The Doctors go wild with health tips from the animal kingdom! Could toads potentially cure cancer? Can the world's cutest dog help you exercise? Plus, how pigs may help prevent heart attacks, what penguins can teach us about marriage and more!
The Wild World of The Doctors
Animal Programs Director at Columbus Zoo, Suzi Rapp, exhibits an array of different animals and reveals interesting facts about their nature.
See how the palm civet, a small, wide-eyed mammal native to the tropical forests of Asia, is responsible for creating some of the world’s best coffee! Also known as a toddy cat, the palm civet naturally prowls for the tastiest and ripest coffee cherries and utilizes its digestive enzymes to make coffee beans taste less bitter. The indigestible bean inside the fruit is excreted by the palm civet and coffee farmers harvest them to make an exceptionally-smooth blend. Coffee beans fermented inside the civet’s gastrointestinal tract are some of the most expensive in the world.
Legendary “Golden Girl” Betty White asks The Doctors how much exercise her golden retriever needs on a daily basis. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says that 53 percent of dogs are obese. According to the U.K. Kennel Club, puppies need five minutes of exercise for every month of age up to twice a day; for example, a 4-month-old puppy should be getting 20 minutes of physical activity two times daily. The majority of adult dogs should obtain between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise each day.
Special programs in Las Vegas, Nevada, actually offer alternative exercise courses for dogs and their masters, such as yoga and pet-based Pilates!
“Dog owners are actually more likely to walk regularly,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “So, let your dog be that motivation to go out walking.”
When 3-year-old Alida was born prematurely, her parents, Aaron and Debbie, never expected she would have a rare lung condition that affects less than 500 children worldwide. Known as neuroendocrine hyperplasia in infancy (NEHI), the disease causes the cells that transport oxygen into the bloodstream to overproduce. This hyper-production of cells acts like a surplus of filters in the lungs and prohibits air from efficiently passing through all of the cells to saturate the blood.
“She has to be on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Debbie explains.
Worried that Alida’s development would be hindered by carrying an oxygen tank with her everywhere, Debbie and Aaron realized that a service dog was the ideal solution. That’s when Mr. Gibbs, a Golden Retriever and Poodle hybrid, became a part of their family.
“The first play date was just nothing but giggles,” Aaron says. “It was almost like they were best friends from day one.”
“You pick up his work vest and he runs over to put his head through it. He changes from this 2-year-old puppy to work mode. You can see the transformation; it’s quite amazing,” Debbie says. “The first time I saw [Alida] running and playing with the other kids at a birthday party with Mr. Gibbs, it was priceless.”
“We haven’t had him that long but it’s kind of hard to remember what it was like before we had him. He is way more than a dog,” Aaron adds. “He’s responsible for my daughter and that’s a big deal.”
• Learn about the chILD Foundation to help children suffering from NEHI.
Exotic bird expert and entertainer Clint Carvalho and his amazing feathered friends join the show. Learn about birds’ remarkable vision, aerial aptitude and their innate abilities to speak and sing.
“The reason why they can talk is they have what’s called a syrinx, and we have a larynx. We have vocal cords and they have these four muscles in this air sac, where they can constrict it while they’re pushing air across it, to create different types of sounds,” Clint explains.
Swine and Wine
The heart of a pig is anatomically similar in size to the human heart. Studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption in pigs had beneficial effects on their hearts, lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol while reducing the risk of blood clots. In particular, red wine was shown to provide increased protection due to its antioxidant properties. So, go ahead and indulge yourself with a glass of red wine. Just don’t pig out!
Goat's Milk Does a Body Good
Goat’s milk is not only easy to digest and allergen-free, but it also has moisturizing properties that are great for the skin.
For the Jonas family in rural Indiana, goat’s milk has turned into a bustling beauty business. In addition to making soaps, the Jonas family business, Goat Milk Stuff, produces lotions, lip balms, sugar scrubs, soy candles and more.
“About six years ago, I started making soap for my family because I wanted a healthy alternative. I wanted a product that didn’t have a lot of chemicals added to it,” explains P.J. Jonas, mother of eight and co-CEO of Goat Milk Stuff. “Now, we sell it worldwide.”
P.J. explains that essential oils and naturally-derived fragrances are added to some of their products to enhance their functionality. “There are a lot of things in goat milk that naturally occur, things like vitamin A and selenium,” she adds. “All of those things really help your skin and help to nourish it, and keep all the good stuff in.”
Can Toads Fight Cancer?
The giant marine toad, also known as the cane toad, has earned a reputation for being a pest throughout Australia; however, this amphibian may potentially hold the key to fighting off cancer as well as several other medical applications. Cane toads emit a milky toxin as a defense mechanism, which can cause skin irritation in humans and is lethal to domestic animals. This toxin is rumored to be an aphrodisiac in parts of the world, and small doses are believed to promote hair restoration and are even used in surgery to slow heart rate.
Research shows that certain amphibious and reptilian species have a reduced susceptibility to cancer. Some amphibians are being studied for potential cancer treatments. Skin secretions produced by particular frogs and toads contain proteins that inhibit blood vessel growth, which prevents any cancerous masses from forming. In addition, scientists are testing anti-microbial peptides found in frog skin that may work as an antibiotic to fight contagious staph infections like MRSA; however, these peptides are toxic to human cells, so more research needs to be conducted before frog-based antibiotics are ready for clinical trials.