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Newsletter - August 2006

The News At Home

Toronto and vicinity experienced serious storm damage last week. A large tree in our backyard split in half before crashing down, narrowly escaping our dining room window. Cassie couldn’t be more thrilled. She’s taken to climbing on top of the massive trunk that still lies in the yard, pulling off chunks of bark and eating them. At first, I did all I could to stop her from eating what she seems to think is the best treat on the planet. Colitis doesn’t usually get along with chunks of anything much less brittle bark. Finally, I just couldn’t face dragging her back into the house one more time so I prepared myself for what was sure to be a gastric upset at minimum. I was wrong. Cassie’s stool is so picture perfect that I’m thinking we may have a new supplement to offer. Bottled chunks of bark - ok, maybe not.

What’s New at

Digestive Enzymes and Plant Digestive Enzymes

We are very pleased to add digestive enzymes to our expanding line of private labeled products. What makes these digestive enzymes unique? Glad you asked! Our digestive enzymes are proven to be as potent as the label claims. This is key if we expect a product to be effective. Of course, potency is one issue but how quickly a product dissolves (known as disintegration time) is a critical component of effectiveness. There is no need to let these enzymes sit within food. They dissolve far more quickly that what is required to pass testing. According to USP (US Pharmacopoeia used in reference to purity standard) digestive enzymes don’t need to disintegrate for 30 minutes. Ours disintegrate within 3 minutes. Stir them into food and you’re done. As always, the results of laboratory testing can be found on our web site. Just click on ‘lab assay’ to see the details.

The protease, an enzyme that breaks down protein, in our regular digestive enzymes is derived from pork. For many dogs, this is a novel protein source and for most others, very low on the allergen scale. Our Plant Enzymes take the allergy solution to new heights because none of the enzymes are derived from meat sources. The hard gel caps can be twisted open and added in small amounts for our smaller canine friends.

Fact of the Month Regarding Heart Disease, Sodium and Potassium (a sneak peak from my upcoming book

Kidney function includes the ability to excrete water and sodium. This excretion provides control of blood pressure. In the case of some heart diseases and certainly in congestive heart failure, the kidneys lose some of their ability to excrete sodium well. This results in sodium retention that, in turn, results in water retention. The pet owner may report that the dog is coughing. A radiograph may show water retention in the lungs. Typically, one of the first reactions of a pet owner who is made aware of their dog having any form of heart disease is to want to decrease the sodium content of the diet. This may apply to dry and canned foods because they tend to provide a lot of sodium. In the case of home-prepared diets, the worry should be less because fresh foods without added salt provide the least amount of sodium possible.

That said, we can select some foods that offer less sodium than others. For example, canned fish would be eliminated altogether, ricotta cheese would make a better choice than cottage cheese and some RMBs provide more sodium than others. Is the focus on sodium as important as we think? It’s not critical in the early stages of heart disease and in fact, great restriction can cause problems. Sodium is an important mineral and a very low sodium diet triggers the body to try and conserve it. The body does this by a hormonal gatekeeper called aldosterone. The possible problem lies in the fact that aldosterone is also responsible for triggering the kidneys to excrete potassium. In this case, we run the risk of losing too much potassium and will result in a dog that feels poorly, weakened and may lose balance.

With heart failure comes the risk of fat and skeletal muscle loss. This condition is known as cardiac cachexia and is due to lessened appetite, increased energy need due to the heart working hard, medications used for heart disease and poor assimilation of food. Drastic reduction in sodium can make food taste less appealing and as the dog eats less, muscle wasting develops while the amount of potassium ingested also drops. Treatment for heart disease usually involves medications that can take their toll on the kidneys. For this reason and because compromised heart function can affect kidney function, it makes sense to feed a diet that is friendly to both.


DOG LETTER TO GOD: Dear God, Is it true that in Heaven, dining room tables have on-ramps? -- Author unknown



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