by Sylvia Hammarstrom
13 Jun 2010
The following article has been provided by the above author. All copy rights are held by the author and any reproduction of this material in whole or in part must have the authors approval.
As you probably know by now, I’m a great believer in nutrition, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”. I feel strongly that a good natural diet will prevent many health problems later in your dog’s life, e.g.; skin problems, cancer, arthritis, and most important HIP DYSPLASIA. Hip dysplasia is actually a form of arthritis of the hip bones, which is often discovered as loose joints shown in an X-ray.
I have raised dogs under the prefix SKANSEN KENNEL for 50 years now. I have raised several working breeds like the German Shepherd and Rottweilers, as well as the Schnauzers. In all of these years, I have NEVER raised a clinically dysplastic dog. I’m quite sure the general public would have a difficult time believing this. Statistically, I certainly should have ended up with at least one or two out of the hundreds of dogs that I have raised. The fact is, I never have and have often wondered why I was so lucky, or what factor was present for me that wasn’t there for other people.
I have finally come to the conclusion that HIP DYSPLASIA is a result of poor nutrition and lack of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. Almost all dogs in the US are raised on commercial dog food with no NATURAL VITAMIN C. True, the manufacturers add ascorbic acid, but this chemical form of Vitamin C just isn’t good enough. Your dog MUST get Vitamin C in his diet on a daily basis from a natural source, like fresh vegetables or raw milk or Vitamin C made from a VEGETABLE SOURCE—to keep his immune system in good shape as well as the collagen.
Our puppies get raw milk daily (not homogenized or pasteurized milk) and raw meat, raw carrots, and raw chicken necks. Just that little addition of fresh raw food evidently provides enough Vitamin C to make a difference.
For many years I have recommended Vitamin C to my puppy buyers and they say they religiously give a big dose of Vitamin C daily, and still some dogs get Hip dysplasia. I had no explanation for this until recently. I learned from a top nutritionist in the US, Dr. Don Lawson, that 80% of the ascorbic acid ingested is flushed through the kidneys within two hours of taking it. In other words, the body cannot utilize chemical Vitamin C properly. However, if your dog is fed a natural diet, with fresh vegetables daily, some raw grated carrots and some cooked vegetables like potatoes, he can utilize the Vitamin C present and build proper COLLAGEN.
What is COLLAGEN? Collagen is the substance that keeps your body together. Without collagen you and your dog would fall apart. COLLAGEN NEEDS VITAMIN C. A severe Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, a disease which, has killed many sailors in the past. Typical signs of scurvy are loss of teeth and joints becoming loose just like in Hip dysplasia. To prevent scurvy, which is a very painful deficiency just like severe hip dysplasia sailors were told to eat lemons or limes daily to prevent the Vitamin C deficiency.
Dogs manufacture some Vitamin C themselves, but obviously some do not manufacture enough. Like Dr. Earl D.V.M., I strongly believe that a HIGH REQUIREMENT for Vitamin C may be inherited, rather than the disorder itself. This should come as no surprise, as dogs are not allowed to breed by natural selection, but rather at the whim of the breeder.
Since I am now aware that Vitamin C is the important factor in building collagen, I also feel this explains the many knee injures you see in large breeds today - after all, there is a lot of collagen in your kneecap.
I have, of course, raised some dogs that did not clear OFA on the X-ray. In every case, these dogs had some form of virus when they were pups and were given antibiotics for an extended period of time. I am convinced that the antibiotics interfered with the Vitamin C absorption. Had I known what I know today, I could have doubled the Vitamin C dose for these particular dogs, while they were on antibiotics. If you understand how damaging free radicals are and how lots more are released when taking antibiotics, you’ll understand why you should increase Vitamin C and also give Vitamin E.
So to be on the safe side, I recommend that every puppy buyer give natural food with some kind of vegetables daily. Also, I recommend that you give your pup at least one Vitamin C tablet in the morning and one tablet in the evening daily, of course only Vitamin C made for a VEGETABLE SOURCE. IF IT DOES NOT SAY this on the bottle, don’t buy it. The only company that we know of that makes natural Vitamin C is the ROCHE COMPANY in SWITZERLAND, a world renowned company. In the US, NEO-LIFE imports their Vitamin C from Roche. That is the company I buy my Vitamin C from exclusively.
To get NEO-LIFE ALL-C VITAMIN TABLETS or a powdered Vitamin C, all made from vegetable sources, you have to order it from a DISTRIBUTOR - it is NOT available in stores. To make it available to my puppy buyers, I have become a distributor for NEO-LIFE. All you need to do is call me and I will UPS a bottle to you immediately.
One bottle of ALL-C has 250 tablets in it. We recommend 2-4 tablets daily for growing pups, and 1-2 for adults. The bottle will last approximately 2-3 months. Please call or e-mail the office for current prices.
Every time some one calls me and tells me about a dog they had for 14 years or more, I ask them what they fed their dog. It is always table scraps, apples, carrots, broccoli stems-all convincing me they got a diet rich in NATURAL VITAMIN C. Also ranch and farm dogs are seldom known to get hip dysplasia. As you know, dogs will eat horse and cow manure with gusto, I’m convinced they know they need the digested grass or alfalfa, probably a very high source of natural C. Every day, when I take my dogs for a walk on the ranch, they seem to find it.
I know of an older gentleman who used to be the kennel manager for one of the largest German Shepherd kennels in the US, in the 30’s and 40’s. He told me that back then no one had ever heard about hip dysplasia. He never knew of any Shepard that was crippled. Then, in 1950, a few cases were recorded and it was said it was typical for German Shepard’s, because of their long body and extreme angulations. In the 1960’s -1970’s it became so common in Shepard’s that almost everyone worried about it. Even worse, it started appearing in many other breeds. So now, one is told, it is typical for all large breeds because they grow so fast!! Then I remember hearing that almost any breed could get it, except Greyhounds. A case had never been recorded in this breed. Was it possible for them to get it? Well, I know now that Greyhounds are afflicted, as well as Pomeranians, Cockers and little Schnauzers. Almost every single breed!
It has been documented, by going back into the early 1900’s that no dogs had hip dysplasia during this time or before, a quote I read in the book “HOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG HEALTHY THE NATURAL WAY’, by Pat Lazarus. Yet today it is rampant. I ask myself, What have all these breeds in common except hip dysplasia.
Commercial dog food is definitely one answer. Most every breeder and dog owner in countries like the U.S. and Europe feed almost exclusively commercial dog food, as it is so convenient. Commercial dog food, by it’s very nature, has no natural live VITAMIN C available. Food has to be fresh to provide natural Vitamin C, like raw carrots and apples.
This theory of VITAMIN C being at the heart of the HIP DYSPLASIA epidemic is not new. Many veterinarians have written articles about their great success with natural foods and how they have completely eliminated hip dysplasia in their clients’ dogs. Yet, few dog owners are aware of how easily they could prevent this unnecessary painful problem.
I see a great increase in knee cap injuries in all large breeds, and I strongly feel this is also a weak collagen problem stemming from a lack of natural Vitamin C.
My personal opinion, after 50 years of breeding large breeds of dog, is that hip dysplasia is not a genetic factor. In fact, the well know Wendell O. Bellfield, D.V.M. says, “canine hip dysplasia is a NUTRITIONAL and BIOCHEMICAL imbalance.” He continues to say “the concept that the key to the disease lies in genetics has failed miserable. The “experts” have failed to prove the existence of a gene that causes hip dysplasia; they have also failed to determine the action of the alleged gene.” It is possible that some lines are more predisposed to arthritis, but if fed correctly with raw meat and raw vegetables, you will never see the manifestation of clinical hip dysplasia.
Due to my personal experience of the last 50 years as an active breeder and all of the information available about Vitamin C and how it stabilizes collagen, I have included it in the guarantee of the pups I sell. I will only guarantee against this disorder if the new owner feeds his dog natural food with lots of vegetable and some natural Vitamin C made from a vegetable source daily. The best ratio is 75% raw meat and 25% raw vegetables. Avoid all carbohydrates like grains, this is not a natural food for dogs and is often hard to digest.
However, for those of you who did not know how to prevent it, and now your dog has developed lameness that your veterinarian diagnosed as hip dysplasia, I have very good news.
Dr. Terry Durkes D.V.M., from Marion, Indiana, and other veterinarians around the country, have developed a technique using a form of acupuncture, actually a gold bead implant, with which they can eliminate the dogs pain 100% in one visit. It also stops the progress of the arthritis! It’s an incredible technique, which takes one veterinary visit and no surgery. Also available now is glucosamine with chondroitin, which truly helps any arthritis pain, get it in your health food store and start your dysplastic dog on it immediately, as well as vitamin C and E.
Anyone who has ever considered surgery for hip dysplasia should look at this procedure first. It’s quite incredible. Something one has to see to believe. By the way, I know of several severely crippled dogs who became completely symptom free when switched to a natural diet with natural supplements.
Meanwhile, I myself continue to monitor the hips of my dogs, as well as educating my puppy buyers on how to prevent dysplasia. I predict that in 20 years these theories will be commonly accepted worldwide. For now, there are still many people who believe genetics is at the heart of the problem, only because that’s what they have been told for so long. I pray these people will give VITAMIN C in a natural form a chance to work for their dog, as well as a natural, raw food diet.
In case your dog injures himself, please check your yellow pages to find a veterinarian who is skilled with acupuncture and gold bead implant in your area, whether knee injury, hip dysplasia, or other pain your dog might have. Give your dog a chance to recover quickly, easily and cheaply instead of getting involved with expensive surgery.