In this article learn the real facts about Arsenic in our rice. This affects our children, our pets, and is a health threat to all of us.
If you have been following my blog, our dog Jack had a seizure in the middle of Feb. It came on suddenly. We have gone through many health problems with Jack since we got him as a 'save' dog. Three years ago he nearly had to be put to sleep from his dysplasia. He lost complete use of his hand quarters. He had no control of his bowels. He was in pain. We gave it one last effort. We researched dysplasia and bought a homeopathic product called Arthro-ionx. that saved his life. That product worked within a week and gave him back his quality of life. He runs, plays, and suffers little pain. He is given the medicine on a weekly basis. We did not give up on Jack when the vet told us to just put him down. The holistic medicine is not cheap but it worth every penny to us.
Later on, we spent $1000 on him for an ear infection that the vets could not knock out. We ended up finding a natural enzyme product called Zymox that worked when nothing else did. It also works in rabbit ears for infections as well.
Now after 5 years, another health issue, a seizure. We did consult a vet. The vet told us there can be numerous causes including metabolic disorders, chemicals, brain tumors, on and on. The tests run into hundreds of dollars. Many times the cause for the seizures is never identified. Dogs through standard medicine are put on strong drugs that calm the central nervous system. These drugs are hard on the liver and kidneys. The vet, after learning about Jack's past health history, did not suggest the tests. He did not suggest doing any of that. He told us that he did not treat dogs unless they were experiencing three seizures a month. Then in Jack's case, he suggested we have him put to sleep rather than give him the strong drugs. The vet felt the drugs would only hasten his death. I was hoping that his first seizure would be his last one, as the vet suggested happens with some dogs.
Over a week ago, Jack had his second seizure at 4 am in the morning in our bedroom again. Both seizures have happened when he is napping. This time, the aftermath was less traumatic. He came out of it more quickly without the aggressive behavior. He returned to normal more quickly as well. But it was a second seizure within a month's period of time. So there is something going on with him.
I spent a week going over environmental and food issues that could be factors in his seizures. We made the decision to first try changing his food and seeing what natural therapy could be tried. I am taking you, my readers, along for the ride with Jack's holistic therapy. I have never worked with dog seizures. So the first step was intensive research into the subject. Holistic therapy for dog seizures is available on the internet but hard to find.
Water: we give the dogs filtered water
Chemicals: we don't use chemical weed killers on our property or poison. We don't have neighbors who do. Our dogs are fenced in on our property. We did clean the carpet recently since we were expecting a walk through by the landlord. That is a possibility. The bedroom was not cleaned because of the animals. The animals were banned out of the livingroom after cleaning it, so that the rug would stay clean. This could be a factor but more likely it is something else. We also have throw rugs covering the bedroom light covered carpet. We have not eliminated this possibility.
Next Issue: Dog food
Both our dogs hate commercial dog food. We have bought so many different brands of dog food over the past 5 years, not finding one brand they would eat with enthusiasm. The last bag we bought was moderately expensive. We thought we were choosing a good quality brand with lamb and rice. They hated it. I only use it here and there since they refuse to eat it unless I add real chicken or meat. They won't even eat it with real hamburger meat added. If your dogs turn away from fresh hamburger, then should we eat it? Their smell is many times more sensitive than ours. Most of the time they eat the meat and leave the dog food. Noting that fact, we eat very little red meat. Dogs do need meat to stay healthy. So I give them chicken now, which they love. It is also cheaper on the budget.
For the past year, I had made my own dog food with rice, real meat, veggies, and other natural ingredients. I only use the commercial dog food here and there. After the seizure, I asked myself if perhaps my home cooked dog food could be missing something that was necessary for Jack's health. Then I thought about the rice. I have not been using organic rice. We are out in the sticks and it is hard to find. The problem with rice is that current research shows rice is loaded with Arsenic. I spent hours investigating that issue alone. One article did talk about the rice issue and dogs. The arsenic could be the cause of his seizures according to two articles from vets.
All rice is high in Arsenic today. Organic rice still contains arsenic. Rice grown in the Southern Untied States contains a high level of the chemical, because of the years of cotton growing with high pesticide use.
The rice with the least Arsenic is grown in California. That is because cotton was never grown as a crop in California. Even rice grown in California is not arsenic free.
Arsenic is found in most soils naturally, even soils not farmed.
After researching different organic rice sites, I ordered Lundberg organic rice from California online, since we cannot buy it here easily. It still is not a perfect solution. This is important not only to Jack but to us. My husband loves rice. I got free shipping on the rice, so it was not a bad deal at all. I feel I have given it my best effort to choose the best rice with the least Arsenic on the market. Saying that, it is advised to eat rice only twice a week. That is difficult on certain cultures who rely on rice for every meal. It has been proven that people who eat rice every day, have 70% more Arsenic in their urine than people who don't eat it. That is the sad reality of eating rice today. Consumer Reports tested several hundred samples of rice products including organic products. They all contained Arsenic, some with very high, unsafe levels. Rice cakes and longtime childhood favorite, Rice Crispy Cereal, were tested as well. Arsenic was found in all of them. The Arsenic in the children's cereals is very dangerous. Children are in danger of harm to their developing brain function. It could damage immune and nerve systems. Do not feed rice baby cereal to infants. Use oatmeal instead. Organic is not completely safe either. The samples from the Southern United States were higher in Arsenic than the Asian samples.
After the research, I felt we should eliminate rice from Jack's diet for 90 days in case it is the Arsenic in the rice that is causing his seizures. After more research, I then ordered Taste of the Wild Dog Food without grains to try him on. This is extremely expensive but is one of the best quality dog food brands. There are several dog food brands on the top lists, all with customers on both sides of the stick, those who love the food and those who do not love it. I had to make a decision.
Researching dog food brands is really frustrating because for every dog that does well on one brand, there are other dogs who don't do well on it. There are several sites that review dog food brands which is helpful but does not mean your dog will like that food or that it will be the right brand for your pet. This particular bag contains duck, chicken and quail as meat with no grains. Jack don't like this one either but will eat it with added chicken. Our little dog who has been the pickiest of eaters likes it. I may try the buffalo meat blend the next time. The idea is to eliminate any current factors that could be causing the seizures.
Why give them high grade commercial dog food? My homemade dog food may be missing something that Jack needs metabolically. Most home made dog food recipes use rice. I feel that could be the problem. Even the organic rice I have ordered is not arsenic free. I will add real chicken, organic kelp and Moringa to the food. Our home raised organic eggs will be added to the food as well. High quality Brewers tablets will be given daily too. Again, by switching him to a different food, I am eliminating one factor in the seizure question.
Why add organic kelp? Kelp feeds the thyroid and endocrine system which can be a causative factor in dog seizures. Kelp feeds the immune system, the neurological system, and the circulatory system. It helps reduce toxins and stress. Kelp also binds with heavy metals so that they can be eliminated from the dog's body. Organic kelp is important because of the heavy metals found in some green powders, including kelp. The origin of the kelp is important as well. Kelp from Japan, China, or Asian is not a good choice right now.
Why add Moringa Powder? it will add nutrients and vitamins to the dog's food that may be missing. Moringa feeds the body in every function. His seizures could be caused from an imbalance in his system.
Holistic Supplements for Dogs with Seizures
These suggestions come from days of research on the subject.
Beneficial Enzyme Formula: Contains Protease, Amylase, Lipase, and Papin, just to name some of the main ones. The combination of enzymes are extremely important to the function of the liver and immune system. They aid in digestion and assimilation of the food. Both dogs and humans have more difficulty digesting their food as they get older.
A lipase deficiency by itself can cause seizures.
Papin is anti-inflammatory, as well as helping with immune and liver health.
Protease helps repair damaged proteins, reduces blood toxins after a seizure, helps re-balance the immune system, supports increased blood flow, speeds tissue and muscle repair.
These various enzymes are important to hundreds of functions in the body and have been found to benefit dogs in both the prevention of seizures and for health repair after the seizure. I already had a great formula at home so started him on one capsule, twice a day.
Any commercial dog food or home made food may be deficient in these enzymes.
He is receiving one enzyme capsule twice a day.
Milk Thistle: An herb that helps both to prevent seizures and prevent serious after-effects. Helps to control muscle tremors and shaking. It supports liver health and repair. A compromised liver seems to be involved with seizures.
I am giving him one capsule of a liver formula every morning.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Anti-inflammatory; he was already taking these daily. He receives one of these (1000 mg per day).
Ultra Calm: New Sun Formula with herbs to calm down the central nervous system.
Jack gets 1/2 tablet of Ultra Calm herbal formula twice a day. One half tablet is given just before we go to sleep. He sleeps at the foot of our bed.
So far he is not experiencing loose stools from the change in food or the addition of these supplements. That can happen for a few days when altering their food intake.
Herbs that are useful for dog seizures: St. John's Wort, Chamomile Flowers, Valerian Root, passionflower, Wild Oats, and skullcap. These herbs all support and calm the central nervous system. They are used in human health as well for these same problems.
Why these herbs above? They are a safe alternative to the drugs.
Dogs with seizures are given powerful drugs under standard medicine treatment that calms the neurological system to prevent seizures. These drugs are very hard on the liver and kidneys. In some cases the dogs are prescribed several drugs and still experience seizures. They really sedate the dogs. Some dog breeds are more apt to have seizure problems genetically.
How do we know if this will work?
We don't, but this holistic treatment I have been describing, has been shown to help many dogs with seizures.
It may take several months to know for sure. He may suffer several more seizures while his body is repairing itself with the holistic therapy. He has suffered two seizures at the time of writing this blog, about two weeks apart.
The seizures will either decrease over several months or will increase. If they increase, it is probably due to a serious health problem such a a brain tumor.
If nothing works holistically over a sufficient time period, and the seizures increase, we will have him put to sleep. The vet feels the drugs with his health history would be poorly received and be a factor hastening his death. This is hard on the budget but we feel he is worth the effort. At this point his quality of life is still good. Will it be in the future? Time will tell. I am doing my best to give him a few more months of quality life. I will update this story as we go along. Telling Jack's story may help other dog owners who read this blog. You will get the honest truth on these efforts.
I am listing links to several holistic dog medicines sold for seizures in dogs. I have not tried these specific brands on Jack. I am using Ultra-Calm, Milk Thistle, and enzymes I already had on hand from New Sun, a company I trust. If these do not work, I will probably buy one of the formulas below. I spent some money this month. The seizure formulas are very expensive, just to warn you. With big dogs, it will run into a hundred bucks or more a month for treatment. We were already spending money on his homeopathic dysplasia formula. I doubt that the standard medicine drugs they use on dogs are cheap either. Plus you get the huge vet bills to go with that.On top of that, often according to user reviews, they don't work.
Companies to Investigate below: I do not endorse these companies from personal experience. You need to make that decision.
On the above link you will find a huge amount of useful information on dog seizures and the holistic treatment of this problem. It is well worth your effort to visit this site. I am not advertising this site for any gain, just your education.http://www.nzymes.com/ppc/canine_seizures_or_epilepsy_worries.htm?gclid=CP7G2smA87UCFYk7MgodX3IAmg
Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin