Dancin and the Salmon Gruel

Dancin is too weak to write having not eaten for 2 and a half days! My mission to buy baby food with which to force feed her was aborted by the snow/sleet and Seahawks game.  I decided to make my own. I smashed up the left over salmon, mixed it with goat milk, nutritious right? Filled  the feeding syringe,  syringe into Dancin’s mouth – nothing, too thick. Thin the gruel, cut the syringe to make a bigger opening  – try again. Nope. Take it out of her mouth and push on the syringe again – pop, the plug lets loose and salmon gruel sliding down the cupboards.  The coup de grâce, I placed the plate with the remaining salmon and goat milk on the floor and she licked it clean as I wiped down the cupboards.. Feeling stronger now, Dancin sends her love…_DSC3965

Dancin’s Food Blog



In case you don’t remember me my name is Dancin. I am a Japanese Chin!  My mother has written about my eating habits before, but does she really know what goes on in my head? I’ve decided to take over.  By the way, I think I look quite beautiful in my wedding finery, don’t you?

 Thanksgiving Day, Breakfast:   I watched everyone else get their breakfast  finally it was my turn. My favorite way to begin the day is with a squirt of “juice”.  (Lena McCullough, DVM has made a yummy herbal appetite stimulant for me).  At first I wasn’t sure about the “juice”. Now much to my chagrin I dance into the kitchen asking for it, I’m hooked.  Next Mama brought  out  chicken meat from the PCC. Sniff, ugh. Then I saw her reach for something new – Natural Balance Perfect Bites cat treats, Rabbit. Well this was a new twist. I am ashamed to say I ate half the package in one sitting.  Mama was thrilled. I like to keep her guessing so I’m not sure I’ll eat them next time but they sure were good. Now I’m off to nap by the fireplace. Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you get the treats you want!

Thoughts on Vaccinations

gravatarVaccination and Dog Cancer

by Dr. Demian Dressler · 13 comments

dog getting vaccinatedA reader recently posed a question about vaccinations and links with cancer in dogs.

I discussed this in more detail in the Guide, along with many other factors that may (or may not) have links to cancer.  But, since it came up, I thought it might make a good post.

If reader is looking for a vilification of vaccines, a carte-blanche condemnation of the practice of vaccination, a hysterical, reactive, anti-ist, myopic tirade against vaccines in general, you may want to stop reading.  This is not the proper forum for that type of thing so common in certain circles these days.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s look at the situation like rationale, clear thinking human beings.  The situation is not clear cut, and that recognition should be established early.

For those who want the bottom line now: No vaccinations for dogs with cancer. None. Vaccinations have complex interactions with the immune system and these are not predictable and can be harmful in dogs with cancer.  Use the minimum vaccinations for your pet’s lifestyle, needs, and other health issues.

But don’t eliminate all vaccinations in healthy pets. From the viewpoint of someone who deals with diseases that vaccines prevent, I can promise you that if your dog were to experience parvo or distemper, you would wish she had been protected…but only after the fact, after you had endured the pain of witnessing the horror show of these problems in your loved dog.

And of course vaccinations have side effects, like anything (yes, even homeopathy), and these must be contended with.

Like any medical intervention, we have to analyze whether the costs outweigh the benefits.  With vaccination, I’ve stated the benefit already: prevention of diseases that your dog may contract if they are present. This means, of course, that if there is no Lyme disease where your dog walks, no ticks to spread the bacteria, don’t vaccinate against Lyme disease. I give very little kennel cough vaccine to adult dogs because there is very little kennel cough where I practice. I don’t vaccinate my patients against rabies as we have a rabies-free state. I don’t vaccinate against leptospirosis in any puppy, Dachschund, Poodle, or dogs that are not always going in fresh water, where it is carried.

Yet, we have parvo outbreaks. And friends, parvo can kill a dog just like cancer. I quote clients about a 70-80% survival rate with 24-hour intensive care but we treat the disease very aggressively and use many different tools to do so.  I suspect overall survival rates for parvo are lower than that. And friends, if your dog’s intestine is bleeding out and he is lying on the ground with low blood sugar, destroyed electrolytes, and vomiting but can barely lift his head to do so..suddenly…preventing parvo doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

But what about the negatives of vaccination?  Well, these are not quite as well documented in the conventional literature. This means that you cannot find all that much on direct links between vaccines and diseases or problems resulting from them in the dog. However, there are some pretty compelling bits of information from human medicine that we can apply to dogs.  This is especially true as dogs are models for human cancers, and we vets use many of the same tests, drugs, and other treatments that are provide to humans.

Alternative vets describe something called vaccinosis, which means the vaccine negatives, more or less. An “-osis”, similar to a disease.  These effects could include, for example, allergic reactions. (Then again apples make my lips swell and I still think apples are okay for other people…but I digress..) So a vaccination can cause an allergic reaction, but they are pretty rare, and can most often be managed in a strait-forward way.

Vaccines are now being more or less accepted as increasing the risk for immune system problems, especially involving the blood.  These problems include cases where the immune system starts to attack blood cells, like red or white blood cells, or platelets. For this reason, in dogs that already have a predisposition towards those diseases (Poodles for example, or dogs with clinical inflammatory disorders of any kind), I don’t vaccinate or do so much less, or with precautionary steps.

In cats, there is actually a tumor specifically caused by vaccinations, called a vaccine-induced sarcoma, or “vaccosarcoma”. This is not found though in dogs.

Now comes the murkier stuff that is not very well documented, but is suspicious and raises flags in my mind. First, the immune system has traditionally been thought of as if it had unlimited ability to to respond to things. In reality it does not. Vaccination of newborn babies creates what is called a polarity shift in the immune response. This means the immune system shifts to defend itself against the diseases in the vaccine, as a response to the vaccination. Here is a publication in humans, and here is one in mice, and here’s a related one in mice as well.

This polarity shift pulls the immune system away from cancer surveillance later in life (shown in rodents anyway), and appears to be a permanent change.  In other words, the immune system is  primed to fight infectious disease, but at the expense of protecting or screening the body from developing cancer cells.

Now, this has not been shown in dogs, but it has been in other species. And I strongly suspect that the same effects occur in dogs.  And who knows what other items we don’t know about. Who knows about the heavy metals or preservatives and whatnot in vaccines, whether in dogs there really is a connection to other forms of immune mediated disease (I suspect so), or certain neurologic or other problems.

In my practice therefore, I start the vaccine series a little later than normal to try to minimize this possible polarity shift. I cannot prove it works, but because there is compelling evidence of this phenomenon, I do what I can to include these ideas in daily medicine. We also only vaccinate with core vaccines at 1 and 4 years, then only possibly later if needed.  We test for protection using what is called a titer test, which is a crude way of assessing protection in a dog at a point in time….to see if a vaccination is needed, before just administering it.  We try to minimize other vaccines as much as possible.  When the dog does not get the vaccine, they get a titer test to make sure they have left over protection from previous vaccinations.

Some guardians like to give Thuja occidentalis, a homeopathic that seems to help a little with “vaccinosis”.  I kind of like Thuja. Data? Nope.

So, those are some of my thoughts concerning vaccinations in dogs. I hope this helped clarify this rather complicated issue.

For more information about topics like this and their connection to cancer, read the Guide.


Dr D


Dachsie Gets Steps and Ramps!

Buddy Sunbathing

My Buddy would have loved these steps and ramps.


I Surrender….

Abby, my 13 year old golden, has had diarrhea since January when she took an antibiotic.  She has always had a tempermental GI tract.  I took all of the supplements away and have just been giving  pain medicine (for her hips).  Today I surrendered…I am adding it all back in, the benefits outweigh the negatives and she still had diarrhea.  I have ordered Tylan powder from Drs. Foster and Smith and am hoping it will be the answer….

I surrendered to the dogs today…I bought a beautfiul cat post, put it in the living room; my hope was it would be high enough, the cats would feel safe and would come join us.  After wrapping the bottom of the post in layers of plastic,  and old towels to keep the pee off the post I have given up. I moved the post into the cats rooms and hope they love it as much as I do!

Wondering what else the day will bring….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is Actually in Your Pet’s Food


There are two articles that are very informative about the ingredients in our pet food:

The Historical Basis for Illegal Waste in Pet Food and Learn the Turth about Pet Food Ingredients.


A Cat’s Life

SAMSUNGSnow, my sweet white deaf kitty, has hyperesthesia of her tail. This means she attacks her tail as if it is attacking her. During these times I don’t think she realizes her tail is part of her body!  It is time to see Lena McCullough, DVM for acupunture.  Acupuncture soothes the savage beast in Snow, calming her nervous system, so she no longer attacks the “bad” tail.  In addition to seeing her attack her tail, I found blood all over the wall at cat height, she has swished her bitten tail and painted the wall. The wall is now clean, hopefully none of my friends  have luminol – it will look as though I was killing small animals! Ugh!

More cat tails to come. As some of you know I inherited two wonderful cats this last year after having been catless for many years. I’d forgotten how much I love living with cat energy.

RedFyve Graphic Design

gravatarRedFyve Graphic Design is located in Seattle. offering design services for logos, packaging, branding, print and web. RedFyve is also a full-service web design/development studio providing a wide range of web services such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and custom WordPress themes.

Ben Dixon of RedFyve is wonderful.  He designed and now keeps my website looking fresh, he updates my blog features. I can’t say enough about his services. He always gets back to me in a timely manner.  Ben tolerates my computer ignorance without a whimper!


Cancer: an unpleasant topic

Dr. Susan Ettinger appears to be able to explain treatment and diagnosis in terms we lay people can understand. I find her information helpful. Should you have questions about lumps/limps or other symptoms check out her blog as well as contacting your veterinarian

Safe Escape for Victims & Pets

Safe Escape for victims and pets

Julia sought refuge at a domestic violence shelter after she had become the target of a violent stalker. She had been terrorized for months and was living every waking moment in fear. Her final breaking point happened the day her stalker attempted to break into her home to kill her. Julia immediately packed her bags and headed to the shelter with her 7-month-old Chihuahua in tow. But when she arrived, she learned that pets were not allowed at the shelter.

Unwilling to leave her beloved pup behind, Julia worked with her advocate to find help. Within hours of applying for a RedRover Safe Escape grant, Julia learned that her plea for help had been answered; her dog would be safely boarded at a nearby clinic.

Julia later wrote to RedRover, “I was able to stay safe while being sure that my dog was cared for, which gave me the courage to testify against the man who was stalking me. Without your Safe Escape grant I would not have been able to stay in the shelter during that time and may have been killed by this man. I can’t thank you enough for all of your help. When I am recovered financially I plan to donate to your cause so you can help others like me.”

 Julia’s story is one of many of victims seeking safety with their pets that our RedRover Relief case managers hear each year. From 2011 to 2012, applications for Safe Escape increased 126 percent.

 You can read our article about helping animals and women in crisis in the latest issue of The Latham Letter, and find ways that you can take action in just a few minutes on our blog.


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