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Holistic Vet Experience

NancyK

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I have a Havanese/Papillon female spayed dog. She will be 16 in August. She is has been eating a raw diet for 14 years, mostly homemade. She has only had one health issue her entire life which was a back issue at age 7. The only issue she is having now is that I noticed a couple loose teeth. She does have a crooked, misaligned jaw so chews mainly on one side. The side she chews on looks great but the other side develops tartar in spite of brushing and some teeth are loose. I had her teeth cleaned three years ago and almost lost her under anesthesia.
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I took her to a new vet recently (holistic) for a wellness exam. She did say her heart is enlarged, however she has no symptoms of heart disease. Her blood work was good except ALT is somewhat elevated. This could be due to her teeth or something else. The vet recommended a hair mineral analysis so I did that. The results showed that her aluminum is a bit high so we are doing a detox for that which makes perfect sense. However, her calcium and magnesium also showed low on the hair test. The vet wants to correct that by feeding high doses of calcium lactate pills. She also recommends large doses of zinc pills which I am confused about since her zinc level is good. I do not feel comfortable throwing tons of calcium at a dog without first evaluating diet and also checking magnesium and vitamin D levels to determine if this could be an absorption issue. Excessive dietary calcium can further deplete magnesium. Homemade feeders are ALWAYS accused of not feeding enough calcium, deserved or not. I feed raw meaty bones every day and am well aware of the bone content. I check the stool every day to make sure they are getting adequate bone in the diet. I also feed a wide variety of bones...chicken wings and backs, duck necks, duck heads and quail. Bones are the best way to provide calcium because they also provide magnesium and other minerals. It could be that her vitamin D is low. I am going to add more sardines and mackerel to help, although most of her food is pasture raised which should contain some vitamin D. Or she could have something else going on that is preventing absorption. This vet likes raw diets but she is not very knowledgeable about homemade. She is definitely not a nutritionist.

I guess my question is this...

If a dog has made it to 16 and is still healthy on my homemade diet that I have fed for 14 years, why start messing with it now based solely on a hair mineral analysis without checking vitamin D and magnesium levels?

BTW, I also have a 15.5 year old yorkie who is perfectly healthy still and has very good teeth and gums. He does not have the dental structure challenges of my other dog. He has eaten the same exact diet. She collected a hair sample on him. It will be interesting to see the difference. Even though his blood test and urine check was good, she recommends Standard Process kidney support which is loaded with tons of ingredients, including kidney tissue. I feed raw kidney every day! I am fearful this could overdose him. She also recommends 8 weeks of ozone therapy.

I believe in testing, not guessing, when it comes to supplements. I cannot in clear conscience feed this huge amount of synthetic calcium and zinc without knowing exactly why. Right now I am a little frustrated and fed up as I have spent $2400 on my two dogs at this vet when they both appear perfectly healthy. They have made it to 15 and 16 on what I have fed them for 14 years and I am hesitant to fix what is not broken. My other concern is that these supplements are synthetic. Not only do I dislike that but I have read that synthetic supplements are often contaminated with heavy metals and should never be given while detoxing.

Thanks for listening. Any thoughts would be sincerely appreciated.

Nancy
 

GinnyW

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I would be inclined to take all this with a grain of salt - or not:) You'e obviously doing a bunch of the right stuff - and no supplemental construct will ever come close to the balance of this great raw diet. I think you're right - it's not broken, not either of them. My biggest concern would be her dental condition - if you can find a vet in which whose anesthetic protocols you can feel comfortable, I'd get those wiggly and loose teeth resolved, and a really thorough cleaning done. She needs a clean, healthy, and solid mouth.

As far as diet, I can see nothing that one could add that would better balance or nourish. Keep thinking towards variety, and throw in a few supplements only as you can justify. Keep watching everything, and you won't go wrong. It's not time, IMO, for the sorts of serious interventions she wants to use.
 

NancyK

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Thanks GinnyW for your valuable input.

I agree that the main concern is her mouth, however this vet said that she did not think she can take the anesthesia because she has an enlarged heart. Without fixing her teeth, nothing will completely fix her problems. She was almost lost during anesthesia at a previous cleaning a few years ago too. There is a board certified dentist a few hours away, however even they do not have a board certified anesthesiologist. I will do further investigation.

Thanks again,
Nancy
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hey Nancy!

Wow, you're doing lots of great stuff for your pup. Her vibrant and health life for 16 years is proof.

why start messing with it now based solely on a hair mineral analysis without checking vitamin D and magnesium levels?
I agree.

Not only do I dislike that but I have read that synthetic supplements are often contaminated with heavy metals and should never be given
Yes!

Good job advocating for your dogs and helping them have great, long lives.

Keep it up! 😍 💚:dogrun:
 

NancyK

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Thank you Dr. Jeff. I feel it is a constant battle to be a good advocate for my pets. Unfortunately, I have had two holistic vets and this applies to them as well. One was determined to get my dogs on Simparica for example which I of course refused to do. I did live in a heavy tick area so they have gotten many tick bites over the years. But...no tick borne diseases!

Nancy
 

Dr. Jeff

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