The biggest current health challenge in our pets
Commercial foods came about because as vets we were diagnosing a great deal of illness from the feeding of unbalanced home-made diets. Growing up our own dogs used to be fed “Sadza” a cooked meal of Corn – with a bit of meat or vegetables. That diet was critically imbalanced in essential nutrients. So, one must be forgiving of the vets of today because this is the background that has been drummed into them, feed a balanced diet as based on AAFCO standings to have healthy pets. Not all pet food is equal: there are basic varieties extending to premium varieties, one would expect the premium end of the scale to be the best. To a large degree they are, but all commercial diets in my experience fall short in Calcium.
AAFCO determines the level of calcium that must be in the food, but it does determine in what form the calcium must be in. The natural form of Calcium found in bone is Calcium hydroxyapatite – this is a chelated form of calcium which when fed raw is extremely biologically available. In other words when it is eaten is absorbed. Most commercial diets add Calcium carbonate to the feed, to balance the Calcium content of the diet. Unfortunately, Calcium carbonate is biologically unavailable. It has an alkaline pH which disturbs digestion. Thus, when we do hair mineral analysis effectively measuring the amount of calcium that has been absorbed from the food and made it into the tissues – the hair, there is almost always a deficiency of Calcium.
Calcium is regarded the second messenger of the body. What this means is that every process in the body is dependent on Calcium. Thus, if you are unknowingly feeding a diet deficient in Calcium it will end up with health issues in your pets. It is a health crisis of untold understanding and your vets do not know about this.
The most important functions are for example in the immune system and calcium deficiency is seen in chronic infections, allergies, auto-immune disease, and cancer. Some of the most obvious is Calcium deficiency in bones themselves for example the turning on of the genes of Chondrodysplasia which create the proteins FGR4 -12 and FGR4- 18. Chondrodysplasia dogs are e.g., Pugs, French Bulldog’s etc any of the dogs with short noses and short legs. The other two behavioural issues seen are Aggression and Anxiety simply from a lack of Calcium.
A huge issue of using poisons to protect our animals – we recommend the use of Flea & Tick preventatives and Heartworm medications, all of which are poisons. The liver must detox the poisons and if your pet is deficient in Calcium, it is unable to detox the poisons, which may lead to catastrophic consequences.
The feeding of a Calcium chelate will rebalance the calcium levels within a very short period i.e., two weeks but it may take a twelve-month period to rebuild the calcium supply in the skeleton.
The feeding of a balanced raw diet is essential for puppies and it is our policy that puppies must not be fed a homemade diet until twelve months of age. The best intentions to feed them a good diet almost always ends up being an unbalanced diet – hence we recommend a commercially available BARF diet until 12 months of age. After that we can supply you a diet sheet to make up your own diet that is balanced and requires certain supplements.