Spike in Dogs with Mystery Illness – Can Turmeric Help?
With reports of a high number of dogs falling ill with a mystery gastroenteritis type illness following walks on the North East coast, dog owners have been advised to look out for symptoms.
Veterinary practices have seen an influx of dogs presenting with sickness and diarrhoea particularly in parts of Yorkshire and most often after having enjoyed a walk on the beach.
Although it is not uncommon to see a rise in cases of seasonal illness in dogs at this time of year the recent spike in cases does seem unusual.
As dogs return to their normal daily walk, the virus has spread inland which has led to vets advising owners to limit the amount of contact their dog has with others.
What is causing the mystery illness in dogs?
There has yet to be an identified cause of the illness that has become quite widespread and although the common factor seems to be a walk on a beach there is yet to be enough evidence to suggest a direct link.
Although the mystery illness is distressing for both the dogs and their owners, thankfully most appear to recover well.
Can turmeric help?
Dr Tom Shurlock explains how turmeric can help the body’s response when fighting off a virus.
Viruses are one of the 5 Kingdoms of life. As such they are intrinsically different from bacteria. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not free-living and must exist within their host cells where they reproduce by using RNA before erupting and infesting neighbouring cells. Living within cells within cells, they are shielded from large molecules and this is the reason antibiotics are ineffective against them.
However, the host’s defence to viruses is very similar to that of bacteria or any other pathogen. Initially there is a physical barrier against pathogens which, when transgressed, stimulates an immune response. This is an interaction between oxidative stress, inflammation and the release of a whole range of regulating factors – cytokines, interleukins, tumour necrosis etc. The role of this blanket release is to isolate and contain the threat whilst the body engineers a remedy.
Bioactives, present in plants like turmeric help support this mechanism through the antioxidative impact on oxidative stress. This mechanism, as mentioned is common to bacteria and viruses, but is effective by supporting the immune system. There is, however, another route, specific for viruses.
The essential oils of medicinal plants, including turmeric are actually terpenoids. Those in turmeric are known as the turmerones. Terpenoids have been shown to inhibit viral protein enzymes and act through gene expression. Laboratory data has shown that turmeric can antagonise viral attachment and reduce viability by 90%.
Bioactive compounds are not medicines and do not claim to cure viral conditions. But, because of their powerful antioxidative effects, interaction with viral biochemistry and supports major roles in the immune system, turmeric based products can help the body’s response.