8 Myths Your Veterinarian Might Be Telling You
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8 Myths Your Veterinarian Might Be Telling YouKeep Your Pet Healthy
Below are 8 common myths you may have heard or your Veterinarian told you that I would like to clarify:
1. You must feed dry kibble to your pet to keep its teeth clean.
No. Dogs and cats are carnivores and are poor chewers. Dental disease in dogs and cats is caused by the same reasons as in the human; high bacterial population in the mouth and poor immune system. Bacteria populations in the pet’s mouth need sugar to thrive and sugar comes from feeding too much starch in the pet’s diet. Feeding a healthy, non-processed diet with no starch is the best preventative measure. Giving raw bones (too large to break or swallow) and either chicken or turkey necks is an excellent way to help clean the teeth, provide a natural source of calcium and eliminate boredom.
2. Feeding raw food is dangerous.
Research has indicated that the best diet for dogs and cats is a diet that mimics their ancestral diet; balanced, wholesome and raw. Heat-processed pet food has lost most of its nutritional value and creates bi-products that are directly linked to chronic inflammation in our pets. It is true that whenever a person handles raw food, they need to clean up after themselves, whether preparing it for themselves or their pet. The risk of bacterial contamination becoming a problem in the pet is very low as the pet’s stomach acid is much higher than humans, killing any unwanted bacteria in the food. Never try to convert a pet that has been on dry kibble to a fresh, raw diet without the help of a holistic veterinarian.
3. You must vaccinate your pet annually to be safe.
No. This is old school thinking that is now considered obsolete. Not only are annual vaccinations not needed for the pet’s protection, but may actually be harmful. Over-vaccinating stresses the immune system, has potential for harmful reactions and has been linked to long-term diseases. Instead of vaccinating, have your vet do vaccination titers to determine whether your pet is protected against these viruses. Ask your veterinarian about vaccination titers.
4. All rabies vaccine is the same.
No. Most of us are aware of the vaccination controversy in children. This is due to the possible link between vaccines and autism in children. The studies have focused on the preservative in vaccines called Thimerosal. Thimerosal has been used for years as a preservative in vaccines. Thimerosal is composed of 48% mercury and mercury has been linked to brain diseases. The FDA has prohibited the use of Thimerosal as a preservative in all human vaccine. The FDA did not do the same for animal vaccine. Most rabies vaccine used for dogs and cats contains Thimerosal, and like humans, Thimerosal has been linked to brain disease in animals. There are two companies that make Thimerosal-free rabies vaccine. You should always check with your veterinarian before giving the rabies vaccine to make sure that the vaccine is a safe, Thimerosal-free rabies vaccine.
5. Blood testing will indicate whether using NSAIDS like Rimadyl will be harmful to the dog.
Not necessarily. Years ago, when non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were first introduced, many dogs became acutely ill from the drugs. It was clear that the drug was causing liver disease in some dogs. When the drug was given, some dogs had an idiosyncratic reaction to the drug. This is a toxic reaction that caused the liver to react to the drug much like it does with other toxic chemicals. Blood testing to determine if the liver is healthy will not indicate whether the dog is going to have a toxic reaction or not. This will only be determined when the individual dog has been given the drug and you can therefore see his reaction to it. The drug company suggested to veterinarians that blood testing should determine if the drug would be a problem. This is not true. A normal blood test will often give the dog caretaker a false sense of security that the dog will not have a problem with the drug. Most of these drugs have many potential harmful side-effects, especially used long-term. These drugs should be used only to effect and only when absolutely needed.
6. Feeding table food is bad for your pet.
Depends. If the table food is balanced for your pet and wholesome, it is probably better for your pet than feeding heat-processed dry kibble. Heat-processed dry kibble has been linked to many chronic diseases in dogs and cats. Dogs and cats are carnivores and do not process starch like we (omnivores) do. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that is converted to complex sugars by the pet and this plays havoc on the pet’s intestines, stomach, liver and pancreas, often leading to harmful Candida overgrowth. These diets also stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body that has been linked to most diseases in dogs and cats such as allergies, arthritis, IBD and cancer. Dry kibble has less than 10% moisture in its content. Fresh food has about 80% moisture. Dogs and cats should get most of their water from their food. They do not go to the water dish until their body becomes deprived of water as it is not natural for them to do so. Feeding dry kibble that potentially creates dehydration in the cat, has been linked to kidney disease in old age. Feeding a balanced, carnivore diet using wholesome food is always best for dogs and cats.
7. Giving fish oil to pets is good for skin and coat problems.
Yes and no. It is very common for people to look at their dog or cat’s hair coat and see flakes, particularly if there has been a history of skin disease or allergies. Even some veterinarians believe that flakey skin indicates a dry hair coat and giving fish oil would likely benefit the skin. However, not all flakey skin is dry. When the skin is inflamed, it will produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum acts to protect damaged skin. Increased sebum production will often produce flakes on the skin and hair coat. If the flakes are due to sebum and oily skin, then giving fish oil will likely make the skin worse.
It is simple to tell the difference. The flakes found on a dry coat are very small, like baby powder, the skin will feel dry and there will be no odor. If the flakes are large, the hair coat feels oily and the skin has an odor that is easily detected, then the skin is producing too much oil. Give fish oil for those dry coats but stay away from fish oil if the coat is oily. Coconut oil is another option for dry hair coat. It will not only moisten the hair coat but is also a natural anti-inflammatory and does not aggravate the pancreas.
8. Alternative medicine should not be considered for your pet as it is not scientifically proven.
Not true. Conventional, western medicine, is based on the principles of particles. This means that the body is seen solely as matter (particle) and the science that is used to explain matter is derived from Newtonian physics. Alternative medicine such as acupuncture, homeopathy, biofeedback and others is based on the energetic component of the body. The body exists simultaneously as both a particle and a wave (energy) as explained years ago with the wave-particle duality experiment. The energetic body is explained using quantum physics and its laws. Trying to explain the energetic body using the laws of particles is like trying to play checkers using the rules of chess. It will never work.
When the body is seen only as a group of particles acting under the influence of biochemistry, the understanding of normal and abnormal function is severely restricted; thus, creating the limitations of conventional medicine. When the body is also understood as an energetic event, then we can expand the possibilities of keeping the body healthy.
Many difficult diseases treated with western medicine respond very well to alternative modalities in veterinary medicine. Do not forget these when you are considering all options for your pet’s health. If you would like to learn more, see my book, Whole-Pet Healing.