Pet Care: Find vet you can trustDear Dr. Fox: I have read articles critical of vets prescribing unnecessary shots and topical flea controls that could be harmful. I have also seen reference to holistic vet treatment but cannot find any indication in any vet ads. How do I find someone more interested in my pet’s health than selling me more shots, flea meds or high-priced dog food?
By: Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM
Dear Dr. Fox: I have read articles critical of vets prescribing unnecessary shots and topical flea controls that could be harmful. I have also seen reference to holistic vet treatment but cannot find any indication in any vet ads.
How do I find someone more interested in my pet’s health than selling me more shots, flea meds or high-priced dog food? – G.P., Lake Worth, Fla.
Dear G.P.: There is an excellent organization called the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), of which I have been a supporting member for many years. The organization offers a professional journal, medical conferences and workshops for veterinarians who practice alternative and complementary medicine in an integrative way with conventional treatments, which is what I’ve been preaching in my column for many years.
To locate an AHVMA-affiliated veterinarian in your area, go to www.ahvma.org, where a list of practicing members is posted for pet owners such as yourself.
Dear Dr. Fox: I currently have two rescued dogs: a mother, Lacey (part Rottweiler), and her pup, Tag (part German shepherd). I adopted them from Stray Rescue here in St. Louis, Mo. Lacey had obviously been abused (missing teeth, scars and a great deal of fear), but Tag was young enough to escape unscathed.
Our vet found that Lacey has Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and she has recurrent bouts of the disease. We keep it under control, mostly, and just deal with it. Unfortunately, both dogs have had knee surgery on their hind legs and now have arthritis. Lacey’s arthritis is most severe in her front legs (which weren’t operated on), and she has been on Previcox on a daily basis for pain control.
I began cooking for both dogs as soon as I got them, being so unsatisfied with commercial canned food. I do use dry (AvoDerm), but I make the moist from scratch. I mix my recipes with AvoDerm on a 50/50 basis; and I supplement this with meaty bones and milk bones for treats. I read your article on homemade diets, and it looks as if I’m doing OK but would love to hear from you.
I have two basic recipes that I feed my dogs and my daughter’s two littermates (also from Stray Rescue):
The first is chicken casserole made with boiled chicken leg quarters (skinned and de-boned, of course), baked and diced sweet potatoes, raw chopped sweet red and yellow bell peppers, raw shredded zucchini and yellow squash, raw chopped spinach, cooked brown rice or barley, raw shredded apple, raw shredded carrots and cooked and chopped green beans.
The other is a meatloaf made with ground beef or turkey (even bison, emu or chicken), the same vegetables and fruit (only roughly pureed in a food processor), brown rice and organic, cage-free brown eggs.
I’m concerned after reading your article that I need to add calcium. A friend also suggested adding amino acids. – J.DeM., St. Louis, Mo.
Dear J.DeM.: Try New Chapter’s Zyflamend capsules for your dog’s arthritic problems. It will also help with inflammatory aspects of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection. Give ½ a human daily dose with food to start then a full dose. Nordic Naturals fish oil is also excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids; it’s available in most pet stores in non-capsule liquid bottles.
The less you cook animal proteins, the less amino acids are destroyed. Check my basic dog-food recipe at my website under “Special Reports, Companion Animals” – it has been nutritionally analyzed and is balanced and complete. It can be fed raw. This diet will guide you on the critical calcium supplement issue, which your recipes, like many home-prepared diets for dogs, are lacking. A 50-pound dog needs about 500 to 1,000 mgm daily of a good source of calcium, such as calcium lactate or calcium citrate. Also, check out my buckwheat dog-cookie recipe, which most dogs enjoy!
Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.