21 September 2009

Red Sunflowers are so pretty !

Red Sunflowers, originally uploaded by hardworkinghippy.

18 September 2009

Life after Parvivirus - Didi is recovering well.

Apart from still being a bit tired and still a bit on the thin side, she's almost back to her old self playing with the other dogs.

13 September 2009

Didi comes home from the vets after Parvo - spaced out but OK

One of our miniature Dachshunds, Didi was was very of colour last weekend. She wouldn't eat and looked depressed so on Monday morning we took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with Parvo canine parvovirus.

She spent four days the veterinary hospital where she was on an intevenous drip while the disease ran its course. She's skinny and tired but this weekend she looks much better and we hope she'll be OK.

I've never come across Parvo before - this is the first time any of our dogs have ever been ill but in just a few hours Didi changed from being a bouncy playful little dog always full of energy with a constant "smile" to being tired and although she didn't make any noise she looked as though she was in pain.

While she was at the vet I found out as much as I could about Parvo. It's a viral disease that attacks the lining of the intestinal tract, bone marrow and immune system of dogs. The virus normally causes vomiting (Didi's was a frothy yellow vomit), diarrhoea (usually foul-smelling and often with traces of blood), lethargy, depression, dehydration, high fever/chill and sudden death. Apparently, pups are more vulnerable to Parvo than adult dogs but even fully-vaccinated dogs, can die from Parvo.

Didi was put on a drip because dehydration is often cause of death with the Parvovirus, after the diarrhoea and vomiting. We were very lucky to have called the vet so quickly because without treatment, 80% of dogs who contract the virus die within a few days.

There's some very good information about how dogs can contract the virus and how to identify symptoms and treat infected dogs in the WORKING DOGS site.

In that site I found out that some breeds of dog are more susceptible than others. For some reason, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and other black and tan breeds are especially prone to Parvo, and seem to succumb to parvo faster and with less chance of recovery than any other breed. If you have one of these breeds, it's even more important to make certain your puppy or dog gets immunized properly.

All our dogs have now seen the vet, they have a clean bill of health and their vaccinations are up to date, so let's hope that all's well on the doggy front for some time to come.

9 September 2009

The French government has approved the use of Stevia !

Good news today !

I've taken this information from Food Navigator. More detailed information is available in the link below.

The French government has approved the use of stevia sweeteners with 97 per cent purity rebaudioside A (Reb A), officially opening up the first EU market for products containing the much-anticipated ingredient.

While full EU approval for stevia sweeteners is still dependent on a scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), France has taken advantage of window that allows individual member states to approve ingredients for a limited two year period.

The approval, published yesterday in France’s official journal, has been hotly anticipated by the industry since AFSSA, the French food agency, issued a positive safety opinion earlier this year.

The application for France was made by Greensweet. General manager Joël Perret told FoodNavigator.com: “This is very good news. It is the first opening for this type of ingredient in the EU market”.

The global sweetener market for food use was valued at US$1.83bn in 2007 by Leatherhead Food International. The intense sweeteners market is dominated by aspartame and, to a lesser extent, sucralose. However interest in food ingredients from natural sources has led some to consider that the stevia plant could provide ‘the holy grail’ of sweeteners.

Reb A is one of the major steviol glycosides found in the leaf of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories, making it an attractive option for manufacturers catering to the market for foods and beverages with reduced, low or no sugar.

More information HERE

6 September 2009

Red cabbages are so beautiful