Why Are Our Dogs Dying Early?
I am of an age that remembers dogs that mainly died of old age. They now appear to die of cancer, liver, kidney disease, heart failure and various other ailments.
I believe I may have some answers as to why this is happening to our dogs? The Kennel Club started the largest survey of its kind in 2014.
It was wide-ranging and produced the shock results of a reduction of 11% in our dog’s expected lifespan over the last 10 years.
It covered 191 breeds with a total of 48,891 dogs. Obviously, they were all pedigree dogs.
Given the level of health screening of many breeders of pedigree dogs.
It is probably prudent to say that mongrels and so-called designer crossbreeds, may be far worse off if a similar survey were completed on non-pedigree dogs.
What this important survey found, was that the average lifespan of a dog has come down from 11 years to ten years in just one decade.
That is a shocking statistic, as all previous information suggested that dogs were living longer than ever before.
We were told that this was due to the advances in veterinary medicine, preventative health care, and balanced diets. It appears something has gone very seriously wrong. So let’s look at the areas that I believe may have had this dramatic effect on the lifespan of our dogs and probably cats.
Veterinary (Neutering): We know that vets can often increase the life spans of terminally ill pets.
However, I believe that some procedures also have exactly the opposite effect?
I believe one of the biggest culprits is neutering, especially neutering before maturity. Also known as Paediatric Neutering.
There is a large body of scientific evidence that suggests that neutering is not the panacea for all the behavioural problems in our dogs. In fact, the very opposite is probably true.
Recent research has laid a number of cancers and serious long-term illnesses at the door of neutering.
The endocrine system can be badly compromised. The resultant problems such as Cushing's disease and thyroid dysfunction are increased dramatically.
Aggression is often related to lack of early socialisation, therefore, most aggression is fear-based. Neutering makes that type of aggression increase not decrease.
Read my articles which will go into far more depth. (1) Overview Dangers of Neutering. (2) In Depth, Problems Spaying and Castration
I believe we must change the almost automatic belief that neutering is the answer to all dogs behavioural and training problems. Let's look at alternatives such as hysterectomy or vasectomy which does not interfere with the hormonal system of our pets before they have even matured.
Neutering removes or seriously reduces three of the most important hormones in any mammal. Oestrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone. These are not optional extras like a satnav. They are vital components for a healthy, well-balanced dog. Think long and hard before ever having this procedure done.
Preventative Health Care: This really is a can of worms. The area I intend to cover here is vaccinations.
In particular, something called DOIs (Duration of Immunities). May I first ask a very simple question?
How many times have you had the TB jab? How about smallpox? Polio? MMR?
Other than the MMR which is twice, all the rest were once.
All these vaccines create antibodies that generally last for life. Then WHY are we STILL vaccinating our dogs annually?
It may surprise some people that the DOIs were deemed to be causing serious reactions in some of our pets as long ago as 2003.
Because of that in 2010, the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) recommended that all core vaccines should be administered no more than every 3 to 4 years.
That figure of 3 to 4 years did not come about scientifically. I believe it is a sop to the veterinary profession and the vaccine companies. Leading professors of immunology state that most vaccines last at least 7 years and most probably for the lifetime of our pets.
The vaccine manufacturers have been forced to alter their DOIs to fall in line with the BVA and the WSAVA. Yet there are still Vets that are ignoring the vaccine manufacturers rules, and the recommendations of their governing bodies. Why did the vaccine manufacturers change their DOIs?
Simple, they were forced into by the overwhelming scientific evidence that showed over-vaccinating dogs and cats was causing their immune systems to break down, cancers to grow, and numerous other medical problems including anaphylactic shock and sudden death.
There are Vets that are still recommending core vaccines are given annually, despite all the information to the contrary (3) City Vets Truro.They are one of many thousands of vets that are ignoring the guidelines from the vaccine companies.
There is one vaccine that is supposed to be given annually. Yet there is a growing concern over its efficiency and there are demands for it to be withdrawn.
The vaccine in question is called Lepto4. Thousands of dogs across Britain are dying or suffering severe allergic reactions after being treated with this vaccine, meant to protect them against what is in many cases a mild bacterial infection.
I will be writing an article about Lepto4 in the near future. Many vets appear to be in denial over the use of this controversial vaccine. In the last two years, regulators have received 2,000 reports of dogs having suspected adverse or fatal reactions to this specific vaccine.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Many Vets do not report the adverse effects or the owners do not relate the medical problem with the recent vaccination. these are two articles that will give you far more information on the dangers of annual dog vaccinations (4) Overview Annual Dog Vaccinations and (5) In-Depth Annual Vaccinations.
Dog Food: We are bombarded with adverts on television, magazines, radio and through social media extolling the healthy goodness of many well known named dog food brands, and how it is helping our dogs to live longer and healthier lives.
I believe in some cases this could not be further from the truth. What we feed our dogs is critical to their well-being and longevity.
It is a multi-billion pound industry that in some cases appear to be built on half-truths and outright lies.
Yes! There are very good pet food manufacturers out there. Who are ethical and honest. It is my belief that they are in the minority. In America, the information on packets of pet food has far more in-depth information than on the same dog food packets sold in the UK. Why the pet food standards agencies and the government in the UK allow this subterfuge to continue is beyond me?
I can only assume it is those very same pet food manufacturers and the Pet Food Manufacturers Associations that lobby heavily to keep the full truth about some of the ingredients in our pets foods.
I believe that many of the dog foods today have inappropriate ingredients Wheat, Gluten, Corn, Grain, Substandard Protein, Colourants, Es, and Additives to name just a few. These can put an enormous strain on the organs and the body of our pets. In some cases, they struggle to extract any real goodness from them. Read the labels and understand what is acceptable and what isn't. Your pet will thank you for it.
I have written a number of articles about dog food. (6) Bakers and Pedigree (7) Royal Canin, Hills Science Plan and Burns Review (8) Dog Food Health and Behaviour. This last one is related to the foods I personally tested and the rankings I gave them.
Summary: The three areas I have highlighted in this article, are in my belief responsible for some if not most of the reasons the lifespan of our pets could be dramatically decreasing.
There are other areas that also may have an effect, such as exercise, regular vet checkups. socialisation, training, and lots of love, though probably not to the same degree as the food, vaccinations and neutering. Get these three right and hopefully, you will see your dogs living to a ripe old age. (9) This is the Kennel Club Survey
© Stan Rawlinson September 2016
Last update 2017