March 24, 2015

Heartworm Prevention - Proceed With Caution

Dr. Jean Dodds, among the foremost pet health experts in the world, has weighed in on the pro's and con's of monthly heartworm preventative.

As a rule, most of these drugs are well tolerated by a healthy animal. But as a rule, heartworm disease does not affect a healthy animal. Why risk an adverse reaction. And there is a risk.

In her blog, Dr. Dodds states:

Some individual animals affected with autoimmune diseases and their immediate relatives have been shown to react adversely to commercial, monthly heartworm preventives. When an individual’s immune system is compromised, any regular exposure to particular kinds of drugs, chemicals or toxins can produce significant adverse effects, whereas these exposures are well-tolerated by animals by animals with healthy immune systems that do not carry the genetic susceptibility to these disorders. It is important to emphasize that the licensed drug or chemical is safe unless used in a genetically or physiologically susceptible companion animal. These adverse reactions usually occur within the first 10-14 days after the monthly product has been administered and typically begin after an animal has had 2-5 doses. Occasionally, animals that have been taking monthly preventives for a relatively long time will develop subsequent product intolerance. This usually indicates that some underlying disease process has emerged to explain the problem. Based on cumulative data, it is my recommendation that dogs affected with autoimmune diseases and their immediate relatives receive only plain daily heartworm preventive (Dimmitrol = diethylcarmbazine). If heartworm disease is not prevalent where the animals live, routine use of heartworm preventives is not recommended. This is especially important for dogs suffering from chronic diseases of the skin, hair and coat, or those with bone marrow, thyroid or liver disease.

 Please click through to the post to get her recommendations for administering heartworm medicine at a 45 day interval rather than 30 and only in those months when mosquitoes fluorish.

Her last note cautions dog owners about the use of Trifexis and Comfortis - marketed as both a heartworm and flea preventative. 

Spinosads are found in Trifexis, a monthly heartworm/flea preventive, as well as Comfortis for flea prevention. While I believe these are effective for flea prevention and killing, spinosads are contraindicated in epileptic or seizure prone dogs and should not be given to these dogs. Unfortunately, this is generally unknown and should be shared with your veterinarian, friends and family.
Is there a safer alternative?

My dog was one suffering so much chronic disease and make no mistake - allergies are a direct reflection of a compromised immune system - I chose to forego regular heartworm preventative. For one, it's not a preventative. The drug kills any heartworm microfilia that may be present. For another, heartworm disease is not a fast-acting infection. It's not going to kill your dog overnight. I had my dog's blood tested for heartworm disease every six months. Would he have been infected, the prevention was also the cure.

Dr. Busby, the old country vet discusses this in his YouTube video after you suffer through his book promotion.

He's a sweet man and very practical about animal care. I hope his book has done well. 

February 13, 2015

Canine Nutrigenomics - The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health

Dogwise Publishing announces the release of "Canine Nutrigenomics - The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health" by W. Jean Dodds, DVM & Diana Laverdure.

 "Obesity. Gastrointestinal disorders. Skin irritations. Chronic yeast infections. Behavioral issues. Arthritis. Autoimmune diseases. Heart disease. Cancer. These are just a few of the common health conditions plaguing our dogs in skyrocketing — and in some cases epidemic — numbers.

These conditions might not appear to share much in common, but they all result from inflammation that originates at the deepest level in your dog’s body—his cells. Where does this inflammation come from? Much of it stems from the lifestyles our dogs share with us, their caretakers—and especially from their modern diet. As you will soon see, many of the foods that are marketed to nourish our dogs actually wreak havoc on them from the inside out,resulting in rampant obesity and chronic disease (Dodds, 2014; Dodds, 2014a). But it doesn’t have to be this way. "
So opens the new book authored by  Dr. Jean Dodds' Hemopet, Petlifeline, Hemolife & Nutriscan and co-author, Diana Laverdure. 

A veterinarian for 50 years, Dr. Dodds is known worldwide for being at the forefront of veterinary science, clinical research and animal welfare. She has 25 patents and has authored numerous scientific papers, book chapters and two books. In 1986, she transplanted from upstate NY to southern California to start Hemopet, the first non-profit national animal blood bank. Today, Hemopet’s range of nonprofit services also include specialized diagnostic testing; consulting in clinical pathology; and teaching for animal health care professionals, kennel clubs, and pet owners on a variety of subjects including nutrition and holistic medicine (

For advocates who want to exempt sick and senior pets from redundant rabies vaccination, Dr. Dodds has been a stalwart champion for reforming protocols for all dog and cat vaccination, basing her opinions in science rather than scare tactics. She has invested herself in The Rabies Challenge Fund, conducting a privately funded duration of immunity study that aims to extend the intervals between repeat rabies vaccinations. And she has been a storehouse of health knowledge, and the go-to resource, for state-of-the-art diagnostic testing for hypothyroidism in dogs.

This book opens a new chapter in her lifelong pursuit of animal health and an extraordinary opportunity for the dog and cat owner who is committed to creating a climate in which your family dogs can not merely survive, but thrive.

I learned so much after the health deterioration and deaths of my calico cat and my standard poodle.

Aimee suffered the negative effects of an unnecessary rabies vaccination which I thought would protect her. Combined with a biologically inappropriate kibble diet, this one-two punch set off chronic kidney failure and a roller-coaster 18 month decline. 

Matisse suffered the negative effects of everything. Breeding. Over-vaccination. Environment. His immune system over-reacted to everything. While this hyper-reactivity didn't kill him in the extremes of Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) or Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMT), it did make him miserable. Patchy hair loss. Goopy ears. Runny nose. Gummy eyes. Racking cough. Barring steroids and their undesirable side effects, there was little available to alleviate his symptoms. I don't know if I will ever get past the profound sense of helplessness that I experienced in the last four years of his life.

After much trial, many errors and deep angst, I realized that feeding him a biologically appropriate diet was the only thing I could control. And to whatever extent, this resolved many health issues and improved his quality of life.

I know now what I did not know then:

Vibrant health begins in the cells. We have the power to transform a dog’s cellular health with nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics (a combination of the words nutrition and genome) is the study of how the foods we - and our pets - eat “speak” to our cells to regulate gene expression, which in turn plays a huge role in determining whether a person or animal will live a life of vibrant health or one plagued by illness.

In this ground-breaking new study, authors W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana Laverdure reveal:

• How to tell which foods create optimum gene expression and vibrant health at the cellular level and which foods lead to chronic disease.

• The amazing healing power of functional foods.

• The “Three Keys” to easily creating a foundation diet for your dog based on the principles of nutrigenomics.

• How to use functional ingredients to treat, manage and even reverse a wide variety of chronic canine health conditions.

• The 10 “canine functional superfoods” and how they can supercharge your dog’s health by optimizing his gene expression.

• The signs of a food intolerance/sensitivity and how to stop it in its tracks.

...and much more!

Breeding. Environment. Health care. Animal control laws. There are many factors of pet wellness that are beyond our control. Nutrition does not have to be one. 
Just as we inherited our genes from our parents, our epigenome also has a cellular memory that can be passed from one generation to the next (The University of Utah, 2014). This means that a mother and father’s lifestyle decisions — including the quality of their diet — will influence the epigenome of their offspring! Unlike the genome,however, we can alter our epigenome over time with new environmental signals, such as optimum nutrition. And that is exactly what you will learn to do with your dog’s diet!

January 03, 2014

State Veterinary Boards Reprimand Members for Over-vaccinating?

October 23, 2013 the Texas Board of Veterinary medical Examiners reprimanded a Vet for incorrectly telling clients that animals need an annual rabies vaccine when the animals had received three year rabies vaccines. As far as I know, this is the first time the Board has ruled that giving unnecessary vaccines is not dealing honestly with the public. Hopefully this opens the door to stopping misrepresentation of other vaccines. 

The Missouri Board ruled that if a Veterinarian deviates from the AAHA guidelines or the AFP guidelines, they must have solid scientific evidence to support their recommendations.