Monthly Archives: November 2015

Are You Hardcore Holistic?

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If you read every ingredient on every label of everything that goes into and onto your pet – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you spend more on your pet’s food than you do for your own food – you might be hardcore holistic.

If the thought of a single processed kibble crossing the lips of your pet makes you physically ill – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you have been less than forthcoming with your conventional vet about what you really feed your pet – you might be hardcore holistic.

If the supplements in your pet’s food out-weighs the food itself – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you would rather pay three times more for titers than to just give your pet the damned vaccine – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you can’t stomach the idea of putting chemicals and drugs into your pet – you might be hardcore holistic.

If your pet smells like a flower garden all summer long from the flea and tick remedies you use – you might be hardcore holistic.

If your garbage can has ever served as the receptacle for medications sent home by your vet – you might be hardcore holistic.

If your medicine cabinet contains Rescue Remedy and homeopathic Arnica – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you drive an hour each way on a weekly basis to get acupuncture for your pet – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you get chiropractic care for your pet and he doesn’t even have a back problem – you might be hardcore holistic.

If your pet has, at some point in his life, been on more herbs and spices than are supposedly used in Kentucky Fried Chicken – you might be hardcore holistic.

If you’ve ever had to bite your tongue when a friend told you about all the conventional medications she gives her pet – screw it, you didn’t bite your tongue, you voraciously educated her about how to properly care for her pet and now she’s not your friend any more but who cares she was never much of a friend anyway – you might be hardcore holistic.

So I’ll ask you again, are you hardcore holistic?

Incredible! Research on Raw Cat Food

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When I lecture to veterinarians (and especially veterinary students) about raw food for pets I often get the question, “Where’s the research?” The push for “Evidence-Based Medicine” strongly resonates with many veterinarians, especially those with little real-world experience. They tend to think that unless there is a validating study, the idea must be wrong.

The problem with this way of thinking is that the vast majority of pet food research is sponsored by the pet food industry. Heck, Science Diet has “Science” right there in its name. Surely, you can’t get any more evidence-based than that.

Research into raw pet food is lacking because research costs money and only the major pet food companies have that kind of cash. I don’t think Hills will be doing any studies on the benefits of raw food any time soon. But, raw food enthusiasts don’t despair. There is hope for us.

Looky here. Wow, a real live study comparing raw-fed kittens to processed food-fed kittens. And, the study resulted in positive conclusions about raw food!

I guess the first finding that may have surprised the conventional community is that the kittens didn’t all die (as many raw feeders are told by their vets). The main thing this study was looking at was the digestibility of the diets. Well, raw food diets came out on top. The kittens being fed the raw food absorbed more nutrients and unloaded firmer, healthier stools than the kittens fed processed food.

These results are nothing new to those of us who feed raw food. But don’t be too discouraged by the wimpy findings. This study is a first step in the right direction. It was published in a mainstream journal and will get the attention of conventional veterinarians. Maybe soon the controversy over feeding raw food will be forgotten and everyone will be doing it. (A fella can dream can’t he?)

Could Vitamin D Save Your Pet?

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Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) is a critical nutrient. It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the bowel and is involved with its mobilization from bone. It works with other hormones to balance the calcium levels in the body. Too little vitamin D is associated with many problems discussed below. Too much Vitamin D can be toxic and may result in high blood calcium levels.

Many people do not get enough Vitamin D. There has been a lot of research on the human side linking low Vitamin D levels to many problems, but especially cancer. Even conventional human physicians have now realized the importance of this nutrient and are measuring blood levels and recommending supplementation as needed.

One problem with Vitamin D in dogs and cats is that the research in this area is just beginning. Just last year a study was done to establish the desirable range of Vitamin D in the blood of pets. It found that Vitamin D should be 100-120 ng/ml. Some experts think we should be shooting a little higher (120-150 ng/ml). At the same time, it is certain that blood levels above 300 lead to toxicity.

This study showed that low levels of Vitamin D cause an increase in inflammation in the body. Vitamin D acts as an anti-inflammatory. Another study found that a low Vitamin D level is a risk factor for heart failure in dogs. Vitamin D protects the heart. Still another study found that the lower the level of vitamin D, the more severe the heart condition.

This study found a correlation between low Vitamin D and cancer in dogs. It further found that Vitamin D has a potent positive effect on the immune system. This study and this study found that dogs with low Vitamin D levels are prone to more serious chronic intestinal disease. This study found that lower blood levels of Vitamin D correlated with more serious disease in hospitalized cats.

Humans can get Vitamin D from their food, from supplements and by making it in their skin when exposed to sunlight. Dogs and cats are unable to make Vitamin D in their skin so they depend on getting all they need from their food and supplements. Unfortunately, many pet diets (including raw) may be deficient.

This study looked at the blood levels of Vitamin D in 320 dogs. Most of the dogs (292) were being fed processed dog food from 40 different manufacturers, 18 were on homemade diets, and 10 were on a combination of the two. The blood levels of vitamin D ranged from 9.5-249.2 ng/ml. (The 9.5 level was from a dog on a homemade diet).

The importance of Vitamin D for pets is irrefutable. The only way to know that your pet is getting the right amount is to check blood levels. Beaver Animal Clinic is now offering testing for blood levels of Vitamin D. If you want to be sure your pet has a reduced risk of inflammation, cancer and other serious diseases, call my office for this important test.

Have you had your own Vitamin D levels checked?