Flea Treats, Nutritionally complete diet, dewormers, and ivermectin...

posted Mar 14, 2011, 1:48 PM by James Cass
Here's an email discussion I had with someone in regards to complete health, especially as it pertains to immune systems health and the ability to naturally repel parasites...  She asked about the product "Flea Treats".

From inquirer:

Your email about the flea treats prompted one other question. 
I feed raw for a few reasons but mainly like most of us to make my dogs healthier.  I am worried because of your statement, and this is not news, I have heard this before, but you said that a dog with a healthy immune system would naturally repel parasites.  Well my dogs, even though being on raw food, didn't repel fleas so I am worried that maybe I am not feeding appropriately, or I may be missing something.
I think they would be naturally healthier just not eating kibble but maybe I am still missing something.
I feed:  (in raw meaty bone form, not ground)
chicken (probably more than I should but it is cheaper so I do what I have to do)
tripe when I can get it
salmon oil
I just bought some frozen sardines and ground turkey to grind together as my dogs didn't like the whole sardines by themselves when I tried them a few years ago so I stopped buying them.
I don't feed beef all that much as it is so expensive.
I think to sum it up I probably feed chicken as a basis and put the other things in on a rotating basis.  So I feed chicken for a few days, then pork, then chicken, then rabbit, then chicken and so on.  I don't feed turkey much since they get so much chicken. I thought a fowl was a fowl.  Maybe I am wrong and should feed more turkey.
I have been feeding raw for 8 years and am now concerned I may not be doing all I should.
Can you give me any guidance?

My reply:

Well "healthy" is the subjective term in question.  Lets take a step away from nutrition for a moment, and look at toxins, which greatly affect the immune system.  Do you give dewormers?  How about heartworm preventative?  What about their vaccine schedule?

When I started feeding raw, I stopped giving flea prevention and continued to give heartworm preventative, and although my dogs loved the food, and it helped their teeth, ears, breath, and stool, it didn't help with parasites.  It was the stopping of the ivermectin that made a noticeable difference in my dogs.  However, that difference wasn't really noticed for quite some time, > 6 months.  Certain preventatives and meds act as low-grade poisons in the body, that affect far more than the intended recipient that is the parasite.  IT greatly weakens the animal's immune system.

If however, you haven't been giving heartworm meds or dewormers, and they haven't had a vaccine is a long time, it could certainly be due to inefficiencies in their diet, (that's why I try to have all kinds of variety) but then again it could be due to genetic damage done over several recent generations.  I decided to try the flea treats, only because when I read the ingredient list, it looked to be all pretty beneficial (minus the brewer's yeast--which isn't necessarily bad, but not high on my list).

Even though I said that a healthy animal in a flea-inhabited environment will still resist fleas, there are limitations to that statement.  A Healthy dog will still pick up those fleas, but should not succumb to infestation.  There can still be too many in the environment for your pet to repel, which would require your intervention, in a  healthy, natural way.

Let me know how this information coincides with your situation, and I'd be glad to help offer any knowledge I have on a remedy.

Inquirer's reply:

I haven't given vaccines or wormers in years. I give vaccines as puppies so they have a titer but stop after adulthood.  I was too scared not to give vaccines as I compete in Flyball etc. where there are a lot of other dogs and I was afraid not to. I have given spot on flea treatments and HW meds however.  I do though give the HW meds at a very stretched out schedule. How do you not give heartworm meds here in Florida where we have mosquitoes almost year round?  I would really like to know that.  I am getting nervous as they are overdue for heartworm treatment.
I have never vaccinated or treated for kennel cough at any time in my dog's lives and just this year we have brought it home twice. Never prior.  I have hit hard times financially so sadly my dogs have had to eat chicken more than I would like hoping that was still better than going back to kibble, but we are kinda back on track now with more variety.  I also have been giving them Missing Link as a supplement because I was afraid I was missing some nutrient.
Thank you for your time!

My reply:

I empathize with you on only wanting to protect your babies the best you know, but that's why there are people like me, who has no agenda other than to help share good information that in not widely known, for the benefit of animals everywhere.  

I too believe in core vaccines for puppies, based on the probability of coming in contact with other dogs (kennels, dog sports, etc).  However, I stop after the 1 year vaccines are given.  The Immunity obtained after one successful titer is enough to last a lifetime.  A dog that will get sick after having a successful titer for the same disease is just as likely to get sick from additional rounds of the vaccine itself.  That is a case of damaged genetic immunity due to years of over-vaccination.  So in short, it sounds like your vaccine schedule is a good one, but you don't need to keep doing it for your sports dogs, more vaccines does not mean more immunity, it means just the opposite--weaker immune system due to vaccine damages.  As for bordetella, do not let the misleading statistics of bringing it home twice scare you into wrongful assumption.  The reason many people forgo that vaccine is a good one.  The bordetella vaccine only provides a very short-term protection from about 25% of the types of kennel cough out there.  And of that 25% of types, only a fraction of those vaccines are proven effective, since the antibody response is so unnatural that is often times does not provide a proper titer response.  Further, you have to weight the risk vs benefit on non life-threatening diseases and illnesses.  Kennel cough is not a fatal or even serious illness, unless the dog is severely immuno-compromised, in which case vaccines shouldn't be given at all, since they stress the immune system even more.  The cost of unnatural  cancer-causing adjuvants at injection site, and spread throughout the lymph system, outweigh the short-term kennel cough protection that's possible to achieve from such a small percentage of strains available.  You are right in your assumption not to vaccinate bordetella.

Spot on flea treatments are very damaging to the skin, just read the safety precautions on the label.  It clearly says not to let it come in contact with you skin, but to put directly on your dog's skin.  I have seen many dogs that have permanent hair loss completely down their back where it applied over an over.  Also, I have had dogs that develop a terrible itchy reaction to their own skin once it's been applied, which is very common, which defeats the purpose of protecting them from fleas in the first place.  My suggestion for flea treatment is a natural one, but if you have to use pharmaceuticals in the meantime, use Comfortis.  It's not perfect, but definitely better than the rest.

As for heartworm meds, I already shared the negative impacts, but your question on how to get away without it's use is not an uncommon question.  The way my dogs don't get heartworms is not magic, it's due to strong immune system.  It takes a while after getting off the meds to become strong, and some dogs are so damaged they wont ever get strong enough to naturally repel everything.  However, once the immune system is strong enough, it will naturally kill off microfilaria in the blood, preventing new heartworms from growing.  In the meantime, a few can get through, and develop into heartworms.  The good thing in that situation, is that it is a small number, and small numbers of heartworms do not affect a healthy dog.  They go completely unnoticed, which is the design of parasite and host.  No where in nature does the parasite want to kill it's host, its completely counter-productive.  The few heartworms that grow cannot reproduce in the host, they need an intermediate host, like the mosquito for the larval stage.  That can happen, but next time around, the body has learned how to deal with the microfilaria, and so it stops them from becoming heartworms.  The existing heartworms are constantly engaged by the body, weakening them, until they either die from age of are killed and removed by the body's natural defenses.  In addition to the above, the healthier an animal, the less appealing the blood tastes to the parasite.  Mosquitos will bite a strong healthy animal less often.  All of this is how animals in the wild, who are certainly bitten by positive mosquitoes, rarely ever have heartworms, or infestations of them.  There are some with a few heartworms that go unnoticed, and there are some that get infestations, but those are typically at juvenile and end-of-life stages, respectively.

For me, I'd rather have my pets become exposed to negative things naturally (that they can fight off and get stronger from) and therefore have natural immunity and protection from them for a lifetime, without negative side-effects of pharmaceuticals and toxins/poisons.

This isn't theory, this is how mother nature works with the body.  This is how the strong survive, and how animals get stronger.  If it were not, whole populations would have been wiped out long long ago before all these man-made remedies were invented, for profit I might add.  When you consider the profit motivation, you can understand how the scare-tactics of their marketing campaigns came to be, and why you naturally think of those things when it comes to considering whether to "protect" your animal or not.  We have all been subjected to it since we were little kids, in vet's offices all over America.

There is a great place for a vet, in my opinion it's called acute care.  Emergencies, surgeries, and the likes.  But nutrition, preventive medicine, and how to maintain health is something that has stopped being taught in vet schools decades ago.

Hopefully I haven't bored you too much, and hopefully you find at least some of this information useful.

Inquirer's reply:

Oh no, not boring in the least.  I find it very fascinating but not using heartworm meds frankly really scares me.  How do I know if my dogs are strong enough to kill off the heartworms?  Especially if they are falling prey to things like kennel cough? Do you do a heartworm test yearly or anything?  I would never forgive myself if they came down with heartworms, a totally preventable situation...  Not to mention, the cure certainly isn't pretty.
Good. I know I am on the right track with the vaccines and have been for years judging by what you have said about them. (and other things I have read)  I agree with what you say about bordetella and never give it for those reasons.  When they did come down with kennel cough, I helped them through it with colloidal silver and Insure which is an echinacea product that I use for myself.  And they handled it just fine.  It is funny how people in the dog world really vilify kennel cough like it is parvo or something.  I am like... It's a cold for God's sake, jeez. lol 
As far as the spot on treatments... well you know I don't use them anymore since using the Flea Treats and I am really happy about it... forgetting about how bad it is for the dogs for a moment, talk about gouging the public... That stuff is exorbitantly priced.
I was having lunch with some friends today and one of them who hopes to go into rescuing on a larger scale than she has said to me... well dogs are living longer than these days than before because of medicine/pharmaceuticals, etc... I said, don't get me started. I am glad I didn't get into it as I forgot for the moment her son is a Vet, lol  People really believe this I guess.  In defense of raw feeding, I always say to people, what do you think dogs ate before kibble dog food was invented?!  And what do you think happens to the meat they start out with when it goes through the process of becoming a hard crunchy lil ball with sprayed-on nutrients?  It can't be good, no matter how premium you think the dog food is.
I am ranting and getting off track :) So getting back to making my dogs as healthy as I can.  Do you feel I am feeding enough variety?  Is there anything else I should add or anything else, in you opinion, I should be doing?  And do you think the kennel cough is kind of proof that they aren't as healthy as they should be?

My reply:

Valid concerns, esp about heartworms.  Getting kennel cough doesn't mean they are weak, you can't always avoid the cold.  It gets even the best of us.  However, heartworm meds make you susceptible to heartworms, as soon as you stop...very ironic double-edged sword there.  You can ask yourself, "how often will they be exposed to heartworm mosquitoes?"  A good time to stop taking heartworm meds would be when it starts getting cooler.  Keep them away from mosquitoes as much as you can.  As it gets colder, the risk decreases substantially.  Within about 6 months, they should be significantly stronger.  You just have to do your best for them during that time, and know, not guess, but know that you are making them healthier.  Chances are slim they would succumb to an infestation anyway, seeing all the precautions you already afford them, and the good diet.

As far as variety, just keep regular organs in the mix, and believe it or not, feed your table scraps fairly regularly, it doesn't need to be a lot of volume there.  Don't feed from your plate (to teach bad habits) and try to avoid the carbs and dairy as much as possible, but the different seasonings, and differences in your diet to theirs will give them trace amounts of things they don't normally get, which can be very helpful.  Also, feed whole prey or close to it whenever you can.  By whole, I mean a whole chicken, or parts there-of, maybe a whole piglet, or pieces towards the whole, then rabbit, fish, birds, etc.  Stay creative, and keep in mind they wont always go for it, but it sounds like you're on track pretty closely anyway.  The flea treats are a nice addition of b-vitamins too.   

And yeah, don't even bother getting into it with others about their vet friends and family...they have been so blindly indoctrinated that they wont hear you anyway.  You can only help those who want the help.  They will get there eventually.

If you decide you want to take them off heartworm meds, you can also get some heartworm nosodes, which will keep them healthy while they're getting stronger.  Dr Wessner in Summerfield at holisticvetclinic.net is a good source I used.