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Newsletter - January 2008

Year's Eve brought a parade of dogs being walked down the street. Perhaps neighbors wanted to get this task out of the way before the evening festivities began, but our Tori was not amused. She barked almost non-stop between 7-7:30 PM because, apparently, we were in danger. After all, you just never know when the parade of dogs might turn around and attack!

Neither the 'stop' command nor trying to divert her attention had any impact. Morley decided to give the 'eat popcorn' command by popping some and ushering Tori away from the window. This worked, of course, but I have to wonder if the bigger lesson became that if Tori barks long enough, she will get a treat. My New Year resolution is to do more training - both for Tori and my husband.

Fact of the Month "All Natural" - examples of negatives and positives

Along with most people feeding home-prepared diets, I add kelp as a natural way of providing iodine. Kelp is also in many kibble formulations. An interesting case has been reported by the Occupational Medicine Clinic at the University of California, Davis. A woman was referred to the clinic after two years of worsening alopecia, memory loss, and experiencing a rash, increasing fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, disabling her to the point where she could no longer work full-time. As it turned out, this woman was taking a daily kelp supplement. A urine sample showed an arsenic level of 83.6 microg/g creatinine. A normal result would have shown less than .50 microg/g creatinine. A sample from her kelp supplements contained 8.5 mg/kg (ppm) arsenic. Once the kelp supplement was discontinued, her symptoms resolved and arsenic blood and urine levels were undetectable.

The clinic decided to evaluate the extent of arsenic contamination in commercially available kelp by analyzing nine samples randomly obtained from local health food stores. Eight of the nine samples failed the purity test, showing detectable levels of arsenic higher than the Food and Drug Administration tolerance level of 0.5 to 2 ppm for certain food products. To read the details about this report, see MID: 17450231 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].

As with fish oils that are too often loaded with PCBs and/or mercury, kelp should be on your list as a potential hazard. Be sure to look at the results of lab assays. You can see the results on my site by clicking on 'lab assay' at the bottom left-hand corner of a product page.

Now, for some good news about probiotics: Catholic University Leuven, Research Group for Microbial Adhesion, Department of Periodontology reports a study that looked at probiotics for a rather novel use. Because of the resemblance between the microbia of the gastro-intestinal tract and periodontal disease, they wondered if the application of probiotics, as an adjunct to scaling and root planing, would inhibit the periodontopathogen recolonization of periodontal pockets. In a beagle dog model, the recolonization of pathogens was delayed and reduced. In fact, the degree of inflammation was also reduced at a significant level.

Acidophilus is the best-studied probiotic in dogs, and to date, has shown to provide the greatest benefit. Would feeding probiotics help oral health? According to the information above, we can't state that this is the case, and certainly there is a difference between direct application and ingestion. But it certainly can't hurt! In the meantime, I intend to add some acidophilus powder to Tori's oral-care regime by dabbing a soft cloth in water, followed by dabbing the moistened cloth in acidophilus to be rubbed on her gums.


“Rambunctious, rumbustious, delinquent dogs become angelic when sitting.’ -- Dr. Ian Dunbar



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