time to increase our animal’s activity. Your animals need to come out of hibernation. Walk your dogs more often. If your horses have been off work all winter, start doing your ground work, and light riding. The increase in activity will be helpful for them, and you!

Do not perform acupressure on pregnant animals. Acupressure is not a substitute for veterinary medicine.

How’s the Weather?

“Nothing burns like the cold.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (Image:
“Nothing burns like the cold.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (Image:

by Sandi Martinez

Cold causes things to slow down and contract, which can make us even colder. This can typically show up in winter as poor circulation, aches and pains, asthma, arthritis or colitis. Winter is the season related to the water element and the organs associated are the Kidneys and Bladder; both are sensitive to cold. The Kidneys are considered to be the gate of life, storing our essence, regulating reproduction and development, fluid distribution and our longevity is directly related to the health of our Kidneys. It’s impossible to be too good to the Kidneys in Chinese medicine, and supporting them becomes very important as we, and our pets, get older.

Winter is the season of retreat and rest, when the Yin is now dominant and Yang energy moves inward. The trees have lost their leaves; the animals hibernate through the long and dark winter months. Winter is a time of stillness and silence, amplifying sound. The ability to listen clearly at this time of year is at its sharpest… not through conversation, but listening to your own body and intuitively heeding its needs, in addition to having a deeper understanding of yourself and others.

The same applies to your animal companions. Though they look out at the world through silence, and conversations are minimal, but to the point, they hear the things we don’t. On stormy or windy days, we are likely to stay indoors, but our pets may not necessarily want to do the same thing! The body qi (life energy) needs to be conserved by staying warm; avoid getting hot. Be sure not to sit too close to an open fire; avoid sweating when taking hot baths or showers, because the pores of the skin open and yang qi is easily gets lost.

Giving your pet regular Acupressure treatments during the winter months is essential to their well-being and keeping up general good health maintenance, producing the following benefits:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Release emotional blockages
  • Strengthen muscles, tendons, joints, and bones
  • Relieves muscle spasms
  • Replenish the animal’s physical and emotional energy
  • Release endorphins necessary to increase energy or relieve pain
  • Balance energy to optimize the body’s natural ability to heal
  • Release natural cortisone to reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Enhance mental clarity and calmness required for focus in training and performance
  • Resolve injuries more readily by increasing the blood supply and removing toxins

In these final chilly months before spring, keep your animals warm and comfortable, feed them well, and do the same for yourself!

The Three Vital Treasures

A healthy individual will keep all aspects of our being: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, balanced. (Photo:
A healthy individual will keep all aspects of our being: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, balanced. (Photo:


by Sandi Martinez

In December of 2012, I successfully completed my Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine course from RMSAAM! Some of you may remember previous entries in which I was challenged not only in making time to study, but also, the challenge in learning what I was studying. This was not only a comprehensive course, but a fun one – alas, my determination to work through the loneliness of this correspondence course! Once I got past the ‘lonely’ part, I stopped grumbling, and looked for fun and effective ways to study, and absorb the material.

For over 5,000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has observed how human conditions are related to nature. Three vital essences, Jing, Qi, and Shen, are said to be life force components that make up the substance and functions of the body and mind. The vital essences or, three vital treasures, are responsible for carrying out every manifestation of our lives. The balance or imbalance of these directly affects the state of our health.

Jing, is considered DNA, genes, and heredity, in the Western world. It is a substantive essence we are born with; the basic material in each cell. Jing’s substance is composed of blood and fluid.

Qi, (pronounced: chee) is known as vital energy, or life force. When this energy is free-flowing and unrestricted, it reflects as a body full of health. This energy flows through meridians. Qi and blood are closely related. It is said, ‘wherever the qi goes, the blood will follow’. In addition fluids (Saliva, tears, joint fluid, lymph, urine, and central nervous system fluids), are also considered one of the vital essences.

Shen, is the spirit and the psyche of the body. It encompasses our emotional well-being, our thoughts, and beliefs. When qi enters the heart meridian, part of it turns to shen. It helps to guide our survival instincts, allowing us to express love, caring, and compassion; keeping our hearts calm.

A healthy individual will keep all aspects of our being: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, balanced. Emotions can and do affect the physical body.  Our animal friends most certainly are affected in the same way. Extreme anger can adversely affect the liver, causing pain in the rib cage, such as a continuously chained dog, who then constantly barks at passersby. Too much worrying can affect the spleen, (perhaps like a dog that worries about pleasing her human). And finally, too much fear can adversely affect the kidney, such as a cat that is petrified by loud noises, or sudden movements, caused by too many screaming children.

Will I be considering taking the Energy Meridian Pathways course next? You betcha!

References: Four Paws Five Directions, by Cheryl Schwartz, DVM.