Archive for January, 2012

1      The immune system is actually composed of two subsystems that work in tandem to provide protection against infectionand disease: The Innate immune system and the Adaptive immune system

2     The brain is the only organ that is not considered to be part of the immune system

 3      Feet are the only part of the body that do not contain lymph nodes, small oval-shaped organs that are found throughout the  body and act as a filter to trap foreign particles.

 4     Allergies occur when the immune system goes into a type of hyper-overdrive causing it to react to otherwiseharmless substances such as dust, pollen and food proteins

5      The spleen is the largest lymphoid structure and it is where red blood cells are filtered and old blood cells are destroyed

6     Monocytes are a type of white blood cell found in the lymph nodes, the spleen and in bone marrow.  They protect the body by ingesting harmful foreign particles, bacteria and dead or dying cells.

7      The Adaptive immune system has the ability to ‘remember’ past exposure to specific pathogens and it is this memory  that allows vaccines to work

8      The Innate immune system is composed of the skin, cells lining the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract  and certain white blood cells.  This system acts as the first line of defense helping to prevent foreign particles from entering the body

9      Puppies require multiple vaccine boosters when they are young because they still have protection from their mother antibodies that interfere with the body’s ability to recognize and react to the vaccine antibodies.  As the mother’s protection wanes the vaccine boosters fill in the gaps in immunity

10     Contrary to popular belief, it is the proteins in the diet that most dogs are allergic to (ie, chicken, pork, lamb) and not corn or wheat.  Changing to a diet that contains a novel protein source, such as venison or duck, can be beneficial as can feeding a diet composed of hydrolyzed proteins (protein molecules are chemically broken down so that they are too small to activate the immune receptors)

Fun Trivia: Immune System (http://www.funtrivia.com/en/SciTech/Immune-System-5785.html)

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Our pet’s immune system is the only defence they have against the multitude of bacteria and viruses we share the planet with. Though we might take it for granted, it is always there: protecting and defending our pets and keeping them out of harms way.

While most of us are familiar with what is referred to as the Adaptive immune system, it is the Innate immune system that is now drawing the attention of the biology community.

For years, the health care industry has focused on helping the Adaptive immune system through the invention of such things as vaccines. The aim of vaccination is to prepare the body for attack so that when a challenge is encountered the Adaptive immune system is ready to defend the body. What we now know is that underlying the Adaptive immune system of all life forms there exists another plane of immunity referred to as the Innate Immune System.


In our pets, as well as in ourselves, the Innate immune system is made up of:

Organs such as the skin
Cells found in stomach acid
The respiratory lining and
Monocytes & macrophages (types of white blood cells).

When this system is strong and healthy your pet is strong and healthy as well.

But when the system fails it puts your pet at risk of infection, inflammation and disease.


The Adaptive immune system is responsible for mounting a highly specific response against perceived threats and it is this system that kicks into action when your dog or cat is exposed to harmful viruses and bacteria. This is also the system responsible for creating specific antibodies when your pet receives their routine vaccines. The Innate immune system, on the other hand, works behind-the-scenes to provide your pet with overall protection against environmental stressors.


Unlike the Adaptive immune system, which can recognize and adapt to repeated exposure, the Innate immune system is more of a passive, nonspecific system designed to keep most harmful things out of the body.

It is the first line of defence and without it the Adaptive immune system begins to fatigue and suffer which can lead to the development of disorders of the skin, digestive and respiratory tract.

Surprisingly, all organisms, from trees to bacteria to mammals, have an Innate immune system of some kind. In bacteria it is the cell wall, in mammals such as dogs, cats and humans it is composed of our skin, the acid in our stomachs, the mucous in the respiratory system, and special chemicals found in the saliva. Even trees have what could be considered an Innate defence system; their bark!

Innate immunity, though less sophisticated, is critical to your pet’s survival, providing a more passive form of immunity, preparing the Adaptive immune system for battle and keeping invading attackers at bay.


Think of your pet’s body like a dance club.

If the Adaptive immune system is the security guards inside the club than the Innate immune system is the bouncer at the door turning away all kinds of riff-raff and keeping the club safe and secure.

While stocking the club with many security guards will do the trick and help kick out unwanted visitors,doesn’t it make more sense to invest in a bigger and better bouncer to stop the intruders from even making it past the door?


Both the Innate and the Adaptive immune systems complement each other perfectly and, when healthy, help provide our pets with a strong defence against infection and disease. Your pet’s immunity is critical to his or her overall health and well-being! Without it your pet would be unable to defend itself against the multitude of bacteria and viruses that exist in the environment.

Supplements that aim to strengthen the Innate immune system help keep your pet safe by stopping pathogens before they even have a chance to enter the body.


• The Innate system provides the body with its first line of defence, keeping pathogens from entering the body.

• If the Innate system is successful, the invading pathogen is stopped and the body remains healthy.

• If the Innate system fails to stop the pathogen then the Adaptive system is activated to rid the body of the offending invader.

• The Adaptive system retains a memory of the invading pathogen so that any subsequent exposure to the same invader will be recognized allowing body to mount a greater and faster response thus preventing the disease from recurring.

• If both the Innate and Adaptive systems fail to destroy the pathogen then illness can occur.


What do you do to help keep your pet’s immune system strong?

1. The Immune System by Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc, Veterinary Services Department; Holly Nash, DVM, MS (http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2083&aid=957)
2. Immunolgoy – Chapter One: Innate (Non-specific) Immunity by Gene Mayer, Ph.D, Microbiology and Immunology On-line, University of South Carolina School of Medicine (http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/ghaffar/Innate.htm)

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1. OxC-beta, is a novel, intellectual property protected complex formed when beta‐carotene spontaneously and fully reacts with oxygen.

2. OxC-beta contains NO Vitamin A and NO beta-carotene

3. The OxC-beta beta‐carotene oxidation products have existed naturally in the plant world for many millions of years and their wide dispersal inevitably involves continual, everyday exposure of animals via nutritional or respiratory means.

4. The implied safety of the long history of exposure to beta‐carotene oxidation products in OxC‐beta is supported by safety testing carried out in animals by Chemaphor (Avivagen’s parent company).

5. OxC‐beta has been found to display a unique combination of immunological properties, notably, priming of innate immune function, the first line of defence, especially under situations of stress, while being able to limit inflammatory conditions.

6. Benefits of OxC-beta supplementation in dogs include major improvements in coat behaviour and quality, and, in older dogs, revivals in mobility, energy levels and interest in activities. 

7. Trials with swine and poultry have shown that low parts‐per‐million levels of OxC‐beta in feed produce results comparable to those of a conventional antibiotic.

8. A proof of concept study in rainbow trout has shown OxC‐beta incorporated into feed enhances innate immunity by increasing the respiratory burst and bactericidal activity of leukocytes.

9. OxC‐beta itself has no antimicrobial activity but may increase expression of immune receptors for a more rapid and adequate response to incipient bacterial infections, which, together with any effect upon existing inflammatory conditions, could help reduce any energy‐sapping, growth‐inhibiting side effects of these situations.

10. OxC‐beta is functionally and cost‐competitive with in‐feed antibiotics and therefore a strong candidate for consideration as an alternative in the low‐risk veterinary health product category.

11. OxC-beta supports a normal and healthy inflammatory response by promoting balance between mechanisms involved in triggering inflammation and those involved in resolving it

12. OxC-beta increases the abundance of “good” bacteria in the intestines which promotes a healthy gut; this is called a “pre-biotic” effect

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What if  you could give your dog the tools he/she needed to live better?

At any given moment, your body (and your pets, for that matter) is exposed to millions of infectious agents. And yet, most of the time, we are able to resist these infections because of our immune system.

Under normal circumstances our immune system does a fairly good job protecting us. Aside from the occasional cold or flu virus, most immune systems are able to keep the body relatively well protected.

So what happens when the immune system is not working as well as it should?

Increased susceptibility to disease and infection is the obvious side effect of a compromised immune system.

But what about inflammatory skin conditions?

Or degenerative joint diseases?

Inflammatory conditions such as dermatitis and arthritis can be the result of a poorly functioning immune system

More and more we are seeing pets afflicted by the similar immune-related disorders that humans have been struggling with for decades.

From dermatitis to arthritis, it is clear that our environment and poor eating habits are beginning to take a toll on our pets’ immune health.


What do you do to keep your pet’s immune system strong?

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Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2012!

We all know that the New Year is traditionally a time to reflect on the past and set a course for the days ahead. But what is it about a new calendar year that prompts us to make impossible resolutions to try to obtain goals that we were unable to achieve in the previous 365 days?

Let’s face it; whether it’s a pledge to eat better or exercise more, we all know that statistically most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within the first few weeks of the New Year. So why do we feel the need to torture ourselves this way?? If you’re anything like me you don’t really buy into the whole ‘New Year Resolutions’ business in the first place.

As someone who lives and breathes marketing I am smart enough to know that most resolutions are the result of clever advertising tactics that target our self-esteem and attempt to convince us that there are aspects of ourselves that should be changed.

That’s why this year I challenge you to not make any New Year’s Resolutions.
Instead, why not just resolve to be the best “you” possible?

Whether that involves improving your overall health or making more time for family and friends, simply aim to live your life in such a way that you are true to yourself. This way, any goal you then achieve will be contributing to your greater journey!

All of us here at Avivagen are truly excited about the days ahead and we look forward to sharing in your 2012 journey and making you a part of ours.

May your New Year will be filled with health, happiness and, above all, JOY!




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