We are told that we should de-worm our dogs and cats regularly. In some cases, worms can cause severe problems. Hence it appears a logical argument that we should ensure our dogs don't contain worms at any time. Right? Well perhaps not. |
There is compelling evidence in human research that there is a relationship between de-worming practices and an increase in auto-immune diseases.
Effectively, what has happened is that by implementing practices where people are wormed regularly, this has affected the person's immune system is such a negative way, as to bring about responses in the body resulting in auto-immune diseases.
So what's the connection to dogs? Let me explain a bit....
Much of the research that is started with humans can be later applied to dogs (and cats, etc).
Now, while I am not a medical practitioner, nor a vet, I am practiced at doing research, having a Masters Degree in Human Resources. As such, I feel competent to be able to give a hypothesis for what is happening with our canines.
H0 (the null hypothesis): that there is no relationship.
Background - in years gone past, auto immune diseases were nowhere near as apparent as what they are now. In countries where active and constant de-worming of dogs is a common problem, it appears that auto-immune diseases in dogs are more apparent. In countries where there is not the infiltration by pharmeuceutical companies influencing vets, there appears to be considerably less auto-immune disease.
Are worms dangerous?Like almost everything, the answer is complex. Yes worms can kill. If a dog is so unhealthy that the worms have built up to dangerous levels, then yes the worms can cause considerable damage, and sometimes lead to death.
However, if you raise your dog on an appropriate raw diet, have minimal (if any) vaccinations, and limit its exposure to flea treatment, then the dog should have a good platform upon which to build its overall health. A healthy dog can manage worms easily.
Rather than necessarily being an embarrassing and awful condition, perhaps we need to change our mindset where we think instead, "good - my dog's immune system is now being stimulated for an appropriate response. This will help the immune system develop well."
I like to think the anology of the way we raise our children - if we protect them from all stimulus, "just in case something happens", they won't grow to learn how to manage the more difficult things in life. Such "protection" while feeling good and "responsible" at the time, is not necessarily providng the best learning environment for our child. As with our dogs where we try to create the right health environment (appropriate raw diet, limitation of poisons), we wouldn't throw our child into the middle of a busy road and expect them to work it out safely.
Like the stimulating environment you provide your child, and the parameters you do provide, with dogs, you don't just expect them to survive everything without your supervision.
You need to think carefully around the worming practices of your dogs.
Look at the ways the vet/pharmaceutical industry sets our puppies up to be prime candidates for auto-immune disease -
Unfortunately, the ones who benefit the most from this are the pharmaceutical companies. Firstly they sell and heavily promote worming products, then if a dog comes down with an auto immune disease, they then get to sell a much more expensive life long treatment strategy, while continuing to sell worming products to the pet owner of that dog.
Where to from here?The reality, is that you are extremely unlikely to get any support from your vet regarding my hypothesis.
If we look at the raw diet scenario, that provides a clear example of how the veterinary world works. Bear with me for a bit here while I explain -
The student vets are taught how wonderful these products are, and are steered away from appreciating natural diets. The vets then go on to practice invariably recommending commercial dog diets which invariably lead to a plethora of health ailments. The vets then get paid a lot of money to treat these illnesses and conditions.
A small number of vets saw past all this and have always recommended an appropriate raw diet, or have learned in such a way as to change their practices. On the internet, confused pet owners sought information not provided by their vets, and found, mostly to their great surprise, that commercial pet foods were the cause of their dogs' health problems.
The resistant seen by vets around the world to the new ability of pet owners to network and objectively search for information, has been enormous.
In fact, on one hand while I think it has been very frustrating to see the blocked learners influencing negatively the learning processes of pet owners, I also think it's somewhat laughable.
Here with are with vets around the world following a code of ethics that invariably begins with the statement "first do no harm", yet here they are on a daily basis recommending inappropriate feeding practices which lead to health problems in dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.
The good news is that due to the increasing education of pet owners, vets are now finding themselves forced to start seriously looking at raw diets.
Look, I'm with you - I don't want to see worms around. But look, if it means I can considerably decrease the chances of my dogs getting auto-immune diseases, then I think this is a far lesser "evil".
My dog has an auto-immune disease, what do I do?Firstly I'd appreciate if you could send me an email outining the background of the animal (age, breed, disease etc) your current feeding practices, flea treatments used, vaccinations, and worming schedule.
Let's start seeing if we can create a formal study. However, we will need hundreds of cases before we can formalise an outcome. If there is a university that would like to become involved, please email me.
In summaryWe don't have the answers to why your dog may have contracted an auto-immune disease. It is likely there are a variety of causes. However, we'd like to take on board some of the conclusions reached with the human research, and see if we can find a similar correlation in dogs. We well may find that there is a correlation. We may have to go back to the drawing board.
Let's work together to see if we can find an outcome.
My best to you and your animals,
Click here to return to the main page.
To find out more about the raw diet, click here.
Join our raw feeding email list by clicking here.
To learn more about improving dog behaviour and how to be the leader of your pack using completely non aggressive methods, click here.
This site last updated March 09
visitors to this page since 29th May, 2004