Posts Tagged ‘dog health’

Probiotics for Dogs and Cats

Probiotics: The One Supplement Every Pet Should Be Taking

October 26, 2010

The use of probiotics in mainstream veterinary practices is on the upswing.

Veterinarians are starting to use beneficial bacteria not only to treat their patients with gastrointestinal disorders, but also as immune system support for puppies, kittens and aging pets.

According to Amy Dicke, technical services veterinarian for P&G Pet Care:

“Sixty to 80 percent of the body’s immune system lies in the digestive tract. This means the GI function has influence on the immune system and how it reacts. A healthy GI tract will help an animal fight disease, so keeping this balance of healthy bacteria alive is an important part of overall wellness.”

“Research isn’t readily available to support every potential use of probiotics in animals, but veterinarians should remain open to benefits outside of a diarrhea remedy,” says Susan Wynn, DVM, of Georgia Veterinary Specialists. “Clients will continue to demand probiotics and the industry will continue to find ways to use them.”

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

As you’re aware if you read the full article at the link, mainstream veterinarians and major pet food manufacturers are getting into the probiotics business in a big way.

That’s both good and bad news, from my perspective.

Probiotic Profiteers

I’m happy to see more attention paid to the enormous benefits probiotics can provide to the health and well-being of companion animals.

However, I’m concerned pet food companies will use the growing interest in probiotics by pet owners and veterinarians to create food formulas containing substandard, essentially useless probiotic additives. Then, of course, their marketing people will get busy positioning these ‘new-and-improved’ formulas in such a way that consumers will believe they are providing high quality probiotics conveniently contained in the food they serve their dog or cat.

It’s troubling to know that some of the very pet food giants responsible for the poorest quality diets available – formulas that have largely contributed to the compromised health of millions of companion animals — are the same ones now leading the industry’s charge to get probiotics-related pet products to market.

A Short Primer on Probiotics

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ strains of bacteria that maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract, and also defend against opportunistic, potentially pathogenic (bad) bacteria.

The digestive tract is the largest immune organ in your pet’s body, and yours. Believe it or not, your dog or cat has even more intestinal bacteria than you do, despite her much smaller size. The GI tracts of companion animals are designed to handle a tremendous bacterial load – bacteria that would quite likely develop into a life-threatening infection if found elsewhere in your dog’s or cat’s body.

A healthy population of friendly bacteria keeps your pet’s immune system in good working order. If the balance of bad-to-good intestinal bugs gets out of whack, your dog or cat will eventually develop GI symptoms and an increased susceptibility to illness.

Studies demonstrate animals raised without friendly bacteria in the gut, or with a poor balance of good-to-bad gut bacteria, are at dramatically increased risk of developing disease.

Why a Healthy Balance of Gut Bacteria is Important

When your dog’s or cat’s gastrointestinal bacteria are in balance with the right amount and type of healthy bugs on board, there is symbiosis. Good things happen inside your pet’s body. For example:

  • Vitamins are made
  • Vegetable fiber is processed as it should be
  • Unfriendly bacteria are kept in check
  • Toxins are well-managed

When unfriendly, pathogenic bacteria take over your pet’s digestive system, it creates dysbiosis, which is more or less the opposite of symbiosis.

Dysbiosis results in increased permeability – leakiness — of the intestinal wall, which means your pet’s GI tract will be less able to allow healthy bacteria and nutrients in and keep disease-causing bacteria out.

A healthy GI tract is selective about what is absorbed. Nutrients are taken in and non-nutritive substances, including toxins, are filtered out.

Exciting Recent Study Results

Back to the good news-bad news department — up until major pet food manufacturers took an interest in probiotics, there was very little research into the ways in which supplementation could improve the health of dogs and cats.

Now that pet food companies have discovered a lucrative market in probiotic products, it’s a very safe bet much more funding for research will be made available.

Study results will benefit pet food producers, of course, but they will also help veterinarians, pet owners and others concerned with the health of dogs and cats learn more about the uses and promise of probiotic supplementation.

A few examples of recent research:

They also maintained their vaccination titers longer and had higher levels of fecal secretory IgA, an important antibody produced in the lining of the intestine that protects against bacteria and viruses. The higher fecal IgA result was also seen in elderly dogs fed E. faecium, as well as kittens. Kittens and adult cats showed decreased incidence and duration of naturally occurring diarrhea and improved good-to-bad gut bacteria ratios.

  • In another study of the benefits of E. faecium involving 11 healthy dogs, not only was their fecal microflora improved, but so were serum lipids. Eight of the 11 dogs given the probiotic supplement showed a decrease in total lipids and normalized cholesterol levels.
  • In a study of the effects of strain L. acidophilus on healthy adult cats, the probiotic altered the balance of GI microflora and in addition, resulted in beneficial systemic and immunomodulatory effects.
  • In this study, conducted by a veterinarian to test a pet probiotic manufacturer’s claims of help for cats with renal failure, results showed the supplement decreased creatinine levels in six of seven cats and improved their health and vitality. This probiotic contained a mixture of three strains: Streptococus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.

The Pet Probiotic I Use and Recommend

Two things I don’t recommend are 1) using human probiotics on dogs and cats, and 2) using processed pet foods with probiotic additives.

Probiotic formulas used by humans were developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic. Your dog or cat must have organisms derived from its own species for best results. You probably won’t harm your pet by offering human probiotics, but you aren’t providing as much benefit as you would be by offering a species-appropriate product.

The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and able to reproduce in order for it to be beneficial. Tests on dog foods claiming to contain probiotic micro-organisms showed the manufacturing process kills too many of the live bacteria, rendering the probiotic effect useless by the time the food is packaged and shipped.

A pet probiotic should have the following qualities:

  • It must not cause disease (despite the fact it contains bacteria)
  • It must survive the acidic environment of your pet’s stomach
  • It must contain enough live organisms to colonize the intestines
  • It must contain the correct strains of bacteria beneficial for pets, not people
  • It should remain stable under normal storage conditions
  • It should be easy to give to your dog or cat

A Great Article by Mercola.com.  Please go to http://www.healthypets.com to order your probiotic specially formulated for dogs and puppies.  Giving your puppy or dog yogurt is not enough probiotic to be of benefit for your pets.  We introduce a probiotic to our puppies at 3 weeks of age when they start to eat.  It has helped our puppies immune system from the start and has cut down greatly on loose stools and diarrhea.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Advertisements

Heartworm Medications

      

Are drug companies honest about Heartworm?

By Dr. Peter Dobias

Holistic look at the Heartworm prevention

 

A few days ago,  one of my friends living in Vermont called me. She was wondering what I thought about heartworm prevention and if I could help her determine, if the monthly administration of heartworm preventive medication is really necessary.

The question threw me back in the 90’s, when the manufacturers of heartworm preventive drugs decided to take North America by storm. I remembered he drug reps visiting vet clinics on a regular basis telling us that it was only a matter of time and heartworm would widely spread in Canada.  These visits were also accompanied by a subtle suggestion that selling the heartworm tests and preventive drugs could be a significant source of income for the practice.

 

As time progressed,  the heartworm doom and gloom case scenario didn’t happen and that the risks of heartworm infection in my areas were clearly exaggerated.

 On the basis of my findings, I made a decision not to recommend Heartworm preventive drugs in the area practice because the risk was practically zero and administering of any drugs is never optimal.  In reality no one can be absolutely certain if down the road preventive medication doesn’t  increase the tendency to chronic disease, organ failure or even cancer.

On the other hand, my friend’s situation is quite different because she lives in the Eastern US where heartworm is a real possibility.  I saw her question as a great opportunity for me to review the lifecycle of heartworm once again to  see if drug companies were honest about their recommendations of monthly prevention.  To me, the monthly administration frequency  seemed to be kind of peculiar because as far as I know, parasites do not carry an iPhone with a calendar and schedule.

I decided to bring clarity in the current situation to see what  the frequency of  heartworm preventive drugs really needed to be and also tell you more about the heartworm prevention alternatives that I use with my dog Skai. In order to do so, I need to give you answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the risk of heartworm disease in the area?

  2. What is the minimal frequency of administering preventive drugs?

  3. Are there any alternatives?

 

Here are the answers:

 

1. Heartworm incidence:

Heartworm life cycle is dependent on temperature that must remain above 57 degrees F  (14 C ) for at least 45 days straight and at least 2 weeks of temperatures over 80 F ( If these conditions are not fulfilled, the parasite cycle cannot be completed and your dog is safe.

Based on the recommendations of Dr. David Knight and Dr. James Lok from the American Heartworm society, even with the most cautious conventional medical protocols, all year around heartworm preventive schedule is exaggerated with the exception of Florida, some parts of Texas and Hawaii.  According to their conventional opinion, preventive treatment is unnecessary in the winter months and definitely doesn’t  need to be started before or after the months noted on the map in their paper.

 

2. Heartworm life cycle

Before you sucumb to the marketing pressure and fear to administer heartworm medicine monthly,  I  urge you to learn more about the heartworm life cycle. The heartworm development goes through several stages before reaching maturity and it takes 2.5 to 4 months before the tiny stage of microfilaria leaves the muscles and starts settling in the pulmonary artery. When heartworm reaches its final destination of pulmonary artery near the heart, it takes about 3 – 4 months to reach maturity.

One doesn’t need to have a degree in math to figure that it takes somewhere between 5.5 to 8 months for microfilaria to mature into an adult worm and that your dog  should be safe if you administer heartworm meds only once every every 3 to 4 months if your live in the area where heartworm occurs.

So why would the drug companies recommend monthly heartworm prevention? The reason is clearly identified  clearly in the study of Drs. Knight and Lok’s study on page 80 :

“…given what is presently known, continued adherence to a policy of superfluous chemoprophylaxis is disquieting because financial expediency for the veterinarian conflicts with clinical objectivity and client consent is predicated on unrealistic expectations. Clients mistakenly believe that they are purchasing additional protection for their pets, but in reality they are not. If the truth was known to them, few clients would agree to unnecessarily double their expense for heartworm prevention.”

In real language  and life translation most vets are too busy to question the recommendations that drug companies give them about heartworm prevention.  I strongly believe that the main  reason for over recommending heartworm prevention ( chemoprophylaxis ) is that drug companies can double or triple their revenues.

 

3. Safe alternative to heartworm preventive drugs

My dog  Skai and I travel to Hawaii approximately twice a year for 2  months and I had to face  the dilemma what  to do about  heartworm.   I  never felt totally comfortable about giving him any  drugs because in my mind, there is no such thing as a little bit of poison.

Luckily, advances  in heartworm testing offers DNA testing on the basis of PCR technology which allows me to test 3 times a year for any presence of heartworm.  This test has virtually no false negatives which is great news for your dog.

I can see that these tests are  a serious threat to the heft profits of  manufacturers of heartworm meds. They are simply not needed if you follow this formula  considering the duration of the heartworm seasons you can find out from the map  on page 79

 

Season Duration   Number of Tests Required
    (the last should be done at the end of HW Season)
Less than 4 months   1 test
4 – 8 months   2 tests
8 – 12 months   3 tests

 

 

Consider the facts above, in order to prevent heartworm and keep your dog safe, all you need to do is test your dog if you live in an affected area. If the results are positive (heartworm DNA is present) make sure that you consult your veterinarian before administering any heartworm meds. Heartworm preventive medication can be used only if adult heartworms are NOT present because using preventive drugs on adult heartworm can cause serious problems and  a different treatment protocol must be used.

Conclusion

I regret to say that similar to the vaccination scam,  monthly heartworm prevention is yet another dishonest marketing plot.   What I am confused about is why drug companies continuously try to trick us and frighten us instead making a living the honest way.  No matter what they are planning to try next, I believe that eventually they will have to become more honest in order to survive because it is much more difficult  to hide the truth in the age of world wide web.

Wishing you a happy, more informed heartworm season.

 

With gratitude,

 

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

– See more at: http://peterdobias.com/community/2012/04/are-drug-companies-honest-about-heartworm/#sthash.bvXWQiwq.dpuf

A much needed article by a well respected holistic veterinarian concerning Heartworm Meds.  Thank you, Dr. Dobias for this wonderful information.  White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Heartworm Medications For Dogs

Are drug companies honest about Heartworm?

By Dr. Peter Dobias

Holistic look at the Heartworm prevention

 

A few days ago,  one of my friends living in Vermont called me. She was wondering what I thought about heartworm prevention and if I could help her determine, if the monthly administration of heartworm preventive medication is really necessary.

The question threw me back in the 90’s, when the manufacturers of heartworm preventive drugs decided to take North America by storm. I remembered he drug reps visiting vet clinics on a regular basis telling us that it was only a matter of time and heartworm would widely spread in Canada.  These visits were also accompanied by a subtle suggestion that selling the heartworm tests and preventive drugs could be a significant source of income for the practice.

 

 

As time progressed,  the heartworm doom and gloom case scenario didn’t happen and that the risks of heartworm infection in my areas were clearly exaggerated.

On the basis of my findings, I made a decision not to recommend Heartworm preventive drugs in the area practice because the risk was practically zero and administering of any drugs is never optimal.  In reality no one can be absolutely certain if down the road preventive medication doesn’t  increase the tendency to chronic disease, organ failure or even cancer.

On the other hand, my friend’s situation is quite different because she lives in the Eastern US where heartworm is a real possibility.  I saw her question as a great opportunity for me to review the lifecycle of heartworm once again to  see if drug companies were honest about their recommendations of monthly prevention.  To me, the monthly administration frequency  seemed to be kind of peculiar because as far as I know, parasites do not carry an iPhone with a calendar and schedule.

I decided to bring clarity in the current situation to see what  the frequency of  heartworm preventive drugs really needed to be and also tell you more about the heartworm prevention alternatives that I use with my dog Skai. In order to do so, I need to give you answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the risk of heartworm disease in the area?

  2. What is the minimal frequency of administering preventive drugs?

  3. Are there any alternatives?

 

Here are the answers:

 

1. Heartworm incidence:

Heartworm life cycle is dependent on temperature that must remain above 57 degrees F  (14 C ) for at least 45 days straight and at least 2 weeks of temperatures over 80 F ( If these conditions are not fulfilled, the parasite cycle cannot be completed and your dog is safe.

Based on the recommendations of Dr. David Knight and Dr. James Lok from the American Heartworm society, even with the most cautious conventional medical protocols, all year around heartworm preventive schedule is exaggerated with the exception of Florida, some parts of Texas and Hawaii.  According to their conventional opinion, preventive treatment is unnecessary in the winter months and definitely doesn’t  need to be started before or after the months noted on the map in their paper.

 

2. Heartworm life cycle

Before you sucumb to the marketing pressure and fear to administer heartworm medicine monthly,  I  urge you to learn more about the heartworm life cycle. The heartworm development goes through several stages before reaching maturity and it takes 2.5 to 4 months before the tiny stage of microfilaria leaves the muscles and starts settling in the pulmonary artery. When heartworm reaches its final destination of pulmonary artery near the heart, it takes about 3 – 4 months to reach maturity.

One doesn’t need to have a degree in math to figure that it takes somewhere between 5.5 to 8 months for microfilaria to mature into an adult worm and that your dog  should be safe if you administer heartworm meds only once every every 3 to 4 months if your live in the area where heartworm occurs.

So why would the drug companies recommend monthly heartworm prevention? The reason is clearly identified  clearly in the study of Drs. Knight and Lok’s study on page 80 :

“…given what is presently known, continued adherence to a policy of superfluous chemoprophylaxis is disquieting because financial expediency for the veterinarian conflicts with clinical objectivity and client consent is predicated on unrealistic expectations. Clients mistakenly believe that they are purchasing additional protection for their pets, but in reality they are not. If the truth was known to them, few clients would agree to unnecessarily double their expense for heartworm prevention.”

In real language  and life translation most vets are too busy to question the recommendations that drug companies give them about heartworm prevention.  I strongly believe that the main  reason for over recommending heartworm prevention ( chemoprophylaxis ) is that drug companies can double or triple their revenues.

 

3. Safe alternative to heartworm preventive drugs

My dog  Skai and I travel to Hawaii approximately twice a year for 2  months and I had to face  the dilemma what  to do about  heartworm.   I  never felt totally comfortable about giving him any  drugs because in my mind, there is no such thing as a little bit of poison.

Luckily, advances  in heartworm testing offers DNA testing on the basis of PCR technology which allows me to test 3 times a year for any presence of heartworm.  This test has virtually no false negatives which is great news for your dog.

I can see that these tests are  a serious threat to the heft profits of  manufacturers of heartworm meds. They are simply not needed if you follow this formula  considering the duration of the heartworm seasons you can find out from the map  on page 79

 

Season Duration   Number of Tests Required
    (the last should be done at the end of HW Season)
Less than 4 months   1 test
4 – 8 months   2 tests
8 – 12 months   3 tests

 

 

Consider the facts above, in order to prevent heartworm and keep your dog safe, all you need to do is test your dog if you live in an affected area. If the results are positive (heartworm DNA is present) make sure that you consult your veterinarian before administering any heartworm meds. Heartworm preventive medication can be used only if adult heartworms are NOT present because using preventive drugs on adult heartworm can cause serious problems and  a different treatment protocol must be used.

Conclusion

I regret to say that similar to the vaccination scam,  monthly heartworm prevention is yet another dishonest marketing plot.   What I am confused about is why drug companies continuously try to trick us and frighten us instead making a living the honest way.  No matter what they are planning to try next, I believe that eventually they will have to become more honest in order to survive because it is much more difficult  to hide the truth in the age of world wide web.

Wishing you a happy, more informed heartworm season.

 

With gratitude,

 

Peter Dobias, dvm
 
This is a wonderful site to visit to get the latest information on research and health of dogs.  I just can’t say enough about Dr. Dobias and his love of dogs and their health.
 
White Oak Golden Retrievers

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

The Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil

July 8, 2011 – Nutrition And Diet
 
 

Although supplements can be a confusing topic for many pet owners, most dog owners have heard of the benefits of feeding fish oils. There are however, a variety of oils that you can also use to your dog’s benefit, each with different actions and benefits.

Coconut oil consists of more than 90% saturated fats, with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). The main component (more than 40%) of MCTs is lauric acid, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. Coconut oil also contains about 2% linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and about 6% oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acids).

Most of the coconut oil benefits come from the MCTs. For example, the lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their anti-fungal effects.

In addition, MCTs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss. In dogs, the MCTs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic.

According to Dr. Bruce Fife, certified nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, coconut oil gently elevates the metabolism, provides a higher level of energy and vitality, protects you from illness, and speeds healing. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion, and reduces allergic reactions.

Fed regularly to pets, coconut oil may have multiple benefits:

Skin Conditions

  • Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis,and itchy skin
  • Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  • Makes coats become sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
  • Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
  • Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings

Digestion

  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  • Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  • Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing

Immune System, Metabolic Function, Bone Health

  • Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents that prevent infection and disease
  • Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
  • Helps prevent or control diabetes
  • Helps reduce weight, increases energy
  • Aids in arthritis or ligament problems

Integrative Veterinarian and Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Karen Becker, says “Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older dogs. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs. I recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for basic MCT support.”

Why not give coconut oil a try and introduce it to your dog?  It offers many benefits for your dog and is a more sustainable and less toxic source of oils than fish.

Published by; Dogs Naturally Magazine

Get your online copy today at; http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com

White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Infographic: The Benefits of Massage – Life Dog – Web 2012 – Life Dog

Infographic: The Benefits of Massage – Life Dog – Web 2012 – Life Dog.

Vaccines, Collagen and Joint Disease

Articles and Contests

Email *
Submit

Vaccines, Collagen And Joint Disease

April 9, 2012 – Featured Articles7 comments

 
 

January 2011 Issue By Dana Scott

Most people have heard of collagen as an anti-aging cosmetic product.  Collagen is the elastic protein that holds skin together.  As we age, the amount and quality of collagen in our bodies starts to diminish and we can see this in our skin as it begins to wrinkle and sag.

Collagen is also found in abundance in the joints and connective tissue of the body. In fact, collagen makes up 70 to 90% of our muscles, tendons, ligaments and other joint supporting tissues. As happens in the skin, when collagen breaks down in the body, the joints become less stable, the muscles and connective tissue loosen and become more brittle, and disorders such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, tendonitis and overuse injuries begin to occur.

The same thing happens in our dogs. They might not get the crow’s feet and turkey necks that we older humans sport, but they do suffer from age related joint and soft tissue pain due to collagen loss and degradation.  Sadly, many dogs suffer from these diseases at a very young age. Breeders and lovers of large breed dogs know all too well the heartache of canine hip and elbow dysplasia. Dog owners see patellar subluxations, cruciate tears and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in young dogs at an alarming rate and they pay the price with expensive surgery, therapy and supplements.

Why are dogs suffering from these diseases at such a young age? Many breeders and vets are quick to say that it is due to bad genetics – so good breeders screen their dogs for these diseases before breeding, to make sure the problems are not passed down to the offspring.

The problem is, this screening hasn’t really changed the incidence of most of these diseases.

Hip dysplasia was first diagnosed in dogs in 1935, although nobody seemed terribly interested at the time.  Over twenty years later, the number of dogs presenting with this disease prompted the Swed- ish Kennel Club to become one of the first to develop a program to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia. They believed that if German Shepherd breeders took radiographs of their dogs and only bred the dogs that did not show evidence of hip dysplasia, they could eliminate hip dysplasia.  After ten years of selective breeding however, the incidence of moderate and severe cases of hip dysplasia didn’t change.  Dogs that did not show radiographic evidence of hip dysplasia were still producing puppies with the disease. In one study, over two thirds of dysplastic puppies were from normal parents.

This led researchers to conclude that hip dysplasia was a polygenic disease (residing in more than one gene), meaning that the severity of the disease could be influenced by environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle. However, affected puppies are born with normal hips – the dysplastic changes are not there at birth.

Over fifty years later, despite increased testing rates, the incidence of hip dysplasia is not going down in most breeds.  In fact, smaller breeds are now showing an increased susceptibility to this disease which historically was limited to larger breeds of dogs. Even in Germany, where the kennel club has very tight breeding restrictions, the incidence of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is still 7%.

Hip dysplasia is not the only common joint disorder in dogs. Cranial cruciate tears are becoming endemic in dogs, as are luxating patellas and elbow dysplasia (two more disorders that breeders do clearances for).  In the midst of this, the vets point their fingers at both breeders and purebred dogs and the breeders point their fingers at the pet owners and at each other.  Surely somebody must be to blame?

A polygenic disease is one that takes the right combination of genetic susceptibility, environmental factors and dietary influences to occur. The genes are like a light switch: if a dog has a genetic susceptibility to hip dysplasia, the switch is in the ON position. Just because a dog has the gene for hip dysplasia however, does not mean he will be affected: the severity of the disease will be directly influenced by the dog’s diet and other environmental factors such as exercise level or body condition – or so the theory goes. Unfortunately, we don’t know which dogs possess and produce the genes that cause joint disease – but dog owners can change the environmental stressors.

To this point, vets and many breeders will pay lip service to things such as keeping puppies lean, not feeding them too much protein (a myth that is not proven), giving them supplements – all the usual drama.  Puppy buyers usually get this well rehearsed speech when they bring their new puppy in for his vaccination. Most vets actively look for large breed puppies to show signs of hip dysplasia and are ready to step in with surgery.  They blame the breeders and their purebred dogs for joint issues while, at the same time, they inject these healthy puppies with vaccines.

Is it any coincidence that even severe cases of hip dysplasia are not seen before eight weeks of age – the age at which most puppies are vaccinated?  Why is it that, once again, vets are recommending expensive hip surgeries and multiple, unnecessary vaccines, while remaining oblivious to what should be obvious?  Why is nobody blaming the vaccines when there are plenty of reasons to do so?

Vaccines and Joint Disorders

The Canine Health Concern’s 1997 study of 4,000 dogs showed a high number  of dogs developing mobility problems shortly after they were vaccinated. Immunologist Dr. Jean Dodds has also noted similar issues: “Beyond the immediate hypersensitivity (vaccine) reactions, other acute events tend to occur 24 to 72 hours afterward, or 7 to 45 days later in a delayed type immunological response. Even more delayed adverse effects include…canine distemper antibodies in joint diseases of dogs.”

Interesting. The distemper vaccine was introduced in 1950 and just a few years later, the breed clubs suddenly felt the need to start doing hip clearances on breeding stock. There is no cause and effect here but the temporal relationship is fairly noteworthy.

Vaccination has been implicated in cases of polyarthritis in dogs. Here is an interesting passage from the Veterinary Products Com- mittee (VPC) Working Group on Feline and Canine Vaccination.

“Occasional self-limiting cases of immune-based arthritis in dogs have been reported usually following primary vaccination, and recently, four young adult dogs of different breeds have been reported to develop an idiopathic polyarthritis three to15 days after multivalent vaccination. Immune-mediated  polyarthritis and systemic disease including amyloidosis has been reported in Akita dogs following modified live vaccination.   Hypertrophic  osteodystrophy (HOD), in some cases associated with juvenile cellulitis, has been reported following vaccination, mainly in Weimaraners, and it has been suggested that canine distemper virus may be involved. There is also some evidence that canine distemper virus (and possibly vaccines) may be involved in canine rheumatoid-like  arthritis through  the formation of immune complexes”.

Here is the predictable part: “…the immunological basis of such reactions is unclear, and it is possible that such apparent associations with vaccination may be due to coincident disease development, particularly in young animals”.

That sure would be a heck of a coincidence.  Catherine O’Driscoll sheds more light on the relationship.

“A paper appearing in the British Veterinary Journal states that dogs with rheumatoid  arthritis showed higher anti-heat shock protein antibody levels in their sera and synovial fluids compared to control dogs. There was a significant correlation between anti HSP65 and antibodies to canine distemper virus, and the paper discussed the relevance of the presence of canine distemper virus within the joints.  Since vaccines inject modified live distemper virus into the dog, this research should be of concern.  Shed attenuated live vaccine might also be considered in this regard. And it’s worth noting that the high antibody titers to distemper that we are so pleased with might also play a role in our dogs’ decreasing mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis is, of course an autoimmune condition in which there is inflammation of joints and progressive erosion of cartilage and bone, which reflects the autoantibodies to collagen found in the Purdue study.”

Autoantibodies to collagen? Vaccinated dogs developed autoantibodies to their own collagen and nobody was worried about that?

The Purdue Study

In 1999, a one of a kind study was performed that should have connected the dots between vaccination and joint disease (Hogenesch H, Azcona-Olivera J, Scott-Montcrieff C, Snyder PW, Glickman LT. Vaccine-induced autoimmunity in the dog. Adv Med Vet 1999;41:733-747). In this study, puppies were immunized with the rabies vaccine and the usual cocktail of core and non-core vaccines. The authors concluded that the vaccinated but not the unvaccinated puppies developed autoantibodies to their own collagen.  The authors noted and reproduced similar findings in a follow-up study in dogs that were given just the rabies vaccine and just the multivalent vaccine.

The vaccinated dogs in this study were literally destroying their own collagen (as well as their own DNA and other important substances), and nobody thought “aha, maybe this is why our dogs are being hit so hard with joint disease and we can’t breed it out of them.” Instead, the researchers discontinued the study when the puppies were 22 weeks of age and, over a decade later, nobody has viewed these results as a serious threat to canine (or human) health.

Why is it that vets and researchers can claim purebred dogs and genetics are to blame for these joint disorders when this shining beacon is aimed squarely on vaccination, especially the distemper shot?

Collagen  and Joint Disease

In a 1989 study, Bari et al found autoimmunity to collagen in 72.4% of dogs with rheumatoid arthritis, 88% of dogs with infective arthritis and 52% of dogs with osteoarthritis.  Dogs with cruciate disease also showed significantly increased levels of autoantibodies.  They also had higher levels of anti-collagen antibodies in the synovial fluid (the fluid that surrounds  joints).  They concluded that anti-collagen complexes were present in all joint disorders.

The presence of these anti-collagen antibodies, just like those noted in the vaccinated dogs in the Purdue study, can actually predict cruciate tears.  In dogs with cruciate tears in one leg, studies show elevated anti-collagen antibodies in the other leg which predicted future tears.  When multiple joints were tested, higher levels of autoantibodies were found in stifle joints that were eventually torn than in other joints of the body (DeBruin et al, 2007). These autoantibodies have also been found in the joints of dogs suffering from arthritis that is not secondary to cruciate tears (Niebauer et al, 1987).

Duke  University Medical Center  researchers  led by Kyle Allen found that collagen deficient mice prematurely developed common and chronic musculoskeletal disorders while the wild-type mice did not.  “We observed a pattern of behavioral changes in the collagen deficient mice that suggests a relationship to (osteoarthritis and de- generative disc disease),” said Allen, who noted the collagen deficient mice also had elevated levels of knee and intervertebral disc structural changes.

Collagen  and Joint Integrity

Collagen is concentrated mostly in weight supporting tissues, basically cartilage and bones. Collagen is also concentrated in high percentages in the parts of the body transmitting strength, such as tendons. Collagen not only protects joint cartilage, it is also what protects tendons and ligaments against tears.

The elastic property of collagen gives ligaments a tiny bit of stretch so that if the joint that ligament supports is stressed, the ligament can withhold the tension without tearing. Just as bridges and high rise buildings need a tiny bit of give in them to weather high winds and earthquakes, ligaments need the elastic properties of collagen to bear shearing forces within the joints.

Collagen is also important for the integrity of joint surfaces. There is a thin layer of tissue surrounding the cartilage on the surface of joints called the pericellular matrix (PCM). Together with collagen and other cartilage cells, the PCM forms a barrier between the cells and the rest of the cartilage tissue.  When collagen is disrupted in joints, the changes in mechanical forces on the cells can lead to degenerative changes.

Leonidas Alexopoulos studied the relationship  between collagen and osteoarthritis at Duke University and presented the results at the 51th annual scientific meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society in Washington, DC. Alexopoulos explains: ““When we analyzed the PCM of mice unable to produce type VI collagen, we found that the chondrons (joint surface structures) in these mice were much softer and the joints did not respond well to mechanical pressures. The joint looked as if osteoarthritis had developed.”

In May, 1997, a paper was presented in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association by Jens Sejer Madsen, Ph.D., D.V.M. from the Small Animal Hospital, Department  of Clinical Studies, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.  This study shows how collagen can be related to hip dysplasia.

“Mechanical strength of the joint capsule is related to its collagen content and composition. In children with congenital hip joint dislocation, the collagen composition of the joint capsule has been shown to be abnormal. Thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that laxity of the hip joint in dogs may be related to the collagen composition of the capsule…results of the study support the hypothesis that a change in collagen composition may contribute to hip joint laxity in dogs with a predisposition to CHD.”

The vets and breeders are right in that hip dysplasia and other joint disorders are caused by a variety of environmental and nutritional factors.  Genetics probably do play a role, although it could have something to do with the cumulative damage the puppies’ parents and grandparents suffer through repeated vaccination, highly processed diets, antibiotics and toxins. On top of that, the Purdue study showed that vaccinated dogs develop autoantibodies to their own DNA; perhaps vaccinated breeding dogs are passing along damaged DNA and that is a part of the picture.

Meanwhile, the vets and researchers repeatedly state there is no cause and effect relationship and that further studies will have to be done before vaccines can be implicated in joint disease. While we wait for those magical studies, vets continue to vaccinate every three years, or even more frequently, with vaccines that were shown to last at least seven years over thirty years ago.

In the case of distemper, one of the vaccines repeatedly vindicated in joint disease, puppies develop titers within hours of their first distemper vaccination. In his study at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Dr. Ronald Schultz vaccinated puppies with one dose of distemper vaccine just four hours prior to being placed in a room with distemper-infected dogs. All of the puppies were protected against distemper in this challenge study.

This bears repeating. Dr. Ronald Schultz, the leading canine immunologist, publishes a study in which every single puppy is protected within hours of the very first vaccination. Thirty years prior to this, he determined that core vaccines (including distemper) last at least seven years, and most likely for the life of the dog.  So it should be pretty obvious that it only takes one distemper vaccine to protect a puppy from distemper for life. Why then does the average dog get vaccinated for distemper at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, one year, four years, seven years, ten years – and if he is lucky enough to have lived through this unnecessary and dangerous onslaught – thirteen and sixteen years of age? Nine shots of the same virus that is shown to be permanently effective within hours of the very first vaccine is considered a minimal vaccine schedule by most veterinarians – many other dogs receive 15 or more shots of distemper!  It is no wonder that joint disease is on the rise in dogs, especially in the most aggressively vaccinated subset: purebred dogs.

Clearly, more research needs to be done in this area but somebody should at least pay attention to the growing list of unwanted and adverse effects caused by vaccines. There is a growing list of joint and collagen related changes that occur after vaccination and they are implicated in joint disease which has become a significant problem in today’s dog population.  I’m not saying stop vaccination for distemper altogether (although that is a viable option), but at the very least, stop the madness of unnecessarily vaccinating dogs for distemper over, and over, and over, and over again. Isn’t there enough research to make vets just a little bit concerned about potential damage from the eight or more distemper vaccines that go into dogs?

It seems that in-depth research and analysis are not all that necessary when it comes to giving more vaccines but when it comes to giving less, research is suddenly put on the hot seat and common sense goes out the window. What will it take before vets start taking this research seriously and stop vaccinating dogs unnecessarily?

Article published by Dogs Naturally Magizine.com in the January 2011 issue by Dana Scott

White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Avoiding Pet Foods Made in China

Think You Can Avoid Pet Foods Made In China?  Think Again!

Written by Dogs Naturally Magazine on February 23, 2012. Posted in In The News, Nutrition And Diet 32 Comments

 
 

Hundreds of consumer complaints are aimed at dog food manufactures so far in 2012 and dozens – perhaps hundreds – of dogs are dead.  Does this sound like deja vu?  Could there be another massive recall like there was five years ago?  The answer is, it is likely happening now.

Fortunately, pet owners have become wiser since the melamine poisonings and massive recalls from 2007 and many are making decisions that will protect their pets.  They have learned that quality control and food safety standards are shabby at best in many overseas and Chinese manufacturing plants and that even in the US, manufacturers have few safety and testing requirements.  Pet owners are wisely avoiding treats and foods made in China and that’s good.  But despite avoiding these products, their dogs continue to die and become ill.  How can this happen when the food label says ‘made in the USA’?

The tip of the iceberg

The label on your pet food or treat may conceal a little lie – and this lie could cost your pet his health or even his life.  There is something inherently wrong with most processed foods that pet owners are unaware of.  The heating and processing that these foods undergo create a fundamental change that could have dangerous ramifications – it renders the food essentially dead.  What goes into the good is not what comes out once it is heated, sterilized, irradiated and extruded and nearly all dog foods will not meet AAFCO standards once they are heated.  As a consequence, the vitamins and minerals must be added back in for the food to pass AAFCO requirements.

Enter the premix

dog food labelBack in 2007, the melamine that was poisoning dogs and cats was not added directly to the pet foods – it was found in the premix.  The Chinese manufacturers added it to their premix to boost the protein content as cheaply as possible.  Only when dogs and cats started dying – and the FDA was forced to begin testing the foods – did anyone become aware of the fact.  What made the recall so large was that it wasn’t limited to a single food manufacturer.  Because they nearly all must rely on premixes, a large number of pet food manufacturers that purchased the same premix were affected.  What this means is that switching your pet from one food to another doesn’t necessarily mean you have made any difference at all if your new food purchases the same premix.

How do you know if your food contains premix?  Look at the label.  On the right is a label from what many people consider a high-end kibble.   See those vitamins, minerals and long chemical names that are listed at the bottom?  Those very likely came from a premix and that premix was very likely manufactured overseas.  If the premix is not added to the food, your dog would become ill and under-nourished from eating the nutritionally dead contents.  If the premix is added to the food, you are relying on foreign safety standards and are essentially playing roulette with your dog’s or your cat’s health.

Compare that label to the ingredients of a quality, commercial food:  Lamb meat, lamb bone, lamb blood, eggs, lamb green tripe, lamb liver, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, silver beet (spinach), cabbage, apples, pears, lamb hearts, lamb kidneys and garlic.  Which food do you think is safer for your pet?

The premix danger is very real because nearly every premix is manufactured overseas where production costs are low and standards are even lower.  The frightening part is that pet owners can’t tell if the premix in their food comes from China because it does not have to be listed on the label.  The only way to know is to phone the manufacturer and ask if the premix is made in the US or overseas.

Made in the USA

If you have made the phone call and found out that your pet food’s premix has been manufactured in the US, don’t start feeling all warm and fuzzy just yet.  The individual synthetic vitamins and minerals that are in that made-in-the-US premix are almost all manufactured in India or China so it may or may not be a safe option after all.  In the end, some pet food manufacturers do their best to source out the safest premixes possible – but it is difficult for them to determine where the individual ingredients originated from and what quality control measures were put in place.

Who’s watching the hen house?

The million dollar question is, if pet food manufacturers can’t prove the origin of their premixes, why don’t they test every batch of food?  The answer might shock you:  it is so cost prohibitive that it is actually cheaper for them to pay the lawsuits from our dead pets than it is to test their product.

In January 2011, the FDA  finally stepped in with their Food Safety Modernization Act.  Some provisions took effect immediately but to date have had a minimal impact on most pet food manufacturers.

FSMA provisions already in effect include emergency FDA access to a company’s records and mandatory recall authority for the FDA if a company refuses to voluntarily recall a product. The agency also has to find “reasonable probability” the product is adulterated and that consumption of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

As part of the focus on preventive controls, FSMA is planning an FDA inspection schedule. High-risk facilities, which FDA has yet to define, will be inspected at least every three years, while any facility not deemed high risk will be inspected at least every five years. Any sort of complaint or safety problem will increase the likelihood of more frequent inspections or re-inspections, for which the company will probably have to cover the costs.

As part of FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program, every importer must establish a plan that verifies the foreign supplier complies with a hazard analysis and preventive controls program.

It remains to be seen how much influence the FSMA will have on pet food manufacturers but, as of today, nothing much has been done yet.  Because the FSMA also applies to human foods and food-animal feeds, it remains to be seen how much time and effort will be spent inspecting pet foods in the years to come.

What you can do

In the meantime, it is likely safe to assume that virtually nobody is actively protecting your pet from poisoned pet foods.  The safest thing you can do for you pet is to feed him a raw or home prepared diet – or a commercial diet that doesn’t contain premixes.  Maria Ringo, founder of Sojourner Farms, one of the first commercially available raw food mixture, and Carna4, a small, ethical kibble manufacturer that tests every batch recommends the following steps to minimize the risk of commercial foods and treats:

  • Seek out companies that are transparent about testing for toxins. Make sure they test both ingredients and finished batches for mycotoxins and bacteria before it is packaged. And if, for example, you are concerned about mercury levels in the salmon in your pet food, ask the company if they test for that, too.
  • Look for products free of synthetic ingredients of any kind. Vitamins from food are hardier than those made in test tubes.  Read the ingredients panel to spot the chemicals usually listed at the end, likely made in unregulated offshore facilities.
  • Feed products with only table-grade food ingredients, e.g. federally inspected for human consumption, to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral pathogens like salmonella. This applies to all products including frozen and dehydrated meats.

Food safety issues for both raw and processed foods will be discussed in the May 2012 issue of Dogs Naturally.

In the meantime, if you want to avoid the dangers of foods manufactured in China, you must look beyond the label.  Do your homework and ask the manufacturer the hard questions.  Be an active advocate for your pets.  And please pass this article on to as many dog and cat owners as possible so they can also protect their pets.  We are receiving dozens of emails from pet owners who have lost their pets to sudden kidney failure in the last month or two and there are several major manufacturers implicated.  We are compiling as much information on this as possible, but in the meantime, please help us to help pets by sharing this information.

 

 
 
Trackback from your site.
 

Dog Food Reviews

The Dog Food Advisor\’s unbiased dog food reviews and dog food ratings searchable by brand or star rating. Find the best dry, canned or raw food for your dog.

via Dog Food Reviews.

White Oak Golden Retrievers
http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

English Cream Golden Retrievers
British Cream Golden Retrievers

Granola Peanut-Butter Crunchies | The Bark

Granola Peanut-Butter Crunchies | The Bark.

White Oak Golden Retrievers
http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Dog Food: Ten Scary Truths

Dog Food:  Ten Scary Truths

Written by Jan Rasmusen on December 13, 2010. Posted in Nutrition And Diet 9 Comments

 
 
dog bowlBy:  Jan Rasmusen

40% of dogs are obese. 46% of dogs and 39% of cats now die of cancer.  Heart, kidney and liver disease are epidemic. Like people, dogs are what  they eat. Save your dog a lot of suffering, and save yourself a fortune  in vet bills, by learning the truth about your dog’s diet. Here are 10 important things you may not know about what your dog is eating:

1)      Commercial dog food is “fast food.

Heavily-processed fast foods (burgers, fries, tacos, etc.) as a big  diet component can cause major health problems in people. How can fast  foods be good for dogs? Only dog food manufacturers think this nonsense  makes sense. Dogs and people share roughly 75% the same genetic makeup,  and we have similar nutritional needs. What we’re doing to our own  health with processed foods, we’re also doing to our dogs. And it’s  happening faster.

2)      People food is good for dogs.

Despite what you’ve heard from friends, vets and pet food manufacturers, wholesome ”people food” is good for dogs.  People food is only bad for dog food makers. The same fresh, nutritious foods people eat can offer your dog the  nutrition he needs and save you a mountain of vet bills.  It just takes a  little education to learn the small differences between human and  canine nutritional needs. (Hint: no onions, grapes or raisins. Rinse off  rich spices and sauces. Go easy on carbs and avoid wheat and corn.)

3)      Don’t presume the food your vet sells is a superior product.

Veterinarians, like medical doctors, learn relatively little about  nutrition in school. Much of what they do learn comes directly from pet  food company vets, sales reps, articles, studies, and seminars. If  your vet hasn’t studied and experimented on his or her own with raw or  homemade diets, it’s unlikely that he or she  knows bad food from good,  and may be acting on outdated information or superstition. And if vets  profit from selling one brand, and not another, they have a conflict of  interest that may influence their opinions. (Some may even be prohibited  by a manufacturer from selling more than one brand.)

4)      The quality of processed commercial foods is suspect.

Dog food may legally contain “4-D” meat: meat from dead, dying,  diseased and disabled animals. Add a little road kill, mill floor  sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of  pesticide (yes, really) and you have a recipe for ill health. The  cheaper the food, the cheaper the ingredients, the worse the nutrition. Read the labels!

5)      Kibble does not clean teeth.

Almost all dogs age three and over have dental diseases. Most of  these dogs eat kibble. That should tell you something.  Although a small  study once suggested that kibble might clean teeth better than canned food, better doesn’t mean effectively. Hoping to avoid brushing our dog’s teeth, we too willingly grasp at  kibble’s unsubstantiated health benefits. But pretending that kibble or  hard treats will keep teeth clean will only lead to huge vet bills, lost  teeth and much canine suffering.

6) “Complete and balanced” does not mean “optimum.”

“Complete and balanced” means that a food meets minimal theoretical health requirements for the average dog.  Food boasting that it  conducted Feeding Trials often just test only the lead product in a line  of foods.  Trials, too, are for only a small number of dogs for a short  period of time. Over time, nutrient and enzyme deficiencies are  inevitable. Of course, complete and balanced is better than not complete and balanced, but again, better does not mean good.

7)      Feeding the same food day after day limits nutrition.

Imagine eating corn, rancid fat and chicken wings (without meat)  every meal of your life, with the same mix of cheap vitamins and  minerals added. Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods,  both for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. Dogs need  variety, too. But variety can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs,  right?  In the short run, yes. Nutritionally-deprived animals have sick  guts. In fact, intestinal upset when switching foods is a sign your dog needs more variety. Once good nutrition has healed a dog’s digestive system,  the dog can eat different foods every meal — just as people do. Just  switch foods gradually over several weeks while your dog’s gut heals.

8)      Kibble is not better than canned.

Whereas canned food is preserved by the process of canning, most  kibble is preserved artificially. (Ever contemplate how much  preservative must be required to retard spoilage of food left out all  day?) Kibble begins as a dry cooked meal whereas canned food is canned  fresh.  Kibble is exposed to more heat than canned  (destroying nutrients). Worse yet, kibble is linked to kidney and  bladder problems in cats, and to bloat, a deadly problem especially for  large, broad-chested dogs. It’s also dehydrating. Of course, canned  isn’t perfect either. Fresh is best, raw or cooked. Next best is frozen  prepared food and then dehydrated and freeze dried foods, all available  at better pet stores.

9)      Some common foods can be hazardous to canine health.

Cooked bones and rawhide chews can cause major health problems  requiring emergency surgery. Wheat-based treats can bring on allergies.  Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, the article sweetener Xylitol and  other common foods can be toxic for dogs and must be avoided.

10)   Corn kills.

Most kibble is loaded with corn, a cheap filler. Unfortunately, the  corn isn’t the luscious kind you and I eat. It’s feed corn (like cattle  eat), or cheap feed corn remnants. Even corn meal dust counts  as corn. The corn may even have been condemned for human consumption,  there being no upper level of pesticide contamination for pet foods. If  that weren’t bad enough, corn (which gives us both high fructose corn  syrup and corn oil) is fattening. Any wonder so many dogs are obese and  suffer from diabetes?

*****

Improving your dog’s diet can add years to your dog’s life and save  you a fortune. It doesn’t require a lot of work or expense. It just  requires a little knowledge and the desire to give your dog the healthy  body he or she deserves. Check out the two chapters in my book, Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. (Read an excerpt about dog food myths.) And check out Dog and Cat Food Labels: Marketing Tricks That Cost You Money and Dog Food: What to Feed and Why.