In this issue:
1. News Bites
- Recall of ground turkey across the West
- Wolverines killing cats in British Columbia
- Manufacturer runs out of heartworm drug
- Click to donate cat litter to shelters!
- “New” Avian Flu will destroy all life on Earth…or not?
- Microchip Cat Door limits access
2. New “Thyroid Diet” for Cats
3. Basic Cancer Prevention and Treatment
1. News Bites
Recall of ground turkey across the West. More than 100 people became ill, and at least one died, from eating ground turkey contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella. The problem has been ongoing since spring, but Cargill, which distributed the product across 31 states, didn’t bother to recall it until August. The outbreak is raising the question–again–about whether the use of antibiotics in livestock should be more stringently regulated. Livestock and poultry consumed some 28.6 million pounds of antibiotic-laced feed in 2009. Most of it is not intended to fight any specific disease, but to promote faster growth–and higher profits. Infectious disease specialists worry that the widespread, indiscriminate use of antibiotics is creating resistance among bacteria that commonly contaminate meat. Ground meat is the highest risk because the general fecal filth that permeates many slaughter facilities gets mixed throughout meat during grinding, and is able to reproduce exponentially within the product. Of course, meat producers are against any such regulations. Click here to read the full article in the Wall Street Journal. If you feed your pets raw meat, remember that cats (and dogs) are relatively resistant to Salmonella; but seek veterinary attention for significant gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea (especially if it’s bloody), or other signs of illness.
Wolverines killing cats in British Columbia. Yes, just one more reason to keep your cats indoors — wolverines! According to the story in the Montreal Gazette, “feline disappearances began in May when two residents reported their cats missing. A resident, who lives a block away, witnessed his cat being viciously attacked by a large wolverine. “He ran out, the wolverine dropped the cat, but the cat was already dead,” said the mayor of the small town of Kitimat, B.C., Joanne Monaghan. The wolverine retreated to the bushes, but continued to growl while the family buried the cat in the yard. Too bad for the 80 — EIGHTY! — missing cats that their owners (not a word I usually use, but these individuals do not rate the term “guardian”) cared so little for their safety. Click here to read the full article in the Montreal Gazette.
Manufacturer runs out of heartworm drug. For dogs with severe heartworm infections, treatment usually involves an arsenic-based drug called Immiticide–but the maker, Merial, has stopped manufacturing it, and is out of reserve stock. Merial’s press release stated that it could be weeks or even months before Immiticide is available again, but the distributor is working to secure a new supplier. Click here to read the article from KSPR News; or click here to read our article about heartworm in cats.
Click to donate cat litter to shelters! World’s Best Cat Litter is sponsoring it’s fourth round of litter giveaways to animal shelters! Just click here or visit http://www.givelitter.com/ to vote! World’s Best Cat Litter™ is supporting this fourth round of its GiveLitter™ initiative that will see thousands of pounds of much-needed cat litter being donated to A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter in Illinois, Homeward Pet in Washington, and Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in New York. All of the participating shelters are part of the No More Homeless Pets® Network – a program of the Best Friends Animal Society.
“New” Avian Flu will destroy all life on Earth…or not? According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “a new variant of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza has surfaced in China and Vietnam.” The mutant strain, H5N1 – 188.8.131.52, “is able to sidestep the defenses provided by existing vaccines,” and predicts that “a major resurgence of highly pathogenic avian influenza could occur as a result.” Hmm. Doesn’t “resurgence” mean there was a surge in the first place? Yet…there wasn’t. In fact, the last bird flu hoax sadly failed to produce the massive profits on drugs and vaccines that Big Pharma was drooling over, so they scoured the earth and have last found a new potential threat. Now, we know that the best defense against any disease is not vaccinations or drugs, but a healthy immune system! Read the #3 article in this newsletter for critical info on protecting your pets against disease, including cancer–and you might even find a few tips you can apply to yourself and your human family! [For some very interesting insights into the last manufactured avian flu panic, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola’s book, The Great Bird Flu Hoax.]
Microchip Cat Door limits access. What will they think of next? The SureFlap Microchip Cat Door, “invented by a physicist and cat owner,” which uses radio wave technology to read and identify microchips implanted into cats, according to the company website, lets only authorized pets in. The programmable door can store up to 32 microchip IDs. The door, which costs about $150, can also be used to restrict access to litter boxes and food sources–a better use, IMO, than for letting cats roam free outdoors.
Now available for Amazon Kindle: Dr. Jean’s ebooks:
You can also still get these (and all the others!) as PDF files in the Little Big Cat Bookstore. We’re working hard on getting more titles for Kindle, as well as versions for Barnes and Noble Nook. (Note: Please order Kindle versions directly from Amazon using the links provided.)
2. New “Thyroid Diet” for Cats
Hill’s Pet Nutrition has just released “y/d,” a thyroid diet for cats, in whom there is a growing epidemic of hyperthyroidism. While Hill’s admits that there is no scientific evidence that excess iodine causes hyperthyroidism in cats (in fact, their staff veterinarian stated that if iodine were actually the problem, every cat would be hyperthyroid!), they nevertheless claim that this diet, fed exclusively, will normalize a cat’s thyroid levels in 3 weeks. The diet has been tested for nutritional adequacy by feeding trial in approximately 14 cats; some cats ate the food for 1-2 years. Because most hyperthyroid cats are older, and many older cats also have some degree of kidney impairment, y/d is said to be “kidney friendly” with reduced phosphorus and sodium levels.
Let’s review what we do know about hyperthyroidism in cats. In cats, there are two thyroid glands (in humans there is just one). There may also be extraneous thyroid cells in the body, typically in the upper chest. Hyperthyroidism is caused by one or more benign adenomas (tumors) of the thyroid gland. Treatment typically involves removing, destroying, or otherwise inactivating the excessive thyroid tissue.
Work out of Purdue University has implicated two major suspects in the development of feline hyperthyroidism: fire retardant chemicals (found in household dust, furniture, carpeting, mattresses, and clothing; as well as being a common contaminant of fish and “giblets”–that is, poultry by-products); and BPA in plastic can linings. Excess iodine is universal in cat food, not only because fish–which tends to be high in iodine–is such a common ingredient in cat food, but the premixes used to supply vitamins and minerals typically contain excessive iodine, just to make sure there’s enough to meet the standards. (To accurately control iodine requires difficult and expensive testing–and in world-o’-cheap-pet-food, that just isn’t gonna happen).
The dry version of y/d contains virtually no animal ingredients (except dried egg product, animal fat, and fish oil), eliminating those sources of fire retardants and other chemical contaminants. The primary protein sources are corn gluten meal and “soybean mill run,” which comprises “soybean hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls.” Oh, yum! (This is also how they limit phophorus, which is plentiful in meat). Just a few issues here:
- In the U.S., 72% of corn and 94% of soybeansare genetically modified
- Animal fat is the ingredient most likely to contain sodium pentobarbital, the drug used for euthanasia
- Cats are obligate carnivores who are not well suited to metabolizing vegetable proteins. Since Hill’s knows this very well, they add taurine and carnitine to y/d to provide the two meat-based amino acids currently known to be important to cats.
Canned y/d contains meat by-products (which by definition come from cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs only), chicken (a real meat– unusual for a Hill’s product), and corn and rice products. Hill’s states that all cans used for feline food are BPA free, although the 13-oz cans for dog food “may” contain a “minute” amount of BPA–but below European standards (which are fairly strict).
Hill’s stresses that y/d is for “sick” (hyperthyroid) cats only. They suggest that if healthy cats in the household also have access to the y/d, that they be meal-fed separately with a maintenance canned diet (such as Hill’s adult maintenance, of course).
Time will tell if y/d will be a “cure-all” for feline hyperthyroidism; and if it’s truly safe for long-term use. The claims being made by Hill’s seem pretty outrageous for a generally conservative company. Expect these claims to be vigorously disputed by many, including the company that just came out with a feline-approved methimazole product in anticipation of the large and growing market, as well as the feline radiation clinics that have sprung up to provide radioactive iodine treatment for these cats.
Meantime, to protect your cat…reduce exposure to fire-retardant chemicals by removing carpets and/or dusting and vacuuming frequently and using a HEPA air filter; and feed a wholesome, fresh, species-specific diet based on real meat, rather than junk food from a can or bag.
3. Basic Holistic Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Preventing and treating cancer holistically utilizes the same factors as supporting the immune system and creating an overall healthier pet:
Provide an optimal diet based on fresh, whole foods.Most commercial pet foods (especially dry foods) are made with the leftovers and unwanted parts from livestock slaughter and processing, and loaded with additives and preservatives.
Offer only clean, purified water. Plenty of clean water is essential to the body’s ability to resolve inflammation; and to clean up dead cells, inflammatory markers, and other waste products.
Limit vaccinations. The antibodies produced by vaccines cause inflammation, and every additional booster perpetuates it. Understand the rationale for every vaccination your veterinarian recommends.
Reduce indoors air pollution, yard chemicals, and other sources of toxic exposure. This will reduce the burden on the liver, kidneys, and immune system, and allow the body to heal.
Beware of electromagnetic field radiation. Limit this cause of low-grade, chronic inflammation in and around your home.
Develop a non-toxic pest control program. Many flea, tick, worm, and heartworm products contain chemicals that can contribute to the toxic overload of the body and inhibit natural cleansing processes. Work with your veterinarian to design the safest program for your pet’s individual risk level for each pest.
Minimize stress. It’s been abundantly proven that stress suppresses the immune system.
Provide adequate exercise. Regular physical activity is a natural immune booster and stress reducer.
Integrative treatment. For pets who have been diagnosed with cancer, integrative care (conventional cancer treatment combined with appropriate holistic modalities, such as homeopathy, homotoxicology, acupuncture, Reiki, NAET, and others) will allow your veterinary practitioner to draw on the best tools available from all traditions.