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Dr Lonsdale (Natural Berners) Q & A Part 3

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 10
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 17:04:24 -0000
Subject: Questions: Colon blockages

Hello Dr. Lonsdale,

I have five Berners. The two youngest have been raised completely on a raw diet and the older three have had a raw diet for the last five years. My three year old boy, who has been completely raised on a raw diet and unvaccinated, has had two fairly severe colon blockages in the past year. He is also a parvo survivor. (Wondering if that could have left damage in the colon?) The first blockage came after he completely devoured a large beef knuckle bone so I stopped giving beef bones to all of the dogs. The second blockage happened about three months later. At that time they were eating only pork and poultry bones as rmb. Both times the vets were able to go in with instruments and get out the blockages without surgery but they do feel there is scarring in the colon. He was treated by a number of vets during this time, including emergency, regular and holistic so I have had both stern lectures about killing my dog and supportive help. To the dismay of some of them, I continue to feed my other dogs their regular raw diet. However, I have stopped giving Panda whole bones, except for an occasional duck neck. He gets some ground meat with bone and some ground egg shell to try to ensure proper calcium in his diet. I wonder what your feelings are about the best diet for this dog. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the list.

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 11:31:59 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: Questions: Colon blockages

Hi ...,

Well done for perseverance in the face of serious opposition.

At the foot of the email I've pasted an excerpt from Work Wonders.

A couple of comments.

You are valiantly trying to do the best for your dogs without the support you need. Vets could serve a real useful function helping people to avoid the pitfalls whilst gaining the benefits.

If you read and re-read Work Wonders you will be able to better assess the risks and rewards of raw feeding.

Sure knuckle bones are unsuitable and it's a real shame you had to find out the hard way. For big dogs duck necks are not the best because they get swallowed with scarcely a chomp. Recipes containing ground meat may have the right nutrient mix but of course they don't provide the tooth cleaning.

I'm not able to make specific recommendations for your fellow. Nature's model of whole carcasses of other animals is the good advice for the general population of dogs.

Your dedication should see you through.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Excerpt from Work Wonders Chapter 5 Risk management

Stuck bones

Raw bones can and do get stuck in the esophagus (food tube between mouth and stomach). But when investigated the reason can usually be traced to bones which are too small. Chicken necks and wings can be 'vacuumed-up' by large dogs and sometimes create blockage. Ox tail or other vertebrae cut too small and with sharp edges get stuck. Sometimes rib bones wedge in the roof of a dog's mouth. Patients paw at their mouths and drool sticky streams of saliva.

Prevention is always better than treatment. Ensure bones are of suitable size and covered in lots of meat.


Wolves in the wild and domestic dogs fed whole carcasses pass feces dressed in 'little fur coats' or sprouting feathers from a recent meal. Digestion of natural food is highly effective and if your dog is fed predominantly raw meaty bones then the fecal residue will be about one third that of dogs fed processed food. Passing the small pellets of powdered bone requires effort compared with the sloppy, smelly excrement of kibble-fed dogs. Moderate straining helps tone muscles and evacuate anal glands (two small sacs at the anus). Severe straining signals that your dog may be constipated.

Constipation, providing there is no blockage, can usually be managed by ensuring a diet of whole carcasses, raw bones covered in plenty of meat and a larger proportion of offal. Some owners add cooked pumpkin or other vegetables to the diet. Indigestible vegetable fiber retains water and keeps feces soft. If constipation persists there may be physiological or anatomical problems that require veterinary attention.

Bull terriers and other dogs with powerful jaws sometimes gobble bones without sufficient chewing. The resultant boney fragments move down to the rectum and form an immovable mass. At times like this you need to call the vet. (Prevention, using meaty bones in large pieces, is a better option.)

Question 11
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 18:20:19 -0000
Subject: Re: Please Welcome Dr. Tom Lonsdale and QUESTION re: vets

Dear Tom,

Thanks for the fascinating history and information about UKRMB and Jackie and her team's hard work.

I don't know what it's like in other countries, but here many people look to their vet for guidance on diet in addition to other healthcare matters. But most vets have no formal education about feeding an RMB diet. And it seems they view RMB diets as dangerous because of their lack of education. Is that universally true?

It's so unfortunate because most of us are left to our own devices. I am honest with my local allopathic vet that I feed an RMB diet, but I know of many people who don't tell their vets they feed raw because they are afraid they will be viewed as negligent or irresponsible.

Do you have any reason to hope that in the near future vet schools will teach their students that proper nutrition for dogs and cats should be centered on an RMB diet?


Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 12:21:46 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: Re: Please Welcome Dr. Tom Lonsdale and QUESTION re: vets

Hi ...,

Thanks for a simple question with no simple answer.

Let me tell you a chilling story to help get things in perspective -- we are dealing with the human animal, a dangerous and crafty beast that will seek to frustrate every best effort.

In the days when I ran veterinary clinics I employed lots of young vets straight off the vet school conveyor belt. They were well meaning, full of enthusiasm and brainwashed. It generally took six months, with daily 'tuition' and mentoring before the young vets had sufficiently unlearnt the pet food/vet dogma and adopted a clearer view.

To me it was essential that the vets should get up to speed as quickly as possible to ensure our clients and their pets got the best possible deal. It took SIX whole months.

By the time the young vets left to take up other employment or open their own clinics they were oriented towards prevention and making raw diet and clean teeth recommendations a basic standard.

Now several years on, I know of one vet who adheres to the raw diet and clean teeth recommendations. News reaching me suggests that others minimise the benefits of raw food whilst selling junk food to their unsuspecting clients.

Many years ago a profession of barber-surgeons cut your hair and removed your lumps, bumps even your leg if it was warranted. When confronted with the benefits of aseptic surgery the barber-surgeons rose up almost as one and decried the fanciful notions. Fortunately a few were not deflected from the clean-surgery choice.

These days we have barbers and we have surgeons and there are no barber-surgeons left to pass comment.

To my mind its the same sort of scenario with the vets. When the dust finally settles there will be clinicians trained to treat sick and injured animals and there will be a different 'profession' entrusted with the preventative aspects.

How to get that?

First you have to ensure the outmoded 'self regulation' self determination model is removed. Because vets are born into a culture replete with pet food dogma and the understanding that vets are the 'treatment professionals'. In late teens or earl twenties they enter the vet schools all set to become treatment 'heroes'. The vet school obliges. It tells virtually nothing about prevention and accentuates all aspects of diagnosis and treatment.

The young vet emerges into the real world where fee for service rules. S/he gets paid to diagnose and treat.

No one pays or wants to pay for prevention so there's a further disincentive for the young vet to mention preventative strategies.

Perhaps the one saving grace in all this is that there is no saving grace. It's all rank bad and the worse it is the more people ought to be able to learn from the mistakes.

It's like when we after several hundreds, perhaps thousands of years realised that the Earth is round. A renaissance in scientific and technological innovation could begin.

In my opinion it will likely be something like that when the five facets of the pet food fraud are confronted and resolved.

So who is going to confront the issues?

Raw feeders are finding ways to help themselves and they are talking together. But unfortunately too many are falling prey to the barf and other junk raw food merchants who exploit the confusion and lack of knowledge for their own ends.

I encourage pet owners to keep on informing themselves. Long-term though, I believe it's organisations like UKRMB that are going to be the essential force for change. I hope you will be able to join them and give them every help in their efforts. Beyond that I believe there needs to be a UKRMB style group in every state and nation.

Best wishes,
Tom Lonsdale

Question 12
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 19:14:21 -0000
Subject: Re: Proactive preamble

Thank you for laying the groundwork Tom, though it's very disturbing. How far the medical profession has come from "first do no harm."

In terms of the compliance of vets - do you think in a sense they are brainwashed by the processed pet food industry to believe that proper nutrition must come out of a bag? And that what comes out of that bag constitutes appropriate ingredients and preservatives?

I know I'm asking rhetorical questions and this goes hand in hand with my other email, but it seems similar to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. The "authorities" sponsoring and providing education and continuing education to vets have a vested interest in positioning their own products as the best diet.

What I don't understand is why haven't more physicians see through this? We as animal guardians have...


Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 13:23:06 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: Re: Proactive preamble

Hi ...,

Thanks for your comments.

You ask why 'haven't more physicians seen through this? We as animal guardians have...'

And of course the answer is: They have.

In simplistic terms it's about 'culture' and 'power'. It's not about logic or good health or a range of things that people mistakenly believe impacts on whether vets will or will not do the right thing.


Lord Acton's dictum was never more true.

'Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely'

As mentioned in previous post the vets in all western countries (probably all countries) have what's called 'self-regulatory' status. In other words they determine what they will do. They run a closed shop and define only someone who has spent five years being indoctrinated into the culture as fit to rule on how things are run.

Government connives at this hoax and the community at large assents to it.

In the vet culture the rank and file are free to follow and are not required to think. Indeed they are actively encouraged not to think by a variety of means. In my own case I was tied up in lengthy defence of malpractice allegations by the vet authorities, pet food industry and government vet board. In 2004 I was expelled from the Australian Vet Association despite polling 10% of the vote in the previous ten or so years standing for President of the Association.

The 10% of voters voted, they did nothing else.

The leadership of the profession a.) pretend not to notice, b.) deny the reality c.) create elaborate distractions d.) lie.

The leaders, enjoying absolute power, are not challenged.

As a community we have deferred to the supposed sagacity and integrity of the vet profession. Up to a point we need to delude ourselves on these issues so as to keep society working. We turn a blind eye to many absurd/harmful things as the price we need to pay to belong to a certain culture.

How do I know that they know. Because of private conversations and written evidence. One very high ranking vet told me how he agrees but will keep working within the system (and with his sponsors). Another spent a night talking about how things can be improved. He's now responsible for the indoctrination of hundreds of young vets.

First I would suggest that raw feeders need to fix up the current muddle over how to feed pets.

Raw Meaty Bones was written as an educational tool and weapon of insurrection. It's been nominated for a prestigious vet prize by two eminent vet academics/educationalists.

If raw feeders were to read RMB and then use the info to become more militant and demanding things might alter a bit sooner.

Best wishes,


Question 13
Date: Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:04 pm
Subject: QUESTION: Is our BARF good enough?

Welcome Dr. Tom from Nebraska.

I am veryyy new to raw feeding and even though it has been several months I still am nervous everytime I set the bowl down. I have a 2yr old Berner and a 5 month ago. The pup came weaned on BARF and will eat anything I set down in front of him. The 2 yr old ?. I decided when I started this the best thing for us was to follow some kind of recipe and grind it together in some sort of patty and go that route until we all were more experienced. I followed Dr.Billinghurst's recipe in his book for canine patties. The last time we made it we made a huge batch and if you don't mind me going on and on heres what we put in it.
80 lbs chicken necks and backs, 40 lbs chicken wings, 10 lbs beef liver, 10 lbs beef heart and kidney, 30 lbs various veggies, 10 lbs various fruits, 6 lbs yogurt, 6 lbs ground flax seed, 30 oz Kelp and 16oz garlic. We grind this all together and freeze it in daily amounts. I guess my question is...is this adequate? does it sound like a fairly good recipe to be feeding daily? We do occasionaly give them chicken wings whole, beef rib bones and larger beef bones they can't totally eat. The pup eats everything...Grimly (2) is not eating this new batch very well at all. Is garlic necessary (it makes the mixture smell horrible). any suggestions?
Thank you for your time.


Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 13:25:59 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Fwd: QUESTION: Is our BARF good enough?

Hi ...,

Thanks for so well illustrating the Altered Reality Fantasy of the 'barf' (vomit) diet.

In the early days folks on the Wellpet list, or so I believe, referred to themselves as Born Again Raw Feeders which shortened to 'barf' the American term for vomit.

Not only is the bad smell a draw back of the vomit diet. As can be seen from previous posts cleaning the teeth of carnivores at every feeding session should be a basic function.

How many self respecting wolves would eat '30 lbs various veggies, 10 lbs various fruits, 6 lbs yogurt, 6 lbs ground flax seed, 30 oz Kelp and 16oz garlic?

Deliberately spreading the fanciful notion that dogs, immediate descendants of wolves, are omnivores is to my mind a cruel hoax.

Recommending hard knuckle bones as 'recreational bones' along with the unnecessary processing and bottled supplements further compounds the disaster of the vomit diet.

My suggestions would be to read the previous posts here, check out Work Wonders, join the rawfeeding list
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/ and join the UKRMB Group www.ukrmb.co.uk .

Once you've sorted out the dietary needs of your 'house wolf' (not my term but I like it) and feel more confident then you might start to actively campaign against the various hoaxes going around.

You are new to raw feeding but you have made a start. In that you are to be heartily congratulated. Please don't worry you will recover from your current predicament the stronger and better informed.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 14
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 22:08:36 -0000
Subject: question re: colostrum

Dr. Lonsdale, after reading about Colostrum's benefits in "The Whole Dog Journal," I spoke of this to my dogs' regular veterinarian and now add Colostrum, which I purchase at my local health food store, to their food. What is your opinion on Colostrum?

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 14:25:55 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: question re: colostrum

Hi ...,

Thanks for the message.

Colostrum has almost magical properties for the new born in the first 12-24 hours of life when colostrum antibodies pass directly into the blood stream from the bowel of the newborn animal. Colostrum provides wonderful nutrition and 'conditions' the bowel environment too.

In my view, though, it's a mistake to transpose those facts into thinking colostrum will continue to impart special properties.

When fed to adult animals colostrum ends up being an expensive form of milk proteins and fats. And when we consider that milk does not belong in an adult carnivore's diet then I believe the same applies to colostrum.

Better, in my view to spend scarce funds on getting as close to Nature's prescription for a healthy diet.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 15
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 21:17:18 EST
Subject: Questions for Dr Lonsdale-Flysnapping

Hello DR Lonsdale,

My 4 yr. male neutered berner has started flysnapping, licking his paws, and sometimes his tongue goes in and out fast, as if he had peanut butter stuck on the roof of his mouth. It usually only happens at night and only for 15 minutes or so, and not every night.
I have sent his blood to DR Dodds to be tested for Thyroid issues, but wonder if you have any experience or opinions on Flysnapping. Could it be a reaction to mold? He hasn't had any vaccinations in 2 years, he gets tittered. He does get Heart Guard, but he has been getting it since he was a pup.
Nothing else other than the possibility of somemold in our house has changed. He seems normal otherwise.
Thanks for any advise you can give me,


Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 14:25:02 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: Questions for Dr Lonsdale-Flysnapping

Hi ...,

Thanks for the account.

Sight unseen I cannot make any specific recommendations.

The conventional view is that 'fly snapping' is a mild epileptiform seizure. But seizures tend to have triggers. Best to be sure that skin and ears are healthy.

I have encountered similar signs in, mostly small, dogs suffering various dental ailments. What does your vet say about the signs?

Is your dog's breath sweet smelling and are his teeth gleaming white and gums salmon pink?

Wishing you a speedy diagnosis. Sometimes resolution is not possible.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 16
Date: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:35 pm
Subject: Re: ADMIN: Let's Re-Group

Well I suppose it's much like the [human] diet industry, how many different diet books are there?

And each one you read seems to make perfect sense.

Quote: There are obviously many expert opinions about what constitutes an optimal diet, and because of that it can be very confusing. One thing we can all agree upon - processed food is not in our dogs' best interest.

Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 13:23:31 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: ADMIN:

Hi ...,

Your points are well made. Thank you.

With respect to raw diets we are in a situation similar to when our forebears were struggling to emerge from under the shadow of the Flat Earth Concept -- that took them hundreds of years. And during those several hundred years there were lots of misguided, mostly religious viewpoints on the Earth's position in the Solar System published in books and articles.

The Round Earth Concept is elegantly simple and when it was finally accepted gave rise to much of modern life we take for granted -- including this internet forum.

So the trick is to find Nature's secrets and share those with as wide a community as we possibly can. Naturally we should point to the flaws in opposing views as expressed by David Hume in his 1748 treatise

An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
For too long we listened to those who proclaimed the earth was variously flat, oval, at the centre of the Solar System and etc. Mostly the writers were motivated by religiosity and false pride.

We now face more determined opponents in the junk cooked and raw pet-food industries whose libraries -- filled with sophistry and illusion -- serve a more commercial purpose. Do we have the ability to identify those libraries of vet textbooks, barf utterances and junk food marketing mags for what they are? Do we have the courage, for the benefit of our pets and the wider community, to commit them to the flames?

It's not an easy process and not for the faint hearted. When people attend my seminars naturally I suggest that they read Raw Meaty Bones and Work Wonders and at least some of the books from the list published at the foot of this message.

The task is huge and getting bigger. But with (accurate) information people will ultimately be empowered.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006

Subject: To Tom Lonsdale

On behalf of everyone on Natural Berners we want to thank you for the time you spent with us.

As you saw, we are all at different places in our learning and we approach our dogs' diets from different perspectives. You've certainly opened up people's minds to a more species appropriate way of raw feeding - a dialogue that I'm sure will continue beyond today.

Thank you and best wishes.


Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 13:28:34 +1100
From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: To Tom Lonsdale

Hi ...,

Many thanks for your kind invitation to participate in the Natural Berners list.

I welcomed the chance to discuss important topics and appreciated the many interesting questions raised. I hope the archived material from the last couple of days serves as a useful starting point for future discussions.

Frances Bacon (1561/1626) commented: 'Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.' In that I wholeheartedly agree.

However if we keep in mind that: Nature knows and knows best then I believe we shall be doing newcomers and future generations the best service.

Wishing you, your dogs and your communities the best of good health,

Tom Lonsdale

Raw Meaty Bones lectures - recommended reading

If you don't have time to read, then come to the lectures anyway. But if you have the time I recommend you read Raw Meaty Bones [and Work Wonders] first. You will likely gain a fuller understanding and have more fun too.

Nutrition and disease 'facts' can be obtained from many sources - books, magazines, Internet discussion groups and websites. Paradoxically, some of the more reliable 'facts' come from the commercial pet food makers. But wherever you get your facts please remember Henri Amiel's caution: 'An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains.'

If we are to overcome the artificial pet food monster - improve the health of our pets, human economy and natural environment - it's not new facts we need, it's new ways of seeing and thinking. The following books provided the foundation and the framework for Raw Meaty Bones.

The Sleepwalkers: Man's changing view of the universe - Arthur Koestler
Gaia: A new look at life on Earth - James Lovelock
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Age of Propaganda - Pratkanis and Aronson
The Double Helix - James Watson (Personal account of the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA)
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions - Thomas Kuhn (For those wanting to know the structure of the structure)
Microcosmos: Four billion years of microbial evolution - Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan
Effectiveness and Efficiency - Archie Cochrane (Available from British Medical Association
http://www.bmjbookshop.com )

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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