Page created by:
From my mom:
Holly has several physical handicaps, among which are malignant tumors, hip and elbow dysplasia, and degenerate joint disease. I call these handicaps rather than disabilities, because they have not disabled Holly in the least. Her tumors were removed and her dysplasia and arthritis are kept under control by food supplements. Holly is always in the best of spirits, eager to please, and has kept the puppy-like playfulness that many Goldens possess. I have to be cautious in working Holly because she will never tell you she's tired or isn't feeling up to par. People are surprised to hear of Holly's limitations because of her exuberant nature.
Holly was only two years old when her malignant tumor appeared. She has had many more tumors since, and each new lump on her sends us to the vet. Her dysplasia and joint problems manifested after a camping trip where we did a lot of hiking. She was limping slightly, so I thought she had a sprain. She was given anti-inflammatory medication, but the limping didn't go away. It was most evident when she rose from a reclining position. X-rays and OFFA findings revealed dysplasia in both hips, the left elbow, and degenerate joint disease. I knew these problems were prevalent among Goldens, but I was surprised that Holly had them at such a young age. The vet prescribed rimydal and thought she would have to take this for the rest of her life. We used it for the first few weeks, but switched to glucosamine and chondroitin when I read about the many risks and side affects of rimydal. The supplements are working as she does not limp any more, and there are no symtoms of the arthritis either. I give her 500mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin twice daily in the form of "Pain Free", which is made for people with joint problems to alleviate pain, as well as rebuild the cartilege surrounding the joint. Holly is able to continue in obedience competition, which involves moderate jumping exercises.
It's not a good idea to jog with Goldens as this may cause too much stress on their joints. I let Holly run and play on grass as much as she wants, but I don't run with her any more. They may be able to keep up with you, but it may lead to joint problems.
I received an email from a reader who sent me some site URLs supporting the raw diet and other holistic alternatives for companion pet health. I was already reducing the amount of commercial dog kibble in my girls' diets, replacing it with wholesome, human cooked foods. Every week I made a stew using chicken (skin and bones removed), carrots, squash, potatoes, fresh garlic and other seasonal fresh vegetables and very little salt. I added this stew to a small amount of premium dry dog food. I also occasionally fed raw beef knucklebones, but kept this to a minimum because I thought two of my girls were allergic to beef. Well, now I wonder if their allergies aren't caused by commercial dog food. Even though I used a high quality, premium dog food that used vitamin C and E as preservative, Holly was still occasionally getting ear infections and Heidi getting skin rashes. This may be due to the high content of cereal in commercial dog food, whether it be corn, soy or wheat. Dogs in the wild do not eat dog kibble. Their diet consists mainly of raw meat and wild vegetation. While I read about the raw diet, I was concerned with E-Coli and Salmonella. I recently read of bacterial contaminants in commercial pet food and realized it was more risky to feed commercial dog kibble than raw meat! Also, there is questionable nutrition in commercially prepared dog food.
If you're interested in knowing how pet food is manufactured and how much or little nutrition goes into it, click on API Report . You may be appalled.
My dogs were receiving optimum health care (regular vet visits, vaccinations, teeth cleaning, etc.), premium dog food, vitamins, and ample excercise, yet they still had health problems. Some were minor, but some were not. Maybe they were not getting as much nutrition as I assumed they were by trusting in dog food. Sure, dogs can subsist on commercial dog food, but they would not thrive with health. I decided to switch to the raw diet. I'm now feeding raw beef knucklebones and raw chicken with bones (breasts, wings, backs, necks, organs, no skin). I'm not giving thigh or leg bones as I'm still worried about choking risks. I offer every kind of vegetable and fruit my family eats. I cook some vegetables for easier digestibility. My girls like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, squash, green beans, potato, sweet potato, yam, asparagus, leafy greens (not iceburg lettuce), dandelion, tomatoes, apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, dates, apricot, peaches, bananas, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. I figure the more varied, the better. They generally don't care for citrus fruits, although my Golden will occasionally eat a piece of orange if it's sweet. I make my own doggie treats/cookies with meats and vegetables, thus avoiding preservatives and other additives normally found in commerical treats, and knowing that human-grade ingredients are used. Although it requires a little bit more of my time to make these treats, they are a lot cheaper than store-bought and healthier for my girls, and they love them!
I can't control my girls' external environment, but we do use several electrostatic ionizers and ozone air cleaners indoors. I use only filtered water as I also own birds, and chemicals and minerals are detrimental to them. Our water filtering system uses an untraviolet light, besides the usual replaceable filters, to destroy bacteria and viruses.
I do use topical flea control products and heartworm protection, but these are not applied all year around, only during the months when I feel the risk is greatest. I use the flea comb, and test for heartworms annually. The risks caused by continued, year-around use of these toxins outweigh the protection they give. I do believe excessive use of antibiotics, certain drugs and toxins are detrimental to the immune system!
I'm not advocating any of my practices to anyone reading these pages, but am merely relating
my experiences and preferences. When I find that one method doesn't work, I try another!
Poor Holly! These are recent photos of Holly after removal of 5 benign tumors (Sept. 2001). She is doing great and is acting her usual self. Although the tumors were benign, it was my vet's recommendation that they be removed as they were growing and may be problematic in the long run. I would like to hear of any experiences you may have had with tumors, benign or not, and whether or not you had them removed.