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Old 08-25-2009, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,357 posts, read 9,820,047 times
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Does it seem to you that today's pets have more health problems than they used to?

I had this discussion with my friend last night. We both had childhood dogs that lived to be 17 and 18 years old. Both of them got the usual puppy shots and that was it. Fleas were treated with flea baths, flea powder or flea collars. No systemic flea treatments nor any treatment of heart worms...

Our dogs ate table scraps and cheap canned food and got real bones once in a while. No dental problems. No hot spots or endless paw licking. we didn't recall any dogs that got cancer... All our neighborhood dogs lived long lives it seemed.

My friend thinks today's pets are more unhealthy due to all the vaccines, systemic flea treatments and chemical additives in the pet foods...my dog just had Cipro prescribed for an infection...

I don't know what to think, but it sure seems as though pets aren't living as long or are sicker than they used to be.

What do you think? Are we killing our pets with kindness--and too many chemicals from medication and pet foods?
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,654 posts, read 15,734,604 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDolphin View Post
Does it seem to you that today's pets have more health problems than they used to?

I had this discussion with my friend last night. We both had childhood dogs that lived to be 17 and 18 years old. Both of them got the usual puppy shots and that was it. Fleas were treated with flea baths, flea powder or flea collars. No systemic flea treatments nor any treatment of heart worms...

Our dogs ate table scraps and cheap canned food and got real bones once in a while. No dental problems. No hot spots or endless paw licking. we didn't recall any dogs that got cancer... All our neighborhood dogs lived long lives it seemed.

My friend thinks today's pets are more unhealthy due to all the vaccines, systemic flea treatments and chemical additives in the pet foods...my dog just had Cipro prescribed for an infection...

I don't know what to think, but it sure seems as though pets aren't living as long or are sicker than they used to be.

What do you think? Are we killing our pets with kindness--and too many chemicals from medication and pet foods?
It's going to be interesting watching this thread I for one do not feed my dogs any food that has any chemicals and other than the Bordetella they get Rabies every three years. My soon to be 13 year old will no longer get the Disptemper combo and my 8 year old male will only get that once more.

You know it could stem to breeding and over breeding in lines?
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,357 posts, read 9,820,047 times
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Yes, for pure-bred dogs, ill-health or shortened lives could come from over-breeding or in-breeding.

The long-lived dogs I referenced were both mixed breeds. Not too many people in my neighborhood had pure-bred dogs, though there was one Cocker Spaniel that live to be 16...he died two years before my little mixed pooch.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:53 PM
 
1,501 posts, read 5,179,950 times
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You might find this Harvard Law paper quite thorough in answering your question:

Incestuous Pet Food Regulation Allows Consumers to Feed their Pets Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes

A Google for "what's really in pet food" and/or "the truth about pet food" will yield everything from actual youtube undercover videos, to testimonies from folks ranging from insiders right up to veterinarians "in the know."

A search right here for dog food will yield many good threads.

To answer you from personal experience:
Our dogs, too, lived to upper teens on Mighty Dog and tons of scraps back in the day. Veterinarian, when asked in 1986 which food he thought was best, replied: Sorry, we only study Medicine, I'd probably have to look it up in a book or something." No-frills, required shots only, and only freak accidents required rushes to his office. Also, if the ingredients in any *most well known commercial food were compared with 15 years ago and the present, you will see many much cheaper junk filler ingredients (add China to this mix) now replacing what ingredients were in the same product then.

This applies to those most well-known mainstream "premium" foods as much as to the cheapest Wal_Mart brand. Sad thing is, people still believe they are "premium" because of deceiving Ads and labeling; vet. endorsements; and their obscene prices.


Tmes, oh how they've changed.

Last edited by Travel'r; 08-25-2009 at 07:04 PM..
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,357 posts, read 9,820,047 times
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Well, that's interesting, the link you listed. I'm always hoping things will change for the better, but sometimes I'm disappointed. This seems to be one of those cases.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:17 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
3,563 posts, read 5,703,266 times
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Good topic. I have noticed the same thing myself. To me it seems that dogs are generally less healthy than they were even 15 years ago. I have lived in Vegas for about 11 years so I wasn't sure if perhaps it was somehow related to the environment in the desert or if this was more of a national epidemic. I also wasn't sure if perhaps people were more likely to treat rather than euth pets with long term illiness compared to the Midwest giving the impression of more sick animals. Cancer rates are incredibly high...I once did an estimate based on total number of active clients who's pets had cancer and compared it to where I had worked 9 years earlier at a clinic in Chicago. We were seeing on average more new cases per month than the previous place had per YEAR. More remarkable was the fact that sooooooooooooo many of these dogs were relatively young...under age 7. Years ago it was relatively uncommon to see a young dog with cancer (goldens and boxers excluded). I would say some of this could be attributed to location...the comparison is of very limited value for that reason.
Dogs certainly don't seem to be living any longer on average...indeed, it seems the opposite is true. However, I can only base this on what I see which is dogs recieving routine vet care...perhaps there are many dogs who never need to see and vet live longer??? I would definately be inclined to point a finger at the flea/tick/ heartworm products...after all they are vastly different from what was used back in the day. However dogs living in Las Vegas typically aren't treated with any of those products so unless perhaps it was in the womb...who knows??? Many of the dogs we see lived out of state prior to coming here as well...so its reasonable to assume they were exposed to before moving here.

Another thing that comes to mind is that perhaps the increase in some conditions could be related to earlier spaying and neutering. I strongly support both procedures, s/n just comes to mind as something that has become much more common over the last 20 years.

I definately agree...in general dogs seem much less healthy than they were 20 years ago and they seem be to developing problems at a younger age. Whatever the cause, its a shame.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Manhattan, Ks
1,280 posts, read 6,124,792 times
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I think it's very difficult to do a real comparison. There are a ton of variables to consider. I'll just rattle off a few.

Attitudes of pet owners and vets have changed. People are demanding more comprehensive diagnostics to find out exactly what's wrong with their pet and much more extensive treatments to extend their lives. People are more likely to think of pets as their family members and be more closely bonded with them. They are no longer accepting that Fluffy is dying of 'old age' at 12 or 13. So we do some diagnostics. Turns out it's cancer. Never would have known that a few years ago.

Which leads me to the vast expansion of veterinary medicine within the past couple of decades. I happen to work in veterinary cardiology. I guarantee you that more cats are diagnosed with HCM than 15 years ago. Is there a sudden epidemic? No, but you do need an echocardiogram to definitively diagnose it, as well as an owner who is willing to pay for one. Both are more common now. That's just one example, technology is improving every day. We now have all kinds of boarded specialists who can and do diagnose disease conditions that a general practitioner is simply unable to. At my job we are doing our darndest to increase the population of pets living with heart disease. With a combination of older meds and newer ones like Vetmedin we are extending life and improving quality of life of many heart patients. Thus, more animals walking around with heart disease. Something similar is going on next door in oncology and down the hall in internal medicine.

And finally what I think is the biggest factor; the internet. Before you could go online, how many pet owners do you know? How many do you have access to now? In addition, how many posters right here at city data only post because their animal is sick? It's not suprising to me that it feels like there's an epidemic of sick animals out there.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:47 AM
 
Location: California
10,091 posts, read 36,752,930 times
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In-Breeding has taken it's toll on all breeds. Thankfully, all of my PB Goldens have lived to ripe old ages...the oldest 16, the youngest death at 13. Of course, they were all of my line.
One must also take into consideration, cancers are being detected now, where as 20 yrs ago, cancer in dogs was not diagnosed as readily.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 34,286,212 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDolphin View Post
Does it seem to you that today's pets have more health problems than they used to?

I had this discussion with my friend last night. We both had childhood dogs that lived to be 17 and 18 years old. Both of them got the usual puppy shots and that was it. Fleas were treated with flea baths, flea powder or flea collars. No systemic flea treatments nor any treatment of heart worms...

Our dogs ate table scraps and cheap canned food and got real bones once in a while. No dental problems. No hot spots or endless paw licking. we didn't recall any dogs that got cancer... All our neighborhood dogs lived long lives it seemed.

My friend thinks today's pets are more unhealthy due to all the vaccines, systemic flea treatments and chemical additives in the pet foods...my dog just had Cipro prescribed for an infection...

I don't know what to think, but it sure seems as though pets aren't living as long or are sicker than they used to be.

What do you think? Are we killing our pets with kindness--and too many chemicals from medication and pet foods?
Name brands that were respected as good foods even a decade ago are now crap. Formulas keep changing, getting cheaper, more filler, less nutrition, lower quality proteins. I think that food plays a huge role in conjunction with a poor general understanding of what sort of exercise and activity a dog needs to be healthy. Keep your dogs fit. An obese dog is not a proud animal.

Also, there is a huge demand in our growing population for popular breeds. Breeds that are common and in high demand are going to be subject to very poor breeding practices based on economy rather than improvement of the breed. Bad genes get bottlenecked by macrobreeders and ill-informed amateurs, those genes then proliferate due to the popularity of the breed. Those dogs are then placed in large numbers to probably well-meaning but basically irresponsible people and families.

Too much demand for dogs, truly tragic breeding practices, terrible food and a poor general understanding of proper and appropriate stewardship is a bad combination for canis lupus familiaris in the United States.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,832,671 times
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Sometimes the cancer can stem from exposure to herbicides. Maybe the pet owners of the past weren't as concerned about the dandelions in the yard.

I had to put a pet down due to a tumor in her head. It was sad indeed. Her mother is still around though.

Our Yorkie was bred from an older mother. We didn't know anything about dogs when we got him. The vet tells us his knees will get bad. His fur/color is below standard because he was bred from an older mother. O well.

I wish I hadn't been so trusting & naive when I went out to find him. It's best to educate oneself!

He's 5 now & in good health. He's had some intestinal issues but we're careful to keep him away from the cat food now.
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