Letter to 'AVJ Letters and Perspectives,'
>> Ian Billinghurst,
>> Bathurst NSW
>> We shot the messenger. Dr. Lonsdale, speaking against processed pet food
>> silenced. However, have we lost sight of the message, or perhaps confused
>> the messenger with the message? Apparently, Dr. Lonsdale breached the
>> of ethics, designed to protect members of the AVA. Protect us from what?
>> Inside or outside the AVA, legitimate scientific argument supporting a
>> contentious point of view is never a threat.
>> Nutrition is not a settled matter. Its fluid nature provides our
>> the opportunity to upgrade companion animal health dramatically. Nutrition
>> based on genomics will produce far-reaching and positive changes across a
>> broad spectrum of health issues, way beyond any other medical or surgical
>> Simplistically, my small animal patients, like humans, are healthier by
>> when switched, from processed food and fed the balanced, fresh, whole food
>> diet they evolved to require. There is much science to support that view,
>> there is to support the view that grain based, carbohydrate rich,
>> pet foods, which are biologically inappropriate for companion animals, can
>> seriously damage their health.
>> For example, Dr. Debra L Zoran DVM, PhD, DACVIM., writing for JAVMA,
>> December 1 2002 (Volume 221, No.11) produced an article (fully reviewed by
>> the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN)) titled 'Timely Topics
>> in Nutrition - The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats,' which
>> detailed the relationship between feline nutrition, feline
>> biochemistry/physiology and pathology. The article demonstrates that grain
>> based diets are of questionable nutritional integrity when fed to obligate
>> carnivores and may be a fundamental cause of serious feline disease. Dr.
>> Zoran notes the '. possible role of nutrition in the development of
>> obesity, idiopathic hepatic lipidosis, inflammatory bowel disease and
>> diabetes mellitus in cats.'
>> In similar vein Deborah Greco DVM PhD Diplomate ACVIM (Internal medicine)
>> on Friday the 24th September 2004 speaks on the topic 'Feline Diabetes
>> the Catkins diet' at a PGF refresher course. Dr. Greco's voice will join
>> with many others, demonstrating the strong link between carbohydrate rich
>> diets and Diabetes Mellitus in cats.
>> Numerous peer reviewed papers, genomics, basic biochemistry and
>> all demonstrate the connection between carbohydrate rich foods and
>> degenerative disease processes in many species, man, dog and cat included.
>> Periodontal disease, feline lower urinary tract disease, arthritis,
>> cardiomyopathy, feline thromboembolism, feline hyperthyroidism, Neoplasia
>> and many other health issues in the small animal patient show this
>> For example, neoplastic tissue relies primarily on anaerobic glycolysis;
>> hence carbohydrate rich diets promote neoplastic growth and cancer
>> while a ketogenic diet starves neoplastic tissue and encourages host
>> anabolism. Similarly, high glycemic diets promote carcinogenesis by
>> down-regulating the apoptotic response in malignant tissue.
>> Consider Feline Hyperthyroidism - currently the most common endocrine
>> disorder in cats. This debilitating and costly condition was unknown prior
>> to the mid 1970's. JA Flanders (College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell
>> University, Ithaca, NY, USA) writing in the Journal of Feline Medicine and
>> Surgery (1999) 1, 127-134 states 'The cause of hyperthyroidism is unknown,
>> however it seems to be a relatively recent disease.' Flanders presents
>> strong evidence for this. The occurrence and rise in incidence of feline
>> hyperthyroidism parallels the adoption and increased use, of dry cat food.
>> There is a strong link between carbohydrate rich/gluten rich foods and
>> idiopathic seizures in canines. Numerous studies have shown the value of
>> ketogenic diets in raising the seizure threshold.
>> I could go on, but clearly, there is mounting evidence for the link
>> processed pet food and serious small animal disease, well beyond the
>> periodontitis/internal disease connection proposed by Dr. Lonsdale and
>> beyond the carbohydrate connection noted above.
>> There is no other area in small animal preventative medicine, which is as
>> available and ready for positive exploitation by the veterinary
>> For veterinarians to universally and uncritically give blanket endorsement
>> to grain based processed pet foods while turning a blind eye to their
>> damaging effects on small animal health, does little for the profession's
>> To ignore this issue will eventually damage the profession. The AVA, is
>> ideally positioned to show leadership in this area. It has the
>> to encourage and promote ongoing investigation into the role of processed
>> pet foods in producing serious health consequences in companion animals.
>> Equally and perhaps more importantly, the AVA, is ideally positioned to
>> encourage and promote research that seriously appraises the role of fresh
>> whole foods in underpinning companion animal health.
>> The argument that processed pet foods are superior because they eliminated
>> number of diseases of excess and deficiency is invalid. The facts are,
>> processed pet foods eliminated a finite number of easily diagnosed/easily
>> treated, occasionally or rarely seen diseases and opened the way for an
>> unlimited number of complex diseases, which are difficult to diagnose,
>> difficult and expensive to treat and which are rarely linked to their
>> because of the time lapse between diet inception and disease appearance.
>> Nutritional hyperparathyroidism due to a calcium deficient all-meat diet,
>> pansteatitis where oily fish flesh caused a vitamin E deficiency,
>> polioencephalomalacia due to thiaminase in raw fish, Biotin deficiency due
>> to the egg white diet, cervical exostoses due to a solo liver diet and
>> vitamin A excess are the disease types which processed pet foods remove.
>> With the possible exception of calcium deficiency due to an all meat diet,
>> these diseases were relatively uncommon compared to the problems, which
>> replaced them.
>> When fresh whole unprocessed foods are recognised as a healthy form of
>> nutrition (it seems crazy that this should even be a topic for debate) for
>> cats and dogs, far superior to processed foods, (as they are for humans),
>> what then? Will the current generation of veterinarians be remembered only
>> for its belated membership in the 'Flat Earth Society,' with an outcast
>> pariah being the hero/martyr of the hour? Alternatively, will it be seen
>> having shown strong leadership in promoting genuine preventative medicine
>> and health promotion for its small animal patients?
>> The choice is inescapable, we may sweep it under the carpet but it will
>> disappear. The health issues related to our current and future
>> recommendations in small animal nutrition will either haunt us or applaud
>> us. An added bonus for the healthy choice will be the opportunity, to
>> demonstrate to our colleagues in human medicine, the legitimacy and value
>> evolutionary nutrition in genuine preventative medicine, across the
>> Ian Billinghurst
>> Bathurst NSW.