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FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products
Issued by: FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine
November 18, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.

FDA issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaints received drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA is once again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.

FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA�s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to


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Penn research on canine lymphoma may work toward human cure
A report on the vaccine says the success rate of the treatment is higher than traditional courses of action.

By Jin Pyuo Lee � October 24, 2011

 A new vaccine developed by Penn professors for dogs with blood cancers may help humans overcome lymphoma.

Oct. 18, the School of Veterinary Medicine announced that the first cancer vaccine for dogs with non-Hodgkin�s lymphoma � a blood cancer category with a high mortality rate � was developed by professors at Penn Vet and the Perelman School of Medicine.

Led by Vet professors Nicola Mason and Karin Sorenmo and Medical professor Robert Vonderheide, the study was published online in the journal PLoS ONE at the end of August.

The team recruited 18 dogs to study the vaccine over two years, beginning in 2006. In order to be eligible for the study, dogs suffering from lymphoma had to have been just-diagnosed, with no previous record of having the disease.

The dogs were separated into two groups. Sixty-four dogs received chemotherapy immediately after they entered the laboratory, and the other group � consisting of 19 dogs � went through surgery first to remove one of their tumors. This smaller group had blood samples taken before receiving the therapy.

With traditional therapy, 60 to 85 percent of the dogs� diseases go through remission, but the cancer eventually returns after one year.

Using this new vaccine, 89.5 percent of dogs in the treatment group were still alive at the end of a year of observation, as compared to 74.1 percent in the control group.

Mason said the vaccine did not seem to work well after initial relapses, but it began to work after the second relapse, which enabled dogs with vaccine treatment to have a longer disease-free time interval.

The team created the vaccine from the tumor and blood and injected it into dogs right after they received the therapy.

Among the 19 dogs, 10 died of lymphoma and three died of other causes. Six are still alive with no evidence of lymphoma, making the current vaccine survival rate 31.5 percent. Only 7.7 percent of dogs in the other group �achieved a durable second remission,� according to the study.

Trials for all the dogs were completed in two years, but researchers spent at least one additional year following and monitoring the dogs to check the performance.

For Mason, the most challenging parts were technical.

�I think that the actual generation of the vaccine was technically challenging, and the immunological analysis of the dog�s response to the vaccine was also challenging,� Mason said.

She hopes this study will eventually help scientists to find measures to cure human lymphoma.

�I think that it has important implications not just for dog lymphoma, because we know that lymphoma in dogs is similar to [that in] people,� Mason said. �If we can find the therapy to prolong the survival of the dogs, then we have high hopes that similar therapy may be found for human to prolong survival.�

After this research, her team will focus on streamlining the process of vaccine production to optimize the process to see if they can prolong the disease-free interval by making the vaccine more effective.

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Dr. Jean Dodd's NEW Vaccine Protocol

Dr. W. Jean Dodd's vaccination protocol is now being adopted by ALL 27 North American veterinary schools. I highly recommend that you read this. Copy and save it to your files. The veterinary schools are now going to be teaching that over-vaccination of pets (once a year "boosters") is only not unnecessary, but in some cases can be harmful or deadly! It has information for both dogs and cats. There still is an ongoing study regarding the Rabies vaccine. Most states now allow (reluctantly) 3 year Rabies, but the study is collecting data on whether or not even that may be too much. They are looking at 8 or 10 year Rabies!

I hope you all stop having yearly boosters for your pets. If you're concerned with immune levels, have the vet run a Titer test. THEN and only then, if the levels are below acceptable, should you have a booster.After all, when is the last time you had a "booster" for smallpox, or whooping cough, or anything else you had shots for as a child? Immune systems work the same in all mammals, and the concept that pets have to have yearly shots doesn't make any more sense than if you had have shots every year. If mammals immune systems were that weak in fending off these things, all of them, us included, would have been extinct years ago!

I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogsand cats. Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics. Some org the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks
apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 months) will provide lifetime immunity.



Distemper & Parvo *"According to Dr. Schultz, AVMA, 8-15- 95, when a vaccinations series given at 2, 3 & 4 months and again at 1 year with MLV, puppies and kitten program memory cells that survive for life, providing lifelong immunity." Dr. Carmichael at Cornell and Dr. Schultz has studies showing immunity against challenge at 2-10 years for canine distemper & 4 years for parvovirus. Studies for longer duration are pending. "There are no new strains of parvovirus as one manufacturer would like to suggest. Parvovirus vaccination provides cross immunity for all types." Hepatitis (Adenovirus) is one of the agents known to be a cause of kennel cough. Only vaccines with CAV-2 should be used as CAV-1 vaccines carry the risk of "hepatitis blue-eye" reactions & kidney damage. *Bordetella Parainfluenza: Commonly called "Kennel cough". Vaccination for this is recommended only for those dogs boarded, groomed, taken to dog shows, or for any reason housed where exposed to a lot of dogs.. The intranasal vaccine provides more complete and more rapid onset of immunity with less chance of reaction. Immunity requires 72 hours and does not protect from every cause of kennel cough. 
Immunity is of short duration (4 to 6 months).*

Lyme disease-Lyme disease is a tick born disease which can cause lameness, kidney failure and heart disease in dogs. Ticks can also transmit the disease to humans. The original Ft. Dodge killed bacteria has proven to be the most effective vaccine. Lyme disease prevention should emphasize early removal of ticks. Amitraz collars are more effective than Top Spot, as amitraz paralyzes the tick's mouthparts preventing transmission of disease.



Multiple components in vaccines compete with each other for the immune system and result in lesser immunity for each individual disease as well as increasing the risk of a reaction. Canine Corona Virus is only a disease of puppies. It is rare, self limiting (dogs get well in 3 days without treatment). Cornell & Texas A&M have only diagnosed one case each in the
last 7 years. Corona virus does not cause disease in adult dogs. *Leptospirosis vaccine is a common cause of adverse reactions in dogs. Most of the clinical cases of lepto reported in dogs in the US are caused by serovaars (or types) grippotyphosa and bratsilvia. The vaccines contain different serovaars eanicola and ictohemorrhagica. Cross protection is not provided and protection is short lived . Lepto vaccine is immuno-supressive to puppies less than 16 weeks.



Giardia is the most common intestinal parasite of humans in North America, 30% or more of all dogs & cats are infected with giardia. It has now been demonstrated that humans can transmit giardia to dogs & cats and vice versa.


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Rottweiler study links ovaries with exceptional longevity
AVMA Journals

New research on the biology of aging in dogs suggests a link between shortened life expectancy and ovary removal.

The study, published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Aging Cell, found that Rottweilers that were spayed after they were 6 years old were 4.6 times as likely to reach 13 years of age as were Rottweilers that were spayed at a younger age.

The finding is important because the average life expectancy of Rottweiler dogs is 9.4 years, observed research team leader Dr. David J. Waters. "Our results support the notion that how long females keep their ovaries influences how long they live," he said.

Dr. Waters is the executive director of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Ind. The foundation is home to the Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies, which tracks the oldest living pet dogs in the country.

Although the findings may challenge long-held notions about pet neutering, Dr. Waters believes veterinarians shouldn't dismiss the research outright but, instead, see it as an exciting development in pet longevity research.

"It was once considered a fact the earth was flat, and then somebody's data said otherwise. That's what scientific discoveries do�they reshape the intellectual terrain," said Dr. Waters, who is also associate director of Purdue University's Center on Aging and the Life Course and a professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

Dogs are a good model for cancer studies in humans, and now there's growing support for using pet dogs in research aimed at helping people live longer lives. The National Institute on Aging, for instance, issued a call in November for information on the feasibility of studying pet dogs to advance the study of human aging.

Dr. Waters' team spent a decade collecting and analyzing medical histories, longevity, and causes of death for 119 Rottweilers in the United States and Canada that survived to 13 years of age. These dogs were compared with a group of 186 Rottweilers with more typical longevity.

Researchers found that female Rottweilers have a distinct survival advantage over males�a trend also documented in humans. That advantage appears to be determined by whether the female dog is sexually intact, however. "Taking away ovaries during the first four years of life completely erased the female survival advantage," Dr. Waters said.

The Rottweiler research mirrors the findings of the Nurses' Health Study published in May 2009 in Obstetrics & Gynecology by William Parker, MD, and colleagues from the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif.

Dr. Parker's group studied more than 29,000 women who underwent a hysterectomy for benign uterine disease. The findings showed that the benefits of ovary removal�protection against ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer�were outweighed by an increased mortality rate from other causes. As a result, longevity was cut short in women who lost their ovaries before the age of 50, compared with those who kept their ovaries for at least 50 years.

How ovaries affect longevity in Rottweilers is not understood, but Dr. Waters' research points to a new set of research questions, recalibrating the conversation about removing ovaries.

"We liken this to an ecosystem," Dr. Waters explained. "If you take the caterpillars out of an environment, what are you left with? I'm betting that like removing all the caterpillars, removing ovaries has unanticipated, unforeseen consequences. An adverse effect on longevity might just be one of those consequences."

Does Dr. Waters recommend that every dog owner delay their pet's ovariohysterectomy? Not at all. In fact, he cautioned against overgeneralizing the study findings, saying much more research is needed.

"We studied purebred dogs living with responsible owners. You could say our results aren't pertinent to stray dogs or mongrel dogs. I don't believe every Rottweiler or every woman will benefit from keeping ovaries. That's an all-or-none stipulation, and that's not how biology works," he said, adding that tomorrow's challenge will be to identify which individuals benefit from retaining or removing ovaries.

To meet the needs of veterinarians who want to better understand the biology of aging, Dr. Waters developed a Gerontology Training Program for DVMs at Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, based on his experience teaching biogerontology to graduate students for more than a decade at Purdue. As longevity research advances, veterinarians need to be prepared. "We make the surest progress when cutting-edge research and cutting-edge education go hand in hand," Dr. Waters said.


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What Does High Cholesterol mean for Dogs?

B-Naturals Newsletter - June 2011
By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health

A confusing issue for many dog owners is the topic of high cholesterol in their dog's blood panel results. This is an issue that cannot and should not be confused with the meaning of high cholesterol and its dangers in people. Today, people are concerned about reducing fat in their diets, exercising, keeping their weight down and taking medications to reduce cholesterol levels because cholesterol levels bring about very specific health risks. People want to reduce their chances of developing plaque in their arteries so they can keep their heart healthy. 

For dogs, high cholesterol has a very different meaning! Dogs are carnivores and their digestive tracts are designed to eat plenty of animal fat. They need large amounts of animal fat to meet their physical needs for both energy and endurance. Dogs don't develop plaque in their arteries; nor do they suffer harmful effects on their hearts from a high fat diet. Dogs can become obese from a diet that is too high in fat, from over feeding, or from getting little or no exercise. However, the fat does not affect their arteries or hearts as it does in people, as we are omnivores. This does not mean we shouldn't pay attention to high cholesterol readings in our dogs as they can give us good clues as to other metabolic issues that may need further attention. Specific problems that can be the result of high cholesterol in a dog's blood work can include:


The thyroid gland helps in numerous ways, including hormone regulation and metabolism. When the thyroid isn't working well, it can cause elevations in cholesterol, lipase, ALT and cause a low white blood cell count. A thyroid panel blood test can show if the thyroid is low and medication can often bring these numbers back to the normal ranges. 


This disease can cause issues with fat metabolism, resulting in high cholesterol, among other elevated blood panel results, such as glucose. 

Cushing's Disease

This is when the adrenal gland is producing too much cortisol (cortisone). A high level of cortisol (which can also be caused by long term steroid use) creates dysfunction in processing fats. Due to this, dogs with Cushing's disease (and long term steroid use) are more prone to pancreatitis.


Sometimes a high triglyceride count will be seen with high cholesterol. A few breeds, most commonly Miniature Schnauzers, have a genetic tendency to lipidosis or hyperlipidemia.

All of these problems can show symptoms of skin problems, poor immune systems, weight issues and a more problematic issue of pancreatitis. 


Pancreatitis is not caused by fat intake, but rather by one of these issues that creates an inflamed pancreas. Some of these health problems can be resolved with medication, but if they cannot, a low fat diet is needed. Here is a home cooked diet for dogs prone to pancreatitis:

Another diet that is low in sugar, which is well suited for any of the above conditions, but especially diabetes or Cushing's disease can be found at:

More information on these health issues, along with other diet information can be found in my book, "Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs".

It is very important to have yearly wellness checks on your dogs. These annual checks should include both annual blood work and a urinalysis. It is also important to know what the blood values mean in relationship to dogs. While many may mean the same things, there are some differences due to canine physiology and their nutritional needs as carnivores!



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Is the new quick canine vaccine titer test right for your dog?

By Christie Keith
January 5, 2011

Your veterinarian will soon have a new in-office test to help you make canine vaccination decisions. How useful that test will prove depends not so much on the test results, but on the questions veterinarians and pet owners expect it to answer.

The test, dubbed the Canine VacciCheck by its manufacturer, checks titer levels for three canine viruses: Canine Infectious Hepatitis (CAV-2), Canine Parvovirus (CPV) and Canine Distemper (CDV).

It�s not available yet, but its early marketing focuses on three uses:

  • Determining the vaccination status of dogs with unknown vaccination history
  • Discovering whether or not a puppy has formed immunity after a vaccine is administered
  • Finding out if your dog�s immunity to any of those three viruses has �worn off,� and that he�s thus in need of what we call a �booster shot�

I�ve long championed titer testing for the first two purposes, and having such a test available right in the veterinarian�s office, with results in as few as 21 minutes, is going to be great.

It�s the third use that I have a problem with, even though I think it�s the one that�s going to excite most pet owners and a lot of veterinarians.

However much we might like to believe we can run in and check the �gas guage� of our dog�s immunity and �top off� his antibody levels with a �booster shot� if necessary � and however much our veterinarians might like to make such a service part of our pet�s annual wellness checks � that is just not how the immune system works.

First, there no evidence that immunity to those three viruses, once formed, wears off during the dog�s lifetime. Virtually all adults dogs who were properly vaccinated as puppies retain immunity to CPV, CDV and CAV-2 lifelong. Outbreaks of parvo and distemper (canine infectious hepatitis caused by CAV-2 is very rare) happen in puppies and improperly vaccinated young dogs, not adult and geriatric populations.

Additionally, immunity to those three viruses is a process, not a substance that can be directly counted and measured.

In the case of CAV-2, CDV or CPV, cells known as �memory cells� are formed when the dog is infected with, or vaccinated for, those viruses. If, later in life, the dog is exposed to the virus again, memory cells will �recognize� the virus and rapidly produce large amounts of antibodies to fight it.

This process happens whether or not there are circulating antibodies in the bloodstream at the time. (Tizard, Ian R., Veterinary Immunology: An Introduction, 6th Ed, Saunders 2000.)

It�s perfectly appropriate and very helpful to check for circulating antibodies shortly (around 2 weeks) after giving a puppy a vaccination, because at that time, their absence will strongly suggest the formation of immunity failed.

This can happen when maternal antibodies interfere with the puppy�s own immune response to the virus. Initial immunization can also fail to take place in a dog of any age if the vaccine is improperly stored or administered, or is somehow damaged, misformulated, or  inactivated. Using a test like this after any vaccination is a way to know for sure that immunization took place.

It also makes sense to test a dog of unknown vaccination history, because if he does have circulating antibodies to the viruses, you�ll know that he doesn�t need to be vaccinated for them. This can help rescue groups, shelters, and adopters of stray or rescued dogs avoid giving unnecessary vaccinations, thus sparing the dog the risk of their side effects.

Sure, if the dog doesn�t have antibodies he might be immune anyway, but  it�s perfectly rational to err on the side of disease prevention and administer the vaccination.

Unfortunately, that third purpose, the one that has the least scientific support, is being pushed by the manufacturer in this little video they made about the test:

Yes, even inappropriate use of a test like this will help avoid a lot of unnecessary vaccinations. And it will help veterinarians pay their bills, which I�m all in favor of. Some of my best friends are veterinarians, after all.

But there�s still no evidence that dogs who were ever immune to any of those three viruses need either antibody level testing or re-immunization, and unless somebody finds some, I�d recommend sticking to the first two uses for this and any other titer test on the market.


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Rottweiler Familial Subaortic Stenosis Study 

Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab

The Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab has Moved

We are currently looking for DNA samples from Rottweilers with a diagnosis of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (diagnosed by Doppler echocardiogram) or proven clear of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (as cleared by a cardiologist) to advance our study to identify a gene for the disease.

We need DNA samples from 20-30 affected dogs and 20-30 clear dogs

We are currently looking for DNA samples from Rottweilers with a diagnosis of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (diagnosed by Doppler echocardiogram) or proven clear of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (as cleared by a cardiologist) to advance our study to identify a gene for the disease.

We need DNA samples from 20-30 affected dogs and 20-30 clear dogs

Please complete and return this form with your sample and mail to:

WSU Post Office Box 605
Pullman, WA 99163-0605

Sample collection

Please ask your veterinarian or a veterinary technician to pull a blood sample into an EDTA tube. Most veterinary hospitals have these readily available
  1. Blood drawn into a Standard EDTA Tube does not need to be refrigerated.
  2. Blood draw volume should be 1 to 2 ml, if possible.
  3. Please label tube well, with dog�s call name and family last name and send the samples to our lab via the address above
Blood drawn does not need to be mailed back with ice packs or be shipped overnight. However, if possible please try to send the sample within a few days by standard mail. Until the blood can be mailed, it is a good idea to refrigerate it (i.e., if the blood was drawn late Saturday and cannot be mailed until Monday, it�s a good idea to refrigerate it between Saturday and Monday).

Dr. Joshua Stern
Washington State University
Phone: 614-390-1516

Submission Form

Thank you very much for your participation in the study!
Last Edited: May 23, 2011 1:52 PM   

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Vet's view: Xylitol can be deadly to dog

By Patty Khuly, Special for USA TODAY

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "every sweet has its sour." Nowhere in the world of dog medicine is this quip more apropos than with respect to xylitol, an increasingly ubiquitous sugar substitute found in everything from cupcakes to toothpaste. After all, it's currently considered the most canine-toxic "human food" on the planet.

Yet few dog owners seem to have gotten the message.

By now, everyone knows chocolate is toxic to dogs. It seems that every veterinarian's office is adorned with posters telling cautionary tales of pumped puppy stomachs, with the sad eyes and foil wrappers to prove them. Meanwhile, xylitol's power languishes in pet owner obscurity, even as its reach expands.

According to the ASPCA's Poison Control Center, more dogs than ever are being poisoned by products containing xylitol. That's partly because xylitol use is more widespread than ever but also because of a low awareness of its harmfulness among pet owners. This, despite the efforts of veterinarians working hard to inform all U.S. consumers that xylitol is a menace to dogdom.

How menacing? A few sugar-free Tic Tacs, a pack of Trident gum, a spilled tin of Starbucks mints, a sugar-free Jell-O dessert cup. It takes only a little of this toxin to send a dog into hypoglycemia-induced seizures and sometimes fatal liver failure. All dogs are susceptible, some more than others. Indeed, it has been calculated that as little as a gram of sweetener can kill a 10-pound dog.

You'd think it would be easy to simply eradicate this product from the market given its extreme dog toxicity, but here's the trouble: Xylitol is a great product. It's natural, just as sweet but less caloric than sugar, doesn't raise insulin levels and seems to reduce the kinds of oral bacteria associated with dental disease. Diabetics rave about it. Dentists do, too. All of which is why consumer product manufacturers have been slowly replacing their sweeteners with xylitol.

And that's absolutely OK. That is, if only dog owners knew a) xylitol was toxic, and b) which products contained xylitol so they could take all necessary precautions. Sadly, both points elude veterinarians who find it hard enough to preach to a) when b) is such a moving target.

When I first started writing about xylitol years ago, the number of consumer products containing the sweetener numbered fewer than 100 in the USA. Moreover, they were largely restricted to sugar-free gums, oral care products and baked goods. Fast-forward to today and the list is way longer and much more diverse. You can find xylitol in everything from Flintstones vitamins to omega-3 supplements to nicotine gum.

These products never used to contain xylitol. In fact, I used to recommend Flintstones vitamins for my patients. Now I have to caution my clients to stick to pet-only brands and to be very diligent about reading labels.

What's worse (for veterinarians, especially) is that the human versions of many drugs, especially the children's elixirs, are now being formulated with xylitol for greater pediatric palatability. Unfortunately, these lower-dose preparations are exactly what some of our smaller patients require. Because there are no animal equivalents for many drugs we use every day, kids' drugs are often the next best thing.

But veterinarians have only recently become aware of this new change to many of the same pediatric drugs we've been prescribing for years. In fact, I nearly poisoned one of my patients last week after the pharmacist called to ask whether I might prefer a pediatric elixir format of Pfizer's Neurontin since the smaller doses weren't available in a capsule. Luckily I'd just read an advisory and knew to ask. But still . she might have died!

So now it's not just good enough to reach every dog owner with news that xylitol is highly toxic. We have to teach them that labels must be dissected for every sweetened household item and that pharmacists must be specifically consulted whenever any flavored human drug or supplement is prescribed. Talk about an uphill trek. But what really irks, say concerned pet owners, is the lack of transparency on this issue on the part of consumer products manufacturers. One of my blog's regular readers, screen name Pai, objected on these grounds with this passionate comment:

"I'm appalled that so many (if not all?) of the companies that switch their recipes to include this ingredient do not seem to see fit to TELL anyone about it! I fear we will need another rash of dog deaths . before this issue is given the publicity it deserves."

I couldn't have said it better.

Now, I'm not necessarily one for mandatory labelling, nor would I press for the extinction of any safe and effective human product. Still, here's one area where corporate responsibility is clearly lacking. 


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By � by Fred Lanting

An infrequent, puzzling phenomenon is the litter in which many, if not all, of the whelps become strangely deformed sometime in the first two weeks of life. A flattening of the thorax and abdomen, top to bottom, becomes evident about a week after birth from some unknown cause. It happens most often in the dwarf (chondrodystrophic) breeds but has been seen in several other breeds. Instead of the thorax developing normally into a progressively deeper tube from the prosternum/neck area to the diaphragm, it forms more of a flattened cylinder with the height from floor to spine about the same all the way back to the loins, and perhaps even lower midway down the back. The forechest, instead of dropping from the prosternum to the last sternal vertebra, may even be concave, and as time goes on the puppy may become even more pancake-shaped. 

There is some variation in severity and symptoms, but the scenario is usually something like this: As the ribs bow out, the heart and other organs may be pushed into the pleural cavity and displace or decrease the air volume of the lungs; as a result, untreated pups become lethargic, lacking in energy and strength. By the third to fourth week, when normal pups would be running around, surviving affected pups have not yet learned to push themselves up into a standing position. If the extended limbs, especially front legs, are moved at all, it is with a paddling motion to the sides, hence the disorder is often called �Swimming-Puppy Syndrome.� The hind legs typically are extremely weak; they may be tucked under the torso, or less frequently extend behind the pup or laterally (toward the outside), but in any case they have little or no movement. If corrective therapy is not instigated early, �swimmers� have very poor circulation, respiration, and ability to swallow food or keep milk in their stomachs, and when they are old enough to wean (if they live that long!), are very slow when eating from pans. Stifles may be rotated underneath the belly, patellas are often luxated, and other orthopedic or osteochondral defects may be noted. Many die from inhalation pneumonia (from inspiring regurgitated milk) or other forms of respiratory failure. 

If swimmers are not given some sort of therapy, there is a less-than-even chance they will survive to eight weeks. Generally, those that do manage to live, only begin to walk at or after this age. A 1981 Veterinary Medicine/Small Animal Clinician report on a litter of Shepherd pups, five out of six of whom were swimmers, mentions one pup that started walking by nine weeks old, but by six months was still unsteady and slightly undersized (female, 40 pounds). Because she tired rapidly, even after only moderate exercise, she was euthanized. Autopsy showed that her vertebral/rib joints were enlarged, but internal organs seemed normal in appearance. Based on this sort of evidence, it�s possible to conclude that there might be another cause other than ventro-dorsal compression. Flattening of the chest is more likely an effect than a cause. There may also be permanent damage from the compression early in life that affects viability later, even if therapy seems to have helped. There may be variability in the severity, based on genetic or environmental factors, or a combination of these. 

Many factors have been accused of contributing to the syndrome, both environmental and some of unknown genetic origin. For a while, most people blamed slippery floors, but I�ve raised all my litters on smooth, impervious flooring covered with newspaper and have never had a swimmer in my own operation. The VM/SAC report mentioned above involved excellent footing in the whelping/nursing box: clean, dry, rough surfaced indoor/outdoor carpeting. Until this report, it was generally believed that such a floor would prevent swimmers from developing. I disagree, especially with recommending the use of carpeting, as this surface is notorious for harboring germs and thus causing other health problems. Newspapers are best for lining the nest or exploration areas of the house that has new pups, until they are housebroken. 

Some Dachshund breeders told me they were fairly successful in correcting the syndrome by putting each of the pups in a sling for at least part of each day. This practice encouraged them to make contact with the floor with their pads. Some tied hobbles to the front legs to keep them under the body and the elbows close together. This, they felt, prevented the front legs from becoming spread-eagled. Dish-shaped nests of straw have also been suggested, but not only does that present the danger of filthy conditions if not cleaned often, it also may not be very practical. A modification of the idea has also been proposed: put the whole whelping/nursing area into a sling thus making the �floor� more like a hammock with the canvas or vinyl suspended at the corners and edges and lower in the center. I doubt the efficacy of any of these, but as sailors used to say, �Any port in a storm.� 

Other therapies that may be beneficial, although tiresome and time-demanding of the breeder, include massage (passive exercise), administration of vitamin E (possibly with selenium added if they�re not getting solid food yet; but have your vet research and advise, as it�s easy to overdose selenium, which is then toxic), taping or tying hobbles to prevent splaying, and suspension in warm water. The last-named is promising if either active or passive movement can be induced. Thus, swimming (the real kind, in water) may help correct the �swimmer� syndrome. Whirlpool baths are beneficial for partially paralyzed or weak adults such as those suffering from coonhound paralysis, but of course the waves in such a tub would overwhelm a 3- to 6-week old puppy. Therefore, hold him in your hand or a sling, with support to keep his head up out of the water, and let him paddle for a while in warm water (probably around 80 degrees F to prevent chilling), but take him out and dry him thoroughly when he tires. As many of these sessions as you can manage should help the pup to develop coordination, muscle development, and better circulation while putting much less weight on his body. Your hand or makeshift sling plus the buoyancy of the water will take the weight off the chest. Finger manipulation of his limbs might be a good idea, too, while he�s in the water, but also when he�s out. 

Starting in 1999, after much of the above was printed in my book �The Total German Shepherd Dog� (2nd edition,, some e-mail correspondence on the subject started coming to me. A French Bulldog breeder expressed the belief that a dam that produced this defect should not be spayed or eliminated from the breeding program. At first I disagreed with her because I am a hereditarian, but later came to feel that breeding her again might not be all that much of a risk. This lady had two swimmers, each 12 oz at birth, never left on flat surface. She said she put them on blankets, �facing upwards and they stayed in an upright position,� and claimed they were both fine within weeks. 

The syndrome of swimmer puppies is sometimes referred to as Pectus Excavatum, and described by many as �a condition of so-called flat-chested puppies.� Without intervention, and often despite efforts, they usually die anywhere from two days to four weeks after diagnosis or symptoms. More often it is sooner than later, according to the Bulldog people I have heard from. When nursing (if it is able to get to the teat at all), the puppy may arch its back extremely in a backward movement to compensate for an apparent inability to flex at the neck. 

Some breeders prefer not to assign any blame to genetics. They disagree with those who hold that the puppy inherits most problems from the parents, and a pair that produces a swimmer puppy should be removed from one�s breeding program. These people often postulate that the bitch was fed inadequately or that she did not utilize the necessary dietary nutrients (i.e., vitamins, proteins, fats, or minerals) to give the puppy the �skeletal components needed.� This may be stretching credulity, as swimmers also happen in households of experienced breeders, and to bitches whose diets are normal. In this age of commercial dog food, it is nearly impossible to blame it on such a drastic dietary deficiency. Others who refuse to acknowledge the major part that genes play in determining characteristics and deformities tend to blame environments such as too flat or too hard or too slick a surface, bacteria, viruses, etc. 

A breeder of Lhasa Apsos and American Cocker Spaniels corresponded with me after reading the section on swimmers in my �Total GSD� book. She made some very interesting observations that may give us a clue to the primary genetic defect: She had become frustrated with the feeble answers from �experts such as vets and breeders [who]� all knew what it was and all had answers, none of which were very successful� none of which had real solutions.� She started to see a pattern emerge. The incidence of swimmers appeared to be �random.� Type of food or use of supplements �didn�t decrease or increase the occurrence of swimmers.� What she said she did observe was �the syndrome began to show up at anywhere from one hour to a couple of days after birth, beginning with a slight flattening of the chest or an actual bend in the ribs.� I believe that by careful observation, she hit upon a method of early identification of afflicted pups and possibly, therefore, carriers of the defect. By following her techniques, one may prevent the development of the symptoms, but will not eliminate any genes that cause the untreated neonate to become a swimmer. I am enough of a eugenicist to want to remove carriers of a defect from a gene pool, but enough of a �compassionate conservative� (as a famous politician�s speech writer coined the term) to want to save any pup that could possibly live a useful life and bring someone happiness. However, such pups, while saved from death or uncomfortable existence, perhaps should be neutered. You might not eliminate all the genes from these lines, but the �worst� ones, those causing obvious cases.

The Lhasa-and-Cocker lady became adept at determining if a pup has a problem by picking up each pup and testing its �righting reflex.� She correctly stated, �What you will notice about these [affected] pups is that they are always lying flat on the belly. If you lay them on their side, they will immediately return to lying on their bellies. This is what is known as the righting reflex. You can observe this by disturbing [waking] a sleeping litter of very young puppies and watching all of them right themselves. They immediately [turn to lie on] their stomachs and begin to look for a nipple. The righting reflex is the first response to nursing and the cause of swimmer puppies.� While that last phrase may sound a bit awkward, it is true that the normal neonate has an instinct to get onto its belly and crawl or drag itself to a teat. Once there, it may just as easily and happily again flop over on its side a little, as long as it does not twist too far in the direction of having its belly-side up. After nursing, the normal newborn pup will lie on its side to sleep. As they get a little older, they will be just as comfortable draped over each other, and as they are old enough for the ribcage to have developed strength, they may sleep belly-down for a while, but by then it is not abnormal. 

Occasionally a puppy seems to indicate that it doesn�t want to or cannot �return to a normal relaxed state on its side and insists or remains [on its belly] causing the flattening of the chest, which, if left undisturbed, leads to swimmer syndrome and probable death.� This is possibly not a defect in the righting reflex, per se, but a genetic defect in proprioception, the instinctive knowledge of position. It may well originate in a genetic defect in the embryonic development of the inner ear. Perhaps the swimmer has inherited poor proprioception and therefore its body �doesn�t know to roll over on its side.� Once in the righted position used for finding the nipple, it has no way of knowing that there is a more comfortable and normal resting position. 

The ear is divided into three parts: outer, middle, and inner. The outer part helps funnel sound to the eardrum, a membrane on the other side of which is the middle ear. There, three bones hinged together relay eardrum vibrations to the inner ear, which is separated by more membranous tissue. The inner ear includes not only the nerve endings that transform mechanical movement into electrical impulses and carry auditory messages to the brain, but it also includes the organ of balance. The rear part of the membranous labyrinth has three semicircular canals that look like three bicycle tubes joined together in one bulbous end. Each of the three canals is oriented 90 degrees to the other two, and all are filled with fluid and nerve endings. The tiniest movement of the body tells these moving-fluid-activated nerves what direction the head is turning, and thus informs the brain as to what muscles must contract in order to change or return to a given position. It is my hypothesis that in swimmers, the message is not being relayed or interpreted somewhere along the chain of events. We also see similar interruptions in these messages in older dogs, caused by infections, poisoning, or late-developing genetic factors. It may be that the messages coming from the legs are not getting to the brain or spinal cord, nor going in the return direction. 

The �cure,� if you want to call it that, will only be for the individual itself. If it is indeed a genetic problem, correcting the condition in the individual does not erase the cause, so cannot be considered a cure in the strict semantic and population sense. If your breed has been known to have swimmers, or you are slightly paranoid by nature, steps to identify and correct could be taken as soon as possible and can be quite simple, according to that Lhasa breeder: �Check all the pups right after birth and every hour or so for the next couple of days.� [I don�t know about you, but I have to sleep sometimes, and don�t have shift workers in my kennel to do this!] �If you notice a pup that is always on its belly or beginning to show signs of a flat chest, what you do is lay mom down and put this pup on a good nipple. After it�s on, turn it on its side, holding its entire body and � making sure it stays on its side. If the pup lets loose� start over. Do this several times a day until the pup returns to normal� on its side; when that happens, you have just cured swimmer puppy syndrome.� 

You will have to determine for yourself if it is worth it, realizing that not everyone is able to save every defective puppy. And, if you want to prevent it from happening again, perhaps the surest and safest approach is not to breed either parent again. That is, play the odds and assume a genetic cause unless you are convinced a problem is purely or mostly environmental and at the same time not very important to the breed population. The longer I live, the more evidence I see that nearly everything has a bigger genetic component than you would initially think, but probably there are more urgent matters to attack first. 

A friend and fellow judge in Pakistan, who is one of his country�s most notable breeders, wrote to me late in 2010 for advice. He related, �In my Labrador Retriever litter, I had a swimmer pup. I noticed it when the pup was about 16 days old. By three weeks, his hind legs would stretch back like a turtle and also go sideways. Front legs were OK and he could lift his chest and move with his front legs. He had a flattened chest. I tied his rear legs with an elastic ribbon, keeping it only as wide as his body. I made a loop around his neck also and tied [the cord running under the belly] to the elastic band joining the two hind legs. I did this to ensure the rear legs did not stretch back. Within three days, he started walking on his own (with elastic bands) and after another week started jumping around without any bands. Now he runs about and it is very difficult to spot it from his litter mates. His chest is absolutely normal. Litter is now five weeks old. 

�After reading your article in detail, I want to know whether, in the swimmer puppies, the chest is flattened because of splayed legs or the legs are [spread out] because pups are born with flat chest. My other question is, will my pup have any after-effects later in life or will be normal?�

I told him this: �Ken, it is most widely believed (in the more knowledgeable veterinary and expert-breeder communities) that the problem is a congenital weakness that develops when the pup does not have the neurological stimulus (or muscle response) to control the early placement and use of limbs. Without this normal nerve development, the muscles are not �trained� to respond when signals are sent from the brain or spinal cord. Apparently, the breeder�s act of positioning the limbs under the torso somehow allows this nerve impulse �send-and-response� procedure to establish a �habit� (which you could call the system�s development of �memory�). The later a breeder attempts to correct the problem, the less likely the pup will develop normally. The longer one waits to reposition and train the limbs, the more permanent will be the damaging effect on lungs and other internal organs. If ignored, apparently it will lead to death, although there are no reliable statistics. I have never heard of the problem resolving spontaneously � without human corrective intervention. 

�In answer to the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, I would say that the nervous system defect is the cause, and the flattening of the chest cavity is a result of this lack of stimulus to the limb muscles to move them under the body and push the torso up, sideways, and forward. I have not seen any study or testimonials as to �after-effects� nor whether it seems to run in families. Until I see such a hint of familial relationship, I would guess it would be safe enough to breed dogs that were affected with this syndrome in the whelping box, but keep good records on future relatives� puppies. It very well could be what many people call a �non-genetic� (but by which I personally mean low heritability) trait, one that is less influenced by genes and more influenced by environment � including the biochemical environment in the uterus.�

So, as in any abnormality whether very slight or more serious, the breeder needs to decide whether to try to eliminate or limit it, or to let it go and concentrate on more important things. In any case, it is a matter of ethics and good science to be diligent in keeping records on where littermates go and whether the condition appears again in those lines.

Copyright, 2003, 2010 by the author. Permission to reprint granted on request, provided an acceptable credit is given at the end, such as the following: 
Fred Lanting is an internationally respected show judge (over 30 countries), approved by many registries as an all-breed judge, has judged numerous countries� Sieger Shows and Landesgruppen events, and has many years experience with SV. He is the author of several books, including the top-selling orthopedics book and the work on the GSD mentioned in this article. He presents seminars and consults worldwide on such topics as Gait-&-Structure, HD and Other Orthopedic Disorders, Anatomy, Training Techniques, and The GSD. He has been chief instructor of anatomy at Senior Conformation Judges Assn Institute and the W.Va. Canine College, as well as guest lecturer at many veterinary schools in the Americas and Asia. Fred lives most of the year in Alabama, actively trains in schutzhund, and breeds for occasional litters. He invites all to join his annual non-profit Sieger Show and sightseeing tour. Contact:

The Total German Shepherd Dog (new edition published by Hoflin Publ.)
This is the expanded and enlarged second edition, a �must� for every true GSD lover; 17 of its 20 chapters are applicable to all breeds. Chapters include: History and Origins, Modern Bloodlines, The Standard, Anatomy, Gait & Motion, Shows, Showing, and Training, Winners, Nutrition and Feeding, General Care and Information, Health and First Aid, Parasites and Immunity, Diseases and Disorders, The Geriatric Dog, Breeding, Basics of Genetics, Reproduction, Whelping, The First Twelve Weeks, & a Trouble-shooting Guide. It is an excellent alternative or adjunct to the �genetic history� by Willis, but slightly less technical and therefore suitable for the novice, yet very detailed to be indispensable for the reputable breeder. 
Hip Dysplasia and Other Canine Orthopedic Disorders (3rd edition, self-published)
It�s here! The long-awaited revision of the popular HD book by Fred Lanting covers all joints plus many bone disorders and includes genetics, diagnostic methods, treatment options, and the role that environment plays. $68, plus Book Rate postage & packaging in the U.S. (more for overseas shipments). Discounts available for 8-book case lots. This new �HD and Other Canine Orthopedic Disorders� book is a comprehensive (nearly 600 pages!), amply illustrated, annotated, monumental work that is suitable as a coffee-table book, reference work for breeders and vets, and a study adjunct for veterinary students. It is equally valuable for the dog trainer and the general dog owner of any breed, as there is no breed that does not have some sort of orthopedic, bone, or spinal disorder. Do not confuse it with the out-of-print, much smaller 1980 work that sold 10,000 copies.

Willow Wood, 3565 Parches Cove, Union Grove, AL 35175-8422 USA. If you want to read helpful articles on dogs, search on Google or Yahoo for Fred Lanting or such websites as:


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Pfizer Stopping Its Production of ProMeris

Posted: April 18, 2011, 5:20 p.m., EDT
By Jessica Tremayne
Contributing Editor - Veterinary Practice News

Study Links ProMeris to Pemphigus Foliaceus; Pfizer Stopping Its Production

A recent groundbreaking study of clinical, histological and immunological data of 22 cases of Pemphigus foliaceus, or PF, shows evidence that it can occur as an adverse drug reaction to the canine flea and tick preventive ProMeris.

PF is the most common spontaneously occurring autoimmune skin disease of dogs and typically displays as lesions on the face, nasal planum and ears. The reaction is rare but serious, says the study�s lead author, Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD, Dipl. ACVD, of North Carolina State University.

Ultimately, ProMeris Duo (Metaflumizone�amitraz ), which is also used for treating demodicosis, will be discontinued. The product, marketed by Pfizer Animal Health, will be available while supplies last or until mid-September. ProMeris Duo is called ProMeris for Dogs in the US. It is a novel topical ectoparasiticide.

�ProMeris was one of the many products that Pfizer brought into its portfolio when we acquired Wyeth/Fort Dodge Animal Health,� says Jim Brick, director and team leader of U.S. marketing for Pfizer Inc. 

�We have completed a thorough review and evaluation of the strategic fit into the Pfizer Animal Health portfolio, and have made the decision to discontinue the manufacture and sale of Promeris flea and tick control for dogs and cats. 

�We notified our current customers of this decision in early April and will continue to fill their orders until Sept. 20, 2011, or while supplies last. We look forward to continuing to meet the needs of our customers with our evolving parasiticide portfolio.�

The study that gathered and presented the ProMeris findings was conducted by Dr. Olivry; Ursula Oberkirchner, resident; and pathologist Keith Linder, DVM, PhD, all of North Carolina State University. 

Since ProMeris� introduction to U.S. and European markets in 2007, veterinarians have reported this adverse reaction, but previous case studies failed to use a drug-reaction probability scale and therefore an ADR couldn�t be definitively identified. 

Olivry says this examination of all parameters studied suggests that this ADR might represent the first instance of contact drug-triggered PF to be published in Veterinary Dermatology. The article was published in the March issue of the joural.

Spontaneously occurring PF, thought to develop through genetic and environmental triggers, has a higher prevalence in chow chows and Akita Inus, whereas ProMeris-triggered PF has a higher occurrence in Labrador retrievers and other large-breed dogs, Olivry says. 

The study found that ProMeris Duo-associated PF not only had a reaction to the same drug, but also shared many of the same phenotypes. Lesions in PD-triggered PF were found to be both localized and at distant locations from the point of application.

�We contacted specialists who had diagnosed these cases in the U.S. and Europe,� Olivry says. �Dogs were selected if they had a history of skin lesions that first arose at the PD application site, but dogs with a known history of autoimmune disease were omitted.� 

Skin biopsies from said PD-associated lesions had to reveal microscopic characteristics similar to those of PF, which means the presence of superficial keratinocyte acantholysis.

�Referring veterinarians from cases used completed questionnaires providing information on the patient�s lesions and drug application history. Within the 22 dogs included in this study, two groups of affected animals were distinguished: dogs with localized signs or those who also exhibited distant skin lesions.�

Olivry�s goal in revealing his study findings is to provide veterinarians with information on the prognosis and management of this disease. In addition to skin lesions, more severe reactions can occur and can be long-lasting.

�Signs of systemic illness were reported in three dogs in the study, and four required immunosuppressive treatment,� Olivry says. �After ADR PD lesions occur and are then treated, they could recur at a later time without reapplying ProMeris Duo.�

Olivry says the study is referenced in Pubmed as:
Metaflumizone-amitraz (Promeris)-associated pustular acantholytic dermatitis in 22 dogs: evidence suggests contact drug-triggered pemphigus foliaceus.

An NCSU Case study

Olivry recommends that veterinarians use alternatives to ProMeris in animals known to have autoimmune disease, Labradors and other large-breed dogs, as well as in dogs that previously developed lesions.

�Dogs developed lesions in a draping pattern or along the dorsal side after having ProMeris Duo applied,� Olivry says. �Some dogs showed systemic signs that included lethargy, generalized pain and anorexia. In the case of a 7-year-old (spayed) female Labrador, a two-week history of skin lesions and lameness was presented. 

�Ten months prior to referral, the dog�s monthly flea and tick prevention was changed from Frontline to PD. The patient received a total of three PD applications, three and five months separating them. One month after the third application of PD, the owner noticed extensive crusting on the application site between the shoulder blades as well as lameness in the left front leg. The dog was examined by the primary care veterinarian, who suspected a tick-borne disease as the cause of this dog�s lameness. Doxycycline was then prescribed.�

One of Olivry�s concerns with lesions occurring after ProMeris application is that primary care practitioners may not be able to identify or connect the product as a cause of the lesions and misdiagnose the patient, as in the case of the 7-year-old female Labrador. 

�Skin biopsies were taken from interscapular crusts and histopathology revealed an acantholytic dermatosis of unknown origin in the female Labrador,� Olivry says. 

�The patient�s health worsened dramatically over the following days. The dog appeared in pain, she showed lameness of the left front paw and skin lesions had progressed. The veterinarian prescribed prednisone (1 mg/kg twice daily) and tramadol, while a fentanyl patch was applied and doxycycline was continued. 

�Only minimal improvement of the lameness and skin lesions was seen with this regimen, and the patient was referred to North Carolina State University. Skin cytology was performed on pus obtained from a crusted lesion in the shoulder, and microscopic examination revealed neutrophils and acantholytic keratinocytes suggestive of PF. Serum was collected for detection of circulating antikeratinocyte autoantibody by indirect immunofluorescence (IF) in our laboratory.�

Based on the strong suspicion of the diagnosis of ProMeris-triggered pemphigus foliaceus (PTPF), Olivry says the dosage of prednisolone was increased to 1.5 mg/kg twice daily, and tramadol was to be given as needed to relieve pain.

�On histopathology, the presence of a superficial epidermal neutrophilic pustular dermatitis with keratinocyte acantholysis was confirmed, and bacteria or dermatophytes were not seen in the stratum corneum by special stains,� Olivry says.

�Direct IF performed on paraffin-embedded skin sections revealed the intercellular deposition of IgG and IgM in both lesional and perilesional epidermis. Circulating antikeratinocyte autoantibodies were not detected at 1:20 serum dilution.�

Olivry and his team concluded this case with a diagnosis of PTPF.

�The dog returned for a re-evaluation visit the following week,� Olivry says. �At that time, skin lesions had improved, as there was only minor crusting left in the interscapular region and pinnae. The dog no longer exhibited signs of lameness, and tramadol was discontinued. The dose of prednisolone was tapered progressively over the following 11 days. The disease has remained in remission without any relapse for more than two years.�


Before ProMeris became available for veterinary purchase and distribution, studies evaluating its safety and efficacy reported the development of skin lesions at the site of drug application in some treated animals, Olivry says. In one clinical trial enrolling dogs with flea or tick infestation, six of 293 subjects (2 percent) exhibited skin hyperpigmentation, hair matting or scales at application sites. 

In another experimental study of dogs infested with either fleas or ticks, one dog treated with ProMeris developed dorsal skin lesions that required treatment with an anti-inflammatory drug for seven days.

�Specific information on the frequency of these severe adverse drug reactions isn�t available, but it is important that veterinarians are aware of the product�s potential to cause the patient harm,� Olivry says. �Caution needs to be exercised if a vet decides to use this drug.�

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Lungworm Can Kill Your Dog

The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

There are two main problems caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm:
* Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
* Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog�s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.  Continue Reading ...


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W. Jean Dodds, DVM (1) and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD (2) 

There is little doubt that application of modern vaccine technology has permitted us to protect companion animals effectively against serious infectious diseases. Today, we can question conventional vaccine regimens and adopt effective and safe alternatives primarily because the risk of disease has been significantly reduced by the widespread use of vaccination programs, which convey underlying population or herd immunity.

For many veterinary practitioners canine vaccination programs have been �practice management tools� rather than medical procedures. Thus, it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created significant controversy. A �more is better� philosophy still prevails with regard to pet vaccines. 

Annual vaccination has been and remains the single most important reason why most pet owners bring their pets for an annual or more often �wellness visit.� Another reason for the reluctance to change current vaccination programs is 
many practitioners really don�t understand the principles of vaccinal immunity. Clearly, the accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered as a �one size fits all� program. 

Giving annual boosters when they are not necessary has the client paying for a service which is likely to be of little benefit to the pet�s existing level of protection against these infectious diseases. It also increases the risk of adverse reactions from the repeated exposure to foreign substances.

So, have veterinarians really embraced the national policies on vaccination guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and Academy of Feline Practitioners? Does the public trust veterinarians to be up-to-date on these issues or are they unsure? Do they believe veterinarians have a conflict of interest if they seek the income from annual booster vaccinations? 

Given current media attention to vaccination issues, the public is more aware and worried about vaccine safety.

Some veterinarians today still tell their clients there is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations with adverse effects and serious illness. This is ignorance, and confuses an impressionable client. On the other hand, vaccine zealots abound with hysteria and misinformation. None of these polarized views is helpful.

Further, veterinarians are still routinely vaccinating ill dogs and those with chronic diseases or prior adverse vaccine reactions.  This is especially problematic for rabies boosters, as many colleagues believe they have no legal alternative, even though the product label states it's intended for healthy animals. 

For more information, see Duration of Immunity Study for Rabies Vaccine - Rabies Challenge Fund

Alternatives to Current Vaccine Practices 

1) measuring serum antibody titers; 
2) avoidance of unnecessary vaccines or over vaccinating; 
3) caution in vaccinating sick or febrile individuals; and 
4) tailoring a specific minimal vaccination protocol for dogs of breeds or families known to be at increased risk for adverse reactions. 
5) considerations include starting the vaccination series later, such as at nine or ten weeks of age when the immune system is better able to handle antigenic challenge; 
6) alerting the caregiver to pay particular attention to the puppy�s behavior and overall health after the second or subsequent boosters; and 
7) avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. Littermates of affected puppies should be closely monitored after receiving additional vaccines in a puppy series, as they too are at higher risk. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions � Some questions are part of the Guidelines for Vaccination of Dogs and Cats compiled by the Vaccine Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) 

Q. Do dogs competing in agility or other events need more vaccines for protection than other pet dogs?
A. No, although if the event location has an exposure risk for Leptospirosis or Lyme disease , annual vaccination for these diseases should be considered. 

Q. Is there risk of overvaccinating with vaccines not needed for a specific animal?
A. Yes. Vaccines contain material designed to challenge the immune system of the pet, and so can cause adverse reactions. They should not be given needlessly, and should be tailered to the pet�s individual needs. 

Q. Are the initial series of puppy core vaccines immunosuppressive?
A. Yes. This period of immunosuppression from MLV canine distemper and hepatitis vaccines coincides with the time of vaccine-induced viremia, from days 3 to 10 after vaccination.

Q. Can anesthetized patients be vaccinated?
A. This is not preferred, because a hypersensitivity reaction with vomiting and aspiration could occur and anesthetic agents can be immunomodulating.

Q. Is it safe to vaccinate pregnant pets? 
A. Absolutely not. 

Q. Should pets with immunosuppressive diseases such as cancer or autoimmune diseases, or adverse vaccine reactions/ hypersensitibvity receive booster vaccinations? 
A. No. Vaccination with MLV products should be avoided as the vaccine virus may cause disease; vaccination with killed products may aggravate the immune-mediated disease or be ineffective. For rabies boosters that are due, local authorities may accept titers instead or accept a letter from your veterinarian. 

Q. If an animal receives immunosuppressive therapy, how long afterwards can the pet safely be vaccinated?
A. Wait at least 2 weeks.

Q. Should vaccines be given more often than 2 weeks apart even if a different vaccine is being given? 
A. No. The safest and most effective interval is 3-4 weeks apart. 

Q. At what age should the last vaccine dose be given in the puppy series?
A. The last dose of vaccine should be given between 14-16 weeks regardless of the number of doses given prior to this age. Rabies vaccine should preferably be given separately as late as possible under the law (e.g. 16-24 weeks).

Q. Should the new canine influenza vaccine be given routinely? 
A. No. It is intended primarily for pounds and shelters and high density boarding facilities, as nose-to-nose contact and crowding promote viral transmission. 

Q. Can intranasal Bordetella vaccine be given parenterally (injected)?
A. No. The vaccine can cause a severe local reaction and may even kill the pet. 

Q. Will a killed parenteral Bordetella vaccine given intranasally produce immunity?
A. No. 

Q. Are homeopathic nosodes capable of immunizing pets?
A. No. There is no scientific documentation that nosodes protect against infectious diseases of pets. The one parvovirus nosode trial conducted years ago did not protect against challenge. 

Q. Should disinfectant be used at the vaccine injection site?
A. No. Disinfectants could inactivate a MLV product.

Q. Can vaccines cause autoimmune diseases?
A. Vaccines themselves do not cause these diseases, but they can trigger autoimmune responses followed by disease in genetically predisposed animals, as can any infection, drug, or chemical / toxic exposures etc.

Q. Can a single vaccine dose provide any benefit to the dog? Will it benefit the canine population?
A. Yes. One dose of a MLV canine core vaccine should provide long term immunity when given to animals at or after 16 weeks of age. Every puppy 16 weeks of age or older should receive at least one dose of the MLV core vaccines. We need to vaccinate more animals in the population with core vaccines to achieve herd immunity and thereby prevent epidemic outbreaks.

Q. If an animal receives only the first dose of a vaccine that needs two doses to immunize, will it have immunity? 
A. No. A single dose of a two-dose vaccine like Leptospirosis vaccine will not provide immunity. The first dose is for priming the immune system. The second for boosting the immunity has to be given within 6 weeks; otherwise the series has to start over again. After those two doses, revaccination with a single dose can be done at any time.

Q. Can maternally derived antibodies (MDA) also block immunity to killed vaccines and prevent active immunization with MLV vaccines?
A.Yes. MDA can block certain killed vaccines, especially those that require two doses to immunize. With MLV vaccines, two doses are often recommended, particularly in young animals, to be sure one is given beyond the neutralizing period of MDA. 

Q. How long after vaccination does an animal develop immunity that will prevent severe disease when the core vaccines are used?
A. This is dependent on the animal, the vaccine, and the disease.

� The fastest immunity is provided by canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccines -- MLV and recombinant canarypox virus vectored. The immune response starts within mins - hrs and provides protection within a day without interference from MDA.

� Immunity to canine parvovirus (CPV-2) develops after 3-5 days when an effective MLV vaccine is used. 

� Canine adenovirus-2/hepatitis (CAV-2) MLV given parenterally provides immunity against CAV-1 in 5 to 7 days. 

Q. Can dogs be �non-responders� and fail to develop an immune response to vaccines?
A Yes. This is a genetic characteristic seen particularly in some breeds or dog families. Boosting them regularly will not produce measurable antibody. Some of these animals may be protected against disease by their cell-mediated and secretory immunity. 

Q. Are there parvovirus and distemper virus field mutants that are not adequately protected by current MLV vaccines?
A. No. All the current CPV-2 and CDV vaccines provide protection from all known viral isolates, when tested experimentally as well as in the field. The current CPV-2 and CPV-2b vaccines provide both short and long term protection from challenge by the CPV-2c variant.

Q. Are serum antibody titres useful in determining vaccine immunity?
A. Yes. They are especially useful for CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-1 in the dog, FPV in the cat, and rabies virus in the cat and dog. Rabies titers, however, are often not acceptable to exempt individual animals from mandated rabies boosters in spite of medical justifcation. Serum antibody titers are of limited or no value for (many of) the other vaccines.

(1) President, Hemopet, 938 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 

(2) Chairman, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

* Excerpted from: AKC Health Foundation, St. Louis, MO, 2007; J Sm An Pract 48, 528�541, 2007; 5th IVVDC Conference , Madison, WI , 2009.

Additional Literature

● Day MJ, Horzinek MC, Schultz RD. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. J Sm An Pract, 48, 528-541 2007

● Dodds WJ. Vaccination protocols for dogs predisposed to vaccine reactions. J Am An Hosp Assoc 38: 1-4, 2001.

● Dodds WJ. Vaccine issues revisited: what�s really happening ? Proc Am Hol Vet Med Assoc, Tulsa, OK, 2007, pp 132-140.

● Paul MA (chair) et al. Report of the AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force : 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines. J Am An Hosp Assoc 42:80-109, Mar-April 2006, 28 pp. American Animal Hospital Association 

● Schultz R D Considerations in designing effective and safe vaccination programs for dogs. In: Carmichael LE (editor), Recent Advances in Canine Infectious Diseases. Intern Vet Inform Serv, 2000.

● Schultz RD. Duration of immunity for canine and feline vaccines: a review. Vet Microbiol 117:75-79, 2006. 


� Distemper 
� Adenovirus (Hepatitis)** 
� Parvovirus 
� Rabies 
* vaccines that every dog and cat should have
** immunity provided by a CAV-2 vaccine 


� retrospective cohort study; 1.25 million dogs vaccinated at 360 veterinary hospitals
� 38 adverse events per 10,000 dogs vaccinated
� inversely related to dog weight
� vaccines prescribed on a 1-dose-fits-all basis, rather than by body weight. 
� increased for dogs up to 2 yr of age, then declined
� greater for neutered versus sexually intact dogs 
� increased as number of vaccines given together increased
� increased after the 3rd or 4th vaccination
� genetic predisposition to adverse events documented
__________________________________________________ ___________
* from Moore et al, JAVMA 227:1102�1108, 2005


Factors that increase risk of adverse events 3 days after vaccination:

� young adult age 
� small-breed size
� neutering
� multiple vaccines given per visit 

These risks should be communicated to clients

__________________________________________________ _____



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Vaccinations and How They Disrupt the Immune System
Patricia Jordan DVM, VND 

By Dr.Jeannie on Jun 14, 2010 in Dog Health - Immune System, Dog News The Latest Poop

There is historical evidence that the Chinese were the first to attempt the theory of vaccination during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).1 This procedure was called virolation and was first used with small pox crusts as snuff to blow up the nostrils of people they hoped to affect. Virolation by the Chinese predates the small pox work of Edward Jenner, Farmer Jesty and Lady Montague by five centuries.2 The Chinese discontinued the attempts at vaccination as they discovered the process did not help and actually made conditions worse for the patient. How intelligent this deduction was back in that period of time. The Chinese from the medical perspective saw the vaccine as a pathogen and invoked the Divergent Meridians to take the pathogen and translocate it to the interior of the body. In order to do this, to make the pathogen latent, the body had to expend its resources, Yuan Qi and Yin-Jing which is dense and heavy and kept the pathogen dormant (which the body does in the joints/bones/marrow).
The problems in babies and in animals of all ages that are receiving a continuous yearly load of pathogen impact via vaccines, is that the Yuan Qi and Jing should not be disturbed at these young stages of development and thereafter so frequently in life. The additional problems of a poor diet , the use of excessive drugs like antibiotics and resultant Qi depletion is an overall lack of capability to maintain dormancy of the pathogens.
When overwhelmed with vaccinations in addition, these mechanisms leave the individual vulnerable. With so many resources being allocated to deal with the vaccines, what is left of the Vital Force to handle the vicissitudes of daily living? Poor nutrition and environmental toxins and chemicals along with the synthetic use of drugs all tax and handicap the body, so that the bodies are coming into immune compromise and depletion much too quickly.
The vaccines themselves stimulate adverse reactions causing disease, disability, organ failure, cancer, autoimmune disease and sometimes death. The number of dog vaccines has grown from 4 administered only once or twice in a lifetime to 20 and often aggressively administered twice a year! The intent of this commentary is to introduce to the reader to just a few pathways of immunopathology resulting from vaccine administration. When dealing with a patient exhibiting any clinical signs, remember to obtain vaccine administration history and remember that the ancient Chinese were indeed able to link the correlation of vaccination to the disharmonies of health that followed.
In lectures I have attended by veterinary vaccine researchers such as Drs. Ron Schultz, Richard Ford, Jean Dodd and Dennis Macy, the pathways to pathology from vaccination have been clearly associated. The only vaccine that Dr. Ron Schultz is still advocating is the 3 way vaccine for the three lethal viruses, distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus (and the rabies until we get the laws changed).3 For the cat, the only lethal virus he advocates vaccination for is the feline distemper. Dr. Schultz lays out the pathology that follows cats vaccinated with herpes virus or calicivirus vaccines if administered by injection. He also advises that these vaccines against the lethal viruses are only necessary once in a lifetime to a mature mammalian immune system in order to result in genetic imprinting, incorporation of the viral proteins into the genome to affect pathogen sensitization of the patient�s immune cells. Additional administration just increases the adverse events and vaccine induced disease. Lymphoma is now understood to result from chronic B cell stimulation, chronic stimulation by antigen, vaccines result in antigenic stimulation, adjuvant ensures the chronic stimulation.4
The rabies virus vaccine is full of its own problems with autoimmune disease production and adverse events such as ascending paralysis and encephalitis which have occurred since Pasteur first started grinding up infected spinal cords and injecting them into subjects.5 There is evidence from as far back as 1954, published, and 1945, unpublished, that only one rabies vaccine injected into the mature body of a mammalian immune system is capable of sensitizing the patient for life against the rabies virus.6 Other work followed in the 1970�s. Research to confirm this is currently being performed by Dr. Schultz and his group as the vaccine manufacturers are not releasing their data that establishes this fact.7 There was a study done in France on cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies that showed that animals were still resisting a rabies viral challenge 5 years after vaccination.8 As well there are human cases where the rabies vaccine amnestic response has been effective for 14 years.9
Humans have pathogen recognition of small pox for 92 years after vaccination. Once thought to be 50 years in duration and even less when they first started the procedure of vaccine administration, it is now well understood that most viral vaccines give pathogen recognition for the entire life of the patient.10 My clinical experience is that this amnestic can also be passed vertically from one generation to the next, why not, it is genetic incorporation we are talking about. Dr. Ron Schultz and Dr. Jean Dodd are on record that only one or two rabies vaccines will be sufficient for the life of the animal and are both working with the Rabies Challenge Fund to establish the scientific criteria necessary to change the laws regarding rabies vaccination in this country.
In 1972 the American Veterinary Medical Association first recommended vaccinating yearly, despite the decades of successful use of vaccines administered only in the first year of life. Representatives from the drug manufacturers and several regulatory representatives were the ones whom advised the AVMA to institute a change to yearly vaccine recommendations, not active small animal practitioners and not immunologists.11 The AVMA enacted this radical change despite the clear acknowledgement that yearly vaccines were not necessary and that the current practice of only administering pediatric vaccines had been enough to successfully control infectious disease. What has resulted from this unscientific and non evidence based procedure of vaccination administration? Dr. Ron Schultz now sees autoimmune diseases in animals that previously did not exhibit this. Our farmed fishes that we now vaccinate due to the stress and disease that follow intensive farming practices are now being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases.12 The AVMA appointed Feline Vaccine Associated Sarcoma Task Force has a decade of research showing the vaccine induced cancers and not just in the feline species, not just at the injection site and not just sarcomas. The unparalleled rise of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer, allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, disability and deaths is illustrated in the following graphs using the increased rate of vaccination on humans 13
Following is an incomplete list of adverse events and diseases that follow vaccination. After 25 years of being in the veterinary field, this list presented in 2007 at Warwick, Rhode Island is the first time in my veterinary career that any veterinary medical researcher has presented this information to veterinary professionals. (Schultz) Common Reactions included; lethargy, hair loss, hair color change at injection site (cutaneous vasculitis), fever, soreness, stiffness, refusal to eat, conjunctivitis, sneezing, and oral ulcers. Moderate reactions included; immunosuppression, behavioral changes, vitiligo, weight loss (cachexia), reduced milk production, lameness, granulomas/abscesses, hives, facial edema, atopy, respiratory disease and allergic uveitis (blue eye). Severe reactions triggered by vaccines included; vaccine injection site sarcomas, anaphylaxis, arthritis, polyarthritis, hypertrophy osteodystrophy, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immune mediated thrombocytopenia, hemolytic disease of the newborn (neonatal isoerythrolysis), thyroiditis and glomerulonephritis. Disease or enhanced disease which with the vaccine was designed to prevent included; myocarditis, post vaccinal encephalitis or polyneuritis, seizures, abortion, congenital anomalies, embryonic/fetal death and infertility. Dr. Ron Schultz is one record with the statement that anytime you inject you could potentially kill the patient and to assume vaccination is safe is a serious misrepresentation of the facts.14 The AVMA is now on record with this caution not to assume the safety of vaccinations.
From these post vaccinal reactions, it can be understood that vaccination is not an �innocuous� procedure and that the risk versus the benefit of vaccination must be reviewed. For more information on vaccine induced disease, review the United State�s Federal Registry of adverse vaccine events in humans and the reported adverse events that follow vaccination reported through VAERS. The factual link of vaccination to damage is the reason the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act was made into law. Adverse events from vaccinations are grossly unreported in both human and veterinary medicine and the lack of a central independent site for registering vaccine adverse events leaves the veterinary medical professional at a serious advantage and unable to collect even an informed consent or full disclosure statement prior to the procedure. 15 The AVMA is on record with the statement that the canine immune system is not different from the mammalian immune system and thus the reporting of vaccine induced diseases in human medicine and research is relevant to what we see in practice. Oncology Diplomate Dr. Dennis Macy is a supporter of the Veterinary Vaccine Injury Compensation Act that would address vaccine injury from veterinary vaccines even though the only lawfully mandated vaccine for animals is the rabies vaccine. Since the suggestion that a single vaccination against only the lethal viruses was necessary by leading veterinary infectious disease experts, the author has studied what science did know about vaccine induced immunopathology and found the reasons to support a position of not causing disease in my patients through the additional vaccinations protocols still much too prevalent today.
The following is a brief overview of some of the pathophysiology produced by vaccination reported in the scientific literature: the different ingredients in the vaccines, aluminum and mercury are linked to immune dysregulation as are the viruses, the mutators and carcinogens in the vaccines. The big moment of epiphany for the author was the reaction that the antigen in vaccines does much to dysregulate the immune system by the very interaction with immune cells leading to autoantibody production, autoimmune disease, loss of tolerance, immune mediated pathology, all four forms (type I-IV) of immune system reactions, oxidative damage, chronic inflammation, cancer, to even speeding up the aging process (Selye�s Disease)
1. Lymphocyte suppression from canine polyvalent vaccines in dogs and in chickens with the avian pneumovirus vaccine. 16
2. Post vaccinal lesions of the nervous system and the role of the autoimmune process of pathogenesis. 17
3. Immune mediated glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, uveitis, polyarthritis, non-regenerative anemia, renal organ failure and hepatic organ failure, auto-inflammatory syndrome, immune mediated inflammatory neuropathies, autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Gullian Barre Syndrome (post infectious auto-immune disease) Common Immune Deficiency, ischemic dermatopathologies (cutaneous vasculitis), post injection site granuloma, necrotizing panniculitis, vaccine induced type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyelopathy, acute coronary events, vaccine induced enhancement of viral infection, aberrant viral pathogenesis, IgE class switching and behavioral changes of increased anxiety, increased aggression and increased compulsive obsessive disorder.18
4. Molecular mimicry (example of how measles in MWR vaccine is able to cause SSPE subacute sclerosing panencephalitis which is autism), distemper and molecular mimicry leading to myelin sheath autoimmune inflammation, neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathies, and thimerasol in vaccines altering the function of the dendritic cells in antigen presentation 19
5. Particularities of the vasculature which promotes organ specificity of autoimmune disease. 20
6. Histamine dysregulation up or down as a result of vaccinations. 21
7. Inflammatory arthritis and intractable chronic arthritis. 22
8. Immune mediated thyroiditis 23
9. Thymic depletion 24
10. Autoimmunity, loss of tolerance 25
11. Vascular induction of mini-strokes, blood stasis 26
12. T cell suppression allowing co-infections with bacteria, viruses, fungus, yeast and parasites (intestinal and dermatophyte)27
13. Immunodeficiency (this imparts the necessity to NOT vaccinate in any situation the cats that are Felv or FIV positive and the necessity of knowing the immune status before any stressful immunosuppressive actions taken against them (e.g. anesthesia, spay, neuter). Vaccinating immunosupressed individuals increases adverse events and expression of the very infections they are being vaccinated against. This holds true for the patients undergoing chemotherapy and other immune suppressing medications e.g. cyclosporine (Atopica) prescribed for over reactive immune systems up regulated from damage associated with earlier vaccine administration.28
14. Cytokine cascade promotion and onset of inflammatory cascade 29
The above list is not comprehensive as that would be beyond the scope of this commentary due to space limitations, it is however the outline of a second book on vaccine damage by this author. There is voluminous evidence for the association of cancer with vaccines and the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization have clearly established the information that adjuvant in vaccines are Grade 3 out of 4 carcinogens, with Grade 4 being the most likely to induce cancer.30 Dr. Rich Ford has stated that the adjuvant aluminum in the vaccines is one culprit in mutating our genome and specifically the P53 oncogene thereby ruining the individual�s ability to stop tumor genesis.31 The smoking gun proof of this is the presence of the blue grey aluminum foreign body retrieved from biopsy specimens of vaccinated individuals. The vaccines are causing cancer formation not just in cats but also dogs and ferrets and not just at the injection site of a vaccine. The fact that these very same vaccine ingredients are the same carcinogens in the childhood vaccines mandated by our government in the national childhood vaccine program is of serious concern. The rise in childhood brain cancer is the most highly associated vaccine administered cancer in children and this is of certain consequence to the current vaccines and vaccination protocols32
It is understood now, that vaccination is not the same as immunization, that production of antibody is not the same as immunity and to the vaccinologists out there Dr. Ron Schultz states �this is an indefensible practice�.33 Since 1978 veterinary vaccine research authorities have been advising against yearly vaccinations.34 Vaccination has never been linked to any science or evidence based medicine but only to precedence and since 1978 to the generation of income.35 The problem with the veterinarians over-vaccinating is now causing public health problems. Emory University�s Rollins� School of Public Health has a published a paper on how human illness is associated with use of veterinary vaccines.36 Others, like Dr. Traavik, Biosafety Officer for the country of Norway, are alerting us to the dangers of the recombinant vaccine technology, the use of chimera viruses that are transferring disease to man.37 Dr. Michael Fox has been concerned about the impact of the unregulated and uncontrolled use of these genetically engineered viruses in vaccines and the future this plaque is bringing upon mankind.38
My research into the number of rabies vaccines recently recalled and the hundreds of thousands of human rabies vaccines recalled in the past for �failure to inactivate the rabies virus� are very disconcerting as is the recall of rabies vaccines due to unauthorized inclusion of human DNA in the vaccines. Vaccines do not enjoy any science of benefit and were never shown historically to even affect the level of infectious diseases. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health includes this information on their website. How far do we have to continue to keep ourselves immunized against the fact that the very act of vaccination is what is causing disease in this westernized world?
Vaccination is an obstacle to cure; vaccination is the induction into a cycle of disease and disease management that is in every way a violation of the AVMA 1969 Veterinary Oath, in every way including public health and animal welfare.
The use of TCVM will not be able to successfully restore health to our patients if vaccinations are allowed to continue to corrupt the patient�s immune system. Blood stasis, Qi depletion, Liver Yin Deficiency and Blood Deficiency will always be the root of disease while vaccinations remain the non-evidence based medical procedure that is the hallmark of conventional medicine. The body�s Qi will try to imprison these toxins and poisons in the joints bone and marrow, but the body with continual bombardment will be quickly depleted. Our patients deserve to have us conform to our duties spoken in the Veterinary Oath and our obligation to stay current with the advancements of scientific research. In my opinion, vaccination is not science based, nor evidence based medicine, but rather the risky business fulfilled by corporations able to control the licensing and the distribution, administration and promotion even the mandate by law of this poisoning of the blood. The Chinese were correct in the age of the Song Dynasty, the Dynasty associated with both Emperor�s Song and the people�s technological advancements. The ancient Chinese were able to abandon a practice that proved ineffective and proved an impediment to restoring health. This is an example where old medicine is new again and once again a gift to the world from the people of China.
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13.�t-save-us has slideshow of graphs from public health sources. April 16, 2008
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Horzinek M, Schultz RD, Frequently asked questions. Oct 19, 2009 National Parent Club Canine Conference
Wolf A, Vaccines of the past and the future. (WSAVA) World Small Animal Veterinary Association Conference 2001 Vancouver, British Columbia.
37. Berkelman RL, Human illness associated with the use of veterinary vaccines. Emerging Infections CID 2003(1 August); 37:407-414.
38. Fox MD, Genetically engineered and modified live virus vaccines; Public health and animal welfare concerns
Terje Traavik, genetically engineered pox viruses in cell cultures recombined with natural viruses to create new viruses with unpredictable and potentially dangerous characteristics. Contact
Terje Traavik, Scientific Director Center for Biosafety of Norway, Professor of Gene Ecology, University of Tromso, Norway. Background document in risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) viruses for management of animal populations. Terje Traavik, Biosafety Officer of Norway University of Tromso, Norway prepared for the Norway Canada workshop on risk assessment for emerging applications of LMOs. June 4-6, 2007. Montreal, Canada. Research report for DN No 1999-6 An Orphan Science; Environmental risks of genetically engineered vaccines reported to Directorate for Nature Management



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Canine Heartworm Disease

Dr. Angelo Alcazaren's veterinary medicine blog

Life Cycle

Diagram of life cycle of heartwormFigure 1.  Diagram of heartworm life cycle from Hill�s Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy

Canine heartworm is a 23 to 30 cm long worm that resides inside the heart of the dog.  The female produces baby heartworms called microfilariae which spread out through all the blood vessels of the dog.  When mosquitoes feed on infected dogs, they suck in blood and the baby heartworms.  They molt three times inside the mosquito producing L3

larvae.  The environmental temperature must be warm or else they don�t develop.  The mosquito carrying the L3 larvae bites another dog.  The larvae will enter the bite wound, penetrate tissues and molts a fourth time producing L4 larvae after 7 days.  The L4 larvae further migrates into the deeper tissues for 60 to 90 days until they finally molt into the young adult worm.  The young worm reaches the inside of the heart through blood circulation.  The young worms become mature and mate in the pulmonary arteries.  They then settle in the right chambers of the heart and pulmonary arteries where they can survive for up to 7 years.  Birth and release of baby heartworms into the circulation takes about six and a half months.


Figure 2.  From
Diagnostic Trends and Issues

Adult heartworms in right ventricleThe use of heartworm drugs like Heartgard�, Interceptor�, Sentinel�, Revolution� and ProHeart� has dramatically decreased infection among the canine population.  However, these drugs have affected the reliability of antigen blood tests used in detecting adult worms in the circulatory system.  So to correctly evaluate the heartworm status of a dog, these antigen blood tests should be backed up with other diagnostic procedures like physical examination, medical history, direct blood examination, x-ray examination and echocardiogram.


Microfilaria as seen under the microscopeFigure 3.  Microfilaria as seen under the microscope surrounded by red blood cells from

Periodic blood testing for heartworms is a way of monitoring the effectiveness of the above mentioned drugs.  If an area has a lot of infected dogs then the recommendation is to perform yearly testing.  If the pet owner switches from one drug to another, the recommendation is to test at the time of changing and then retest after four to seven months to make sure that the drug is working.  If there is a lapse of more than 8 weeks in the administration of medication, then retesting must be done on a yearly basis to detect possible infection.





Figure 4.  Witness� heartworm antigen test showing both positive and negative results from

witness heartworm antigen test







Heartworm treatment Issues

The newest drug used for treating heartworm infection is melarsomine dihydrochloride known in the market as Immiticide�.  Its effectiveness, safety and ease of administration have replaced thiacetarsamide, the original heartworm treatment available to veterinarians for many years.  This drug has a flexible dosing regimen based on how infected the dog is.  The standard dosing regimen consists of two doses of the drug given 24 hours apart.  This is ideal for dogs that don�t show any symptoms or those that are in the early stages of the disease.  The other regimen involves giving the dog a single shot of the drug and then is observed for a month for any allergic reaction or circulatory problem.  When the month goes by without any incident, the dog is given the standard two dose regimen.  This is the regimen being used for dogs in the late stage of heartworm infection or class 3 in veterinary medical terms and for dogs with high amount of worms in their bodies as confirmed by various diagnostic procedures.  This is a more cautionary protocol since the one month interval gives the dog a chance to recover from whatever reaction the dog would undergo from a sudden demise of a whole lot of worms in the circulation.  The two more injections would make sure that all other existing worms and their larvae would be taken care of.  The issue, however, for this protocol is the increased time of treatment and increased cost since the drug is very expensive.  There is also the issue of trying to use this drug on very old dogs suffering from the disease and those suffering from other terminal illnesses.  In these cases, veterinarians are forced to seek other treatment options.  One such option, being circulated around the internet, is the so called �slow kill� treatment.  Heartworm drugs like ivermectin and milbemycin oxime are administered to infected dogs at the usual monthly interval and dosage for one or more years.  Most of the worms would die slowly while the remaining ones become either sterile or structurally abnormal.  This option would be more affordable for most pet owners since the cost of heartworm drugs is much lower compared to Immiticide�.  In addition to the heartworm drugs, the dog is also given an antibiotic doxycycline to kill a bacteria-like organism within the worms called Wolbachia.  This bacterium has a symbiotic relationship with the worm and research has shown that it causes an allergic immune response when the worm dies.  Treating the dog with this drug would kill these bacteria lessening the allergic immune response.

immiticide injection









Figure 5.  Sketch showing administration of Immiticide� intramuscularly in the epaxial (lumbar) muscles in the third through fifth lumbar region from

Another treatment option is surgical removal of heartworms.  The dog is placed under general anesthesia and a flexible alligator forcep is inserted into the main artery leading to the heart.  The adult worms are then grabbed and pulled out of the heart one by one.  This treatment option is usually the preferred option in cases where there are too many worms in the heart and blood vessels or when the dog has signs of heart damage due to the worms.



Figure 6.  A picture of a Fujimon alligator forcep used in pulling out the heartworms through the main artery leading to the heart from Dr. Colin Johnstone�s website Parasite and Parasitic Diseases of Domestic Animals.


Figure 7.  A left side X-ray view of the Fujimon alligator forcep inside the heart from Dr. Colin Johnstone�s website Parasite and Parasitic Diseases of Domestic Animals.


Figure 8.  Adult heartworms extracted from the heart using the Fujimon alligator forcep from Dr. Colin Johnstone�s website Parasite and Parasitic Diseases of Domestic Animals.


heartgard by

Figure 9.  Heartgard� packaging from

Heartgard� is known by its generic name as ivermectin.  It is a huge chewable tablet that is quite palatable and is effective against a wide range of external and internal parasites.  It is used as a monthly preventive medication against heartworm and can still provide adequate protection even if you fail to give it for two months straight.  It is safe for all breeds of dogs except for the Collie breeds and Collie crosses which are more sensitive to its toxic effect at very high doses.  So, accidental ingestion of an excess amount of this drug by said breeds usually ends up in death.

interceptor from

Figure 10.  Interceptor� packaging from

Sentinel_large from

Figure 11.  Sentinel� packaging from

Interceptor� and Sentinel� are known by their generic name as milbemycin oxime.  It is a tablet given once a month and is highly effective not only against heartworms but also against other intestinal worms like hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.  Like Heartgard�, it can still provide adequate protection even if you fail to give it for two months straight.

proheart from

Figure 12.  ProHeart� tablet packaging from

proheart6 from

Figure 13.  ProHeart�6 packaging from

ProHeart� and ProHeart�6 are known by their generic name as moxidectin.  It is available in two forms: tablet (ProHeart�) and liquid for injection (ProHeart�6).  The tablet is also given once a month and like Heartgard�, Interceptor� and Sentinel� it can still provide adequate protection even if you fail to give it for two months straight.  The injection provides 6 months protection against heartworms with one single shot.  It is injected under the skin and can still provide adequate protection even if you fail to give it for four months straight.


Figure 14.  Revolution� packaging from

Revolution� is known by its generic name as selamectin.  It is a liquid drug that is applied once a month on the skin of the neck of the dog in between the shoulder blades where it slowly spreads out and eventually is absorbed into the bloodstream.  It is not only effective in preventing heartworm but can kill fleas and their eggs, sarcoptic mange mites, ticks and ear mites.  It is much safer to use in Collie breeds as compared to Heartgard� and can also provide adequate protection even if you fail to apply it for two months straight.

Preventive medication using these drugs should be started when the dog reaches 6 to 8 weeks of age and it is recommended that the dog must be tested first using the antigen blood test and then followed up by a microscopic examination of the blood for baby heartworms if the result of the antigen blood test is positive.  If medication is missed for more than two months then the medication should be given continuously for a year and an antigen blood test performed 6 months after to see if there is any infection.


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A Healthier Respect for Ovaries
Ovaries and Longevity

David J. Waters, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS
Director, Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies
Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation

A recent study by my research group appearing next month in Aging Cell reveals shortened longevity as a possible complication associated with ovary removal in dogs (1). This work represents the first investigation testing the strength of association between lifetime duration of ovary exposure and exceptional longevity in mammals. To accomplish this, we constructed lifetime medical histories for two cohorts of Rottweiler dogs living in 29 states and Canada: Exceptional Longevity Cohort = a group of exceptionally long-lived dogs that lived at least 13 years; and Usual Longevity Cohort = a comparison group of dogs that lived 8.0 to 10.8 years (average age at death for Rottweilers is 9.4 years). A female survival advantage in humans is well-documented; women are 4 times more likely than men to live to 100. We found that, like women, female Rottweilers were more likely than males to achieve exceptional longevity (Odds Ratio, 95% confidence interval = 2.0, 1.2 - 3.3; p = .006). However, removal of ovaries during the first 4 years of life erased the female survival advantage. In females, this strong positive association between ovaries and longevity persisted in multivariate analysis that considered other factors, such as height, adult body weight, and mother with exceptional longevity.

In summary, we found female Rottweilers who kept their ovaries for at least 6 years were 4.6 times more likely to reach exceptional longevity (i.e. live >30 % longer than average) than females with the shortest ovary exposure. Our results support the notion that how long females keep their ovaries determines how long they live.

In the pages that follow, I have attempted to frame these new findings in a way that will encourage veterinarians to venture beyond the peer-reviewed scientific text and data-filled tables of Aging Cell to consider the pragmatic, yet sometimes emotionally charged implications of this work. Call it a primer for the dynamic discussions that will undoubtedly take place, not only between practitioners and pet owners, but also within the veterinary profession. Call it a wake-up call for how little veterinarians have been schooled in the mechanistic nuts and bolts underlying the aging process. Call it an ovary story. 

Do ovaries really promote longevity? Observed associations between exposures and outcomes may not necessarily be causal, so we explored alternative, non-causal explanations for the association between ovaries and exceptional longevity in our study. But we found no evidence that factors which may influence a pet owner's decision on age at ovary removal � for example, earlier ovariectomy in dogs with substandard conformation or delayed ovariectomy to obtain more offspring in daughters of long-lived mothers � could adequately account for the strong association.

There is another aspect of our data pattern that gives us further confidence that ovaries really do matter when it comes to successful aging. A simple explanation for the observation that ovaries promote longevity would be that taking away ovaries increases the risk for a major lethal disease. In Rottweilers, cancer is the major killer. We found, however, that by conducting a subgroup analysis that excluded all dogs that died of cancer, the strong association between intact ovaries and exceptional longevity persisted. After excluding all cancer deaths, females that kept their ovaries the longest were 9 times more likely to reach exceptional longevity than females with shortest ovary exposure. Thus, we observed a robust ovarian association with longevity that was independent of cause of death, suggesting that a network of processes regulating the intrinsic rate of aging is under ovarian control. This work positions pet dogs, with their broad range of lifetime ovary exposure, to become biogerontology's new workhorse for identifying ovary-sensitive physiological processes that promote healthy longevity.

Interestingly, our findings in dogs surface just as data from women are calling into question whether those who undergo hysterectomy should have ovary removal or ovary sparing. In fact, our results mirror the findings from more than 29,000 women in the Nurses� Health Study who underwent hysterectomy for benign uterine disease (2). In that study, the upside of ovariectomy � protection against ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer � was outweighed by increased mortality from other causes. As a result, longevity was cut short in women who lost their ovaries before the age of 50 compared with those who kept their ovaries for at least 50 years. Taken together, the emerging message for dogs and women seems to be that when it comes to longevity, it pays to keep your ovaries.

But before we all go out and buy T-shirts with some romantic imperative like �Save the Ovaries�, perhaps we should step back and consider the following question: Why haven�t previous dog studies called our attention to this potential downside of ovariectomy? Reviewing the literature, an answer quickly bubbles up. No previous studies in pet dogs have rigorously evaluated the association between ovaries and longevity. Two frequently cited reports (3,4) provide limited guidance because: (1) longevity data are presented as combined mean age at death for a relatively small number of individuals of more than 50 breeds of different body size and life expectancy; and (2) ovarian status is reported as �intact� or �spayed�, rather than as number of years of lifetime ovary exposure. Comparing female dogs binned into the categories of �intact� versus �spayed� introduces a methodological bias that might lead one to conclude that ovaries adversely influence longevity, i.e. ovary removal promotes longevity. Because the reasons for ovariectomy (e.g., uterine infection, mammary cancer) increase with increasing age, it is expected that a large percentage of the oldest-dogs are binned as �spayed� despite having many years of ovary exposure. For example, a dog who at age 12 undergoes ovariohysterectomy for pyometra would be binned as �spayed�, despite 12 years of ovary exposure. In our study, we employed a more stringent study design � restricting the study population to AKC registered, pure-bred dogs of one breed, carefully quantitating the lifetime duration of ovarian exposure � in order to lessen the likelihood of such bias. And we reasoned that studying veterinary teaching hospital-based populations of dogs with artifactually low life expectancies (for example, 3.5 years is median age at death for Rottweilers in the Veterinary Medical Data Base)(5) was an inappropriate vehicle to describe the influence that ovaries have on aging. So we cast a wider net and collected data from Rottweiler owners nationwide, focusing our attention on exceptional longevity, not average age at death, as our study endpoint.

Why study exceptional longevity? Why not average longevity? We thought studying the most exceptionally long-lived individuals would tell us something about what it takes to age successfully. It�s the same rationale used by Thomas Perls and investigators of the New England Centenarian Study (6) and by other scientists who study long-lived humans in other parts of the world (7). The approach even garners support from the mathematical field. In a seminal book on the origins of creative genius, the mathematician Jacques Hadamard wrote: �In conformity with a rule which seems applicable to every science of observation, it is the exceptional phenomenon which is likely to explain the usual one.� (8) Hadamard was trying to understand how the brain gets creative so he studied people with extreme creativity. When it comes to studying aging, we�re solidly in the Hadamard camp. That is why in 2005 we established the Exceptional Longevity Data Base, launching the first systematic study of the oldest-old pet dogs (9). But folks in the opposing camp might justifiably fire back: �Don�t study extreme longevity. Extreme longevity is much more about luck than it is about genes, or environment, or ovaries.� 

So to address the possibility that the �strangeness� or outlier nature of dogs with exceptional longevity could be forging a misleading link between ovaries and longevity, we studied a separate cohort of Rottweiler dogs. This data set was comprised of 237 female Rottweilers living in North America that died at ages 1.2 to 12.9 years � none were exceptionally long-lived. Information on medical history, age at death, and cause of death was collected by questionnaire and telephone interviews with pet owners and local veterinary practitioners. In this population, we found females that kept their ovaries for at least 4.5 years had a statistically significant 37% reduction in mortality rate (1). This translated into a median survival of 10.4 years for females with more than 4.5 years of ovary exposure � 1.4 years longer than the median survival of only 9.0 years in females with shorter ovary exposure (p < 0.0001). Taken together, if you take out ovaries before 4 years of age you cut longevity short an average of 1.4 years and decrease the likelihood of reaching exceptional longevity by 3-fold.

Up to this point, my ovary story has centered around a summarizing of methodologies and results. The reader has been given opportunity to see the gist of our findings within the context of previous dog studies and late-breaking studies in women. Now, let us pivot our attention a bit away from the results to focus on the recipients of these results � DVMs and pet owners. 

We can start by tackling the question: Just how receptive will DVMs be to these new research findings? It�s hard for old dogs to learn new tricks. But one thing is sure � blossoming change is rooted in real communication. The anthropologist Gregory Bateson wrote: �The pre-instructed state of the recipient of every message is a necessary condition for all communication. A book can tell you nothing unless you know 9/10ths of it already.� (10). I call this �Bateson�s Rule of the 9/10ths�. If Bateson is right, then we will want to do something about the pre-instructed state of veterinarians. Because when it comes to the biology of aging, the state is virtually a blank slate. None of us received training in the biology of aging as part of our DVM curriculum � whether we graduated 30 years ago or last summer. Therefore, most DVMs are ill-prepared to receive messages examining the mechanistic underpinnings of the aging process. A Batesonian prescription for positive change would be to ratchet up the biology of aging IQ of practicing veterinarians. We agree. That is why we established the first gerontology training program for veterinarians in 2007 (11). We believe that by helping veterinarians �know� more about aging, they will be more able and more receptive to communicating the things that promote healthy longevity in their patients � things like preserving ovaries.

For certain, DVMs will be asked by pet owners to help them make their decision about age at spay in light of this new information. The question will be asked: Just how generalizable are these findings in Rottweilers to other segments of the pet dog population? It is impossible to say at this time. It will demand further study. Alas, 10 years from now, we might just find out that a longevity-promoting effect of ovaries in dogs is limited � limited to large breeds, urban but not rural dogs, or only those individuals with particular polymorphisms in insulin-like growth factor-1. These restrictions should not only be expected, they should be celebrated. It will mean that we have looked more deeply into how ovaries might influence healthy longevity. It will mean that our initial findings have been contextualized. And it is this contextualization of information that marks scientific progress � the kind of progress that guides sound clinical decision making. For it is context that determines meaning (12).

Our provocative findings in Aging Cell mean that it�s time to re-think the notion that taking away ovaries has no significant downside to a dog�s healthy longevity. Perhaps it would help us if we thought of lifetime ovary exposure as information � information that instructs the organism. Just how long and how healthy a female lives reflects what her cells, tissues, and organs thought they heard from the message received. Of course in biology, there is no single message but a symphony of messages, enabling each individual to successfully respond to environmental challenges. Our findings suggest that ovaries orchestrate that symphony. Taking away ovaries in early or mid-life makes for muddled information, less than perfect music. 

Information muddling can ensnarl decision-making. Our research takes an important first step toward disentangling the thinking about ovaries and longevity. We must never be paralyzed by the incompleteness of our knowledge. Our knowledge will always be incomplete � subject to revision, primed for further inquiry. This uncertainty, although invigorating for the investigator, is often painful for the practitioner who seeks simple, fact-driven algorithms to guide his action. Just as scientists will be called upon to forge ahead with their scientific inquiries, so too will practitioners be counted on to master the uncertainty. Together, we must navigate what the Danish philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard called the gap �between the understanding and the willing.� That is, we must ask the right questions and make smart choices so that our action (the willing) is in synch with our knowledge (the understanding). Under just what circumstances will a particular individual benefit from specific lifestyle decisions? This is perhaps the most prescient, overarching question in the wellness and preventive medicine fields facing both human and veterinary health professionals today. How can we promote healthy longevity? Antioxidant supplementation or calorie restriction? Ovary removal or ovary sparing? 

Undoubtedly, there will be protagonists and antagonists in this ovary story. The protagonists will be open-minded to following a new script. They will embrace the idea of ovary sparing for critical periods of time to maximize longevity. They might even recognize the need for some sort of �ovarian mimetic� in spayed dogs to optimize healthy aging. The antagonists in this story � the defenders of the old script � will dismiss as trivial the notion that ovaries regulate the rate of aging and influence healthy longevity. Lines will be drawn and opinions will fly. But that's what healthy debate is � antagonists and protagonists keeping a high priority issue front and center, not allowing it to fade into the woodwork. It would seem that, in light of the new scientific findings, a contemporary dialogue should balance the potential benefits of elective ovary removal (13) with its possible detrimental effects on longevity. 


1. Waters DJ, Kengeri SS, Clever B, et al: "Exploring the mechanisms of sex differences in longevity: lifetime ovary exposure and exceptional longevity in dogs." Aging Cell October 26, 2009

2. Parker WH, Broder MS, Chang E et al: "Ovarian conservation at the time of hysterectomy and long-term health outcomes in the Nurses' Health Study." Obstet Gynecol 113: 1027-1037, 2009 

3. Bronson RT: "Variation in age at death of dogs of different sexes and breeds." Am J Vet Res 43: 2057-9, 1982

4. Michell AR: "Longevity of British breeds of dog and its relationships with sex, size, cardiovascular variables and disease." Vet Rec 145: 625-629, 1999

5. Patronek GJ, Waters DJ, Glickman LT et al: "Comparative longevity of pet dogs and humans: implications for gerontology research." J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 52: B171-8, 1997

6. Perls TT, Hutter Silver M, Lauerman JF: Living to 100: Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential at Any Age, New York, NY, Basic Books, 1999

7. Franceschi C, Motta L, Valensin S et al: "Do men and women follow different trajectories to reach extreme longevity?" Aging (Milano) 12: 77-84, 2000

8. Hadamard J: The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. New York, NY, Oxford Univ Press, 1945, p. 136

9. Waters DJ, Wildasin K: "Cancer clues from pet dogs." Sci Am 295: 94-101, 2006

10. Bateson G, Bateson MC: Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. New York, NY, Bantam, 1988, p 163

11. Gerontology Program for DVMs co-sponsored and organized by Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, Purdue University Center on Aging and the Life Course, P&G Pet Care; for more information go to

12. Waters DJ, Chiang EC, Bostwick DG: "The art of casting nets: fishing for the prize of personalized cancer prevention." Nutr Cancer 60: 1-6, 2008

13. Kustritz MV: "Determining the optimal age for gonadectomy of dogs and cats." J Am Vet Med Assoc 231: 1665-75, 2007

� GPMCF 2009



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CVM Canine Brain Tumor Clinical Trials
Clinical trials open to dogs with brain tumors 
By Fran Howard

College of Veterinary Medicine
The University of Minnesota

Batman, the first patient to undergo a breakthrough experimental treatment for brain cancer in dogs, has become a poster dog for the revolutionary protocol. The pointy, black ears of the 10-year-old German shepherd mix gave the cancer-surviving superhero his name, but his doctors gave him back his life. Without treatment, Batman was not expected to survive past Halloween 2008. Given the circumstances, one wonders whether Batman�s doctors, John Ohlfest, Ph.D., and G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., aren�t the true superheroes.

The University�s dynamic duo developed a combination treatment plan for dogs with glioma, a very aggressive and 
relatively common form of brain cancer. The treatment, which is now available to other dogs with brain cancer, 
dramatically extended Batman�s life. The three-pronged treatment approach consists of first surgically removing the tumor, 
then treating the surgical site with a form of gene therapy to attract immune cells that will recognize and destroy remaining 
tumor cells, and finally administering an anti-cancer vaccine made from the dog�s own cancer cells to prevent tumor 

Now nearly a year after Pluhar, a veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center, and Ohlfest, head of the 
neurosurgery gene therapy program at the Masonic Cancer Center, gave Batman his initial treatment, the celebrated dog is 
still enjoying life. The neurological deficits that led to his diagnosis have been almost eliminated. �We documented an 
anti-tumor immune response that has correlated to control of the tumor,� says Ohlfest. In other words, the treatment 
appears to have worked, and the implications could be far-reaching.

�There is the potential for this type of therapy to be used on nearly any type of systemic cancer in dogs, not just brain 
cancer, because the immune response covers the entire body,� says Pluhar. �I�m hopeful this therapy may in time be used 
for other types of systemic cancer in dogs.�

Through the help of grants from government agencies and private foundations, Ohlfest and Pluhar have since treated four 
other dogs for similar tumors. The second dog to receive treatment exhibited an impressive tumor regression following six 
vaccinations, and Ohlfest and Pluhar are optimistic that the other dogs will show similar responses.

Canine brain cancer therapy has been organized within the canine brain tumor clinical trials program. The treatment team 
already has funding to treat up to 50 dogs. That number could soon exceed 100, though, if additional grants and charitable 
donations come through.

The area of medicine in which Ohlfest and Pluhar work is called comparative oncology. They use what they learn in 
veterinary medicine to help humans, and they extrapolate what they can from human medicine to help pet animals. Batman 
is an excellent case in point.

Ohlfest�s work in gene and immune therapy led to a first generation anti-cancer vaccine to be used in a human clinical trial. 
However, the early vaccine was expensive and difficult to produce. He subsequently used that vaccine to develop a more 
potent and less expensive vaccine for dogs.

Now it�s Batman�s turn to return the favor. �I would be very disappointed if we couldn�t write a protocol for humans within 
a year from what we have learned from our work with dogs,� says Ohlfest. �This is first and foremost a new therapy for 
dogs, but at the same time, it will be more predictive of what might happen in people than any other form of research.�

The cost of therapy for one dog can range between $10,000 and $20,000. However, dogs with tumors that originate in the 
brain may be eligible for the canine brain tumor clinical trials program. The program will cover the vast majority of the cost 
of treatment including surgery and supportive care while the dog remains enrolled in the trial.

To learn more about the trials online at or to enroll a dog in a trial, call Kelly Noyes, Small Animal Surgery case manager at 612-624-7441 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pluhar or visit our Web site at

To donate to the research effort, click here and select �new gift� then designate the gift is for the �CVM canine brain 
tumor clinical trials� effort. 

Or you can contact Sharon Staton, director of advancement, at 612-624-1247, or e-mail her at


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Science of Vaccine Damage
by Catherine O' Driscoll

A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies (1,2) to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence.

The vaccinated, but not the non-vaccinated, dogs in the Purdue studies developed autoantibodies to many of their own biochemicals, including fibronectin, laminin, DNA, albumin, cytochrome C, cardiolipin and collagen.

This means that the vaccinated dogs -- �but not the non-vaccinated dogs�-- were attacking their own fibronectin, which is involved in tissue repair, cell multiplication and growth, and differentiation between tissues and organs in a living organism.

The vaccinated Purdue dogs also developed autoantibodies to laminin, which is involved in many cellular activities including the adhesion, spreading, differentiation, proliferation and movement of cells. Vaccines thus appear to be capable of removing the natural intelligence of cells.

Autoantibodies to cardiolipin are frequently found in patients with the serious disease systemic lupus erythematosus and also in individuals with other autoimmune diseases. The presence of elevated anti-cardiolipin antibodies is significantly associated with clots within the heart or blood vessels, in poor blood clotting, haemorrhage, bleeding into the skin, foetal loss and neurological conditions.

The Purdue studies also found that vaccinated dogs were developing autoantibodies to their own collagen. About one quarter of all the protein in the body is collagen. Collagen provides structure to our bodies, protecting and supporting the softer tissues and connecting them with the skeleton. It is no wonder that Canine Health Concern's 1997 study of 4,000 dogs showed a high number of dogs developing mobility problems shortly after they were vaccinated (noted in my 1997 book, What Vets Don't Tell You About Vaccines).

Perhaps most worryingly, the Purdue studies found that the vaccinated dogs had developed autoantibodies to their own DNA. Did the alarm bells sound? Did the scientific community call a halt to the vaccination program? No. Instead, they stuck their fingers in the air, saying more research is needed to ascertain whether vaccines can cause genetic damage. Meanwhile, the study dogs were found good homes, but no long-term follow-up has been conducted. At around the same time, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force initiated several studies to find out why 160,000 cats each year in the USA develop terminal cancer at their vaccine injection sites.(3) The fact that cats can get vaccine-induced cancer has been acknowledged by veterinary bodies around the world, and even the British Government acknowledged it through its Working Group charged with the task of looking into canine and feline vaccines(4) following pressure from Canine Health Concern. What do you imagine was the advice of the AVMA Task Force, veterinary bodies and governments? "Carry on vaccinating until we find out why vaccines are killing cats, and which cats are most likely to die."

In America, in an attempt to mitigate the problem, they're vaccinating cats in the tail or leg so they can amputate when cancer appears. Great advice if it's not your cat amongst the hundreds of thousands on the "oops" list.

But other species are okay - right? Wrong. In August 2003, the Journal of Veterinary Medicine carried an Italian study which showed that dogs also develop vaccine-induced cancers at their injection sites.(5) We already know that vaccine-site cancer is a possible sequel to human vaccines, too, since the Salk polio vaccine was said to carry a monkey retrovirus (from cultivating the vaccine on monkey organs) that produces inheritable cancer. The monkey retrovirus SV40 keeps turning up in human cancer sites.

It is also widely acknowledged that vaccines can cause a fast-acting, usually fatal, disease called autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA). Without treatment, and frequently with treatment, individuals can die in agony within a matter of days. Merck, itself a multinational vaccine manufacturer, states in The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy that autoimmune haemolytic anaemia may be caused by modified live-virus vaccines, as do Tizard's Veterinary Immunology (4th edition) and the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.(6) The British Government's Working Group, despite being staffed by vaccine-industry consultants who say they are independent, also acknowledged this fact. However, no one warns the pet owners before their animals are subjected to an unnecessary booster, and very few owners are told why after their pets die of AIHA.

A Wide Range of Vaccine-induced Diseases
We also found some worrying correlations between vaccine events and the onset of arthritis in our 1997 survey. Our concerns were compounded by research in the human field.

The New England Journal of Medicine, for example, reported that it is possible to isolate the rubella virus from affected joints in children vaccinated against rubella. It also told of the isolation of viruses from the peripheral blood of women with prolonged arthritis following vaccination.(7)

Then, in 2000, CHC's findings were confirmed by research which showed that polyarthritis and other diseases like amyloidosis, which affects organs in dogs, were linked to the combined vaccine given to dogs.(8) There is a huge body of research, despite the paucity of funding from the vaccine industry, to confirm that vaccines can cause a wide range of brain and central nervous system damage. Merck itself states in its Manual that vaccines (i.e., its own products) can cause encephalitis: brain inflammation/damage. In some cases, encephalitis involves lesions in the brain and throughout the central nervous system. Merck states that "examples are the encephalitides following measles, chickenpox, rubella, smallpox vaccination, vaccinia, and many other less well defined viral infections".

When the dog owners who took part in the CHC survey reported that their dogs developed short attention spans, 73.1% of the dogs did so within three months of a vaccine event. The same percentage of dogs was diagnosed with epilepsy within three months of a shot (but usually within days). We also found that 72.5% of dogs that were considered by their owners to be nervous and of a worrying disposition, first exhibited these traits within the three-month post-vaccination period.

I would like to add for the sake of Oliver, my friend who suffered from paralysed rear legs and death shortly after a vaccine shot, that "paresis" is listed in Merck's Manual as a symptom of encephalitis. This is defined as muscular weakness of a neural (brain) origin which involves partial or incomplete paralysis, resulting from lesions at any level of the descending pathway from the brain. Hind limb paralysis is one of the potential consequences. Encephalitis, incidentally, is a disease that can manifest across the scale from mild to severe and can also cause sudden death.

Organ failure must also be suspected when it occurs shortly after a vaccine event. Dr Larry Glickman, who spearheaded the Purdue research into post-vaccination biochemical changes in dogs, wrote in a letter to Cavalier Spaniel breeder Bet Hargreaves:

"Our ongoing studies of dogs show that following routine vaccination, there is a significant rise in the level of antibodies dogs produce against their own tissues. Some of these antibodies have been shown to target the thyroid gland, connective tissue such as that found in the valves of the heart, red blood cells, DNA, etc. I do believe that the heart conditions in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels could be the end result of repeated immunizations by vaccines containing tissue culture contaminants that cause a progressive immune response directed at connective tissue in the heart valves. The clinical manifestations would be more pronounced in dogs that have a genetic predisposition [although] the findings should be generally applicable to all dogs regardless of their breed."

I must mention here that Dr Glickman believes that vaccines are a necessary evil, but that safer vaccines need to be developed.

Meanwhile, please join the queue to place your dog, cat, horse and child on the Russian roulette wheel because a scientist says you should.

Vaccines Stimulate an Inflammatory Response
The word "allergy" is synonymous with "sensitivity" and "inflammation". It should, by rights, also be synonymous with the word "vaccination". This is what vaccines do: they sensitise (render allergic) an individual in the process of forcing them to develop antibodies to fight a disease threat. In other words, as is acknowledged and accepted, as part of the vaccine process the body will respond with inflammation. This may be apparently temporary or it may be longstanding.

Holistic doctors and veterinarians have known this for at least 100 years. They talk about a wide range of inflammatory or "-itis" diseases which arise shortly after a vaccine event. Vaccines, in fact, plunge many individuals into an allergic state. Again, this is a disorder that ranges from mild all the way through to the suddenly fatal. Anaphylactic shock is the culmination: it's where an individual has a massive allergic reaction to a vaccine and will die within minutes if adrenaline or its equivalent is not administered.

There are some individuals who are genetically not well placed to withstand the vaccine challenge. These are the people (and animals are "people", too) who have inherited faulty B and T cell function. B and T cells are components within the immune system which identify foreign invaders and destroy them, and hold the invader in memory so that they cannot cause future harm. However, where inflammatory responses are concerned, the immune system overreacts and causes unwanted effects such as allergies and other inflammatory conditions.

Merck warns in its Manual that patients with, or from families with, B and/or T cell immunodeficiencies should not receive live-virus vaccines due to the risk of severe or fatal infection. Elsewhere, it lists features of B and T cell immunodeficiencies as food allergies, inhalant allergies, eczema, dermatitis, neurological deterioration and heart disease. To translate, people with these conditions can die if they receive live-virus vaccines. Their immune systems are simply not competent enough to guarantee a healthy reaction to the viral assault from modified live-virus vaccines.

Modified live-virus (MLV) vaccines replicate in the patient until an immune response is provoked. If a defense isn't stimulated, then the vaccine continues to replicate until it gives the patient the very disease it was intending to prevent.

Alternatively, a deranged immune response will lead to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, pancreatitis, colitis, encephalitis and any number of autoimmune diseases such as cancer and leukemia, where the body attacks its own cells.

A new theory, stumbled upon by Open University student Gary Smith, explains what holistic practitioners have been saying for a very long time. Here is what a few of the holistic vets have said in relation to their patients:

Dr Jean Dodds: "Many veterinarians trace the present problems with allergic and immunologic diseases to the introduction of MLV vaccines..." (9)

Christina Chambreau, DVM: "Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses, but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine." (10)

Martin Goldstein, DVM: "I think that vaccines...are leading killers of dogs and cats in America today."

Dr Charles E. Loops, DVM: "Homoeopathic veterinarians and other holistic practitioners have maintained for some time that vaccinations do more harm than they provide benefits." (12)

Mike Kohn, DVM: "In response to this [vaccine] violation, there have been increased autoimmune diseases (allergies being one component), epilepsy, neoplasia [tumours], as well as behavioural problems in small animals." (13)

A Theory on Inflammation
Gary Smith explains what observant healthcare practitioners have been saying for a very long time, but perhaps they've not understood why their observations led them to say it. His theory, incidentally, is causing a huge stir within the inner scientific sanctum. Some believe that his theory could lead to a cure for many diseases including cancer. For me, it explains why the vaccine process is inherently questionable.

Gary was learning about inflammation as part of his studies when he struck upon a theory so extraordinary that it could have implications for the treatment of almost every inflammatory disease -- including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis and even HIV and AIDS.

Gary's theory questions the received wisdom that when a person gets ill, the inflammation that occurs around the infected area helps it to heal. He claims that, in reality, inflammation prevents the body from recognizing a foreign substance and therefore serves as a hiding place for invaders. The inflammation occurs when at-risk cells produce receptors called All (known as angiotensin II type I receptors). He says that while At1 has a balancing receptor, At2, which is supposed to switch off the inflammation, in most diseases this does not happen.

"Cancer has been described as the wound that never heals," he says. "All successful cancers are surrounded by inflammation. Commonly this is thought to be the body's reaction to try to fight the cancer, but this is not the case.

"The inflammation is not the body trying to fight the infection. It is actually the virus or bacteria deliberately causing inflammation in order to hide from the immune system [author's emphasis]." (14)

If Gary is right, then the inflammatory process so commonly stimulated by vaccines is not, as hitherto assumed, a necessarily acceptable sign. Instead, it could be a sign that the viral or bacterial component, or the adjuvant (which, containing foreign protein, is seen as an invader by the immune system), in the vaccine is winning by stealth.

If Gary is correct in believing that the inflammatory response is not protective but a sign that invasion is taking place under cover of darkness, vaccines are certainly not the friends we thought they were. They are undercover assassins working on behalf of the enemy, and vets and medical doctors are unwittingly acting as collaborators. Worse, we animal guardians and parents are actually paying doctors and vets to unwittingly betray our loved ones.

Potentially, vaccines are the stealth bomb of the medical world. They are used to catapult invaders inside the castle walls where they can wreak havoc, with none of us any the wiser. So rather than experiencing frank viral diseases such as the 'flu, measles, mumps and rubella (and, in the case of dogs, parvovirus and distemper), we are allowing the viruses to win anyway - but with cancer, leukemia and other inflammatory or autoimmune (self-attacking) diseases taking their place.

The Final Insult
All 27 veterinary schools in North America have changed their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats along the following lines; (15) however, vets in practice are reluctant to listen to these changed protocols and official veterinary bodies in the UK and other countries are ignoring the following facts.

Dogs' and cats' immune systems mature fully at six months. If modified live-virus vaccine is giver after six months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet. If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The litre is no "boosted", nor are more memory cells induced.

Not only are annual boosters unnecessary, but they subject the pet to potential risks such as allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

In plain language, veterinary schools in America, plus the American Veterinary Medical Association, have looked at studies to show how long vaccines last and they have concluded and announced that annual vaccination is unnecessary.(16-19)

Further, they have acknowledged that vaccines are not without harm. Dr Ron Schultz, head of pathobiology at Wisconsin University and a leading light in this field, has been saying this politely to his veterinary colleagues since the 1980s. I've been saying it for the past 12 years. But change is so long in coming and, in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of animals are dying every year - unnecessarily.

The good news is that thousands of animal lovers (but not enough) have heard what we've been saying. Canine Health Concern members around the world use real food as Nature's supreme disease preventative, eschewing processed pet food, and minimize the vaccine risk. Some of us, myself included, have chosen not to vaccinate our pets at all. Our reward is healthy and long-lived dogs.

It has taken but one paragraph to tell you the good and simple news. The gratitude I feel each day, when I embrace my healthy dogs, stretches from the centre of the Earth to the Universe and beyond.

About the Author:
Catherine O'Driscoll runs Canine Health Concern which campaigns and also delivers an educational program, the Foundation in Canine Healthcare. She is author of Shock to the System (2005; see review this issue), the best-selling book What Vets Don't Tell You About Vaccines (1997, 1998), and Who Killed the Darling Buds of May? (1997; reviewed in NEXUS 4/04). She lives in Scotland with her partner, Rob Ellis, and three Golden Retrievers, named Edward, Daniel and Gwinnie, and she lectures on canine health around the world.

For more information, contact Catherine O'Driscoll at Canine Health Concern, PO Box 7533, Perth PH2 1AD, Scotland, UK, email, website Shock to the System is available in the UK from CHC, and worldwide from Dogwise at

1. "Effects of Vaccination on the Endocrine and Immune Systems of Dogs, Phase II", Purdue University, November 1,1999, at

2. See

3. See

4. Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) Working Group on Feline and Canine Vaccination, DEFRA, May 2001.

5. JVM Series A 50(6):286-291, August 2003.

6. Duval, D. and Giger,U. (1996). "Vaccine-Associated Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in the Dog", Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 10:290-295.

7. New England Journal of Medicine, vol.313,1985. See also Clin Exp Rheumatol 20(6):767-71, Nov-Dec 2002.

8. Am Coll Vet Intern Med 14:381,2000.

9. Dodds, Jean W.,DVM, "Immune System and Disease Resistance", at

10. Wolf Clan magazine, April/May 1995.

11. Goldstein, Martin, The Nature of Animal Healing, Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1999.

12. Wolf Clan magazine, op. cit.

13. ibid.

14. Journal of Inflammation 1:3,2004, at content/1/1/3.

15. Klingborg, D.J., Hustead, D.R. and Curry-Galvin, E. et al., "AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents' report on cat and dog vaccines", Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 221(10):1401-1407, November 15,2002,

16. ibid.

17. Schultz, R.D., "Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs", Vet Med 93:233-254,1998.

18. Schultz, R.D., Ford, R.B., Olsen, J. and Scott, P., "Titer testing and vaccination: a new look at traditional practices", Vet Med 97:1-13, 2002 (insert).

19. Twark, L. and Dodds, W.J., "Clinical application of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody liters for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs", J Am Vet Med Assoc 217:1021-1024,2000.


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New Dog Vaccine for H3N8 Flu
By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Originally discovered in 2004, this canine influenza virus is believed to have jumped from horses to dogs in Florida. This virus, H3N8, is a subtype of the influenza A virus, a highly contagious pathogen that can cause disease by itself or in conjunction with other respiratory pathogens.

Transmission: As with most infectious respiratory diseases, dogs housed in close quarters (kennels, shelters) and situations where there is lots of "dog traffic" (dog day care, grooming/training, vet clinics) are most at risk. There is no evidence to date that this virus infects humans.

Clinical signs: Similar to other influenza infections, this virus causes respiratory signs of sneezing, nasal discharge and coughing. Fever may occur, but not often.

Diagnosis: Because these signs are the same as many other respiratory infections, a special test is necessary to diagnose the H3N8 virus. This test is called a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) and usually two samples are submitted over a 2 week period to positively identify infection.

H3N8 Treatment: Treatment for this disease is supportive; making sure that the dog maintains appetite, extreme coughing is controlled, and monitoring for fever or development of more serious complications, such as pneumonia. Your veterinarian will determine if pneumonia is a risk and if antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection are warranted.

H3N8 Vaccine: The U.S. Department of Agriculture�s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has conditionally approved the first vaccine for the canine H3N8 virus on June 23, 2009. The canine influenza vaccine (CIV) is made from a killed virus.

Studies indicate that the vaccine can reduce the incidence and severity of lung lesions, as well as the duration of coughing and viral shedding. The product is administered by injection, and is recommended for use in healthy dogs at six weeks of age or older as an aid in the control of disease associated with canine influenza virus infection.
Read full APHIS press release on CIV vaccine


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Oral Masses/Ulcers
By Jan Bellows D.V.M. DipAVDC 
All Pets Dental Clinic

What are oral masses?

Some dogs and cats develop growths in their mouths. Similar to humans, these growths may be benign or malignant. Once a mass is noticed, analysis must be made to determine the cause of the growth.

What causes oral masses?

Some masses are due to infections in the gums or of the tooth itself. Many are due to tumors. Some breeds are predisposed to certain oral tumors (example: black cocker spaniels are prone to oral melanomas).

What are the signs?

Most pets will not show signs of oral masses until the mass has grown to inhibit chewing or swallowing. In some cases there will be bad breath, excessive drooling and /or a bloody oral discharge.

How are oral masses diagnosed?

The entire patient must be evaluated for tumor spread prior to surgery. Usually examination of regional lymph nodes is given and chest x-rays are taken. The veterinarian may take a sample of cells from the mass and examine them under the microscope to give an indication of whether the cause is due to infection or tumor. In most cases the mass will be removed and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

How are oral masses treated?

Pets that have non-malignant tumors can usually be cured by surgical removal or radiation therapy. Malignant tumors usually need more aggressive surgery and/or radiation and chemotherapy to decrease tumor spread.

What is the prognosis for oral masses?

The prognosis is directly related to the type of mass. With treatment, benign tumors usually result in a normal life span. Those animals affected with aggressive malignant tumors may live only weeks to months after diagnosis with or without treatment.

How are oral ulcers treated?

Therapy of oral ulcers depends on the cause. If due to periodontal disease, teeth cleaning, polishing, and strict home care may affect a cure. Many times the teeth adjacent to the ulcer will need to be extracted in order for ulcer to heal. Oral rinses containing zinc are helpful in the healing process.

What is the prognosis for oral ulcers?

Generally the prognosis is excellent for oral ulcers once the underlying cause is diagnosed and controlled.

Dr. Jan Bellows is a board-certified veterinary dentist. His office, Hometown Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic, is located at 17100 Royal Palm Boulevard in Weston, Florida. He can be reached for consultations at 954-349-5800.


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Detailed Facts About Enzymes
Jory Smith & Miss Bailey

What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are substances that function as organic catalysts, in other words, they either start chemical reactions or make them run faster. They accomplish this while remaining unchanged themselves. Enzymes are composed of two parts, a protein portion called the apoenzyme and a nonprotein portion, either a coenzyme (organic) or cofactor (inorganic). Enzymes are present in every cell in both plants and animals; and are responsible for regulating the biochemical reactions necessary to sustain life. Enzymes are highly specific, both in the substrate they affect, and in the reactions they catalyze. They can exist both in active and in inactive forms, and many enzymes occur naturally in both active and inactive forms in cells. They can, however, be permanently inactivated by altering their environmental conditions, such as pH or temperature. 

Is acidophilus an enzyme?
No, acidophilus is a very beneficial bacteria that lives in the colon. It does aid in absorption of nutrients but it is not an enzyme and will not digest food in the stomach.

What is the difference between pancreatic enzymes, animal based enzymes and non-animal enzymes?
Total-Zymes� does NOT contain any animal based enzymes and here is why! Supplemental pancreatic, plant, and microbial enzymes are all designed to enhance digestion. However, plant and microbial enzymes use a "proactive" approach and begin working on foods sooner after ingestion. Pancreatic enzymes do not go to work right away. Pancreatic enzymes usually begin working approximately 30 minutes after food reaches the stomach. Because of their stability in the acidic environment of the upper stomach, plant and microbial enzymes can begin their digestive action immediately after the food reaches this region. With the increased exposure to digestive enzyme activity, food has a better chance of being broken down into small, more readily absorbed particles. 

Non animal sourced enzymes 

Derived from plants or selected microorganisms by the process of natural fermentation 
Active in a broad pH range (approximately 3.0 - 0.0) 
Activated in upper stomach and continues working through the entire digestive track 
Begin working inmediately 
Broad action on a variety of foods for complete digestion 
Completely safe with no upper dosing limit 
Pancreatic or animal based enzymes 

Activity limited to a narrow pH range and will not work in the stomach 
Very specific in action 
Delayed effect 
Easily destroyed by acidity of the stomach (as much as 80%) 
Does not break down fibers and certain carbohydrates 
No sucrase, maltase, or lactase activity 

Animal sourced pancreatin may cause these possible side effects: 

High doses may cause diarrhea, cramping, or vomiting. If you observe any of these reactions, contact your veterinarian immediately. If your pet experiences an allergic reaction to the medication, signs may include facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs, or coma. If you observe any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. Precautions Do not use in animals hypersensitive (allergic) to pork products. The powder may irritate or burn the skin on contact. Wash immediately if you get any on your skin or your pet's skin. Wash hands after handling this medication. In humans, inhaling the powder may cause an asthma attack or irritation to the lungs. Drug and Food Interactions Notify your veterinarian of any other medications, including vitamins and supplements, your pet is taking while your pet is receiving pancreatic enzymes. Antacids may decrease the effectiveness of pancreatic enzymes. Cimetidine and other histamine H 2 receptor antagonists (medications used to decrease stomach acid) may increase the amount of pancreatic enzymes that reach the upper intestines. Signs of Toxicity/Overdose An overdose may cause diarrhea, vomiting, or cramping. The effects should be temporary, but if you observe any of these reactions, contact your veterinarian immediately. Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets. 

The warning label shown above is quoted from an actual product for pets.

Why are food enzymes missing in cooked and processed foods?
Modern food processing techniques and all types of cooking destroy nearly 100% of the enzymes naturally occurring in food. Enzymes are completely denatured when exposed to temperatures over 118 deg. for any length of time. The modern diet consisting of cooked and processed food is essentially devoid of active enzymes. 

How do enzymes aid in digestion?
Enzymes are an integral part of the digestive process. From the time food enters the mouth, enzymes are at work breaking the food down into smaller and smaller units until it can be absorbed through the intestinal wall. These enzymes come from two sources, those found in the food itself, and those produced in the body.

All raw food naturally contains the proper types and proportions of enzymes necessary to assist in the process of decomposition. In addition, when raw food is eaten, chewing ruptures the cell membranes and releases these indigenous food enzymes, many of which survive and contribute to the digestive process. These enzymes include protease, which breaks long protein chains (polypeptides) into smaller amino acid chains and eventually into single amino acids, amylase that reduces large carbohydrates (starches and other polysaccharides) to disaccharides including sucrose, lactose, and maltose, lipase that digests fats (triglycerides) into free fatty acids and glycerol, and cellulase. Cellulase, which is not found in the human system, breaks the bonds found in fiber.

Most food enzymes are essentially destroyed under the conditions used to cook and process food, leaving foods devoid of enzyme activity. Placing the full digestive burden on the body, the body's digestive process can become over-stressed. Digestive problems can result, causing improper digestion and malabsorption of nutrients that can have far reaching effects. Consequences of malabsorption can include impaired immunity, allergic reaction, poor wound healing, skin problems and mood swings. Supplemental enzymes can improve the level of digestion and help assure that the maximum level of nutrient absorption is attained. 

Supplemental enzymes of microbial and plant origin work at the pH found in the upper stomach. Food sits in the upper portion of the stomach for as long as an hour before gastric secretions begin their action. Several studies have shown that the enzymes in saliva continue their digestive activity in the upper stomach and can digest up to 30% of the ingested protein, 60% of ingested starch and 10% of ingested fat during the 30 to 60 minutes after consumption. Although salivary enzymes accomplish a significant amount of digestion, their activity is limited to a pH level above 5.0. Supplemental microbial enzymes, and some plant enzymes, are active in the pH range of 3.0 to 9.0 and can facilitate the hydrolysis of a much larger amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat before Hydrochloric Acid is secreted in sufficient amounts to neutralize their activity. Obviously, these enzymes can contribute significantly in improving food nutrient utilization. 

Can the importance of pre-digestion be substantiated? 
Research shows that nearly all creatures including rodents, whales, canines and birds have distinct organs that enable the exogenous enzymes of food the necessary time to act, before initiating the body's own digestive process. For example, seeds and grains lie in a birds crop for eight to twelve hours, during which proteolytic and amylolytic enzymes in the seed begin hydrolyzing proteins and starch. The food enzyme stomach concept in humans is supported by research on the extended activity of salivary amylase. The amylolytic activity of ptyalin alone can digest as much as 45% of the starch in a meal, before gastric secretions inhibit its action. Further studies in the 1940's showed that as much as 60% starch, 30% protein and 10% fat were digested before pepsin was activated. 

Are there quality and efficacy issues?
Quality and efficacy issues run the entire length and breadth of the dietary supplement industry, including enzymes. Knowledge of handling, storing, and packaging of enzymes is essential to properly preserve an enzyme's activity. Quality control policies must be strictly followed as well as having knowledge of the suppliers of raw materials. 

Is supplementation really necessary? 
The enzymes naturally present in food play an important role in digestion by helping to predigest the ingested food in the upper stomach before hydrochloric acid has even been secreted. This predigestion is hindered when food is cooked or processed because the enzymes are destroyed by the processing procedures. Placing the full digestive burden on the body, the body and its digestive process can become over-stressed and incomplete. As a result, vital nutrients may not be released from the food for assimilation by the body, and gastrointestinal problems may result. 

The primary purpose of enzymes in supplement form is to enhance the enzymes available in raw food, and replace those enzymes lost when food is cooked or processed. In addition, supplementation enables more digestion to begin in the gastric region, easing the burden on the digestive system as a whole. The earlier that digestion can begin, the greater the likelihood that no undigested food will enter the colon where bacteria can feed upon it, causing such problems as gas and bloating. 

Nearly every pet can benefit from supplementation with enzymes. Even healthy dogs may improve their absorption and utilization of nutrients through the use of digestive enzymes. Of course the benefits will vary, depending upon the dogs diet and general health. Individuals in good health can expect to notice less fullness after meals, increased energy, faster emptying of the stomach contents, decreased gas, and more regular bowel habits. 

What happens when food is not properly digested?
Over a century ago, Virchow described "digestive leukocytosis" a condition in which the white blood cell count increases after a meal. Further research by Kouchakoff identified cooked and processed foods as the causative factor. Kouchakoff observed that raw food induced no change in WBC counts while cooked foods, particularly cooked meat, caused rapid increases in serum leukocyte levels. When incompletely digested food molecules are absorbed, the body identifies this particulate matter as foreign antigens and forms circulating immune complexes. The immune system then mobilizes macrophage leukocytes to digest the food. 

Do Enzymes in Total-Zymes � Survive Digestion? 
The enzymes involved in digestion are very specific as to the type of food they break down, as well as the conditions under which they work. The process of chewing begins digestion by the action of salivary enzymes, predominantly salivary amylase that begins breaking down starch. These enzymes along with others produced in the stomach, are active at a pH of around 5.0 and continue to break down starches and some fats in the upper part of the stomach until hydrochloric acid is released, lowering the pH to around 3.0. At this point another enzyme, pepsin, becomes active, beginning protein digestion. As the food proceeds to the small intestine, the pH again rises, inactivating pepsin, but enabling other enzymes produced in the pancreas and small intestine to begin their work to complete the digestive process. These enzymes are active in a more alkaline pH of between 6.0 and 8.0. The enzymes that are naturally present in raw food can assist in their own initial breakdown, but are also inactivated when the pH drops in the stomach. Supplemental enzymes can be of great benefit in contributing to the digestive process. However, supplemental enzymes of animal origin are only active in the alkaline pH of the intestine and risk being permanently inactivated or denatured in the lower pH of the gastric region. The enzymes in Total-Zymes� on the other hand not only survive the acid environment of the stomach, but also are active at that low pH. This is where enzymes from microbial or plant origin can be a real advantage because they are stable and active throughout a broad pH range, from about 3.0 - 9.0. 

Can Total-Zymes � benefit working dogs? 
Enzymes have been found to be a greatly beneficial ingredient when added to a working dogs nutritional program. Enzymes are natural catalysts which work in the body by hastening the breakdown of the foods which dogs consume, thus maximizing the utilization of the nutrients in the foods. Often working dogs are consuming a unique and controlled diet, high in proteins. These dogs can greatly benefit, both in comfort and in results with added enzymes to break down the high levels of proteins they are consuming. Thus, an addition of enzymes both hastens and maximizes the results of their specialized diets. Dogs such as sled dogs, bomb dogs and rescue dogs also benefit from the addition of extra enzymes to their diet for their anti-inflammatory properties. The ingestion of blends of enzymes containing specific proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain are very effective in relieving inflammation, thus hastening healing. 

How does Total-Zymes � take the stress off my pets pancreas? 
Supplement manufacturers initially used enzymes, and more specifically proteases, as aids to digestion of food. Other, non-digestive, uses have been proposed. Attempts have been made to market enzyme products for oral administration using certain metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes, especially those derived from fungal sources, are relatively more stable compared to metabolic enzymes, and as such are ideal for oral supplementation to aid digestion. The primary benefit is in shifting a portion of the digestive burden from pancreatic enzymes in the intestine to fungal enzymes in the stomach. Continued supplementation over a period of days activates a feedback system to the pancreas, signaling it to decrease production of its enzymes. This allows the pancreas, primarily an endocrine organ, to conserve its cellular machinery for production of insulin and glucagon; which are important in blood glucose maintenance. 

What are some short and long term benefits of Total-Zymes �?
The benefits will vary depending upon the individual dog, diet, and general health. For the most part, pets experience less fullness after meals, faster emptying of stomach contents, decreased gas, less stool being passed, and more regular bowel habits. Most dog's systems work differently. Try different doses until the desired effect is achieved. Increase in bowel movements may occur. This is normal because these enzymes are very stable, and retain activity in the intestinal tract. After 2 or 3 days, the system will be cleaned out, and then less stool will be passed. This means that more food has been broken down and absorbed by the intestinal tract. After even large meals the heaviness and gas will decrease. This is mostly due to the presence of undigested food in the colon, and the bacteria present cause the food to ferment, which produces gas. In addition, less energy is expended by the body to break down food. Which often results in your pet being more alert and energized. Heartburn also is reduced or stops occurring altogether, since the enzymes digest the food very quickly, food is passed out into the intestine faster, and acid production, which is triggered by the presence of food in the stomach is then reduced. 

"The length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzymes potential of an organism. The increased use of food enzymes promotes a decreased rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential."

The Enzyme Nutrition Axiom - Dr. Edward Howell (the father of enzyme nutrition)
submitted by Jory Smith & Miss Bailey
**New Product...visit


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Diets for Special Health Needs
By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health
Originally published in B-Naturals Newsletter

Some health conditions may call for changes in the diet for your dog. While there are many commercial prescription diets for some health conditions, you can prepare fresh food diets at home. A fresh food diet can provide a variety of foods that can be helpful in insuring the best nutrition and help keep the fussiest dog�s appetite up so he will continue eating.

Renal Problems

Kidney problems can cover a wide variety of issues. Most health professionals will tell you to reduce protein when renal values are elevated, but in reality, it is the level of phosphorus that needs to be reduced. This means familiarizing yourself with the phosphorus values of different foods. It can also mean increasing fat to add calories. But for the most part, we don�t start a special diet until the values of BUN reach 80, and the creatinine is over 2. And it is important to run tests to try to find out the source of the problem. This would include a blood titer for leptospirosis, blood test for tick borne diseases, a sterile urine culture (long term urinary tract infections can cause kidney problems) and ruling out Cushing�s disease or Addison�s disease. Occasionally I see websites offering herbal and other �cures� for renal disease. Please disregard these. Always get thorough testing done to find out what mode of treatment will be most successful.

For more information on kidney diets and renal information, check out Mary Straus�s excellent website at this link:

Recipes on homemade diets for renal problems can be found at this link:

A good list to join to learn more about kidney diets is on the K9Kidney Yahoo Group:

Liver Problems

Liver issues can run the gambit. They can be caused from insult from poisons to congenital issues such as shunt disorders to the liver reacting to other physical issues. Often veterinarians will recommend protein reduction, but generally this is only needed in shunt disorders, or any other problem that causes ammonia leakage in the bloodstream. Ammonia leakage calls for diets with no red meat or organ meats, and in severe cases, even poultry will not be tolerated. But in other liver problems, proteins are fine and necessary for the liver to regenerate and function. The bigger issue is fat. Part of the liver�s job is to process fats and when it is compromised, this can become difficult. This can cause nausea and discomfort for your dog. Reducing fat means avoiding the yolks of eggs, using low fat or non fat yogurt or cottage cheese and using lean meats and removing the skin from poultry. I do have recipes for dogs with liver problems, and these were developed for dogs with shunt issues. If your dog does not have ammonia leakage in the blood stream, you can add red meat. The recipes and more information are found here:


Fresh food diets can offer more nutrition than processed, commercial dog foods, and the ingredients can be combined for food choices your dog prefers. Often dogs with cancer may have nausea, so rotating food selections can help when their appetite is lacking. Research has shown high sugar foods (carbohydrates) such as grains, fruits and starchy vegetables (potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, for example) give cancer cells energy. Homemade diets can be prepared that avoid these ingredients. Also important are high doses of omega 3 fatty acids (animal based sources such as fish, salmon, menhaden or herring oil capsules), along with antioxidants. For more information and recipes, read this article:


Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes angry and inflamed. When this happens, dogs have difficulty processing fats in the diet. The pancreas produces too many digestive juices which creates pain and nausea for the dog. Typical symptoms are refusing to eat, arched back and vomiting. Pancreatitis is more about a symptom and reaction to either a disease process in the body or to a drug. Several conditions can create pancreatitis, including diabetes, Cushing�s disease, Hypothyroidism and certain drugs such as steroids, seizure medications and even NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) use. As with kidney problems, it is always important to run tests and blood work to try and find the source of the problem. In the meantime, feeding low fat diets is important for recovery. For more information on pancreatitis and diets read this article:

Heart Problems

Heart issues cover a wide swath of problems. Dogs can be born with heart defects (murmurs, sub aortic stenosis, septal defects) or heart issues such as cardiomyopathy can develop later in life. For the most part, we don�t change diets for dogs with heart problems. Both home cooked and raw diets are naturally low in sodium. Commercial pet foods do use sodium for preservatives, but even at that, generally salt isn�t an issue for dogs with heart disease unless they are on diuretics, such as lasix. Good quality, high bioavailable protein is important for heart health. Meat is important for this, as it contains two heart friendly amino acids, l-carnitine and l-taurine. For further information and recipes to support heart issues:

Urinary Crystals

Crystals are found in the urine and can form stones in the bladder. Stones are caused by several different types of crystals. Each of them takes a different approach in treatment and diet. The most common are struvite, calcium oxalate and purine crystals.

Struvite crystals are most often caused by urinary tract infections. Bacteria create an alkaline environment which causes struvites to grow and flourish. Treating the urinary tract infection will cause the struvites to go away. The best way to treat them is to have your veterinarian do a sterile urine culture. This will be cultured at a laboratory, which will name the bacteria and also tell which antibiotic(s) will be the most effective. Using the correct antibiotic for at least a month and then retesting ten days off the antibiotic should take care of this problem. No diet change is needed nor will help.

Calcium oxalate crystals are often a genetic problem caused by a lack of an enzyme to process oxalates. Diet change is needed to help prevent these. Leslie Bean has developed a guideline for recipes and supplements here:

Purine crystals are another genetic problem. Again, a diet change is needed with recipes low in purines. This would mean a diet about 50% of vegetables, and avoiding red meat, wild game, organ meat and oily seafood (canned fish and shellfish). Safer animal proteins include chicken, eggs, pork, dairy (yogurt and cottage cheese), rabbit and duck. If purine crystal amounts remain high, protein may need to be reduced to a third of the diet. For technical information on uric acid and purines in dogs:

In each of these conditions, the dog needs to be fed a moist diet and have water available around the clock. Hydration helps to flush crystals. The dog needs to have plenty of opportunities to urinate. Holding urine only causes crystals to become more numerous. Never allow your dog to hold their urine during the day.

Conditions Requiring Low Sugar (Glycemic) Diets

Sugars are thought to contribute to arthritis pain and inflammation, feed cancer cells, and help yeast to grow and aggravate some allergic reactions. Dogs with these conditions need to avoid grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas and carrots. These dogs would do well on a raw diet, or a home cooked diet of about 75% animal protein and 25% low glycemic vegetables.

Low Fat, Low Glycemic Diets

Some conditions require low sugar, but also benefit by reduced fat. These would include epilepsy (for dogs using prescription drugs to reduce seizure incidence), diabetes, Cushing�s disease and hypothyroidism. All of these are prone to pancreatitis, so a reduced fat diet will help prevent this. And low sugar diets will also help each of these conditions.

For more details on the low glycemic diets, and also low fat, low glycemic diets, with details on each of the health conditions above you can read this article:

I hope this article and the resource links will come in handy to check recipes and explanations of these health conditions and special diets. I continue to research new information and develop new diets. 


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Teething Time!
By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health
Originally published in B-Naturals Newsletter

Generally, puppies start losing their teeth between three and four months or age. Often, we will �forget� that, and suddenly see a series of strange symptoms! This can include feet splaying or going flat, going �down in the pasterns�, sour breath, anxious behavior, sudden destruction of shoes and furniture, fussiness about eating, ears suddenly going �fly away�, or rose (creased) and good toplines going topsy turvy. 

The most common reason for these symptoms is a concentration of nutrients going to the newly erupting teeth, and also pain from new teeth coming in. It can be an uncomfortable time for your puppy, especially when the large canines and back molars start to present.

There are several helpful things that can be done at this time. I try to remain aware of when this is occurring, and I start offering more soft recreational bones. These can include pork neck bones and pork ribs. These will help the new erupting teeth. I will also give puppies cold, large carrots at this time (cooling on the gums) as well as keeping plenty of soft, plush toys around. Bully sticks and other natural dried animal products can also be helpful.

I keep nails short and use daily walks and simple training for distraction. Puppies can get cranky during teething time, so I am also alert to know when I just need to put them up and not press long training sessions during this time.

Sometimes in certain breeds, ears may need to be taped. How to do this can vary from breed to breed, so be sure to check with your breeder, or on the internet on the correct procedure for your breed.

Make sure there is some form of vitamin D in the puppy�s diet during teething. Vitamin D can be found in the Bertes Daily Blend, and also in Cod Liver Oil capsules. Vitamin D helps with the intake of calcium, which is important for puppies at this time. If the diet is a commercial diet, or a raw diet that is at least 40% raw meaty bones, do not add more calcium, only vitamin D may be needed.

Sometimes smaller, more frequent meals are helpful during this time, as eating may be painful due to sore gums. Some puppies may prefer raw meaty bones at this time, while other may prefer softer foods. Understand this may due to mouth pain.

Around five to six months, all the adult teeth should be present. Always check your puppy�s mouth to make sure that any puppy teeth haven�t become wedged between the adult teeth and that the gums look healthy. Once you and your puppy have left this stage, everything will start to go back to normal. 


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Acupressure 101
Submitted by Jory and Miss Bailey

OK :o)) Here goes .... This is the way our canine chiropractor explained to me how to work on Bailey...

You all know your dog's body very well from hands start by running your thumbs, at the same time, down each side of your dog's spine (with your dog relaxed and either laying down or sitting..I find
laying down the best.

As you gently run your thumbs down the sides of the spine from the neck to the tail with very light pressure, you may find an area on one side or the other that is a little pronounced which is probably a
muscle tension area or knot.

Stop there and apply light, downward pressure using your first two fingers into the 'belly' of the knot and hold for 15 not hold your breath...but breathe relaxed. The amount of pressure is not
much more than you would use to take your own pulse.

At the 15 second mark, slowly start to move your fingers (without letting off the pressure), in a small clockwise rotation and as you are doing that, take a deep breathe and slowly let off the pressure as you continue the circles until fully released.

Carry on down the spine and see if you find other areas and repeat.

You may also find knots along the loin to thigh region , the thigh area and the 'calf' area (I forget what that's called.

Once you have mastered that...I could talk about two chiro pressure moves that can also be very helpful They are applying pressure as well.

Bailey loves acupressure...when I first put pressure on an area,,,,she does hold her breathe, but as I release, she smiles and sometimes pants..."Ahhh,,that feels GOOD Mom!

Healing is about your your intention is to send healing and love and relaxation to your dog in this way.

You can do this several times a week , even every day Another area you can check is along the shoulder blades and around any joints really.

Have fun doing accupressure on your dogs and let us know what the doggies think of your new skills.


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Canine Pain Management
Burning Away The Pain
Originally published by the PennCurrent
By Tim Hyland

"When Dottie Brown was in high school she worked at a local veterinary practice, learning valuable real-world lessons about her career of choice. 
But even as a teenager, Brown sensed something odd about the way the veterinarians of the day treated�or maybe more accurately, didn't treat�their patients' pain.

�It used to be that animals very rarely got post-surgical pain management,� Brown says. �The rationale was, �Well, we just fixed the broken bone and we don�t want the dog to move around, so if we don�t give them pain meds they won�t move and that will be good.� And I�d have to say that rationale, 20 years ago, was not all that uncommon.�

Hans-Peter Kohler and son Boris
Dogs such as Ursula can't help but love Penn Associate Professor of Surgery Dottie Brown, who has been working on finding new ways to measure and treat their pain.
Photo credit: Candace di Carlo

Today, Brown is at the forefront of a push in the veterinary world to give dogs access to the same pain relief that humans have become accustomed to. As an associate professor of surgery at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and an active researcher on animal pain management, Brown is working to find new ways to help dogs stricken with such diseases as cancer or arthritis live pain-free lives. Recently, Brown's expertise drew her into a study that is revealing some unusual and unexpected pain-management properties of a fiery compound called resiniferatoxin (RTX), a red-hot sap produced by a Moroccan cousin of the chili pepper plant.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health working to better understand pain in human beings discovered that, in cancer patients, pain messages were sent to the brain by a certain class of nerve cells in the spine. But these nerve cells, the researchers found, could be killed if infused with calcium�and once killed, the pain messages could be stopped.

That's where RTX comes in. When the chemical�about 1,000 times more potent than the capsaicin that gives chili peppers their kick�makes contact with the pain-transmitted nerve cells, it spurs a rush of calcium into the cells, destroying them and providing relief from cancer's life-depleting pain.�When we give [RTX] in the spinal fluid in the spinal cord, those [pain] cells are permanently deleted, and they can't send the signal,� Brown says.

The NIH team found RTX seemed to work on lab rats, but needed more evidence to support their claim. And because humans and dogs are so similar, medically speaking, they turned to Brown, whose work had put her in contact with dogs suffering from severe cancer pain. Brown, in turn, sought out dogs that might make good case studies. She chose a group that had been stricken with cancer, and were so wracked with pain they were unable to put weight on their limbs. Some had given up on playing completely.

But after taking injections of RTX, those same dogs were able to run and jump almost as if they felt no pain at all. The cancer persisted�and eventually proved fatal�but owners reported weeks or months of happy times after RTX treatment. �These were dogs who didn�t really want to walk around anymore. The owners were basically at the point of considering euthanasia,� Brown says. �Some of those who were on other pain meds coming in actually discontinued those afterward.� 

The initial trial was such a great success that Brown will conduct another, more thorough study this summer. Meanwhile, the NIH team is pushing to begin testing RTX on humans soon. 
Brown says it's unlikely RTX will ever replace such pain-management standbys as morphine�RTX can only be delivered by spinal injection and patients must be anesthetized during application�but she says it could eventually provide another tool in doctors' and veterinarians' ongoing fight to relieve pain. Besides, Brown says, it was not too long ago that the thought of injecting a toxin into somebody's face would raise some eyebrows: But that's precisely what users of Botox�which, like RTX, is a neurotoxin�are doing.

�This whole field is pretty new," Brown says. "RTX would fall under the group of neurotoxins�drugs that have a really toxic effect on nerves. But it's only recently that you're beginning to realize you can use those same properties, but in a good way.�


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No Dairy for Doggies!
Submitted by Jory and Miss Bailey

Dairy products contain protein lectins that can cause problems in some dogs, so it's probably best to avoid dairy products. This protein lectin can cause mucous build up throughout the system which presents an attractive breeding ground for bacteria , virus' and allergens.

An allergy, simply the immune's system response to something that it perceives as the enemy.keeping in mind that cow's milk is meant for a calf that has two stomachs and the digestive enzymes to break down this protein lectin. Also keep in mind that dairy includes yogurt, and cheeses (which are that dairy products can have negative effects on blood sugar levels as well. Disrupted blood sugar levels can lead to weight problems, and diabetes.

Symptoms of dairy allergies can include, runny eyes, itching ears and repeated ear infections), itchy skin and skin eruptions, and scooting (itchy anus).

Note :
The dairy food issue is a very controversial one, indeed. Many believe that dairy is not fit for human consumption and numerous research studies have documented its ill effects on our health. On the other side of the coin, dairy farming is a huge, multi-billion dollar government-subsidized industry whose tremendous advertising campaigns have us believing that we can't live without milk and dairy products. Unfortunately, even if they were right to some degree, all commercially sold dairy products are highly processed and loaded with dangerous chemicals and antibiotics.

Dairy products are also very high in saturated fats. Saturated fats slow down the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing toxins from the body.

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Managing Fleas Without Poisons
by Geneva Coats, Pomeranian Review Health and Genetics Editor
Provided by The Dog Press Headlines Newsletter


 Most of us have resorted to using commercial flea control products at one time or another. These products can present significant hazards. They are pesticides, poisons which are intended to kill living organisms. Many pesticides affect a broad range of living things. For example, organophosphate and carbamate compounds (two classes of pesticides commonly used for flea control) act on the nervous systems of insects and mammals in the same manner. When you use these chemicals, you can affect not only fleas, but your pet and yourself as well.


If you think you or your pet has been adversely affected by a pet product containing pesticides, call your regional poison control center for immediate help, and report the incident to the EPA's National Pesticide Telecommunications Network, at 800-858-7378.


Most pesticides are neurotoxic, meaning that they cause the nervous system to malfunction, thereby causing death. About 2/3 of available pesticides function in this manner. Flea control products have also caused reproductive problems in laboratory tests. About half of the available products are classified as carcinogens by the EPA, while one-fourth are known to cause genetic damage in at least one test. Almost all pesticides have environmental concerns.


Per pound of weight, small dogs breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than larger dogs. In addition, young puppies are more sensitive than adults because they are growing and some of their organs are still developing. A lesser amount of toxic material per pound can poison a young puppy or small dog very quickly.


There are several ways chemicals enter the body.  They may be inhaled and enter the bloodstream through the lungs. They may be ingested by mouth, and enter through the gastrointestinal tract. They may also be absorbed through the skin (and paw pads) through direct contact.


The good new is, that by understanding the flea's life cycle and targeting your management activities, an effective and least-toxic flea control program is possible. Fleas go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Warm, moist conditions (65-80 degrees F and 70% relative humidity) are optimal for flea hatching and development. A female can lay up to 800 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs are laid both on and off the pet. Those laid on the pet later fall off and accumulate on the floor, in cracks, on furniture, and in dust. The eggs hatch within 2 to 12 days into wormlike larvae. The larval stage generally lasts 1 to 3 weeks, but can exist up to 200 days. The larvae then spin a cocoon and transform into pupae. Pupae remain dormant until they detect a host (by warmth and vibrations) and hatch out as adults. The pupae stage lasts from 1-2 weeks under favorable conditions but can extend to nearly a year. After emerging the adult fleas immediately seek a blood meal. Adults can live 1-2 months without a meal and can survive 7 to 8 months with just one meal. So, as you can see, when conditions of heat and humidity are favorable, fleas can emerge from seemingly out of nowhere to torture your pet. In addition to causing discomfort and skin lesions from allergic reactions and scratching, fleas can transmit tapeworm and bacterial infections.


Vigilance and preventive techniques allow most pet owners to keep flea populations under control without using poisons. An effective program must address the flea at all four stages of development. Vacuuming areas your pet frequents, bathing your pet, washing pet bedding, and combing for fleas can effectively keep your flea population at a tolerable level.


Fleas tend to accumulate where pets sleep. Try to establish a single, regular sleeping place with bedding that is easily removable and washable. Wash bedding about once a week to break up the flea life cycle. Pick up the bedding by the four corners so that eggs and larvae aren't scattered throughout the area.


Keep your lawn cut short and either very dry or very wet. Fleas don't do well in either extreme. Bathing your pet is an effective control measure. It is not necessary to use insecticidal shampoos, most soaps will kill fleas. Use a comb to remove fleas from your dog. Keep a container of soapy water nearby to drown the fleas in. Dish soap works well. Don't crush fleas with your fingers since they carry parasites and disease organisms.


Vacuuming floors, carpets, furniture, crevices and cracks once a week is an excellent means of controlling the flea population. Vacuuming is especially effective at picking up adults and eggs. The vibration from vacuuming can result in the emergence of adult fleas from the pupae stage, the newly hatched fleas are vacuumed up prior to ever meeting you or your pet. Steam cleaning carpet kills fleas in the adult and larval stages. However, the steam can trigger the hatching of the remaining flea eggs a few days later but vacuuming religiously will take care of most of the newly hatched fleas. Vacuum more frequently if the flea population increases, every 2-3 days during the peak season. After vacuuming, the bag must be dealt with immediately or the fleas will escape and re-infest the area.



Predatory nematodes that prey on flea larvae and pupae as they are developing in soil are available commercially. The nematodes are mixed with water and watered in to lawns to reduce outdoor flea populations. Nematodes are available from Gardens Alive! (812-537-8650) ( Gardens Alive! is a wonderful source for environmentally friendly, nontoxic home and garden products. Another good company with information related to flea control on their website is Planet Natural.




Desiccating dusts, such as diatomaceous earth and silica aerogels, kill fleas by drying them out, causing the insect to lose moisture and eventually die. Always wear goggles and a dust mask during application to avoid breathing in desiccating dusts. Cover or remove equipment that can be damaged by dust. People with respiratory problems should not use diatomaceous earth. Be sure not to use glassified diatomaceous earth manufactured for use in swimming pool filters, it causes the lung disease silicosis.


Some pest control companies are advertising a natural flea control through use of boric acid (another desiccant material) in cracks and crevices.


Diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel can be applied to pets and their bedding. Both are desiccating agents. Work in using a brush or broom. Vacuum afterwards to remove loose dust.


Use of brewer's yeast tablets make your dog less attractive to fleas, as the smell is excreted through the skin. Adding a spoon of apple cider vinegar to the water bowl will make the skin more acidic and unpleasant to fleas. You can also use a 50:50 dilution in a spray bottle and dampen the coat with the solution.


Insect growth regulators are not pesticides, but rather chemicals that arrest the growth and development of young fleas. These include methoprene, fenoxycarb and pyriproxyfen and the popular lufenuron (Program�). Alternatives also include newer pesticide products sprayed or spotted onto pets, such as fipronil  (Frontline�) or imidacloprid (Advantage�). Particularly when used in combination with physical measures, the safety and effectiveness of these newer chemical products makes the continued use of pet products containing Organophosphates -- and their attendant risks for humans and pets alike -- unnecessary.


You can make your own nontoxic flea repellents with some natural aromatherapy ingredients. These essential oils work well as repellents; add a few drops of these, in varying combinations, in a spray bottle filled with water: You could also make a flea collar by rubbing a few drops of these essential oils into a cloth collar or bandana for your dog. Be sure to refresh weekly.



tea tree











Some information reprinted with permission from the Journal of Pesticide Reform, Northwest Coalition For Alternatives to Pesticides

P.O. Box 1393,

Eugene, Oregon 97440



I welcome your comments or suggestions. Click My Picture for additional information.


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Choosing the Right Multivitamin for Your Dog


There are many multivitamin supplements now available that will satisfy the basic daily requirements a pet needs to maintain a good quality of life. Most of these products are dosed according to a pet�s body weight, and suggested doses are listed on the label.

When choosing a multivitamin supplement for your dog, I recommend you ask these important questions:

What are the most critical ingredients dogs need?

First of all, a good product designed for dogs should include the basics:

� Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C and E.

� Vitamin B Complex�the full spectrum which includes Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folic Acid), B12, and Biotin.

� Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc

Is the company reputable?

Look for products made in the USA, backed by published independent clinical trials, like PAAWS and VitaLife. The manufacturer should stand behind its product and offer complete satisfaction with a money back guarantee.

Does this product have the right dosage for my dog?

The amount of each ingredient needs to be appropriate for your dog�s age and health status. More is not necessarily better. Excessive levels of some vitamins can be toxic, while overdoses of others simply create expensive urine. Have you ever given your dog B vitamins and noticed that his urine has changed color? That means there were more nutrients than his body was able to absorb, so the excess was eliminated in the urine.

What are the nutrient sources?

Check that the ingredients are derived from water soluble sources and Chelated or mixed with a nutrient, which allows for optimal absorption and utilization by your dog�s body. When four vitamins�A, D, E, and K�come from fat soluble sources, they don�t get eliminated from your pet�s body each day. Instead they accumulate and are stored in fat, which means that excess levels can quickly lead to toxicity.

Vitamin A: is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant. It is also necessary for good vision, proper bone development and healthy skin. The fat soluble source of Vitamin A is called Retinyl Palmitate. It is inexpensive to make but too much can be deadly. The water soluble source of Vitamin A is called Vitamin A Palmitate. This is much more expensive to make, but it is eliminated daily from your dog�s body. It does not accumulate and is very safe, so toxicity is not a factor.

What dosage of Vitamin A does your dog need?

Small dogs up to 35 pounds need 1000IU�s (IU means international units) twice a day. Medium dogs 35-60 pounds need 2000IU�s twice daily and large dogs over 60 pounds need 3000IU�s twice daily.

B-Complex Vitamins:

These are critical cofactors necessary for energy production. They are essential to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. B-Complex vitamins aid in the release of energy from foods and help to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

Look for a product that contains the full spectrum of B-Complex vitamins, namely B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folic Acid), B12 and Biotin. Next, determine the source from which they are derived. Brewer�s yeast is a common, very inexpensive source of B vitamins. It is also a leading cause of allergies in dogs, resulting in itching and skin eruptions. An appropriate dosage would be 25mg for a small dog, 50mg for a medium dog and 75mg for large dogs over 60 pounds, given twice daily.

Vitamin C: is needed to regenerate and revitalize Vitamin E. It is also essential to normal collagen formation. Collagen is an integral part of the walls of blood vessels and is also a vital component in the matrix of cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bones and skin. Good natural sources include Ascorbic Acid and Ester C. Ester C is a buffered form of Ascorbic Acid which is nonirritating to your dog�s stomach. Appropriate absorbable dosages of Vitamin C for a healthy small dog are 125mg, for a medium dog 250mg and for a large dog 375mg, twice a day.

Vitamin E: is needed to regenerate and revitalize Vitamin C. It is also important to help maintain the integrity of cell membranes, which is essential if they are to function normally. Dl Alpha Tocopherol Succinate is a good natural source of Vitamin E. Synthetic sources of Vitamin E contain Tocopheryl. They are less expensive and less effective. Appropriate dosages of Vitamin E for healthy pets are 25IU for a small dog, 50IU for a medium dog and 75IU for large dogs, given twice daily.

Vitamin C and E work together in your dog�s body synergistically as a team. Either nutrient given alone offers fewer benefits than when given together. Vitamin C helps the body to naturally replenish Vitamin E and vice versa.

Calcium and magnesium: Calcium is not only essential to help dogs maintain strong bones and teeth; it also helps prevent high blood pressure, heart attacks and colon cancer. Magnesium acts like a catalyst for calcium, so they work in tandem. Both may be derived from cheap, unreliable sources such as ground bone or egg shells. Viable sources, such as Calcium Citrate and Magnesium Maleate, are more costly but much more effective. Excess levels of these vitamins can also be harmful and lead to stone formation in the kidneys and/or urinary bladder.

Selenium: This mineral is incorporated into many vital enzymes, is important for many of the body�s critical processes and promotes immune system function. Selenium also works with Vitamin E as an antioxidant to help protect against free radical oxidative damage.

Zinc: is another essential mineral and is a vital component of several biochemical and enzymatic reactions in your pet�s body. In addition, zinc is needed to maintain the health and integrity of the skin and hair coat and promotes the integrity of the immune system.

Other Essential Nutrients for Dogs

Not every nutrient your dog needs on a daily basis is contained in a standard multivitamin, so you need to buy these supplements separately and give them to your dog daily.

Digestive enzymes: are important in maintaining overall health. The body�s production of enzymes naturally decreases as pet�s age. Using enzymes properly can enhance your pet�s ability to digest, absorb and utilize what you feed him, which is essential for energy production and, ultimately, for life itself. The stomach and intestines play a vital role in keeping the immune system functioning properly and absorbing all of the key nutrients from your dog�s diet.

The digestive enzymes pets receive should be full spectrum. They include amylase to digest carbohydrates, protease to digest proteins, lactase to digest lactose, lipase to digest fat and cellulase to digest cellulose or plant fibers.

Probiotics: These friendly bacteria boost your pet�s immune system, improve digestion, control yeast overgrowth, remove waste and toxins from the body and help manufacture B vitamins and promote proper elimination.

When there�s any type of GI upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it results in a buildup of harmful bacteria. So it�s vital to repopulate the GI tract with healthy bacteria to promote wellness and quickly reverse the negative effects of those destructive bacteria.

Together digestive enzymes and probiotics help to promote a speedy recovery. They also relieve stress on the body and help avoid negative consequences later on, including developing problems such as diabetes or pancreatitis. Because so much food for people is highly processed with little nutrient value, probiotics are now being advertised on TV and promoted everywhere.

Research has shown that eating yogurt with live cultures of bacteria called lactobacilli promotes proper digestion and overall health. The problem is that a 60 pound dog needs to eat a lot of yogurt to get the right amounts of those healthful bacteria. A better source is through supplements.

Glucosamine: is an amino sugar made of molecules called Glucosaminolglycans or �GAGS.� Gags are found in almost every tissue of the body including joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, urinary bladder and blood vessels. Glucosamine is needed to maintain normal joint fluid, which surrounds the joints providing them with important nutrients. It helps to lubricate and cushion the joints, acting like a shock absorber during movement and insulating the bones from friction.

Glucosamine is necessary to maintain the overall health and integrity of cartilage, articular surfaces, bones and joints. It also enhance your pet�s mobility and flexibility, and plays a role in the healthy formation of many bodily structures including ligaments, tendons, joint fluid, skin, bone and nails. For healthy small dogs 125mg, for medium dogs 250mg and for large dogs 500 mg twice daily is ideal.

MSM: (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) A unique natural, organic form of sulfur that helps reduce arthritic joint pain and acts together with glucosamine to restore normal joint function and integrity. Dosages for healthy dogs are one-half of those required for glucosamine.

Essential Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids: are essential to life. They help maintain the health and normal function of your dog�s cell membranes so they can absorb the nutrients in his system. They also help maintain the health of the skin and hair coat. Fatty acids are necessary for the normal structure, function and integrity of your pet�s heart and brain and joints.

Studies have shown that pets who consume Omega-3 rich oils, which are high in fatty acids such as DHA and EPA, tend to display stronger cardiovascular function than those who do not receive these supplements.

Also, add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to your pet�s food. It smells good, tastes great, adds flavor and is a great source of Essential Omega 3, 6 Fatty Acids.

(c) 2008, Dr. Carol Osborne, D.V.M.


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Morris Animal Foundation offers Web program on canine cancer
Jun 8, 2008 
DVM Newsmagazine


Denver - Veterinary oncologists from two leading canine cancer research centers, at Colorado State University and Cornell University, participated in a canine cancer exclusive presentation now featured on the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) Web site,

The MAF exclusive includes a question-and-answer session led by three veterinary oncologists from CSU's Animal Cancer Center, the world's largest facility of it kind. 

Questions were submitted from owners whose dogs have cancer, the leading cause of death in dogs over age 2, and from dog breeders, boarding kennel managers and others. 

The presentation also includes canine cancer facts and updates from Cornell's Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research. 

Links are provided to Cornell's "Pet Owner's Guide to Cancer" and other educational sites. 

The MAF site also offers links to other veterinary cancer centers in the United States and United Kingdom, to help anyone interested contact the center nearest their home. 

Denver-based MAF, which has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal-health studies, is conducting a global campaign aimed at curing canine cancer in the next one to two decades, while seeking to develop more effective treatments in the meantime. 

For details, visit


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Cutting Edge Procedure Hailed as Arthritis Cure for Dogs
By Reporter: Lisa Ferrari - Charlottesville VA
May 27, 2008


Dogs crippled by arthritis are walking and even running again and there is hope the same procedure can be used on humans. 

The cutting edge surgery is called stem cell therapy and it was performed for the first time on a dog in Charlottesville Tuesday afternoon. 

Debilitated by arthritis, Nunu a 12 year old husky mix could barely get around. "She had to do a hand stand to get her back legs under her," said Dr. Richard Freedman of the Albemarle Veterinary Health Care Center. 

Dr. Freedman is hoping cutting edge medicine will cure Nunu's pain. He is the only Charlottesville veterinarian licensed to perform stem cell therapy. 

Nu nu was asleep for the 20 minute operation, while Dr. Freedman removed a few ounces of fat from the dog's back. That fat is then over nighted to a company called Vet Stem in San Diego. 

There they will harvest millions of Nunu's own regenerative stem cells. And on Thursday those cells will be injected into the Nunu's two arthritic knees. 

"The cells will hone or be attracted to the tissue that is diseased," said Dr. Freedman. In a matter of days Nunu will begin to grow new cartilage and her pain will diminish. 

"What happens is over time this dog will have healthy cartilage tissue lining its joint. Now for what period we don't know yet," he said. 

It costs under $3,000 but the results are often spectacular and immediate. Nunu is expected to have improved comfort, improved range of motion and an improved quality of life in a matter of days says Dr. Freedman. 

Nunu was able to go home Tuesday night and will return Thursday for the second part of the procedure.injecting the cells. 

As hopeful as this is for dogs, there is also hope for humans down the road.


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Pet sterilization laws raise health concerns
Spayed or neutered dogs more at risk for cancers, other ills, research shows
By Kim Campbell Thornton
MSNBC contributor
updated Mon., May. 19, 2008

Studies have found that spayed or neutered dogs are at increased risks for problems including certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues that the surgeries are said to prevent.

As legislators push for more mandatory spay and neuter laws for pets as young as 4 and 6 months in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted animals, critics are crying foul over research showing that such surgeries may raise certain health risks in dogs and therefore shouldn't be required. 

Studies have shown that dogs that undergo spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutering (removal of the testicles) are at increased risks for certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues, such as aggression, that the surgeries are said to prevent. 

Most of these problems aren't common to begin with, and the increased risks can depend on the type of dog and the age the surgery is performed. Still, the findings are leading some experts to say that, contrary to conventional wisdom, later spay/neuter surgery for dogs, and even vasectomies for male canines, may be better options for some animals, depending on such factors as breed and lifestyle.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has not taken a stand on spay/neuter legislation, but the American College of Theriogenologists, a group of veterinary reproduction specialists that advises the AVMA, is considering a position paper opposing the legislation at its meeting in St. Louis in August, says veterinarian John Hamil of Laguna Beach, Calif., a member of the group's task force that looked at the issue.

�What they�re saying is that because there have been problems associated with spay/neuter surgery, they think it�s improper for it to be mandated, much less at an early age," says Hamil. "They feel the decision should be made after discussion between the owner and veterinarian.�

Proponents of spay/neuter legislation say it's a way to reduce the numbers of animals in shelters and cut down on euthanasia rates. They also cite the health and behavior benefits of the procedures, such as prevention of mammary cancer, spraying and marking territory, and roaming.

Patty Khuly, a veterinarian in Miami, says a better solution to control the animal population than mandatory spay/neutering by a certain age is to offer the surgeries at lower costs so more pet owners can afford them and get them done according to a veterinarian's recommendations.

�I don�t believe that the fourth month is a reasonable window,� she says. �Most veterinarians would agree on that. I think low-cost spay/neuter, making it more available, is the solution, as opposed to mandating a time frame, especially when we don�t know the real impact of early spay/neuter.�

For more than a decade, the cities of San Mateo and Belmont in California have required sterilization of most cats and dogs more than 6 months old. But more attention is being paid to the pros and cons of pet sterilization now because of a recent spate of legislation that has been passed or introduced. Los Angeles, for instance, passed an ordinance requiring cats and dogs more than 4 months old to be neutered or spayed by October or risk fines up to $500. Palm Beach, Fla., and North Las Vegas also have approved such measures, and dozens more cities and counties, including Chicago and Dallas, are considering them. Rhode Island is the only state to have passed a mandatory spay/neuter law, and it applies just to cats. 

No one-size-fits-all answer
The idea that pets should be spayed or neutered at approximately 6 months of age or earlier dates to studies in the 1960s and 1970s showing that spaying a female before her first estrus cycle almost eliminated mammary cancer � which is common in dogs � and that spayed and neutered dogs showed a decrease in behavior problems that can be fueled by sex hormones. 

Spay/neuter surgery also has other benefits, including prevention of unwanted litters, no messy twice-yearly estrus cycles in females and a reduced rate of uterine infections later in life. Spayed and neutered dogs and cats also have longer lifespans.

Since the early studies were conducted, however, research has also shown downsides to the surgeries beyond acute side effects such as bleeding and inflammation.

Margaret V. Root Kustritz, a veterinary reproduction specialist at the University of Minnesota, reviewed 200 studies and found that while spay/neuter surgery has benefits, it is also linked to increases in the incidence of certain diseases and conditions such as bone cancer, heart tumors, hypothyroidism and canine cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries, as well as prostate cancer in male dogs and urinary incontinence in females. The extent of the risk can depend on the problem, as well as the size and sex of the dog, and the age the surgery is performed. 

The risk of a type of cardiac tumor called hemangiosarcoma is five times higher in spayed female dogs than unspayed females, noted Kustritz. And neutered males have 2.4 times the risk of unneutered males. The risk was also higher for osteosarcoma (bone cancer): Dogs spayed or neutered before age 1 were up to two times as likely to develop the disease than those that hadn�t been altered.

Spaying and neutering may also heighten behavior problems such as aggression in some breeds and noise phobias in dogs altered at less than 5 months of age, she found. 

While it's long been believed that spaying and neutering can improve a dog's behavior, one large study done at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that, with a few exceptions, spaying and neutering was associated with worse behavior, although those effects were often specific to certain breeds and depended on the age at which the dog was altered.

Cats seem to fare better, though. The main risk they face from sterilization is that they can become sedentary and obese, according to Kustritz's review of studies. As a result, vets say sterilizing cats before 6 months of age is appropriate. 

Reproductive choice
Still, some oppose the mandatory spay/neuter surgery for both cats and dogs based on the grounds that pet owners may not be able to afford the surgery if reduced-cost programs aren't available. Plus, they argue, people should have a choice. 

In San Mateo, Calif., Peninsula Humane Society president Ken White says such legislation provides a one-approach answer to a problem that is different from community to community. 

White believes low-cost or free spay/neuter programs are a better way to reduce the number of unwanted animals, based on what�s worked in San Mateo. The numbers of animals requiring euthanasia dropped dramatically � a 93 percent reduction since 1970 � as the humane society added ways for people to take advantage of low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter programs. 

Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Humane Society of the United States, says that in general the organization is in favor of spay/neuter laws but "we look at every piece of legislation individually. We generally recommend that those decisions are made with a veterinarian. If an individual pet owner feels they want to wait longer or their veterinarian feels they should wait longer, that's their choice."

Veterinarians should consider the age for spay/neuter surgery based on the individual animal rather than rely on the traditional 6-month standard, says Khuly.

For instance, giant dog breeds are more at risk for some types of cancer, and Akitas, German shepherds, golden and Labrador retrievers, Newfoundlands, poodles and Saint Bernards are among the breeds at higher risk for CCL ruptures. 

�It seems that the bigger the dog, the less desirable it is to spay them early,� says Hamil. In his practice, he recommends spaying or neutering large or giant-breed dogs later than small or medium-size dogs.

Some veterinarians suggest spaying females at 12 to 14 months of age, after the growth plates have closed and between estrus cycles. Hamil says that�s not unreasonable.

A kinder cut?
Vasectomy is an option, although a rather uncommon one, for dogs that participate in sports with their owners. The main advantage is better musculature, which can help with arthritis later in life, says Khuly. A vasectomy prevents procreation but keeps testosterone production.

�I think it makes a lot more sense to consider a vasectomy,� says Khuly. �Males with their testosterone really do have some advantages over those that don�t have their testosterone.�

While experts debate the timing of spay/neuter surgery, they generally agree that the benefits outweigh the risks. 

�The disadvantages, although real, are not stark,� Hamil says. �It�s not like if you neuter them they�re going to get [bone cancer]. You would have a very slight increase in incidence, and it�s going to be breed-related ... [Whatever the increase is] that�s not a very big reason not to spay or neuter your dog.�

Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet. 

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Yup! CPV-2 is a reality as is the 'new' Kennel Cough! Some very serious stuff! And at the moment NO effective vaccination(s) available. So, we're dealing with this the old fashioned way (1) cleanliness and sanitation (2) proper behavior of our dogs
   1 a - Several products are available: Clorox bleach mixed at a 10 to 1 ratio remains affective against PARVO. A33 is affective against PARVO as is Virex used at a ration of 1/2 ounce per gallon of water.
   2 a - Do NOT allow your dog to sniff 'poop' or even the behindies of other canines! PARVO hitches its ride on feces
   2 c - Do NOT allow your dog to sniff or lick urine. . . .Lepto is also on the rise
   2 d - Kennel Cough is airborne, and best combated by cleanliness and sanitation as well as proper ventilation 
   3 - and if all that is not enough to make one want to rethink every dog show entry, there is now a suspicion that Giardia duonenalis has developed the ability to go from dog to human, yuppers, 'they' think that Giardia has become zoonotic.

Below is the article that appeared in the May 3rd issue of Las Vegas Sun  

Deadly dog illness hits for just 3rd time
The Associated Press - Sat, May 3, 2008

A deadly bacterial strain that attacks dogs in animal shelters has struck for a third time, and a shelter medicine expert credits quick countermeasures for preventing more dogs from dying.

The latest outbreak was at the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, 10 miles west of Milwaukee, where seven dogs died over 10 days and two others became ill, prompting the shelter to stop taking dogs in or adopting them out.

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison said Friday that the dogs had the strain of bacteria _ streptococcus equi zooepidemicus _ that rapidly attacks the respiratory system, although at least one of the three dogs the lab examined also had parainfluenza virus. More tests were being done.

The case is just the third documented outbreak of the illness that causes dogs to become lethargic and feverish and then invades the respiratory system, said Kate Hurley, director at the Kort Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California-Davis.

One good thing is that the illness has been limited to shelters, and only rarely occurred there, she said.

"People's pet animals are really at minimal risk," she said. "Even within shelters this is very rare."

The first outbreak was at a Las Vegas shelter where as many as a dozen dogs a day had been dying in late 2006 until the illness was diagnosed in February 2007.

"The staff estimated that over 1,000 dogs had died with this bleeding from the nose and mouth and acute respiratory disease that is characteristic of this," Hurley said.

The second outbreak was last February in a Miami shelter where about a dozen dogs died.

"It doesn't seem to have been able to escape from a shelter or a greyhound kennel type of environment and spread into communities," Hurley said, "and it may be because the disease course is just so rapid.

"Once they are symptomatic, they tend to go downhill very rapidly and maybe there just hasn't been time for it to spread."

The exact mode by which the disease spreads isn't known, she said.

"It does seem to be highly contagious," she said. "It's possible that it's airborne within a facility or it's spread on caretakers' feet and on objects or on common surfaces," Hurley said.

It has not occurred in places such as dog day-care facilities, she said.

"It may be that there is some other compromise with stray animals coming together in shelters with a poor vaccine history that contributes to susceptibility to this kind of outbreak," Hurley said.

"Or it just may be luck that it hasn't struck in a doggy day care or boarding type facility," she added. "The fact is we don't know everything about this disease yet.

"But certainly it's not spreading dramatically and it's not widespread in the United States."

The Waukesha case shows the value of recognizing the disease as soon as a dog dies and then treating other dogs with antibiotics before they start showing symptoms.

"That's exactly what we recommended to the shelter in Waukesha," Hurley said.

"When we get on top of it really quickly, then it's been a lot easier to get the outbreak under control, so that's good news."

Lynn Olenik, executive director at the Waukesha County shelter, said Friday that the two other dogs that showed early symptoms responded to antibiotics and were expected to survive. No other dogs or other animals at the shelter seem to be affected.

The bacterial strain is becoming better known among shelters and veterinarians, according to Hurley. Still, "I think there's a number of veterinarians and shelters who aren't aware of this because it's so new and it's not widespread."

She recommended keeping dogs vaccinated for other canine respiratory disease and in good health to reduce chances of getting the disease.

Also, "keep your animal out of a shelter by making sure that it has two kinds of identification," she said.

That way, if it winds up at the shelter, it can be quickly identified and sent back home.

Associated Press reporter Carrie Antlfinger contributed to this report.

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Dog Acupressure
Submitted by Jory and Miss Bailey

Acupressure is closely related to acupuncture- a traditional remedy that has been used for thousands of years. The problem with acupuncture is that it doesn�t lend itself to the do it a t home approach. Acupressure on the other hand is something every pet owner can safely perform at home. 
Your pet�s body is filled with a type of energy called qi ( chee). This energy flows along pathways or meridians in the body. This links all parts of the body together, such as the organs, skin, muscles and bones. The holistic belief is that when a pet gets sick, the natural flow of energy is out of balance. 
You can correct energy imbalances by pressing certain places on the skin called acupressure points. There are 361 acupressure points located along these meridians. 
A note for the skeptics. Acupressure WORKS! Scientific studies have shown that the stimulation of these specific points causes the release of brain chemicals, endorphins which relieve pain. 
Each point is identified by a letter and number. Below are the meridians with there abbreviations.
BL- Bladder
SI-Small Intestine
TH-Triple Heater
CV-Conception Vessel
GV-Governing Vessel
PC-Pericardium (
outside of the heart)

LI-Large Intestine
PC-Pericardium (
outside of the heart)
GB-Gall Bladder
SI-Small Intestine

Most acupressure points are located in depressions between muscles and bones. When you pet your cat or dog, feel for depressions in the tissue; this is likely an acupressure point. You may detect subtle changes in temperature over these areas. A hot point often indicates something acute, such as a muscle spasm. Acupressure is very safe! Even if you do not press on the exact point, coming close to it will provide some relief, and definitely you will do no harm. 
Place your index finger or thumb on the point and press straight down into the body. Don�t rub. You must press hard enough to make an indentation in the tissue, but not cause pain. 
Hold the pressure for 30-60 seconds, then release. Repeat the treatment twice daily. Assess after 5-7 days if it is helping. 
A great one to start with, and very common medical problem is Arthritis. 
There are a number of acupressure points, but the ones I want you to focus on are: 
BL60, on the hind leg on the outside of the ankle, for 1 minute twice daily. 
GB 41. This is located on the bottom of the foot, in the depression of the two outside toes. Especially good for arthritic pain in the hips. 
LI 4. Located on the front foot, over top of the two inside bones above the toes (metacarpals). This is an important point for pain relief, especially for the shoulder. 
Try pressing these points individually or in combination for 2 weeks and assess if it is helping your pet. 
Below is a diagram showing where these are located:

BL- Bladder
SI-Small Intestine
TH-Triple Heater
CV-Conception Vessel
GV-Governing Vessel
PC-Pericardium (
outside of the heart)
LI-Large Intestine
PC-Pericardium (
outside of the heart)
GB-Gall Bladder
SI-Small Intestine


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Pet Food: The Lowdown on Labels
By Linda Bren


Choosing a pet food from among the cans, bags, and boxes stacked on store shelves can be a daunting experience. Which formulation of food is best? Is my dog old enough for "adult formula"? Does my cat really need "premium"? Will Fido be healthier on "natural" food and will Fluffy fully appreciate "gourmet"?

U.S. consumers spend more than $11 billion a year on cat and dog food, according to the Pet Food Institute. And pet food manufacturers compete for these dollars by trying to make their products stand out among the many types of dry, moist, and semi-moist foods available. Pet food packaging carries such descriptive words as "senior," "premium," "super-premium," "gourmet," and "natural." These terms, however, have no standard definition or regulatory meaning.

But other terms do have specific meanings, and pet foods, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), must carry certain information on their labels. Consumers can be confident that their pets are eating a nutritionally sound food if they understand the full significance of these labels.

The Right Stuff: Choosing a Good Pet Food

So how can pet owners choose the right food for their pets? CVM's pet food specialist William Burkholder, D.V.M., Ph.D., recommends examining three parts of the pet food label: the life stage claim, the contact information for the manufacturer, and the list of ingredients.

Pet owners should look for the word "feeding" in the life stage claim (found in the nutritional adequacy statement on the label). This means the food was proven nutritionally adequate in animal feed tests.

Another item to check on the label is the contact information. Pet owners should look for the manufacturer's telephone number. Only the manufacturer's name and address are required, but people should be able to call manufacturers to ask questions about their products, says Burkholder, and manufacturers should be responsive. "They will not tell you how much liver, for example, is in their product, because that's part of their proprietary formula. But they should tell you how much of any nutrient is in the product."

The ingredients list on the label is an area of consumer preference and subjectivity. Pet owners who do or do not want to feed a pet a certain ingredient can look at the list of ingredients to make sure that particular substance is included or excluded.

Some people prefer to pass up animal by-products, which are proteins that have not been heat processed (unrendered) and may contain heads, feet, viscera and other animal parts not particularly appetizing. But protein quality of by-products sometimes is better than that from muscle meat, says Burkholder.

"Meal" is another ingredient that some people like to avoid. In processing meat meal or poultry by-product meal, by-products are rendered (heat processed), which removes the fat and water from the product. Meat or poultry by-product meal contains parts of animals not normally eaten by people.

Some consumers try to avoid pet foods with synthetic preservatives, such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin, in particular, has been hotly debated. Current scientific data suggest that ethoxyquin is safe, but some pet owners avoid this additive because of a suspected link to liver damage and other health problems in dogs. CVM has asked pet food producers to voluntarily lower their maximum level of ethoxyquin in dog food while more studies are being conducted on this preservative, and the industry is cooperating.

Many products preserved with naturally occurring compounds, such as tocopherols (vitamin E) or vitamin C, are available. These products have a much shorter shelf life than those with synthetic preservatives, especially once a bag of food is opened.

Some animal nutritionists recommend switching among two or three different pet food products every few months. Burkholder says nutritional advice for people to eat a wide variety of foods also applies to pets. Doing so helps ensure that a deficiency doesn't develop for some as yet unknown nutrient required for good health. When changing pet foods, add the new food to the old gradually for a few days to avoid upsetting the pet's digestive system.

Pet Food Safety and Nutrition

No matter what choice they make, consumers can take comfort in knowing that pet food is manufactured under a series of standards and regulations. These regulations require some nutrients and additives, disallow others, and stipulate certain information that must be on the label. The labels of packages and cans of commercial cat and dog food must list five pieces of information: guaranteed analysis, nutritional adequacy statement, ingredients, feeding guidelines, and the manufacturer's name and address.

With the exception of a nutritional adequacy statement, these items must also appear on commercial food labels for other pets, such as gerbils, snakes, and parakeets.

Guaranteed Analysis

The guaranteed analysis specifies the product's minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat. It also gives the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. ("Crude" refers to a specific method of measuring the nutrient, and is not an indication of quality.) Although not required, some manufacturers also specify the percentages of other nutrients, such as ash and taurine in cat food, and calcium and phosphorus in dog food.

The amounts of crude protein and most other nutrients appear less for canned products than for dry ones because of differences in moisture content. Canned foods typically contain about 75 percent water, while dry foods contain only about 10 percent.

Nutritional Adequacy

The nutritional adequacy statement assures consumers that a product meets all of a pet's nutritional needs. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an advisory body of state and federal feed regulators, develops recommended standards for nutrient contents of dog and cat foods. AAFCO also publishes ingredient definitions and regulations.

The FDA's CVM works in partnership with AAFCO to determine safe pet food ingredients and testing protocols. In addition to federal regulation of pet food, most state governments regulate pet foods and labeling through their agricultural departments. AAFCO has created a model feed bill that states often adopt in their own laws.

CVM gives scientific and regulatory advice to AAFCO and the states on pet food issues, and CVM representatives serve on AAFCO committees and meet regularly with AAFCO's board of directors. CVM investigators also team with AAFCO to check out questionable pet food ingredients or claims.

Manufacturers can show their food meets AAFCO's standards for nutritional adequacy by calculations or by feeding trials. Calculations estimate the amount of nutrients in a pet food either on the basis of average nutrient content of its ingredients, or on results of laboratory tests--but not animal feed tests. If the calculations show that the food provides sufficient nutrients to meet the specific AAFCO nutritional profile referenced, the pet food label will carry a statement like: "(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (Dog or Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for (specific life stage)."

Feeding trials signify that the manufacturer has tested the product (or a similar product made by the same manufacturer) in dogs or cats under strict guidelines. Products found to provide proper nutrition based on feeding trials will carry a statement such as: "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition for (specific life stage)."

Regardless of the method used, the nutritional adequacy statement on a cat or dog food label must also tell which life stage the product is suitable for. AAFCO has established two nutrient profiles each for dogs and cats--growth/lactation and maintenance--to fit their life stages.

Every product must meet at least one of these two profiles. A product intended for growing kittens and puppies, or for pregnant or lactating females, must meet AAFCO's nutrient profile for growth/lactation. Products that meet AAFCO's profile for maintenance are suitable for an adult, non-reproducing dog or cat of normal activity level, but may not be adequate for an immature, reproducing, or hard-working animal. A product may claim that it is for "all life stages" if it is suitable for adult maintenance and also meets the more stringent nutritional needs for growth and reproduction.

Growth/lactation and maintenance are the only nutrient profiles authorized by AAFCO and CVM, so terms like "senior" or "formulated for large breed adults" mean the food meets the requirements for adult maintenance--and nothing more.

Snacks and treats that are clearly identified as such are not required to include a nutritional adequacy statement. But these foods, in all other respects, must meet FDA and state regulations for pet food labeling. Dog chews made from rawhide, bone, or other animal parts (such as pig ears) are also considered "food" since pets eat them. These products must bear a list of ingredients and provide the manufacturer's name and address, but they are not required to give a guaranteed analysis, nutritional adequacy statement, or feeding instructions.


Like human foods, pet foods are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and must be pure and wholesome and contain no harmful substances. They also must be truthfully labeled. Foods for human or pet consumption do not require FDA approval before they are marketed, but they must be made with ingredients that are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) or ingredients that are approved food and color additives. If scientific data show that an ingredient or additive presents a health risk to animals, CVM can prohibit or modify its use in pet food.

Pet food ingredients must be listed on the label in descending order by weight. However, the weight includes the moisture in the ingredient, which makes it tricky to interpret. "A moist ingredient, such as chicken, which may be 70 percent water, may be listed ahead of a dry ingredient, such as soybean meal, which is only 10 percent water--yet the soy actually contributes more solids to the diet," says Susan Donoghue, V.M.D., owner of Nutrition Support Services, Inc., and past president of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.

Similar materials listed as separate ingredients may outweigh other ingredients that precede them on the list of ingredients. For example, chicken may be listed as the first ingredient, then wheat flour, ground wheat, and wheat middlings. The consumer may believe that chicken is the predominant ingredient, but the three wheat products--when added together--may weigh more than the chicken.

Dietary Supplements

Just as dietary supplements for people are growing in popularity, so are animal food supplements for pets. "Many people treat their dogs and cats like replacement children," says Jennifer Kvamme, D.V.M., associate editor of Petfood Industry magazine. "They want the best for them, and want to give them the types of food and supplements that they would eat themselves."

The FDA considers animal food supplements that are not approved nutrients or GRAS to be unapproved food additives or unapproved new animal drugs. As such, they are not permitted in pet food. Nevertheless, consumers will see on some cat and dog food labels ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which are claimed to alleviate joint stiffness and pain, and St. John's wort, purported to treat depression and relieve stress.

Neither the FDA nor state feed control officials have the number of employees required to monitor every supplement and food manufacturer and prevent those using unapproved ingredients from selling their products, says Burkholder. "It's a matter of profit incentive versus likelihood of getting caught. The same forces apply for why police cannot write speeding tickets to everyone driving over the speed limit. That doesn't make speeding legal."

Burkholder cautions people to check with their veterinarians before giving their pets supplements, whether alone or in a food product. "Many persons do not appreciate that dogs and cats are not small furry people. They often think that a supplement that they may take themselves is good for their pet, but that may not be the case."

Table Scraps May Be Dangerous

Some people think a food that they eat is good for their pets. Not true. Some human foods, in fact, may be dangerous to pets. "Most pet owners simply do not know that small amounts of chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts and bread dough can be fatal if ingested by a dog," says Steve Hansen, D.V.M., senior vice president of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. "And cats, in particular, have a body chemistry quite different from ours," and so are susceptible to poisoning from a number of human foods.

Also because of their different body chemistry and nutritional requirements, cats should not be fed dog food, says Burkholder.

Feeding Guidelines

Feeding directions on pet food provide only a broad guideline. Nutritional requirements vary according to a pet's age, breed, body weight, genetics, amount of activity, and even the climate in which the pet lives.

Many owners are guilty of overfeeding their pets, and even a "light" food can cause weight gain if fed in excess of caloric needs. "It's estimated that about 25 percent of dogs and cats that enter a pet clinic are overweight," says Burkholder. Obesity can shorten a pet's life by contributing to heart and liver problems, diabetes, arthritis, bladder cancer, and skin disorders and it can put a pet at higher risk while undergoing anesthesia and surgery. Pet owners should consult their veterinarians for the appropriate amount and type of food to give their pets, especially those that are overweight.

A pet food can claim to be "light" or "lean" only if it meets AAFCO's standard definitions for these terms. These definitions differ for dog and cat food and also depend on the moisture content of the food. The words "light," "lite" and "low calorie" all have the same meaning.

The words "lean" and "low fat" also mean the same. But "less calories" and "reduced calories" mean only that the product has fewer calories than another product, and "less fat" and "reduced fat" mean the product is less fatty than another one. In both cases, the manufacturer must state on the label the percentage of reduction and the product of comparison.

Most pet food labels do not provide calorie content, but consumers can get this information by contacting the manufacturer, whose location must be on the label. Many manufacturers provide a toll-free number for consumers as well as their Web site address.

When a 'Food' is a 'Drug'

Statements that a product can treat, prevent or reduce the risk of a disease are considered drug claims and are not allowed on pet food. CVM also disallows claims such as "improves skin and coat," "prevents dry skin," and "hypoallergenic." Consumers may see phrases such as "promotes healthy skin" and "promotes glossy coat." CVM permits these claims, but any healthy animal that gets adequate nutrition should have these qualities anyway without eating a special food.

Recognizing the close link between diet and disease, CVM does allow certain health-related information on labels to help consumers evaluate pet foods. For example, while a product cannot claim to treat feline lower urinary tract disease, a concern for some cat owners, it may make the claim that the food "reduces urine pH to help maintain urinary tract health," provided data generated by the manufacturer and reviewed by CVM support the statement.

CVM permits some dental claims on pet foods. The jaw movement of animals as they chew on certain foods or treats, or some chemicals in foods, can help reduce plaque and tartar, so CVM allows claims such as "helps control plaque" and "helps control tartar." CVM does not allow claims to treat or prevent gingivitis or periodontal disease because these are drug claims.

Pet owners may see claims such as "improves doggie breath" on pet food or treats. These claims have no regulatory meaning; manufacturers use them simply to promote their products.

The phrase "recommended by veterinarians" also has no regulatory meaning, says Rodney Noel, Ph.D., AAFCO's pet food committee chair and a chemist at Purdue University. "There is no minimum number or percentage of veterinarians required for a company to be able to state its product is recommended by vets," Noel says.

CVM provides manufacturers some latitude in making health claims regarding a category of food known as veterinary medical foods, which consumers can obtain only through a veterinarian. Manufacturers design these foods to treat a particular disease or condition. Although not regulated as drugs, these foods may carry health information in promotional materials for the veterinarian to help them treat their patients correctly.

For additional regulatory information on pet food and labeling, call CVM at 301-594-1755 or visit

Keeping Pet Food Fresh

Always keep canned pet food refrigerated after opening.

If you store dry pet food in a container other than its original bag, be sure to wash the empty container with soap and water before adding food from a new bag. The residual fat that settles on the bottom of the container can become rancid beyond its shelf life (the date stamped on the bag). This spoiled fat may contaminate fresh food added to the container, causing vomiting or diarrhea when fed to your pet.

- -L.B.

Irradiation of Pet Food

In April, the FDA approved an irradiation process that can be used on all animal feed and feed ingredients, including pet food and treats. This process can reduce the risk of contamination from all strains of Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella organisms can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea in people and pets.

Irradiation, which causes chemical changes, is already approved for use on a variety of human foods. Extending this process to pet and other animal foods will increase the safety of the food for both the animals consuming it and the people handling it.


Pet Food and the Risk of 'Mad Cow Disease'

No evidence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as "Mad Cow Disease," ever has been detected in horses, dogs, and other pets, such as birds, reptiles, and gerbils. However, a feline version of BSE, first identified in 1989, has been documented in domestic cats in Europe, mostly in the United Kingdom, according to the U.K.'s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

No cases of BSE or similar forms of the disease in cats, cows, or humans ever have been found in the United States. "The same precautions that the U.S. government is taking to keep BSE out of this country's cattle are also protecting our pets," says William Burkholder, D.V.M., Ph.D., the FDA's pet food specialist.

Scientists believe BSE is transmitted through animal feed containing certain animal proteins that may harbor the BSE agent. Since 1991, the United States has banned the import of animal foods, including pet food, containing ruminant (such as cattle or sheep) materials from countries with BSE. In 1997, the United States extended the ban to most of Europe.

In December 2000, the U.S. banned imports of animal proteins--from any species--from 31 countries that either are known to have BSE in their cattle herds or are considered at high risk for having it. This means that no meat-containing pet food can legally be imported from a country at risk for BSE.

- -L.B.

Making Sense of 'Light' and 'Lean' in Pet Food

The calorie and fat contents listed below are the maximum limits allowed in dog and cat food labeled "light" or "lean." These definitions are established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and authorized by the FDA. Comparisons between products in different categories of moisture content are considered misleading.


Dry Foods
(< 20 percent water)

Semi-moist Foods
(20-65 percent water)

Moist Foods
(> 65 percent water)

Light, lite or low calorie


Dogs: 1,409 calories per pound
Cats: 1,477 calories per pound

Dogs: 1,136 calories per pound
Cats: 1,205 calories per pound

Dogs: 409 calories per pound
Cats: 432 calories per pound

Lean or low fat

Dogs: 9 percent fat
Cats: 10 percent fat

Dogs: 7 percent fat
Cats: 8 percent fat

Dogs: 4 percent fat
Cats: 5 percent fat


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Submitted by Kris L. Christine
Founder, Co-Trustee / The Rabies Challenge Fund

One of the most important vaccine research studies in veterinary medicine is underway at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. Dr. Ronald Schultz, a leading authority on veterinary vaccines and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, has begun concurrent 5 and 7 year challenge studies to determine the long-term duration of immunity of the canine rabies vaccine, with the goal of extending the state-mandated interval for boosters. These will be the first long-term challenge studies on the canine rabies vaccine to be published in the United States.

Dr. Schultz comments that: "We are all very excited to start this study that will hopefully demonstrate that rabies vaccines can provide a minimum of 7 years of immunity."

This research is being financed by The Rabies Challenge Fund, a charitable trust founded by pet vaccine disclosure advocate Kris L. Christine of Maine, who serves as Co-Trustee with world-renowned veterinary research scientist and practicing clinician, Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet in California. The Rabies Challenge Fund recently met its goal of $177,000 to fund the studies' first year budget with contributions from dog owners, canine groups, trainers, veterinarians, and small businesses. Annual budget goals of $150,000 for the studies must be met in the future.

Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM states: "This is the first time in my 43 years of involvement in veterinary issues that what started as a grass-roots effort to change an outmoded regulation affecting animals will be addressed scientifically by an acknowledged expert to benefit all canines in the future." 

Scientific data published in 1992 by Michel Aubert and his research team demonstrated that dogs were immune to a rabies challenge 5 years after vaccination, while Dr. Schultz's serological studies documented antibody titer counts at levels known to confer immunity to rabies 7 years post-vaccination. This data strongly suggests that state laws requiring annual or triennial rabies boosters for dogs are redundant. Because the rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and associated with significant adverse reactions, it should not be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity. Adverse reactions such autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites are linked to rabies vaccinations.

Study co-trustee Kris Christine adds: "Because the USDA does not require vaccine manufacturers to provide long-term duration of immunity studies documenting maximum effectiveness when licensing their products, concerned dog owners have contributed the money to fund this research themselves. We want to ensure that rabies immunization laws are based upon independent, long-term scientific data." 

More information and regular updates on The Rabies Challenge Fund and the concurrent 5 and 7 year challenge studies it is financing can be found at the fund's website designed by volunteer Andrea Brin at:

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Vaccination NEWSFLASH
From | Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM
September 28 2007

"I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. Some of this information will present an ethical & economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics.

Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs. those concerned about potential side effects. Politics, traditions, or the doctor's economic well being should not be a factor in medical decision.


"Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months.

Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. "There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines."

If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces an immunity which is good for the life of the pet (ie: canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not "boosted" nor are more memory cells induced."

Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. "There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines."

Puppies receive antibodies through their mother's milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies & kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity.


Read More:
more Vaccination NEWSFLASH

And a link to the Dr. Jean Dodds Vaccination Protocol:

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U.S. Free of Canine Rabies Virus
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor  -  WASHINGTON (Reuters)

Federal health experts declared a small victory against a fatal and untreatable virus on Friday, saying canine rabies has disappeared from the United States.

While dogs may still become infected from raccoons, skunks or bats, they will not catch dog-specific rabies from another dog, the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"We don't want to misconstrue that rabies has been eliminated -- dog rabies virus has been," CDC rabies expert Dr. Charles Rupprecht told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Rabies evolves to match the animals it infects, and the strain most specific to dogs has not been seen anywhere in the United States since 2004, Rupprecht said.

While the incubation period for rabies is as long as six years in humans, it is only six months in a dog.

"Even though we still live in a sea of rabies and even though we have rabies viruses circulating among raccoons and foxes and bats, the dog rabies virus, which is the most responsible for dog-to-dog transmission and which is still the greatest burden to humans ... it is that virus that has been eliminated."

Rabies kills 55,000 people a year globally, according to the World Health Organization. It is easily prevented with a vaccine, but many people do not realize they have been infected and once symptoms begin to show, it is almost impossible to treat.

Only one person -- a Wisconsin girl who was put into an intentional coma in 2004 -- has ever been known to have survived rabies infection.

Rupprecht said attempts to treat three victims in the United States and one in Canada have failed. The victims all died.

The virus can infect virtually all mammals, but like most viruses it evolves and can be "typed" genetically. Species-specific strains are well characterized for bats, raccoons and skunks for instance, as well as for dogs.

"A dog rabies is very different from a skunk rabies virus," Rupprecht said.

While cats are susceptible, Rupprecht said there is not a known rabies strain specific to domestic cats.

Mandatory vaccination has created what is known as herd immunity in U.S. dogs, Rupprecht said, and it will be vital to continue this to protect dogs -- and people -- from the virus.

"The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public health success stories in the last 50 years," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a statement.

"However, there is still much work to be done to prevent and control rabies globally."

Canine rabies is still very common in many countries, including much of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Some island nations such as Japan, New Zealand, Barbados, Fiji, Maldives, and Seychelles are rabies-free.

Greece, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay and Chile are also free of rabies.


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How Often Does He REALLY Need a Rabies Shot?
by Ann Brightman  -  Featured in Animal Wellness Magazine

Morgan is doing all she can to protect her two dogs from overvaccination. �I have a vet who does titer testing instead of giving shots every year,� she says. �My dogs are five years old now, and the tests show they�re still being protected by the vaccines they had when they were pups.� But it�s a different story when it comes to rabies. Morgan lives in a state where rabies shots are required annually, so her vet is obligated to vaccinate her dogs every year, regardless of whether or not they might still be protected by earlier inoculations.

Teresa, meanwhile, is an apartment-dweller whose cat died after suffering an adverse reaction from a rabies vaccine. �I don�t know why I had to get him vaccinated so often when we�re seven floors up and he never went out,� she says. �The chances of him ever coming into contact with a rabid animal were pretty small.�

Serious side effects
It�s a dilemma common to animal lovers across the U.S. and Canada. Some regions still require annual rabies vaccines, while many others now allow the three-year variety, but even that�s too frequent when you consider the negative side effects of over vaccination. �Rabies is the vaccine most associated with adverse reactions because it�s so potent,� says renowned veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds. �We have a lot of bad reactions, including fatal ones. They usually occur within two to three weeks after vaccination, although they can appear up to 45 days later. Because the rabies vaccine is a neurogenic protein, meaning it affects the nervous system, what you will often see is seizures or seizure-like disorders like stumbling, ataxia, dementia, and some demyelination, where the animals become wobbly and don�t have proper motor skills. You can also have an autoimmune-like destruction of tissues, skin, blood, joints, the liver or kidneys.� Dr. Dodds adds that animals already ill with immune-related diseases such as cancer can be even more negatively affected. �Often, this is the last thing that causes the animal�s demise.� 

Despite all this, federal law still demands that companion animals be regularly vaccinated against rabies, even if you keep your animals indoors or live in an area where rabies is unlikely to be a major problem. The main reason is that rabies can afflict humans as well as dogs and cats. �Rabies is fatal to all mammals,� says Dr. Dodds. �This is an issue to protect the public health, not the animals. The primary goal of the law is to protect people from rabies.�

While there�s no denying that rabies is a serious disease, and that both humans and animals need protection from it, the question remains: why subject dogs and cats to the potentially serious side effects of the vaccination on an annual or even a triennial basis, when the duration of immunity (DOI) is probably much longer?

The need for new legislation
It�s a question that Dr. Dodds and several other professionals asked themselves when they started The Rabies Challenge Fund in the fall of 2005. �From challenge trials, we know the DOI for regular vaccines is seven to nine years, if not longer. So why would the rabies vaccines, being so potent, not have an even longer DOI? We decided the thing to do would be to design a study to federal government standards that would determine if the DOI is longer than three years.� Challenge studies in France have demonstrated that the rabies vaccine has a DOI of at least five years, but this information is not accepted by federal and state legislatures in the U.S., hence the need for a domestic study.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a nation-wide effort. Along with Dr. Dodds, who is based in California, the study involves Dr. Ron Schultz of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, and vaccine disclosure activist Kris Christine, who lives in the northeast and has already worked with Dr. Dodds on other vaccine-related issues in that region. �We asked Dr. Schultz to do the study and he was delighted,� says Dr. Dodds. The group was even more delighted when the University of Wisconsin agreed to cover almost half the cost of overhead for the study. �It shows they believe very strongly that this is information we need.�

How will the study work?
Dr. Dodds and her colleagues officially registered The Rabies Challenge Fund in December of last year. Since then, they have been working diligently to raise the money needed to fund the actual study, which will involve two separate groups of 20 dogs each, one to be studied for five years� DOI, and the other for seven. �We�ll do the two groups in parallel, and continue 20 of the five-year dogs to seven years.� By monitoring the animals� antibodies and other benchmarks, Dr. Schultz will be able to determine the DOI for the rabies vaccine over these periods, thereby showing that the initial vaccines given to puppies and kittens before they�re a year old remain fully effective for many years, perhaps even for life. The fund will also finance a study of the adjuvants used in rabies vaccines and establish an adverse reaction reporting system.

But more money is needed before work can start. �We require $177,000 in the first year,� says Dr. Dodds. �So far, we have $65,000, so we�re still short of our goal. We also have some pledges that will become active once we achieve 60% of the amount we need. And we�ve had some substantial donations from Canada, even though what we do might not be accepted there. People still felt compelled to donate.�

One of the unique things about The Rabies Challenge Fund is that it�s being funded by animal guardians and others who feel passionate about this issue. �Kris and Ron and I want this to be a grassroots program,� says Dr. Dodds. �We know a company could come in and give us a whole bunch of money to do the study, but it�s nice to know that the project started and evolved from people in the grassroots."

Donations may be sent to The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust, c/o Hemopet, 11330 Markon Drive, Garden Grove, CA 92841. Or contact Dr. Jean Dodds at or Kris Christine at All donations are tax deductible in the U.S.


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The Importance of Canine Massage
By Jonathan Rudinger RN, LMT  -  Submitted by Jory and Miss Bailey

Everybody loves a good back rub. When shoulders, knees or wrists feel tight and sore, applying pressure and rubbing them, always helps us feel better. When we experience trauma or emotional hurt, it helps to just to be held. Most babies need to be held and rocked to relax enough to fall asleep. Massage is one person using touch and the intention to help comfort and nurture another. Accepted as an integral part of our culture, massage is one of the bases of our humanness.

Several studies compared infants who have received touch with those who haven't. These comparisons clearly show that those who have not had the benefit of nurturing and gentle touch imprinted on their early developing psyches, had smaller statures, reduced socialization skills and depressed immune systems. There is even a term that is used to describe the condition: stress dwarfism.

Long ago, we accepted the power of massage for helping us humans deal with stress and imbalances. We have been massaging each other for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, we are using massage to comfort and help our pet animals. It is about time.

The benefits that dogs, in particular, get from massage are many. You've read about or heard them all before; otherwise, you wouldn't be interested enough to be reading this article. (It is always easier to preach to believers.) To review, first of all, massage, increases and balances the circulation of all body fluids. This includes blood, lymph, cerebral spinal fluid, interstitial fluids, cellular fluid, saliva, urine, synovial fluid, the fluid lubricating the eyeballs and even the oily wetness on your dog's nose. That's a lot of fluids! Dogs are water cooled and water heated. It is the function of the appropriate movement of water that controls the temperatures throughout their bodies, including core temperatures, organ temperatures, and a range of skin and superficial muscle temperatures. Hot spots, for example, are areas under the skin where the temperature is warmer that the surrounding tissues.

When a dog gets sprains or strains, his body sends additional fluids to the traumatized area to help. Once there, the swelling from the extra fluid increases pressure, and creates heat. Any movement in the area puts pressure on the nerves and is painful; so the body naturally immobilizes itself for a while so that it can heal.

Dogs, like humans, have the innate ability to heal themselves for most conditions. The normal wear and tear of muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin and fascia that dogs have from romping and playing and napping, keep their bodies in a constant state of self maintenance. Dogs, like humans, are social animals. They thrive with touch and atrophy without it.

Difference between petting and massage:

Petting is scratching and rubbing your dog's body and, of course it feels good to him. It may appear similar to massage, however, the impact is substantially - profoundly -- different. The best illustration of the difference is the way your body feels after a professional hour long massage session and a casual shoulder squeeze by a coworker. The shoulder squeeze gives some relief; the full body massage can change your life. PetMassageTM accesses and supports the actual energy within the tissues and helps initiate subtle changes to get the body to function more optimally. It is used to support the intuitive self healing, abilities of animals. Massage is the use of knowledgeable, compassionate touch, fascia releases, understanding and the use of open body-language communication. 

Cheryl Schwartz DVM, author of Four Paws Five Directions, the best book I've read that teaches about the uses of Traditional Chinese Medicine for dogs and cats, writes, "Massage is the touch of the physical and energetic body with a healing purpose." The energy body that massage affects is this energy within the tissues. It is the invisible god-stuff called "Ch'i" that emanates from acupressure points and flows subcutaneously throughout the body via the meridian pathways. The Ch'i is also in the blood as it flows through the body supplying to every cell its necessary nourishment and removing waste products. It is the autoimmune system. It is in the air that the body breathes. The quality of the air, the depth and rate of respiration, the other influences in the air, all affects your dog's immune system and the way he lives and operates within his body.

The energetic body is really what we access with massage. It is within and around the dog. The energetic body retains the memory of everything that has been experienced or thought or even mistakenly projected, such as fears and phobias. The energetic body retains muscle memory. It defines the way dogs hold their bodies and move their bodies. It also determines the way dogs respond to other dogs, how well they can digest their foods, and how they relate to people and to their environments. In other words, it is the substrate or matrix from which dogs experience their lives. The energetic body includes the genetic -- or cultural memories that would, for instance, cause a 9 month-old Newfoundland puppy who had never been swimming before to break away from his owners to plunge into a cold river and swim and rescue a child that had fallen through the ice several hundred yards away. Massage connects with this substrate. It has the capacity to support what is functioning well and release hidden, restraining energy-memories that could be the root causes of diseases and inappropriate behaviors.

Dogs understand what your intentions are by interpreting your body language and the way you touch them. Dogs use your touch to enhance their awareness' of their relationships with the spaces around them by internally palpating their own bodies. They evaluate you and their spontaneous and potential relationships with you. PetMassageT works with the dog's body, not on the dog's body. The difference between massage and rubbing/petting is intention with technique. 

We care deeply about the quality of the food our dogs eat. We groom them ourselves, or pay someone else to groom them for us. We make sure they get the best health care available and lots of exercise. Dr. Michael W. Fox, DVM in his book, Healing Touch describes how important touch and massage are for dog's well being and quality of life. He states that ".you could almost call it an essential of health care, like grooming, feeding, and exercise." This perception accurately projects the importance of massage. Now we understand that for them to experience their optimal quality of life possible, they NEED massage.

Pet MassageT is not only important, then. It is crucial for the well being of your dog. Let's elaborate on the benefits. Consider your connection -- your relationship with your dog. Special? Right. Unique? Right. Right? Right.

Our relationship was built on trust, shared experiences, support, and unconditional connected ness. And that is just on the physical level that we can see, hear, feel, smell and feel. Our intuitive selves are busy chatting away; sharing wisdom, love, even images through dreams and psychic experiences. Just as a wave is the entire ocean manifesting itself as a wave, there is a larger, deeper, wider, multifaceted universe that is the substrate for the one we know through experience and limited perception. This is the universe of the intuitive. It is beyond time and space. Yet, you and your dog are standing in it, you, with your two feet, him, with his four. Your inner voice, your unconscious is in perpetual communication with your dog's inner voice. Because of your relationship, your bodies not only talk to themselves they help each other as guides and mentors. As part of its main function, the specialized touch of massage is an effective enhancer of deeper levels of connectiveness.

With massage, your dog becomes more comfortable in his body. He becomes more flexible and more sociable. He metabolizes his food and water better. He metabolizes his experiences and social interactions more optimally. He enhances his trust and loving relationship with you. I know that the following phrase has been used so many times that it has lost its meaning. The mass media has a way of trivializing important concepts with inane repetition. I will write it anyway: With massage, your dog becomes healthier in his mind, body and spirit. That's important. 


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Canine Vaccine Survey
by Canine Health Concern, England
Submitted by Jory and Miss Bailey

It is well known that there are risks associated with vaccination of dogs, just as there are risks for humans. The trouble is, no one has adequately quantified the risks. Is it true that only a tiny minority of dogs suffer adverse reactions to vaccines, or is the problem more common? And what is a vaccine reaction? Is it something that happens immediately after the jab, or can you expect a reaction to manifest weeks or months later? 

Christopher Day, Honorary Secretary of the British Homoeopathic Veterinary Association, told us that, in his experience, where the start date of a dogs illness is known, a high percentage (around 80%) begin within three months of vaccination. 

Canine Health Concern tested this observation and has analyzed the histories of over 3,800 dogs post vaccination. This critical mass, by any standards, is a very high number from which to draw valid statistical conclusions. Most commercial scientific research involves significantly fewer dogs (tending to base their conclusions on data involving a couple of litters of puppies, if that). We have been able to show a definite statistical correlation between a vaccine event and the onset of a number of specific illnesses. Our published conclusions have satisfied mathematical or inferential statistical tests at a level of confidence of 99% or better. 

Overall, we found that 66% per cent of all sick dogs start being sick within three months of vaccination, which is considerably more than double the expected rate of illness. Worse, 49% of all illnesses reported in the survey occurred within 30 days of vaccination. This is over five times the expected percentage if vaccination had no bearing on subsequent illness. More damning still, 29% of sick dogs first became sick within seven days of their vaccine jab. This means that a dog is 13 times more likely to become ill within seven days of vaccination than at any other time. 

In the study, 69.2% of allergic dogs first became allergic within three months of being vaccinated - more than double the expected number. 55.8% of dogs with autoimmune disease developed the condition within three months of being vaccinated - again, more than twice the expected figure. Of dogs with colitis, 65.9% developed the complaint within three months of being vaccinated and, of dogs with dry eye/conjunctivitis, 70.2% developed their conditions within three months - both nearly three times higher than expected. 73.1% of dogs with epilepsy first became epileptic within three months of vaccination. As 2% of all dogs in the UK are epileptic, vaccines are clearly causing horrendous damage. For statisticians, our Chi score for epilepsy is 96: any Chi test statistic higher than twelve gives a 95% confidence about the conclusions. Without doubt, then, the majority of epileptic dogs in our survey are vaccine damaged. 

But perhaps most astonishing is the fact that a majority of dogs (64.9%) with behavioral problems appear to have developed their difficulties within three months of vaccination. Similarly, 72.5% per cent of dogs with nervous or worrying dispositions became nervous within three months of their jabs (with a Chi score of 112), and 73.1% per cent of dogs with short attention spans lost their attentiveness within three months of vaccination. 

All of our evidence ties in with research in the human field, and a growing body of veterinary research, which says that vaccines cause allergies, hypersensitivity reactions, autoimmune disease, encephalitis, epilepsy, personality changes and brain damage. 

The CHC results are statistically very significant, and carry with them very high statistical certainty. This means that the evidence is strong that the above diseases can be triggered or caused by vaccination. 

Other diseases that were highly represented within three months post vaccination included cancer (35.1%) , chorea (81%), encephalitis (78.6%), heart conditions (39.2%), kidney damage (53.7%), liver damage/failure (61.5%), paralysis of the rear end (69.2%), and pancreas problems (54.2%).  Research conducted at Purdue University shows routinely vaccinated dogs developing auto antibodies to a vast range of normal canine biochemical's - which corroborates our findings. 

Interestingly, our study showed that arthritis and Chronic Destructive Reticulo Myelopathy (CDRM - a degenerative disease affecting myelin in the spinal cord) occur in clusters nine months after vaccination, suggesting that the damage from vaccines resulting in these two diseases takes longer to develop or to show their symptoms. 

Many contend that vaccines are a necessary evil; that we need them to protect our dogs against certain deadly canine diseases. However, our survey found that high percentages of dogs are developing the diseases we vaccinate against, soon after vaccination. 

Of dogs with hepatitis, 64% contracted it within three months of being vaccinated and, of those with parainfluenza, 50% developed it within three months of their shots. Also, 69% of dogs with parvovirus, 56% of dogs with distemper, and every single dog with leptospirosis in the survey contracted the diseases within three months of vaccination. 

Our figures support the view that vaccines don't confer guaranteed immunity and may actually cause the diseases they're designed to prevent. Our figures appear to demonstrate that vaccines cause illness in one in every hundred dogs - and this is a conservative estimate.  For human beings, the World Health Organization considers a reaction of one in 10,000 unacceptable. Surely the same statistics apply to dogs. Worse - and bordering on corporate dog slaughter - is the fact that we are urged to vaccinate companion animals every year. There is no scientific justification for this; it is a crime.

This research is ongoing. For further details or to participate, contact 
Canine Health Concern @ Box 6943, Forfar, Angus DD8 3WG, Scotland 
Thank you. 
Catherine O�Driscoll / Canine Health Concern


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Weaning and Raising Puppies On a Raw Diet
By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP


Weaning and Raising Puppies on a Raw Diet

The best food in the world to feed puppies less than four weeks of age is their own mother ' s milk. It is "complete and balanced" and is the most nutritious food for puppies. The milk from a nursing female canine is higher in fat and protein than both cow and goat ' s milk. It contains all the nutrients puppies need and in the proper balance. A young puppy ' s digestive tract is designed to digest this whole food perfectly.  Until a puppy is four weeks of age, their digestive system is not properly equipped to digest any other whole food. Occasionally it becomes necessary to feed puppies food other than mother ' s milk before they are four weeks of age. This can happen because of a lack of milk production, a large litter, or an illness in or the death of the mother. Although it is impossible to reproduce mother ' s milk exactly, in these instances where it isn ' t possible to feed mother ' s milk, the food substituted should be as close to it as possible.


Mother's Milk Replacement Formula for Puppies up to Four Weeks


  • One pint of goat�s milk, either fresh, in cartons from the store, or evaporated.  (If evaporated, be sure to dilute as directed with water)
  • Two egg yolks
  • Two EPA Fish Oil capsules
  • 1/2 teaspoon Berte ' s Ultra Probiotic Powder
  • Four to six tablespoons whole milk plain yogurt

The egg yolks offer the extra needed protein. The EPA Fish Oil offers the extra fat and Omega-3 fatty acids, and the Ultra Probiotic Powder and yogurt provide the beneficial bacteria needed for proper digestion. Be sure to mix the mixture well and serve it to the puppies at room temperature.


Weaning Diet After Four Weeks

Once the puppies reach four weeks of age, other foods can be introduced and added to their diet. Start with the above mixture and begin adding a bit of meat such as ground beef, cottage cheese or yogurt. As the week progresses, you can add in tiny bits of beef kidney, beef heart, canned mackerel, a small bit of liver, and egg (both yolk and egg white).  Chicken necks can be introduced at this time. I remove the skin, and cut the necks into smaller pieces. The size of the pieces depends on the size of the puppies.  For toy breeds, necks can be ground. You can leave some of the necks whole for recreational chewing. Pork neck bones are also good for chewing and entertainment. Later in the week, I introduce chicken wings. For larger puppies I cut these in two pieces. Medium sized breeds may need these cut into four pieces, while smaller dogs can be cut into smaller pieces.


Once you have begun to add in other foods, if the mother is still willing to nurse, please allow her to continue. Her milk is still the perfect food and is a wonderful addition to the weaning diet.


Trimming the puppies nails helps to encourage the mother to continue nursing the puppies. However, the mother may refuse to clean stools after other foods have been added to the puppy's diet. This is normal. I generally offer the puppies four or five meals per day. I give one meal of raw meaty bones, consisting of chicken necks, wings or backs, pork bones, and pork, beef and lamb ribs.


The other main meal is red meat (beef, pork or lamb). You may substitute mackerel, salmon or sardines once or twice a week. I also add organ meat to make up about 10% of the meat meal.  I use mostly kidney (beef, pork or lamb), with some slivers of liver. While not necessary, you may add ground or pureed vegetables if you prefer. Good choices include dark leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli and cabbage. Make sure these are less than 1/6th of the total diet.


The other meals are "snack" meals of goat's milk, yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese.



In addition to the foods, I also add in to the puppy's diet the following supplements:


Berte's Daily Blend for the B complex vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D which helps metabolize calcium. Berte ' s Daily Blend is very palatable and comes in a convenient powder form for easy measuring and mixing with food. Small and medium breed puppies get 1/4 teaspoon twice a day and large breed puppies get 1/2 teaspoon twice a day.


Berte's Green Blend for the additional minerals and phytonutrients that are needed. Small and medium breed puppies get 1/8 teaspoon twice a day and large breed puppies get 1/4 teaspoon twice a day.


Berte's Ultra Probiotic Powder to maintain a good supply of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system which aids in proper digestion. Give 1/4 teaspoon twice a day for small to medium breed puppies and 1/2 teaspoon twice a day for large breed puppies.


EPA Fish Oil is given at one capsule per ten to twenty pounds of body weight daily.


Changing a Puppy Raised on Commercial Feed to Home Made

Many of us don't get a chance to whelp and rear our own puppies, so here are some tips for when you bring your new puppy home.


Start your new puppy on small, frequent meals to ease the diet change. Most puppies do fine with a complete switch to a home made diet, but you can mix the kibble with the meat meal. It is important to work with what you are most comfortable doing and what seems to work best for the puppy. Make mealtimes as stress free as possible and try to keep the feeding times consistent. Some puppies may not know what to do with fresh food, so you can mix the meat, yogurt and eggs with their kibble to start. However, do not feed raw meaty bones with their kibble meal. They should be fed as a separate meal.  Some dogs will react to texture and temperature, so try to keep their food close to room temperature. Some puppies may be delighted to get raw meaty bones, while others may need to start on ground or cut up pieces. The use of a good meat scissors will help with this, as well as meat cleavers or even pounding the raw meaty bone with a hammer to help break it up in the beginning.


Always remember that puppies need to eliminate after eating, and often like to take a nap after their meal and potty break.


Berte's Zyme is a blend of digestive enzymes which can be helpful transitioning a puppy that has been raised on kibble to a home made diet. These help break down and assimilate the food. Give small and medium breed puppies 1/4 tablet with the two main meals, large breed puppies give 1/2 tablet for these two meals.


How Much To Feed

I recommend starting with four meals a day. Begin with introducing chicken backs or necks skinned and cut into pieces (or pound them with a hammer) for one meal. Another meal can be meat (beef, pork, lamb for example) and this can be ground or in small chunks or pieces. The other two meals can be the snack meals of goat's milk, yogurt and egg.


Puppies need to be fed about 10% of their body weight, until the fast growth stages have passed. This is a longer period for large to giant breeds (up to 12 to 18 months) and as short as six months for toy breeds. After that, they will require 2% to 3% of their body weight daily in food. While most dogs do fine on two meals a day, toy breeds have a higher metabolism and do better on three to four meals a day.


For example, a ten pound puppy would be eating about a pound of food a day. The two main meals would be about six ounces each, with the two snack meals being two ounces each. (16 oz per pound, with one cup being approximately 8 oz)


Below is a sample diet, both for puppies raised on raw, and also puppies just starting on raw:


Meal One


  • Goat ' s milk (fresh or canned)
  • One whole egg (yolk and white, no shell)
  • Two tablespoons of whole milk yogurt

Mix well and serve at room temperature


Meal Two


  • Two or three ounces of either hamburger, liver, sliced beef heart, kidney or gizzards
  • One tablespoon of whole milk yogurt

Optional: One to two tablespoons of pulped vegetables, which should be mostly dark leafy greens such as collards, spinach, turnip greens or mustard greens. You can also use some carrots, cabbage or broccoli, squash, cauliflower or canned pumpkin in a pinch. Mix the meat and vegetables well.


Add in the following supplements:


  • Berte's Daily Blend (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • Berte's Green Blend (1/8 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/4 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • Berte's Ultra Probiotic Powder (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • EPA Fish Oil (one capsule per 10-20 lbs of body weight daily)
  • Berte's Zyme for puppies switching to a home made diet (1/4 tablet for small or medium breed puppies, 1/2 tablet for large breed puppies)

  Meal Three


  • Goat ' s milk (fresh or canned)
  • One whole egg (yolk and white, no shell)
  • Two tablespoons of whole milk yogurt

  Mix well and serve at room temperature


Meal Four


  • Three to five chicken necks or two to three chicken wings

  Add in the following supplements


  • Berte's Daily Blend (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • Berte's Green Blend (1/8 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/4 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • Berte's Ultra Probiotic Powder (1/4 teaspoon for small to medium breeds, 1/2 teaspoon for large breed puppies)
  • EPA Fish Oil (one capsule per 10-20 lbs of body weight daily)
  • Berte's Zyme for puppies switching to a home made diet (1/4 tablet for small or medium breed puppies, 1/2 tablet for large breed puppies)

  Meal Five (Bedtime or Play)


  • Pork neck bones. These bones are soft a good choice for recreational chewing. Other good choices are pork, beef or lamb ribs. Eventually you will begin to phase out the milk and egg meals. The puppies will usually phase down to three meals per day by about 3 to 4 months of age. When you phase the first milk meal out, add the egg into the meat and vegetable meal. The second milk meal can be phased out around the time the puppy reaches five to six months of age.

  I have found it important and necessary to be flexible with the puppy's meals and the different food ingredients because each puppy is different. The amount of food they eat may vary depending on the growth stage they are in, teething time, etc. Their personal preferences will also vary. Some puppies may like vegetables while others will turn their noses up at them. Watch the puppies closely. They will let you know what they need.


Percentage of Raw Meaty Bones for Calcium and Variety

The two most important balancing factors in the diet is raw meaty bones, which provide the proper calcium to phosphorus balance, and a variety of food items, which include a variety of meats (red meat, poultry, fish and organ meat), eggs, vegetables, and dairy. Organ meat should be about 10% of the meals, using more kidney and just a few slivers of liver.


Finally, a primary concern with changing a puppy's or a dog's diet is gastric upset. Should this occur, fast the puppy for a few hours and then introduce the meals in smaller portions. Be sure to reduce the fat for a day or so. The two most common reasons for upset tummies is overfeeding, or too much fat in the diet. Should this continue, always check with your veterinarian on the puppy's health and have a fecal check done to rule out parasites.


If your puppy experiences gastric upset, here are two simple home remedies to help with tummy problems:



The primary cause for diarrhea is over eating. Use plain canned pumpkin to help firm stools. Give dogs weighing up to 30 pound 1/2 teaspoon, dogs 30 - 60 pounds one teaspoon and dogs over this weight about two teaspoons to a tablespoon.



Boil cabbage for about 15 - 20 minutes and let cool. It can quickly help to settle the stomach. Give at two 2 cc ' s (one teaspoon equals 5 cc ' s) per 10 pounds of body weight as needed.


Bean and Lew would like to wish everyone a Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and let's all enjoy the fact that spring is around the corner!


If you would like to ask me any questions about my products, I would love to hear from you. Please check your return address when you send me email from my web site and try to write me again if you have not heard back from me.  You can email me at


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Bailey�s Skin Rescue -- Mother Nature knows best 
Dog trainer comes up with her own cure
By Larry Powell/Spectator
Necessity became the mother of invention recently when a local dog owner�s �best friend� developed a skin staph infection that was getting worse despite recommendations of various topical medications by her veterinarian.

Jory and Alex Smith�s four-year-old, female Rottweiler, Steinplatz Callisto Bailey, developed the skin infection as a result of bites from insects and the infection was spreading, so Jory got busy researching natural remedies and Mother Nature came to the rescue.

A combination of tea tree and lavender essential oils, acidophilus were first tried and worked well except that the oils were too drying to the skin, so she found a natural botanical cream base which also includes extracts of chamomile, avocado, echinacea, green tea, cucumber and sea kelp and various plant oils and Bailey�s Skin Rescue was ready.

Within seven days, the infection was cleared.

Jory Smith and Miss Bailey

Tea tree and lavender essential oils have anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-viral properties and have inhalant properties which are also said to help boost the immune system. The acidophilus provides friendly normal bacteria at the skin�s surface to assist as well, and the special cream base keeps the skin supple and helps with cutaneous delivery of the essential oils.

�The great thing about this formula, says Jory, is that it stops any itching almost on contact and the healing process starts right away. Anyone who has ever had a dog that has developed an itchy skin condition like hot spots, etc. knows that the itching causes the dog to lick and keep irritating the site -- this stops the itching and therefore the licking and the stress to the dog and the healing starts.�

�Of course, anyone should always take their dog to their veterinary to be checked if there is a skin problem,� she says. �There are natural remedies for many ailments.�

Bailey's Skin Rescue is available at Home Hardware in Middleton and
Valley Natural Foods in Greenwood with other stores coming on line.
You can also order from our website: Canine Coach On Call

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Innovative Treatment Program for Canine Cancer Announced
From K9 Magazine

A British company has announced a breakthrough in the treatment of one of the biggest cancer killers in dogs.

An effective and innovative screening, detection and treatment programme for canine lymphoma, one of the most prolific cancers in dogs has been announced by PetScreen, a pioneering British bioscience company. 

It is the first of its kind to be made commercially available from PetScreen�s Veterinary Cancer Programme, which was launched in the United States in January and in the UK in April at leading veterinary conference and congress events.

The lymphoma screen comes after extensive research by PetScreen in both British and North American markets into canine cancer, and will be available through selected veterinary hospitals and primary practices in both markets.

The screen itself is based on technology which has emerged post the sequencing of both the human and canine genome and enables malignancies to be detected earlier, when treatment has the best chance of success.

Inexpensive, convenient and minimally invasive the screen relies on a small blood serum sample.  PetScreen has developed advanced �proteomic� technology uniquely for companion animals, specifically canine at this moment. 

Their system looks for characteristic patterns to detect lymphoma biomarkers from the blood �fingerprint�.  Ideally, a mature puppy would be sampled at twelve months, thereafter yearly, but in high risk breeds a six monthly screen is recommended. In addition, any dog which may have been treated for lymphoma should be screened bi-annually for recurrence.

UK published evidence says that 25% of all cancers in dogs is attributed to lymphoma. High risk breeds in both the UK  and US for lymphoma cancer include golden and flat-coated retrievers, german shepherds, bull mastiffs and certain breeds of spaniels, including English and Irish water spaniels.  At risk breeds include boxers, Bernese mountain dogs and rottweilers.  Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive the screen should be regarded as part of an overall  wellness programme for all breeds.

If cancer is detected, a combined rapid histopathology and individualised chemotherapy programme is available which helps select the most effective treatment for each individual patient.  PetScreen�s Directed Chemotherapy Assay (DCA) highlights resistance from the start and identifies the treatment most likely to be effective from the start.

PetScreen is one of a new generation of companies to utilise technologies which are emerging as a result of genome research.  Using advanced bio-marker technology linked to state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, robotics and unique neural software, the serum sample creates the fingerprint which patterns proteins in the blood and enables cancers to be identified.

The problems associated with the late detection of cancers are well understood, and whilst proteomic screening is still at an early stage in humans, the work that PetScreen are undertaking in the canine world could have a significant impact on human cancer screening in the very near future.

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Dogs and the Immune System
B-Naturals Newsletter - September 2006
By Lew Olson,
PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP

Dogs and the Immune System


Often I hear people discussing their dogs and the immune system, so in this newsletter I would like to talk about the difference between autoimmune problems and a suppressed immune system. While both of these conditions involve the immune system, they each require a different treatment approach.


The immune system has a variety of functions, so it�s important to keep a watchful eye out for any bacteria and viruses in the body and to be prepared to set up the correct treatment response to try and help the body fight the �invaders� to their health. A healthy body can often detect the first sign of infections, parasites, mites and toxins, and launch an effective battle to fight these enemies. However, sometimes the body fails to recognize these bacteria and viruses �invaders� as threats or the body may be too weak to effectively fight them or the body can interpret �normal� things as the �enemy.�


Immune Suppressed


When your dog�s body is immune suppressed, oftentimes it can not fight off bacteria and viruses like a dog that has a healthy immune system.  Dogs that are rundown with illness or suffer from malnutrition can be susceptible to skin and intestinal parasites because their bodies are too weak to fight them off.  Additionally, young puppies have immature immune systems and therefore, a puppy can be more prone to problems with mange or parasites such as worms.  Most of us have seen dogs that have been in shelters or found abandoned. These dogs oftentimes have fleas, ticks, mange and skin bacterial or fungal infections (characterized by hair loss and flakey skin). While a normal, healthy dog can easily fight off these insults, a dog that is health compromised or stressed may find itself in an ideal situation for such opportunistic ailments.  These dogs need a good health check up to determine proper treatment, as well as a good diet and some supplements that can help the immune system become stronger.




In an autoimmune condition, the immune system tends to �over react� to the �normal� things found in the body, in their food and the environment.  A dog that has an autoimmune issue has an immune system that sees these �normal� things as the enemy. It will send out antibodies to try and rid the body of these things it sees as not belonging.  A good example of this would be food allergies. A food that is considered healthy and normal for a dog will suddenly be misinterpreted by the dog�s system to be foreign and the dog�s body launches a response to it. This can consist of hives, itching, red skin, sores, runny eyes and sometimes ear discharge.


More dramatic and troubling disorders can involve more serious diseases such as lupus, hemolytic anemia, immune mediated arthritis and some thyroid conditions. The body will literally try to destroy the good cells in it�s body, causing serious health problems.


In autoimmune conditions, the treatment is to suppress the body�s immune system in order to stop the body from performing this action. While some people are hesitant to use steroids for these problems, it is only steroids that can do the work quickly enough to stop further harm. You always need to work closely with your veterinarian when using suppressant drugs as these, but they can be very important to restore the dog�s health.

Here are some links on autoimmune conditions and dogs:


Dr Mike�s good vet information with questions and answers:


Good list of common autoimmune problems and dogs with links


Autoimmune skin problems in dogs:


List of breeds and their most autoimmune problems:


Appropriate treatment and diagnosis is very important for any suspected autoimmune disease. Diet is helpful in finding the most easily digestible foods with the most nutrients, to help support the immune system during this time. The same supplements are used with both autoimmune and immune suppressing problems.


There is no natural supplement or herbal remedy that can over stimulate the immune system, so there is no fear of using these supplements with either disorder. Both are aimed at helping the immune system find a healthy balance.




For both conditions, I recommend easily digestible foods. This would either be a raw diet, or a home cooked diet. If you are currently feeding a commercial dog food and feel uncomfortable switching to raw or homemade, then I suggest adding fresh food to your current food.


For more information on Raw diets you can reference


For more information on home cooked diets and recipes you can reference


For more information on mixing fresh food with kibble you can reference


I would also suggest doing some reading on how to pick the best commercial foods. Mary Straus has an excellent article on this on her website


Supplement Suggestions


Bertes Immune Blend

This supplement has been especially designed for dogs with immune problems, including cancer (which is partially caused when the dog does not �see� the cancer cells as invaders). This is a powder blend, which uses vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to help with the first defense.


The antioxidants in this blend include vitamin C and vitamin E. Both of these help in healing of tissue and promoting healing. These are added in sufficient amounts to help work in a therapeutic nature.

The enzymes added are to help with digestion of food, by aiding in breaking them down in the stomach to make these nutrients more available for the body.


Beneficial bacteria help by keeping the good flora and fauna in the digestive system, which helps keep the body strong, helps with formation of good stool, aids in better digestion of food and assists in keeping good amounts of B production and vitamin K.


The two amino acids added are l-glutamine and l-arginine. L-glutamine helps to stop muscle atrophy, helps to heal the digestive system and promotes a healthy immune system. L-arginine is useful for dogs with cancer and works in tangent with l-glutamine.


I like this blend so well that I give it to all my dogs. I simply give my healthy dogs this supplement at half dose.


EPA Fish Oil Capsules

  These contains a readily usable form of omega 3 fatty acids, which help support the immune system, enhance skin health and coat growth, are renal, heart and liver supportive and also are a food that cancers are unable to use. I give dogs with health problems one capsule per ten lbs of body weight daily.


Tasha�s Immune System Formula

  This is an herbal tincture that is comprised of several herbs thought to keep the immune system healthy. One of the main ingredients is Ganoderma, which is extract of mushroom and research is showing good results with Ganoderma, including possible suppression of tumor growth. Give in the gum line, two to three times daily in between meals.


Yucca Intensive

  This is tincture of Yucca, and uses the liquid found in this plant, which is thought to be the anti-inflammation property. This cannot be given if you are already giving your dog steroids, as it is a saponin, which is a precursor of steroid agents. But it can be used in mild cases where steroids are not indicated, after steroid use, or to help in inflammation caused by allergies, arthritis or other joint pain. Give one drop per ten lbs of body weight, WITH food, twice daily.


These supplements are a good place to start.  If you need further help, please email me directly at!


I hope everyone is starting to enjoy Fall, with its promise of cooler weather and our beautiful fall colors! I will see you next month, keep well and be well!




Product Specials


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Study Finds That a Type of Cancer in Dogs Is Contagious

Researchers Say Data on Canine Sticker's Sarcoma Illustrate the Resourcefulness of DNA
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 11, 2006

Scientists in England have gathered definitive evidence that a kind of cancer in dogs is contagious -- a peculiar exception to the age-old medical wisdom that you can't "catch" cancer.
Although no human cancer is known to spread naturally from person to person, the finding of such a disease in dogs -- and emerging evidence that a different contagious cancer is spreading among marsupials in Tasmania -- is a reminder, scientists said, that under the rules of evolution, DNA will try anything to perpetuate itself.
A cancer cell is usually an animal's or person's own cell that -- because of exposure to a virus or other environmental agent -- has broken free of normal growth controls. Cancer-causing viruses may spread from person to person, but the cancer does not. But the dog cancer, known as Sticker's sarcoma, is spread by tumor cells getting passed from dog to dog through sex or from animals biting or licking each other.
Because Sticker's sarcoma is usually not fatal -- and because some of the tumor cells reside in the dogs' genital tracts, where it's a small leap from one animal to another during sex -- today's worldwide distribution of Sticker's tumors represents a single colony of cancer cells, the new research concludes.
Indeed, scientists suspect that the colony, distributed among countless dogs, may be the longest in the world.
"I rather thought we might disprove this, but it came out the other way around," said Robin Weiss, of University College London, who led the study appearing in today's issue of the journal Cell. "It is clearly a dog tumor cell behaving absolutely like a parasite." Weiss called the tumor transmission trick "a curiosity of nature."
Scientists have suspected for decades that Sticker's was being passed directly from dog to dog, but doubts persisted because no other naturally transmitted cancers were known. Rarely, recipients of human organ transplants have "caught" cancer from tumor cells hiding in the organs they received.
Weiss and his colleagues did genetic studies on the tumor cells from 40 dogs with Sticker's sarcoma, collected from five continents. The researchers showed that the cells are not genetically related to the dogs they are in -- proof that they did not arise from the dogs' own cells. They also showed that all the tumor cells, no matter where they were collected, are clones of each other. That is, they are all progeny of the same parent cell.
Further genetic studies by Weiss's team suggested that the parent cell probably arose in a domesticated dog of Asian origin -- perhaps a husky -- hundreds of years ago, and perhaps more than 1,000 years ago. Since then, the cancer has perpetuated itself by jumping from one dog to another.
Studies suggest that, unlike most tumor cells, which contribute to their own demise by becoming increasingly genetically fragile, Sticker's tumor cells are remarkably genetically stable, perhaps explaining in part their evolutionary success.
Robert A. Weinberg, a pioneer in the genetic underpinnings of cancer at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., said he was not surprised to learn that genetic studies had confirmed that Sticker's is a transmissible cancer, given the strength of earlier clues. But he agreed that the phenomenon raises difficult questions about why more cancers do not spread this way.
"We really don't understand the ecological and evolutionary dynamics that would lead to this sort of thing and its transmission from one individual to another," Weinberg said.
Both Weinberg and Weiss expressed concern about the recently reported discovery of a similarly transmissible cancer spreading through populations of Tasmanian devils, the notoriously bad-tempered carnivorous marsupial.
"They fight a lot and have been spreading these facial tumors through bites," Weiss said. "The cancer cells clog up the jaw, and the poor animals die of starvation." Some experts believe that the epidemic could threaten the devil with extinction.

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Canine Influenza

International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 25 Mar 2006.

One of 3 cases of highly contagious dog flu confirmed by a lab at the University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) was found in a San Francisco puppy, veterinary researchers announced Friday.

A lab at UC Davis detected canine influenza virus in dogs from 3 states using a new test that employs DNA technology to provide rapid, accurate diagnosis of the highly contagious disease.

Since November 2005, scientists have tested more than 100 samples from dogs suspected of having canine influenza. All of the samples turned out to be negative until 23 Feb 2006, when the first of the 3 positive samples was diagnosed.

That first case involved a fatal outbreak of disease in a Colorado animal shelter. It was followed by a case in San Francisco, in which an imported puppy became ill but recovered, as did its household-mates.

The 3rd case involved a fatal outbreak in a Florida animal shelter.

"There is no reason for dog owners to panic over the confirmation of these cases," said Christian Leutenegger of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "Any dog that exhibits upper respiratory symptoms, such as a persistent cough or nasal discharge, should be routinely examined by a local veterinarian."

Dog flu is an upper respiratory disease, first reported in January 2004 in racing greyhounds at a Florida racetrack.

To date, antibodies to canine influenza virus have been detected in dogs in animal shelters, adoption groups, pet stores, boarding kennels and veterinary clinics in 19 states.

Dogs can also catch the virus from saliva or mucus on shared toys or food dishes.

There is no evidence that canine influenza can be passed to humans, according to UC Davis researchers.

Since the dog flu virus is just emerging, dogs have no natural immunity to it, researchers say. They add that all dogs exposed will become infected, and roughly 80 percent of infected dogs will develop symptoms of the illness. About 5 to 8 percent of all infected dogs will die, according to UC Davis researchers.

There is currently no vaccine available for canine influenza.
- --
It should be noted that this disease is only fatal to a small percentage of those canines infected. Hopefully, a vaccine will be developed soon. However, it is likely that where numbers of dogs are gathered, such as in animal shelters, we may see numbers of those animals affected by this virus.

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Elbow dysplasia (ED) is a potentially crippling disease of dogs leading to the development of irreversible and progressive arthritis in the elbow joint.  Even with early surgical intervention many dogs have chronic pain and lameness.  For many veterinarians and breeders, elbow dysplasia is disease that is not only difficult to diagnose, but controversial when it comes to deciding on a dog�s suitability for breeding. 

The single biggest misunderstanding when it comes to ED is that to be affected a dog must have clinical signs of lameness.  Lame dogs are in fact the �tip of the iceberg� with the majority of dogs being asymptomatic carriers, which has caused the disease to spread to very high levels within certain breeds.

The Rottweiler is currently ranked #2 in breeds affected by elbow dysplasia with only 58.5% of dogs receiving a normal score from the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA).  This number may even be lower considering that not all breeding dogs are x-rayed and not all OFA scores are released for statistical use. 

1) What is elbow dysplasia?
Elbow dysplasia (ED) is a broad term used to describe Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP), Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) and Osteochondrosis of the humeral condyle (OCD).  Most Rottweilers with ED have FCP.  All three of these conditions are believed to be due to a failure of endochondral ossification, which is the conversion of cartilage to bone during skeletal maturation.  The end result is a weakness in the affected area leading to a flap of cartilage (OCD) or fractures of pieces of bone, which are essential to the stability of the elbow joint (UAP, FCP).  The piece of bone floating in the joint is like a pebble in a shoe, causing inflammation and pain.

Picture credit:

The consequence of ED is the formation of Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD).  DJD (arthritis /osteoarthritis) forms in a joint when there is instability in a joint or as a degenerative process with old age.  As the cartilage becomes worn the underlying bone is exposed and because the cartilage cannot repair itself osteophytes (spurs) of bone form.  Over time if the instability persists more bone is added leading to more arthritis.   

Dogs with elbow dysplasia may have severe forelimb lameness or never show any clinical signs. There may be swelling (effusion) in the elbow joint, pain when the elbow is extended and the paw is often held with the foot rotated outwards.  In a 1996 study of 55 Rottweilers followed from 3-12 months only 5% of dogs showed signs of lameness but 57% developed radiographic signs of ED by 12 months of age.

2) Diagnosis:
FCP in particular can be very hard to diagnose.  Unless a large fragment is visible, it is typically diagnosed by the appearance of secondary DJD, which can take weeks to months to develop.  FCP can be seen as early as 7-8 months but may not be diagnosed until the films are sent for OFA evaluation.  Sending the films to a Board Certified Radiologist or Surgeon can be helpful to obtain the diagnosis.  3 views of the elbow are recommended to diagnose ED  (neutral lateral, hyperflexed lateral, and ventrodorsal).  Hyperflexion is used for OFA evaluation because it gives the best view of the anconeal process. 50% of dogs have both joints affected so it is recommended to always x-ray both elbows.  In a growing Rottweiler, ED should be one of the top diagnoses to rule out if there is lameness involving one or both front legs that does not resolve with rest.  

3) OFA:
The Orthopedic Foundation For Animals scores elbows as normal or dysplastic (DJD I, II, III).  Preliminary x-rays can be done at 12 months or 24 months for breeding dogs.  A score of DJD I, II or III is based on the millimeters of arthritis found at the anconeal process.  Sclerosis (increased bone density) in the area of the coronoid process is also used.  Arthritis will not form in young dog with a normal elbow joint therefore an elbow that fails OFA has underlying ED.

4) What is the cause of elbow dysplasia?
Textbooks can be written on this subject and there is no one single cause.  Like hip dysplasia ED is multifactorial. Genetics are thought to be of primary importance in high incidence breeds such as the Chow, Rottweiler, German Shepherd (GSD), Bernese Mountain Dog and Retrievers. Conformation, body condition and trauma are other risk factors.  Large puppies of high incidence breeds should be kept in lean body condition and not excessively exercised to lessen the risk.   Studies are being done on hereditary pattern and found to vary between breeds and sex.  

5) Genetics and Breeding
The International Elbow Working Group (IEWG) was established in 1989 by a group of veterinary radiologists, clinicians and geneticists for the diagnosis, control and screening of elbow dysplasia.  Their goal is an open database and to provide guidelines for breed registries on ED.

According to the IEWG the percentage of affected puppies will vary depending of the severity of DJD in the parents.  The following numbers are from a study on the incidence of ED in Rottweilers:

Parent 1

OFA Score

Parent 2

OFA Score

Offspring Affected*





Mild ED (DJD I)



Moderate/Severe ED (DJD II/III)





*offspring affected meaning % of puppies with ED

FCP has become a major threat for Berners, Retrievers, Rotties and the GSD because it has spread within the population to a high level through the breeding of carriers that have no clinical signs and are therefore assumed to be unaffected.   This is supported by the percentage of affected puppies in the table above from two seemingly normal parents.  

IEWG recommendations for reducing the incidence of elbow dysplasia:

  • have large numbers of animals participating in screening programs
  • high quality films evaluated by experts
  • open database for easy accessibility
  • ideally only normal dogs used for breeding
  • dogs with scores of DJDII or III should not be used for breeding

Until a DNA test is available to confirm genetically predisposed dogs the only way to accurately predict the incidence of ED is by evaluating not only the parents but also entire litters.  Relying on simply the absence symptoms to determine breedability is inaccurate and will lead to a further increase in ED in the breed. Many breeders have now started requiring OFA hip and elbow radiographs from all puppy buyers to better estimate the dogs affected in their program. The decision to use a DJD I dog should include evaluation of not just the parents� OFA scores, but more importantly the scores of all littermates.  For example:  not breeding a DJD I dog whose parents are OFA Normal but 75% of it�s littermates are DJD II, versus breeding a DJD I dog whose parents are OFA Normal, and all its littermates are also OFA Normal.  By working together breeders and veterinarians will be able to reduce the incidence of elbow dysplasia in the population by using the same scrutiny that was done in the past with hip dysplasia.  

Dr Wendy James is a Rottie enthusiast who was owned by 13 year old Dakota until she passed over the rainbow bridge in November.  She started intensively researching elbow dysplasia after her 10-month-old Rottie Arson was diagnosed with bilateral FCP.  She currently practices Veterinary Medicine in Calgary and has special interests in dermatology and reproduction.


1) JAVMA 1996 Oct 15;209(8):1427-30 Relationship Between Physical Signs of Elbow Dysplasia and Radiographic Score in growing Rottweilers.

2) WSAVA 2002 Congress Dr Pim Wolvekamp, DVM, PhD, Dipl ECVDI The Many Faces of Elbow Dysplasia.

3)Tufts Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference, 2005; Examining Elbow Dysplasia

4) Genetic Control of Hereditary Skeletal Diseases; WSAVA 2002 Congress; Dr H.A.W. Hazewinkel DVM, PhD, Dipl ECCS, Dipl ECVCN.

5) Orthopedic Foundation for Animals:

6) International Elbow Working Group:

7) Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs Dr Daniel A Degner, Dipl ACVS

8) Dynamic Ulna Osteotomies in Canine Elbow Dysplasia; WSAVA 2002 Congress; Dr Aldo Vezzoni Dipl ECVS

9) Projections of the Canine Elbow; WVC 2004; Dr Craig Long


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Fats and Fatty Acids in the Diet

Canine Nutrition
Fats and Fatty Acids in the Diet
B-Naturals Newsletter
January 2006
By Lew Olson,
PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP

For dogs, �fat is where it�s at.� Fat offers energy, warmth and calories for dogs. Fat is essential for dogs. It is important to offer fat sources from animal based foods. In a normal, healthy dog, fat is easier to digest than proteins or carbohydrates. Studies have shown that animal based fats digest at rates of about 95%. Fat is the main source of energy for dogs, and are found to provide the best source of endurance and stamina for working dogs undergoing stress, such as sled dogs. (1)

Fats, or lipids, have a more complex method of absorption than proteins. Since they are fats and not water soluble, they need to be emulsified, or broken down into a medium that can pass through the small intestine. Bile salts from the liver are released from the gall bladder to aid in fat digestion and enhance the fat enzyme, lipase. Bile salts coat the fat, and enable them to break down into smaller particles, called micelles. These break down into two components, monoglyceride and fatty acids. Common symptoms of fat not digesting properly in the dog include large foul smelling stools, diarrhea and dehydration. The stool is often light in color, with mucus and loose consistency. This most often occurs with cooked fats, or fats found in prepared dog foods that can go rancid if packaged too long. Most common physical reasons for poor digestion of fats are liver disease, pancreatitis (inflammation or disease of the pancreas), Cushing�s disease or diabetes. (2) Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency can be another cause, more details about that can be found here:

Fats are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. They also provide protection from cold and protect the nerve fibers in the body. They provide more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, and improve flavor and palatability of the dog�s food. While many commercial dog food brands offer low fat diet to dogs for weight reduction, this in turn increases appetite in the dog, as fat is needed for energy and helps to satiate the dog�s appetite. Please note that fats do not affect canines like they do us when it comes to cholesterol or heart disease. Dogs as carnivores do not have the propensity for cholesterol clogging the arteries or producing strokes. High cholesterol or triglycerides in dogs can mean very different health considerations, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or Cushing�s disease. If your dog tests high for cholesterol, always run blood tests to check for these causes.

Lastly, fats provide a source for essential fatty acids. The dogs� diet must have a good source of fat in order to maintain sufficient levels of fatty acids. Rancid fat or poor quality fat can cause a deficiency of these fatty acids. Deficiencies of essential fatty acids are most commonly seen in poor coat and skin condition, such as pruritis (itching), dermatitis (skin inflammation) and seborrhea. A good source of vitamin E is also recommended for the best absorption of essential fatty acids. (3)

The two essential fatty acids that are most commonly discussed for nutrition are Omega 6 fatty acids, and omega 3 fatty acids. The omega 6 fatty acids are found in animal sources, such as chicken and pork. Smaller amounts are found in beef. Larger amounts are found in plant sources, such as olive, safflower and other plant oils. Omega 3 fatty acids are less common, found in fish oil, flax seed oil and marine sources, such as spirulina and blue green algae. (4)

Since the omega 6 fatty acids are found naturally in the diet (animal fats and plant sources) it is not necessary to add this fat to the dog�s diet. Research is still incomplete on the optimal balance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, but currently it is thought to be approximately 5:1 to 10:1. (1) Since most foods already contain high amounts of omega 6 (meat, fat and plant matter) it is important to add good sources of omega 3 daily to your dog�s diet.

The best sources for omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish body oils, such as fish oil or salmon oil. Cod liver oil is quite different, as it is lower in omega 3 and very high in vitamins A and D. Fish oil has a readily available form of omega 3, called EPA and DHA. Plant based oils such as Flax Seed Oil contains ALA, which needs to be converted in the body to be of use. Most dogs are unable to do this conversion which results in high amounts of omega 6 from this source, but not much omega 3. A high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio promotes inflammation, poor coat, allergies and skin conditions.

"While flaxseeds or flaxseed oil is not harmful to pets and does supply some essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil is a source of alphalinoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that is ultimately converted to EPA and DHA. Many animals (probably including dogs) and some people cannot convert ALA to these other more active non-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, due to a deficiency of desaturase enzymes needed for the conversion. In one human study, flaxseed oil was ineffective in reducing symptoms or raising levels of EPA and DHA. Therefore, I do not recommend flaxseed oil as a fatty acid supplement for pets with atopic
dermatitis (skin problems caused by environmental allergies). Instead, look for fish oil, which provides EPA and DHA." (5)

Other benefits of fatty acids include controlling inflammation, aiding in heart disease, cancer therapy, arthritis and renal disease. In heart disease and cancer, cachexia (muscle wasting) can cause a severity of side effects. Cathexia is caused by excess cytokine production. High doses of fish oil (1,000 mg per ten lbs of body weight) have been found to suppress cytokine, thus increasing life expectancy by maintaining integrity of the heart muscle and reducing loss of muscle mass in some types of cancer.

Because high doses of omega 3 fatty acids are found to reduce inflammation, fish oil is helpful for dogs with arthritis and orthopedic problems. The anti-inflammatory properties have also been found helpful for dermatitis and other skin conditions, as well as for certain gastro-intestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Disease and Colitis.

Lastly, omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for kidney disease. They have been shown to be renal protective, and in certain kidney disorders such as glomerular disease, fish oil helps to reduce inflammation. (4) (6)

In conclusion, some considerations for fat in the diet include:

  1. Always include fresh fat sources in your dog�s diet, including animal fat (whole milk yogurt, canned fish, meat, eggs) and fish or salmon oil capsules.
  2. Don�t reduce fat for weight loss in your dog, but rather lower the amount of food served (see
  3. A dog�s reaction to fat, such as loose stools or strong odor may simply mean reducing the amount of fat or food served, or it can mean other disease issues, such as Cushing�s disease, pancreatitis, Diabetes, liver disease or malabsorption problems.

Fat is indeed necessary for a dog�s diet and is important for energy, skin and coat, health of the kidneys, heart and to keep inflammation at bay in the joints. Fat is not the enemy of your dog, but in fact a very important and good friend.

  1. (1) Case, Linda P MS, Carey, Daniel PD, DVM and Hirakawa, Diane A, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition, Mosby Press, 1995) 245
  2. Simpson, JW SDA BVM Mphil MRCVS, Anderson, RS BVMS Ph.D MRCVS and Markwell, PJ Bsc, BvetMed MRCVS, Clinical Nutrition of the Dog and Cat (Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1993) 66-70
  3. Kronfeld, DS Phd DSc MVSc, Home Cooking for the Dog, (American Kennel Club Gazette, April) 1978 60-61
  4. Kendall, Robert V. PhD Therapeutic Nutrition for the Cat, Dog and Horse, (Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, Mosby Press, 1997) 62

Article Provided by B Naturals
Holistic Products for Dogs & Cats

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... received via email

And here's another tip for ridding dogs of ticks, from Lani Miner" I had a tick invasion last year that lasted three weeks. I tore my hair out trying to kill literally thousands of ticks that were crawling everywhere in my kennels, dog room, landscaping, etc. I tried sprays, dips, drops, everything. I went through many bottles of expensive stuff and nothing worked! I had run out of ideas. In desperation I grabbed a bottle of mint mouthwash to disinfect some tick bite sites on one of the dogs and sprayed it on some that were crawling. They died instantly! I sprayed it everywhere in the dogs' crate room and ticks boiled out of the cracks and crevices and instantly DIED! I sprayed it in the kennels and in the wooden dog houses and all the ticks instantly DIED! I sprayed it on the dogs and the ticks literally fell off dead. The stuff works!! It also repels mosquitoes and biting flies!! It's a great crate cleaner, too. I spray it around my ex-pens at shows and it keeps flies and mosquitoes away. So far, every bug I've sprayed with it has died instantly. I'm talking about the cheap MINT mouthwash from the dollar store!!!

Urban Legend... or NO?

Published in the ARK 2nd Quarter 2005

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Why Does My Pet Eat Grass?
by Deena Caruso

Are you concerned when your dog or cat eats grass, then throws up afterwards? You'll probably feel relieved to know that pets eat grass because their bodies need it. 

Dogs and cats have been eating grass for a long time. In fact, grass is so popular among dogs that one species, dog grass, is named after them. Dog grass is also known as couch grass and quackweed, and it grows in all but the southern-most states.

You can think of grass as an herbal medicine. It acts as an internal cleanser, expelling excess mucus, bile, and other impurities. It also cleanses the bowels and expels worms. Cereal grasses contain enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Grass also contains chlorophyll, which was used for relieving pain, treating infections, ulcers, skin diseases, and anemia prior to the use of antibiotics. 

Some pet owners grow grass specifically to give to their pets to prevent or treat diarrhea, anemia, cataracts, fleas, tumors excessive shedding, and other pet health problems. Pets that are fed grass on a regular basis are less likely to crave outdoor grass. So, if you don't feel comfortable with your pet eating the grass in your lawn, you may want to grow your own grass for them to eat. 

Try growing rye or barley sprouts. These sprouts are preferred over wheat grass because some animals are sensitive to wheat. 

Follow these instructions to grow rye or barley grass. Soak one cup organically grown grain in one quart water for 8 to 10 hours. Then drain the container and leave it on its side in a warm place, away from direct sunlight. A tiny white rootlet will sprout from each grain within 24 to 48 hours. Caution: If you don't see these rootlets, your grain isn't viable and should be thrown away.

Next, spread the sprouting grain on one inch of moist potting soil or top soil in a plastic garden tray. For drainage create a one inch channel around the soil. 

For two days, cover the tray. Then uncover it, and water thoroughly. Place the tray in direct sunlight or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist by watering when needed.

When the grass is 6-8" tall, cut it with scissors or a sharp knife. Place grasses in a ziploc bag, along with a damp paper towel. Be sure to expel air from the bag before sealing. Then store the grass in the refrigerator. 

When feeding the grass to your pet, cut or mince it into tiny pieces, or place a small amount in a blender or food processor with other foods. To be sure your cat or dog will accept the grass, begin feeding just a fraction of a teaspoon. Increase the amount gradually to approximately one tablespoon per 50 lbs. of body weight.

Once your pet is given the amount of grass his body needs, you probably won't be seeing him eating the grass in your lawn. And you can feel relieved knowing that you're feeding him something that he craves and that his body needs.

Deena Caruso, author, teacher, & distributor of natural pet products Helps pet owners create healthy, happy pets. To receive FREE "Pet Pointers" Newsletter, go to: 


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