Newsletter - October 2005

The News At Home

Cassie has always been a bit of a character. As a puppy she was very busy doing some rather odd things but this simmered down as she grew up. Now that she’s almost nine years old (relatively “aged” for her breed) she seems to be reliving some of her puppy days. A few days ago we went for an evening walk when I heard “snap, crackle, slurp, crackle...”. I looked down at Cassie, the noise stopped and we carried on. A few steps more and there it was again, “snap, crackle...”. And then it hit me. This was the same noise I haven’t heard for about eight years. I bent down and Cassie turned her head away from me. A sure-fire sign! I opened her mouth and found what I suspected — gum. Cassie used to excel at finding the tiniest piece of gum and chewing it throughout the walk. Like a teenager with poor manners, she would smack and crackle that darn gum until I yanked it away from her. I know she shouldn’t be doing this and it’s dangerous and yes, I remove it as quickly as possible but I have to admit, she makes me smile even on the worst day.

New Booklet at

Enhancing Commercial Diets

You have an adult dog, feed a dry or canned diet and would like to supplement with fresh foods. Are some commercial diets better than others for this purpose? Which fresh foods and how much of them can you add without unbalancing the diet? Should you add supplements? This booklet helps you to arrive at the best approach.

Liver Function and Helpful Supplements

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and given its critical functions, it should win an award for multi tasking. The liver stores vitamins and minerals, excretes waste product into bile, metabolizes drugs and hormones, converts ammonia to urea, converts sugars to fats that are stored, and more! Obviously, with this many important functions, compromised liver function can be serious. Due to the position of the liver in the digestive tract, it is, unfortunately, vulnerable to many insults i.e. toxic, circulatory, microbial and metabolic. Sometimes, liver function is compromised because the liver itself is in trouble but often, the liver is harmed as a secondary reaction and responds by inflammation, death of liver cells, lowered function and sometimes, regeneration.

In years gone by, it was thought that the diet of a dog with liver disease should include reduced protein. Today, we know differently. While it’s important to reduce the workload on the liver, this organ requires protein for regeneration. They key is to use protein with high biological value (for example, eggs and cheese), while avoiding red meats because of their high content of heme and other non-protein nitrogenous compounds. Normal levels of vitamins K and C can be deficient in dogs with liver disease. Vitamin K can be found in leafy green vegetables, Vitamin C, playing a key role in collagen formation and the synthesis of certain hormones, can be supplemented. B vitamins may also be in short supply and again, these can be supplemented. Multi vitamin and mineral complexes should be used only under supervision of a veterinarian. Excess copper is a problem at any time but especially so when liver disease is present. 


“Revenge is often like biting a dog because the dog bit you.” -- Austin O’Malley 1858-1932 American Oculist

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