Canine Megaesophagus Study for Affected Dogs

Megaesophagus refers to a syndrome in which the esophagus becomes weak and flaccid, and subsequently becomes much larger than normal, hence the term megaesophagus. This occurs because the muscles of the esophagus lose tone. Once this occurs, the esophagus does not propel ingested food, air, and water into the stomach. Rather, these items remain in the esophagus for prolonged periods of time.

If you have a dog who has been diagnosed with megaesophagus, your participation in this study would be appreciated. To date, most of the participants have been German Shepherd Dogs, but they’d like to study any and all dogs with this problem. The dog must have been diagnosed with megaesophagus prior to the age of one year old.

1) Send a request via email to: — include your name, your’ship to’ address, your dog’s age, & breed, age of onset of symptoms & age at diagnosis.

2) You’ll be mailed a kit via snail mail, to be returned by you via snail mail. You will not need to go to your DVM, it is a simple cheek swab collection.

3) She is able to accept swabs from anywhere in the world.

Leigh Anne Clark, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
100 Jordan Hall
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634-0318

The above is important for the following reasons:

1) Request for cheek swabs — more samples needed/requested. Following parameters only apply: the dog must have been diagnosed at the age of one or before.

2) ANY BREED may be submitted. Focus is still on GSD as that is the initial grant parameter.

3) The cheek swabs will cost you virtually nothing.
Why this is important.

Being able to map the genes involved will ultimately lead to the ability to develop a test so that breeders can know before breeding which sire and dams are carriers or if they are in fact clear.

Please Note: Because of expense, please know that no direct results will be made available. Your affected dog and you can play a huge part in the advancement of this scientific endeavor to (eventually) eliminate this insidious disorder.

There is permission to cross-post this information. There are twenty-six known affected breeds, so should you belong to other breed lists, please share this information with all.

Megaesophagus-susceptible breeds include Irish Setters, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Shar Peis, Great Danes, Miniature Schnauzers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Newfoundlands, Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, and Greyhounds.


YES, we are what we eat.

We just love Saturday Night Love’s *ads*. Funny, how they are picking up on the sad state of our food supply. So, before getting the true scoop on nutrition and diet, check out this poignant video on what NOT TO BE SERVING TO OUR DOGS (initially posted in Oct 2009)!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is closer to the truth than you can imagine.

Check out lots of incredible information on diet plans, some from veterinarians (
Dr. Gregory Ogilvie and Dr. Demian Dressler) and Cornell University. There are 3 SUPER PDF documents for you to print out, with over 100 pages of material in fact. Just click here.

I home cook an organic diet and have done so for several years now. I add all organic ingredients to an organic pre-mix that is actually used for dogs with cancer. I feel it is a good preventative to use this formula as I really like the amount of antioxidants. I do not sell the food (I do not sell any food at my store) but know the person who developed it, and she does extensive work with veterinarians and dogs with chronic health issues.

The CANINE LIFE PRE-MIX FORMULATION FOR CANCER contains: Organic milled whole brown rice, Organic chick peas, Organic whole oats, calcium, carob, Acadian sea kelp, green tea, turmeric, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, ginger, and garlic.

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

This is a true home-cooked diet, each recipe making muffins or squares. The baking time is extremely short as there is nothing to rise here, it is merely to cook together so that any bacteria is removed from the raw ingredients. Three cups of this purchased pre-mix (above) is added to the following ingredients that I provide from home: organic broccoli, organic egg with shell, organic red apple, organic blueberries, organic pure cranberry juice, organic safflower oil, organic ground chicken with skin, and organic chicken livers. The ingredients, such as the organic chicken livers, organic red apple and organic broccoli, are pureed or chopped fine via a (Cuisinart) food processor. And, the organic chicken (I use organic thighs) with skin (no bones) is ground up via a meat grinder attachment on my food processor. You can learn about it here at my foundation’s site.

The Kitchen Remodel from Hell

Well, I’ve not been posting too much in the last few weeks as life sometimes gets so busy and so complicated and so, so messy. But, there are always obligations. So, I did manage to get out my foundation’s quarterly newsletter.

You don’t want to miss it. You will learn about my kitchen remodel, which after 3 months, has not gotten that far.  And, I have a book review of Stephen Huneck’s final book as well as a wonderful article from Suzi Beber on Slow Cooking for your Dog.

Just click here and you can print out your own full-color issue.

If you haven’t seen Dr. Greg Martinez slow-cooking for his dog family, in addition to eating the same out of the pot with them, you haven’t lived. Honestly, I’ve watched it a few times and enjoy it more each time. Dr. Greg is too funny and writes to tell me of his latest concoctions, all based on what goodies they have on special at the supermarket.

Do check out the good doctor’s great book, Dog Dish Diet, which I gave a Thumbs Up Review to in one of my previous newsletter issues.

And, for some of his latest gems and great advice, please enjoy a copy of his latest electric publication, Canine Crock Pot Cuisine.

Another punishing blow…

I am back here talking about Golden Retriever Robin, Police K-9 detection & SAR dog (aka Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder). I have posted here, here, here, and here about this very special guy, who has an aggressive form of cancer and is now fighting for his life.

Mary’s latest news is not good, Robin’s cancer having metastasized to the right mandibular lymph node:

I have heard that grief has several stages, one of which is denial. I find myself repeating that while the statistics are grim, Robin is no ordinary dog. He does not know that this will be the fight of his life, and it will be a prohibitively expensive process. Somehow in my struggle, I find myself taking momentary comfort in believing that somehow, this whole thing will be a big error and that Robin isn’t really sick. But, as soon as I sell out and feel that few seconds of comfort, reality comes back and drives a blade between my ribs and reminds me that Robin is in the cross-hairs.

Right now Robin and I are involved in a battle for his life, even though he is not yet showing signs of his illness. Robin’s type of cancer can have a variable prognosis, and Cornell has informed me that the initial treatment for his lymph node removal and radiation will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $8,500 to $10,000. If subsequent treatment is required, the costs will escalate from there. We are desperately trying to raise enough money to save him, and we need your help. Whether it be fundraising ideas, or personal donations, every little bit will help.

Please get over to to learn more and help in this fight.

Here’s Golden Robin (BISS Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder OS SDHF CGC TDI) and breeder/owner/handler Mary MacQueen receiving their AKC ACE award in the law enforcement division at the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba Invitational in Long Beach California.

And, here’s Robin doing his thing (drug detection).

Golden Retriever Tanner is a trip

OMG, but Golden Retriever Tanner is just so much like my first Golden boy Ollie. Ollie loves to rip up paper. Just loved it. He would get a piece of tissue or paper towel or paper roller tubes and just leave a huge pile of tiny little pieces. And, he’d be so proud of himself. He also loves his tennis balls, and he would work so hard at picking up as many as he could at one time. He got to four and that was already 3 more than I would have liked.

Well, Tanner LOVES cardboard . . . . loves ripping it up, that is. And, his dad says the video below shows him with 5 balls. That is hard to see, though, as that 5th one must be in the back of his mouth, which is incredibly dangerous (do check out this safety warning).

Dog folks ….. often such a stubborn lot

I think I must be really different than other dog people, because I actually listen to and seek out opinions from veterinarians and behaviorists. And, trust me, if I acted the following way in my vet’s office (and these incidents are 100% true), he’d throw me out in a heartbeat. How veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Volgelsang (Dr. V of Pawcurious fame), keeps her cool is just beyond me.

The ALWAYS fabulous Dr. Ian Dunbar (veterinarian, behaviorist & writer) speaks to dog trainers never actually listening …. and he is actually spot on. Just listen to him detail 3 simple strategies to successfully training a dog, which so many folks typically disregard.

We love the honesty in this recent video from Dr. Dunbar on binary feedback. We find that there is too much black and white in the training world, instead of realizing that a common sense eclectic approach that embraces the realistic grays of life is crucial.

The force and fear-based training of old is sadly still very much present today, with the utilization of positive and motivational approaches very much in the minority. And, it may be due to such training being given continuing voice in the media, such as we see in the strangely named, and in our opinion, horrid Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan’s) show on the National Geographic Channel.

Dr. Sophia Yin speaks to this in her article: Experts Say Dominance-Based Dog Training Techniques Made Popular by Television Shows Can Contribute to Dog Bites.

According to a recent veterinary study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009), if you’re aggressive to your dog, your dog will be aggressive, too.

Says Meghan Herron, DVM, lead author of the study, “Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them, or intimidating them with physical manipulation such as alpha rolls [holding dogs on their back], do little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.”

These techniques are pervasive in many T.V. shows and some popular books. For instance, The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan routinely demonstrates alpha rolls, dominance downs and forced exposure to things that cause fear or aggression, and has depicted Millan restraining dogs or performing physical corrections in order to take valued possessions away from them.

And like their previous bestselling books, Divine Canine by the Monks of New Skete focuses on correcting bad behaviors using choke chain and pinch collar corrections rather than proven non-aversive techniques.

These sources attribute undesirable or aggressive behavior in dogs to the dog’s striving to gain social dominance or to a lack of dominance displayed by the owner. Advocates of this theory therefore suggest owners establish an “alpha” or pack-leader role.

But according to the AVSAB position statement on The Use of Dominance Theory in Animal Behavior Modification, undesirable behaviors are most frequently due to inadvertent rewarding of undesirable behaviors and lack of consistent rewarding of desirable behaviors.

Learn lots more about dog training here. You will be glad you did.

CANCER: What you aren’t being told

At our foundation’s website we have been harping for years about the need to learn how to Protect rather than Pollute ourselves & our Pets. So, we were very excited about seeing the film below.

The same chemical companies who produce cancer‐causing chemicals, are also invested in and develop cancer treatments, the most profitable disease on earth. Now these same chemical companies have lobbied against the long term health testing of their new invention — genetically modified crops. Do these foods cause cancer? Watch The Idiot Cycle unravel.

This award winning feature documentary “The Idiot Cycle,” is a must-see film by Emmanuelle Schick Garcia.

“It has now been scientifically demonstrated that there is indeed a link between chemical products and the appearance of diseases, such as cancers, infertility, degenerative diseases of the central nervous system and allergies.” ― CPME – Standing Committee of European Doctors, 2005

“There is little direct evidence of widespread ill health or ecosystem damage by the use of man-made chemicals.” ― Alan Perroy, Director General of the European Chemical Industry Council, in a 2001 letter to European Members of Parliament.

Once upon a time, a king accumulated most of the gold in his kingdom. His subjects were very poor, without land to grow food. When the subjects began to starve and watch their families perish, they realized they had nothing to lose. They stormed the castle and found the king in a large room, cowering next to his mounds of gold, begging them not to steal his gold.

The subjects did not take the gold. But they left the room and locked the king inside. Upon leaving they called out, “now you will be able to see the real worth of your gold.” The king, trapped in the room with no water, air or food, realized the gold was useless.

This story became the impetus for The Idiot Cycle – a film about cancer.

“Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud.” ― Dr. Linus Pauling, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in chemistry

The film follows the cycle taken by the world’s largest chemical producers: Dow Chemical, BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Astrazeneca & Monsanto, and how these chemical companies, who manufacture and emit cancer causing chemical substances, also develop, produce and invest in cancer treatments, the most profitable disease on the planet.

Today we are bombarded with 18 million man made chemicals, many that have mixed in the environment to form new chemicals. Only 2,000 of these synthetic man made chemicals have full toxicological profiles. No government in the world knows which chemicals are in what consumer products and at what quantities.

“For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.” ― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Now these chemical companies are launching biotechnology, an “innovative” frontier, just like synthetic chemicals were half a century ago. These companies are now developing, producing and hyping genetically modified crops, which have never been tested for long term health effects like cancer.

“Commercialization of genetically modified crops seems to have been based on public relations and not on full and truthful scientific reporting. Science has begun to feel the impact of putting commerce ahead of full disclosure and debate.” ― Professor Joe Cummins, University of Western Ontario

“Um, so they are, um, in the food arena, probably the most extensively studied and tested scientific arena that we’ve ever seen. If you look at FAO or WHO or even the European Union, you can go to the European Union’s web site, there’s a whole exposition on the safety of these technologies, so, um yes they are safe.” ― Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto asked about the safety of G.M. foods for Fortune’s Brainstorm Green Conference.

Once again, like synthetic chemicals, GMOs have been unleashed onto the consumer market, without full health and toxicological studies, without proper governmental regulations and without public consent. Once again, these companies will test their products on the general population. And round and round goes the idiot cycle.

“When the same mistakes are repeated over and over again, it’s time to consider the possibility that they are not mistakes at all.” ― Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

You can stop the idiot cycle. Just . . . . . .

1. Level One – “Where do I begin?”

2. Level Two – “I Want to do More.”

3. Level Three – “I Want to do Even More!”

Tails from the Vet Clinic: Fleased

The scene below was created by Dr. V of Pawcurious fame. It would be funny if it wasn’t totally true.

It’s hard to believe someone actually brought in his itchy dog and said all of this.

But, trust me, if Dr. V says it happened, it did. Being a veterinarian is not easy.

Yet, I am sure those folks working with Dr. V are having a hell of a good time.

Why Haven’t Pet Owners Been Told These Facts about Heartworm?

Do yourself a favor and check out Dr. Becker’s insightful article about Heartworm and its preventative treatment.

I’m actually following many of the suggestions as I provide traditional heartworm medication (not “‘silver bullet’ all-in-one products that prevent against every known GI worm & external parasite”) only part of the year as based on temperature (see charts below for guidelines), and at 6-week intervals.

Click here on image for supersized view.

Numbers indicate the months in which the First doses of (monthly) administered heartworm chemoprophylaxis should be given to prevent infection under conditions most conducive to transmission. A one (1) for the first and last months indicates continuous all-year administration. Adapted from maps included in the article Seasonal Timing of Heartworm Chemoprophylaxis in the United States, Knight and Lok

Click here on image for supersized view.

Numbers indicate the months in which the last doses of (monthly) administered heartworm chemoprophylaxis should be given to prevent infection under conditions most conducive to transmission. A one (1) for the first and last months indicates continuous all-year administration. Adapted from maps included in the article Seasonal Timing of Heartworm Chemoprophylaxis in the United States, Knight and Lok

Polluted Pets (and people) …. need I say more?

I have a great informational page on polluted pets at my foundation’s site. It’s been there for years and has lots of information that can be downloaded and utilized.

Please do read this powerful article: Polluted Pets: High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs. For me, this is old news. But, for many, it continues to be foreign information.

And, we’ve talked about this issue for years at the site: Nutritional value of fruits, veggies is dwindling: Chemicals that speed growth may impair ability to absorb soil’s nutrients. Another incredible article to read and understand with respect to implications for both you and your furry ones.

Please get serious now. Prevention is what it is all about. Waiting until an illness process takes hold just results in needless pain and suffering. Being proactive about your family’s health is the best way to fight back and possible win the battle.

Tender *Golden* Care for Cuddles – Continued

Recently, I blogged about 13-year-old Golden Cuddles and her veterinarian dad, Dr. Ross Perry.

This original video below shows Cuddles’ recent malady, her exhibiting neurological signs of nystagmus and vestibular disease.


Dr. Perry just filed an update. He shows her having made a dramatic recovery from a brain infection and inflammation via holistic health support without the use of pharmaceutical drugs or antibiotics.

Golden Retriever Foundation Partners with Morris Animal Foundation

The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation  have teamed up to announce a new major canine cancer study titled Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers, or the MADGiC Project (Making Advanced Discoveries in Golden Cancers).

This is a three-year, $1 million project slated to start in the summer of 2010. This jointly funded project is part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, a worldwide effort to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure this disease in dogs. Learn more at

The study will be led by premier canine cancer researchers Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, at the University of Minnesota; Matthew Breen, PhD, at North Carolina State University; and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD, at the Broad Institute of MIT and Uppsala University, Sweden.  They will work together to investigate mutations that are involved in risk and progression of the two most common cancers affecting Golden Retrievers, hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.  This research will be of interest to all dog owners because these cancers affect every breed and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of dogs each year.

It is expected that this research may directly benefit humans too, because the genes involved in cancer are sometimes the same in dogs as in people, although these mutations can be more difficult to discover in people.  Therefore, identifying these genes may also advance scientists’ understanding of common human cancers such as lymphoma.

In addition, researchers will seek to identify genes that predispose some dogs to cancer so that breeders may someday be able to reduce cancer risk through breeding selection.  DNA tests may also be used for diagnosis and possibly to guide treatment choices in the future.  The scientists will also investigate mutations that occur in the tumors themselves and will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds, which may lead to improved therapy options.

Owners of Golden Retrievers diagnosed with lymphoma or hemangiosarcoma can support this research by donating a small tumor and/or blood sample; blood samples from healthy Goldens over 12 years of age are also needed.  More information about sample donation can be found at,, or contact Rhonda Hovan at or 330-668-0044.

About The Golden Retriever Foundation

About Morris Animal Foundation

Golden Cuddles ….. what special care

I think all us dog lovers would love having a veterinarian best friend, next door neighbor, relative, you name it—when things go wrong, we want assistance right away.

Well, meet 13-year-old Cuddles (what a name), a retired Australian Grand Champion Golden Retriever bred by Cath Perry and now in loving care of Dianne and Ross Perry.  Ross is better known as Sydney holistic vet, Dr. Ross Perry. Check out the video below as he shows you Cuddles’ new malady, her exhibiting neurological signs of nystagmus and vestibular disease, filmed while out for a drive today.

Dr. Nancy Kay …. a fitting tribute, indeed

I recently heard from veterinarian, Dr. Nancy Kay, and was so glad she sent us a copy of her seminal book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life.

These days, it seems impossible to keep up with all the great books debuting in our ever expanding realm of the dog. Already in its third printing, the book was honored in 2009 by the Dog Writers Association of America and her Speaking for Spot Blog (which is fabulous btw) won a Best Blog Award as well. Wanting to become a veterinarian for just about as long as she can remember, Dr. Kay graduated from the Cornell College of Vet. Medicine, her residency completed at the Univ of CA-Davis in Internal Medicine.

Currently a board certified internist at the Rohnert Park, CA Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center, Dr Kay additionally founded and helps facilitate the Animal Care Center Pet Support Group. Of course, you know just how important she is when you see the fitting tribute received from Bruce and Jim at Draw the Dog.

We love how Dr. Kay helps you come to grips with a cancer diagnosis, and explains the tough choices that are bound to follow. Plus, you’ll find an alphabetical listing of the most common symptoms experienced by dogs and the questions your vet is sure to ask when you report them—not to mention hundreds of prevalent diseases and related points you should be certain to clarify before leaving your vet’s office with a treatment plan in hand. A labor of love, this book was fueled by her passion to teach people how to be effective medical advocates for their four-legged best friends. Gone are the days of simply following doc’s orders―today’s dog lovers are confronted with health-care decision-making on many levels. Have you ever wondered . . .

  • How do I find a vet that feels just right for me and my dog?
  • What are the important questions I should be asking my vet?
  • How will I be able to afford my dog’s health care? Is pet insurance the way to go?
  • Does my dog truly need all those vaccines listed on the reminder postcard?
  • Does my dog really need the surgery or procedure that has been recommended?
  • Are there other options I should be considering?
  • When is it appropriate to get a second opinion? Where should I go to get one and how can I avoid offending my vet?
  • Should I take my dog to see a specialist?
  • Should I consider treating my dog’s cancer?
    Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing this for him or for me?
  • Is my dog ready to say goodbye? Am I ready to let him go? What are my choices when it comes to the euthanasia process?

If you’ve struggled with these questions, you’ve come to just the right place! Dr. Kay and Speaking for Spot will help you answer all of these questions and many more. With warmth, candor, and humor cultivated over 20-plus years of working with dogs and their human companions Dr. Kay provides an insider’s guide to navigating the potentially overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of veterinary medicine. The result is everything you need to know in one fabulous, fully illustrated book. Speaking for Spot is the consummate guide on how to be your best friend’s medical advocate!

Vindicated … by President’s Cancer Panel, no less

So nice to see Nick Kristof’s NYT’s Op-Ed, “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer“.

The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report on Thursday, warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health.

I’ve read an advance copy of the report, and it’s an extraordinary document. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals.

Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic.

So much is at blame, especially the bizarre presumption that chemicals are safe for us unless there is glaring evidence to the contrary. Isn’t it nice to know that there are over 80,000 chemicals in use but only a few hundred have been tested for safety? With 41% of us being diagnosed with cancer, it is not comforting to realize that “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”

My Alfie .... and his pal

In my discussion, Learning to Protect rather than Pollute ourselves & our Pets, I’ve been harping on these same issues (and for some time). Although this panel’s report is geared toward humans and not companion animals, the health of animal companions mirrors our own. Researchers have discovered a genetic cancer link between dogs and humans. Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Cancer Center, and Matthew Breen, Ph.D., North Carolina State University’s Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, collaborated on this research study. Drs. Modiano and Breen have found that humans and dogs share the same genetic basis for certain types of cancer.

Dr. David Waters, Co-director of the Purdue Comparative Oncology Program indicates, dogs and humans are the only two species that develop lethal prostate cancers. And, the breast cancer that affects dogs spreads to bones, just as it does in women. Further, osteosarcoma, which is the most frequent bone cancer of dogs, presents in the same way as it does for our teenagers. In fact, under a microscope, cancer cells from a teenager with osteosarcoma are indistinguishable from a any breed dog’s bone cancer cells.

For many pet owners, the recent April 2007 pet food recall (which resulted in so many horrible deaths of both dogs and cats) was a huge wake-up call about the weak FDA regulations and enforcement, and inherent dangers in our food supply …. for our companion animals and ourselves. Yet, for me, it was the cancer-related deaths of my Ollie and Darcy, that drove home my current mission to educate and help others.

I am already incorporating the many recommendations of this Cancer Panel, for both myself and my dogs. The whole family (2 & 4-footed) has been using filtered drinking water since 1998. I have been home-cooking a 100% organic diet for my Goldens since 2005, and for us human folks, giving preference to foods grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones. We have grown our own vegetables, organically, with no pesticides for over 20 years, and use no lawn chemicals. I have used water or vinegar and water to clean the floors. I store water in glass or stainless steel containers, and microwave using ceramic or glass containers. I choose foods and garden products with fewer toxins or endocrine disruptors.

Will I ever know if any or all of these actions extend my life? Probably not. There are just so many variables, and one cannot discount the enormous genetic role. It is disheartening to know that researchers, Drs. Modiano and Breen, believe that because of the way the genomes have evolved, getting cancer may be inevitable for some humans and dogs.

They have concluded that despite millions of years of divergence, the evolving genomes of dogs and humans seem to have retained the mechanism associated with cancer, and that the conserved changes in the genomes have similar consequences in dogs and humans. I am looking forward to their current research which seeks to pinpoint risk factors for cancer in various breeds of dogs … especially since cancer is the leading cause of death in the Golden Retriever breed, Hemangiosarcoma and Lymphosarcoma leading the list.

I believe prevention is the best defense and only hope folks will begin to learn more about these issues, as natural health writer CJ Puotinen posits in her article on cancer prevention: “What could be better than curing your dog’s cancer? That’s easy! How about avoiding the illness in the first place?

Part of the mission of the Land of PureGold Foundation is to support and promote holistically healthy and responsible dog care, as well as disseminate information on canine cancers. Dogs do not get to be by our sides for that long—the fun we share together, training and playing and living and loving, so woefully brief. That is why our hearts stop, and life slows to a halt, when we feel those lumps or hear the results of those dreaded biopsies.

Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet (and 10 Practical Home Remedies) – Updated

We love how Dr. Greg begins his book: “I’m Dr. Greg Martinez and I feed my dogs people food, even though in veterinary school I was taught to use only commercial dog food. In truth, feeding healthful people food to dogs contradicts most everything I was taught.” Committed to helping as many dogs as he can, the April 2007 pet food recall was clearly his epiphany.

Dr. Greg admits to previously being a kibble pusher, but now knows each dog is an individual, and that: “Kibble + dog = Fat in 50% of Dogs.”

We used kibble once upon a time, even graduating to organic kibble, which somehow meant we were doing even more for our kids. But, honestly, just pouring dried, processed chunks into bowls—even if the ingredients were impeccable—was not an accomplishment. Only laziness kept us from home-cooking. But, once the commitment was made, it was amazing how efficient we became at making and freezing meals in advance.

An easy and fun read, Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet is both personal and practical. It is filled with oodles of easy-to-remember sound bytes of tasty information, nutrition & ingredient charts, and conversion info on kilograms to ounces (to determine calories). The secret recipe that Dr. Greg shares is a keeper. And, we may never forget his spot on Dog Better Health Rule #6: “Treats are the crack cocaine of the canine world.”

Dr. Greg believes changing your dog’s diet may help relieve weight gain, red and painful ears, flaky and inflamed skin, hotspots, stomach upsets, and urinary infections. In his book, you will learn about: food allergens; choosing healthier dog treats from the refrigerator that will save you money; the importance of adding needed healthful fats and oils; cutting calories without leaving your dog hungry/unsatisfied; and, feeding your dog’s inner wolf by simulating the ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that sustained dogs earliest ancestors.

Dr. Greg also has a great little set of 10 Practical Home Remedies. Click here to print out a copy for yourself!

EXCITING UPDATE: If you order a personally autographed book online at Dr. Greg’s site and mention the Land of PureGold Foundation, he will donate $5.00 per book to our nonprofit.

You will also receive a special chart to download, print out and post near your dog’s feeding area. This chart will help you to quickly get started making changes in your dog’s health and creating a Dog Dish Diet for Your Dog.

On a mission

Israeli Avi Kuzi plays with Hoppa, his four-year-old mixed breed dog that was born without front legs, in the central city of Tel Aviv February 28, 2010. A prosthetic device was invented especially for Hoppa by a animal-loving art student, who hopes his wheeling device will improve the lives of pets born with abnormalities or with amputated limbs. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I am so thankful I discovered this story from New Tang Dynasty Television about disabled Hoppa. Avi Kuzi (shown above), Society for the Protection of Animals, rescued Hoppa and the 4-wheel invention by Nir Shalom, as shown in the TV news piece, has definitely given him more reason to smile.

Hoppa’s owner, Avi Kuzi, says that his pet was born four years ago without front legs. A Veterinarian in the dog’s birth town of Tiberias said the chances of survival were very low and recommended that Hoppa be put down. But Kuzi ignored the advice.

” He lived quite well for four years despite his disability, but today I am in contact with a student who is actually building a special device in order to allow Hoppa to live a much better life.”

Various injuries or birth defects can commonly cause a dog’s rear legs to be disabled, the absence of two front legs is quite rare. It was difficult to find an aiding device that meets Hoppa’s special needs.

During the years, Hoppa taught himself to jump around as a way of moving, but lately he gained the ability to move with almost no restriction. Using a special training device developed for him by Jerusalemite art student Nir Shalom, Hoppa wheels himself around and enjoys the new feeling of freedom of movement.

Israeli Avi Kuzi puts a prosthetic device on Hoppa, his four-year-old mixed breed dog that was born without front legs, in the central city of Tel Aviv February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Hoppa, a four-year-old mixed breed dog born without front legs, uses a prosthetic device to walk outside in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Hoppa, a four-year-old mixed breed dog born without front legs, uses a prosthetic device to walk in his home in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

But, the real find in this tail, was learning about Avi Kuzi through a vividly told March 2009 story/article at The Jerusalem Post.

Avi Kuzi, who looks like Rambo and goes to Ramboesque extremes to rescue animals, is tramping through the trees and brush at Abarbanel, the country’s best-known mental institution, looking for a runaway cat. The cat, a female named Kitzka, was being cared for by Holocaust survivors at Abarbanel under the supervision of their social worker, Hanna Yitzhaki, a zealous cat guardian who stays in close touch with Kuzi.

From behind a barred window comes the loud, hoarse, incoherent wailing of a patient who sounds like he’s trying to break out of a straitjacket. Kuzi, focused totally on his work, charges on, followed by Yitzhaki calling, “Here, Kitzka, come to me, Ki-i-i-i-tzka, Kitzkaleh, come, my princess…”

After half an hour of searching by Kuzi, Yitzhaki, a white-uniformed Abarbanel cook, photographer Jonathan Bloom and me, Kuzi spots Kitzka, who’s orange with tiger stripes, huddled in the high grass amid a network of pipes at the base of a wall. Ordinary people would never have seen her through such a thick camouflage. “Only Avi,” says Yitzhaki.

I had never heard of Avi, even though this article about him came out just about a year ago. It is quite magnificent, and I remain so moved by the story, told so well by Larry Derfner, at The Jerusalem Post. I reproduced the story so that I could have a permanent copy, fearing that it would one day no longer be found online.

So, I am thankful that the Hoppa story brought him to light again. Avi Kuzi is a guardian angel to many animals and animal lovers in Israel. He does not do what he does for notoriety. His motives are so pure that they make the rest of our efforts pale in comparison. If you do anything today, read the article by Derfner in its entirety.

We do not often think about the Holocaust or its survivors or realize the untreated and misunderstood trauma. Having this article reference the Abarbanel Mental Health Center in Bat Yam, however, made me wonder about these issues as well. Sadly, my search led me to learn about more sins than I could ever have imagined, Matt Rees’ Dark Refuge article, taking me to a place I never wanted to visit.

I wish I had experienced Matt’s Dark Refuge article before discovering Avi Kuzi’s work and mission. But, my soul has been enriched nonetheless.

Dr. Papidies: Colorado’s $1 million dog

Yesterday, Dr. Papidies won $1,000,000 in the Cutest Dog Competition. EVERY CENT is going to The Dumb Friends League & the Max Fund, Colorado’s No Kill Shelter.

His rescue adoptive mom, Leslie Capin, MD, is the medical director of Cara Mia Medical Day Spa and Dermatology Associates of Colorado.

Papidies is three years old and has Addison’s disease. He was rescued by Dr. Capin who got him the medical care that he needed. This disease in dogs is very similar to the human variety. It was one of the maladies that afflicted President John F. Kennedy.

Canine signs and symptoms include the following: weakness, vomiting, hypothermia, painful tummy, bloody stools, depression, heart irregularities, low blood pressure, and hair loss. The condition is a life threatening one and requires immediate treatment. Although it can be controlled with medication and close medical monitoring, owners of dogs with this disease must be extremely vigilant as they can go into crisis at any time and die.

Last year Dr Papidies helped Mom donate more than $30,000.00 to different charities. Being the mascot of Dermatology Associates of Colorado and Cara Mia, this adorable guy is involved with all of the benefits and fund raisers. They raised and gave money to Malignant Melanoma research, Psoriasis research, Adam’s Camp (for disabled children), The Rotary club for many of its wonderful charities, and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

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November: Pet Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, board certified veterinary oncologist, Dr. Michael D. Lucroy, is offering his No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets (E-book) at a discounted rate. In addition, a portion of the purchase price will go to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation, earmarked for cancer research in dogs and cats.

The guide details the following: internal and external risk factors for cancer; 10 warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats; ways to diagnose cancer and check for spread; treatment options for cancer and how to evaluate alternative therapies; and, ways to assess quality of life.

While much of the information in his guide is available online via careful digging (we have comprehensive resources at our foundation’s site on canine cancer), folks sometimes can benefit from an already prepared set of materials.

Dr. Lucroy is also including bonus lists of the most important questions you should be asking your veterinary team if your dog or cat is facing a diagnosis of cancer. Contained in the free bonus guide are more than 50 questions you need to ask about chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, along with some general questions for any proposed treatment plan. This free bonus guide also contains his list of 10 great tips to help you get the most out of your initial consultation with a veterinary specialist.

The best part? The good doctor is offering his guide RISK FREE with a 14-day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! If, after reading his eBook, you are not satisfied, you need simply contact him by email to request a full refund of the purchase price. No questions asked. No kidding.