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Dr Lonsdale (Natural Berners) Q & A Part 2

Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 4
Q & A Part 2
Questions 5 to 9
Q & A Part 3
Questions 10 to 16

Question 5
Subject: Dr. Lonsdale - how much tripe in a diet?

Hi Dr. Lonsdale -

Thanks so much for joining us for a time.

I chat with people about raw diets all the time. There are some people who find their dogs do better with no ground veggies (especially allergy dogs) and instead - incorporate lots of tripe for the fiber/vegetation content. But I get asked how much tripe is a "good" amount?

I'm curious as to what you think.

I do believe you can feed tripe as a meal at times, add tripe to other meals sometimes, or probably some all the time but I don't know per se exactly what to recommend except the same old addage - watch your dog and see what they seem to thrive on. Some tripes seem to be fatty and some lean - so I personally do it based upon whatever I'm feeding and what I have around but you must have a thought on this.

Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 14:32:07 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: Dr. Lonsdale - how much tripe in a diet?

Hi ...,

Thanks for the question. It's good to raise awareness of the range of alternatives.

By preference feed whole carcasses, then a diet based on raw meaty bones and table scraps and then, when you have fuller understanding it's possible to vary things and still do OK.

We have to be a bit careful because it's so easy for folks to get hold of the wrong idea and get way off course. I seem to remember a Boeing being shot down over, I think, North Korea because it's compass was out by a fraction of a degree and instead of arriving in Seoul it flew over the wrong country.

Anyway back to the tripe story which is in part a story about calcium needs for dogs.

Because of real concerns for adequate calcium in the diets of growing pups and a fair amount of calcium in the diet of adults it's best to base a diet on whole carcasses or raw meaty bones.

But in truth the adult dog does not need so much calcium and I've heard of dogs being fed on omasums (one of the stomachs of ruminants) and tripe for years with only the occasional bone to gnaw on and no noticeable health consequences.

If you can access lots of green tripe and omasums and reticulums and abomasums of ruminants what's a reasonable proportion of the diet? In the absence of any hard evidence or scientific trial information I would suggest a diet of 50% tripe or similar would be OK for adult dogs. But of course it needs to be in single large pieces for a single daily meal to ensure maximum teeth cleaning and good digestion.

The bulk of the remainder of the diet should be carcasses or large pieces of raw meaty bones.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 10:03:29 EST
Subject: Thanks Dr. Tom - want an invite to our upcoming tripe cutting party?

Just thought you'd enjoy the concept - I'm getting a couple whole cow stomachs from grass fed cows - the entire thing including all the additional internal components attached. A bunch of us are going to descend upon one persons yard - spread the stomachs out and attempt to hack off chunks to take home. This is because a bunch of us REALLY prefer huge pieces of tripe - just for the purpose of what you said - the tugging and ripping.

My dog is a 2 year old OES and he just loves standing on the big piece of tripe and pulling off chunks and chewing on them.

The idea of full whole stomachs weighing 60+ lbs however - does have me wrinkling my nose in anticipation. Smile!

Wish us luck. Her yard will either be extra green this year (I hear tripe is an excellent fertilizer) or be defined as a hazardous waste site.


Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 11:32:42 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: Thanks Dr. Tom - want an invite to our upcoming tripe cutting party?

Hi ...,

Well done. It's the detailed practical side of things that you can all share. If not in person then these days it can be done on the internet.

You could post pictures and give full running commentary. As yet the internet can't transmit odours but people can use their imaginations.

Have fun,


Question 6
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 19:28:47 -0600
Subject: QUESTION: Whole rabbit & tapeworms

Welcome Dr. Tom.... from Arkansas (USA)

My dogs and I live on 11-1/2 acres, most of which is fenced for their security. I have a rather large population of wild rabbit and on occasions my dogs catch and eat them. The problem is, I have to mark my calendar and nearly always, within 6 weeks, the dog who ate wild rabbit gets tapeworms. At one point, one dog caught a rabbit, ate the head (FAST), then dropped the rest of the carcass and turned around and threw up. Another dog got the carcass and ate it. A third dog ate part of what the first dog threw up. All 3 dogs had tapeworms 6 weeks later. The fourth dog missed out on the rabbit and tapeworms. Though some feel that tapeworms are self-limiting, I haven't seen that here and I end up using conventional vet medicine to get rid of the worms. My concern on 'buying' whole rabbit from a 'rabbit farm' is, have those rabbits been chemically wormed, such that my dogs would be exposed to that chemical wormer when fed 'farm raised' whole rabbit?

From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: QUESTION: Whole rabbit & tapeworms

Hi ...,

Thanks for the question.

When you say your dogs get tapeworms I wonder how you know that.

I'm not a parasitologist, but my understanding is that the tape worm segments one sees wriggling on the perineal hair and in the stools of dogs are generally from the flea tapeworm.

The tapeworms from rabbits and other small vertebrates are, to my understanding, not so visible except when a whole worm is voided in the faeces or vomitted.

Now I don't dispute that dogs catch tapeworms from wild rabbits. But these, except in rare circumstances, don't give rise to clinical signs. Routine worming with appropriate wormers sorts out the problem.

For flea tapeworms you need to treat fleas as well as give wormers.

It's possible that rabbit farmers worm their rabbits. But in my opinion they would be interested in eliminating the tapeworms in the rabbit guts, not the cysts in muscle and viscera that go on to infect dogs when the dogs eat the rabbits.

The reason farmed rabbits would not be much of a risk of transmitting tapeworms to dogs is more likely to be due to the rabbits not eating food contaminated with dog faeces.

If rabbit farmers worm their rabbits -- and perhaps someone can advise us on that -- then I would not be too worried about wormer residue affecting your dogs.

As I say, I'm not a parasitologist, but I believe that you don't need to worry.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 7
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 02:22:16 -0000
Subject: Question Dr Tom: Calcium - Phosphorus

Hi Tom - Thank you for giving us your time.

My question is regarding calcium and phosphorus balance in puppies/growing dogs. This seems to be the biggest area that raw feeders, even experienced ones, cannot answer specifically. We know what the ratio should be, but how do we feed to meet it? Especially during growth? How do we know that the bones et al we are providing are appropriate and not too much to overgrow our large breed dog?

I fed a lot of half carcass or chicken backs etc to my first Berner -looking back I believe I overgrew him and regretted my feeding practices - but wasn't sure how exactly I should be balancing it. My current girl I stopped feeding "whole prey" or something of the sort, and fed much less bone. She grew more slowly and is more sound and orthopedically strong. Not sure if this is why however but worthy of noting.


Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 15:54:55 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: Question Dr Tom: Calcium - Phosphorus

Hi ...,

Thanks for the question. It's true plenty of confusion surrounds the calcium/phosphorous issue.

First, I think we need to relax.

It's the junk food makers, cooked or barf, who need to worry about their formulations and whether they've got it right, badly wrong or somewhere in between.

A carcass or raw meaty bones diet is by Nature's definition right from a calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D point of view -- so it's best not to tinker with dietary bone ratios. Whether your pups get too much food, too much exercise or too little exercise are other factors that impact on limb growth and development.

Getting pups to grow slowly basically means restricting total food intake. Best to keep puppies of large breed dogs on the slim side and with restricted exercise -- although play with litter mates is seldom harmful.

At the foot of this email I've copied the section from Raw Meaty Bones on supplementation.

Best wishes,


Raw Meaty Bones Chapter 4 Raw vs cooked food

Mineral supplements

If the rabbit canner believes the cooked rabbit has inadequate mineral levels there are several options for supplementation. Powdered bone meal, itself cooked, and the salts of various minerals could be estimated and added, but it would be a gamble. When considering minerals the American National Health and Medical Research Council listed a number of concerns:

'It is common practice to include all the minerals shown to be required by other mammals in the formulation of dog [and cat] diets, even though the quantitative requirements for all minerals have not been established experimentally for this species. The mineral concentration used in dog [and cat] diets are usually based on estimates extrapolated from the requirements of other species; from data obtained from studies that involve dogs and that, although not designed to establish nutrient requirements, nevertheless yielded nutritional information; or from experience with diets that have resulted in acceptable performance in dogs [and cats]. Limited controlled published data on quantitative mineral requirements of dogs is not the only complication in making an estimate of mineral requirements for dogs [and cats]. The interaction between dietary mineral concentrations, availability of minerals in different compounds, and the breed of dog involved are factors which may modify individual mineral requirements… Perhaps the factor of most concern regarding the controlled data available for estimating the mineral requirements for dogs [and cats] is that a large percentage of the research was conducted two or three decades ago.'3

Thus the rabbit canner should be justifiably nervous as to how to proceed. While mineral deficiencies are undesirable the serious and detectable signs of mineral excess may be worse. And perhaps the operative word here is ‘detectable’ for even severe mineral imbalance is often hard to identify in adult animals. Puppies and kittens are more vulnerable during their growing phase and consequently can show clinical signs of mineral imbalance. But even in this situation interpretation of signs is far from easy. When a group of nutritionists looked into the effects of over-nutrition they managed to produce Great Dane puppies with obvious skeletal disease. Unfortunately they were unable to tell if the changes were brought about by excess levels of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium or vitamin D.4

Other researchers have commented that young puppies do not have a mechanism to protect themselves against excessive calcium intake.5 (They were researching the effects of artificial calcium supplementation. It seems that calcium in raw bones does not have the same adverse effect.) The result of this imbalance is most often seen in the puppies of giant breeds which develop bent legs. And to make matters worse well meaning owners and even some veterinarians attribute the leg deformity to insufficiency of calcium and accordingly increase the level of calcium supplementation. Excess inorganic calcium also has the effect of reducing the availability of other minerals such as iron, copper, iodine and zinc. As long ago as 1963 researchers demonstrated how too much calcium provoked zinc deficiency problems.6 Affected puppies may have crusty scabby skin around the face, elbows and hocks. More commonly the affected pups and kittens just have a dull coat, appear less active and fail to grow well.

A major problem faced by owners and veterinarians is that there are plenty of other reasons why pups and kittens fail to grow well and suffer from dermatitis. A common assumption is that the young animals must be deficient in some essential vitamin or mineral and consequently high levels of supplementation are often tried as a first line of treatment. While this shotgun approach to medicine often fails or makes things worse, the corresponding exact scientific method is no better. In commenting on the assessment of zinc levels in the blood of affected animals a leading authority on the subject states: ‘proper analysis for zinc is difficult and may be unreliable due to contamination of samples by zinc in glassware, rubber stoppers, and other items.’ 7

But I’m not selecting facts just to torment our much maligned rabbit canner. The reality of life for all animals raised and maintained on cooked food is that their mineral requirements are haphazardly met by either too little, sometimes adequate or often excessive levels.

A pet food company newsletter makes a telling point:

'A balanced Ca:P [calcium: phosphorus] ratio does not offer protection from a high level of calcium in the diet. Many pet foods in Australia, even some especially formulated for puppies, contain higher levels than this new recommended maximum for calcium of 2.5% (according to their own guaranteed analysis). Check these for yourself and see!'

Question 8
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 08:43:42 -0500
Subject: for Tom- stomach issues


thanks for taking questions from all of us. what do you do when dogs don't do well on a raw diet or develop digestion issues like diarrhea. how do you treat it to get them back on the mend. i do not feed a prey model and am not comfortable doing so. i do feed raw.

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 11:30:39 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: for Tom- stomach issues

Hi ...,

Thanks for the message.

You mention 'when dogs don't do well'. That's a wide concept that may imply that some dogs are better fed on processed food. For sure there may be transient problems with raw food and there are various diseases/mishaps that can occur. In general though, raw feeding is the only way to go.

At the foot of this email is an excerpt from Work Wonders Chapter 5. Diagnosis and treatment of protracted diarrhoea is best left to your vet to sort out.

'Prey model' is not a term I use. As mentioned in the preamble we need to take account of five facets of the pet food/vet fraud when managing our responses.

So the junk pet food industry and their vet helpers are responsible for a mighty scam. For ease of description I suggest that it can be divided into five facets:

* Cruelty, ill health and suffering of pets
* Misused and abused 'science'
* Blocking of significant scientific breakthroughs
* Economic, human health and natural environmental consequences
* Failure of the democratic, administrative and legal systems to deal with a cashed-up cabal

And an important aspect is to speak in plain English about straightforward issues.

We've seen the misunderstanding and confusion created by the use of the 'barf' term and when seeking to combat that we don't need another layer of impenetrable jargon. We need to appeal to a wider public and also appeal to High Court Judges sitting in judgement of the massive pet food fraud. In my view neither the public nor the Judges will warm to or readily comprehend what a 'prey model' is.

Glad you feed raw. The diet I recommend is posted at: http://www.rawmeatybones.com/diet/exp-diet-guide.pdf

Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Work Wonders Chapter 5 Risk management

Risk management

As a pioneer feeder of natural food you expect the occasional problem. That, after all, is why you are reading this book. You want to know the downside as well as the upside. If raw meaty bones act as food and medicine for dogs; then you want to know about safety aspects and side effects. Like all successful pioneers you know that risks do not deter you, only help you gain a fuller understanding.

Problems, potential or actual, come in two broad categories ? biological and man-made.

Biological problems

Raw food comprises a mass of complex nutrients and textures providing intricate nutritional and
medicinal benefits. When appropriate raw food meets the complex anatomy and physiology of dogs
things usually go well. However, some dogs refuse to eat raw food ? a bit like a child refusing medicine. For other dogs, taking their medicine can be associated with unwanted side effects.

Let’s take a look at some possible side effects and strategies for avoiding or dealing with them.


Dogs vomit more readily than humans. The loud heaving and smell may not be to your liking but usually you need not be concerned when your pet vomits raw food ? and then eats it again. Some dogs eat too quickly and then vomit. The best solution is to offer food in one big piece requiring plenty of ripping and tearing.

Some dogs are either sensitive to or allergic to a particular meat. If your dog consistently vomits beef, make changes; for instance try feeding rabbit, turkey or venison.

Some dogs vomit bile. In general this poses no risk for your dog but, if in doubt, consult your vet.

If your dog vomits and appears unwell it’s best to call your vet.


Eating too quickly or sensitivity to certain foods are reasons why some dogs regurgitate. You may have difficulty distinguishing between regurgitation and vomiting. Your vet can help.


Diarrhea is defined as ‘abnormally frequent intestinal evacuations with more or less fluid stools’. Sometimes diarrhea follows the introduction of and is associated with raw food. Maybe a dog’s enzyme systems need time to adjust or maybe it’s to do with the population of bowel bacteria that need time to change. Sometimes the diarrhea derives from the pet being exposed to new bacteria for the first time. Usually, diarrhea following introduction of raw food is short lived and resolves itself. Your role is to keep an eye on things to make sure your dog does not look or act unwell and to clean up the mess.

Dietary sensitivity or allergy may be a trigger for diarrhea. Some dogs, allergic to cooked meats in processed food, eat the same meat raw without ill effect.

If a dog occasionally passes soft or loose stools it’s seldom a cause for concern. However, if your pet appears unwell, or if stool abnormalities persist, then best to consult your vet.

Question 9
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 14:15:45 -0000
Subject: questions re: IMPA and OS for Dr. Lonsdale

Dr. Lonsdale, in late 2004 I lost my ten years three months young Berner to osteosarcoma. We had treated it with amputation (Left Rear leg) as the cancer was proven, via bone biopsy, to be in the femur of that leg. Amputation was followed by chemotherapy and then Moses thoroughly enjoyed a remission of 13 months. He was treated at Boston's Angell Memorial Animal Hospital. After 13 months, a regularly scheduled Xray showed 2 high grade nodules in the lungs. The nodules were surgically removed by a brilliant (British) surgeon at Angell. Moses then had one session with cytoxan as a part of a trial of Colorado State University's canine bone cancer vaccination trial (they sent the vaccines to Angell). He also had four sessions of carboplatin at this point while getting a monthly peritoneal injection of the bone cancer vaccination. We also weekly visited a holistic DVM for supplements and accupuncture, then aquapuncture, then laser therapy and aquapuncture. Moses spirit continued to sing loudly with joy, a dog that even the vets. acknowledged wanted to live a long full life. Well, the OS never came back in his lungs; it came back in his right front leg and fractured the bone, ultimately causing Moses' demise; his spirit continued to sing even as his body turned traitor on him. Oh, and did I mention he also had immune mediated non erosive idiopathic polyarthritis. I KNOW this is a really simplistic question but when a dog presents to you with IMPA or bone cancer, how do you treat such?

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 10:46:02 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: questions re: IMPA and OS for Dr. Lonsdale

Hi ...,

Thanks for the message.

These days I write articles and lecture on the preventative health aspects of a sound diet and healthy mouth. But in the days when I ran a group of veterinary practices I adopted certain protocols for me and the employed vets to follow.

First and foremost was the preventative platform we sought to place under all of our patients. We provided advice and documentation extolling the benefits of 'Prevention above all'.

When treating sick animals we would attempt to be thorough in obtaining diagnostic and treatment options in our general practice setting. Clients were provided with a range of options and helped with their decisions.

For involved cases clients would often choose to visit the University of Sydney Veterinary School or private specialist centres. We did not offer chemotherapy and the range of high tech options. We saw our role as providers of first opinion.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 4
Q & A Part 2
Questions 5 to 9
Q & A Part 3
Questions 10 to 16

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