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November 25 2009
Dog food - mixed results

Well we've had the new dog food for a couple of weeks now, and, while knowing it has to be better than all the rest with 30% meat protein, the dogs seem less than ecstatic over the ones we chose for them, so that might change after this sack is used up. That's not necessarily a bad thing as Freya especially is far too keen on eating, and as a result is getting rahter porky of late, which can't all be put down to midle-age spread. Perhaps they don't use anything to 'improve' the flavour. The company is called Tropy Pet Foods and you can read what they say here. As Freya needs to lose weight, I don't mind her leaving a bit now and then, and indeed, Trophy do say your dog will eat less as the better nutrition is more filling. Kai, being a puppy, if a rather large one, needs all the nutrition he can get as he's building bones and muscles.

Reading further on the subject, I've decided it will be a good idea to include more actual meat in their diet, as that has to be closer to natural than processed dry pellets. So it's trips to the butcher and begging scraps and bones again as we used to do in the sixties, when our GermanShepherds had a raw diet. Once we even bought half a sheep for them, which the butcher kindly stored in his cold room and dispensed cuts whenever we wanted them. You don't get that kind of service these days.

Another essential ingredient of a canine diet is bone, and without it their faeces tend to be far too runny, leading to other problems. Bonemeal can be added of course, but as it's a powder, it's not easy to get a dog to consume it without something to mix it in. As they didn't ask to be born or to be kept in a human world, we have a duty to ensure they get the best we can give them. So it's back to hacking up bits of flesh and bone again, lovely!

November 8 2009
Canine diets and why they get cancer just like us

Slow gathering of information on the dogfood industry, allied with a remarkable coincidence, a meeting of minds that can happen on this wide web. And to cap it all the third coincidental coming together, and all in the space of a few weeks. A lot of information to gather, understand, assimilate and pass on, but bear with me, it's worth it if you have a dog or dogs, and also if you have cancer or know someone who has.

My partner, Penny, had for some time been looking into dogfood and its ingredients as, with an underweight new rescued puppy, Kai, she was searching for the right diet to see him into adulthood a healthy dog since he was badly underweight when we got him. She wasn't happy with what she read on the sacks, and delving deeper the news only got worse; seems the majority of dry dogfood has only 4% actual meat protein in it, the rest is a mix of many ingredients, including fillers, wheat gluten which many dogs react to as it isn't a natural part of their diet and they are intolerant of it. Then there's soya products and a lot of waste products which shouldn't be fed to any animal. The major cause of premature death in dogs is cancer.

Then, out of the blue someone who happened here and read my ramblings got in touch with the catchy attention grabbing subject line 'Are you me?' Intrigued I read of some remarkable coincidences in our interests and experiences. Dogs was the first one of course as I'd written about losing Kees, but further than that, cancer in dogs; we had both lost much loved dogs to cancer, which, it turns out, is very very common in domestic dogs, so much so that dogfood companies employ people to research their ingredients, looking for culprits as they have noticed the numbers who get cancer. It turns out it's not what they put in the foods, but what is left out, as my correspondent explained. The big dog food companies have noted how many dogs are getting cancer and have been trying to cover their backs in case it was one of their ingredients implicated.

There are two groups of people in whom cancer is almost unheard of - Eskimo and Kunzel.  The Kunzel have a diet rich in Apricot and in particular, they eat the nut which is quite bitter and rich in a compound given the label of B17.  When we eat B17 it is normally metabolised to vitamin B12, important for nerve function.  Eskimo eat Caribou which in turn eat lichen which is rich in, wait for it, B17.  Take an Eskimo or a Kunzel out of their habitat and feed them a Western diet and they develop cancer at the same rate as all the rest of us. 

Then an important piece of work showed that cancer cells have an enzyme on the outside of them that helps them invade surrounding tissues and this enzyme breaks down B17 to cyanide and benzaldehyde both are toxic and immediately kill or damage the cell that just made them.  B17 it turns out is a natural anti-cancer agent and when we used to eat loads of nuts and fruit, the B17 in the seeds kept us free from cancer.

Now for the twist.  In the wild, dogs rarely get cancer.  Wild dogs and wolves generally hunt and eat rabbits and other grass-eaters, and when they catch one, they generally eat the guts first.  A rabbit eats grass and grass is rich in yes, you guessed, B17.  So in its wild diet, a canine is eating regular and significant quantities of B17.  In captivity however, a dog is likely to be fed reformulated chicken and other ground-up unwanted meat bits, plus soya and some carbo / veg for bulk and fibre – no grass though.

So, it is not something IN the food that is causing the dogs to develop cancer – it is something NOT IN the food which is failing to prevent dogs from developing cancers, which grow all the time. Our government is fully in the pockets of Big Pharma who make an obscene profit from licensed cancer drugs.  B17 works by prevention, so if it became a mainstream part of our diets, billions of market shares would evaporate.  Consequently B17 is illegal in the UK and in the US in order to protect the Pharmaceutical cancer drug market. Despite being illegal in the UK, there are many foodstuffs which contain it which can't be banned; Alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, mung bean sprouts, barley, buckwheat, maize, millet, blackberries, currants, cassava, cranberries, gooseberries, loganberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries, yams, brown rice, fava beans, lentils and many pulses like kidney beans, lima beans and field beans, flax seed, linseed, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, watercress, sweet potato, almonds and the seeds of lemons, limes, cherries, apples, apricots, prunes, plums and pears are all good sources of B17.

Once cancer is established however, B17 is not as effective – it is a preventive, not a cure. That is where DCA comes in.  A doctor in Alberta was working on cancer mechanisms and wanted to prove that cancer cells become 'immortal' by switching off the mitochondria in the cell, which make energy but also are responsible for making a cell commit suicide when something goes wrong with it.  Once the mitochondria are switched off, the cell has to use a different energy route which is much less efficient and makes loads of lactic acid causing the usual nausea and cramps that accompany most cancer treatments.

Some children have a metabolic deficiency where their mitochondria do not work properly.  These children are treated with DCA to turn their mitochondria back on, so the doctor fed DCA to rats with cancer to see if it reactivated their mitochondria and so stopped the formation of lactic acid (a nasty side effect of cancer).  It worked, the mitochondria turned back on.

But along with the reawakening of the mitochondria came a re-establishment of their other function – apoptosis – programmed cell death, when something was wrong with the cell.  In his trials, over 80% of the cancers died. There was a great flurry of excitement that a simple, safe and cheap drug could be so effective in treating cancer.  A firm sprang up in the US making BP grade DCA for sale to folks who wanted to take it along to their GP as a last chance for their terminal cancer, or simply self administered the DCA on a 'what have I got to looe' basis.

Then the governments stepped in.  New Scientist who first published the paper printed a warning that DCA was dangerous and that people should not self medicate.  The company selling DCA was shut down by the FDA, and the doctor who made the discovery was suddenly unavailable for comment and was said to be involved in further trials (which have never been published).  As you might have suspected a steady program of disinformation is now under way, exactly as it was for Vitamin C.

In reality, DCA works, but it works so effectively that for large established cancers, the sudden death of large quantities of cells can be so devastating that it can kill, bit like having a little bomb going off inside you. So it isn't for advanced cancer sufferers, but for other cancers it is effective. Before considering DCA as treatment, the state of the cancer must be known, and a doctor consulted.

The third part of the coincidence was our local organic veg box scheme delivered a leaflet with the veg about a dog food company which sells dog food containing 30% meat protein and with all other ingredients balanced and nutrionally important, quite a jump, so we were immediately interested. They do a range of foods such as puppy, older dog, weight loss and hyperallergenic, and supply free samples so you can check first if your dog likes it. Ours love it. They don't sell through stores, but via a network of franchisees who are all trained in dog nutrition and who deliver your order to your door. They refuse to have anything to do with animal testing, so all their foods are tested with free samples, not on captive animals like most other pet food manufacturers. The are the closest thing we've found to a properly balanced diet which contains all a dog needs and we have placed out first order. Once I have assessed the benefits, and our dogs have been on it for a while, I shall report more fully and let known the name of this company. Did I mention all their foods contain DCA? No other pet food manufacturers have even heard of it!




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