Does your Dog or Cat have Genetic problems?
By Judy Morgan, DVM,CVA,CVCP,CVFT.
A cat or dog is said to be over-bred when the cat or dog is bred an excessive number of times or when the pool of breeding animals is so small that closely related cats or dogs are repeatedly being bred with each other, resulting in a magnification of genetic defects.
Over-breeding is commonly seen in kitten or puppy mills or large breeding facilities where the driving factor is profit, not improvement of genetic lines. These young animals are often crowded into small enclosures until they are separated from their mothers at an early age. They are usually deprived of the benefits of staying with the breeding female until the normal weaning age of ten to twelve weeks, resulting in lack of proper juvenile nutrition and socialization. Once separated, they may be subjected to long journeys in poorly ventilated trucks or airplanes; crowded into small transport cages amidst their own feces and urine.
Vaccinations may be given too often or not at all, resulting in illness and stress to the immune system. Intestinal and external parasites are easily transmitted among the youngsters.
Uninformed buyers commonly purchase these kittens and puppies from pet stores and online sites, unaware they may have entered into a lifelong battle to overcome the physical and emotional trauma suffered by these animals. Once purchased, they are often presented to an allopathic veterinarian who may recommend another complete series of vaccinations. The pet may also require repeated doses of chemical de-wormers to rid them of the parasite load they have acquired. Additional topical chemicals may be needed to treat infestations of fleas, ticks, mites, or lice.
Poor quality, processed kibble pet foods are the common choice for most pet owners, further adding to the assault on the already overloaded immune system. Often, by six months of age, owners are aware these pets are suffering from problems that include poor bone development, lackluster coats, digestive disorders, allergies, and behavioral issues. This begs the question: Can these pets be helped?
Yes, there is hope
From an alternative medicine perspective, there is hope. In the world of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, these animals would be diagnosed with a “Jing” deficiency.
Jing is defined as the kidney “essence” or life force;
it is the material basis for the physical body. Each being is supplied with a specific amount of jing at birth, but can also acquire jing from food and some forms of stimulation, like exercise. Animals that are subjected to stress will use an extraordinary amount of jing. The stress of confinement, crowding, noise, early weaning, poor nutrition, and parasites draws from the initial supply of jing. Jing is particularly responsible for development of bones and bone marrow, the brain and nervous system, teeth, and reproductive organs.
Many puppies coming from over-breeding situations will suffer from hydrocephalus, seizures, retained testicles, luxating patellae, stunted growth or poor development, poor dental enamel, and hip or elbow dysplasia. These animals will suffer from decreased immune function and chronic disease, as their protection from exterior pathogens is weakened. This all makes sense when considering the loss of life essence.
Replacing life essence with foods that are considered to be “Jing Tonics”
Jing tonic foods are usually “baby” or “juvenile” foods, like nuts, seeds, eggs, small fish, and sea products. Herbs like ginseng play a vital role in restoring health. The kidneys are considered as part of the water element in Chinese medicine, so foods from the sea are appropriate. In order to support the kidney function for producing healthy bones and marrow, adding bone marrow broth to the diet can be extremely beneficial.
A good diet base might start with grass-fed beef, rabbit, or duck, all of which are good Qi tonics, which means energy. Yams or butternut squash along with asparagus, apples, string beans, and Shiitake mushrooms are all kidney friendly foods that will support jing. Sardines, eggs, a small amount of black sesame seeds and a few ground almonds can be added to the mix. Small amounts of organ meat like liver, kidney, heart, and gizzard should be added to support the internal organs. All of these ingredients could be simmered in a crock pot with bone marrow broth, making an excellent Jing Tonic stew. This stew can be used as a supplement to a commercial diet or could be fed as a stand-alone diet. If feeding only the stew, a calcium supplement needs to be added at a rate of 500 mg per pound of food (approximately one ground egg shell). The stew should be 60-70% meat, with the other ingredients making up the remaining 30-40% of the diet.
A vegetarian probiotic made specifically for pets should be added at the time of feeding.
While it may seem like a lot of work to cook meals for pets, the rewards are worth the trouble. Even though over-bred animals may get off to a rough start, it is possible to transform their health. Avoid use of chemicals for parasites. Vaccinate only when absolutely necessary. Run blood titers instead of vaccinating annually. Be kind to their kidneys and support the jing with good food, mental stimulation, and healthy exercise.
Dr. Judy Morgan is a nationally renowned author, speaker, and veterinarian certified in acupuncture, food therapy, and chiropractic care for dogs, cats, and horses. A sought-after speaker and blogger at both the local and national levels, she integrates Eastern and Western medicine in her two award-winning practices in New Jersey. In an effort to educate pet parents about the dangers of over-vaccination, over-medication, and feeding processed food, she penned two books. “From Needles to Natural: Learning Holistic Pet Healing” and “What’s For Dinner Dexter? Cooking For Your Dog Using Chinese Medicine Theory” have been met with rave reviews. Dr. Morgan is passionate about senior pets and pet rescue and currently shares her home with Hue Grant – fellow rescue enthusiast, 9 spaniels, 4 cats, and 6 horses. Visit Morgan online at Dr. Judy Morgan
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