Thanks to the Institute for Responsible Technology, my earlier published concerns over the inclusion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides in pet foods have galvanized a very informative short documentary film. In it, several veterinarians express their concerns and evidence-based clinical findings on the subject. Visit petsandgmos.com and click “Videos.”
More than 50 percent of our beloved, loyal and trusting canine companions are likely to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. A host of their other health problems have been effectively remedied simply by providing them with more healthful foods. As human ailments often mirror pet ailments, they have become our sentinels, like the canaries down in the coal mines -- alerting us to dangers in the environment, especially in the food sources we share.
Genetic susceptibility to cancer and other diseases aside (notably in “purebred” dogs), we humans are primarily responsible. Medical research focuses on early diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other “anthropogenic” diseases, which coincidentally promise great profits for the manufacturers of “cures” -- even involving gene-editing and genetically engineered, cloned farmed animals to produce biopharmaceuticals. But there will be no end to disease until significant efforts are taken by governments and consumers to essentially detoxify our poisoned planet.
We owe no less to other species -- aquatic and terrestrial, plant, animal, insect and microorganism -- as members of the life community who help keep ecosystems and even our own digestive and immune systems healthy. Otherwise, future generations will continue to suffer under increasingly pathogenic conditions that could and should have been prevented by all of us, their predecessors.
One significant step is to be vegan or vegetarian, and eating Certified Organic vegetables, fruits, nuts and cereal rather than continuing as serial killers of predators, “pests” and of billions of animals raised for our consumption.
DEAR DR. FOX: I just read your column about giving melatonin for separation and confinement anxiety issues. We have a 15-pound rat terrier with both these problems. Would melatonin be of any benefit? If so, what would be the correct dosage? -- J.M., Glade Valley, North Carolina
DEAR J.M.: I would give your dog 3 mg of melatonin, both in the morning and before bedtime. A few drops of essential oil of lavender on his bed and on a bandanna around his neck may also help. In addition, while you are away, leave on a radio or TV channel with lots of human talk at a fairly low volume. Give your dog a rubber Kong with some peanut butter or cream cheese inside it, so he will have some enjoyment and distraction when he is alone.
You can also try desensitization by going out for a few minutes and coming back in, repeatedly, at intervals of every hour or so over a weekend. Ignore the dog when you come in, and don’t make your returning a big deal. But give the dog a tiny treat, say freeze-dried chicken, every time you leave, so he associates your leaving with a reward.
ASSESSMENT OF PAIN IN HORSES WITH AND WITHOUT A BIT
I recently posted my concern over the evident suffering of the horses in the royal wedding of Prince Harry, pointing out the metal bits in their mouths. My concerns appeared in the veterinary and public press in the U.K. (as well as stateside). Soon after, veterinarians Drs. W.R. Cook and M. Kibbler published in the journal Equine Veterinary Education an assessment of the effects of having bits in horses’ mouths.
It was found that an average of 23 pain signals were evident from bit-related pain, which negatively affected balance, posture, coordination and movement, as well as inducing “bit lameness.” When bit-free, risk for the riders was minimized by preventing avoidable suffering on the part of the horses.
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