2/28/2009

Rats

I just received my first order of rats from RP for Waverli. She ate weanlings before but these are large. At first she was expecting a guinea pig but then she realized it had a tail and tasted different! After body slamming it a few times and carrying it around the house I took it away and offered it tonight and she ate it. Delicious!

2/22/2009

Cass and Susie- their story

On Christmas morning 2006 my husband & I's old lab Sammy crashed badly. I woke at 5am that morning to find him laying on the kitchen floor panting with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. My husband quickly got showered while I looked up and emergency vet and got a neighbour(who also was already up) to watch our three children while we rushed him to the vet.

Sammy died on the way to the emergency vet, in my arms, in the back seat of the van. Both my husband and I were devastated. It was the first time I had experienced the death of anyone or anything I loved. I only told my oldest that Sammy was gone and didn't tell my younger ones until the day after Christmas. Sammy was 16 years old. *more info on that day: http://mommycass.blogspot.com/2006/12/merry-christmas-may-he-rest-in-peace.html

My husband and I talked of getting another dog off and on for almost a whole year but our hearts just weren't in it - the right dog just hadn't found us yet. Then my husband saw that a local rescue was hosted at our local PetSmart and had dogs there every Saturday so we decided to stop by. Both of us thought that there would be a fairly lengthy screening process with the rescue and that we wouldn't be coming home with a puppy ... we got there and the main attraction was a huge litter of lab/shep/husky puppies, one of the puppies walked over all her litter mates to sniff at and lick my two younger children. The rescue workers suggested we hold her and see what we thought of her and, well, you guessed it. We filled out the paperwork and paid the adoption fee and took home our new puppy. *puppy ad:http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10028845

We settled on the name Susie for our new puppy and my husband picked up a bag of grocery store food and we all settled into to love this little bundle of fur. Everything went well until one week after we got her and my youngest child messed with little Susie's food so she refused to eat. I took her to the vet. The vet gave me a couple cans of wet food to tempt her back to her grocery store food and told me that I should switch her to a better food. I told my husband who did some reading on what makes a good food and after examining all the foods online at PetSmart we switched her to Royal Canin for large puppies. The switch went well and Susie was thriving as puppies do.

I kept reading. I had joined a dog forum and was reading everything I could find on recommended foods and ended up at this site: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/ I read the information on that site and realized we could do better. I e-mailed my husband, gave him all the links I had looked at and suggested we switch her again. I was floored when he showed up from work with a bag of Orijen. Again Susie switched easily and my only concern was that a couple of times she gaged on her food. I kept reading - Susie was now 3 months old.

Finally I discovered raw feeding and prey model feeding - I read and read. My husband and I argued over what I was proposing we feed her now. I despaired because I didn't think I would be able to feed her in a cost effective manner but something about raw feeding just rang true to me. I wanted Susie to live a long long healthy life and I just knew this was the way to achieve that. I asked my husband to give me a year to prove that raw feeding wouldn't kill Susie and that she would thrive on it and be healthy, he agreed(mostly to shut me up I think).

I searched for suppliers - I had already noticed a place I thought was a chicken slaughterhouse so I went and talked to someone there. I called and got prices. I found a local meat packer and called and got some prices from him. I found a butcher and picked up some turkey necks and wings(and paid too much for them). I found a couple local raw feeders and talk with a friend who was also looking closely into raw. I felt alone and scared but I really thought that raw feeding was the correct way to do things.

Finally one fateful morning I handed Susie a raw turkey wing, after a couple tugs on it she got the idea and for the next 45 minutes I watched in awe and wonder while my tiny wolf ate the wing bone, skin and all. The look on her face while she ate was amazing - I had never seen a dog eat anything with such relish, such joy. I've seen dog gulp their food fast, I've seen them snap things up they know they shouldn't have and make it vanish in 2 seconds flat, but joy? No, never, not once.

That was one year ago almost exactly. Susie is now 50 lbs and practically glows with health and my entire family loves her. Her teeth are white and clean, her breath is totally non-offensive and she's just beautiful. I sometimes read anti-raw stuff but mostly stick around the sites where my own convictions are supported and reaffirmed, I know what I am doing is right and I look forward to still having a happy healthy dog when she is 20!

Cass
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

2/20/2009

I want to hear your stories!

We'll see how this works out and if I don't get steady entries then no biggie, I'll just discontinue the section. I'm looking for reader's stories about the journey to a raw diet. What caused you to switch your pet(s)? How did your pet(s) take to it? Any struggles? Have you noticed any improvement in relation to medical issues, energy level, teeth, etc? Is there a part you like best about raw feeding? You don't have to follow these questions but it just gives you an idea. Pretty much tell your experience from when you first started rethinking nutrition to now. I'll pick a new story every week and post on Sunday. They will all be tagged Testimonials or something of similar name and grouped together so anyone checking out this blog for the first time can go back and read just how great a species appropriate diet is. You hear it from me in just about every post- now we want to hear from you!

Email entries to newbeginnings06@gmail.com
Try to keep the stories between one sentence and a novel- there is a happy medium! Also, feel free to include pictures- 2-3 would be ideal but if you have a few pets with remarkable before and afters then that's fine too. I look forward to reading the experiences and I hope everyone has fun getting to share their journey!

2/18/2009

Carrot and Kibble conversation - very funny!

Author unknown- please inform me if you find out who wrote this! I found this on a raw food forum I frequent, link found in the Getting Started section.
-----------------------------------------------------
Carrot: Hello Mr. Kibble, thank you for joining me today.

Kibble: You're welcome. I must say though, I had to wait 6 weeks for this
interview.

Carrot: Were you refrigerated?

Kibble: No, I don't have to be. Why do you ask?

Carrot: I read in your resume that you are made from natural chicken, animal
fat, apples, cottage cheese, grains and many other perishable ingredients.
How could you not spoil?

Kibble: This is going to be a hostile interview, isn't it?

Carrot: Would you please answer my question? All my friends would begin to
decay and rot in a few hours? How do you stay so...un-moldy?

Kibble: The people who make me wear white coats. I'm sure they know what
they are doing. Besides, the research department worked really closely with
marketing on this issue. Who made you?

Carrot: God

Kibble: Never heard of that company. But it's a catchy name - dog spelled
backwards.

Carrot: Really, let's figure this out. Meat and fat - yet you never spoil.
And you look so... inert.

Kibble: Well, I am naturally preserved. The purchasing department says I
don't have to worry because the fat is loaded with preservatives from the
rendering plant.

Carrot: But I thought you were all natural!

Kibble: The legal department looked into this and as long as our people with
white coats just add a little Vitamin E and Rosemary it's OK to call me
natural and I never go bad because there's enough preservative in the fat
that comes from the rendering plant to keep me from going bad.

Carrot: So even though you're 'natural' you could be loaded with
preservatives from your suppliers?

Kibble: That's right.

Carrot: I still think there's something else - you never go bad at room
temperature?

Kibble: Well, there is more. I am so highly heated and processed that all
the 'life' goes out of me. In a sense - I die and become a new molecular
substance that is called 'inert'. I am no longer 'food' as you know it.

Carrot: Err...sounds cool. But now that you're dead and inert, who would
want to eat you?

Kibble: You mean you've never heard of 'protein digest' spray? After I come
out of the extruder I'm sprayed with an irresistible protein digest and
vitamin mix. It's all approved by our in-house vet. We pay him $90,000
dollars a year to make sure I'm nutritionally complete.

Carrot: But underneath that spray you're dead and inert!

Kibble: That's the coolest part! The finance department figured this out.
It's called 'fixed price'. I really wish I had thought of this.

Carrot: You're inert. You can't think. What is fixed price?

Kibble: Fixed price is a great marketing tool so I cost the exact same
amount each week in the retail store. It all ties together because I can be
kept in warehouses for months to take advantage of good pricing.

Carrot: But your ingredients can't possibly stay the same price from week to
week. The market fluctuates all the time.

Kibble: Not a problem! Let's say the price of chicken goes up. The people in
white coats just reduce the chicken and add fillers that keep the cost the
same. They have complete control over the gross profit. The share holders
LOVE this because they can always make their car payments right on schedule.
The other option is 'fixed formula' but that was voted down because we
couldn't compete if the price keeps changing. Adjusting the formula is easy!

Carrot: But what about nutrition??

Kibble: Remember, I'm dead and inert so in a sense it doesn't matter what
goes into me. After I'm processed, heated and extruded, it's really that
magic spray that gives me all the nutrition. Besides, dog's have livers and
immune systems to remove the other stuff.

Carrot: Wow... is that 'natural'??

Kibble: Sure. soak me in a glass of water and you'll see I break down into a
pasty brown substance. It's an earth tone - very natural.

Carrot: I'm looking real closely. All I see is a brown pasty substance.
Where are the meat, fat, apples, cottage cheese and grains?

Kibble: You don't know anything, do you? That's where the graphics
department comes in. Didn't you see the full color photo of the chickens,
apples and other fresh ingredients nicely printed on the bag? They show me
on the cover, not as I actually am, but as people would expect me to be.
That packaging costs a small fortune. Legal says it's okay.

Carrot: That's comforting. If your lawyer says its okay then I feel much
better. What about wholesome ingredients and freshness?

Kibble: Those are just 'concepts' that people have come up with - I'm
convinced that if your packaging and marketing materials are really good
then we can overcome anything. That's why we pay those marketing people what
we do!

Carrot: Listen, I'm beginning to feel a little funny around the edges so I
have to go back in the fridge. Thanks for stopping by!

Kibble: My pleasure.

2/13/2009

Big breakthrough!!

Trevor, for the first time, ate bone! Now granted it was about 3/16" long and there were only 2 pieces of it attached to hit cut up chicken chunks but before he could somehow tell and would refuse to eat it. He also ate some cartilage from a chicken breast. I bought him about 10 lbs of bone in chicken breasts to eat and there is a pork roast in the freezer I am saving for him. I think I might go to Petco and buy some pinkie mice and see if he eats them. If so I'll work him up in size and stick a bag or two of what he ends up stopping at on my Rodent Pro order. Right now I'm just waiting on the large rats to go on sale. I wish they'd hurry up!

Tom Lonsdale- Raw Meaty Bones

Well I have hit a point on his website that I just cannot agree to disagree on. This blog is about truth, and I don't believe Tom Lonsdale has it right. He is suggesting up to 1/3 of the diet be "table scraps" which is essentially cooked meats and cooked/raw vegetables, fruit, etc. I just cannot promote something like that and feel 100% comfortable with it. The links in the Getting Started section have been carefully chosen and reviewed in support of a prey model or whole prey diet. The link has now been taken out of the Getting Started section. I appologize for confusing anyone who has read all prey model/whole prey links and then came to that one and thought "What?" as it has contradicted everything else I've suggested.

Amos and Waverli, not food related

These moments make me want to bawl my eyes out. I love it when these two lay together (and they do often). I've never seen any animals as close as they are. Waverli follows him around alot and tolerates her pawing at his food (though he does growl he's never snapped at her ever.. then again he does know that I'm right there to scoot her away). They coordinate missions in the kitchen throwing food out of the sink. Amos comes and gets Wav, she jumps on the counter and eats about half and then throws the rest down to him. She LOVES for him to chase her and tries at every opportunity. Often times Waverli will get mad at something and she takes it out on Amos. He just stands there and lets her vent and moves on when she's finished. I have so many pics of them napping together on beds, in the kitchen, in the sunshine, everywhere. We often refer to Amos and Big Bro and Waverli as Baby Sister because they truly act like siblings. I have been actively searching for our newest canine addition but I often wonder if it will change the dynamics of Amos and Wav's relationship. What would be even better is if the new dog loved to cuddle with cats and other dogs too.. then they could all be together. Waverli could have a Big Bro AND a Big Sis.

2/09/2009

Favorites?

I'm curious as to what seem to be your dog/cat/ferret's favorite foods. Venison always seems to go over well here- it elicits the craziest dinner dances with Waverli and Amos. Trevor, on the other hand, goes nuts for pork.

2/11/09
I was told by several readers that the comment option is not working properly. I tried it signed out and I didn't have any issues so I think it was a glitch in the system. Please email me personally at newbeginnings06@gmail.com if you still cannot post comments and I will contact Blogger.

2/07/2009

Quail video

Starring none other than Waverli!


Venison video

Here's Amos eating a giant meaty deer bone!

*you can hear my mom talking in the backround asking me if I could get Amos's "wooly bone" so she can prop our old dog's leg up. LOL!

2/04/2009

Lis List update!

Lis has released the newest edition of her list for finding cheap meat. To view, please click here.

2/01/2009

Taurine deficiency in ground diets

I have no issues with feeding ground food to cats but only as a way to transition them onto whole food (like a bone in chicken breast, a rabbit leg quarter, etc) or whole prey (such as the whole mouse, quail, rat, etc). The reason for this is that ground food, especially whole prey (intestinal bacteria further oxidize taurine) that is ground is deficient in taurine, enough to cause health problems and even death. This study is what I am referring to. Keep in mind this is not a study showing that rabbit meat, a raw diet or whole prey is improper, it is actually showing that ground and ground whole prey is improper.
---------------------------------
A Winn Feline Foundation Report On ...
Role of Diet in the Health of the Feline Intestinal Tract and in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Progress Report
Investigators: Angela G. Glasgow, DVM; Nicholas J. Cave, BVSc, MACVSc; Stanley L. Marks, BVSc, PhD, Dip. ACVIM (Internal Medicine, Oncology), Dip. ACVN; Niels C. Pedersen, DVM PhD, Center for Companion Animal Health,School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California

---------------------------------

The remainder of this report is a summary of our attempts to create a "gold-standard" natural diet for cats. After some thought, we decided on a diet made up entirely of rabbit. Rabbits were readily obtained from a rabbitry producing meat for human and exotic animal consumption, and were of comparatively low cost. Mice may have been more appropriate, but procuring and processing this number of mice was not practical. Moreover, in places where rabbits are abundant, feral cats have been known to choose them as their primary prey (Molsher et al., 1999). Since cats eat most parts of their prey and essential nutrients are concentrated in different organs, the rabbits were not skinned, dressed or cleaned, but rather ground in their entirety. The ground whole rabbit diet was frozen in smaller batches and thawed prior to feeding.

Twenty-two purposefully bred cats were used for this study – 13 males and 9 females of two age groups (7 and 20 weeks). All of the cats were neutered during the course of the study. Cats were randomly assigned to one of two groups according to age and gender; one group was fed our raw rabbit diet and the second group was fed a premium brand of commercial cat food that had been tested for its ability to sustain normal growth in normal kittens. The cats were fed free choice with new food placed in their bowls twice daily to ensure that the food was always fresh. The amount of food was continually increased as the cats grew so that only a small amount was left in the bowl after each meal. The cats were housed in a colony with four cats per bay, sharing litter boxes and food bowls, mimicking the situation in many catteries and multiple cat households. The kittens and adolescent cats used in this study originated from a breeding colony that was known to have a number of common intestinal pathogens. Indeed, several different common intestinal pathogens (Cryptosporidia, Giardia and Campylobacter species) were present in the stools of virtually every cat. Most of them also had loose stools to varying degrees, although they were outwardly healthy
.

The cats readily consumed both diets, but the palatability of the raw rabbit was noticeably greater; the cats ate it more rapidly and aggressively. After one week in the study, the cats on the rabbit diet all had significant improvements in their stool quality based on a visual stool grading system (developed by the Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company). After one month, the cats on the rabbit diet all had formed hard stools, while the commercial diet cats had soft formed to liquid stools. These differences persisted to the end of the feeding trial. The cats that were fed the whole rabbit diet outwardly appeared to have better quality coats, but objective measurements were not made. Interestingly, we could find no relationship between the type of diet consumed and: 1) the rate of growth, 2) degree of inflammation in the tissue lining the intestinal tract, or 3) the numbers of bacteria in the upper small intestine. The numbers of cats shedding pathogenic type organisms (Giardia and Cryptosporidia species) were on average slightly higher for the cats that were fed the raw diet. Therefore, it appeared that the raw rabbit diet did not have its beneficial effects on stool quality by reducing pathogenic organisms in the intestine, altering the numbers of bacteria in the small intestine or by diminishing the levels of inflammatory changes in the intestinal wall.

Although it appeared that the raw rabbit diet was significantly beneficial for the stool quality and appearance of health in the cats, the sudden and rapidly fatal illness of one of the cats that were fed the raw rabbit diet for 10 months was chilling and unexpected. The affected cat was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy due to a severe taurine deficiency. Moreover, 70% of the remaining raw rabbit diet fed cats, which appeared outwardly healthy, also had heart muscle changes compatible with taurine deficiency and could have developed heart failure if continued on our raw rabbit diet. For the remaining three months of the study, the raw rabbit diet was supplemented with taurine and taurine levels returned to normal.

---------------------------------------------
Alright, so we have that out of the way. You may now be asking "how can we know for sure that grinding causes taurine loss?" Good question! I shall show you something.

Taurine (
2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is a derivative of a sulfur containing amino acid called cystine. If you have lower levels of cystine, you inevitably have lower levels of taurine. This is useful in determining how grinding and bacteria can affect the levels of taurine in food, since the USDA does not measure it in the food database.

Cystine level in chicken, ground, raw is recorded as .188 grams per 100 grams
Cystine level in
chicken, broilers or fryers, meat only, raw is recorded as .274 grams per 100 grams

Cystine level in pork, fresh, ground, raw is recorded as .215 grams per 100 grams
Cystine level in pork, fresh, sirloin, boneless, raw is recorded as .261 grams per 100 grams

Cystine level in rabbit, wild, raw is recorded as .274 grams per 100 grams
Cystine level in rabbit, domestic, composite of cuts, raw is recorded as .252 grams per 100 grams

Rabbit contains the same levels of cystine as chicken, and more than pork (wild rabbit does). Not likely that the rabbit meat (before it was ground) used for the study was deficient in taurine and as you can see, all ground meats are lower than their whole counterparts in cystine. I do not have a figure for ground rabbit, but seeing the emerging trend, I would bet it would be lower in cystine in ground form. You may do your own comparisons of different meats by going to The USDA National Nutrient Database and using the search function.
http://www.serve.com/BatonRouge/taurine_chmr.htm has some great charts that show the levels of taurine in certain raw foods.