Sunday, June 27, 2010

Risks And Rewards

This started out as a comment and ended up growing into a post of its own.

When I elaborated on exactly why I mistrust and avoid conventional medicine, I never said all medical intervention was inadvisable. Symptoms we cannot identify on our own have to be identified somehow, but we absolutely must retain control over what treatments are pursued. Once we have a diagnosis, our lives may depend on whether we choose to follow the doctors' regimens or look elsewhere.

Taking greater responsibility for our personal health is no different than taking greater responsibility for our personal safety. It involves a lot of education and work. It's easier to abdicate responsibility for both of these things to the "only ones" we're told are qualified to handle them, but doing so is equally dangerous for both.

There is an awful lot of conventional medical "wisdom" that's based on seriously flawed models. Nobody goes to their doctor to be deliberately inoculated with cancer so it can grow and then be be treated, but most animal-based cancer studies do exactly that. Many treatments work more toward suppressing symptoms rather than addressing root causes. If I personally was diagnosed with sleep apnea, my first reaction would be to research the condition's probable causes and eliminate those from my life. Correcting causes rather than palliating symptoms improves overall health and frequently resolves other, less troublesome problems at the same time.

Where does a lot of conventional medical methodology come from? To find out, follow the money. Drug and other medical product companies fund research. Do they want people buying less of their products? No, they want us buying more.

It's no different than pet food companies pouring money into vet schools so that vets will tell their clients to feed their pets kibble instead of fresh raw diets. The low state of health created by commercial foods is then considered "normal." I feed my dogs a raw, natural diet, and when I sent my mortality figures in to a worldwide Greyhound age and cause of death survey, I skewed the figures: "One of the replies was from a lady who had had greyhounds for more than ten years, and her reply mentioned more than twenty dogs. When these figures were entered, the average age of death went up by a year!" When I brought my morbidity and mortality stats to a national Greyhound adoption conference and showed them to Greyhound vets from all over the country, they agreed my dogs had less than a third of the cancer they saw in the overall pet population and less than a fourth of what they saw in retired racing Greyhounds.

"Doggy breath" and "doggy odor" are not normal. They are indications of preventable disease. My raw fed dogs smell pleasant, and their breath smells fresh and clean. Their teeth stay free of tartar, they have no gum disease. I have a 14 year old dog right now who still runs around like a puppy, and she's been fed raw nearly all her life.

It's a lot easier to abdicate responsibility for our health to our doctors, our animals' health to our vets, and our personal safety to the police. To do otherwise can be difficult and painful (trust me, a week-long, high-speed-low-drag class at gun school is painful). For those who choose the path of least resistance, their experiences may be good enough for them. For those who aren't satisfied with the lowest common denominator, there are associated risks but far, far greater rewards.


falnfenix said...

the lack of understanding of raw diets in the vet community is distressing...almost as distressing as idiots feeding their cats a vegan diet.

when a vet insists a cat owner feed Hill's to their cats, i want to throttle the vet. at the very least, they could recommend a grain-free kibble!

Anonymous said...

Can I bother you for more details on the raw, natural diet? I feed such a diet to my cats, but have not done so for my dogs yet.

Viatecio said...

I can hardly wait to have my own dog, I'm itching to get away from bags and measuring cups of kibble. I need to do more research as to servings and types of food in a raw diet, but overall, I don't plan on having any extruded dog foods in my place once I get my own pet.

I'm in vet tech school right now and the animal nutrition course was quite the dance between company sponsors! I'm just afraid of when I actually go to work as an actual RVT, I'll have to recommend the "house" brand of food and I can't recommend something I don't feed and probably wouldn't! OTOH, certain prescription diets I can see being somewhat more useful, but for things like allergies, dental health or weight loss? Puh-leez!

Along the same lines, it's sad how people abdicate responsibility for the dog's behavior to the trainer. They wonder why, exactly, their dogs are so much better-behaved around me than them and actually do what I say the first time!

Hecate said...

Looks like raw diets will need a post of their own, too.

The pet food industry essentially originated as a way to make garbage profitable. Not nearly enough has changed since.

At least around here, most dog training is offered as classes where the owner must participate. Horse owners abdicate responsibility even more. Horse trainers should make the damfool owners take riding and horse-handling lessons as a mandatory part of the training program.

Jeanne S said...

I think anyone who regularly deals with animals who outweigh them many times over is a brave person. (I'm not afraid of horses; I've even ridden them. I'm afraid of me falling off and them accidentally stepping on my head.) I need to learn about natural foods for cats...the roommate & I have 5 of the little psycho-bits, so please do write about that!

Ruth said...

I have to add my vote to more info on your dogs' diet please!

My husband & I are going to be getting a dog, hopefully with in the year, as we are finially buying a house with a yard, that we can fence, that is bigger than a postage stamp. I've looked at what is said online about raw diets for animals but often they conflict each other rather massively....and my couple attempts to see if my cats would eat such resulted in failure! But I'm less than thrilled with the foods that are out there for my animals.

Aanoosh said...

In case anyone has feline appreciation (I have dogs and cats), here are a few links for make your own cat food sites. I switched my cats from dry, commercial food, to homemade, and have seen significant differences. Improved coats, more energy, and no more urinary problems. Highly recommended.