The following is Dr. Billinghurst's reply to Katie of the mybluedog (secondchanceranch) website. Katie's statements are in bold. One must remember that the author of the mybluedog site is a "master of twisting words". After reading Dr. Billinghurst's reply she came up with:
He claims that humans have not lived healthfully on cooked foods for years and states "look at our hospitals &diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer etc etc. We are very sick puppies. Unhappy campers in the forest of life". With this claim he suggests that there would be no need for hospitals if we all ate raw meat?".
Now, how anyone can conclude that Dr. Billinghurst says people should eat raw meat from his statement is beyond me.
Is Raw Meat Safe?
By Katie Merwick
A REPLY BY IAN BILLINGHURST
I have been aware of the article for some time. However, it is so badly written, incoherent at times, contradictory and internally inconsistent that I found it difficult to take seriously, let alone dignify it with a reply. However, I have been asked to reply to this article by a number of concerned people because of its potential to inhibit dog owners from feeding their dog a healthy diet..
Here is my reply. It is addressed in part to the author - a person about whom I know nothing. The reply is not made as a criticism of the author. I am highly critical of the content of the article however.
The article asks the question "Is Raw Meat Safe?
I guess I should ask in reply, is processed food safe? The answer has to be no. Why? The answer is simple. The vast majority of dogs today are fed processed food. These are the dogs that fill our vets waiting rooms. If there is any credence to the idea that food can make our dogs either ill or healthy, then it becomes obvious that processed food is a disaster. I should also like to add that my reply is not directly to the question asked. My reply concerns feeding raw meat as part and part only of an evolutionary diet. In other words I am answering the question in the only valid way it can be asked OR ANSWERED - that is - "Is Raw Meat Safe in the context of a properly formulated evolutionary or biologically appropriate diet?"
The author of this article begins by saying .
The issue of feeding raw meat as part of a raw diet has caused quite stir in the veterinary community and dog industry.
Not yet it hasn't. There are a few people who are stirred up about it but most have not even heard of the idea. I believe as time goes by the idea of feeding dogs a properly constructed whole food diet will stir the hearts and minds of many people. As people adopt an evolutionary or biologically appropriate diet for their pets they see tremendous health benefits. This inspires them to tell others. Yes the idea is growing and very successfully. Let me also add that I have hundreds of letters to support that claim.
Many holistic practitioners believe it is a healthy and even necessary dietary alternative.
And many believe just the opposite. In fact many holistic practitioners are opposed to feeding evolutionary diets. There are many beliefs out there and most are based on prejudice, fear and ignorance, with very little or no evidence to support those beliefs - one way or the other.
Some people claim to have fed their dogs raw meat for years without problems.
That is true. Tens of thousands of Australians have done exactly that for decades and I am one of them as are thousands of my clients - both past and present - and of course tens of thousands of people who have read my writings or attended my seminars. These are not insignificant numbers.
We have sold well in excess of 30 000 copies of "Give Your Dog a Bone." We are talking about real people with real dogs living safe happy and contented lives eating a diet based on raw meaty bones. A diet that promotes positive health. People who are committed to the idea that raw whole foods promote health and that processed pet foods promote ill health. These are not cranks or dummies. They are ordinary people who love their dogs and love to see them well and happy. We are not talking theory here. We are talking actually doing it repeated over and over thousands of times over many years.
Western (conventional) veterinarians have grave concerns about raw meat and bones in a dog's diet.
That is correct. Their concerns are not based on experience or training. Much of their concern is based on the propaganda produced by pet food companies. Their concerns are based for the larger part on beliefs arising from prejudice, fear and ignorance. They have very little or no experience or scientific evidence to support those grave concerns. Like many people who are ignorant of a subject. they are afraid of the unknown. Unfortunately, despite having a scientific background that should impel them to investigate the unknown in a rational scientific way, they condemn raw food diets out of hand with nothing more than speculation as their basis for doing so. Many of them condemn the ideas expressed in my books without having ever read them! This sadly speaks more about them than the diet they attempt to denigrate.
History (and current statistics) has shown us that both wild and domestic dogs that eat raw meat and bones can and do become very ill for a number of reasons.
What history? What current statistics? What reasons? What is the documentary evidence to
support that statement? Anybody can make an unsupported statement. Can it be backed with facts? That statement flies in the face of the history and the statistics that I have gathered. What illnesses are we talking about? What percentage of dogs eating a properly constucted raw food diet succumb to these supposed problems? I would like to suggest that that is a meaningless statement designed to do nothing other than frighten people.
Several vets in my area have seen a significant increase in a variety of illnesses due to a raw meat diet.some dogs become ill right away and others have severe kidney, heart and brain illnesses due to a long-term raw meat diet.
You will have to do better than that. Once again a statement has been made with absolutely no supporting evidence. What vets? What illness? What do you mean by a significant increase? What exactly was the nature of the raw meat diet in question? How long were they being fed that way? Did the dogs recover or did they die? What are the details about these kidney heart and brain illnesses. How many animals were involved? If such details cannot be supplied then we must conclude that these statements have been plucked out of the air to make a spurious case.
There have even been recent deaths reported.
Deaths are reported daily. That is no big deal. Due to what diagnosed illness? What evidence do you have that an evolutionary diet caused these problems?
I have found that there is quite a variety of raw meat menus being offered.
Some pet stores are carrying frozen products by American Food Services or Purely Primitives.
You can also find several home-made raw meat diets on websites.
It's possible that some of these menus or products are better/safer than others
That is the nature of the world.
However, one thing they all have in common is that they are extremely unbalanced.
Here we have once again an unsupported statement. This one involves balance. What is your evidence for making this claim? Have you analysed these diets? If so, how? What exactly were your findings? What are your reference standards for making that claim? In what way did you find that these diets were unbalanced? Did you conduct feeding trials to verify your theory?
and also put your dog at risk of contracting dangerous bacteria and parasites. This is not my own opinion, but that of the top veterinary universities and true nutritional experts. Anyone to deny there is risk, is fooling themselves!
Once again we are being presented with a theoretical concept. An opinion. Based on nothing other than mere speculation. As a theory it sounds appealing and appears to be valid and plausible. However, it has no scientific backing. There have been no studies to show that this is the case. In practice this theoretical concept is invalid. In the practical world of properly constructed evolutionary diets, this theory is shown to be totally invalid over and over again by the people who successfully feed their dogs on properly constructed whole raw food diets. Dogs that are fed a properly constructed evolutionary diet have a much stronger and healthier immune system. Immunologists who have no particular nutritional barrow to push are now beginning to admit that the sterile diets fed to the majority of dogs today contribute in a major way to improperly formed immune systems. This results not only in infections by those very bacteria vets and dog owners fear will be caused by a raw diet, but also is a major player in auto-immune disease. The improperly primed immune system, having no experience of pathogens, begins to attack itself!
At one time, I considered a raw diet for my dog and decided to really challenge the idea by thoroughly investigating everyone's claims on both sides of the fence).
You would have done much better to try the diet and be surprised [pleasantly] by the brilliant results. Your first attempt to thoroughly investigate these diets should at the very least have involved reading about them. I would like to suggest that you really should have actually read my books, rather than make assumptions about what you supposed they were saying - for example your assumption that I recommend an all meat diet or that I said that dogs were pure carnivores and not omnivores - etc. etc.. I would like to suggest you actually - based on what you say in this essay - stayed firmly on one side of the fence.
It has evolved into a seven year independent study.
Give Your Dog a Bone was published in late 1993 and did not gain any form of acceptance in the States until about three to four years ago. Obviously that independent study started a lot earlier than I would have expected. Sadly that so called independent study has been a study conducted by seeking the opinions of a group of people whose fear, ignorance and prejudices could only lead them to condemn evolutionary diets without ever having any experience of them or having conducted any trials to test their validity.
During that time, I have interviewed and collected data from several top veterinary universities and nutrition experts with degrees in science and biology.
What data? Exactly? Relating to what? What did it prove?
Not one of these credited experts could honestly say that a raw meat and/or bone diet for domestic dogs was anywhere near the realm of safe.
If what you say is true, then you are telling your readers that these people made statements about something of which they had no experience or knowledge. Or did their data back your ideas that raw meat should not be fed to dogs? I find that hard to believe based on my own experiences. Unless of course they referred to an all meat diet which as we all know is an absolute disaster and must be condemned out of hand. On the other hand, if their data showed that an evolutionary diet was prejudicial to a dog's health, then I am quite sure you would have presented it to us in full . You would have shouted it from the rooftops. If you have that data we would all be very interested to see it.
In addition, I have not found a holistic practitioner or raw meat advocate that can provide evidence that raw meat actually benefits the dog.
Then you have not been asking the right people. I would like to suggest that in order to gain support for your anti-raw food campaign it has been very safe to ask only those people who share your own prejudices.
For example, I'm often told "my dog has a beautiful coat".
I agree wholeheartedly that a shiny coat is not necessarily good evidence that the diet is good. Many owners of dogs that eat processed foods [often the super premium ones] will tell you their dogs have shiny coats. Then their dogs die of cancer.
Raw meat is high in fat
Well - some is - if it has a high fat content. Then there is what we know as lean meat. Raw lean meat is low in fat.
this could also be accomplished with olive oil added to their diet,
I thoroughly agree. I certainly will both use and advocate the use of olive oil. Preferably cold pressed, first pressing and virgin of course.
without the risk of illnesses associated with raw meat.
Well, so far you have not produced any evidence that raw meat will produce illness, so we can ignore that comment. In addition, we are certainly looking for more evidence than a shiny coat. And we have it. I have hundreds of letters testifying to improvements in longevity, freedom from disease, improvement in reproduction and disappearance of disease from the owners of dogs that are being fed a raw food diet as recommended by me.
Advocates of a raw meat diet feel that it's "bringing your dog back to a more natural style
That sounds fine and dandy. However, I think we are in agreement that such a statement - whoever makes it - is pretty meaningless. What we are really doing when we feed a properly balanced raw food diet is feeding our dogs a biologically appropriate diet - as best we are able. That is a meaningful and useful thing to say and do. So let us only feed biologically appropriate diets. They will always far surpass biologically inappropriate diets - by definition.
I'm not convinced we have to go all the way back to "cave man" days to accomplish that.
I agree with you! Wholeheartedly!
Humans have survived healthfully on cooked foods for thousands of years.
NO THEY HAVENT!. Look at our hospitals. Read the statistics. Open your eyes. Us humans as a race are very very sick Its called degenerative disease. Its called diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer etc etc. We are very sick puppies. Unhappy campers in the forest of life.
Why wild dogs are not a good role model for the domestic dog's diet. It sounds like a good idea to give your dog fresh, raw meat because "that's what the wild dogs eat".
Nobody except you is saying that. Read the literature. An all meat diet is a disaster. Nobody is advocating that. The meat has to be part and part only of a balanced biologically appropriate diet.
This is an understandable misconception,
Not if you have read my books. If you have read my books it is an unforgivable error!
but here are a couple of facts to consider (1) Domestic dogs do not have the same digestive enzymes as a wild dog.
Sadly that is not a fact. What is your evidence for such a statement? Do you have studies to prove
that statement? That statement is at best an example of ignorance and at worst a lie. In kinder terms it is a scientifically invalid statement. A simple biochemistry or biology text will tell you that.
Our domestic dogs are removed from wolf relations by thousands of years.
Which in evolutionary terms is a mere blink of the eye.
Dogs have been in captivity (of Man) for at least 2000 years,
It is actually much longer than that. We have had some sort of association for a very long period of time - maybe for up to 100,000 years. However, the time during which the dog has eaten a mainly cooked diet has been less than 150 years.
and surviving healthfully on cooked foods for as long as humans have.
Once again - look at the stats. Our domestic dog population is very sick. If it was not there would be a lot of out of work vets.
Until commercial dog food came about approximately 100 years ago, dogs in captivity ate the common food of the people.
They ate mostly the raw scraps. Lots of raw meaty bones. And the canine race survived and reproduced without the help of processed food or modern vets.
Most breeds we have today are really of no relation to wolves since they were created by man's intervention through breeding over thousands of years.
The truth is, we changed their appearance and their mind but did very little to alter their basic physiology. The biological FACT is that they are the same species because they will freely interbreed and produce fully fertile offspring.
This is why you don't see packs of poodles, great Danes or golden retrievers in the wild.
And you never will. So what?
The average lifespan of a domestic dog is much longer than that of a dog in the wild.
Little doubt that dogs can live much longer lives due to human care. Isn't that great? The raw diet is extending that longevity even further and that includes full health until death rather than suffering an old age filled with degenerative disease as we see time and time again with processed food fed animals.
(see "can a dog overcome illness from a raw meat diet", below)
(2) The raw meat formulas and menus being sold retail are nothing like what a wild dog eats.
A properly formulated biologically appropriate diet will contain much the same elements as the food eaten by a wild dog. That is the whole point of the exercise. It will contain bone, meat, organs and vegetables together with fruits, nuts and berries. The form may be different, but the basic element of wholeness rawness and basic content will be appropriately similar.
Some retail frozen raw meat products are really nothing but byproducts,
I am sure there are good and bad products out there. That does not invalidate the concept.
and others include a menu of dairy products or are heavily supplemented with items that are believed to be healthful for humans, but not researched to determine the benefit to a dog.
These may or may not be valid criticisms of some products. However, what has that to do with your argument about meat safety?
It is a well documented fact that even wild dogs die and/or become ill from consuming raw meat.
Is it? What is your evidence for such a statement, and could you please present the statistics as to numbers dying as a percentage of all deaths etc. However, let us also follow your argument as you have presented it:
It is true that all wild dogs eat raw meat. It is true that all wild dogs die. The question is: Do you have any evidence for a causal link?
None whatsoever I suspect. Let us look at a similar situation in the human sphere. It is a well documented fact that civilized humans wipe their anal area with toilet paper on most days of the week. All humans die. Does that imply a causal link? I doubt it . I am sure that most of us do not die of cellulose poisoning by anal absorption! Otherwise known as toilet paper poisoning? This is about the same standard of logic.
Not necessarily every time they eat it, but often enough for it to be of grave concern for your dog.
Really? Says whom? Not the people who feed their dogs a properly balanced biologically appropriate diet! Only the fearful ignorant and prejudiced people would be gravely concerned.
They also choke on raw fowl bones, or have them splinter in the stomach - this is documented through thousands of veterinarians for domestic animals and veterinary universities like WSU located in rural areas.
Thousand upon thousands of dogs across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the US eat chicken wings and necks every day with surprisingly few problems Our dingoes have eaten this way for millennia The birds our domestic dogs eat are ten to twenty weeks old. I agree that eating very old dried out bones or cooked bones constitutes a danger. We see very few problems with chicken parts from young birds. If concerned - grind them up to a pulp.
We know from the wild dogs taken into captivity that they are often found malnourished and unhealthy,
No argument with that. We have deprived them of prey and habitat.
and scared internally from the bones that splinter.
How do you know they are scarred internally? There would have to be an autopsy to discover that. I suspect you are making that bit up. If they had internal problems of sufficient magnitude to cause scarring [as you say], then they would have died from such an injury.
Our pet dogs are privileged to be protected from the nutritional deficiencies that wild dogs face.
If that is so - then I have no argument with that.
In general, wolf and wild dog studies show that meat is not always the primary source of food
No argument with that
and that lamb and chicken are not often among the meats.
No argument with that. Cooked grain is not on the menu either!
In addition, those that do feast on meat often have shortened lifespans.
Dear, oh dear. There you go again. Making things up. Where is your evidence to support that statement? You say shortened lifespans. I ask, compared to what? This is another meaningless statement - designed to frighten people.
The following quotes from Jennifer Sheldon's "Wild Dogs, The Natural History of Nondomestic Canidae" show that many wolves and wild dogs do die of intestinal parasites which are contracted from eating raw meat.
Many of the intestinal parasites ARE derived from what they eat. Not only meat of course. No argument with that. We must feed our modern dogs sources of meat that do not contain harmful parasites! There are plenty of ways to do that!! And if in doubt - worm your dog!
Of course, this is not the primary reason wolves die, but it does happen.
Yes to both of your statements. No argument here.
Regarding the red wolf (extinct in the wild, except for small reintroduced populations); "Their decline is thought to be due to a complex of factors including aggressive long-term control programs..and high mortality from susceptibility to parasites (Parker, 1988; Paradiso and Nowak, 1971, 1972, Carley, 1979; Ferrell, et al.,1980). "Parasites exact a heavy toll. Of 27 wild-caught wolves tested, all 27 had heartworm (Riley and McBride, 1972). Intestinal parasites, distemper, and mange are also widespread (Riley and McBride, 1972; Paradiso and Nowak, 1972). The high parasite burden carried by all red wolves may indicate that they were occupying marginally suitable habitat.
Exactly. The last three words tell the tale.
The majority of animals captured during the intensive capture efforts of 1972 were less than 4 years old (Carley, 1979), indicating a very high mortality rate for older individuals.
Of course. Darwin called it survival of the fittest. This is normal and natural. It is precisely why we do not want to return to cave man conditions.
Paradiso and Nowak (1972) noted that there appeared to be very low levels of pup survivorship on the Texas gulf cost in the late 1960s, with most pups dying before 6 months of age.
But what caused the loss of pups? This is no argument against meat. It is about survival of he fittest and also an argument against man destroying natural habitat!
Potential lifespan, if comparable to that of free-ranging coyotes, should have been as much as 12 years."
Regarding the diet of red wolves, ".small animals such as rabbits, raccoons, and nutria, are their primary prey. The consume fish, insects, carrion, and plant material as well (Paradiso and Nowak,1972; Carley, 1979; Riley and McBride, 1972; Shaw, 1975). Only occasionally do they prey upon ungulates.
Regarding the grey wolf; "Disease, parasites (intestinal), starvation take their toll as well"
Man has a lot to answer for - wouldn't you agree!
Regarding the maned wolf; "In free-ranging individuals, parasites (particularly nematodes, which may destroy the kidneys), cystinuria (a potentially fatal inherited metabolic disorder), and human-caused deaths seem to be the most important factors contributing to mortality (Meritt, 1972; Dietz, 1984)." NOTE: the meat aspect of their diet was an important contributing factor to mortality!!
You will need to explain that one in more detail! I cannot see that meat was involved at all. I see a genetic problem, I see human involvement, and I see that failure to destroy worms was a problem. Nothing about meat! You will have to do better than that.
Regarding the wild dog diet First, wild dogs are omnivores, not carnivores.
Absolutely correct. No argument here!
It seems a small distinction, but really is not trivial.
It may seem small to you, but I see it as vital.
This means that they do not live on meat alone, but also feast on vegetation.
Correct. Now you are getting the idea.
Cats, by contrast, are true carnivores.
Second, the meat they do eat is consumed as soon as it is caught and is obviously not a frozen product.
Except in the middle of winter when they do dig up a frozen product.
Wild dogs have evolved a resistance to the dangerous bacteria and parasitic infections to which they are exposed, which our domestic dogs have not.
But you have just finished telling your readers that a major cause of death amongst wolves was their parasitic burden. Please, be consistent.
Wild dogs also choke on the bones of fowl or have them splinter in the stomach - even baby backs and necks.
You have already told us that. I am sure it has happened. Do you know that a lot of dogs have died from choking on kibble? Nothing in this world is fool-proof. The solution if you are worried is to grind them up!
Cooking a bone may make it more likely to splinter,
however, raw bones sometimes do splinter in the throat and stomach.
Anything is possible. If worried - grind them up.
A more likely event is that the raw bone will be broken into small, jagged pieces which can tear the lining of the throat and stomach
True, this also can happen. It is thankfully very uncommon. If worried - grind them up.
or become lodged in the palate.
Yes we remove a few of these. No great drama. Usually rib bones. If worried - grind them up.
There is well documented evidence of this in the carcasses of wild dogs, and awell-known fact among veterinary doctors and scientists.
I don't know about the prevalence in wild dogs, (do you have any actual data - say as a percentage of all deaths?) but we do see this as an occasional minor problem in our domestic dogs.
And thirdly, muscle meat is not the primary component of the meal.
Often the first thing eaten will be the intestinal content, then the organ meat, then the muscle meat and then the bones. So yes, you are correct.
Bones are sometimes left behind.
The first thing they do with prey is tear open the belly and eat the pre-digested greens, then the organs, then a combination of muscle meat, bones and fur.
It is also important to remember that only large pack dogs like the gray or red wolves hunt large ungulates (i.e., deer, antelope). One dog could not possibly take down a 250 pound animal with their mouth while it's running at 20-30 miles per hour. They share the feast with the whole pack. The females then return to their pups and regurgitate pre-digested meat for them.
Most wild dogs hunt small prey, like rabbit, birds or rodents, providing a relatively small amount of actual meat.
Well, as much meat as can be found on those animals anyway. They love to gobble up those whole birds, rodents and rabbits - bones and all! If I did not know better I would be tempted to think the author of such a statement had read some of my writings.
What are the known benefits of a raw meat diet? I don't know of any benefit that raw meat is directly responsible for.
That is OK. All any one needs in situations like this is to talk to the right people or read the right books. I invite people who need more information in this area to either read my books or attend one of my seminars. Failing that there are some excellent internet lists that can be joined. There is absolutely no need to remain ignorant in this day and age.
Even holistic practitioners that recommend raw meat have been unable to provide this type of evidence.
Yes, I agree, many of the holistic practitioners I have spoken to seem to be quite ignorant when it comes to diet, particularly biologically appropriate diets.
Especially one so great that you should risk the health of your dog.
I never risk the health of my dogs. They live long and healthy lives, rarely needing my [veterinary] attention. I feed them a diet based on raw meaty bones.
Can a dog overcome unrelated illnesses on a raw meat diet? No!
If the illness was unrelated then of course there would be no benefit. The question is - how can one be sure the illness was unrelated to diet . It is highly unlikely that diet is not involved. The vast majority of the degenerative diseases we see today are a direct result of cooked and processed foods.
When an improvement in a previous condition is seen after feeding raw meat to a dog, it is more likely due to the absence of some offending agent in the food they were eating before.
That is often the case. And the change from a cooked to a raw diet helps speed the recovery.
In other words, you could have taken your dog off their current food and put them on another commercial food, or possibly a vet-supervised homemade diet with small amounts of cooked meat, and seen an improvement in the condition -
That is true, but then they would have developed some other awful condition because of the high levels of biologically inappropriate cooked grain causing hyperinsulinemia and all that follows from that - amongst other problems!
without the dangers of raw meat.
There you go again - saying something silly with nothing to verify it!
Veterinary Universities believe (and I agree) that better nutrition and veterinary care is extending the average dog's lifespan past what is normal,
which is why we see chronic cases such as diabetes or cancer.
Only partly true. Both of these diseases are at least partly due to hyperinsulinemia which is a direct result of feeding biologically inappropriate cooked grain to dogs.
I am sure you mean poor breeding practices
has resulted in an increase of dysplasia, allergies and skin conditions.
There is always a genetic predisposition to ANY disease condition
These are effected by diet,
You bet they are!
but caused by genetics (poor geneolgoy from overbreeding and puppy mills).
Not caused necessarily - I suspect predisposed would be more correct. Otherwise I believe you are correct.
Why do veterinarians recommend it then?
If a veterinarian recommends something it is because he or she believes in it.
Very few do recommend raw meat diets.
Absolutely correct. That is how they have been trained. They have not thought outside the square.
I find it disturbing that the ones I have spoken to who do endorse the idea of feeding raw meat and bones did not have any medically sound reason for doing so, nor could they dispute the
data I presented.
I find that disturbing as well. Please do talk to me some time. Not all of us are ignorant about raw feeding.
They just retreat to the position that "dogs in the wild eat it".
The best proof is the health of the dogs that eat biologically appropriate food. It is outstanding. Such a pity to have never actually tested in a scientific way that which you condemn.
One veterinarian who has seen an increase in illnesses due to feeding raw meat
Has he/she? What is the evidence?
reported to me that he treated a 6 month-old puppy who had been on the raw meat diet from a book, "Give Your Dog a Bone".
If the diet was all raw meat then the owners were not following what that book recommends.
The owners had been diligent in strictly following the book's instructions for their dog's diet. This dog had a severe case of Eosiniphilic Panosteitis (Panos), which is not caused directly by diet, but can be greatly effected by it. The poor puppy was so lame he could barely support his own weight.
Since you do not appear to have read the book, I doubt you would be in a position to judge their diligence or otherwise. That aside, I speak to a lot of people who claim to be following my dietary ideas. These are people whose young dogs are having bone problems in many cases. In almost every instance they have departed severely from what I recommend. Having said that, no diet can eliminate disease entirely, but thank you for presuming that a biologically appropriate diet can come close to that ideal. You are correct.
This is not an isolated case
Please - more details. How many other cases were seen? What were they? Are you positive they were feeding what I recommend? Do you actually know what I recommend?
I have also received email from dog owners whose dogs are having projectile bloody diarreah while on Dr. Billinghurst's raw meat diet.
More details please. Did they recover? Were they following my dietary ideas? Was there a food allergy or intolerance? Was the food from a reputable source? Did it have preservatives in it? did the individual involved have an immune incompetence? There are too many questions that need answering before we can assign blame in any particular area.
It is just an example of health problems I believe will become increasingly common as dogs on these diets suffer poor health.
Unfortunately, beliefs or faith without support are of very little value. We need facts, not fear and faith in our prejudices.
There are a number of disorders a dog could have where human food of almost any kind (raw
meat and dairy, in particular) could seriously harm them, Pancreatits being one example.
Most of the cases of pancreatitis we see are middle aged obese dogs that have eaten processed food all their lives. Stress is a major factor large quantities of fat are often involved. Yes, that can mean inappropriate table scraps.
Who is advocating raw meat for dogs? The raw meat 'theory' has been made popular by a few vets-turned authors such as Ian Billinghurst
Actually I have been advocating a biologically appropriate raw diet for dogs which does include raw meat as part of that diet.
and Dr. Pitcairn.
From there, many other holistic vets who put thier trust into these authors have exhuberantly promoted the concept.They are contradicting what the great majority of veterinarians and qualified animal nutritionists have determined to be true.
Please. In scientific philosophy nothing is true. There is no truth. All we ever have are theories as yet not disproved. Our current theories are held while ever we cannot disprove them. Unfortunately nobody has tried to disprove the theory that biologically appropriate evolutionary diets are the best way to feed dogs. Nor have they tried to disprove the theory that commercial dog foods are the best way to feed dogs. What they have done is assume that commercial foods are the best way to feed dogs and assume that biologically appropriate diets are inferior. There have been no scientific trials to confirm either point of view. A patently ridiculous situation. But nothing in life is perfect.
I have not met anyone who could provide scientific data to support these claims.
Exactly! That is precisely what I have said, but your statement says it in a much more succinct fashion
The makers of raw meat diets (sold in pet stores) that I have met are not vets, and do not have a science/microbiology background nor experience in the practice of veterinary medicine.
That may be true, but it says nothing about their ability to successfully feed dogs. Very few of our mothers out there are doctors or human nutritionists, but I am positive they do no better or worse than do the latter when it comes to raising children. Degrees do not guarantee success when it comes to practical feeding programmes.
They have been salesman, groomers, or simply dog lovers.
Well thank goodness someone cares enough to do something about feeding our dogs properly.
Their information seems to be wholly derived from those books written concerning the raw meat diets without examining the subject in a critical way.
Now come on! Have you been inside their heads to determine such a thing? How do you know how critical these people have or have not been? At least they have bothered to read the books!
And, there are others that act as nutrition consultants...bearing in mind that "Nutrition Specialist" is a meaningless title with no certification required. I don't say this to insult anyone, but it is something that consumers should be aware of.
I agree, and none more so than the readers of your article. They should be particularly aware of the serious lack of evidence you have put forward to back your strongly held opinion that it is dangerous to feed raw meat [as part of a balanced evolutionary diet] to dogs.
Unfortunately, raw meat diet manufacturers base their opinions on the concept of what they assume is the "wild dog diet".
It is not unfortunate if the producers of biologically appropriate raw food diets produce a product that is based on the evolutionary diet of our dogs. This can only be to the better health of our dogs. Quite obviously they must produce a clean parasite free product which is packaged under hygienic conditions and stored properly to maintain freshness and quality. If this becomes the norm, you will see epidemiological evidence supporting the use of such foods for our dogs on a scale and of a proportion that will be mind blowing!
They seem to disregard the hard scientifically proven facts and statistics about injury and deaths to both wild and domestic dogs directly related to consumption of raw meat and bones.
Yes it does happen. Very occasionally. Nothing in this world is perfect.
However, the deaths and illness caused by biologically inappropriate grain based diets are of a far greater magnitude by many factors of ten. In fact, I challenge you to produce valid statistics which show that there is a huge epidemic of deaths directly related to the consumption of raw meat and bones. If owners are worried we suggest they completely grind the bones to eliminate both the worry and the potential for any such problem.
Furthermore, many authors of raw meat diets or makers of such a diet present ludicrous
insupportable claims as fact, such as these: (1) raw chicken and turkey bones will not splinter
I have never said that.
(in fact, they are the most common bone to kill a dog).
What is your evidence for that statement?
(2) pasteurized products contribute to arthritis.
There is little doubt that cooked and processed foods contribute to arthritis. We regularly get our arthritic patients off those awful grain based diets and onto a diet based on fresh raw whole food and BINGO! We see a miraculous change for the better in their condition.
(3) mixing proteins causes gas in carnivores
I have never said that.
(dogs are omnivores, as are humans) as well
as an acid condition that may lead to disease.
I have never said that
(4) grapefruit seed extract and/or fruit sugars will kill any dangerous bacteria in raw meat.
I have never said that.
(5)beta carotene and vitamin A prevent cancer.
There is a lot of hard evidence that both these products are involved in strengthening the immune system. Yes, they definitely do help prevent cancer, particularly in the context of a biologically appropriate raw food diet which contains a high percentage of suitably crushed raw vegetables.
None of these claims has been demonstrated to be true, nor are they widely accepted as even possibly true.
I think I have dealt with those supposed claims in sufficient detail.
I was especially disgusted when approached by a few of the raw meat manufacturers/distributors with the enticement that "you can become a millionaire selling this stuff".
If you are disgusted at the thought of being a millionaire - so be it. That is your choice!
This is not to say that each and every person advocating this fad has money as their prime
but it certainly seems rule, not the exception.
Another wild statement with no supporting evidence. Dear oh dear!
There is nothing inherently wrong with making a profit,
but it is wrong to make a profit selling dangerous products and ideas at the expense of our
animal friends to unsuspecting, well-meaning dog-lovers.
I definitely agree!!!!!!!!!!!!
What should you do to check this out?
There is only one thing to do. Talk to people who use the diet successfully. Do not talk to prejudiced, fearful and ignorant people.
I urge you to step back and take a critical look at the facts before changing your animal's diet;
I agree whole heartedly
investigate everything you read, including what I have written.
Anyone can write a book or an article.
As I sit and read your article - I can but say amen to that!
The Table of Facts provides information on issues you take particular care in investigating
before you feed your dog a raw meat diet.
Yes - do ask people who have been feeding this way. Join one of the BARF lists and learn first hand from experienced BARFERS about the joys and the difficulties. Find out the real facts and ignore the hysteria! Ignore articles that are badly written, contradictory and based on fear, ignorance and prejudice.
Ask the retailer to show you documented proof of their claims on the alleged health benefits of raw meat.
Exactly. Talk to their customers.
Or call a veterinary university and let them provide you with scientific facts and case studies.
Absolutely correct. A great idea. Unfortunately you will find that not a single university has conducted a trial to determine the worth of biologically appropriate evolutionary diets for dogs. However, as this writer suggests, if enough of you ask, then one day they will do exactly that.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FEEDING RAW MEAT
Freezing kills all parasites and bacteria.
Freezing kills some but not all parasites and does not kill most bacteria.
True. Sufficient freezing will kill parasites but not bacteria.
The most dangerous parasite in raw meat is toxoplasmosis.
Actually it is one of many dangerous parasites
It can kill your dog. I know of two recent cases where dogs died from this parasite after eating
raw meat. Another had thousands of parasites, turned worms in his brain.
The neurologist who performed an MRI said the dog's brain looked like swiss cheese. The parasites are usually much more dangerous than the bacteria. Cats and people are also susceptible to this parasite. Pregnant women are told not to change kitty litter when pregnant because toxoplasmosis can effect the baby. I know of one cat recently that had toxoplasmosis from a raw meat diet, while pregnant, and herkittens were born deformed.
Feed chicken to avoid the problem
Grapefruit seed extract kills all dangerous bacteria. This is completely un-scientific and unproven.
Antibiotics are required to kill bacteria.
Failing that, try a competent immune system. You can develop one in your dog by feeding a biologically appropriate raw food diet. [A BARF DIET]
Furthermore, some bacteria thrive in the acid environment of the stomach.
And some don't. Thank goodness. We do need some of them to get through so that they will seed the large bowel with the so called normal flora.
Grapefruit Seed extract is irritating to the dog's stomach lining and the taste is bitter.
I suspect the stomach lining of a healthy dog could deal with it, and - oh well - I guess the taste would be bitter - but so what?
Acidophilus and FructoOligoSaccharides will also kill dangerous bacteria. Sound impressive? Acidophilus is a "friendly" bacteria that aids in digestion. It is not a bacteriocide.
Friendly bacteria by their sheer weight of numbers help to keep the pathogens at a non pathogenic level.
Fructo = fruit, oligo = many, saccharides = sugar. These sugars are added to provide a
food source for the acidophilus.
Cooking the meat destroys the quality of enzymes and predigests the meat.
This is a confusing statement. Enzymes are proteins that are denatured by heat. If cooked, an enzyme becomes denatured. A denatured enzyme can no longer carry out its enzymic functions. Cooking does not predigest meat. Raw meat contains enzymes which by autolysis may assist in its digestion. Much of the over cooked meat in processed food combines with carbohydrates to form indigestible and possibly carcinogenic complexes.
The benefit of meat for dogs is protein not enzyme.
Please do not make these bald statements without some form of proof. It may well be both.
Secondly, cooking the meat makes it much more digestible as raw meat has indigestible collagen proteins.
Collagen is not indigestible. Cooking meat destroys much of its nutrition. Eg vitamin B1 or thiamin.
In the wild, mother dogs eat the meat from a kill and regurgitate for their pups - serving predigested meat.
In addition, raw meat is very high in fat.
No, wild meat is very lean. Domestic meat is much fattier.
Thousands of dogs die every year from Pancreatitis, and some are disabled by this disorder after being fed a raw meat diet for a short time.
Most dogs that die of pancreatitis do so after eating processed food. A small number of dogs - after a lifetime of eating cooked and processed food will develop pancreatitis if fed lots of fat - raw or otherwise. The lifetime of inappropriate food rendered the pancreas susceptible to the problem
Not only is raw meat high in fat,
Let me point out once again that lean raw meat is low in fat
but the pancreas is made to produce enzymes.
Supplementing with too many live enzymes can cause the pancreas to shut down.
Actually it simply allows the pancreas to not have to work so hard. This has been happening for millions of years. It is biologically appropriate.
If your dog has Pancreatitis and you aren't aware of it - a high fat diet of raw meat could kill them.
If your dog has that tendency, yes, a high fat diet could cause pancreatitis to manifest.
Adding calcium through bone meal or bones balances the phosphorous/calcium ratio.
The balance of calcium and phosphorus in bones is fine - agreed
The phosphorous/calcium ratio in a dog's diet is one of the most critical for optimum health.
It is critical during the growth of large and giant breeds. That is why it is imperative to feed a biologically appropriate diet based on raw meaty bones. In the adult dog, the ratio is not so critical and may widen with no detriment to health. There are limits of course
It's difficult to provide an accurate balance in home-made diets.
--- with artificial calcium supplements. True. However, it is dead easy with a diet based on raw meaty bones.
It's an uneducated, "amateur" idea to add bone meal because it contains both phosphorous
and calcium, which negates any balance.
Not so. If the diet was already balanced, then adding a further balanced source of calcium and phosphorus could not possibly unbalance it!
You would be better off giving them a Tums tablet.
I really have no idea what a Tums tablet is - so I cannot comment. However, based on your apparent lack of knowledge regarding calcium metabolism, I would suggest that following such a suggestion may be fraught with danger.
A few of the disorders caused by feeding raw meat are; Nutritional Secondary Hyperparahtyroidism (parathy gland)
Yes a meat only diet which I DO NOT ADVOCATE is a disaster
and kidney failure due to the inability of the kidney to remove high amounts of phosphorous from the body.
No, high levels of protein will only damage an already compromised kidney. Processed food which causes periodontal disease, which results in a bacteremia, and ultimately kidney disease will set a dog up for this. Keep in mind that grain is very high in phosphorus which helps continue the damage caused by these biologically inappropriate diets.
When kidneys fail due to over abundance of phosphorous, the body compensates by robbing jaw bone for calcium to balance these circulating blood levels. This is also known as RubberJaw.
So don't feed an all meat diet and don't feed processed foods. They are both a disaster waiting to happen.
There are also a number of osteopathic disorders. Chicken and turkey bones are soft and wholly digestible. Especially baby back and necks. This is a popular marketing "gimmick" and completely untrue.
Our Aussie dogs digest the chicken necks just fine.
Farm dogs and Coyotes are consistently treated for bone fragments and splintering in their stomachs or throats after having killed live chickens, hens and turkeys - yes, even baby fowl.
For some reason we don't seem to have that problem. Do you really have stats to prove that? Or are you just making it up? If it is true, then grinding the necks etc solves the problem.
Another way small fowl bones have painfully harmed dogs is they become jammed or
lodged between teeth or through the palate.
Mostly rib bones actually. "Just grind them worrisome bones!"
Bones won't splinter on a full stomach. Completely untrue!
Once again we rarely see problems, however, if worried - grinding is an option.
Many times jagged chunks of bone do their damage in the throat.
Rare. However, if worried - grinding is a popular and useful idea.
Dogs have died from choking on bones.
True. Usually cooked ones. Even then it is very rare. Many more die from cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes and autoimmune disease etc as caused by grain based commercial foods.
And, regarding the stomach, bones do not pass as quickly as the food.
No, they usually stay and are digested
Digested food does not protect the lining of the stomach from sharp objects.
If worried - grind. However, we don't grind and we feed all sorts of bones and rarely [never?] experience problems.
Pasteurization leads to arthritis.
Grain based foods lead to degenerative disease including arthritis. True!
The makers of raw meat diets often suggest a meal plan that contains whole, raw dairy.
And the dogs thrive on it!
Dogs in the wild (which is the basis of the raw meat argument) do not eat dairy.
No argument with that. All I want is healthy dogs. I suggest you have the same motive.
They eat eggs - eggs are meat not dairy.
Eggs are eggs.
Dogs have a very low tolerance for dairy because of the lactose.
In many cases that is true. It can also be due to the lactalbumen.
They do not produce lactase (which digests the lactose) after being weaned from their mother's milk.
Dogs drink the milk from lactating goats that have been killed. Not many goats live in regions where large wild wolves do - unless the wolf is stealing from a farmer. The number of incidents where a wild wolf would have killed a female, lactating goat, are so few that this is not a standard ingredient of the wild dog's diet
True. But goats milk does not contain lactalbumen so many dogs will thrive on it that cannot tolerate lactalbumen.
- nor should it be the domestic dog's.
That of course is debatable. If the dog thrives on it that is fine in my book.
Dogs are carnivores Dogs are omnivores. They eat both vegetation and meat, of which vegetation is the higher percentage.
Yes they are omnivores. The proportion of meat to vegetable will vary according to what is available. It is usually a seasonal thing.
You could say they are carnivorous.
Just say that they are omnivores and stay out of trouble.
Cats are carnivores,
however, that doesn't mean that raw meat is safe for them either.
There are very obvious differences between cougars, lions, tigers and your housecat.
Yes, I only pat the housecats.
Following are a few of the institutions I obtained statistics and facts from:
Sometime you will have to share those stats with your readers......