I recently had a chance to chat with Jonathan Jarry and Dr. Christopher Labos on the Body of Evidence Podcast. We covered a wide range of subjects, touching on both evidence-based pet care and alternative medicine. Check it out here!
2:24 Evidence-based veterinary medicine
4:49 Extrapolating from human clinical trials
7:31 Do vets change their mind?
10:07 Acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic in the animal world
14:34 Pets and vaccines
17:25 A very special guest appearance
18:00 How to talk to vaccine hesitant pet owners
20:45 The cost of veterinary care
27:52 Raw food diets
32:04 The word “zoopharmacognosy”
32:52 What should dogs and cats eat
37:57 What should dogs and cats NOT eat
40:28 CBD supplements
42:51 Declawing cats
44:17 Inside cat or outside cat
46:02 Supplements to change urine pH
46:40 Feline injection-site sarcomas
49:23 Cranberry supplements
50:35 New pet parents, take it all with a grain of salt
52:22 The shocking truth about pure breeds
Hello. about fresh cooked diets, you say it’s plausible they can eventually be better than commercial foods, although there is still no studies to confirm it. What would be those eventual benefits (theoretically speaking)? Cheers
Who knows? Decreased risk of specific diseases, perhaps? We know, for example, that changes in diet in humans have this effect. Diets lower in trans fats and salt reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and diets lower in calories reduce the risk of obesity and associated diseases. Fresh fruits and vegetables are lower in these substances than snacks foods, so a change from convenience foods to a fresh-food diet in humans can have these benefits, and others. It is plausible that similar benefits might accrue in dogs and cats but, as I discuss here are in other articles, commercial pet foods are nutritionally far superior to convenience and snack foods for humans, so the benefits of a switch might not be as marked. Until we have some specific research on the subject, this is all pretty hypothetical.
Another question about raw, specifically bones. I’ll buy the arguments you give for lack of health benefit, often lack of balance, and some risk in raw diets. But isn’t bone gnawing a species typical behavior for domestic dogs? The blissed out look in my dogs’ eyes when they have a bone, as opposed to a nylabone or stick or Kong, suggests that they place a high value on bones… as does the fact that some breeds / individuals will aggressively defend a bone.
That was a fantastic interview. Thank you for the insights Brennen.
one observation I made years ago when the topic of lack of good evidence for our pets came up was that we DO have challenge studies .In vaccine trials dogs are given rabies virus to see if the vaccine works. That type of study is rare in human studies. I need to go back and look at challenge studies for evidence of clinical disease in dogs fed artificial sugars. Last time I looked no clinical disease produced in dogs fed a boat load of artificial sugar. Also need to go back and see if the entire rabies challenge vaccine study of Ron Schultz finally got put up yet on the Canada Veterinary Journal. Studies behind paywalls in my opinion is the biggest problem for those of us who” preach” evidence based medicine ( doctors that insist on proof that traditional medical practice really work. ). As a new vet fresh out of vet school I found my self treating cats in Florida for lizard poisoning with injections of vit b. When In vet school I was forced to buy the new neurology book of our neurologist who taught me neurology. Looking in the book I found there was no such disease. The cats had feline vestibular disease. When I ask my boss in florida about it he said for a senior project at vet school the senior class at auburn went out caught lizards and fed them to the lab cats with no clinical neurological symptoms seen. When I saw medical records for other local vet come in with lizard poison as a diagnosis I would send them a copy of the lizard poison page from my neurology professors new book. Since there was no florida vet school at the time most vets in florida were from the auburn vet school. What I needed was the study done by the senior class at alburn to convince them not some northern veterinary neurology book from a area of the country with no blue tailed species of lizards.
Chewing on all kinds of objects, including bones, sticks, rocks, etc., is certainly a species typical behavior. It is also a behavior with significant risks, such as fractured teeth and GI tract damage or obstruction. Part of our role as caretakers for dogs is to allow the expression of species typical behaviors in a way that reduces risk and maximizes health. We prevent reproduction and indoor urine marking and many other such behaviors, either for their benefit or ours, and such is the inherent nature of our relationship with dogs. In the case of chewing behaviors, they can experience the same pleasure with less risk if provided objects that are not bones, such as rawhide, kong toys, etc. I don’t believe they truly enjoy bones more, and I suspect that is a bit of projection on your part.
I’d love to see a scientific testing of the hypothesis that designed chews have as much appeal as bones. There’s a lot of chatter in the dog world suggesting that rawhide has its own hazards. My dogs, unfortunately, prefer dirty socks (well known swallowing hazard), sticks (not great safety record) and ballpoint pens (merely annoying) to kongs and nylabone. When there’s no good evidence we have to rely on anecdotes and admittedly biased personal observations. Given the wide range of both bones and dog jaw strengths and structures, evidence based reasoning is going to have a lot to chew on with this question.