DEAR READERS: Climate fires are ravaging the drought-afflicted states of Oregon, Washington and California -- like the recent devastating conflagrations in Australia, Siberia, the Amazon and Brazil’s Pantanal region (extending into Bolivia and Paraguay). All this, as other regions suffer through unprecedented floods, hurricanes or droughts as desertification spreads from continent to continent. Experts in planetary ecology have been warning about, and striving to prevent, this planetary crisis for decades.
The state of the environment is a mirror on the human condition. The ethical nature of this crisis -- where human cupidity and stupidity take precedence over the rights and interests of other species, and where “the economy” is given precedence over environmental and public health -- needs to be confronted. Make America Green Again!
I grieve for all the lives, beauty and species lost, and for the families, communities and ecosystems torn apart. I weep for the plight and suffering of the drought-stricken elephant herds in Zimbabwe and the COVID-infected families crowded into refugee camps.
Massive deforestation will accelerate the climate crisis, which has been wrought since the beginning of the industrial age with the burning of coal and other fossil fuels. The petrochemical fossil fuel industry has poisoned the planet and contributed royally to the climate and extinction crises. This is a crime against humanity and all that nature holds.
The COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented, but as long as we treat other species as “resources” devoid of rights and intrinsic value, then future pandemics will be inevitable (as predicted by proponents of the One Health perspective, onehealthinitiative.com), along with other plagues and pestilence. For supportive documentation, see the Sept. 10 Washington Post article “Humans are decimating wildlife, and the pandemic is a sign.”
Fatalistic pessimists may say it is too late, while optimists might hope that stock markets and GDPs (Gross Domestic Products) will somehow recover and act as a panacea. The unified sensibility of realists, however, can empower a different path toward GQL: Global Quality of Life. All who care must support this path if there is to be any future for us and other species on this planet, which we have collectively abused and now imperil, along with our own kind.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am writing concerning our 6-year-old male cat. He was recently at our vet’s for oral prophylaxis. During his treatment, he was catheterized and a urine sample was taken. The results showed elevated values for urea and creatinine. In addition, he had a positive “RenalTech” index, which our vet said means he has a 95% probability of developing kidney disease sometime in the next two years.
She has suggested we try a prescription renal diet, and provided us with cans of Hills, Purina NF Early Care and Royal Canin Renal to try. Our cat is currently on Blue Healthy Gourmet and has done well with it. My concern is with the effectiveness of special, commercial dietetic foods. I am skeptical, and look at these products as marketing ploys. Will this prevent his having kidney disease? Is there an alternative?
I know you recommend your homemade food, and will check your website for recipes. Can kidney disease be prevented early in a cat’s life, or is it inevitable? -- P.K., Danbury, Connecticut
DEAR P.K.: So many cats have kidney problems, in part due to poor oral health care and related poor diet (dry kibble). It is essential for cats (and dogs) to have their teeth cleaned properly, or at least annually evaluated by a veterinarian. For details, see my reviews of dental problems and feline stomatitis on my website (drfoxonehealth.com). There, you will also find my article on helping cats and dogs with kidney problems, which offers alternatives to these costly, and generally unpalatable, prescribed diets.
I am surprised -- or should I say not surprised, but disappointed -- that many veterinarians are selling these manufactured prescription diets, which offer a significant profit margin, while failing to educate their clients on the best nutrition for their animal companions. A large number of pets are fed mainly kibble (widely sold in veterinary clinics), which lies at the root of many subsequent health problems. For documentation, see the book that I co-authored with two other informed, concerned veterinarians: “Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food.”
(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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)