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So What is Kefir?

Posted By Dr. Harvey

A follow up to Waldo’s Story.

We have had a wonderful response to Waldo’s story (Read Waldo’s Story below) and wanted to give you more information on Kefir. So as promised, here it is.

Image DescriptionKefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains some 2000 years ago. This mountainous region is known for its extraordinary human longevity. Some researchers attribute the longevity phenomenon to the use of this wonderful fermented drink. Kefir, which means ‘feel good" in Turkish, is an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly bacteria that help balance intestinal flora which in turn helps to maintain optimal health and strengthen immunity. It is prepared by adding Kefir grains to cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. It is often called a liquid yoghurt, but is actually a *cousin to yoghurt and contains different types of good bacteria.

Health Benefits Abound

The numerous health benefits derived by drinking Kefir are now well documented. Humans as well as animals can experience improvement in overall health by using this ancient drink.
Kefir contains beneficial yeast as well as the friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. When used regularly, the naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in Kefir combine to help balance intestinal flora and boost immunity. Kefir is known for its ability to improve the immune system, can produce a relaxing effect on on the nervous system and can provide a healthy digestive system.

Using Kefir Following the Use of Antibiotics

The use of antibiotics can destroy the balance of the good bacteria in the intestine, this can cause a decline in overall good health in humans and animals. Using Kefir after a course of antibiotics can help to reestablish the correct intestinal balance. I have seen dogs and cats in very weakened conditions improve dramatically with the addition of a small amount of Kefir to their daily diet.

Full of Good Nutrition For the Nervous System

The exceptional nutritional content of Kefir offers a wealth of healthy benefits to people and animals in every type of condition. More than just beneficial bacteria, Kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with its natural healing powers.
Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in Kefir, is well-known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Kefir also contains calcium and magnesium both of which are critical for a healthy nervous system Kefir in the diet can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves.

Lots of Vitamins and Enzymes

Kefir is also rich in vitamin B12, B1, and vitamin K, Kefir is an excellent source of biotin, a B vitamin which aids the body’s absorption of other B vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The many advantages of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the normal function of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping promote healthy looking skin, boosting energy and promoting longevity.

Good for Puppies and Kittens

Mature dogs and cats will benefit from Kefir in their diet. In addition,just a small amount of plain Kefir is wonderful for puppies and kittens and will help to establish a good intestinal balance at very young age, which will be beneficial for healthy growth. Most animals love the taste of Kefir and consider it as a treat.

Easy to Use

Image DescriptionKefir can be found in most health food stores and is sometimes available in conventional supermarkets. It can also be prepared at home. It is actually quite easy to prepare. Starter Kefir grains can be purchased in many places, including many online sources.
The grains look like cauliflower and are added to milk to cause the fermentation and create Kefir.

For Humans

Kefir has a tangy and refreshing taste that is great alone or with fruit and can be used as a base as a truly healthy smoothie. It can be taken daily and is tolerated well by most people.

More Information

There is a good deal of information to be found on the internet about this terrific superfood. I encourage you all to read more and give it a try for your companions and for yourself.

Some Helpful Links

Mercola Health

Lifeway Foods

Dr. Weil

How to Make Kefir

All About Kefir

Where's Waldo? - Home-Safe and Healthy- Using Kefir

Posted By The Staff of Dr. Harvey's

Another Truly Amazing Rescue Story

In one month we have two amazing stories about Boxer rescue.
These pictures are so amazing we wanted everyone to see them. We thank Lisa for sharing Waldo’s story. We also thought you should all know about Kefir.
Lisa refers to this great fermented product as Kefir yoghurt, but it is actually not yoghurt. While there are certain similarities, they are different products. We will write a separate blog post very soon that will explore the tremendous benefits of this little known superfood.

But for the moment, please read and enjoy this heartwarming story of rescue. Discover how health can be found with love and a combination of natural and traditional healing.

Waldo’s Story

My family and I were ready to adopt another Boxer. Friends of mine, in the rescue group we volunteer with, Second Chance Boxer Rescue called to say they transported a beautiful brindle boy. They thought he may be a perfect match for our family. They stressed that this poor guy was in need of some serious tender, love, and care. He lived most of the first year of his life in a garage and outside. Considering he had just turned one, I am sure it had been a long year for him. I thought it was best for me to meet this poor boy first so I could gauge his personality before introducing him to our 6 1/2 year old, 82 pound Boxer girl at home.

My First Reaction was to Cry

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Doing rescue work for 5 years, I have seen and transported some really sad situations. My first reaction to Waldo was to cry. This poor boy was very neglected. He had a very serious case of Mange. This happens to young dogs that have not fully formed their immune system. Therefore, they cannot fight this off. It is a mite that lives under the skin. Mainly this comes from being stressed out (locked in a garage or outside) , poor diet and or lack of food. At no time would any true animal lover allow their dog to get to the point this poor guy was.

" I Gave Him a Hug and Told Him He Was Beautiful"

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Waldo basically had some hair only on his neck area and face. Every other section of his body was hairless. Either gray skin where brindle fur should have been or an obvious hot pink skin where white fur should have. I got myself together (holding back those much wanted tears) and gave him a hug and told him how beautiful he was. Being a true Boxer lover I saw beyond the pink exposed skin. As soon as I looked into those sad eyes I just knew he was meant to come into my home. Having done volunteer work with my rescue group, I knew it was even more important to take in a boxer that truly needed a second chance. Keeping in mind that our rescue group had about 15 beautiful, healthy Boxers that would be adopted soon. I knew most people could not see the beauty I saw in this boy. I think most people would of stopped at the hot pink skin. This made me want him more and truly look forward to nursing this boy back to the healthy puppy he should be.

First Thought: Call Dr. Harvey

One of my first calls was to Dr. Harvey. We’ve been friends for about 2 years, ever since he helped my Boxer Abby who was diagnosed with Lymphoma. We were informed that untreated she would be dead in 3 months. Thankfully, with the help of Dr. Harvey, our Abby lived a very happy 9 months from the day she was diagnosed. Having this history with Dr. Harvey, there was no question that he would be the one I called first to help us with this “hairless Boxer”.

What to Do For Mange and More

I explained to him what a horrible case of mange we were up against. This was not the only medical issue Waldo had. He also came with a double ear infection to the point that both ears resembled cauliflower sprouts. You could not even see his ear canals. The daily regimen included: 1 oral syringe of Ivermax daily for mange, (2) antibiotics 2 times a day for infection, Ointment in both ears 2 times a day, and a peroxide bath which needed to stay on him for 10 minutes once a week.

What’s Kefir?

After telling Dr. Harvey all of this he said “well he’s on everything that he needs to be on”. But there is one and only one thing you need to add to his daily feedings and that is Kefir yoghurt. Of course I said what is that and why? Dr. Harvey said it is the best yoghurt one can buy and it is best for the immune system. That was the pups biggest problem. I immediately went out and got Kefir yoghurt and Waldo has been getting this since he’s been with us.


Waldo has been with us for almost 11 weeks. The turn around in this pup’s appearance, personality, and health has been amazing. His ear infections are gone. He’s off the mange medicine. He still requires the antibiotics, but not for much longer. All of his fur is almost completely back. He’s gained almost 7 pounds. Most of all, I am so happy to say, those sad eyes that I originally saw, now sparkle all of the time.

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Special Thank you

Dr. Regan (Squan Animal Hospital) with all of her unconditional devotion and experience to helping Waldo. I have to be honest if it was not for you I really don’t think he would of made it.

Dr. Harvey for his Kefir recommendation as well as his creation of the best dog food on earth Canine Health I know this was also a large part in getting Waldo onto the road of recovery.

Roz and Betty for thinking of us when you both transported Waldo.
Liz for all of your guidance on how to bring a new pup into our home, introduction with Sandy and everything I called you daily for lol!

Gregg for never saying “no” to me when it comes to helping Boxers in need.
Sandy for immediately loving Waldo, understanding his sickness and young age and loving him unconditionally no matter how he looked or smelled!

This is an amazing story that needed to be told.

Lisa Olivera

Hope for Champ-My Love with Kidney Failure

Posted By The Team at Dr. Harvey's

We Think It’s Really Important to Share This…

It is startling for us to hear about so many cases of kidney problems in dogs. We have been following Champ and his mom, Judy, and their journey through the difficult time since getting this devastating diagnosis. We wanted to share this here so that other pet parents, who my be struggling with a similar issue, may see that there is hope, even in the most advanced cases. Here is Champ’s story so far…

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Champ Our Beautiful Rescue

Dear Dr. Harvey,
Champ is our five-year-old Golden Retriever who we adopted three years ago. He was rescued from a high kill shelter in South Carolina by a Long Island Humane Society just 24 hours before he was to be euthanized. Champ is a very loving and loyal dog. We have spent many hours roaming the woods and fields during all seasons.

A Shocking Diagnosis

Our medical journey with Champ began on December 20, 2013.

For a few months prior, we had noticed Champ losing some weight. There were also a few days where he did not have much of an appetite. But most days, he was his normal active and energetic self. When I took Champ to his December veterinarian appointment, I was shocked to get the diagnosis of stage 4 kidney failure!

We Were Not Given Much Hope

I was told survival outlook was most likely just weeks. I left Champ overnight at the vet to receive IV fluids. When I picked him up the next day and was given 5 different medications along with a phosphorus binder. They recommended a “prescription diet”. Champ was eating next to nothing at this time.

I Could Not Get Champ to Eat

As soon as I got Champ home I began searching the Internet for information and resources to help me understand this condition. On January 2nd we tried the prescription dog food. I tried cooking for him. It was hit or miss, some days he would eat and some days nothing at all. He always wanted to go for his walks. I don’t know where he got the energy, as he was really not eating!

Finding Dr. Harvey’s-Nothing to Lose

At this time, I came across Canine Health, the all-natural food pre-mix food by Dr. Harvey. There was a website address and toll free number. I had nothing to lose, I sent an e-mail explaining what was happening with Champ and held my breath hoping for a reply.

Speaking to Dr. Harvey

Within an hour, Wendy e-mailed me and said Dr. Harvey wanted to speak with me and to please call. I did right away. I told him everything and he said to start Champ on Kefir right away. I had just ordered the Canine Health-The Miracle Dog Food, was to call him when I received it so he could help me portion what Champ needed.

The Picture Still Looked Bleak

Champ has been eating Canine Health for a few days by now. It did take him a few meals before he started to really eat his food.
Dr. Harvey was guided me on the protein amounts to use in Champ’s food. We decided to decrease the protein a bit to try and bring down his Bun. He also said I needed to get Champ on fluids right away. On Jan. 11th another urinalysis was done. I was told kidney function was very poor there was a lot of protein and bacteria in urine. Again, I was told a very bleak outlook.

Staying Calm

On Jan.20th I spoke with Dr. Harvey again, Champ was not eating as well as he had been. Dr. Harvey told me not to stress, because that would get Champ stressed. Dr. Harvey helped me come up with a new game plan. I asked the vet for Sub Q Fluids to be given at home. My vet suggested 500 ml every other day.

A Little Light-Champ Starts Eating!

By Feb 3rd the urinalysis was much improved. I had taken a sample from Champ first thing that morning by doing a clean catch. *Champ had also gained some weight, up a few pounds thanks to Canine Health! Again, I called Dr. Harvey with results. New game plan, we need to get the Bun down. We cut his daily protein amounts and I began giving 500 ml of Sub Q fluids every day. I continued giving 3600 mg of aluminum hydroxide powder divided among 3 meals per day.

I Am So Thankful

We didn’t change anything else except that Dr. Harvey told me to add one sweet potato per day to Champ’s food. This should help him gain a little more weight. I am so thankful for Dr. Harvey and Wendy. They are always available to help day or night. They genuinely care about our animal companions. I know Champ’s journey is ongoing and I am learning new things every day. It is reassuring to know Dr. Harvey is only a phone call away. He expects me to call after every vet appointment to discuss results. I am thankful for that!

Champ is Doing Great!

Image Description Today Champ is off all meds except phosphorus binder and his Bun is down!

Champ is doing great! He is eating 8 scoops of Canine Health-The Miracle Dog Food per day along with a sweet potato mixed in. He licks his dish clean! I can’t tell you how good it is to see that considering 6 weeks ago we were begging him to eat with little success.

Thank You for Caring

Thank you Dr. Harvey. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. I appreciate the support you offer and the quick response to a phone call or e-mail. Thanks for caring. Judy