Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Amazing Blaze!

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I just have to share this case with everyone.

Blaze is an amazing 13-year-old Greyhound who recently injured his neck around Christmas time. Xrays indicated that he probably had a bulging disc in his neck that was causing him much pain and some numbness in his legs. A chiropractic adjustment did not help and he was put on pain medications and muscle relaxers.

A week after starting the medications, Blaze had improved slightly but was still in a lot of pain and was having trouble walking. Dr. Doug decided to get him started on twice weekly acupuncture treatments. We did the first few treatments with him laying on his side because he could not stand for long.

Blaze began to recover immediately. Very soon he improved to the point that he would not lay down at all (standing is his normal posture while at the vet’s office). Within a month of starting the acupuncture, blaze was almost 100% back to his normal self. He’s still doing great today thanks to those healing needles.

Has your pet ever had acupuncture?

The Five Supplements Every Pet Needs

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Nutritional supplements can be very beneficial to our pets because most pet foods are deficient in certain nutritional factors. Conventional pet foods are especially devoid of nutrients because the high-heat processing destroys most of the vitamins, enzymes, and phytochemicals foods naturally contain. The synthetic vitamin/mineral mix that pet food manufacturers add back is a poor substitute for the nutrition found in whole foods.

Even raw pet foods can be missing nutrients. It is difficult to mimic Mother Nature. For example, the wild game that the ancestors of our pets ate, themselves fed of grass which is high in omega-three fatty acids. Thus, the meat they provided was high in omega-threes. Most of our food animals these days are grain fed which instills the meat with omega-six fatty acids. Pets benefit from a high omega-three to omega-six fatty acid ratio. This cannot be accomplished by feeding most modern meats.

As important as supplements are, they are a supplement to, not a substitute for, a wholesome diet. The quality of the ingredients a diet contains as well as its macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) balance and its degree of heat-processing all factor into your pet’s overall nutritional status. You simply cannot undo poor nutrition with supplements.

The problem is that the nutritional standards that pet foods are held to are meant to prevent nutritional deficiencies. In other words, many pet foods do not provide optimal nutritional value, but rather the bare minimum. High-quality foods are best, but even they can fall short. Supplements are a way of ensuring our animal companions get everything they need to build healthy bodies. But remember that not all supplements are up to snuff.

  1. A balanced, whole-food multivitamin – Such a vitamin supplement is made by concentrating the nutrients from whole foods rather than producing them synthetically. The result is a supplement that provides the full range of vitamins and phytochemicals at doses found in whole foods. My product of choice is “Canine Whole Body Support” for dogs or “Feline Whole Body Support” for cats made by Standard Process.
  1. Fish oilFish oil is high in omega-three fatty acids which are lacking in the vast majority of pet foods. In fact, most pet foods are high in omega-six fatty acids which promote inflammation. On the other hand, omega-three fatty acids decrease inflammation. Foods lacking omega-three fatty acids promote skin allergies, arthritis, and cancer. Supplementing fish oil in a pet’s diet can help to alleviate these issues. The omega-threes is fish oil also help to promote brain development and health. My fish oil supplement of choice is “Canine Omega 3” for dogs and “Feline Omega 3” for cats from the company Ascenta.
  1. ProbioticsProbiotics reinforce the good bacteria in the gut. These bacteria help to maintain intestinal health. Furthermore, since three quarters of the immune system is located in the lining of the GI tract, probiotics actually help the immune system function better. Because of the gut-brain connection, probiotics can even affect mood and behavior. My probiotics of choice is Answers Pet Food’s cultured, raw goat’s milk called “Additional.”
  1. Glucosamine and chondroitin – These two natural compounds help to promote healthy joints. Arthritis is a common, painful condition in both dogs and cats. Prevention of this terrible disease is paramount. Glucosamine/chondroitin supplements can help the body maintain joint health as well as help once arthritis has set in. The joint supplement I recommend is Vetri-Science’s “Glycoflex.”
  1. Digestive enzymes – By supplementing digestive enzymes we can support the digestive process and replace some of the natural enzymes that are processed out of commercial pet foods. It has been shown that adding digestive enzyme to the food can improve the absorption of omega-three fatty acids by 71%. Importantly, as pets age, their production of digestive enzymes diminishes which is why some pets lose weight in their senior years. The digestive enzyme supplement I recommend is called “Prozyme.”

All pets can benefit from these supplements throughout their lives. It is best to provide optimal nutrition before your companion runs into problems. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What supplements have you found helpful?

Are You Feeding an “Unconventional Diet”?

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On February 22, I gave a day of lectures on traditional Chinese veterinary medicine and food therapy at the Midwest Veterinary Conference in Columbus, Ohio. While I was at the conference I went to a lecture on “Unconventional Diets” given by one of the nutritionists at the OSU vet school. The term unconventional diets refers to everything weird – you know – anything that isn’t processed foods (basically homemade or raw).

You see, those in the conventional nutrition arena really do not understand those of us who think that there is something better than processed pet foods. It was not stated in this lecture, but another article by veterinary nutritionist explained away the trend toward unconventional diets by saying it’s a fad and that those who choose such diets have a “psychological need” to care for their pets this way. (Yes, that was the actual term used). In other words, we’re all psychos!

This OSU nutritionist was not quite that condescending, but she gave the typical, anti-raw, conventional lecture. Nothing I didn’t expect. Even though I disagreed with her message, I know how to behave at a lecture and just took in her point of view. I think we can all benefit from stepping outside the echo-chamber of our own food tribe.

This nutritionist did not see the point of feed dogs like wolves since wolves do not live long and we want our pets to live into old age. Of course wolves typically do not live into old age. Their habitats are being ravaged by man, they face starvation, and they are susceptible to drought and weather extremes. In their unperturbed ecosystems, they do not die of nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Under the pampered environments of our pets, wolves would live long lives – as long as they continued their wild diets. That’s how Zoos feed them.

It has always amazed me that scientists who believe in evolution can think that an animal would evolve eating a diet that is anything less than ideal. I have heard them say that evolution only selects for animals until they breed and pass on their genes.  However, the more genes an animal passes on, the more its traits are spread to future generations. That means, the longer an animal reproduces, the more fit it is. Evolution favors animals that are healthy enough to reproduce for a long time.

Our pets evolved eating raw, low-carb food. There has not been enough time, from an evolutionary standpoint, for them to adapt adequately to processed diets. That’s why we have so much cancer and chronic disease in our pets. You simply cannot improve on Mother Nature.

By the way, instead of arguing with the nutritionist, I invited her to a lecture on raw pet food I’m giving for the OSU Vet Student Holistic Club next month. I hope she joins us for a walk on the wild side.

Are you a psycho too?