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Old 02-04-2017, 07:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default SkeptVet vs Dodds - Diet - Nutriscan etc

A long but very interesting read. The comments that follow the article are interesting as well.

Canine Nutrigenomics by Dr. Jean Dodds: Science as Windowdressing | The SkeptVet

Some of you may have read this in the past, but for those that have not you might find it a bit of an eye opener, or at the least offer a differing of opinion on several subjects involving our dogs and their health.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thank you for that interesting link RD. It is important that all decisions we make for our own health as well as that of our companion animals and in raising food animals be scientifically evaluated and that the findings of those studies be objectively vetted.

That being said I did recently do NutriScan testing on all three of my dogs on the recommendation of my vet. Based on the results of their NutriScan profiles I did decide to make major changes in how I feed my dogs, switching from a good quality commercial food to home cooking for them. While this has been a challenging change I will say that I have seen some definite improvements in things like the reduction of Javelin's excessive ear wax production. Lily and Peeves will have their annual exams in a couple of weeks and I am hoping that I will see improvements in their urine chemistry. While I recognize as a scientist myself (college biology professor with a PhD in immunology) that these improvements are merely anecdotal evidence of the value of the testing I can't argue with my own success for these three dogs.

I do hope that over the longer term we will see good studies done to evaluate all of the ideas that are out there so that the wheat can be sorted from the chaff for the benefit of human and animal health. In addition to the issues of food sensitivities I am also interested in the issues of raw diets and see that the blogger you linked to has written extensively about raw feeding. I decided to provide a cooked diet for various microbiological reasons. I also hold the view that our dogs are not wolves and that we have guided their evolution far enough away from their wild relatives that the raw diet is not innately more suitable for them based on the pseudoscientific view that your dog is a wolf in a dog suit anymore than your cat is really a little lion on the back of your sofa.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your comment, Catherine. It's always nice to have someone with a background in science weighing in. I've been following the results with your dogs Nutriscan, and appreciate your follow ups. Everyone here can learn a lot from the members here, even if thus far a lot of these results may be considered anecdotal. Like you said, it's difficult to argue with the success one sees with their own two eyes.

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I do hope that over the longer term we will see good studies done to evaluate all of the ideas that are out there so that the wheat can be sorted from the chaff for the benefit of human and animal health.
You and me both, and I do think that the science has come a LONG ways over the past 20 years. Much of this has been consumer driven, the internet has created a lot of armchair experts which I like to think has ultimately forced pet food manufacturers to step up their game, and not just in companion pet food. I have seen the same improvement over the years in aquaculture circles. Sometimes based on solid data and facts, and sometimes based on knee jerk reactions and pseudoscientific hyperbole.


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I also hold the view that our dogs are not wolves and that we have guided their evolution far enough away from their wild relatives that the raw diet is not innately more suitable for them based on the pseudoscientific view that your dog is a wolf in a dog suit anymore than your cat is really a little lion on the back of your sofa.
Yes, that pretty much sums up how I feel as well. lol
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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RD. I see many parallels between human biomedicine and the issues we are talking about here. Technology has given the ability to move research forward at tremendous rates of speed, but that doesn't always translate directly to improved applications and practices. As I often tell my students, it isn't always wise to rush to a new diet or treatment based on a report of a research finding as soon as the information is out there. Careful vetting of research findings and trial results is incredibly important. That said as you noted I have my three anecdotes in progress who seem to be doing very well with their new diets. I attribute that as much if not more than anything to the fact that they are now eating human grade food 100% of the time.

BTW I bookmarked skeptvet's blog. There is a ton of interesting looking reading over there.
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't believe that blog has any posts regarding the authors name, credentials, etc, this link will take you to an IAABC interview with Brennen McKenzie, the man behind SkeptVet.

Interview with Brennen McKenzie, the SkeptVet - The IAABC JournalThe IAABC Journal | The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

Just in case anyone is interested.
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In the About page on his blog, he does have a way to find out who he is. Interestingly he makes a decent case for why he prefers anonymity, although I think knowing his credentials makes his writings carry more weight.
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Old 02-04-2017, 03:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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RD, thanks for posting, I had never heard of SkeptVet -it's good to see some different views and he has lots of articles.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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No problem, glad to help.
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Skeptvet can be a bit obnoxious, though. For example he feels that the use of titers to determine if a dog should be vaccinated is not useful and one part of his argument is that it could lead to more dogs being unnecessarily vaccinated if their titer is low but they don't actually need to be revaccinated. That argument makes zero sense since by default the dog would be getting automatically vaccinated otherwise. He actually disagrees with Dr. Ronald Schultz, who is the most well known canine vaccine researcher. Sorry, but I'll listen to Schultz on this one, given his extensive research on the matter, unless the Skeptvet can procure some research himself!

Sketpvet is also opposed to raw diets.

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Old 02-05-2017, 02:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't believe that he stated it was not useful, only that it can be misleading at times due to the various conditions/circumstances involved. Basically titers on their own are not always a 100% reliable indicator whether an animal requires another vaccination for a specific disease, or not.

Antibody Titer Testing as a Guide for Vaccination in Dogs and Cats | The SkeptVet

In that article he states:
Quote:
So while I believe the evidence indicates we can safely vaccinate most dogs and cats far less often than has traditionally been recommended, I do not believe we should use titers or other methods to reduce vaccination out of fear.
and .....

Quote:
So while I see utility for antibody titer testing in some situations, it is distressing that some companies selling these tests seem to be marketing them using fear and the testimonials of individuals who are known opponents of science-based medicine and promoters of irrational anti-vaccine positions and unscientific alternative therapies. Dr. Shawn Messonier, Dr. Karen Becker, Catherine O’Driscoll, and Dogs Naturally Magazine, are some of the entirely unreliable sources to which the Vaccicheck company refers pet owners in promoting their product. We will do far more harm than good for our pets if we base our vaccination decisions on pseudoscience or irrational fear, which is what these individuals often promote, rather than sound science.
He certainly doesn't hold back any punches. lol

and ....

Quote:
Again, I’m not saying I am opposed to titer testing. I do it for those clients who request it, and sometimes it leads us to skip a vaccine I might otherwise have given. But it also sometimes gives us no information at all (when the titer is negative), and most vets would feel obliged to vaccinate these dogs regardless of when they had previous boosters. And the bottom line is it is being sold primarily with the idea of making dogs safer by reducing vaccination rates, and I don’t see any evidence that this would actually be the case.

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