Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Animals

As far back as anyone can remember, animals have been a central part of Christmas celebrations.   These animals have been instrumental in the development of the stories of the holiday and date back all the way to the origin and birth of Christianity. The creatures of old—the camel and the owl for example—are not very common in present-day festivities.  Some of the newer generation of Christmas animals that revolve primarily around myths and newer periods of celebration include the reindeer and polar bears.  The miniatures of these animals are hung on the Christmas tree according to their significance. Read on to know more on the animals associated with the joyous festival of Christmas.

Reindeer are symbolic of good fortune and joy in abundance. They are happy creatures, who are most closely associated with Santa Claus.  Reindeer are one of the first beasts of provision - meaning the first upon humankind relied for food, supplies, warm clothing, and tools. This puts the Reindeer on high status - worthy of honoring - and so it is an animal of nobility, worthiness and is symbolic of continuance.   

Camels and Donkeys
These are the “go-to” animals of the Christmas story; it is said that they brought the three Magi to the birth scene of Jesus Christ. The donkey is believed to have carried Mary and baby Jesus into Bethlehem which is why it is of religious importance and is directly linked to Christmas today.

Sheep are an integral part of the Nativity Scene and are also popular animals associated with renewal, purification and compassion.  Sheep are used as decorative items on the tree as a symbol of loyalty and devotion.

Many Scandinavians, as well as Americans of Nordic descent, include the figure of a Yule goat as a prominent Christmas decoration. It is also used as food in some Christmas feasts.  And still other communities set up straw goats during Christmas as a part of historical tradition.

Birds such as the robin, the wren, penguins and doves are all linked with Christmas. Most of the time, these birds come in the form of traditional Christmas motifs and are mentioned in the Bible. The turtle dove is also mentioned in the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Birds are popular Christmas decorations for the house, the tree, etc., and often symbolize the coming of good news and family happiness.

There will never be an exact count of how many animals are associated with Christmas. A few of the other animals such as dogs, bees, pigs and cows are all believed to have a direct relationship to the holiday.  At the end of the day, personal belief and cultural preference are all-important to the celebration. 

Diagnostic Imaging Systems wishes you holiday cheer and a happy new year...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Olive Oil for Dogs

An awesome addition to your pooch’s diet, olive oil packs a nutritious one-two punch. Ever wonder why?  Here are just a few reasons to share with your canine buddy. 

When it comes to homeopathic remedies for dogs, there are a variety of “people foods” that can provide some valuable benefits. A superstar in the category is olive oil – a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids (aka healthy fat). We know that it’s great for humans, but what can olive oil do for dogs? Here are a few fabulous benefits.   

It Boosts General Health

In addition to providing specific benefits for your dog’s brain and immune system (see below), olive oil can help to boost Fido’s overall health. Olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats which can reduce your dog’s risk for heart disease and diabetes. And it’s loaded with oleic acid, a compound that has been shown to reduce the risk for cancer.

It Defends the Immune System

In addition to moisturizing your dog’s skin and coat, olive oil can be beneficial for his immune system. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols and carotenoids which have been demonstrated to improve immune system health. A strong immune system will give your dog a better chance of fighting off infection.  A robust immune system is important in transitioning from one season to the next.  Like you, dogs can get sick when the weather changes, so add a little olive oil to prepare him/her for the transition. 

It’s a Brain Food

You’ve already learned that olive oil is rich in antioxidants, but you may not realize just how important antioxidants are for your dog’s health (yours, too!). A number of animal research studies have confirmed a link between olive oil and brain health. In one study oleocanthal, a type of polyphenol found in olives (and extra virgin olive oil), was linked to risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve read that Mediterranean-style diets continue to be linked to lower levels of dementia in humans.  It would seem that adding olive oil to your dog’s diet can help to protect his brain from cognitive decline. This is especially important for senior dogs.   

It’s a Beauty Treatment

Fancy (aka overpriced) pet shampoos and conditioners are not a sure-cure for dry, flaky skin.  The answer may be the addition of a bit of olive oil to your dog’s diet.   Olive oil is rich in Vitamin E and other antioxidants, and it is a good source of natural chemicals (phytonutrients) that protect against germs. Pet owners have reported seeing improvements in their dogs in as little as one week!  And by continuing to add omega-3 fatty acids rich olive oil, you may just keep that flaky skin at bay.  Check with the veterinarian to see what the proper amount should be.  

Now you know the benefits of this kitchen staple.  Just a little bit in your dog’s diet may contribute to your pet’s health, happiness, and mental well-being—a part of your family for many years to come. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Why You Should Consider a Barn Cat

The farm cat, also known as a barn cat, is a domestic cat, usually of mixed breed, that lives primarily out-of-doors, in a feral or semi-feral condition on agricultural properties, usually sheltering in outbuildings.

Have you seen stray cats hanging around the barn or home?  Wish they’d go away?  Don’t be so sure they can’t lend a helping paw.  Here’s what we’ve observed of our feline farm friends…

  • Cats make the barn a happier place.  Cats make people happy. Perhaps it’s the fact that they live their own independent lives.  Or the fact that they seem to know just when you need your leg rubbed.
  • They eat bugs.  It’s a hunting thing.  Like it or not, cats enjoy the hunt and the kill.
  •  They are gold medal-winning exterminators.  Indoors and outdoors, you can count on a cat to keep rodents from feed bins, garbage cans, etc. Obviously, the humans must do their best to fend off these pests (covers, metal bins, traps, etc.).  But sadly, that probably won’t do the trick at keeping them away for good. This is where having a barn cat around comes in handy.

You’ll just need to keep a couple of cats around your property, and you’ll likely find that your rodent population will begin to decline.

  • They save money.  Sure you’ll need to feed them and provide proper care.  But consider this, for each bug or rodent they discourage…it’s one less pest consuming your feed.  Feed or human food—it’s all expensive.  The cost of keeping a barn cat healthy is small compared to the cost of the food.
  • They make great friends.  Maybe not always for the humans, but they make great animal companions, depending on their temperament.  There are pictures across the internet of dogs and cats, goats and cats, pigs and cats, etc.  Consider it a bonus to a barn cat.
  • They are low maintenance.  Barn cats are low maintenance.  They require a few shots to keep them disease free. And perhaps some nutritious food.   They need very little and usually give a whole lot back. So you don’t get a whole lot lower maintenance than keeping cats around your barn.
  • They are orphans who need a home.    Most barn cats are strays or orphaned cats that have nowhere else to live. Yet, if you give them a home in your barn or around your home, you give them a purpose.  And it’s an amazing thing to watch this animal grow and thrive as a productive member of your farm.  


There are a number of organizations with programs detailing feral cat adoption and barn cat training.  Check with your local vet, animal society or rescue organization for more details.