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Sat, May. 30th, 2015, 04:07 pm
Anybody still on this thing?

Man. It has been a loooong time since I've posted here. That is, sadly, not because of lack of crazy stories to tell, but instead is due to lack of time to tell them. Here's one for you though, if anybody even still follows this journal, while I have a couple slow minutes...

Gent called today saying he had a chinchilla which had been bitten by a dog. Wanted to know how much enrofloxacin he should give, rattled off several doses to the receptionist, who verified with me that we will not prescribe medication or give doses to an an animal we've not seen for the problem being treated (and in fact have never seen at all for anything), as doing so is illegal. Recommended he have the chinchilla seen, since bite wounds can be a very serious problem (totally reasonable to expect broken bones in a dog-bitten rodent, and no amount of antibiotic is gonna fix that!). He declined an appointment.

Gent called back later and I answered. He asked if he got prescription for enro could we fill it. I said that if we received a prescription from another veterinarian for a product we carry, we could fill it. He then claimed to be a physician and asked if he could write a prescription for us to fill. No; physicians cannot write prescriptions for non-human animals (I refrained from saying 'and if you were actually a physician, you'd know that), and veterinary clinics can neither prescribe nor fill prescriptions for humans. He then asked how much 10 mLs of 25mg/mL enrofloxacin would cost. I explained that 25 mg/mL is not a concentration available on the market, and is therefore not a product I stock (and refrained from saying that if he was actually a physician, he should know that). He asked again if he had to have a veterinarian prescription. I said yes, you must have a prescription to leally purchase prescription medications; your pet must be seen for a veterinarian to legally prescribe medications; a physician cannot legally prescribe to non-human animals; veterinians cannot legally prescribe to humans; and I WILL NOT BE DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL FOR YOU.

He hung up, and (surprise) did not show up before closing with a script, legal or otherwise.

Sun, Jul. 27th, 2014, 02:47 pm

You know what's really obnoxious? being repeatedly interrupted by clients asking you the question you are trying to answer. Here's a suggestion for anybody going to a doctor or expert of any kind - when they start trying to go through your lab results (or car engine print-out, or architectural blue-prints, or whatever) LET THEM TALK. When they get to the end of the section, ask questions if they missed anything. DO NOT interrupt them every 3 seconds to ask "but how is this all related" questions - THEY ARE GETTING THERE and you are just delaying it.
It is bad enough that on several occasions I have literally told clients to stop - this isn't just occasional questions, this is constant peppering of disconnected bits that don't allow me to finish a single thought, to the point that I start pointedly repeating EXACTLY the same 3-4 words several times until they stop interrupting me at exactly the same word, and if that fails, I tell them that the only way we are ever going to get anywhere is if they let me get through my spiel and then they can ask questions if I missed anything.
What makes people do this? I mean, if this was one person who was just seriously manic or overwhelmingly ADD or something, it'd be annoying but rare. Instead, I have similar encounters on an at least weekly, sometimes daily, basis with multiple clients. I don't get it.

In not entirely unrelated news, just got a call on the after hours line from a guy who interrupted every fucking sentence I said during the entire conversation, completely missed the repeating-start technique, and then didn't want me to call the hawk he was asking about a 'raptor' because that's "ominous"... it's just a little bird, and yeah, it has a hooked beak, and bit my friend 3 or 4 times, but "raptor" just sounds so mean.... *headdesk* This being toward the end of the conversation, I was pretty fed up with him anyway, and I pointed out that I don't care how big or not big it is, if he has a hawk of any type, it is by definition a raptor, that's what a raptor is, end topic. I did not say, but did think, "Also, your friend appears to be a fucking idiot and tell him to stop sticking his hand in or near the mouths of wild animals."

Sun, Jun. 22nd, 2014, 11:18 am
Dogtor J

I was referenced to this person by a client who was trying to convince/prove to me that gluten is a detrimental ingredient in all diets for all species. Dogtor J was someone I'd never heard of. So I went to his webpage, where he proclaims that he's discovered that viruses and bacteria are actually helpful and all disease is self-caused. I must admit to developing an immediate large dose of skepticism about anything else the man says. My skepticism was not reduced when he went on to say that he knows all this by grace of God, and that medical training taught him absolutely nothing about how the body or disease works. I'm sorry, but no – I do my best to base my medical decisions and recommendations on science and evidence, not on 'revelations' that fly in the face of all existing research. Anyway, I thought I'd post my breakdown of his article here for you lovelies as an example of the utter BS available on the internet, and why people should think carefully about what they read.


http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id1.html

The following is an article I wrote for the newsletter of www.celiac.com when asked about the prevalence of celiac disease (gluten intolerance) in the dog and cat. This condition has been definitively diagnosed in the Irish Setter but not many other breeds of dogs. I would not be at all surprised to find that it does exist in other breeds, but as this article explains, that may very well be a moot point.

Dogtor J.

Gluten Intolerance and Your Pet

by Dogtor J.

© 2002 DogtorJ.com

"Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp....GULP. Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp....BELCH." This is the sound of "Fido" eating his scientifically formulated, well-balanced dog food. It can be purchased at the grocery store, but the discerning owner travels to the local pet shop to buy the better quality food. Most people know that you get what you pay for in a pet food and that the higher grade foods come from certain recognizable manufacturers and can only be found at specialty pet supply outlets. But, is that axiom true? Does purchasing the most expensive food guarantee that your pet will be receiving the best in nutrition that the industry has to offer?


No more so than it does in anything – a high price is often as likely to be an indication of over-pricing for fancy packaging as it is a dramatically increased quality of product. Many 'specialty' pet foods take advantage of that – so consider carefully anything claiming to be 'human grade', 'food grade', 'all-natural', 'all organic' or any of the other buzz words associated with high price; most are marketing techniques only.
http://thebark.com/content/natural-human-grade-organic-dog-food-really
http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm214868.htm


The unfortunate truth is that pet food is not as scientifically formulated as most would like to think. For the most part, Fido's food is made with convenience and cost of manufacturing in mind more than science. Yes, the first few ingredients look appetizing enough and there are essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals added to the mix. But are these ingredients natural for the pet and are they readily available for absorption and use by their body? Here in lies the crux of the matter.


If you're buying from a reputable brand, the food IS scientifically formulated, and ingredients are chosen to meet the nutritional requirements of the pet; many 'specialty' foods do this in the reverse, and pick ingredients first, then try to make up or ignore nutritional deficiencies. If you want more information about this, I can put you in contact with the nutritionists at Royal Canin, Purina, and Science Diet.


The wake-up call comes when one realizes that once the meat source is removed from the diet, the remaining ingredients are mostly unnatural for the pet. If we exclude the beef, poultry, fish, and lamb, the remaining calorie sources are mostly wheat, barley, corn, rice, and oats, all of which are man-raised crops that the dog and cat would never consume in the wild. I love to inquire of my clients "How would a pet get rice? Swim to Viet Nam?"


Ah, the appeal to the wild diet. Several points in no particular order. 1: pets are not wild animals, any more than humans are chimpanzees, so saying dogs should eat the same as wolves is equivalent to saying humans should eat leaves and termites. 2: wild animals live short, brutal lives, often on the edge of starvation, so it is little wonder you don't see age-related and chronic disease in wild populations; they either don't live long enough to develop them, or are eaten by some other predator before the disease becomes chronic, 3: predatory pets would get grains by eating the guts of their prey, herbivore pets would just eat them directly, 4: if you exclude half of the ingredients, you are pretty obviously not going to have a balanced diet, by virtue of excluding half of the ingredients, 5: what makes you think a 'cat in the wild' would eat cow? And in conjunction, how many of the 'all natural' pet foods you can buy for a cat are made primarily of mouse and vole?


But what is the problem with these complex carbohydrates being in the diet? Humans consume these with every meal and they are doing just fine, aren't they? Ahhhh. Are we? If we were, those reading this paper would be reading something else right now, wouldn't they? The problem is that the grains listed above have some universal problems among humans and pets alike, as do a couple of other problem foods that eclipse even the grains in health issues.


Well, no... you really have not convinced me (or the majority of nutritionists, veterinarians, or human doctors) of this point.


To digress for just a moment, I am a recovered celiac. For forty-something years, I suffered like most other celiacs of a myriad of symptoms, including allergies, heart burn and intestinal problems, depression/chronic fatigue, memory and balance difficulties, joint pain, and even fibromyalgia. I was taking at least four drugs twice daily; caffeine addicted, and was quite frankly not having any fun anymore. I am now two and a half years gluten AND casein-free, off all drugs, symptom-free, and feeling better than I did when I was twelve. This miraculous recovery got my attention as a patient and as a doctor. How could this be? How could I be suffering from what millions of people and pets were experiencing but be well in such a short period of time? How could all of these conditions be linked together?


I have not ever denied that celiac disease exists and is awful, or that eliminating gluten from the diet of someone with celiac disease will dramatically improve their quality of life. However, I fail to see how it can be blamed for his caffeine addiction, or just extrapolated straight across to mean that because a disease exists in some individuals, all individuals of all species should change their diet. There's a pretty big logic-gap to cross in that leap. It is exactly the same gap that one would face in saying "some people have absolute polycythemia, therefore every person should be regularly bled to remove excess red blood cells". Shall we all line up for the lea.


The readers of www.celiac.com and its publications have read many a testimony like this. Many have experienced similar responses while others are still wondering when wellness is going to happen to them. Those in the latter category have been trying to faithfully adhere to the gluten-free regime but are frustrated by the fact that they are making such huge sacrifices with less than optimal responses.

Well, "Fido" is about to teach you something. The fact is that the celiac is a "who's who" of what is wrong with human beings but the conditions that we suffer from are not limited to those who walk upright. When I read the list of conditions that we as gluten intolerants experience, my first thought was that "This is me. This describes me to a T." My second thought was "...but this describes everything that is wrong with everyone, including their dogs and cats." And it does. Suddenly, medicine through the eyes of celiac disease (and other similar food intolerances) made sense. I tell everyone that it was like someone had finally put the right program into a stalled computer and it began operating at lightning speed. All of the idiopathic conditions that are so poorly understood in medicine became "open season" for this medical headhunter.


There is a huge flaw here - just as I would with someone claiming a single medication can cure any/all disease, I have huge skepticism about claims that all diseases are the same, or that all diseases arise from the same cause. In all likelihood, someone selling a panacea is pushing placebos and playing on people's desperation. This "all disease is one disease" thing is the mirror reflection of that, and serves only to set the stage for the snake-oil salesman. You cannot toss out all the evidence gathered by all the researchers in thousands of labs over centuries of work on viruses, bacteria, fungus, cancers, and immune-mediated issues, and simply say "every single one of them was wrong in all particulars, while I, who has done absolutely no laboratory research, know this by virtue of divine revelation" and expect to be taken seriously.


And, the answers did come one after another. I launched into two years of intensive research while applying the newly unveiled principles to my patients as well as myself. Miracles started happening around me. Allergies abated, intestinal problems cleared up, older pets became less painful and more active, and yes, even their epilepsy stopped. "Wait a second! Epileptic seizures stopped?", you may be asking. Yes, 100% of my epileptics have stopped having seizures, just like many celiac children that were placed on gluten-free diets have responded. I got the idea from the celiac literature. How that occurs is totally explainable but beyond the scope of this article. It can be found in my paper entitled The Answer on my Website, www.dogtorj.com.


You know, the neurology specialists I've consulted with all stoutly disagree with this as a treatment for epilepsy, and Dogtor J is very strongly waving the 'brilliant heretic' red flag here. Lets see the details of this two years of intensive research... what studies? what labs? did he design and perform new research or is he "reinterpreting" others' findings? which others'? Specifics and details are absolutely necessary for drawing scientific conclusions.
Feel free to jog over to his site and look for yourself, but if you're short on time, I'll save you the trip. There is only 1 actual reference mentioned in "The Answer", and that is "The Merck Manual"; he doesn't list which edition or what page he references, but states that his 'project' was opening the book to random pages and "trying to explain the disease through the eyes of food intolerance". So basically, he's stating that he's assuming a conclusion, then intentionally interpreting evidence to force it to fit that conclusion. This is NOT how science or research works. It is, in fact, exactly the opposite of science.


In a nutshell, after all of my research into so many of the medical problems and conditions that plague pets and mankind, I decided that the center of our health universe lies in that "J-shaped" stretch of intestine known as your duodenum. Most celiacs are aware of the pathophysiology of their condition and are familiar with the terms malabsorption and "leaky gut syndrome". But, many are like I was in that they don't understand all of the fine details.


All your research? You seriously mean you consider sitting on your bed picking random, unrelated articles from a text book and forcing them to match your pre-conceived notions to be research? Of course you do.
The center of our health universe? Repeating the stance that all ailments derive from one cause...


There are three food ingredients that adhere to the villi of the duodenum and induce the change that is characteristic of celiac disease known as villous atrophy. These three substances are gluten (from the grains), casein (from cow milk products), and soy protein. Oh oh. Did you know that the last one was on the list? Hopefully so.


I'm not even going to bother looking up the purported physiology of how 'adherence' results in atrophy in healthy gut, because I don't feel up to chasing ghosts. It's rather unnecessary, since that is hardly a comprehensive list of causes of villous atrophy. Here is a list of causes with actual research behind them, courtesy of University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center: www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/what-else-can-cause-damage-to-the-small-intestine-other-than-celiac-disease

Since we're discussing pets here, I'll add corona virus, rotavirus, parvovirus, and hemorragic gastroenteritis.

Oh, wait, I forgot, viruses and bacteria are merely scapegoats and all disease arises from our own intestine. Guess we can go ahead and stop vaccinating for parvo then? Too bad about all those puppies who psychogenically give themselves fatal parvo, or who suffer villous atrophy as a result of drinking milk (casein isn't found only in cow milk, you know - best take those pups away from mom on day one and not allow nursing!).


What is it that links these substances together? For one, they are all use {sic} as adhesives, either as non-food glues or as binders in the foods we consume. Gluten, casein, soy and even corn are all used in industry as adhesives, some even being waterproof. Put "gluten", "casein", "soy protein adhesive" or "corn adhesive" in the search engine of any computer and read the responses. Wow! They are not only used in the food industry to hold items such as oats together but they are put to use in industry to hold just about anything together.


Yup. Because if you concentrate or refine it and use it in some other manner it must be horrible. Hmm, don't they use water in glues too?


As we all know, it is the nature of the starches to be sticky. And, as it turns out, the foods that are the "stickiest" are the ones that cause the most problems. This should not be a surprise once this issue is introduced. Casein and gluten are used for the most powerful adhesives. Therefore, it should be not be a shock that they are the number one and number two childhood food allergens according to the FDA. What is number four? Soy. What is number three? Eggs. (This is the first secondary allergen brought about by the damage done to the gut by the first two.)


Casein and gluten are not starches, they are proteins. If you can't even keep that straight, why should I trust that you have any clue about their digestion or actions in the body?
Also, what "most powerful adhesives" do you specifically mean? I asked 3M's website what their most powerful adhesive was, and pulled up it's Material Safety Data Sheet - no mention of casein, soy, or gluten: http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?mwsId=SSSSSuUn_zu8lZ094x_xmx2Z5v70kDVFNvu9lxtD7SSSSSS--



Now, imagine these proteins leaving the stomach of a human or their pet. I have always used the illustration of three slices of pizza leaving our stomach. But, for this sake of this article, I will use a wheat, barley, or soy-based pet food to drive the point home. Now that you have an idea of where we are headed, you can imagine the stomach is filled with "glue-containing" food. This "glue" leaves the stomach after it has been worked on as much as possible by that organ. Of course, not being a ruminant like a cow or sheep, these foods are not completely broken down any more than the cellulose that they eat that non-ruminants are unable to digest. As simple-stomached animals, our pets and we are not designed to eat grasses like the ruminants do and all of the grains are in the grass family. They are all grasses that man has chosen to consume, with those in Asia picking their grass (rice), the Europeans choosing their grasses (wheat and barley), and those in central America picking corn. Here in America, we consume them all and in abundance.


Neither casein or gluten is the same thing as cellulose, not even close. So why on Earth would we assume that digestion of these things is the same? This doesn't even make sense! We're talking about the grains here, not the stems or leaves – nobody in serious conversation ever claimed that humans, dogs, or cats can digest grass blades or corn husks. Stop picking on straw men, and focus on reality.


In an attempt to digest these grasses and their "glue" (along with dairy and soy), our stomach adds as much acid as possible to break them down. Heart burn, anyone? (Yes, my two years of acid reflux abated after just one week of being gluten- free. This, again, should be no surprise.) But, the increased acid is inadequate to eliminate the "glue". It is this sticky substance that adheres to the villi of the duodenum. Whether it be from wheat, cow milk, soy, corn, or the others mentioned, it adheres to these finger-like projections of the intestine that are vital for the absorption of nutrients, effectively reducing the amount of those essential ingredients that would be absorbed into the bloodstream.


You're right, it shouldn't be a surprise that your digestion improved once you were diagnosed with a specific medical condition for which you made specific and recommended adjustments. That STILL doesn't mean that all individuals of all species should make the same changes on the basis of your individual medical diagnosis.
Just lumping dairy in with plants? How does he justify that, since his claim last paragraph was that we can't digest cellulose therefore can't digest plants? There's no cellulose in milk, last I heard. Also, the issue with absorption in celiac disease isn't adherence blocking cellular transport, it's inflammation thickening tissue and interefering with absorption. “Glue” has nothing to do with it.


What are those nutrients? The vital substances are calcium, iron, iodine, all B complex, vitamin C, most water-soluble vitamins, and most of our trace minerals such as zinc, boron, manganese, magnesium and more. In other words, just about everything that is important other than our proteins, fats, and calories are absorbed by the duodenum. How well can this organ function when it is coated with "glue"? The important thing to realize here is that this happens to everyone and every pet that eats these foods.


See above about inflammation vs glue. Then please provide me some evidence that this "glue" effect occurs in any, let alone all humans and pets.


That bears repeating. This happens to everyone and just about every simple-stomach creature that eats these foods. We have simply focused on the worst-of-the-worst.... as in the celiacs, casein intolerants, and soy intolerants...in which an immune response is mounted against the glue leading to severe villous atrophy. This immune assault also generates the warning antibodies that we call "allergies" to tell you that this is process is taking place. Otherwise, it would be a "stealth operation" that goes on undetected for years and years until the bottom falls out. Yes, this is all too familiar of a scenario as well, isn't it? It happens in pets all of the time, I'm afraid.


Wait wait wait – every simple-stomach creature? So we're including rabbits, guinea pigs, and horses here? They're not ruminants, but do just fine at digesting plant matter. How come they don't all get 'glued up' inside and die?

Actually, “allergies” (why the scare quotes there?) are the result of an immune response mounted against an inappropriate protein molecule, or an inappropriate response mounted against an innocuous protein molecule. It is not a 'warning', it is an over-active immune-mediated response, and has nothing to do with the purported glueyness of the protein molecules.


So, the ultimate question is whether pets suffer from celiac disease? My answer is that it doesn't really matter. In the pet, every bite of the average commercial food has "glue" in it, whether it is of wheat, barley, soy, corn, or rice origin. Yes, there are better glues" {sic} than others and they are in line with what we see as the principle allergens in the pet, just as one would expect. Wheat and soy are the worst (now that dairy has been eliminated from pet foods) while oats and rice are the best...the least sticky. Corn is in the middle. This is exactly what we see as the main sources of food allergies in the pet, a problem of huge importance in dogs and cats. Now people can understand why lamb and rice foods have become so popular. Rice is the least of the adhesives and thereby less allergenic and lamb is (or at least used to be) an unusual protein source compared to beef and others, which have become the main secondary allergens in the pet. It does all make sense.


Yes, we seem more allergies to more common proteins, but that's not because the proteins themselves are particularly allergenic, it's because those are the proteins to which a potentially atopic immune system is exposed most often, precisely because they are common. With the increasing popularity of lamb and rice foods, we are seeing increasing numbers of allergies to, you guessed it, lamb and rice. A straight up function of exposure, not being a "better glue". And I'm pretty sure dairy has not been eliminated from pet foods... or did that happen between now and 2 paragraphs ago when he was concerned about casein?


But celiac disease has occurred in the dog. It has been definitively identified in one breed, which is almost extinct now.... the Irish setter. This hapless breed was effectively sent the way of the buffalo when the industry added wheat, the number one dog and cat food allergen, to the pet foods about 15 years ago.


What the what? Where did he even come up with that? Irish setters are nowhere near extinct, they are currently listed as the 68th most popular of 155 breeds by the AKC, and I'd be surprised if they weren't more popular in Europe. Yes, a handful of Irish setters have been diagnosed with a condition similar to celiac disease. That's a family cluster within a single breed, which speaks strongly to a genetic alteration underlying the issue, and it hasn't resulted in the decimation of the breed any more than celiac disease has resulted in a significant decline in human population. Since Dogtor J can't be arsed to cite his sources, here, read the studies on those Irish Setters yourself: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1373930/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1465503.


Thanks to the wheat glut in this country, corn-based diets were quickly replaced with wheat and the subsequent decline in our pet's health began.


The decline that's resulted in steadily increasing life expectancy? Because I have not seen an over-all decline in health and quality of life in pets, and I see literally hundreds of pets every week.


Veterinarians found themselves wondering why the immune system of the dog and cat were having such problems, ranging from worsening allergies to a rapid rise in immune-mediated diseases. The answer was right before us: you don't add the number one dog and cat food allergen to the diet without having some major repercussions.


Funny, I have not seen nor heard of (other than the claims in this article) a rapid rise in immune-mediated diseases, nor an epidemic of worsening allergies in any of the species I treat. Once more, the most common allergies are those to the most common exposures – if you change what the most common protein in a population's diet is, you will see a change in the most common allergies. The protein didn't cause the immune response, the pre-disposition of the immune system to respond latched on to the protein.


The veterinary profession was just as shortsighted as the medical profession is today about the ramifications of consuming the top food allergens as the bulk of the diet. 60-70% of the American diet is comprised of cow milk products and wheat alone, with 40-50% being the number one food allergen, dairy products.


Actually, according to Food Allergy Research and Education, dairy allergies have an incidence of only 0.2-0.4% of the adult population, falling behind peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. www.foodallergy.org. Keep in mind, dairy allergy and lactose intolerance are two totally different disease processes.


There is a price to pay for this sort of ignorance and it is heavier than most realize.

The main cost is the disruption of duodenal function. Once the essential nutrients have been malabsorbed for a long enough time, Pandora's Box is opened. This may occur every {sic} early in life or very late, partly governed by the degree of immune-mediated component. The worst of the worst will experience severe problems by the time they are adolescents while the more resilient will not be affected until late in life. But, as I tell my clients, I believe that with the top three foods...wheat, dairy and soy...it is a matter of when they cause problems, not if. The "glue" will eventually affect everyone and every pet with it' {sic} nutrient-blocking qualities.

Suddenly, conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow and shoulder problems, intervertebral disc syndrome, cruciate ligament ruptures, and even heart valve failure all have better explanations. All of these problems are caused by failing cartilage and connective tissue, both of which are structured similarly and made up of calcium and collagen. Collagen is the building block of most of your skeletal support structures. The principle component of collagen is vitamin C. Therefore, when it is understood that calcium and vitamin C are absorbed by the duodenum, then it is easily seen that inadequate amounts of these in the diet or failure of their absorption will compromise the integrity of these structures...all of them.


Holy crap the wrongness.

Hip and elbow dysplasias are developmental abnormalities resulting in early-onset arthritis and degenerative joint disease. They are an inherited bone growth problem, having nothing to do with digestion.

"Shoulder problems" is too vague even to start – the majority of shoulder problems I see are directly trauma related, and I don't even know what he's getting at here.

Intervertebral disk disease (not syndrome) is cartilage related, and has a very high incidence in the chondrodysplastic breeds such as dachshunds, precisely because we've bred them to have defective cartilage (hence chondrodysplastic, which literally means poorly formed cartilage). The way you get short curvy legs is to breed for structurally deficient cartilage that collapses under weight, resulting in stumpy bones. That same cartilage is what makes up the intervertebral disks, which not surprisingly fail under normal use. Again, this is a hereditary developmental issue, not related to digestion.

Cruciate ligament rupture has several factors, primarily conformation and trauma. As with dachshunds and their faulty cartilage, the further away we breed pets from being built like coyotes, the more structural abnormalities we are breeding into them. The third factor increasingly associated with cruciate tears is actually early castration, because testosterone affects growth plate closure, and thus conformation. AGAIN, genetic and growth issues, and trauma – not digestion.

Heart valve failure is usually seen in geriatric, small-breed dogs, is strongly correlated to chronic poor dental health in both dogs and humans, and is the only thing on this list that can even remotely be tied to digestion, and that's round about. Since heart valve thickening may be caused by infection of the heart valves, and the gastrointestinal tract is a common source of bacteria, thanks to dogs' love of eating disgusting things, heart valve failure could conceivably be tied to bacterial entry into the blood stream from dietary indiscretion. More commonly though, it's chronic bacterial shedding from infected teeth.

I am frankly scared for this man's patients, if he thinks he can treat cruciate ligament tears and intervertebral disk collapses with diet change. Those poor, poor dogs.


Imagine that a German shepherd puppy begins eating a wheat, barley, corn, or soy-based diet from the moment it is weaned. If inadequate levels of calcium and vitamin C are absorbed, what are the chances that its hips, elbows, spine, and other cartilaginous structures are going to form properly? I would say "Not good". Most people familiar with dogs know that this breed has a reputation for horrible hip dysplasia.


Because they're bred to have horrible, sloped-back, under-slung hind end conformation. It's no surprise at all they have a high incidence of back and hind leg problems – look how they're built! That's not digestive, it is a matter of selectively breeding for outrageously abnormal conformation.


But, they also have serious allergies and other immune-related disorders. This, of course, is no coincidence.


True story – it's not coincidence, it's genetic, hence why one breed has a much higher incidence than other breeds fed exactly the same diets.


Once it is understood that the allergies form in the area of the gut that is being damaged or coated by the "glue", it is easy to see why the trouble breeds like the German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, and others have their "genetic" tendencies such as allergic skin and ear problems, orthopedic abnormalities, intervertebral disc ruptures, and cancers. Once again, Pandora's Box is opened and unleashed upon these poor breeds through one basic mechanism: malnutrition via malabsorption taking place in the duodenum.


If all those problems come from the same dietary issue then how come they are directly correlated to the conformation and breeding of the dogs – why does the same issue supposedly cause such drastically different ailments in different breeds? You really, honestly think that gluten by exactly the same digestive mechanism causes hip dysplasia in German Shepherds and chronic ear infections in Cocker Spaniels? That the gluten somehow knows what breed it's in and results in different symptoms? I am boggled by the lack of logic there.


I used to be concerned that the veterinary profession had somehow missed the incidence of celiac disease in breeds other than the Irish setter. But, now that I understand the effects of the "glue" on the absorptive ability of the duodenal villi, I believe this possible oversight to be much less important. I believe the same to be true for humans. The "glues" affect all that consume them. Certainly, the "worst of the worst"...the celiacs, casein intolerants, and soy intolerants...have the most to be concerned about. But, with these trouble foods, it is a matter of when they will create a problem, not if. Those who test negative for these food intolerances should not be lulled to sleep with a false sense of security. These fortunate souls will just be healthier longer. This is clearly one of the things that make us individuals, placing us on a spectrum of wellness that ranges from serious illness during the first year of life to a clean bill of health well into the twilight years. The same is true of our pets.


"These fortunate souls will just be healthier longer" because they don't have the same medical issues as people with celiac disease, and therefore don't need the same treatment!


One important determinant will be the length of time it takes for an individual to deplete their reserves of these vital nutrients. We must realize that a condition like osteoporosis is an end-stage result of chronic calcium deficiency and that there existed less identified but significant symptoms that preceded this dreaded outcome. Certainly we can affect the pace of these syndromes through supplementation and eating correctly in other regards. However, if we continue to consume the blocking agents, the "glues", I am afraid that we will eventually lose the battle.


Osteoporosis is the result of hormone-regulated bone remodeling changes associated with menopause. It is not an issue in dogs or cats unless they have some other underlying problem, such as the massive calcium deficiencies seen in growing animals fed meat-only diets, which is kind of the opposite of geriatric animals fed large amounts of grain.


If we don't understand this, it is a matter of when...not if.

Dogtor J.

dogtorj@bellsouth.net

www.dogtorj.com (Read: The Answer- to "Why is the plane of our nation's health in a death spiral?" )


I am sad that this man claims the same profession as me. He is frighteningly far afield from all scientific evidence, and from the world in which I live.

Sat, Jun. 14th, 2014, 11:47 pm
So many things...

There is a question I get on a fairly regular basis, which kind of kills me a little every time I hear it. Because I am a sadist, I will share my slow pain with you.

The question comes in several variations, but all of them can be condensed down to: "what would my pet eat in the wild/naturally?"

Despite intention, this is not, for many reasons, the same question as "what is the best thing to feed my pet?"
Here are some of those reasons:
1: Your pet, unless you have some random non-domestic exotic pet, would not exist in the wild/is not a creation of nature. Yes, chihuahuas are genetically very similar to wolves. Well, humans are just as genetically similar to chimpanzees, but very few folks think we should all eat termites and leaves; where's the consistency there? In related news - some of the biggest genetic differences between wild dogs/wolves and domestic dogs is in their ability to digest starches.
2: Nature is a cruel bitch, and the lives of animals in the wild are typically short and brutal, with a lot of time spent on the verge of starvation. Yes, it is rare (though hardly unheard of!) to see age-related diseases such as as diabetes or cancer in wild animals. There are a couple of factors to that - most individuals die before they are old enough to develop those disease, or die very early in the development of them because chronic disease debilitates them enough to lead to death.
3: What most people who ask this question are wanting from me is permission/validation for feeding a raw meat diet. That usually means some combination of chicken and beef muscle meat, maybe with some egg shells or bone in. So turn that back around and logic it out - supposing your cat WAS wild, do you really think it'd be eating cow? How exactly would it be coming by that? You wanna feed a natural diet? feed live whole mice and chicks.
4: Myth: dogs and/or cats are predators, they don't need plant matter/can't digest plant matter. Really? Then why is it that intestine is the first thing many predators go for (assuming they don't just eat their prey whole)? To get the partially digested plant matter and all the nutrients therein, that's why. Commercial diets replace that by 'digesting' the plant ingredients through cooking.
5: Related myth: corn (or wheat, or brewers yeast, or bi-products, or gluten, or whey, or other evil-food-ingredient-of-the-week) is indigestible and will cause all manner of problems. This is only true inasmuch as allergies are a thing that happens. Allergies are a product of an over-reactive immune system, and that over-reactive tendency will be triggered by proteins commonly seen. Since corn, wheat, beef, and chicken are the most common protein sources in commercial pet foods, they are not-coincidentally associated with most of the food allergies we see. That's not the fault of the proteins, it's the fault of the immune systems being exposed to them. Guess what? When people started using lamb and rice more to try moving away from chicken and corn, we started seeing increasing incidence of allergies to rice and lamb.
6: In the wild, animals eat raw things all the time, so my dog/cat is naturally immune to salmonella/e coli/campylobacter, so food borne illness isn't a concern with raw pet diets. Sorry, no. A healthy adult animal does have a much lower likelihood of becoming seriously ill than a puppy/kitten, old, or otherwise debilitated animal exposed to pathogens. So does a healthy adult human - that's why so many food borne illness outbreaks disproportionately affect children and the elderly. And even if your dog doesn't appear ill, that doesn't mean you can't get sick from handling the food/contaminating your kitchen, or that the apparently healthy animal isn't shedding bacteria to contaminate your yard and get your kids sick.
7: It is EXTREMELY difficult to formulate a balanced homemade diet, and even more difficult if you want 'meat only'. Yes, it can be done, but it's generally expensive and time-consuming, and reliably formulated recipes are hard to come by. 'Meat only' is a particular problem because so often that means 'muscle meat only'; there are very few minerals or vitamins in muscle meat - unless that 'meat only' diet includes internal organs, nervous tissue, and bone, you are asking for huge nutritional deficiencies, especially in growing animals.

So the short answer to the question people ask: In the wild, your pet would most likely eat whatever scraps of anything it could find in the few days it had before being eaten by an owl or coyote.

The short answer to the question people should ask: You should feed a formulated, balanced diet from a reputable brand, intended for the species of your pet. That usually means middle-price-range commercial kibble or cans. Not the cheapest thing you can get (usually packed with unnecessary food coloring and low-quality ingredients), nor the most expensive 'designer' or 'premium' options (often overpriced with no related increase in quality, boasting semi-meaningless marketing terms like 'human/food-grade', 'all natural', or 'whole ingredient').

Sun, Mar. 9th, 2014, 08:04 pm
Book review - Handbook for Dragon Slayers

A fairly quick read (as you might notice given the time stamps between this entry and the one prior), Merrie Haskell's Handbook for Dragon Slayers was very, very good. A young princess chafing at her duties, and convinced everyone hates her because of her lameness, Mathilda's strongest desire is to be an author. I highly encourage you all to follow her adventures as she is kidnapped, rescued, faces dragons and The Wild Hunt, and battles sorcery with wits.

My only complaint is that we never get to hear how Frau Dagmar managed her part!

Sun, Mar. 9th, 2014, 02:41 pm
Book review - The Stepsister Scheme

I just finished book 1 of the Princess series by Jim C Hines, and it was a lovely, fun read. Had some predictable bits, of course, but that'll happen when you're basing your characters on well known fairy tales and legends. And there were some wonderful (and wonderfully awful) twists on those fairy tales, too. Basic premise is that after Cinderella's wedding, her stepsisters didn't just fade quietly into the background - they returned for revenge and kidnapped the prince. So Cinderella sets off in company of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to rescue him. Quick paced and light hearted, it was just the sort of story I needed to distract me from worries about taxes.

Moving on now to Handbook for Dragon Slayers, by Merrie Haskell.

Mon, Dec. 23rd, 2013, 08:17 pm
What he said!

http://leftoversoup.com/archive.php?num=484

Except, well, I've seen at least 1 young earth creationist source that claims the continental break-ups and movements did occur, all within the supposed 6000 years of earth history, so they might argue that the sloths didn't have far to carry those tree frogs. I might argue in return that the speed of movement and change in land in that scenario would NOT have gone unnoticed by the people living on those land masses.

Thu, Nov. 21st, 2013, 02:26 pm
Educational ranting time

I'm sure you've all seen a zillion or more "spay your dog or cat" adverts and PSAs. Most of those focus on pet overpopulation and the fact that millions of adorable kitties are killed annually in shelters and rescues. Some rescue, right? But you can only find homes for so many cats before every one of us becomes a hoarder. This is a totally valid issue, but it's not the one I'm here to rant about today.

I'm setting aside population health issues, and talking about the potential risks to the individual dog of retaining her reproductive bits.

A very brief run-down of the negatives of spaying:
1: they get fat. This is actually not even true - with the exception of medical conditions like thyroid disease, pets get fat because they eat too much and don't exercise enough, not because of a lack of ovaries. Now, desexed animals often have a lower metabolic demand, because they are not roaming around looking for a mate, and both pregnancy and lactation are high-energy activities, but really, if you feed your critter for her actual need, she will not get fat.
2: they won't be as good a guard dog/hunter/sheep herder/whatever. Really? you really think that border collie is herding sheep because her ovaries are rooting her on? NO. Just... no. Dogs hunt, guard, herd, work in general because that's what they are bred and trained to do. A hunting dog's "bird drive" isn't because they wanna get it on and make beautiful 'Labrapheasant' babies.
3: no babies. Clearly this is a problem if you actually plan on breeding. But it's only a problem until you're done breeding, at which point the dog should be spayed.
4: anesthetic. obviously, they have to be knocked out for us to go on an ovary hunt. There is a very small risk that any given dog will have a bad reaction to anesthesia. We can minimize this by spaying young, healthy dogs instead of waiting until they are ill, by doing blood work to evaluate liver and kidney function prior to anesthesia, and by placing an IV catheter so we have instant access to a vein for medication administration if needed. While this risk does exist, you actually have a higher risk that you'll get in a car crash on the way to the clinic than that the pet will crash under anesthesia.

A very brief run-down of the benefits of spaying:
1: no accidental babies. Clearly, if you have no ovaries, you have no eggs, and you make no babies.
2: no heat behaviors. Dogs cycle twice yearly, usually in spring and fall. Cats will cycle every few weeks throughout the spring and summer until they get preggers. ALL spring and summer. Constantly. Yowling, rolling, rubbing on everyone, bolting for doors, destroying window screens, and all the while, all the neighborhood boys are hanging in your yard or on your porch, peeing on all your stuff, fighting outside your bedroom window in the middle of the night, and generally making nuisances of their sex drives. Dogs are not usually so bad, but they have been known to roam over 5 miles from home looking for a date.
3: decreased injuries. See above roaming - dogs or cats that are out and about are much more likely to be hit by cars, kicked by horses, attacked by other dogs or cats, eaten by coyotes, or shot by annoyed neighbors.
4: no ovarian or uterine cancer. If you have no reproductive tract, you can get no cancers of the reproductive tract.
5: no ovarian cysts. See 4.
6: decreased mammary cancer rate. This one's a bit situational, in that it depends on the age of spay; spay before first heat, you get a 90%+ reduction in the risk of mammary tumors as an adult. Spay after the first heat but before the 3rd, and you still get a 50% reduction in risk. The older the animal gets, the less risk reduction you get, until spaying after diagnosis of mammary cancer, which gives no change at all in the risk of developing additional tumors. Mammary tumors are hormonally influenced in a big way, and the more heat cycles the animal goes through, the more chance they will develop them. This is an extremely common tumor in intact female dogs, but only moderately common in cats, so this is mostly a dog benefit. That said, my own cat died of metastasized mammary cancer a short while ago (she was a rescue with kittens when I got her, and was spayed as soon as she weaned, but..)
7: no pyometra. This is actually the one I want to talk about, because this is probably the most common killer of older intact female dogs that I see, and NOBODY seems to know about it until it happens.

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. It literally means pus-uterus, and that is a very appropriate name. You are all passingly familiar with abscesses, right? Those lovely pockets of tissue that fill with slimy, rank, yellow-green pus and won't heal until they've been drained and flushed and treated with antibiotics? now imagine that INSIDE YOUR UTERUS. Where's it gonna rupture, if it ruptures? That's right - into your abdomen. What's gonna happen then? That's right, you die a horrible death of peritonitis and systemic infection.

How does pyometra happen? Well, every time a dog goes through a heat cycle, the cervix opens up to allow semen entry should the dog breed. Every time a dog goes through a heat cycle, the tissue of the uterine wall swells up, primes itself to grow little feti, and basically makes itself as welcoming as possible. Every time the dog doesn't get pregnant, all that tissue has to be sloughed or resorbed, which leaves permanent changes in the uterine wall, so that the more heat cycles a dog experiences, the more risk of bacterial invasion through an open cervix, and the more likely said bacteria is to grow should it enter the uterus.

What do you see if your dog has pyometra? At first, maybe nothing more specific than lethargy and decreased appetite, probably a fever (but how often do you take your dog's temperature?) This is because the cervix probably closed again after the heat cycle ended, trapping the bacteria and accumulating fluids and pus inside the uterus. Usually, dogs will start vomiting and show increased thirst and urination after a few days. But not always. Sometimes they just die. Sometimes people ignore the vomiting, assuming the dog ate something inappropriate. Sometimes the dog dies after a couple of days of vomiting. If the dog is lucky, the cervix will re-open, and allow some of that pus to start draining out through the vagina. This relieves the pressure in the uterus, making immediate rupture less likely (not impossible!) and also making a huge, stinky, sticky mess of the dog, which most owners will notice. This is the point when I typically see these dogs. But not always... sadly, on at least 3 occasions that I can immediately recall, even this did not prompt the owners to bring the dog to the clinic. Of those 3 cases, all 3 dogs were presented after weeks of progressive illness, and all 3 are dead.

At any point in this spectrum, the treatment of choice is immediate hysterectomy and antibiotics. Take the uterus out, and get rid of the nasty. Antibiotics alone will almost certainly NOT work. Remember, the uterus is now a big balloon of pus and bacteria - a couple weeks of antibiotics might make the dog feel better for a little while, but won't get rid of that crap. How much pus do you think fits in a sac-organ intended to hold 6-10 babies? I think my personal record for pyometra spay is 7 pounds of pus. SEVEN FUCKING POUNDS OF PUS. To put that in perspective, a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. THAT dog actually lived, by the way.

Now, in case you're trying to educate someone who doesn't empathize enough with their dog to care about the risk of horrible death and the stress and discomfort of illness, try some financial info on for size. Prices will obviously vary depending on area and clinic, but at my clinic, to spay a medium-sized dog as a routine procedure, including placing a catheter and running fluids, and doing blood work prior to surgery, you'd be looking at $225. If you opt out of blood work and catheter, you'll be about $135. Think that's too much? For emergency hysterectomy for a pyometra, on the other hand, you're going to be $600-$800 for the same size dog. How's THAT bill sit with your pocket book? AND, the longer you delay in getting the dog treated, the higher the chances that you'll be handed a $600+ bill and still have to bury the dog. So preemptive spaying really is the cheap option.

TL;DR? There is absolutely no reason to not spay your dog as soon as you decide you're not breeding her. Whether that means you spay at 6 months and never breed at all, or you spay her the day she weans her last litter, I don't care - but I will firmly and loudly tell every single person that asks that the best choice, assuming you like your dog and like your pocket book, is to spay AS SOON AS YOU KNOW that you are done with pups. Stop procrastinating, there is no benefit in delay.

Thu, Oct. 31st, 2013, 10:40 am
About effing time!

FINALLY, the FAA has told airlines to stop being dumb and let people use ebooks and video players on planes because they will not somehow randomly make planes crash.

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