DEAR DR. FOX: I'm hoping you have experience with the NuVet Plus K-9 Wafers immune-system builder. Per the company website, "the supplement provides full-spectrum nutritional support that focuses on boosting your pet's immune system and overall health."
I'm aware that you advocate the use of a daily multivitamin multi-mineral supplement, such as a good-quality human one-a-day supplement equivalent, as part of your homemade dog food recipe, which I am looking to transition to.
In your opinion, would this NuVet Plus supplement be advisable to use instead of a human one-a-day supplement? This would be for a healthy 2-month-old miniature schnauzer, as well as a 10-year-old miniature schnauzer that receives insulin and Zycortal shots for diabetes and Addison's disease, respectively.
My local vet has not heard of this product and offered no real opinion on its validity but otherwise showed no concern over its use. -- B.C., Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
DEAR B.C. I asked veterinarian Dr. Rob Silver, an expert on supplement issues, to respond:
"I went to the website to see what I could find there, and the ingredient list is quite impressive: herbs like cat's claw and pine bark have been found in a few studies to have immune-enhancing properties. There are a number of vitamins and minerals, for which there is a guaranteed analysis telling you how much is in the formula, but there is no information telling you how much pine bark or cat's claw is actually in the formula.
"I find this disturbing because there could be a trace amount or there could be an effective amount, but they aren't telling us.
"As a multivitamin multi-mineral for supplementing a homemade diet, I'd say it is sorely lacking in adequate calcium for balancing a homemade meal. If you are already putting extra calcium in the homemade food, then this might be OK for that, but it wasn't designed to be used as a source of calcium for homemade meals.
"Also, you have two dogs that are very far apart in age and in health status, so it's probable that what is good for one dog may not be good for the other dog.
"When looking for a supplement, I think it is important to purchase from a company that is transparent and gives you complete disclosure of everything in the formula. This doesn't mean that this formula wouldn't be helpful, but I don't have any information about the product from the manufacturer that would help me to better understand how effective it would be for what it was designed for.
"There are some reputable products available in retail stores and online. I suggest looking for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal of approval. The NASC (NASC.cc) is a nonprofit association that performs inspections of member manufacturing facilities to assure that they follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and that their products meet label claims and are not adulterated or unsafe.
"Look for the NASC seal when purchasing a product, and you will be more likely to select a quality product." -- Robert J. Silver, DVM, MS, CVA; Boulder, Colorado
CHLORPYRIFOS: COURT TO RULE ON PESTICIDE'S USE
According to a story in Reuters earlier this month, "(t)he Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers." (From reuters.com, Feb. 7.)
After much time, cost and effort, environmental and consumer protectionists had succeeded in getting the U.S. government to ban most residential uses of DowDuPont's pesticide in 2000. The Obama administration sought to ban its use completely in 2015.
But in 2017, the Trump administration and then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt refused to implement the ban on the pesticide, an organophosphate like the highly toxic nerve gas sarin. Last August, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the ban on chlorpyrifos should be implemented.
According to an article in The New York Times last December, "(t)he (Trump) administration's choice not to curb the use of chlorpyrifos is a case study in how ideological and special interest considerations outweighed decades of evidence about the potential harm associated with its use." (From nytimes.com, Dec. 27.)
This "potential harm" includes neurodevelopmental disorders such as cognitive impairment and autism spectrum disorder.
As a consumer and a taxpayer, I am outraged. As a veterinarian, I urge people to support organic farming and look for USDA Organic Certification. They should also demand the same organic options from grocery chains that serve most communities contaminated fruits, nuts and vegetables.
The reality of the business world, devoid of virtue and in a morally inverted ethical vacuum, is ransacking and poisoning our living planet. We all should seek to implement planetary CPR: conservation, preservation and restoration.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 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.)