DEAR READERS: I grew up with health-food-conscious parents, and our daily table talk usually included some inquiry as to the quality and regularity of my bowel movements. White bread was banned from our home. Now, 70 years later, the health connections between what is eaten and stool quality in terms of beneficial bacterial content is being recognized by more and more human and animal doctors. Improving the diet and the bacterial microbiome, or "garden of the guts," via infusion of good bacteria have become key elements in the One Health approach to improving animals' health as well as our own. In many animal species, coprophagia and pica (stool- and soil-eating) may help improve animals' gut gardens, but not without some inherent risk.
DEAR DR. FOX: With all the glyphosate and other herbicide residues in the diet and all the plastic, chemicals and pesticides that our pets get, how can they have functioning microbiomes? We need to feed only GMO-free food and (eat) animals that have been raised GMO-free as well. We have done over 4,400 fecal transplants from my dogs, who are fourth-generation raw-organic fed. They were never on antibiotics, and we use no herbicides or pesticides. We have given the Micro Biome Restorative Therapy (MBRT) to aggressive dogs, and they became sweet. One dog acted as if he suddenly had been given the feel-good bonding hormone oxytocin, as he was licking and grooming his sister, with whom he was normally aggressive. I just read an article that said some gut bacteria produce this hormone.
I treat GI issues like clostridium, campylobacter, giardia, inflammatory bowel disease, acute hemorrhagic diarrhea, kidney failure, liver failure, autoimmune issues, cancer, behavioral issues, hepatic lipidosis, pancreatitis and anorexia; it helps so many problems to help the gut reboot. Our website, mashvet.com, has videos on other supportive procedures. We have started the first fecal bank for dogs and cats, and we are able to work with each animal's vet and ship microbiome from our donors next day air. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Dr. Margo Roman, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
DEAR DR. FOX: Regarding your recent column on stopping tail docking and ear cropping by placing all the blame on the American Kennel Club, I think you are making a big mistake.
In the United States, the breed standards are owned and controlled by each parent club. Only the parent club can make changes to the standard. In the United Kingdom, things are totally different: The Kennel Club owns all of the standards and may change them at its will.
Parent clubs may make changes to their standards at the most every five years. Some of the clubs in the U.S. have made cropping and docking an option rather than a requirement. -- D.E., Fenton, Missouri
DEAR D.E.: I appreciate your emphasis that it is up to the various breed clubs to change their standards concerning this important animal welfare and rights issue. But the resistance is all part of the cultish power of thoughtless manipulation and control of animals' lives, which is a pervasive problem in other arenas of animal exploitation and abuse.
Certainly, the AKC and its judges should be more proactive and facilitate a more humane and enlightened breeder constituency. It should at least begin to openly discuss changing those breed standards that involve medically unwarranted surgeries, which amount to mutilation, along with extreme physical traits of hereditary origin that can compromise dogs' quality of life.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read your suggestions regarding a matted cat whose human is concerned about dropping her off at a salon.
I am a house call cat groomer in New York. There aren't many house call cat groomers, or cat groomers in general, but most of my clients are people who don't feel comfortable leaving their pets at a salon. House call is a great choice for concerned owners.
A "perk" of house call cat grooming is that some owners learn enough during the grooming session to be able to groom their own cats! Educating owners is part of being a house call cat groomer. -- L.S., New York City
DEAR L.S.: Many cat owners will appreciate your letter and the need for in-home cat grooming services. This may be an incentive for other experienced groomers to offer house visits rather than having cats come to them, which can be very stressful for some cats, while others cannot even be put into a carrier without prior habituation.
Either way, there is no excuse for cats becoming so matted from lack of regular grooming that they must be sedated and carefully clipped at a veterinary hospital. This causes extreme stress and expenses that could be avoided by routine, effective grooming by the owners or professionals such as yourself.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)