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In this issue:
1. News Bites
- Milk Bones Dog Biscuits “Pulled”
- Graeme, the new Railway Cat?
- AVMA Lobbies against Consumer Fairness
- Potential Sterilizing Vaccine for Feral Cats
- Studying Intestinal Cancer in Cats
- Not Enough Vaccines for You? More Coming!
- Develop a Genetic Treatment for an Environmental Disease
2. Top 4 Supplements for Pets
3. Swine Flu, Bird Flu…It’s Always Something!
1. News Bites
Milk Bone Dog Biscuits “Pulled.” Delmonte Pet has issued a recall (but isn’t calling it a recall!) on one lot only of Milk Bone Dog Biscuit 10lb. Code #90967 Milk Bone Dog Biscuits 10 lb (UPC 24000-92502) with lot code 12071k. According to Delmonte,“This is not a recall, we voluntarily pulled the product because mold was discovered after the product was in the market place.” Thanks to TruthAboutPetFood.com for this alert!
Graeme, the new Railway Cat? Okay, so he’s no Skimbleshanks, but Graeme is definitely the new Railway Cat. He waits for his mom everyday at a Melbourne, Australia, train station, and always knows which car she is on! While we still worry about mishaps that could befall this free-roaming fellow, you gotta admit, it’s cute!
- Click here to read the story (and watch the video) at the Huffington Post.
- Click here to find out why outdoor life is so risky for cats.
- Click here for info on outdoor safety.
- Click here for info on indoor enrichment.
AVMA Lobbies Against Consumer Fairness. According to a recent newsletter from the American Veterinary Medical Association, a recently introduced Congressional bill, H.R. 1406 (The Fairness to Pet Owners Act), “requires veterinarians to write a prescription at the time of prescribing a product for a companion animal, regardless of whether or not the veterinarian would also be dispensing the product to his/her client. The AVMA feels this legislation is unnecessary and redundant, and is actively pursuing its defeat.” Currently, if you want to get your pet’s medications anywhere but your veterinarian’s office, you need a written prescription or verbal authorization to the pharmacy, whether that be on the corner or online. AVMA encourages giving written prescriptions when requested, but veterinarians are not required to give it to you. Some will charge you a fee to give you a written prescription. And some, fearing the financial competition, will refuse entirely. But AVMA thinks that requiring vets to provide such fair customer service is a bad thing, and is fighting the bill–mainly because it is strongly backed by Walmart, who apparently intends to steal all their business. We’re not big fans of Walmart’s business practices, but it surely seems like veterinarians have brought it on themselves.
Potential Sterilizing Vaccine for Feral Cats. Researchers at the University of Florida are working on a non-lethal method of population control for feral cats. A study found that a single dose of the immunocontraceptive vaccine GonaCon can influence fertility over multiple years in adult female cats. Nearly all cats were sterile for one year, with decreasing percentages over time. There are numerous hurdles to be overcome, including the possible need to catch the same cats every year for revaccination, as well as potential vaccine side effects, but this could be a real help to TNR advocates and save thousands of kitty lives as well as the need for surgical sterilization. Click here to read the full story at CatChannel.com.
Studying Intestinal Cancer in Cats. A recent Science Daily article describes a retrospective study of feline intestinal cancer, with hopes toward using the information in human cancer treatment. The most common type of intestinal cancer in cats is lymphoma, and it’s found primarily in the small intestine. There’s also a breed predilection, which will no doubt go a long way to helping older, male, Siamese humans avoid the disease. Okay, seriously, the point they want to make is that “tracking animal cancer is important because animals share the environment with humans. By noting patterns of cancer development, doctors and veterinarians may become aware of environmental factors that could be causing tumor progression in different species, including humans.” Hey, we just said that last month–in fact we explained exactly what the risk factors for cancer are, and how to avoid them! Click here to read our article, and stay ahead of the scientists! Additionally, in cats, intestinal lymphoma is thought to be one possible result of food allergy or inflammatory bowel disease.
Not Enough Vaccines for You? More Coming! A fairly horrifying article in the New Scientist describes the coming “boom” in vaccines. According to the article, “While the rest of the pharmaceutical sector struggles to keep afloat as expiring patents send profits plummeting, the vaccine industry has become remarkably buoyant. … the vaccine market grew an impressive 14 per cent between 2009 and 2010, despite the economic downturn, and growth is predicted to continue.” The article very sensibly points out that for many drugs, people buy them regularly for years, but for vaccines, the market is more limited because people may only need one or two doses in a lifetime. Animal vaccine makers have it easier; we’ve been programmed for years to give annual vaccines to pets and livestock alike, though the trend toward less vaccines is slowly working its way through the veterinary profession. (Even so, vaccinating pets every 3 years is as far as the industry is willing to go…which is still way, way too much!) The solution: more vaccines, of course! More diseases, more warnings, more dire predictions…well you know that story, and we talk more about in in item #3 in this newsletter! The New Scientist article describes how vaccine makers are expanding their markets, and discusses animal vaccines as well. It’s totally worth reading…just click here.
Developing a Genetic Treatment for an Environmental Disease. In the “when common sense becomes uncommon” category, scientists are developing a genetic treatment for a disease that is almost entirely due to environmental factors–high-carbohydrate diets and lack of exercise. Sound familiar? This treatment is for Type II human diabetes, but cats get the exact same form, from the exact same causes. High-carb dry food and a sedentary lifestyle are the main causes of diabetes in cats, just as in people. Of course, the article gets its facts all wrong, saying, “More than 700,000 Australians have type 2 diabetes, which has no cure and is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as being overweight, eating a poor diet and a lack of exercise.” Um, excuse us, but being overweight, eating a poor diet, and not exercising are not genetic factors! The article also blames high-fat diets, when it’s really carbohydrates that are to blame; although many high-carb human foods (think Fritos and Twinkies) are also high in fat. But fats don’t trigger insulin release–carbohydrates do. The article also infers that all diabetes, “occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to break down glucose, a vital function needed to supply energy to the body.” Except for the part about breaking down glucose (it should read “breaking down food into glucose”), that’s a description of Type I diabetes, which also occurs in dogs. However, Type II diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, not a lack of insulin. And that all comes back to lifestyle. You’ll probably hear us scream when they use this stuff to creatw an anti-diabetes vaccine, but in the meantime, if you want to know how to prevent and treat diabetes in cats, you can find Dr. Jean’s extensive report on Feline Diabetes in our Bookstore; or if you want to read it on your Kindle, order it directly from Amazon.com.
2. Top 4 Pet Supplements
I (Dr. Jean) was recently interviewed by About.com on pet supplements. I was asked to choose my top four, and explain why I recommend them. (Click here to read the article on About.com, or the more detailed version here on Little Big Cat)
My top 4 favorite supplements–that I recommend for every cat and dog, no matter what they eat–are:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids – the most crucial supplement; absent or inadequate in both homemade and commercial pet foods; vital for cell function all over the body, but most importantly for the nervous system (especially eyes and brain), joints, heart, kidneys, and skin.
2. Digestive enzymes – absent in all canned and most dry pet foods; helps your pet get the maximum nutrition from food; prevents food allergies and other digestive woes.
3. Probiotics – necessary for optimal digestive health, and helpful for many allergic problems.
4. Antioxidants – the key to longevity through their inflammation-fighting properties; most age-related degenerative diseases are directly related to inflammation.
3. Swine Flu, Avian Flu…It’s Always Something!
Just last month we reported on a a new variant of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza (called H5N1 – 22.214.171.124) that was found in China and Vietnam. This month, the new news is that H1N1 “swine flu” has been discovered in African pigs. The pigs theoretically got it from people, thus demonstrating the interconnectedness of the globe and how fast diseases can travel. “Africa is ground zero for a new pandemic,”according to the CDC.
Well, yes. The world is amazingly connected, and diseases can travel fast. But…honestly, this is starting to sound a lot like “the boy who cried wolf!” It certainly bears noticing that these disease “alerts” are coming fast and furious–but only for diseases that have a vaccine ready to go, and ready to make some Big Pharma company boatloads of money.
Cats can contract some of these diseases, and that’s why we’re following these stories. But the real news that the media isn’t talking about (no matter how many times we say it), is that a healthy immune system is the best defense against disease! And over-vaccinating is definitely not the way to keep the immune system strong. In fact, vaccines, antibiotics, and other drugs often do the exact opposite by telling your immune system to over-respond to a mostly imaginary challenge, but lay down on the job and let drugs take over its other functions!