DEAR READERS: The following is a post from pet food safety advocate Susan Thixton of truthaboutpetfood.com regarding Martha Stewart's new line of pet foods.
Thixton writes: "The press release states, 'Stewart is leveraging her passion for home cooking and healthy nutrition, as well as her passion for pets, to create Martha Stewart Pet Food. "My pets mean the world to me, which is why I insist on feeding them delicious whole ingredients like real chicken, fish, cage-free eggs, and nutrient-dense grains and vegetables," Stewart said.'
"But Martha Stewart's new pet food line is not made with all whole-food ingredients (that she 'insists' on feeding her own pets). Instead, her pet foods are highly processed, made with feed-grade ingredients. And her 'new' pet foods are not new formulas ... they are disappointingly similar to many other brands of pet foods (but strikingly more expensive).
"The Martha Stewart pet food line consists of three dog foods and two cat foods, only dry/kibble pet food options. All five pet foods include feed-grade processed ingredients such as meat meals, pea protein, dried egg product and multiple dried vegetables. When these processed ingredients are processed again in the pet food, they become an ultra-processed pet food."
I concur fully with what Thixton has written. For more details, go to truthaboutpetfood.com/martha-stewarts-disappointing-new-pet-food.
DOG BREED HEALTH INFORMATION RESOURCE
Nationwide insurance company has developed a digital platform called The Pet Health Zone, which is designed to provide pet owners with breed-related health information based on more than 40 years' worth of claims data. At launch, the platform was drawing on data from more than 12 million Nationwide claims. It can help pet owners watch for signs of illness and make informed decisions in collaboration with their veterinary care team, says Dr. Jules Benson, chief veterinary officer at Nationwide. (Full story: AVMA News, Sept. 4)
ADOPTED SHELTER DOGS DO WELL WITH TIME, UNDERSTANDING
Researchers reported in PLOS ONE that most people who had adopted a dog from a shelter were highly satisfied with their decision. While some returned dogs to shelters, the ones who kept their dogs said the new pets had adjusted "extremely or moderately well" to their new environment. Many respondents reported seeing increased aggression toward strangers, excitability, training difficulties and touch sensitivity in their new dog after the first week, but separation-related and attention-seeking behaviors declined over time. No respondents reported "poor" or "terrible" behavior. (Full story: HealthDay News, Aug. 28)
DEAR DR. FOX: While I was packing up my apartment, I found my copy of your book "The Healing Touch for Dogs." It could not have come at a better time.
My dog Georgie is a rescue pug, approximately 12 years old. He has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy and is now in the middle stages. I love him, and I am devastated. Seeing his decline is overwhelming some days.
Georgie walks with the help of Biko Bands, and his attitude is so wonderful that you would never know he has this horrific disease. I give him a massage down the sides of his spine, plus on his hind legs, and I give him reiki treatments. He is on vitamins and herbs to slow the disease's progression.
He does not like swimming (it actually makes him vomit), and we don't have access to acupuncture. Please advise if you know of anything else I can do to help him and keep him with me longer. -- A.K., Queens, New York
DEAR A.K.: So sorry to hear about Georgie's spinal problem. You will find detailed information here: sevneurology.com/blog/4-things-about-pug-myelopathy.
You may be close to a veterinary neurology specialist who can determine if this condition is constrictive or degenerative myelopathy. Surgery can be very expensive, and recovery takes time; alternatively, many dogs with degenerative spinal conditions enjoy some quality of life when they learn to use a K-9 cart. A sling under Georgie's belly that you hold up while walking would also make activity easier.
Pugs, along with other flat-faced breeds like the English and French bulldogs, have suffered from poor breeding practices and lack of progeny testing to keep track of health issues later in life. This has caused much suffering for these popular breeds, and unanticipated costs and concerns for their owners.
REMEMBERING A CARING VETERINARIAN
Veterinarian Mike Cranfield, the retired director of animal health, research and conservation at the Maryland Zoo, died after possibly contracting West Nile virus, according to zoo officials. As executive director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project -- now called Gorilla Doctors -- Cranfield implemented One Health programs to benefit gorillas in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with the people living and working near their habitats. (Full story: WJZ-TV Baltimore, Aug. 31)
(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.)