Health and Longevity Course for Dogs Chapter 2
In Chapter 1 of the Health and Longevity Course for dogs, I mention that aligning healing and medicine with nature is the first condition of achieving deep and long lasting health.
The logical first step is to eliminate potential causes of disease.
This applies to almost any medical condition your dog has.
Most often, diseases are caused by multiple factors. For example, if a dog suffers from kidney disease, the common factors can be, but are not limited to:
- Feeding dry food
- Injury around the third lumbar vertebra
- Genetic predisposition
- Lack of access to water
- The use of NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
We also need to remember no one can tell with absolute certainty why a disease occurs. Some conditions are relatively straightforward and others are more complex and their onset is gradual and invisible.
An example of a health problem caused by toxicity is fish-based dog diets, which often cause mercury elevation in the body and can lead to many different problems, including epilepsy, neurological dysfunction, behavior changes, kidney disease and liver disease.
However, most toxic conditions are caused by multiple environmental toxins and food additives and it is practically impossible to establish the primary cause of disease. Some toxins, such as mercury, arsenic, lead and strontium are markers of your dog's overall health.
Is blood testing a reasonable option for detecting toxin levels?
I use blood testing mainly to evaluate organ function, to get a complete blood count and for hormonal evaluation. When it comes to toxins and minerals, blood testing offers only a snapshot in time and does not give us a good idea of how long exposure to the toxin has been going on.
Ideally, your dog should be tested for toxins over a longer period, like a few months.
Hair testing - an effective and inexpensive method
You can see your dog’s hair as a time capsule. Analyzing hair provides you with an accurate result at a very low cost and a high value. The root of each hair is in direct contact with plasma that contains toxins and minerals. As the hair grows, the toxins become sealed in the hair shaft and become a time capsule that contains several months of history. I like to clip about an inch long clump of hair, which represents four to six months of toxin exposure history.
What foods are high in toxic substances?
A HairQ test will also help you understand what foods are related to increased levels of certain toxins.
The additional benefit of hair testing is that it shows the levels of essential minerals in your dog's body. I have seen many test results of many dogs and can now recognize purely from the hair test if a dog is fed kibble or a raw or cooked diet without supplements or with synthetic or natural supplements.
Should a hair test be done before a cleanse?
It is best to have hair tested before a cleanse. You will get a good sense of whether the food you are feeding is optimal or not.
Some people mistakenly assume hair testing eliminates the need for a regular detox or that hair testing is not needed if a cleanse is planned.
A HairQ test is a good start to a treatment or preventive plan.
Most of the people I work with really enjoy knowing where their dog's toxin and mineral levels are at and they also want to see if the food they buy is good quality. It's good to see the toxin levels decline over time when repeated cleanses are done. I usually suggest a cleanse every six months starting at one year of age.
When I started this protocol in my practice, I was shocked to see how quickly mercury, for example, disappears from the body. Most sources suggest it takes years to get rid of mercury, however, it appears to take a much shorter time with the cleanse protocol I will write about in Chapter 3.
Next: The Cleanse and Detox process
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© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM