Our dogs are such an important part of our lives. They are part of the family, we look to them for laughter, companionship, protection and much more. And they depend on us to look out for their well-being. Sometimes that can be a confusing and daunting process. There is a lot of information out there, how to train, what to feed, and what choices to make that are in the best interest of their health care.
This past weekend I attended a seminar that drove home the point that I have a huge responsibility in making those health care choices for my dogs. The information was presented by Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM. The topic was thyroid disease and vaccination protocols. A while back I blogged about the changes occurring in vaccination protocols in veterinary schools around the country. Dr. Dodds is one of the individuals leading the charge in this field of research and I had been hearing a buzz about it for awhile. I also knew there was a link between thyroid disease and behavioral issues and felt it time I educated myself more on the topic.
I can tell you that my jaw dropped in the first 15 minutes of the presentation. I was teary eyed like most of the crowd after viewing many slides, seeing statistics and hearing personal stories of struggle and loss.
I have certainly come to some conclusions about what protocols I will be adopting for my dogs in the future and I will be supporting efforts to see further change. As far as our business here at TMD is concerned we will be asking our aberrant behavior cases to please work with their veterinarian to get the complete six panel thyroid test that Dr. Dodds suggestes as opposed to the standard T3 and T4. But I think it is important that readers make up their minds for themselves so I am happy to provide some links and some food for thought to those of you interested in the well being of your dogs.
As you dig into a bit more research, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Why do we vaccinate our dogs every year? Why year after year do we subject their immune systems to substances that are designed to actually challenge the immune system? Is this necessary for disease protection?
Why would we subject a dog who already has disease issues (liver, thyroid, auto-immune, etc) to a substance that further stresses the body’s ability to take care of itself? How much disease risk is really out there and how prevalent in your area? How high is a dog’s titer for a particular vaccine after their first full completion of the series? The new studies are showing the titers typically remain for the lifetime of the dog. So, why is it needed to do it again and again, year after year. Do we do that in humans who actually live a much longer life span, are more well traveled and probably have greater exposure risk to various diseases than our canine counterparts do?
Then lets take the compounding effect of all those vaccinations, add to it the genetic predisposition that is prevalent in many breeds now-a-days, throw in a variety of environmental stressors including the many parasite preventatives we use, and on top of it all how many of you really feed a good quality nutrition diet to your animals? Do you really know what good quality nutrition is for a dog? (here is a hint: – if the first ingredients listed on the bag are corn and grain products….it’s lousy. How many canines to you see grazing in the field? Dog’s are carnivores. And avoid chemicals like ethoxoquin, BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene)
The above combination is a recipe for problems. A soup of chemicals so to speak.
I’ve noticed over the years in this business more and more dogs coming in on medications; steroids, epilepsy meds, special diets, suffering from allergies, the list is long. Where did our dogs body’s suddenly become so inefficient at protecting themselves?
So what is the answer? Is this some conspiracy going on against our animals. Of course not. It is a lack of education though. We are learning more and it is time for change. There are professionals out there who are aware of this and are working for that change. In the meantime, educate yourself a bit. There is ton of info on nutrition and holistic healthcare for your dogs. And you can find more about Dr. Dodds work by googling her name or checking out some of the following links.