Saturday, March 29, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 61- My Bracket is Busted

As you may already know, I picked my NCAA bracket this year based on what animal team names I thought would taste the best (raw of course). Well, my strategy didn't work out so well and teams like the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers busted my bracket. Luckily I still have the Kansas Large Pigeons and the North Carolina Angry Goats, so I'm beating my brother. He picked all dogs to win such as Georgetown and UConn and that didn't really work out. He's more of a Red Sox baseball dog anyway, so no wonder his bracket stinks. Today my bracket runs into a little conflict as the Angry Goats take on the Louisville Cardinals (both very tasty). Even though I'm a bird dog, I had to go with the Goats since raw goat meat is my second favorite after cow stomach.

Hanging out with my dad today,
Stanislaw



***
by brother:
Well, as I mentioned previously, my mom will be out of town for a while leaving my dad home alone to take care of Stanley and me. Our mom thought that it would make dad's mornings easier if he could just give us a prepared raw food in our bowls. This allows them to test out a prepared diet and see how well we tolerate it. Our humans plan on using these pre-made meals the next time my brother and I have to stay at "camp" for a few days, so they need to make sure that we do okay on them.

I think we'll scarf down the deliciousness and be just fine! We picked up Nature's Variety Raw patties -- the ones made with venison meat. They were located in a freezer at the local pet shop, and were available in a variety of meats and 2 meal sizes: medallion and patty. The small medallions would have probably been more handy for dogs our size, but those bags were too small and wouldn't have lasted us the 6 days that we'll be fed this food. One bag of the big patties measured out to a perfect 12 meals (AM and PM) for my brother and me. Stanley is getting 1 full patty per day, and I will be eating 3/4 of one. Cutting the thick patties into quarters wasn't easy, and so next time we'll probably get the smaller-portioned medallions.

This food nearly quadruples our food costs (to almost $4 per day), and so it's not something that we will be eating on a regular basis. But I do have to admit... it sure looks easy to feed! And I'm all about feasting efficiency. All of our protein, bone, veggies, apple cider vinegar, oils and supplements (kelp) are already included in the extra stinky patties. We will still probably need our enzymes and a little yogurt added, but that's about it. Our dad will have an easy time filling our bowls so feasting can begin.

I will let you know if it was a feasting success. Until then...
Eat some meat!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Important Kibble Update!

Once when I was just a puppy and before I started eating a raw diet, my humans took me to PetSmart to look at the rats and hamsters. While I was there, this guy sold my human a few cans of wet Nutro puppy food claiming that it would reduce my poo volume up to 50%. I went home after a long day of trying to eat rats and feasted on my new food. That night started off pretty typically -- marking some territory, thrashing some stuff toys -- you know. But when I settled into my crate for sleepies, I soon realized that there was a massive poo in my bum. I mean, this was an emergency. Needless to say, I completely destroyed my crate and my human's carpet. Lucky they have a steamcleaner. And lucky I have never eaten Nutro again.

***
I'm sure you're sick of hearing about toxic dog food, but here we go again... There have been numerous complaints recently about Nutro kibble making dogs sick. Please let your kibble crunching buddies know that they need to keep an eye out for the following symptoms: diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, itching/allergy symptoms. Consumer complaints can be found
here. There has been a sudden influx of these complaints during March 2008.

Feast smart!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 57- A Note to Lilly

A love note from brother:
I remember the time when my girlfriend was allowed to visit, and we would chase squirrels in the park and snooze on the sofa. We loved sharing a back seat during car rides and I would lick her ears and protect her from big scary Labradors. Oh how I miss my Lilly.
Last night I received news that my beloved lady Lilly has not been feeling well. She's been having little chihuahua accidents on her mom's bed, and because Lilly is usually too lady-like to mark her territory, her mom decided to take her to the doctor. It turns out that she has an infection and crystals in her urine... I went through the same thing once! I came out the other side just fine, and my paws are crossed that Miss Lilly will do the same. I know she's at risk for bladder stones and surgery, but we're all hoping that will not be the case. Leave my lovely Lilly's belly alone!
We found this article by Lew Olson today which addresses urine crystals and bladder stones, symptoms, and ways to prevent and treat the condition. My humans tell me that she needs some antibiotics, but I think she needs some quality time with yours truly and a little raw meat feasting. I never thought I'd say this but... I'd be willing to share my feast with Lilly. Yes, share my feast. I hope Lilly likes venison!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 52- Holiday Meat Feasting

Although I'm a good Polish Catholic boy, I have to admit that I've already feasted on some delicious raw meat today (turkey necks, to be exact). The Bible does tell us we shouldn't eat meat on Good Friday, but it says nothing specifically about raw meat. Raw meat is an entirely different animal. Trust me, if baby Jesus ever feasted on some raw cow stomach like I have, He never would have banned it, not even for a few days a year! Hey, all dogs go to heaven anyway.

Stanislaw

***
more raw diet effects on brother:
Something new and strange has been happening to me since I've been on this diet. My tear stains are gone! I have snowy white fur around one eye and all along my lips on both sides. That fur had always been stained with a deep red/brown color. My humans don't believe in using bleaches or any harsh cleaners on me, and since I'm not a fancy show dog (I prefer to be a stinky and dirty lake-swimming boy), they didn't bother much with removing my stains.

Every single morning before we are allowed to eat our breakfast, my brother and I must sit nicely and patiently while our mom wipes our morning "boogies" from our eyes. If she sees any more "boogies" during the day she'll wipe those away as well. It's not so much that she wants to prevent stains but because she doesn't want our eyes all blocked up and for those boogies to wind up on her clothes and furniture. Yuck! Well, all of a sudden mom realized, that despite the presence of morning boogies just the same, that my stains were gone! (Stanley had stains too, I'm sure, but because he's black you can't see them.)

You can even see how my eye has changed if you look at the photos from the start of this blog until now. Some good before pictures can be seen in these posts: 1 and 2.

And now for the after picture!
I have that one freckle that can pose as a little tear stain, but it's just another one of my cute spots. Isn't that amazing? It was 3-weeks since by last bath that this picture was taken, and my face wasn't cleaned and I haven't been groomed since then. So mysterious! My mom wanted to find out why this might happen, and while she couldn't point to one particular cause, she found many potential reasons.

1. Water: Iron and other minerals in the water we drink are excreted by the body in the fluids (tears and saliva), and once they reach the air they are oxidized and turn a red/brown color. Our humans keep a water filter on their tap for their own drinking water, and they fill our bowl up with this as well. But they've always done this, so my mom has ruled this one out for me.

2. Yeast: The constant wetness under the eye area from tearing is a perfect moist, warm breeding ground for Ptyrosporin, or "Red Yeast." This can be coupled with a very low-grade bacteria infection which exacerbates tearing, and the yeast makes the red/brown color. Yeast usually has a smell.

3. Allergies/Infection: There can be direct medical conditions that cause our eyes to water, including allergies or bacterial infection of the tear ducts or ears. On their own, these reasons explain excessive tearing, but not staining .

4. Proteins: Proteins in the saliva and tears, when exposed to oxygen, dry to a brown color. I doubt the basic chemical make-up of my saliva has changed, so I'm not so sure about this one.

5. Food: Of course processed foods (especially those with food coloring) can cause bad staining around the mouth. Some believe that food allergies can change the pH of the body, which leads us to our next reason...

6. Body chemistry: The acidity of our body can vary greatly, and it may be related to the foods we consume. Some believe that a alkaline body can cause stains, and that apple cider vinegar can reduce this acidity and normalize our pH. When added to water, it can neutralize pH in the water we drink. A change in pH can make our bodies poor breeding grounds for yeast and bacteria. However, as mentioned in a previous post, apple cider vinegar has many tales of its many uses, but very few of them (if any) have been proven absolutely true through medical testing.

That said, the addition of apple cider vinegar has been one of the few changes (aside for the obvious - no more kibble) that my mom can think of. We were on raw for a while before the addition of unpasturized, organic ACV (the kind with bits floating in it), and there was no change. Then, after a few weeks with the ACV/honey mix added to our veggies my face was clean. Perhaps it took that long for the raw diet to do its thing, and it's a coincidence. We get so little ACV in our veggie mix it's hard to believe that it would do the trick...

It's an eye stain mystery. But all I care about is that I'm one good-looking boy. Whether I'm all stinky from a lake swim or fresh from a bath, all you'll find are freckles on this pretty face.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 51-A Belly Full of Tripe and A New Meat Locker

Today is the best day of my life since yesterday! I have a belly full of my favorite meat, tripe, and my own personal meat locker came in the mail and is fully functioning. It's packed to the brim with all my favorite raw meats and bones and now my humans can use their locker for their own stupid non-raw meat. Apparently they think my tripe smells like puke and they want to separate it from their food. Well, here's some news for my humans- tripe is puke (cow stomach with digested plant matter in it) and it smells and tastes delicious! Actually, one bad thing did happen to me today. I hurt a muscle in my foot because I slipped on my hardwood floor and now I have to wear a bandage. I'm telling all the dogs I see outside that I hurt my foot hunting buffalo and eating their tails off because that's a better story. I'm one bad puppy.


Feast hard,
Stanislaw

***
brother has a meat locker!:
Our freezer arrived yesterday! My mom almost had a heart attack when the delivery human arrived with the biggest box I've ever seen on a magic wheeling thing. It could barely fit through our little apartment hallway! She was terrified that she had measured wrong or ordered the wrong freezer. Fortunately, when she opened the first box there was a smaller one inside and then packaging inside that, so the freezer only wound up being moderately bigger that she expected. Because of the probable tipping and jostling during shipping, we had to wait 24 hours before plugging it in, and today we finally got to give it life. It gurgled quietly and got cold right away, so she loaded it with our meat and emptied out the human meat locker.

My brother and I couldn't believe all of the meaty deliciousness that we saw being carried to the new meat locker! We happened to be in our feasting cages at the time working on some stuffed femur bones (recipe below). But I couldn't contain myself and in a single leap I escaped my cage, femur bone in tow, and joined her in the kitchen. She took my femur away from me, but I didn't care... our freezer was packed with meat!!

Stanley and I immediately began sizing up this meat locker and made a few attempts at breaking in. To our absolute dismay we were unsuccessful, and the mighty meat locker was able to keep us at bay. We tried to make our saddest eyes at it but it was immune. We tried sad eyes on our mom but she wasn't giving in either. Instead, she took a picture of us looking pathetic with her annoying flashy box. How embarrassing!

I need to give this whole situation a little more thought if I'm going to figure out how to break into that box of feasting possibilities. I think I'm going to do what I do best and sleep on it. After all, I did go for a long run with mom today and now my belly is full of femur snacks, so I'm going to take my stuffed marmott and snooze on the sofa. Hopefully the answer will come to me in my dreams.

Stuffed Femur Bones
Once you're finished feasting on
some delicious meat and marrow in a femur bone, tell your human not to throw it away! My humans like to take it away for a time and keep it in a zip-lock in the fridge for the next day, when they make this to stuff inside:

ingredients:
3/4 cup ground raw meat
1 tablespoon yogurt or 1 raw egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix together, adding parmesan as needed to thicken. With a spoon or your fingers, stuff the contents into the bone. This can be served right away, or frozen to make it more of a challenge. Save any remaining meat mix for another day.

That's some mighty good snack feasting, especially if you've gotten a lot of exercise and need to get some protein and calories. I can't wait for more tomorrow!

Happy feasting!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Raw Food Diet Day 49- Meat Locker Nightmares

I'm a raw feasting dreaming boy. My favorite place to dream about catching my feasts is the top of the sofa, where I let my long legs dangle and air out my groin. My humans laugh at me when I sleep this way, but they don't know what they're missing. Last night I had a dream that I hunted down a rabbit and a squirrel and brought them home for a snack. I am one fast boy, and those running feasts are no match for me. But my dream turned into a nightmare when my human took my fresh feasts away from me and put them in the meat locker! They told me that they were saving them for later, but I was hungry now! To my horror I could not get the meat locker to open, no matter how much I barked and whined and cried and looked at it with the saddest eyes I could make. Does it have no feelings? No one is too powerful to escape the sad eyes! I woke myself up from this horrible nightmare because I was barking in my sleep. Phew. I felt much better when I realized that I would be eating my morning meal soon, and I didn't have to fight the meat locker for it. Now I'm exhausted from my uneasy sleep and full belly, so I'm going to take a nap on the sofa and expose my groin for a while.

Feed me,
Stanislaw


***
brother is excited:
I'm really into crunching bones. This morning I was really surprised to hear that my humans also like to crunch something... numbers. Those sure sound tasty. What really sounds tasty to me is the impending arrival of our new meat locker. From what I can tell, a delivery human will be bringing a new one right to our door, and it's going to be just for Stanley and me! Man, are we special boys. I also overheard some talk about a lock on it, which I absolutely do not approve of, but as long as the feasts emerge from that meat locker and appear in my bowl in time for breakfast and dinner every day I think I'll be okay with it.

We live in a small apartment, and so my humans weren't too sure about taking up more space and spending all that money on this new addition. However, after spending much time crunching those tasty numbers, they've come to realize that it will save them lots of money in the long run. It'll even pay for itself in 4 months since they will be able to make large orders from their local co-op, where being a member pays off big-time with low meat prices. They've never been able to order from there before because there is a minimum amount that you must get, and they couldn't store it all. But another review of finances revealed that my humans will save about $35 each month if they got our food this way, and so Stan and I are getting our freezer!

The new locker is a 3.5 cu. ft. Haier freezer, which is only supposed to cost $20 per year to run. It has a small footprint so it can fit in a tight space, and the design is such that it can be pushed right up against a wall (some freezers require an inch or two of space for ventilation). It's not a big meat locker like the one my humans have, but it has more than enough space to fit the 72lbs of food that Stan and I feast on every 8 weeks. And with the sudden drop in our food expenses, this raw diet seems like a better deal than ever. My people used to spend 85-cents per day per dog on our high-end kibble, and with the co-op purchases and storage space, our new meal budget comes to $1 per day per dog. I have no idea how much a dollar is, but it must be a lot because meat that tasty can't come cheap.

I have to go -- Stanley and I scheduled a meeting to figure out how to break into the meat locker. I've got the brains and Stan's got the height (see how lanky his in that picture??), so I think we may be able to do this. If you have any advice please let me know, because my humans sure aren't going to let me in on their locker-opening secrets.

Keep you feasts frozen,
Stanislaw's brother

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 47- Selection Sunday


Just hanging out watching some sports today and waiting for the NCAA brackets to come out tonight. I've decided that I'm filling out my bracket by picking each game based on which team's mascot I think would taste better. This has really opened my mind up to some crazy raw meats that I could sample, such as Clemson Tiger meat or Texas Longhorn tail. I have no idea what a Hoya is, but it sure sounds tasty. How about some Wisconsin Badger liver or Kansas Jayhawk wings? I'm really hoping the Virginia Tech Hokies get in because I'm pretty sure a hokie is some sort of turkey and I love raw turkey necks. I may pick them to go all the way.

Raw Meat is a Slam Dunk!
Stanislaw

***
brother barks about medical stuff again:
If you've been reading my blog, you know that a few years ago I had what humans call "heartworm." I had no idea that little wormies were hanging out and having babies inside of me! When my humans adopted me, they put me through this horrible treatment that included 2 shots in my bum, followed by 6 weeks of lock-down. I guess heartworms are super naughty because I was grounded for so long! My little body blew up like a balloon, I snarled at my mom when she got too close because I was in so much pain, and I just hid in my crate for the first few days. I guess the punishment taught me my lesson, because once it was over there was just fun and feasting and I've never had to do that again.

We used to live in the south, and because it's swimming-weather most of the year, my brother and I had to take our heartworm pills every single month year-round. But in October we moved to a super cold part of the country and I haven't tasted one of those pills since! Well, it's finally getting to be outdoor-running season again, and my humans have begun to wonder when the medicine should be taken back out of the cabinet.

Most humans know that it takes 6 months for heartworm larvae to become mature, reproductive worms. I'm also sure that they know that the disease is spread when a mosquito bites an infected dog, and then bites another dog, injecting the larvae and spreading the disease. Here are some things that they may not know~

When a mosquito bites a heartworm-positive dog, the larvae that the mosquito then becomes infected with need to incubate for about 2 weeks, which brings them to a life stage where they are able to infect another dog. If the mosquito bites a dog too soon, the larvae will die and the dog will not get worms. These larvae are very fragile, and if the temperature outside drops below 57 degrees at any time during this incubation period, the larvae will not survive.

If the larvae make it to this next stage and the mosquito bites and spreads the disease, the larvae will continue to mature and eventually make their way from the bite location to the dog's bloodstream. They will continue to grow to mature in the dog's heart and lungs. After about 3 months they mature to worms, and at 6 months they are able to reproduce.

Adult Heartworms
Photo from: http://cals.arizona.edu/urbanipm/insects/heartworm.html

Female heartworms are larger than males, and can get to be 6 inches in length! If left untreated, these worms will continue to reproduce and clog the ventricles of the heart, eventually killing the host. The scary thing is that treatment of a full heartworm infection (one that includes adult, sexually mature worms) can also be deadly!

You see, the injections that are given kill the worms right away. As the heart beats these dead worms are expelled and absorbed by the body. If the heart beats too quickly (if we get too excited or are too active), then a clump of worms will be expelled, clogging arteries and blocking blood flow to the lungs, causing respiratory failure and often, death. It takes about 6 weeks for the dead worms to be cleared by the body. This is why I was under house arrest for so long, and my humans had to carry me up and down the stairs every time I had to go potty! Once the adult worms have been successfully taken care of, the dog begins a monthly heartworm treatment to kill any more larvae and prevent this from ever happening again.

The only true prevention of heartworm is to never let an infected mosquito bite you. Unless you live under a mosquito net, this is impossible. The way that heartworm pills prevent the disease is by killing the larvae in your system before they can mature to the stage where they actually become worms. The larvae can't hurt you, so this method is pretty effective. Returning to our discussion of the mosquito incubation period -- the reason why heartworm treatment may not be needed year-round where you live is because the temperature probably drops below 57 degrees for part of the year. The time to resume preventative treatment is 45 days after the temperature has warmed up sufficiently, and stop 45 days after it has dropped below, and definitely after the first frost.

It is extremely important that your human remember your pills, because a missed month is all it takes to increase your risk dramatically. They also need to get you checked annually just to make 100% sure that the preventative pills have been doing their job. Trust me... you don't want to be grounded for heartworm!

Informational resources:
B-Naturals Newsletter: Heartworm, by Lew Olson
Citadel Tibetan Mastiffs: Timing Heartworm Preventative (this one has great maps with estimated start/end months for the US)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Morning of Day 44- Dog Park Hangover

Usually I like to spend my mornings terrorizing my brother, thrashing some toys, barking my head off and looking for any bit of trouble I can sink my teeth into. My brother also enjoys starting his day with some big-time singing-christmas-tree-mouse-toy abuse and general running about. This morning, however, we're still feeling the effects of last evening's serious dog park partying, and our plans are just to sleep it off for most of the day. Our motto is "go hard or go home," and now that we actually are home I'm not planning to move from this spot until the next time I hear my humans open the meat locker. We've got some dog park hangovers.




Raw Food Diet Day 44- I'm One Tired Boy

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that feasting was not the most important thing on my list of important things to do in a day. I got to play at the dog park! When we first got there, I saw so many crazy and stinky dogs that I almost pulled a muscle in my back because my tail was wagging so hard. Then my human let me off the leash and I pranced around and sniffed some bums, then set off sprinting as hard as I could while the other dogs chased me in a group. I'm a really fast boy, and I love being chased! My brother didn't like one of the dogs so he had to stay on his leash and wasn't allowed to play until that group of dogs went home. But then a whole bunch of female dogs showed up at the same time and my brother was in heaven. He loves to crawl on his belly and flirt with the girls. I think girls are stinky and only good for a game of chase, so I stuck my bum in the air and slammed my front legs on the ground and took off running. Those girls are slow-pokes!

My human said that we were there for almost 2 hours. I am only interested in "hours" if they're good for feasting. Towards the end my brother and I could barely get ourselves to go faster than a jog... until this greyhound showed up. I couldn't believe it -- he was faster than me!! This can't be! I thought I'd show him who's boss around this park and ran so hard that I barked and squeaked with every leap, but he still beat me. I got so fed up that I insisted we go home and I demanded the raw egg and cheese snack feast that I deserved for being the fastest boy around. After all, the greyhound obviously cheated. He's a horse and shouldn't be at the dog park.

Bark parks are the best because I get to play with so many new dogs and make a million new friends every time I go. I forget all of their names right away, but my sore sprinting muscles the next day make me remember all of the races I won. Nothing's better than going to a stinky park, lifting my leg on everything I see, and then showing off my speed-racer abilities. I hope my humans have this much fun at their human park!

I'll race you,
Stanislaw



****
brother typed for hours:
We love the park. My favorite is body-slamming my brother while he's running full speed and then stealing the attention of the girl that was chasing him. I'm a sneaky boy like that, and I fancy myself something of a ladies' man. For me, the Bark Park is all about fun, flirting and feasting. But to our humans, dog parks can bring worry of bacteria and viruses that other dogs might carry. With that, let’s talk about vaccines.
It seems that raw feeders, holistic medical practices and an anti-vaccine attitude go hand-in-hand amongst the majority of the humans that choose to practice these canine care techniques. When your human takes his/her first steps towards this alternative lifestyle education (by "alternative" I mean non-kibble), it can feel to them as if they are peering into a somewhat cult-ish mentality. It’s overwhelming to say the least, and so much of what’s out there is written from an almost-rabid point of view. (Like that use of “rabid” in my vaccination post?) My human and I have read and read and searched website after website, and finally digested the volumes of information to create this extremely abbreviated posting on our findings of vaccine information, pros and cons. This is an area that requires much research and education by your human before they make any changes in your medical routine, and the information provided is in no way set in stone. Your person must make these choices with the help of your doctor.

Humans, dogs, cats, horses, ferrets... all are vaccinated. There are so many diseases that once plagued each of these species that have been eradicated, or controlled to the point that threat of infection is almost non-existent. There are so many pros that come with vaccinating, with peace of mind being ranked somewhere near the top of that list. Health, of course, sits above that. However, glowing health cannot be promised because vaccines, like all things in life, aren’t 100% effective 100% of the time. So if they're faulty, then why vaccinate at all?

Generally, there are 2 external factors that can seriously effect our health, and for which we are given preventive injections. These include bacterial and viral disease. Bacterial threats that are commonly vaccinated for are Canine Bordatella (CAV-1), Leptospirosis, and Lyme Disease. Immunity built up from bacterial pathogens is short-term, and so vaccines for these infections are not effective for much time. Viral disease vaccines include Rabies, Canine Infectious Hepatitis (CAV-2) (expected to have a viral entomology), Canine Parainfluenza, Canine Parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), Canine Distemper (CDV), Canine Coronavirus, Canine Adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) and Giardia (not a true virus but its make-up and pathology are similar). Viral immunity is very long-lasting, and in some cases a singular exposure to the pathogen can result in a life-long immunity.

There are two different ways to create a vaccine. One uses a modified live version of the infecting pathogen (Modified Live Vaccine = MLV), the other uses killed pathogens. In MLV vaccines, since the virus is still active (but not highly infectious since modified) the immune system has a high response rate. Therefore, a smaller dose is needed and it will provide better and longer-lasting protection. The pathogen in this case acts more like the disease-causing form of itself, so the body is able to create a stronger and more precise immunity against it. Killed vaccines are weaker, and because the pathogen is already dead the body has far less of a immune response. Because of this, adjuvants are added to the mix, which stimulate the immune system. Adjuvants, however, have been found to be the cause of many side-effects.

It is difficult to make negative argument with regard to the prevention of such a vast array of diseases and infections. I believe I have heard humans say that prevention is the best medicine. However, vaccines don’t just cause immune responses to the virus or bacteria, and the more often we are vaccinated the more likely we are to develop adverse reactions. There have been studies done to figure out how often and to what extent us dogs need to be vaccinated. Presently, the veterinarian-recommended amount is excessive, up to 16 vaccines given every year, and some bacterial vaccines given every 6 months. Triggering severe immune responses with such frequency can cause the immune system to behave in a way that it was not intended, and the results can be detrimental.

According to Jean Dodds, DVM, a veterinarian who has been studying vaccine guidelines for over 30 years, we are being overdosed with vaccinations when there was never any set data to begin with that stated vaccines must be administered annually. Overdone Parvovirus and Distemper vaccines have been shown to be responsible for immune-related diseases, such an anemia, arthritis, epilepsy, thyroid disease, liver and kidney failure, diabetes, and allergies. (1)

“Approximately 5 to 10 percent will develop problems,” according to Dodd. “That increases 20 percent in pure breeds.” (2).

Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine studied the effect of vaccines on the canine immune system. What they found was a greatly increased occurrence of autoimmune disease in the study group of vaccinated animals, while these diseases were not seen in the non-vaccinated group. In the vaccine group, these dogs were seen to have developed a “confused” immune system, that began attacking its own elements for tissue growth and repair, and some showed blood work which indicated a response similar to that of the human disease Lupus. Antibodies to the body’s own collagen were also reported, along with autoantibodies to the dogs’ own DNA (3,4)


The American Veterinary Medical Association discovered that over 160,000 cats each year were developing terminal cancer at injection sites, and in August of 2003 the Journal of Veterinary Medicine showed that dogs were, in fact, suffering from the same issue. Cancer-causing vaccines is not a strange thought, as the Salk polio vaccine for humans was shown to have the same result. (5)


According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (Merck is a major manufacturer of vaccines), autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), a fast-acting, generally fatal disease, which can be caused by MLV vaccines. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine and Tizrard’s Veterinary Immunology also agree with these findings. Merck also published findings that vaccines can cause encephalitis (brain inflammation). (6)

As canines, our immune systems mature at 6 months of age. Like humans, if the body is exposed to a pathogen and develops immunity against this invader after the system has reached maturity, the memory cells for this disease are created and immunity is set for life. This makes the need for booster shots debatable and arguably something to avoid, as the consistent introduction of pathogens to the system can cause any number of side-effects. (7)


The extent to which some vaccines are useful is also something that is debated. While a Bordetella or Parvo vaccine may protect against a few strains of the disease, the pathogen is always mutating and we are, in fact, never 100% protected. To put this into a human’s perspective – your human can catch Mono (Mononucleosis) or the Chicken Pox and develop immunity against that particular strain of the disease that will last them through their life. However, at some point in their lifetime they may be exposed to a different strain of the disease that has mutated, and their immunity is no good. They can catch the Chicken Pox as many times as they are subjected to new strains. The same goes for many of our canine diseases.


So what is your human to do? It is difficult to turn your nose up at the vaccines that can help prevent serious, life-threatening diseases. And if you’re a city dog, like my bother and me, it may be best for you to maintain your immunity. We are out and about all of the time, exposed to many different things and playing with lots of dogs. Our exposure rate is high. For some dogs who live at home and play in their back yard, the level of risk is quite low. Vaccination requirements for each of us can be quite different, and the longevity of a vaccine may play a more important role in some dogs' lives and not others'.


Ronald Shultz, a professor and chair of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Science has been testing the duration of a vaccine’s effect. According to Shultz, “...the vaccines for CDV, CPV-2, and CAV trigger an immunological memory of at least seven years.” His studies of rabies shots, however, indicate that they last only 3 years, which is why most states legally require rabies vaccines to be administered at this rate. Other “non-core” vaccines have been shown to last only 1 year, however not every dog has a need for these injections (see below for list of "core" and "non-core" vaccines). (8)


“Another common vaccine that Schultz says is unnecessary protects against ‘kennel cough,’ an often mild and transient disease contracted during boarding or dog shows. ‘Most pet dogs that do not live in breeding kennels, are not boarded, do not go to dog shows and have only occasional contact with dogs outside their immediate family,’ Schultz recommends, ‘rarely need to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated for kennel cough’ (9).


The American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccination Task Force has reviewed the recent research on vaccines and divided them into groups, ranked from most necessary or “core,” to “not generally recommended.” These groups are as follows:


“ . . . Recommended or “core” vaccines are those that the committee believes should be administered to all puppies (dogs <6>

Vaccines identified as “not generally recommended” are those that the committee believes have little or no indication. The diseases involved are either of little clinical significance or respond readily to treatment. In addition, the vaccines available against these diseases have not demonstrated clinical efficacy in the prevention of disease and may produce adverse events with limited benefit. The vaccines that the committee believes fall into this category are Giardia spp., canine coronavirus (CCV), and canine adenovirus- 1 (CAV-1). . . .“ (10, 11)


If all of this seems like too much to put together, I have included a portion of Dr. Jean Dodd's Recommended Vaccine Schedule. Please refer to the website for a complete chart and more information. Again, this is not medical advice, but information for your human to discuss with your doctor.

Dr. Jean Dodds' Recommended Vaccination Schedule
VaccineInitial1st Annual BoosterRe-Administration Interval
Distemper (MLV)
(e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
9 weeks
12 weeks
16 - 20 weeks
At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only
None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 / 15 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
Parvovirus (MLV)
(e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
9 weeks
12 weeks
16 - 20 weeks
At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
Rabies
(killed)
24 weeks or olderAt 1 year (give 3-4 weeks apart from Dist/Parvo booster) Killed 3 year rabies vaccine3 yr. vaccine given as required by law in California (follow your state/provincial requirements)
Vaccines Not Recommended For Dogs
CoronaNot recommended.
1.) Disease only affects dogs <6>
LeptospirosisNot recommended
1) There are an average of 12 cases reported annually in California.
2) Side effects common.
3) Most commonly used vaccine contains the wrong serovars. (There is no cross-protection of serovars) There is a new vaccine with 2 new serovars. Two vaccinations twice per year would be required for protection.).
4) Risk outweighs benefits.
Bordetella
(Intranasal)
(killed)
Only recommended 3 days prior to boarding when required.
Protects against 2 of the possible 8 causes of kennel cough.
Duration of immunity 6 months.
(12)

There's a lot going on here, I know. But it's important to be aware of the facts regardless of whether or not your human is considering reducing your vaccinations. For some dogs like me who are prone to developing allergies, over-vaccinating can be a serious threat as the risk of developing autoimmune disease increases dramatically. But, for a healthy, active, very social dog, a full round of vaccines may be determined to be what's best for you. In the end I'm not here to push anything on anybody. I'm just sticking around to provide your human with information, because the more knowledge they have the better off you're going to be. So, here's to research.. and to post-research snacking.

This is brother signing off.

Sources:
(1) "Are Our Pets Being Overvaccinated?" by Melissa Burden
(2) "Are Our Pets Being Overvaccinated?" by Melissa Burden
(3) Purdue University and Hayward Foundation Study on Vaccines
(4) "The Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll
(5) "The Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll
(6) "The Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll
(7) "The Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll
(8) "Annual Dog Vaccines May Not be Necessary, Says UW Veterinary Immunologist" by Emily Carlson
(9) "Annual Dog Vaccines May Not be Necessary, Says UW Veterinary Immunologist" by Emily Carlson
(10) AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force: 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature
(11) IL Cocker Rescue: Vaccines
(12) Dr. Jean Dodd's Recommended Vaccine Schedule

Another excellent resource:
Re-Vaccination: Vaccination for Previously Vaccinated Dogs and Older Puppies

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 40- A Change of Heart: Good News After All

brother takes the computer once again:
Well, I'm exhausted from all of the research I've been doing with my human about the effect of the raw diet on BUN and creatinine levels. My human wasn't particularly thrilled with the feedback from the vet. She found the whole situation to be somewhat peculiar. The vet asked her why she wanted a blood test, and she told him that I needed another check after having a "dramatic change in diet." Well... he never asked her what that change was! In fact, he didn't even seem interested. Strange, no? So she went online to her favorite K9Nutrition group and asked if anyone else had seen elevated BUN on a raw diet. Guess what? They did! They mentioned something that she didn't even think of: that I should have been fasted before my test. That doesn't sound like a good idea whatsoever to me, but I guess my RMB meal that morning could have had a huge effect on my BUN since there were only 4 hours between feasting and testing. But overall things are looking up, and the more research we do the more normal my numbers appear. In fact, tests have shown that dogs on a raw diet normally run higher numbers and it's quite okay -- as long as other kidney tests come back within the healthy range. (Creatinine, BUN and urine specific gravity are the major 3 in kidney function testing.) We were able to find this K9Nutrition archive which explains the situation, and which links to this article by Antech diagnostics. Everything seems to point to elevated BUN numbers, normal creatinine, and normal USG. Hooray! Looks like I may actually be better off than I was before. I couldn't have hoped for better news. Yet another example of why the raw diet is full of magical feasting-awesomeness.

Boy have I come a long way from my pre-feasting days. (I couldn't resist including a picture of those hard-livin', shelter times below... please don't laugh at my Elvis 'do.) Life is good when you're as spoiled as Stan and I are.

I think I'm done with my napping now, and I'm going to go thrash my St. Paddy's day toy from grandma until it's dinner time.

Happy feasting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Some good news, some okay news

Just got my blood test back from my doctor. I could hear what he was saying even though the phone was up against my human's ear. There was some good news, and some just sort of okay news. I guess by BUN levels went up, but my creatinine levels dropped down. This means I still have to get my blood tested every year, but I'm not in harm's way and there's nothing really to be concerned about right now.

BUN (blood urea nitrogen) is a measurement of nitrogen-containing urea compounds that are found in the blood. They are the byproduct of the body's breakdown of large protein molecules that we ingest with our foods. BUN numbers are effected by what we eat and our protein intake. These urea compounds are of no use to the body, and the kidneys are responsible for removing the toxin from our bloodstream. If the kidneys are not functioning as they should, the blood winds up with a build-up of these chemicals. Normal BUN numbers range from 7-27 mg/dL. A number too low can indicate problems with the liver, and a number in the 60s to 80s indicates early kidney failure. This time my number went up from 28 to 34. It's something to watch, but every vet I've seen has told my human that there are anomalies, and this might just be normal and healthy for me. Plus, I've got some mighty fine creatinine and red blood cell readings to keep me in the safe zone.

Creatinine is less dependent on our protein feasts than BUN, even though it is also a protein metabolyte. Normal ranges go from 0.4-1.8 mg/dL. My previous readings were 1.4, but this time I came back with a 0.9. This extremely important reading with regard to kidney function puts me in the low/healthy range. The combination of BUN and Creatinine is the key to catching kidney disease, and so far I seem to be just fine.

Not to mention that my red blood cell count was very good. I show no signs of anemia which can be an indicator of acute renal disease. I am not drinking water excessively (in fact, I hardly drink water from my bowl at all anymore since the BARF diet!) and my hydration is good. I'm an energetic, active boy and plan to stay that way for a long time!

Happy feasting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Keep your paws crossed for big brother

My human and I just returned from my least favorite place... the doctor's office. They put me on a cold table that moved up and down and I was so scared I couldn't stop shaking. Then a man with a nice voice came over and squeezed my belly, looked at my teeth and absolutely traumatized me when he stuck something that beeped in my bum. I tried to protect myself with my tail but that little nubby thing did no good! When I heard the beep I tried to sit on that darn thing to squish it, but the doctor took it out for me and announced that I was a healthy 101. Am I really that old?


The reason my human brought me there was so that I could get a blood test. I really don't like it when strangers grab at my legs so this is one of my least favorite things to have done -- after that beeping thing. That's pretty bad too. I tried to lick the doctor's face profusely in an attempt to disorient him and make him feel guilty for torturing such a cute animal, but he was immune. Next thing I knew I was being restrained and then jabbed with a needle. It didn't really hurt but I screamed at the top of my lungs to let the world know that this doctor man has superhuman powers and not even puppies can act as his kryptonite. How can that be?!

Tomorrow my mom gets the blood tests back. I'm nervous, because my BUN levels have always been 1 point too high, and my creatinine readings are always at the high end of the healthy range. These numbers are a way to check kidney function, and numbers that creep up too high indicate renal failure. While I'm a healthy boy, I have to keep getting these numbers checked 1-2 times per year to make sure I'm doing okay. This time, because of my big diet change, it was time for another check.

After the appointment was over I had "sad tummies" all over the vet's waiting room because my nerves got the best of me. I felt better during the walk home and right now I'm eyeing a chair that has some of my mom's stuff on it. I really love to sleep on her stuff. It's time for a nap.

Well, keep your paws crossed for me. I'll let you know what happens tomorrow.

Raw Food Diet, Day 31- If You Don't Know What It Is, Don't Eat It

:: Stanislaw and his brother apologize for the late posting. Their humans' internet connection decided to take a vacation, and so the blogging had to go on hold. The feasting, however, continued full-force. ::

Some people say that if you don't know what something is, you shouldn't eat it.

Well I disagree.

How are you supposed to find out what something is without eating it? Whether it's a piece of fuzz on the floor, some wet bread someone threw to a pigeon, or a month-old Cheez-It that got trapped under the stove, the only way to really know if it's food is to eat it. What's the worst thing that could happen? If you consume something that turns out to be a piece of paper, just spit it out. If I went through life avoiding random things that I found on the ground, I would've missed out on some good in-between-meals feasting. Like that old chicken tender I located by the dumpster, the Skittle in the elevator, or the dead frog out on the trail. My point is to always be on the lookout for potential food that you can find exploring your hallway or neighborhood. Who knows? You may one day stumble upon a piece of raw goat meat some human dropped in the lobby. Trust me, if you don't eat it, some other dog will. And you will still be hungry.

Feast hard,

Stanislaw



***
big brother at least sniffs things sometimes...
While the threat of missing a feast is something that keeps me awake at night, sometimes just diving in and munching away can do more harm than good. I don't like vets, and I'd rather avoid visiting them in their lairs of cold tables and poking fingers. Your human can also help you avoid that scary place by keeping things that will make you sick out of your feasting reach. And so, as a continuance of my post about dog first aid, here's some info about foods and plants to stay far, far away from. If you stick to this, then you can keep far, far away from that vet!

We all know that chocolate, despite the fact that it smells delicious, is poisonous to dogs. It contains a chemical called Theobromine that cannot be processed by us. Humans are able to metabolize this potent chemical quickly enough that the low levels found in certain foods do not hurt them. Dogs and most other animals are not so lucky. We are not able to process the chemical and get it out of our bodies fast enough, and so we are highly susceptible to threobromine poisoning. The early symptoms of this are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, which soon progress into heart arrhythmias or heart attacks, seizures, and eventually death. Tea and sodas also contain theobromine, and must obviously be avoided.

Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts will cause kidney failure if we eat enough of them. While the reason for this toxicity is not completely understood, amounts as low as 9 ounces have been lethal. Unfortunately, most dogs are not treated in time because grapes are not viewed by many to be so toxic, but if you cannot stop vomiting, cease drinking and urinating, and/or if your breathing becomes irregular -- these can all be symptoms of grape toxicity. Tell your human to never toss grapes into your veggie blend!

As we've discussed before, cooked bones are extremely dangerous for our stomach and intestines, as are high amounts of certain organs, like liver, which can cause us to suffer from an excess of vitamin A. Hypervitaminosis A can damage the bones and muscles.

Alcohol is a big no-no for reasons I'm sure your human will understand. Caffeine is also a bad one, and can be fatal if ingested at around 150 mg per pound of body weight. One teaspoon of instant regular coffee contains 60 mg of caffeine, so it's very easy to reach those toxic levels. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include hyperactivity, increased breathing and heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia, muscle tremors and bleeding. Pretty much anything that gives your human a jolt of energy is never to be given to an animal, and these items include energy drinks, coffee, tea, soda, energy tablets, and medications.

Onions can cause a dog to become anemic. Garlic in high enough doses will do the same thing. While both of these items can be consumed safely in small amounts, us dogs love strong tastes and would probably feast on a whole container of crushed garlic if given the chance. Garlic is one of those tricky ones to deal with, because in moderate doses it is good for a dog. Just have your human use their best judgement.

Always avoid mushrooms, sugar and sweeteners (like xylitol). Refined sugars, while not exactly toxic, are just not a healthy or necessary additive.

We pups love things that are sweet, and unfortunately anti-freeze and some medications have that great taste. If you lick up some anti-freeze, your human needs to be aware that there is a small window of time during which they can rush you to the vet and you can be saved. Once the chemical begins to do damage, it is too late. As for the medications -- humans should never allow their dogs to eat anything that's prescribed or over the counter for people. Stick with what your vet recommends. Never let your humans medicate you without a vet's instructions.

The lesson learned here is that we've got to stick to our tasty raw meats, and keep everything in moderation. Watch what you put in your mouth, because it may be dangerous even if it smells delicious. If your human suspects that you may have gotten into something harmful, they need to call their vet, the local emergency clinic, or animal poison control immediately. And remember, sniff it before you eat it.

This post only touched upon a few of the items that need to be avoided by a dog. For additional items please view the following lists:


Feast Smart,
Brother

Information for this post is taken from The Humane Society, Healthypet.com, and Vetinfor4dogs.com