It was with great sadness I read Dr Kim Bloomers article in the last newsletter and I think I can safely say, we all feel for her losing such a young and otherwise healthy dog, which makes it that all the more tragic.
I was contacted recently by a friend who has one of the molosser breeds; she is only four years old and began limping on her back leg. The first vet visited diagnosed arthritis and tried to send my friend on her way with steroids after only a cursory examination. Not happy with this, and no tests done whatsoever, she changed vets to one who specialised in hip dysplasia thinking this may be the problem. The new vet ran tests and found the poor dog at the age of four was in end stage renal failure.
The subject got around to what the dog was fed and when it was last vaccinated and as she doesn’t vaccinate every year and is a raw feeder. If you can’t guess the rest, I’ll fill in the blank.
The owner was BLAMED for causing the problem as raw food is too high in protein and her urine tests showed elevated protein levels and, not vaccinating every year the owner had put her dog at unnecessary risk of disease.
My friend had done her research, not only on raw feeding and vaccination but also on the breeder she had the dog from. It turns out that three or four other dogs from the same dam and different litters had succumbed to the same fate. This suggests a genetic predisposition to the problem and as we all know, if the dog had been vaccinated annually and fed McKibble then it probably wouldn’t have lived this long.
A few things struck me from both this story and Dr Bloomer’s story. Why, at a time when you need all the support you can get, does the veterinary profession seem to want to point the finger of blame when they are little educated on the subject? My friend is very vocal when it comes to being blamed, especially when she knows she’s right and asked the veterinarian, in the middle of a full waiting room what he knew about raw feeding, when he said “nothing” she told him to go away and research the subject then he could criticise her when he has a good knowledge base. Good for her.
The second thing that struck me was how quickly a diagnosis is made and prescription dispensed with minimal if any diagnostic testing. I see this all the time as I run a pet taxi service as part of two of my businesses, and often accompany a very nervous and frightened client into the vet’s surgery with their animal. It seems to me that as soon as an animal reaches seven years of age it is automatically arthritis and steroids prescribed with usually just a quick feel around the affected area and not many owners question this in my experience.
And finally, vaccinosis can be inherited. Epigenetics as a subject has been around for 40 years but it wasn’t until more recent times we have begun to understand the meaning. In 2010 Dr Lars Olev Bygren published his research on how lifestyle choices our great, great, great grandparents made affect us today. It was so ground breaking at the time; Time Magazine published an entire article on the subject which you can see here: www.canine-rehabilitation.co.uk/downloads.html
It shows us that the choices we make now for our companion animals will impact many generations down the line which includes over vaccination in unvaccinated animals as strange as this may sound. Another experiment you may be interested in was “Pottenger’s cats” this showed the effects of diet and how things can start to be rectified within four generations if species appropriate diet is fed to companion animals.