Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dogs at the Vet Office

Yesterday a friend and I took 6 adult Labrador retrievers to a veterinary office 60 miles away, because that was the only place we could meet Hawaii's only veterinary opthalmologist.

Dr. Yamagata provides CERF exams that certify breeding animals with clear eyes, an important health guarantee. Based in Honolulu, she visits Neighbor Islands every three or four months, and getting appointments for all the dogs who need her attention is a challenge. We had to travel to Kamuela for appointments.

Picture 6 eager, excited Labs on a field trip. They were delighted to visit a new vet office and to explore all the shelves of kibble in the waiting room. Keeping them in some kind of order was as hopeless as it was funny. A good time was had by all.

The only other dog waiting to see Dr. Yamagata was a pale yellow Golden retriever. We overheard the owner talking with a local vet about her dog's skin problems. He scratches and bites his skin, and he has "hot spots", she said. My friend and I looked at each other meaningfully and waited for an opportunity to tell her about the fail-safe cure for her dogs' allergy problems -- a diet of raw-meaty-bones. That opportunity never came, and she left with prescribed steroids and topical solutions. I wish I knew her name and telephone number.

Every day, probably several times a day, veterinarians are presented with dogs that itch, scratch, chew and claw at themselves. They are miserable with an overall itchiness that drives them crazy. Vets diagnose this conditon as caused by allergies, and they prescribe pharmacueticals and palliatives to reduce the inflamation. They may allude to possible seasonal or other environmental causes, or they may suggest the pet's diet as a possible cause of the problem.

If diet is a suggested cause of the pet's allergic responses, the vet will likely prescribe an elimination diet, beginning with very restricted ingredients. The suffering dog will be put on a diet of salmon & potatoes or chicken & white rice -- all cooked. Meanwhile, the dog will be prescribed prednasone, antihistamines, oatmeal baths, and other symptomatic approaches. Most unlikely is that the vet will take the dog off commercial pet food and suggest a diet of raw-meaty-bones, which would eliminate the cause of the problem and the symptoms.

If your dog or cat has allergic symptoms of itchiness and "hot spots", consider commercial pet food as the most likely cause. To eliminate his allergic response, remove the cause -- stop feeding kibble and canned mush. Give him raw-meaty-bones and see his problem disappear.

So simple, and so reasonable.

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