Friday, December 31, 2010

Cats: Beneficiaries of the Raw-Meaty-Bones Diet

When the Kona Raw Pet- Food Co-op began, a little more than a year ago, the original members were dog owners.  These dog owners may have fed a cat or two, but our focus was clearly on raw-meaty-bones for dogs.  The balance is changing now, as more cat owners, without dogs, join the co-op.

From research on pet diets, I knew that even veterinarians, who are tragically opposed to raw-feeding, acknowledge that cats are "Obligate Carnivores".  They're taught that phrase in vet school.  What that phrase means to misled vets, however, is that commercial cat foods must contain a higher percentage of proteins than dog foods and that cats can't live without some amino acids in their foods that they don't produce themselves (notably taurine, the absence of which in commercial cat foods killed a lot of cats).

I had a memorable conversation with the vet who examined the Maine Coon kitten I imported from Australia in January 2009.  Her statement began, "Cats are obligate carnivores, so you must feed her...".  I expected the word MEAT to appear in the following phrase, but NO.  "... you must feed her a balanced, 100% complete dry cat food."  I almost laughed out loud, but managed to restrain myself and change the subject.

Dry foods are bad for cats, whose desert origins incline them not to drink enough water to offset the dehydrating effects of dry foods.  Cats need moisture in their food.  Further, pet-food manufacturers skirt the margins of sustainable diets with as little animal proteins and fats as they must include to prolong domestic cats' lives for barely half of their natural lifespans.  According to cat experts, such as Elizabeth Hodgkins, domestic cats can live into their twenties, but practically none get past their mid-teens, because poor diets make them susceptible to all manner of degenerative diseases.  Cats need to eat whole small prey or its best substitute, raw-meaty-bones.

My cat, Daisy, was weaned on raw minced kangaroo meat and Royal Canin Maine Coon Kitten Food (yes, Royal Canin actually produces a food with that name, to their eternal shame).  When Daisy arrived at nearly 5 months of age, she was not prepared to chew her food or to accept strange flavors, such as raw chicken and beef.  In Hawaii, I could not offer kangaroo meat, and I certainly was not going to feed her Royal Canin Maine Coon Cat Food.  Feeding Daisy was a problem from the start, because cats are very attached to the foods on which they are weaned.  Problems with changing cats' diets are discussed on the Raw Meaty Bones web site.

Turned out Daisy loved Wysong's raw-dehydrated meats.  Mixing raw chicken and beef with Dream Treats  or Archetype worked.  She became skillful at chewing up raw chicken legs and wings.  She liked beef heart and kidney.  She didn't starve, but she was underweight for a year.  Instead of weighing 15 or 16 pounds, her weight hovered around 12 pounds -- until Wysong came out with their new Epigen.

Epigen is a starch-free dry food for cats and dogs.  Epigen is more than 60% meat, more than 60% proteins, and the rest is mostly animal fats -- in other words, a convenient but suitable dry food for carnivorous pets.

For reasons unknown at this time, cats LOVE Epigen.  Not just my cat, but all the cats of Kona Raw members.  We collect amusing tales of cats running to eat when the Epigen bag is opened for the first time.  Must be something in the aroma.  Cats gobble up Epigen, fending off the dogs for whom the bowl was intended.  Cats don't seem to know this is a new food they should instinctively avoid, as they do other new foods.

Daisy now weighs 16 pounds, on her way to full maturity -- around 18 pounds at three years-of-age.  Other skinny and sick cats are similarly being helped by the addition of Epigen to their raw diets. 

Several cat owners who recently joined the co-op have sick to very sick cats.  There are cats with chronic renal failure, with wide-spread food allergies, with tumors, and other distressing maladies.  Owners are feeding raw-meaty-bones to make their pets well or to give them happier lives until the end.  So far, owners are reporting good results with cats accepting raw meats and chicken bones.  They also find that Epigen is a helpful addition to their cats' diets.

Whereas dogs will eat almost anything (that doesn't eat them first, as one vet told me years ago), cats are much more selective in what they will consume.  Some cats won't eat beef liver; other thrive on it.  Some cats love green tripe; others sniff and find it as distasteful as most pet owners do.  Some cats crunch up chicken bones as well as dogs do; others won't chew up anything harder than an Epigen pellet.  It's trial-and-error to devise a good raw diet for cats, and repeated trials at that.  By combining raw meats with Epigen, owners feel more secure that their cats are getting nutrients they need to get well and thrive.

I have much to learn from experienced cat owners in the Kona Raw co-op.  The canine-o-centric focus of the co-op has changed.  Felines rule!

Raw-Fed Dogs Just Look and Act Different

A member of our Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op was walking with his German shepherd/Husky mix along the shore, south of the Place of Refuge National Historical Park (Pu'uhonua o Honaunau).  This is a great spot for dogs to cavort off-lead when park rangers are not looking, or passively assenting to well-behaved dogs having a good run.  Dogs love to wade in and explore the tide pools along this stretch of shore.

As Bud ran along the trail with his dog, he encountered a stranger, who said,
"Isn't it great you feed your dog raw!"
Rather stunned by the stranger's accurate assessment, Bud said,
"How do you know I feed him raw?" 
The stranger identified himself as a visitor from Canada and explained,
"I can tell from his coat and his attitude."
Amazing but true.   Raw-fed dogs do have great coats -- no itches or hot spots, no thin, scraggly fur so common to kibble-fed dogs.  But his attitude?  Of course!  Dogs fed raw-meaty-bones are happy, jaunty, and satisfied.  Their behavior brims with satisfaction and self-confidence -- the attitude the Canadian visitor had seen in Bud's dog.

There are profound differences between raw-fed dogs and unfortunate dogs on starchy, pet-food diets.  Some of it shows in their coats and behaviors.  A lot of it is hidden in their long-term health.

This week I heard another series of fatal cancer, tumor,and  kidney-failure stories from prospective puppy buyers, who lost treasured pets to premature deaths.  These deaths are caused by long-time, monotonous feeding of inappropriate diets.  After some discussion, these pet owners are easy to convert to raw-feeding for their next puppies. They feel guilty for not knowing what is obvious to them now, for not having saved their pets misery and early deaths.  They each had spent hundreds and thousands of dollars in veterinary bills to try to save their dogs.

Carnivorous pets require raw meat and meaty bones to maintain health.  You'd think that everyone would see this obvious truth.  It's hard for pet owners to get past veterinarians, however, who stand squarely in opposition to raw-meaty-bones.  How much longer can vets be blind to the health of raw-fed pets and to the many unnecessary illnesses caused by the starchy pet-foods they sell?  Will they ever be held accountable for the untold misery and outlandish expenses they cause?  Surely, a day-of-reckoning is coming.

Meanwhile, we can look at raw-fed dogs in a different light -- you can tell they're different by their healthy coats and happy attitudes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wysong Gets It, But Will They End Their Own Starchy Foods ?

The new Wysong dry food, Epigen, is a breakthrough in dry food manufacture, because it contains no starches.  In a ground-breaking process, Wysong was able to bind little nuggets of dried meats with vegetable and animal proteins, instead of starches.  Epigen offers the convenience of dry food that requires no refrigeration in a healthier, high-protein formulation for carnivorous pets.

What, then, does Dr. Wysong say about pet diets to promote Epigen?  Here's a quote from the Epigen bag:
Wysong Epigen is a truly new (patent pending) pet food innovation.  For the first time, a dry extruded 'kibble' pet food more closely resembles the meat-based, high protein, starchless foods carnivores are genetically designed to eat.
Pets are genetically indistinguishable for their wild carnivorous counterparts.  They are designed to eat as carnivores eat.  Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume a steady diet high in starches (a poly-sugar).  Yet, contrary to the natural model, pets today eat such foods meal after meal, day after day, year after year.
Not living and eating -- as nature intended  has consequences. Research has shown that a steady high starch (sugar) diet  can lead to a host of chronic degenerative conditions.  These include insulin resistance, diabetes, dental disease, arthritis, immune compromise, cancer, premature aging, and more.
 In fairness, Dr. Wysong has always promoted variety in pets diets and decried veterinary advice to feed the same (usually starchy) food, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.  Wysong's 100 Pet Health Truths Program condemns sole feeding of any food, especially commercial pet foods. Wysong's advice about variety includes fresh raw meats and meaty bones, but not exclusively.  Variety also includes Wysong's own starchy kibbles and cooked canned mush, however.  "Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume" Wysong's starchy kibbles or cooked canned mush, either.  Again, from the Epigen bag:
Wysong advises against feeding any one pet food exclusively.  Feeding one food fosters the development of ingredient intolerances (allergies) and other health ailments.  You would never eat one food exclusively, and neither should your pet.
Augment your pet's diet with other Wysong Diets, such as our canned foods, raw diets like Archetype Diets, Dream Treats, UnCanny and others.  Whole fresh grocery foods can and should also be a part of any healthy feeding regime,  You need not feed only 'pet' foods.
 One wonders where this is all going.  Will Wysong cease producing its long-established starchy pet foods and cooked meats?  Even granting their Canine Maintenance and Feline Vitality use healthier starches and better supplements than other commercial pet foods, can they really promote these products when they admit how damaging they are for pets' health?  Compared to other pet-food manufacturers, Wysong tells the truth about carnivorous pets, even it their corporate behavior is not consistent with the diet information they provide.

Feeding Epigen is not nearly as good for your carnivorous pet as a full raw-meaty-bones diet, but pet owners are fallible.  They run out of meaty bones, they can't store enough meaty bones to last the week until they can get more meaty bones, and they forget to order meaty bones.  All of the above, and more, compromise pet owners' ability to comply with the best feeding regime.

Kona Raw Pet Fiod Co-op members have eagerly adopted Epigen as part of their raw-meaty-bones diet.  Why?  Convenience is a major reason, but there are other issues.  Some pet owners cannot believe that pets get all the nutrients they need from a simple diet of raw meats and meaty bones.  So ingrained are the spurious notions of "balanced" and "100% compete" pet foods, it is very difficult for some to believe that a simple meats and meaty-bones diet will suffice.  They feel more confident about their feeding regime when they include a dry food that lists all those good minerals and vitamins on the bag.

Still other pet owners are simply more comfortable feeding a few human-type meats and meaty bones and supplementing with Epigen.  These pet owners cannot bring themselves to feed tracheas, lungs, spleens, green tripe and other "Yucky!"meats.that are perfectly suitable for pets.  Feeding only meats and meaty bones that are suitable for human consumption is expensive.  Epigen is included as a less expensive part of the diet.

My 15 dogs like Epigen, but they prefer any raw meats and meaty bones.  Six days a week, I just hand them suitably sized hunks of raw meaty bones.  No bowls required.  About once a week, I give them a bowl of two raw eggs, messy meats like beef liver and kidneys, a chunk of cheese, any leftover vegetables from my kitchen, a tablespoon of Spirulina and Call of the Wild, and a cup or so of Epigen.  This atypical meal of the week gives them some "extras" they may not need, but it makes me feel more confident they are getting "everything" they need..


Now, I have a confession.  My cat adores Epigen.  Daisy is a two-year-old Maine coon cat.  She has been quite skinny on a pure raw-meaty-bones diet.  I worried about her being under-weight.  She eats chicken drumsticks and thighs (including the bone) and giblets, beef skirt meat, ground green tripe, and other assorted raw meats and bones -- but she never ate enough to weigh more than 12 pounds, which is very slim for a large Maine coon cat..  When I opened a bag of Epigen, Daisy came running.  She gobbled it down. Some months later, Daisy eats rmb and Epigen, and her weight has increased to a healthier 16 pounds.


My observation that Daisy loves Epigen is replicated a dozen times among Kona Raw members.  Cats that previously would eat only one food (usually a terribly unhealthy kibble or canned mush) eagerly eat Epigen.  Many cats turn up their noses at raw meaty bones, if they have been raised on Whiskas or Fancy Feast (both dreadful).  Owners may succeed at getting them to accept an rmb diet, but it's a long, slow process.  For unknown reasons, cats accept Epigen eagerly.  My son's cat, a Humane Society kitty raised on Fancy Feast, would not accept ANY other food.  I was present in the kitchen when he opened a bag of Epigen.  The cat came running, leaped onto the counter and mewed.  Skeptically, he put some Epigen in a small bowl.  After Lily gobbled it down, he asked what on earth they put in this food!


Indeed, what do they put in this food?  Chicken meal is the biggest component.  Although organic chicken is listed first on the label and chicken giblets are third,, fresh chicken is 75% water that is removed in processing. Chicken meal is dry to start; thus, the largest component in Epigen.  Chicken meal is cooked, processed left-overs from commercially raised chickens.  It does not include feathers, beaks, and feet, but everything else.  Actually, chicken meal is pretty nourishing, as dry food ingredients go.

After chicken meal, vegetable proteins from potatoes, rice, corn, and/or wheat are listed.  A good guess is this food is about 72% meat proteins and fats and 20% vegetable proteins (rest is 12% moisture and 3.5% fiber).  Although it may not be the ideal carnivore food (it's mostly cooked chicken, after all), it's a huge improvement over other dry pet foods.


Two new versions of Epigen -- Venison and Fish -- are due to be produced at any moment.  In fact, Wysong is behind schedule in producing the new Epigens, because they are overwhelmed with orders for the original Epigen.  The Good News is more pets will be fed a high-protein dry food, and maybe their owners will be nudged to add raw meats and meaty bones to their pets' diets.  The Bad News is that Epigen is no substitute for raw-meaty-bones -- the most appropriate diet for carnivorous pets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nestle-Purina's Fraudulent Patent

Suppose you invented a process that enhances nutrition in dry foods for pets?  Then, suppose you did not patent it, because you hoped other pet-food manufacturers would adopt it and make their foods healthier as well?  Perhaps, this sounds naive, but that's exactly what Dr. Wysong did in the early 1980's with nurtacueticals and probiotic mixes that Wysong sprays on kibbles.  Many other pet-food companies adopted the technology and use it to enhance the nutritional value of their dry foods.

Along comes Giant Corporation, Nestle-Purina, whose legal eagles notice that this process, which they don't even use, has not been patented.  In 1997, Nestle-Purina applies for and is granted EU and US patents on Wysong's process!  Even more outrageously, Nestle-Purina now demands that Wysong pay them licensing fees to use the process Wysong invented!

Wysong hauled out proof that they invented and used the process some 15 years prior to Nestle-Purina's patent.  Nestle-Purina lost their EU patent, because the European court agreed that Wysong had invented and long used the process prior to Nestle-Purina's fraudulent patent.

The same battle took place in a US court, where the initial verdict was for Wysong..  Nestle-Purina's legal eagles and billions dollar profits are hard to silence, however.  Wysong explains what is happening now (October 2010).
NESTLE/PURINA  CONTINUES THEIR SUIT
As you may be aware, Purina sued Wysong in late 2008 for using probiotics on extruded pet foods. This is because in 1997 they were granted a patent for this process. The problem is, Wysong was the inventor of this technology and has used it since the early 1980s -- some 15 plus years PRIOR to the patent. Purina wants Wysong to pay them a licensing fee going back to the date of their patent and Wysong refuses.
Purina hopes to exhaust the financial resources of Wysong in court and force us to pay the licensing fee. If successful in getting Wysong to accede, since we have the strongest proof their patent is not valid, Purina will have a clear path to sue the two dozen or so other manufacturers who have copied Wysong’s probiotic technology and began using it after the patent date.

Although we have been able to get the patent office to overturn their patent, a fleet of Purina attorneys appealed and had key elements of the patent retained. So we remain in the thick of the suit, financing a defense of a technology that brings great health benefits to animals and humans (a technology Purina does not even use on their own products!), while the rest of the industry sits on the sidelines.

Obviously, other pet-food companies are not having to pay legal expenses in this suit.  Only Wysong is being financially drained.  Nestle-Purina picked on a small, family-owned company that not only invented the process they seek fraudulently to patent but one that can be more easily drained of resources than, say, Proctor & Gamble or Mars.

If they exhaust Wysong's resources and retain this patent, they can bill every other pet-food company that uses Wysong's technology for licensing fees from 1997 to the present -- a nice financial windfall for Nestle-Purina.

What isn't wrong with this picture?.

Pet-Food Tainted AKC Solicits Puppy Registrations from Breeders

Earlier blog entries detailed the dramatic decline in AKC purebred dog registrations over the past 20 years.  The AKC is losing ground to other registries and losing credibility with the general public, who no longer see the AKC as a venerable nonprofit organization.  AKC partnerships with commercial pet-food and drug companies have tarnished their once-shining reputation.

Loss of purebred dog registrations is not only a moral blow but a huge financial defeat for the AKC.  So, how to turn around their finances?  First, they decided to register crossbred dogs (aka mutts) to participate in AKC obedience, agility, and other performance activities -- first in separate classes from purebreds but later accepted into the general fold.  Every mutt registration nets AKC at least $20, and every mutt entry into an event, more dollars.

Second, they decided to lean on breeders who register litters of purebred puppies to reveal information on their puppy buyers.  Here's their pitch:

Dear Sandra Scarr,
As part of the "front lines" of purebred dogs, we rely on our loyal breeders to communicate the benefits and importance of AKC registration to their puppy buyers. To ensure a strong future for you, your fellow breeders, and all purebred dogs, we need all of our breeders to make a concerted effort to ensure that every puppy in each litter you have bred gets registered with the AKC. We have implemented a new initiative to help you accomplish this goal.
The AKC has begun sending all breeders who register a litter an email asking them to provide us with their new puppy buyers contact information. The email includes information on our new Online Litter Record Service. This service allows breeders to supply AKC with new puppy buyer contact information online in an easy to use format. If the breeder does not want to use the new online service a link to a printable version of the litter record is also available. The new puppy buyers will then receive an e-mail or letter from AKC detailing the benefits and importance of AKC registration.
The new puppy buyers will only be contacted by the AKC. Their names will not be sold or used for any other promotions or marketing when given through this initiative. As you have experienced, puppy buyers tend to be more concerned about caring for their new puppy at the time of purchase, and often forget about one of the most important steps of responsible dog ownership – AKC registration. Our aim is to reinforce their decision of purchasing an AKC puppy and to educate them on the many benefits that they can receive with registration.
The AKC is dedicated to promoting responsible dog ownership and educating new puppy buyers about registration benefits and the important programs that registration supports. Registration dollars help the AKC fund important educational programs, support the research of health issues through donations and continue to subsidize AKC events. Our registration numbers also help us to maintain legislative influence and ensure that like-minded organizations continue to support the AKC through alternative revenue programs and sponsorships.
With your support, and by working together, we will be able to take the necessary steps to ensure AKC's long and healthy future as the nation's preeminent purebred dog registry.
For more information or to use our new Online Litter Record Service please visit us at akc.org/litrec; or e-mail us at dogreg@akc.org (please use "Litter Records" in the subject line).  Please note this service can be used for recent or past litters.
Sincerely,
David Roberts
VP, Registration and Customer Service
I did not comply with their request, for reasons stated in my reply to Mr. Roberts.

Hello Dave Roberts,
Let me be painfully honest.  I do not promote AKC registration for my puppies, because my puppies are raised on the raw-meaty-bones diet, which puppy buyers pledge to continue.  AKC's close connection with (aka financial dependence on) pet-food companies is very disturbing, and I do not wish you to inflict distasteful pet-food advertisements on my puppy buyers.
I am appalled that the venerable, nonprofit AKC sends me blatant advertisements for various kinds of cooked carbohydrates that masquerade as dog food.  Surely, the AKC knows dogs are a subspecies of wolves, who evolved to eat whole prey.  Surely, the AKC knows that starchy commercial pet foods destroy dogs' health.  One can only be appalled that the AKC, whose mission is to promote the interests of purebred dogs and their owners, stoops to endorse Iams, Eukanuba, and their ilk, to the huge detriment of canine health.
I follow the AKC's financial travails with interest.  Self-inflicted wounds are painful to watch, and the AKC continues to self-destruct.  I offer some unsolicited advice to address AKC's financial decline.  I wrote these ideas some months ago on my blog (http://rmb4healthypets.blogspot.com):
 I were CEO of the AKC, I would be alarmed (at the large, documented losses of registrations and revenue) and contemplate what changes need to be made in my organization.  Let me offer a few suggestions:
  • AKC can improve the health of purebred dogs by incorporating new genetic information in their criteria for participation in AKC activities.
  • Intact animals, which participate in AKC conformation shows, field trials, rallies, obedience, and agility events should have clearances as non-carriers of all serious genetic disorders common in the breed.
  • Conformation shows should be restructured to be more about dogs' soundness and breed type and less about the handler and showmanship.  However entertaining spectators find extreme coiffure and runway behavior, the major focus of shows should be to select sound, typey parents for the next generations of the breed.
  • AKC should sever its relationships with commercial sponsors, especially pet-food manufacturers. A less splashy show, not sponsored by Eukanuba, would be better received by many who care about dogs' health.  
  • AKC should cease any partnerships with pet-food and drug companies to "educate" veterinarians about pet care and diets.  Veterinary education is perverted by pet-food and drug companies anyway, and the AKC should keep it's still-good name out of a corrupt morass.
  • AKC should sponsor popular educational programs for pet owners about the evolution of dogs, their identity as a subspecies of wolves, and the implications of these scientifically established facts for dog feeding and care.  A television series on "Know Your Dog" could save the health and lives of millions of pets.
  • AKC can work with breed organizations that have adopted extreme conformation standards that impair the breed's health or alter their natural appearance by mutilation.  Surgical alteration and unhealthy standards have no place in an organization with a mission to improve the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners.
I hope you find this message constructive and helpful.  Please feel free to share it with others at the AKC.
Aloha,
Sandra Scarr
*****************************************************************************************
Aloha Labradors-------------------------------------------------------808-322-9445 telephone
78-6915 Palekana Road--------------------------------------------808-322-9445 fax
Holualoa, HI 96725---------------------------------------------------808-987-5005 cell
www.AlohaLabradors.com-----------------------------------------SandraScar@aol.com

*******************************************************************************************
 If the AKC were to reform itself, I would be happy to support their effort to register my puppies.  The
AKC is so afraid to take proactive stands on extreme breed standards and cosmetic mutilation, for example, it lags kennel clubs in the rest of the world in taking these steps. Ear and tail cropping have disappeared in the UK, EU, Australia, NZ, and other dog-fancy parts of the world.

The AKC still has not accepted into the purebred dog registry Dalmatians with normal urea processing genes, who are now 5 and 6 generations from the outcross that provided the normal gene.  They still register only Dalmatians with defective genes. How is that promoting the interests of purebred dogs and their owners?

The biggest reform, however, would be to sever their commercial relationships with pet-food and drug companies -- especially commercial pet-food companies that use the AKC to sell junk foods that make pets sick.  The AKC has the stature and opportunity to make major reforms in pet feeding, but they don't.

Until they do, they can count me out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Desperate Dog Owners

This week I am visiting family in the Milwaukee area, where my son Phil and daughter Rebecca live.  Phil's two sons, Erik and Christopher, are 9 and 12.  Rebecca's two children are 3 1/2 (Jane) and nearly two (Asa).  Both have very nice spouses as well.

Left behind with friends in Hawaii are responsibilities for 14 adult dogs, 7 puppies at 4 weeks of age, a cat, and management of an active, raw-meaty-bones pet food cooperative.  It's hard to thank Mark and Joslyn enough for their willingness to take on such huge jobs.  When I go away, it becomes apparent how much I do everyday.  No doubt, I have a busy schedule in my "retirement".

Despite being 5,000 miles away, I still get phone calls from desperate pet owners.  Typical story is the dog has terrible allergies, tormenting itchiness, hot spots the dog licks relentlessly, and is miserable.  Owner has tried everything veterinary medicine offers -- antihistamines, steroids, ingredient-restricted diets, antibiotics, special baths and ointments.  Owner recognizes the dog is sick, not well.  What to do now?

My mobile vet sent me such a case just hours before I left on this trip. He said he cannot do more and told the owner to try a raw-meaty-bones diet to cure the dogs' multiple ills.  This is very unusual advice from a veterinarian, but my mobile vet has actually read about the rmb-diet  and believes it makes sense.  I tried to call the distraught owner, left a message with my phone number.  I'll try again to reach her when I get home.

The first day in Wisconsin, a phone call from an acquaintance in Kona told me about her Doberman pinscher.  The dog is itchy, irritable, and has skin eruptions and sores that plague the poor animal.  She was in PETCO looking for remedies for her poor dog when she spoke out loud to a total stranger about her dog's problems.  The stranger told her to contact KonaRaw.org, the raw pet food co-op.  She went online and found me.  After a half-dozen phone calls to me and to Mark to learn about the rmb diet, she ordered rmb for her dog this week and picked up the order yesterday.  She will need a lot of support and information when I return to Kona

Yesterday, when Amy, Erik, Chris, and I were in the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum, my cell phone rang.  Another desperate dog owner told me the familiar story about his dog with allergies, itchiness, open sores, and generally miserable state.  He began to cry because he feels so bad for his dog.  I told him to go online to KonaRaw.org, to order some meaty bones and meats for next week, and to come next Thursday to meet with me and pick up his order.  I hope he has enough information and reassurance to try the rmb diet.

All of these pet owners need re-education about appropriate diets for carnivorous pets.  That cannot be accomplished in a long-distance phone call.  It's difficult and painful to unlearn everything you have been taught about pet foods.  It's hard to accept that everything you have been feeding pets for decades -- kibbles and canned mush -- are disastrous for pets' health.  How could vets recommend health-destroying foods?  Aren't vets the experts on pet nutrition?  Well, not exactly ....  And that's another very long story.

How many thousands of Kona pet owners could tell the same story about pets' health being destroyed by kibbles and canned mush?  In our small community, there are so many suffering pets, it's hard to imagine how to reach and help them all.  Just removing all kibble from their diets will start them toward recovery.  

Adding healthful animal proteins and fats to their diets will restore many pets' health, but there may be detours on that road to recovery.  Some of these pets have infected teeth and gums that require veterinary cleaning and antibiotic treatment before the pets can begin the road to health.  Some of them have chronic disease conditions, caused by years of inappropriate diet, and those diseases may have advanced beyond a dietary cure.  At least they can enjoy a healthy diet in their remaining months or years.

It is ironic that pet owners have to rely on other pet owners to learn how to feed pets.  We often rely on family members and friends for advice on rearing children, but medical experts  -- pediatricians -- also offer helpful advice.  More importantly, most of the advice on feeding children healthy diets is consistent across family and medical experts.

Pediatricians promote whole foods for omnivorous children.  A balanced diet for children includes meats, dairy products, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Pediatricians and human nutritionists advise against feeding children processed and "fast" foods.  Grandmother and family friends also "know" that whole foods are healthy diets for children.

A balanced diet for carnivorous pets consists of raw meats and meaty bones with minor additions of family leftovers and cooked or minced veggies and fruits.  By contrast to pediatricians, veterinarians have been brainwashed to believe that processed grains and other starches provide a "balanced and 100% complete" diet for carnivorous pets.  What a disaster for pets!

I expect to receive more phone calls from desperate pet owners.  I know that veterinarians will continue to oppose the raw-meaty-bones diet and continue to treat diet-induced illnesses medically, with predictably poor results for many pets.  Pet owners are torn between adamant veterinarians who demand they feed commercial junk food and their own good sense that carnivorous pets require a variety of raw meats and meaty bones to thrive.

When they get desperate enough about their pet's suffering, some will find me and call.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

American Kennel Club Diet Advice

Given the outrageous advertising exposure and endorsements the AKC gives its members for commercial junk foods, it seemed interesting to see what "expert" advice they offer dog owners in their less commercial pages.  Here's the essence of AKC's advice on how to feed your dog./

Broadly speaking, the first choice you need to make is whether to feed your dog a homemade diet or a commercially prepared diet.
Homemade Diets
Homemade diets are meals you prepare at home for your dog that usually include meat, grains, vegetables and supplements such as bone meal, minerals and vitamins. With homemade diets, you have more complete control over each of the ingredients that you feed your dog than you would if you were feeding your dog commercially prepared food. In addition, the ingredients in the homemade diet will likely be fresher and have undergone less processing. Many dog owners also feel that preparing food for their dog is a bonding experience that helps them feel closer to their dogs. Advocates of homemade diets claim that homemade diets make dogs more energetic and promote healthier teeth, skin and coats.
There are also some drawbacks to preparing homemade diets. First, and most importantly, creating a healthful and balanced homemade diet is not that simple. You must educate yourself and consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to make sure that you are giving your dog meals that include all essential nutrients in the proper amounts. Both undersupplying or oversupplying certain key nutrition building blocks can have adverse consequences for your dog. Second, preparing a homemade diet requires a consistent time commitment to prepare meals for your dog. It also makes traveling with your dog more difficult as you will have to prepare many meals in advance and make sure that the meals are kept fresh during the journey.
Commercially Prepared Diets
Commercially prepared diets generally fall into three categories: kibble (dry food), semi-moist food and wet food. The most common method for producing kibble is to grind up and mix the ingredients and then put them through an extrusion process in which the ingredients are mixed with liquid (usually fat or water) and then the moistened ingredients are pushed through a cylinder that self-generates friction and heat to further mix and bake the kibble. At the end of the cylinder is a mold that gives the kibble its shape. Upon completion of the extrusion process, the kibble is cooled and dried and then often coated in flavor enhancers. The flavor enhancers usually include vitamins and minerals that may have been destroyed in the cooking process.....  
Many veterinarians will generally recommend giving your dog kibble as crunching the kibble helps to keep your dog’s teeth clean and in shape (sic; kibbles coat dogs' teeth with gunmmy sludge)....
Reading Commercial Dog Food Labels
On many dog food labels you will find one of the following AAFCO statements: “___ brand dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for [specific stage of dog’s life];...
... Manufacturers are required by law to list ingredients by weight. However, watch out for these two little tricks. First, the weight of each ingredient includes the moisture in each ingredient. Second, manufacturers can break up each less “desirable” ingredient such as rice into its component parts (rice, ground rice etc.) so each component part can be positioned further down on the ingredient list even though the ingredient should, by overall weight, be at the top of the list. In general, items that you prefer not to see on the list of ingredients include artificial colors, artificial flavor, artificial preservatives and by-products...
You should also understand what the guaranteed analysis listed on your dog food signifies. The guaranteed analysis is a table with the percentages of important nutrition building blocks such as carbohydrates, fats and protein. Like with the ingredient list, the guaranteed analysis does not take into account the amount of moisture contained. ...In addition, the guaranteed analysis does not differentiate between the different digestibility levels of ingredients. For example, commercial food A could have a higher level of protein than commercial food B, but commercial food B’s protein source may be more readily digestible and thus more useful to your dog.
If your head isn’t spinning already, you should at least be aware of where your dog’s food is manufactured...
 Raw Diets
Finally, it is worth mentioning raw diets. Raw diets, though the ingredients vary, all contain raw meat or raw, meaty bones. Raw diets can be prepared from scratch, or you can now buy commercial raw diets that are fresh frozen and then packaged. Proponents of raw diets claim that raw meat provides the optimum and most easily usable source of important nutrients for dogs, and most closely replicates the ideal diet dogs lived on for generations in the wild.

Critics of the raw diet believe that the raw diet can be potentially harmful to your dog and to you because of various parasites within the muscle meat along with bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that are present in raw meat. There is no doubt that bacteria does exist in raw meat and, although some people claim dogs have the ability to safely ingest the bacteria, especially if your dog is geriatric or weakened by another condition, feeding a raw diet is generally not a good idea.

If you do decide to use a raw food diet for your dog, you must keep the food frozen until it is ready to eat, throw out any food not eaten after each meal and clean your dog’s food and water bowl in hot, soapy water after each meal. You will also need to take precautions to make sure you and other household members do not accidentally come into contact with the bacteria. Washing your hands and any surfaces or objects that come into contact with raw meat with hot, soapy water is essential. Do not allow young children or weakened or sick household members to touch the raw meat or any objects or surfaces that have come into contact with the raw meat prior to cleaning."
At the bottom of the AKC's diet advice is the following commercial message:


Having been a cook all my long, adult life, I am amazed at the hysteria veterinary nutritionists display.over raw meats.   Do they ever grill chicken or steaks in the backyard?  Do they prepare meals for anyone?  Are they all vegetarians or vegans?  

What causes this unreasonable fear of handling raw meat?  Does their fear apply only to meat and meaty bones intended for pets, or do their cautions apply to the human diet and kitchen? 

Of course, one should wash one's hands and surfaces used to prepare raw meats.  My grandmother knew that.  She taught my mother, who taught me, who taught my children, to clean up after handling raw meat, for the reasons cited.  But none of us though it was dangerous to handle raw meat.

I own dozens of cookbooks that tell me how to prepare hundreds of meaty meals. Not one of the recipes begins with dire warnings about the dangers of raw meat or stern commands to clean my hands and surfaces the meat.touches.  I guess cookbooks just assume that people raised in homes where meals are prepared learn how to handle raw meat.  It's part of the culture that does not require endless admonition. 

Handling raw meats for pets is no different from preparing meals for one's family.  Last evening, I fixed a tasty Italian chicken dish for people and handed the dogs other parts of the same birds.  What's the difference?

Yes, pets eat it raw, which is no problem for them, unless, as the AKC says, they are very old or seriously ill.  I don't eat raw chicken myself, because laboratory tests show it is likely to be contaminated with salmonella (from poor growing and processing conditions).  Dogs and cats, however, are well-equipped by Nature with strongly acidic and short guts to eat raw poultry without a problem.

 I wash my hands and clean all surfaces that chicken touches with anti-bacterial soaps and a 10% bleach spray.  I am not casual about handling poultry, whether intended for myself or my pets.

Other meats are not so often contaminated as chickens.  Here in Hawaii we often eat raw fish in the forms of poke and sushi.  This, too, is a cultural pattern.  One learns early in life that raw fish should be fresh and carefully refrigerated from ocean to plate. 

I have often eaten raw beef as  steak tartar and carpaccio, especially in Europe. 40 years ago, I got very ill from eating raw oysters (Hepatitis A) in Paris.  I have eaten raw oysters dozens of times since.  Yes, there are risks to humans from consuming raw meats, but then many other daily activities are also pretty risky.

Feeding raw-meaty-bones to pets is no cause for hysteria about raw meats.  My grandmother knew how to handle raw meats safely, and so do the nation's cooks.  It's easy -- just wash.  I suspect veterinary nutritionists, most of whom are paid consultants to pet-food companies, are merely using another ploy to scare pet owners away form the best diet for carnivorous pets.

I give credit to the AKC for including raw-meat-bones in their list of dog diets and for not damning it as unbalanced or incomplete.  Of course, rmb is the diet Mother Nature intended for carnivorous pets to eat.  And it can be safely done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watch Dog

Whether you own a dog or not, you must  appreciate
 the efforts of this owner to sell her dog.  
Read the sales pitch below!
 

  DOG FOR SALE 
 
Free to good home. Excellent guard dog. Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more drug pushers, thieves, murderers, or molesters left in the neighborhood for him to eat.  Most of them knew Jethro only by his Oriental street name, Ho Lee Schitt.

Raw-meaty-bones takes on a whole new meaning! 

AKC Lauds New Iams Junk Food, and Iams Recalls Bad Batches

The American Kennel Club, those self-proclaimed advocates for the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners, sent out this advertisement for Proctor & Gamble's Iams kibble and canned mush this morning.





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This sponsored message was sent to sandrascar@aol.com by the American Kennel Club. It includes information that may interest you. Should you prefer not to receive this type of message sent on behalf of AKC sponsors, please click here to unsubscribe.
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Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.
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A
Prebiotic
is a natural ingredient that promoted healthy digestion. It does
this by nourishing the bacteria found in the digestive tract. The good bacteria crowd out the bad bacteria, promoting healthy digestion.
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PreBiotics and ProBiotics are ingredients that are supposed to make digestion of the other stuff in the bag or can easier and more complete,  Even though your carnivorous dog or cat did not evolve to be fed primarily on cooked starches, Iams is now adding "nutrients" to the formulae to help your pet digest the inappropriate diet.  How nice!

In the same few minutes it took to read AKC's pandering notice, the following announcement of a pet-food recall arrived in my Inbox from Public Enemy Number One, the Pet Food Institute.  The Pet Food Institute is the lobbying arm of commercial pet-food companies.  They make sure Congress and regulatory agencies do not interfere with the huge profits to be made from junk pet foods.
Procter & Gamble recalls select Iams brand canned cat foods
Release Date: Thursday, June 10, 2010
Procter & Gamble voluntary recalled cans of its Iams ProActive Health cat and kitten foods due to concerns over low thiamine levels.
"Diagnostic testing indicated that the product may contain insufficient levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1), which is essential for cats," Procter & Gamble said. "Cats fed these canned products as their only food are at greater risk for developing signs of thiamine deficiency." 
The recalled products are the 3 ounce and 5.5 ounce cans, with dates between September 2011 and June 2012 printed on the bottom. The company advised cat owners who purchased the food to throw it out.
 No refunds?  No apologies from P & G for mis-formulating their Iams-brand, manufactured "food"?  Just another error in the pet-food chemistry lab, it seems.  Oh, well.... 

There are so many recalls of tainted and mis-formulated pet foods, it's impossible to keep up.  Please remember that these are the same people who promise your pet "100% compete and balanced" nutrition in every bag and can.  Too bad for pets and pet owners that they make so many mistakes.

That a nonprofit animal welfare organization, like the American Kennel Club, blatantly advertises commercial pet foods is shameful and should be illegal.  How can the AKC use their nonprofit lists of purebred dog owners and breeders to advertise the products of profit-making companies, such as P & G, and keep their nonprofit status?   Nonprofits are usually forbidden to engage in for-profit enterprise, or they have to keep the profit making at arms length.

The AKC has a profit-making affiliate (Dog.com) that sells canine products, such as leads, crates, shampoos, and the like.  They don't promote any one company's junk food.  It is quite legal for profits from Dog.com to support AKC's nonprofit mission, as long as Dog.com pays taxes on its profits.

I would consider filing a complaint with the IRS about AKC's blatant advertising of Iams products, but I am sure the Pet Food Institute has that angle covered, to protect the AKC and other nonprofit groups they co-opt with generous funding.   It's disheartening to know there are no independent groups one can trust to stand up for pets.  They've all been bought.





Saturday, June 12, 2010

AKC Defeats Initiatives to Create Healthier Purebred Dogs

This month's Whole Dog Journal contains a story about Dalmatians that will shock dog lovers.  Although I have been around purebred dogs all my life, I was not aware that Dalmatians in the US and UK, and probably around the world, all carry defective genes that predisposes them to form life-threatening urate bladder stones.  Some Dalmatians have repeated surgeries, while many others suffer and are euthanized.  Genetic testing found that no Dalmatians in the US and UK carry the normal gene -- all are homozygous defective for urea processing.

No one has explained how this terrible defect was carried and spread throughout an entire breed.  The most likely explanations are: (1) the defective gene for urea metabolism has other desirable effects on Dalmatians' characteristics (pleiotropy), or (2) the locus of the defective gene is closely linked (located at short distance on the same chromosome) to a desirable gene (close linkage).  In either case repeated selection for a desired trait brought along the defective urea gene that became universal in the breed.


In 1973, Dr. Bob Schaible, a geneticist and Dalmatian breeder, cross-bred a Dalmatian to a champion Pointer with normal urea processing genes.  Through multiple  generations, he was able to develop Dalmatians that look like others of the breed but with normal genes.

In 1981, Dr. Schaible gained approval of the Dalmatian Club of America and the American Kennel Club to register two dogs from the fourth generation of this backcross.  When the general membership of the Dalmatian Club found out about the registration, however, they caused such an uproar, the AKC refused to register any offspring from these dogs.  Thus, the AKC stopped the introduction of normal genes into a known, studied, defective breed.

Far from making progress toward healthier Dalmatians, the breed club banned any discussion of the topic for 22 years!  In 2008 the membership of the Dalmatian Club of America again voted against registering Dalmatians with normal genes, therefore ALL registered Dalmatians in the US carry the defective gene that causes high uric acid levels and life-threatening bladder stones.

One can despair at the genetic and evolutionary ignorance of average dog breeders, whose misplaced priorities value appearance above health.  But whose responsibility is it to educate breeders and dog owners about canine genetic health and how to improve breeds with major genetic defects?  Most breeds have a few serious genetic threats to their health.  Doesn't the AKC's mission include working for the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners?  Surely, canine health is a major component of that mission.

Mary Straus, writing in the Whole Dog Journal, says "It's time for the AKC to take the lead in improving the health of purebred dogs -- and for breed fanciers to put the health of their dogs above an insistence on genetic purity".    I would add that evidence of "genetic purity" in breeds is arbitrary and illusory.  Most dog breeds have been isolated in registries for less than 100 years, some for less than 25 years, a very short time in dog's evolution.  Dogs are wolves; all dogs share most of the same genes and share 99.8% of their genes with wolves.  What nonsense to talk about breed purity when health is at stake.

In 2008, a British documentary, "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" was aired by ITV.   The shocking video highlighted serious genetic problems in several breeds  -- problems so serious to dogs' health the public was outraged.  How could dog breeders be so irresponsible as to perpetuate these defects?  Public anger toward The Kennel Club and the venerable Crufts Dog Show caused major changes in breed standards and judging, as well as a commitment for The Kennel Club to consider registering dogs from outcross and inter-variety matings to improve dogs' health.  The Kennel Club now registers Dalmatians with normal urea genes.  Not so the AKC.

Here's the bottom line for the AKC:  Genetic testing for major health defects in canines is far advanced over even 5 years ago.  Genetic detection of canine disorders is advancing rapidly. It is now possible to test for many serious disorders that are CARRIED by dogs that appear normal and populate show rings.  Carriers of recessive genetic disorders are the greatest threat to good health in purebred dogs.  Dominant genes can be weeded our by not mating obviously affected individuals.  Affected dogs with two recessives can be removed from the mating pool.  Carriers of recessive defects do not usually show any symptoms but will pass the defect on to half their offspring.  When carriers become champions, thereby desirable mates, the frequency of defective genes in the breed multiplies.

In some cases -- Cavalier King Charles spaniels are the gravest example -- affected individuals are entered in shows and judged winners, when their stunted skulls and growing brains will soon cause them horrible pain and early death. Before the winner dies, however, he will be mated to dozens of females and pass on his defects to many in the next generations of Cavaliers.  How does this make any sense for the health of a breed?  Grossly misshapen muzzles, hips that fall out of their sockets, knees and elbows that freeze or wobble, eyes that go blind -- the litany of avoidable genetic defects in purebred dogs is alarming. -- and most are preventable through sound breeding.

The AKC can vastly improve the health of purebred dogs simply by requiring genetic testing and publishing results of testing for every dog that enters an AKC event.  I am sure the AKC knows such a plan would affect some great show people, some great supporters, members of their governing body, and so forth.  Their reluctance to act on behalf of canine health is political and financial.  Is that a good enough excuse?

Perhaps, for the first 5 years, affected dogs and carriers could be shown, but information about their genetic profiles for significant breed defects would be published in the show program.  After 5 years, the AKC should prohibit dogs affected by or who are carriers of serious health disorders from being shown in AKC events.

Dog shows are designed to select the best  breeding stock for the next generations of the breeds.  Surely, the AKC and breeders want the healthiest dogs to produce the next generation of every breed.  As long as genetic testing is ignored and excluded from consideration, the AKC is not fulfilling its mission.

In Britain, public opinion and loss of sponsors moved Crufts and the Kennel Club to a more informed and proactive stance.  The AKC is not ignorant; it simply lacks the guts to lead ignorant breeders and force malicious breeders into a better practices.

Shame on you, AKC!  Shame on you, breed clubs!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Is There No Outrage or Adjudication of Veterinary Corruption?

In the last post, I documented the use of pet-food dollars to hire credentialed professionals to teach veterinary students Commercial Pet Food 101, rather than an unbiased course on the evolution of pet species and natural diets of carnivorous pets.  These same professionals hold offices in veterinary associations, hold faculty positions at veterinary schools, and populate regulatory commissions dealing with pet foods. 

In sum, pet-food dollars buy biased instruction in veterinary schools, favorable treatment in professional associations, and toothless  pet-food regulations.  The scope of pet-food corruption in veterinary medicine is breath-taking.  Pet-food companies completely control those aspects of veterinary medicine that concern them -- pet nutrition, internal medicine, and research on diseases associated with bad diets.

Pet-food money is not seen as tainted, of course, because veterinary authorities are on the take.  Pet-food endowed chairs in university departments seem legitimate, until one looks at the control pet-food companies retain over the selection and activities of the chair-holder.  Endowed buildings and research programs look legitimate until one sees that the scope of activities is defined by pet-food donors.  There's no free lunch in pet-food/veterinary relations -- although pet-food companies do often sponsor "free" luncheons and dinners for their hired hands.

Veterinary schools and professional associations thank their pet-food donors for their generous support, which sums to tens of millions of dollars per year.  Pet-food companies reap billions of dollars in profits from the veterinary endorsements they purchased for about ten-cents-on-the-dollar.

Why is there no outrage about pet-food companies' control of pet nutrition and associated health issues in veterinary medicine?  In recent correspondence, Australian Tom Lonsdale, DVM likened corruption in veterinary medicine to crooked police:
Currently there's a TV program on here about the Wood Royal Commission. Basically all the cops
were corrupt and engaged in massive scams, rape, murder and etc. The Commissioners got a corrupt detective to roll over and film his colleagues in corrupt activity.

It would be good if we found either a champion or reformed crook in the system who would help this along.
There are veterinary crooks quite openly on the payroll of pet-food interests, paid to promote commercial pet foods, while holding office in professional associations and faculty positions at universities.  For US examples, please see the last bog post.

Why authorities don't see this cozy arrangement as conflict-of-interest, at the least, or bribery is baffling.  How can a faculty member at a veterinary school be permitted take payments from a pet-food company or pet-food front to teach pet nutrition to veterinary students?

The ongoing scandal in medical schools is faculty members at leading universities taking large fees from pharmaceutical companies to promote off-label use of drugs in their lectures and appearances.  That's shocking and undermines public trust in physicians.  Authorities -- professional and legal -- are looking into the matter.

We can identify plenty of vet crooks in the system, whose activities are quite open.  Unlike crooked police, who hide their illegal activities and are discovered only when a reformed crook blows the whistle, crooked vets are practicing their corruption in public, and authorities seem not to care.

Here's why: Commercial pet food is the unchallenged right-way to feed pets, so no one sees the harm in allowing pet-food companies to pay faculty, support research, and provide income to vets in practice.  It's not corruption or biased instruction, until other theories/concepts of pet nutrition are seen as valid options.

Thus, we need, first, to define pet-food payments to veterinary faculty as corruption, because there are valid pet-feeding options that are omitted from their biased courses.  Second, we need to persuade the public and authorities to accept this definition of corruption.  Otherwise, no one is outraged, except those of us who believe that small animal nutrition ought not to be taught as Commercial Pet Food 101.

Imagine if the only "vegetable" served in school lunch programs was ketchup.  (Ronald Regan once agreed that ketchup could be considered a vegetable in school lunches.)  Suppose that Heinz and Del Monte, the largest ketchup manufacturers, funded instruction for school nutrition programs, endowed chairs and buildings in human nutrition programs, and hired a cadre of nutritionists to promote ketchup as the only vegetable children need for a complete and balanced diet (sound familiar?).

If ketchup companies spread enough dollars and bought enough expertise, they probably could have ketchup enshrined as the only vegetable in school lunch programs.  Anyone who suggested kids need green and yellow vegetables and unprocessed tomatoes would be confronted by research showing ketchup has sufficient nutrients (ah, the key word) to replace all other vegetables.  Ketchup would flow through the nation's school lunch rooms, while ketchup dollars bought all the professional support they need.  All it takes is money.

Why is no one within the veterinary medical establishment publicly blowing the whistle on commercial pet-food corruption?  There are dissident voices, but they remain largely anonymous, for fear of professional reprisals.  At the very least they would be excluded from honors and offices in professional associations and could lose their livelihood.  An inquiry into pet-food corruption must come from outside, because virtually no one inside the veterinary establishment has clean hands.  They are all on the take in one manner or another.

Motivation for reform is lacking within grassroots veterinary medicine, for economically understandable reasons.  Vet students are taught Commercial Pet-Food 101.  After graduation, they establish pet practices in which sales of junk pet foods contribute up to 40% of their incomes.

Even better, commercial pet foods create periodontal problems that require expensive veterinary treatment and chronic diseases that generate lots of income for vets.  Laboratory tests, according to Idexx -- the leading veterinary laboratory -- are the most profitable revenue stream in veterinary practice.  Chronically-ill pets require lots of lab tests.  Prescription drugs, dispensed by vets, are marked up by hundreds of percents, generating enormous profits.  Chronically-ill pets require lots of medications.

Commercial pet foods are the gift that keeps giving.  By undermining pets' health, kibbles and canned mush not only generate profits from their sales but their exclusive use as pet diets creates patients that need extensive and expensive veterinary treatments.  Why would veterinarians voluntarily surrender such a gift?

The pet world is changing, however,  and vets no longer have an exclusive hold on pet owners'  purses. In the US, most vets require owners to pay for pet examinations and heartworm tests annually, before inoculations or other treatments will be offered.  Vets charge handsomely for mandatory exams, tests, and inoculations. That racket is about to change.

Prescription flea/tick and heartworm medications are now available online at less than half the price charged in vet clinics.  If one buys them from Australia, no prescription is needed.  Heartworm tests are completely unnecessary for pets routinely given heartworm medication.  Vaccines for routine inoculations are available online and at local feed stores and pet shops.  Vaccines can be purchased for about $5; vets often charge $40 to $50 to administer the same shots.  Owners of healthy pets can now avoid veterinary clinics for routine drugs and inoculations and save themselves a fortune.

Owners of sick pets are wising up to the junk pet-food - illness connection.  Against veterinary advice, many are switching pets to raw diets and marveling at the pet's improved health.   Even if the sick pet dies, they vow never to feed junk foods to the next pet.  By promoting junk pet foods, veterinarians are losing credibility in pet owners' minds.  

When the public recognizes the stranglehold pet-food companies have on small animal veterinary medicine, there will be reform.  Pet owners are the most likely force to push authorities to inquire into pet-food funding and control of veterinary medicine and to demand change.  Disseminating information on appropriate diets for carnivorous pets is beginning to change the world.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How To Feed Pets -- As Taught by Hill's Pet Nutrition

To understand why veterinarians recommend and sell cooked, processed starches as "food" for meat-eating cats and dogs, one must delve into relationships between veterinary medicine and pet-food corporations.  Hill's Pet Nutrition (Science Diet and prescription products) were the pioneers in corrupting veterinary medicine.

Mark Morris founded Hill's Pet Nutrition in his garage in 1948.  Morris was a veterinarian, whose son also trained as a veterinarian.  Mark Morris's son carried on the family business.  Their products, Science Diet and Hill's prescription diets, expanded into factories and ultimately were sold to Colgate-Palmolive for several billions of dollars in 2003.

From the outset, Mark Morris believed that convincing veterinarians to believe in Science Diet and Hill's prescription products was the key to the company's success.  He was absolutely right.  Hill's Pet Nutrition invested heavily in veterinary education, pet nutrition research, and helping new graduates to set up small animal practices with Hill's products on the shelves.

Hill's representatives infiltrated veterinary schools, aiding students with donated pet foods, teaching pet nutrition courses, giving research grants supporting commercial pet foods, providing funds for student activities, summer interneships, and many other initiatives.  Morris enjoyed a three-decade lead over other pet food companies in corrupting the veterinary profession.

By contrast to other pet-food companies, such as Mars and Nelstle-Purina, Hill's Pet Nutrition spends a pittance on advertising to pet owners and focuses their funds on veterinarians.  Once purchased by Colgate-Palmolive, however, advertising of Hill's pet products accelerated, but their focus is still on controlling veterinary medicine.  Hill's investment in controlling pet nutrition teaching, research,and practice has paid off very handsomely for the company, which is now a high-profit unit of global Colgate-Palmolive.

Rich from the sale of the family business to Colgate-Palmolive, Morris's son endowed the Mark Morris Institute in his father's honor.  What does the Institute support?  Teaching small animal nutrition in veterinary schools, of course!
  • They write the textbook (Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 5th Edition) that is used in nearly every pet nutrition course in every veterinary school.  
  • They teach the pet nutrition course.  
  • The Mark Morris Institute pays a dozen veterinarians, whom they send, free of charge, to veterinary schools to teach pet nutrition and to consult with veterinary students about setting up successful pet practices.
  • Most Mark Morris Institute Fellows are current and/or former employees of Hills Pet Nutrition and the Morris Animal Foundation.  They speak about nutrients, not food, and teach vet students to believe that commercial formulations are the best nutrition Father Manufacture can concoct.  Mother Nature is nowhere to be found.

Mark Morris Sr. and Jr., with hundreds of millions of Hill's dollars behind them, also founded an interlocking set of self-congratulatory professional associations in veterinary nutrition and  internal medicine.  By controlling memberships, they bestow Diplomate status and honors on each other and exclude those who do not pledge allegiance to commercial pet foods.

The Mark Morris Institute, Morris Animal Foundation, and Hill's Pet Nutrition have interlocking directorates. One can easily see the lines of communication and conspiracy in the faculty biographies below.   Even more alarming is the extensive penetration of these pet-food entities into leading veterinary schools.

Although lengthy, the evidence is worth reviewing in detail.  Here is what the Mark Morris Institute says about its University Teaching Program and the faculty who carry their message.

University Teaching Program

Have a look at the Hired Guns the Mark Morris Institute sends (free of charge) to veterinary schools to teach pet nutrition.  I highlighted their pet-food positions, but please note their positions in leading veterinary schools and professional associations.:
The individuals providing this professional education program are the equivalent of an academic faculty of clinical nutrition. MMI faculty are involved in veterinary nutrition health studies, clinical service, publication, education, and continuing education.
Debbie Davenport DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Davenport received her DVM from Auburn University in 1981. She completed an internship at Louisiana State University and a medical residency and master’s degree at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Davenport was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine where she was the recipient of the University Teaching Award for instructional excellence. She is currently the Director of Professional Education at Hill’s Pet Nutrition and the Executive Director of the Mark Morris Institute. In addition, she holds an adjunct professorship at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as a Trustee and Scientific Liaison for the Morris Animal Foundation.
Dr. Davenport is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Her major professional interests are gastroenterology, oncology and clinical nutrition.
S. Dru Forrester DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Forrester received her DVM from Auburn University in 1985. She completed an internship and residency in internal medicine, and received a Master of Science degree at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Forrester was a faculty member in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for 13 years and a professor at the Western University College of Veterinary Medicine in southern California for 2 years. She has received many awards in recognition of teaching excellence, including the national Carl Norden/Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award in 2004.
Dr. Forrester's professional interests include urology and nephrology. She joined Hill’s Pet Nutrition in 2005 in the Department of Scientific Affairs and is a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
David Hammond DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Hammond received his DVM degree from Washington State University in 1980. After owning and operating a mixed-animal veterinary practice, he returned to academia where he completed a medicine residency at Mississippi State University.

Dr. Hammond was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania before joining Hill's Pet Nutrition as a Veterinary Affairs Manager. He is currently the owner of Horizon Veterinary Services, Inc.
Dr. Hammond is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. His major interests are endocrinology and clinical nutrition. He is an adjunct professor at Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, and Washington State University as well as a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
Michael S. Hand DVM, PhD, DACVN

Dr. Hand received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1968. After ten years of private practice in Wyoming, he returned to Colorado State University where he received a PhD in nutritional physiology.

Dr. Hand was a faculty member at the School of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University for three years before joining Mark Morris Institute in 1985. He was the Vice President of Research at Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center until his retirement in 2000.
Dr. Hand is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. He has authored over 60 research publications and book chapters and holds two patents. He is a co-author of the textbook, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition III and editor of Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 4th Edition. He is an adjunct professor at North Carolina State and Kansas State Universities and Chair of the Board of Directors of Mark Morris Institute.
Claudia Kirk DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN
Dr. Kirk received her DVM degree from the University of California-Davis in 1986. She completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and medicine residency at University of California-Davis. She remained at the University of California-Davis as a Hill's Fellow in Clinical Nutrition where she also completed a Ph.D. in Nutrition.
Dr. Kirk joined Hill's Pet Nutrition as a Veterinary Clinical Nutritionist in 1994. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  Dr. Kirk is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Nutrition and acting Department Chair of Small Animal Clinical Sciences of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Kirk's major professional interest is small animal clinical nutrition, with special interests in feline nutrition, lower urinary tract disease, geriatrics, and endocrinology. She is a Mark Morris Institute Fellow. She has served as president of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. Dr. Kirk is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and Nutrition and acting Department Chair of Small Animal Clinical Sciences of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
Ellen Logan DVM, PhD
Dr. Logan received her DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1988. She spent five years as the University Veterinarian for Kansas State University providing veterinary care to a wide range of animal species. She also instructed students, inspected university laboratory animal facilities, and provided consultation to university researchers. She completed a Ph.D. in oral pathology in 1994.
Dr. Logan joined Hill's Pet Nutrition as a Veterinary Scientist in 1994. She is currently the manager of the Veterinary Consultation Service.  Dr. Logan's major professional interests are pathology, dentistry, and clinical nutrition. She is an adjunct associate research professor at the University of Kansas, an adjunct assistant clinical professor at Kansas State University, and a Mark Morris Institute Fellow. She has served as president of the American Veterinary Dental Society and national spokesperson for Pet Dental Health Month.
Chris L. Ludlow DVM, MS, DACVIM
Dr. Ludlow earned his DVM from Kansas State University in 1986. He worked in general practice in southern California for five years. He then completed a combined internal medicine/small animal clinical nutrition residency and masters degree at Kansas State University.
Dr. Ludlow was a faculty member at Kansas State University for one and half years before joining Veterinary Information Network in internal medicine and nutrition.
Dr. Ludlow is a Diplomate of the American Veterinary College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. His professional interests include gastroenterology, endocrinology, cardiology, and clinical nutrition. He is a consultant for the Veterinary Information Network in internal medicine and nutrition, and a Fellow for Mark Morris Institute.
Richard C. Nap DVM, PhD, DECVS & DECVCN
Dr. Richard Nap received his DVM from Utrecht University (NL) in 1979. After graduation he worked in both small and large animal practice (2 yrs), at Utrecht University (13 yrs) and in a corporate environment (11 yrs). Since 2005, Dr. Nap has owned an independent private consulting firm, Uppertunity Consultants. He is also co-owner of Vetstart International Ltd. His special areas of interest are Clinical Nutrition, Orthopedic Medicine & Surgery, Practice Management, and international student programs.
Dr. Nap is a Diplomate of the European Colleges of Veterinary Surgery (ECVS) and of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ECVCN). As consultant he supports international companies around the world. Dr. Nap has a passion for supporting veterinary students around the world by providing support during the transition from student to practitioner.
Dr. Nap is the chairman of the international specialist group on hip dysplasia that advises the scientific committee of the FCI (international kennel club) on the hip dysplasia screening protocol. He is also a member of AO-Vet and ESVOT.
Phil Roudebush DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Roudebush received his DVM degree from Purdue University in 1975. After two years in a private small animal practice in Denver, he completed a medical residency at the University of Missouri.
Dr. Roudebush remained at the University of Missouri for two years as a faculty member before joining the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. He was a faculty member at Mississippi State for eight years before joining Mark MMI in 1989. While at Mississippi State, he served as Chairman, Department of Clinical Sciences, for three years and received three college or university awards for teaching excellence. He is currently a Director of Scientific Affairs at Hills Pet Nutrition, Inc.
Dr. Roudebush is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. His major professional interests are clinical nutrition, veterinary education, cardiopulmonary disease, and dermatology. He is an adjunct professor at Kansas State University and a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
Meri Stratton-Phelps DVM, MPVM, DACVIM (LA), DACVN
Dr. Stratton-Phelps graduated from the University of California, Davis with her DVM in 1996, and completed her MPVM degree in 1999. After working as an intern at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, Dr. Stratton-Phelps returned to U.C. Davis for an equine emphasis large animal medicine residency. She proceeded to complete a nutrition residency and PhD at U.C. Davis. Her research interests include the dietary management of small ruminant urolithiasis, equine enteral nutrition, and the effect of dietary management on the microbial profile of the equine gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Stratton-Phelps was a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia from 2005-2006, and remains an adjunct professor in the Department. In 2004 she started a clinical nutrition consulting business, and currently works full time as a multi-species clinical nutritionist. She is a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
Dr. Phil Toll DVM, MS
Dr. Toll received his DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1986. He spent two years in private practice working with large animals and racing greyhounds.

Dr. Toll returned to Kansas State University and completed an M.S. in physiology in 1990. He remained in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology for another year as a research associate before joining Hill's Pet Nutrition in 1991. He is currently an Associate Medical Director.
Dr. Toll's major professional interests are exercise physiology, metabolism, acid-base balance, and clinical nutrition. He is an adjunct assistant professor at Kansas State University, past president of the American Canine Sports Medicine Association, and a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
Todd Towell DVM, MS, DACVIM
 Dr. Todd Towell received her veterinary degree in 1990 from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at North Carolina State University in 1991 and a residency in small animal medicine at the Virginia-Maryland in 1994. Dr. Towell also received a Masters degree in Veterinary Medical Science from Virginia Maryland in 1994.
Dr. Towell practiced as in internist in both referral specialty and general practices for 5 years. In 1999, Dr. Towell became a clinical trial coordinator for Heska Corporation. She joined Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. in 2002 as a Veterinary Affairs Manager and is currently a Scientific Spokesperson.
Dr. Towell is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 1996, she received the Jersey Shore Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinarian of the Year Award and received the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association’s Up and Coming Veterinarian Award in 2000. In 2005, Dr. Towell served as President of the CVMA.
Dr. Steve Zicker DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN
Dr. Zicker received his M.S. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982, his DVM degree from the University of California-Davis in 1986, and his Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of California-Davis in 1993.
Dr. Zicker also served an internship in medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University and a residency in medicine at the University of California-Davis.
Following his graduate education, Dr. Zicker spent one year as a lecturer and postgraduate researcher at the University of California-Davis and 18 months in private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He joined Hill's Pet Nutrition in 1996. He is currently a Principal Nutrition Scientist in the Department of Advanced Research at the Hill's Pet Nutrition Center. In 2007, Dr Zicker received a Fulbright award to teach Veterinary Medicine in Ethiopia.
Dr. Zicker is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. His major professional interests are protein and amino acid nutrition, neonatal nutrition, nutrition and behavior interactions, and general comparative nutrition. He is a Mark Morris Institute Fellow.
This who's-who list of credentialed, veterinary nutritional professionals are all paid to promote commercial pet foods, specifically Hill's Pet Nutrition.   The fact that so many are university faculty or consultants, that so many have Diplomate status in professional associations, that so many have held office in professional associations -- is breathtaking.

Surely, the close, financial relationships of university faculty with commercial interests deserves more public and legislative scrutiny.  Given the extent of interlocking university-professional-commercial entities, an outside investigation is essential. No veterinary group could begin to conduct an independent inquiry, because too many leading members are involved in the corruption.

Before doing this research, I would not have believed that veterinary medicine was so completely corrupted by pet-food interests.  Now, there can be no doubt.