|First published in:||Veterinary Dentistry
14 - 17 June 1993
|D I Bryden,
PO Box A561
Suite 93, Lincoln House
280 Pitt Street
Sydney South NSW 2000 Australia
|Post Graduate Committee in Veterinary Science
University of Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264-2122
'The test confirmed the feasibility of preventing the accumulation of dental calculus in experimental beagle dogs by regular weekly feeding of oxtails'
Brown and Park 1968.
'The dogs affected with paradontal disease are those fed on soft, pappy food; those fed on a diet which necessitates the use of their teeth for the grinding of their food are free from the disease.'
Sir Frank Colyer, 1947.
'Uncooked bones had the most marked effect followed by rawhide chews and super hard baked biscuits'. 'It is imperative that in addition to this basic commercial diet bones, preferably or rawhide chews or super hard baked biscuits be added to it so that periodontal disease can be prevented'.
PC Higgins, Veterinary Adviser to Uncle Bens of Australia 1987.
a. trivial orfeature of small carnivore biology.
TrivialBut wait a minute. Doesn't it usually start with relatively minor gum disorder before progressing to the major entity? Isn't this gum disorder readily fixed by massage?
Indications were that this was far from trivial.
'What's more, research indicates that dogs with periodontal disease may develop further problems in the heart, liver, kidneys or bones marrow'
(Upjohn Company Poster 1992)
'Veterinarians have long suspected and research supports the fact that periodontal disease can become systemic and can predispose the animal to problems such as right-side heart failure, hepatic compromise, renal failure and bone marrow depression. This anachoretic effect can have drastic repercussions on the overall health of the pet and presents one of the greatest challenges facing small animal practitioners today'
G Beard 1991.
'Gingivitis can be cured in about four or five days. The secret is actually to clean the bleeding gums more, not less. This tends to run counter to normal medical advice for other bleeding areas of the body. However, gums are different.' 'On the first day, the gums will bleed and feel sore. The second day the gums will bleed more and feel even sorer. The same thing will happen on the third day, by which stage you may be saying that the whole treatment is madness and you may be thinking of giving up. Do not! By about the fourth to fifth day the gums will start to feel better and become firm and healthier. This will be noticeable by the virtual absence of bleeding. A day or so later the gums will not bleed at all upon brushing.'So nature has arranged the cure to be simple cleaning and massage taking place at each natural feeding session. Indeed a trivial matter if attended to early in the piece.
Produced by the Dental Health Foundation - Australia
The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
DesirableAccepting that the disease was 'trivial' required some effort. Accepting that a severe disease with devastating consequences was 'desirable' would require a somersault. Or alternatively one could question the validity of this seemingly absurd enquiry. Garbage in, garbage out. Ask the wrong question and obtain a lie. The semantics might be getting in the way here.
"Day and night the Carnivora are playing their appointed part in keeping down numbers. They themselves are without visible foes, yet have a mysterious check on over-multiplication. All the flesh-eaters are more numerous at birth than the herb-eaters. But an unseen agency takes off cubs from every nursery, or the flesh-eaters would be too numerous, and would destroy all herb-eaters. Check and countercheck are constantly at work to maintain the balance and for the terrors of it all - they hardly exist!"This lyrical passage of uncontested fact sets the carnivores in their ecological niche at the top of the food chain.
Childrens' Encyclopaedia. Editor Arthur Mee
'Rightly or wrongly, I regard the feeding of raw bones daily as being one critical factor in the health of dogs. Why is this? The crunching of the bones may clean the teeth. The enormous dental pressures of crunching bones may cause great circulatory changes in the jaws and gums. The primitive euphoria generated by the crunching of bones is obvious. To tease my dogs and take away their food is nothing, but to tease them and take away the bones causes a very definite reaction. The canine joy of crunching up bones is a daily feature of exhilaration and well-being which may have a bearing upon their immuno-competence and their immune system . Bones may have a nutritional effect (don't overlook trace minerals)'In 1968, the Royal Veterinary College Expedition to East Africa reported a parasite cyst of hyenas tucked away in the pelvic bones of wildebeeste. The hyena target species having the jaws and digestive tract perfectly suited for digesting the hardest bones. That the parasite/host relationship was so well defined points to a long evolutionary process.
We must then make the further assumption that the quality, quantity, and frequency of feeding are the prime determinants.We can see that it is morphology and behaviour which serves to differentiate species. All species have roughly equivalent needs for the chemicals; carbohydrates, proteins, etc. To take two taxonomically different species which both eat trees we can cite termites and elephants. They both need trees for the chemical and physical constituents.
Quality - chemical and physical
a. Chemicals Carbohydrates, proteins etc including the trendy taurines, arachidonic acid, Ca:P ratio etc suited to physiological needs of the animal.
b. Physical Texture/temperature to ensure correct masticatory through to defaecatory process. Equally important physiological needs.
Quantity - chemical and physical
Our principle concern here is for the amount of cleaning that takes place in the oral cavity. Clearly one tough mouthful will not be sufficient quantity of chewy food to ensure a clean mouth. In dogs, experience shows that if raw meaty bones approximate to half the diet then other sticky foodstuffs will be adequately compensated. In the case of cats, the obligate carnivores, our experience indicates that almost every meal must consist of chewy, raw meaty bones.
Naturally the quantity of chemicals, absolute and relative, should occupy that zone between too much and too little.
Frequency of chemical uptake and physical stimulation
Clearly there is trade-off again in this area between frequency, quantity, and quality. Most carnivores can survive if fed once a week in large quantity and good quality. This is not an optimum and frequency of feeding probably differs between cats and dogs. Certainly frequency of gum massage and teeth cleaning needs to be at least once per day. This corresponds with the mineralisation of plaque beginning within 24 - 48 hours of deposition.
|1. It is impractical.||False||Modern distribution and refrigeration make natural feeding easy.|
|2. Previous dietary imbalance problemswill arise.||False||Imbalance problems exist today as before. Better education and better access to people will enable us to eliminate imbalances.|
|3. It costs more.||False||It costs much less.|
|4. Some processed foods assist with dental hygiene||Misplaced emphasis||Raw bone diet far outstrips biscuits and raw hide chews for dogs. Dry food exacerbates cat dental problems. (Higgins 1987)|
|5. Only a couple of bones need to be given weekly.||False||Consumption of bones is a powerful cleanser of teeth. Plaque and calculus are active between times.|
|6. Brachycephalic breeds cannot handle bones||False||Started from a young age they soon learn. Given their predisposition to dental disease their need for prevention is greater. Brachycephalics are in the minority - why hinge any argument on the minority case.|
|7. Physically impossible for some breeds||False||The raw bones and vegetable - carrot, apple etc can be selected according to circumstances. The brachycephalic breeds were genetically selected over hundreds of years of natural food feeding.|
|8. Little research has been done to justify natural feeding||False||Evolution is an on-going experiment. Sir Frank Colyer and Peter Higgins list experimental and survey work.|
|9. Dogs live longer and have higher pedigree and therefore cannot cope.||Misplaced emphasis||Old pedigree dogs surviving a lifetime without bones become addicted to the wrong food and usually suffer painful mouth conditions making chewing difficult. There may be breed dispositions to problems but none documented.|
|10. Bones get stuck in the teeth.||Misplaced emphasis||An animal practised in handling the correct style of bone has little difficulty.|
|11. Teeth get broken.||Misplaced emphasis||Any system in use can become damaged. All systems require suitable exercise. Inappropriate eg ox marrow bone most likely to inflict damage.|
|12. Constipation is a problem.||Misplaced emphasis||Dogs habituated to bones have regular, firm stools of powdered bone. Bones fed once a week in large quantity can give rise to excessively dry stools. It is cooked, sharp, indigestible bones which are mostly associated with bowel problems|
|13. 'Complete' diet is impossible. (Meaning complete chemical)||False||Natural diets readily achieve complete physical and chemical needs.|
|14. Nutritional disease will become common.||False||Removing animals processed 'complete' diets and putting them on natural diets has always resulted in increased health.|
|15. Deficiencies are bound to show up.||Unlikely||Processed foods have been implicated in most direct deficiency states. eg Taurine, arachidonic acid. In the hypo- thetical event that a deficiency is detected then appropriate action can be taken.|
|16. Excess nutrient disorders will occur.||Unlikely||Carnivores can process limitless quantities of bone. Many processed foods have excess salt and protein as judged by their own standards. (Cowgill, 1991)|
|17. Table scraps are no better than canned or dried food.||Misplaced emphasis||Scraps are cheap (free to user) less highly processed, even raw. It is true they do not massage teeth and gums.|
|18. Raw bones and scraps not a viable alternative.||False||They are available - cheap and health giving.|
|19. Legal implications of advising raw bones.||False||Nonsensical that recommending natural diet would carry legal penalties. Advising processed food giving rise to dental and systemic disease much more likely to invite legal action.|
a. Fluid therapy equipment andA selection of Smith-Baxter gags are to hand and a series of champagne corks for gagging cats and small dogs. A Polaroid camera is kept at the ready for recording events, both educational and litigation inspired.
b. Dental hand instruments.
'RAW BONES TO TREAT FLEAS!There is no opportunity to charge for the time because the clients do not ask for the service. The certain knowledge that animals will be back in a couple of years requiring dental work and heart, liver and kidney treatments unless we do provide renders us honour bound to give advance, preventative advice.
One very important concept we have learnt is , that animals eating a healthy diet and leading a healthy lifestyle have a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system can usually cope with average flea numbers. Raw meaty bones daily keep mouths healthy, immune systems healthy and keep flea allergy dermatitis at bay.'
Extract from client information sheet.
Fresh air - we can live three minutes without it.This enables clients to focus on what supports life.
Fresh water - we can live three days without it.
Fresh food - we can live three weeks without it.
"Specialised organisms thrive when conditions are optimum but experience considerable pressure to adapt or perish when the conditions change. Relatively undifferentiated organisms can accommodate change with relative ease."This proposition needs testing. It will be a most alarming indictment if we have so modified dogs that they are condemned to acute bone impaction if they consume natural food or condemned to chronic periodontal disease if they do not.
Adaptation of C. Darwin.
a) an increase in health status andThis is a ready and objective test that you can conduct yourself. (Depending on the stage of the disease you may see an inflammatory profile or no change at all.)
b) an increase in leucocyte count.
'Microbial plaque is a structural, resilient, yellow-greyish substance that adheres tenaciously to teeth. It is comprised of bacteria in a matrix of salivary glycoproteins and extra-cellular polysaccharides like glucans (eg dextrans, mutans) and fructans (eg levan). This matrix makes it impossible to rinse plaque away with water; it must be removed mechanically...' 'Plaque is not a food residue. Supra-gingival plaque forms more rapidly during sleep when no food is ingested than following meals. The consistency of diet also affects the rate of plaque formation and pathology is increased in soft diets.'Do not invest heavily in a dental work station to achieve shiny white ivories on one occasion each six months. Keep the focus on daily chewing and spend the money on a freezer instead.
M Tholen 1987.
'Manual removal of calculus was not required when dogs were fed one-half or one whole oxtail per week. 'By the time you have read this far you will be aware that selling processed pet food is taboo. This includes the so-called prescription diets which simply retain the physical form but alter the chemical formula. (An admission by their own terms that processed foods variously contain too much protein, salt, calories etc. Rather than employ preventative nutrition they are informed by a wish to provide remedial action after the animal is already diseased.)
Brown et al 1968.
ALTMAN, E.G. and WENDON, K.H.
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