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My other question was on trying to find answers to the standard or protocol for eye testing. Both my dog's parents tested clear for CERF and my dog cleared CERF at 7/8 weeks when tested by breeder, but now at age 2, she is not able to clear a CERF. A couple of folks have been kind enough to answer but their answers bring up more confusion. Apparently, even if eyes clear CERF, there are eye problems that show up later AFTER the clear dog has been bred and produced a bunch of pups.

I had a dog once that tested positive for EIC, even though she had never had a collapse and seemed totally normal.

I read in a recent post that people are hoping for a genetic test for cruciate injuries or TPLO, I think.

Here is my question:

How much does environment, and more specifically DIET, have to do with whether a dog will manifest any genetic weakness in the future?

Just recently I have been amazed to read that HUMANS are being able to reverse autoimmune diseases by cutting out gluten, sugar and dairy in their diets and implementing strict (Paleo type) diets, exercise regimes, etc (including electronic stimulation) into their daily routines. I am reading Dr. Terry Wahl's book right now (The Wahls Protocol) on how Dr Wahls beat severe progressive MS by completely changing her diet and (since when she started the program she was already confined to a reclining wheel chair) employing the use of electronic stimulation to exercise her muscles. After changing the environmental factors affecting her, she was able to get out of the wheel chair and progressively get to where she no longer even needs a cane for walking?

There seems to be more and more evidence that sugar, sugary starches, grains (especially the ones with gluten like wheat and barley--but even other grains like rice) and dairy create inflammation in the human body that over long periods of time can activate latent autoimmune diseases like ALS, MS, Diabetes and a bunch of others. There are veterinarians that also believe the use of sugary starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and grains are causing all kinds of problems with dogs.

Is it possible that dogs could carry genetic weaknesses that may never activate and manifest because they are lucky enough to be on the right diet or live in a less stressful environment?

Is it possible that a dog who has full-on genetic EIC, never actually manifests EIC symptoms because of luck in environment? What about dogs that might be pre-disposed for knee injuries or diabetes, epilepsy, eye problems, heart problems, hip dyslasia etc? What about all these allergies? Could a dog be having allergic reactions to things in the environment because the starchy, sugary commercial dog food he is eating is causing inflammation?
 

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I would love to tell you changing your diet can alter MS or autoimmune diseases but there is no evidence to it.

Environment (which includes diet, lifestyle, conditions lived, parental guidance, etc.) and genetics are NOT black and white. If they were, we (medical researchers) would have a much easier time providing solutions to many nasty diseases. They are both incredibly dynamic systems that are very difficult to determine the contribution/emphasis on the disease progression since there are so many variables. Thus one cannot make an accurate association (or it is nearly impossible to) between much or anything since we have no controls.

I have no knowledge of Dr. Terry Wahl's condition or book but it is hard to make a statement that changing ones diet will inhibit the progression of MS. You cannot make that correlation. Many physicians are very bad scientists, they do not understand the scientific method and the data that one needs to accurately make conclusions. It is the same misled home science that makes people believe that gluten is the root cause of many medical maladies.

We do not have enough evidence to conclude that chronic inflammation can cause disease states (again very difficult to have a controlled experiment). However, we know that chronic inflammation can cause deleterious effects to many systems. Diabetes (type II) can be attributed to lifestyle choices (bad diets high in sugar and simple carbohydrates; sedentary life) but it is not an autoimmune disease. No one actually knows the etiology of type II diabetes. Again, it is a multifaceted disease, which makes it very difficult to study.

Whether certain genes become activated or not can be completely independent of environment or a direct result of it. There is no way to tell which is the root cause.

I know that I provided little information to your question but no one would be able to regardless what mammal you are talking about (rat, dog, cat, human, etc.)

I do active (human) research in the fields of addiction, Diabetes, and weight so much of my information comes straight from my exposure at the ground level.

-Janell
 

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Maybe the weak dog foods today affect eye health... an interesting supplement called Astaxathen has more antioxidants and actually supports the eye ...

http://www.naturaleyecare.com/nutrients/antioxidants/astaxanthin.asp
Eye health

Certain carotenoids have been shown to help protect the retina of the eye from oxidative damage. The lens of the eye focuses incoming light onto the photosensitive retina, which then transmits visual signals to the brain. In the central area of the retina lies the macula, which has the highest density of photoreceptors that provides visual acuity. Oxidation, as from sunlight exposure, degrades the retinal membranes and likely leads to damage or destruction of photoreceptor cells.
A recent study indicates that astaxanthin is able to cross the blood retinal barrier and exert antioxidant effects to stop retinal destruction by staving off light induced oxidation and protect photoreceptors from degeneration.

 

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A lot of things can effect eyes, Cerf is just a eye evaluation at a particular time, this is why it has to be done and redone. Doesn't tell yah how the eyes are going to be in the future. Now if a dog can't pass Cerf could be a bunch of different things. Could be Genetic which we are concerned about when breeding. EX PRA is progressive happens a bit at a time, so it could very well be unnoticed for a time, and pups could be produced with the disease. There's a genetic test for several of these diseases, some can only be diagnosed when they happen. However our dogs are working dogs, thus they come into contract with a bunch of things in the environment. A dog could scrape an eye or develop a condition as an individual, that is in no way genetic and can't be passed on. Ex; One of my friends dog can't pass CERF he got a stick in his eye while hunting and scarred the cornea. Nothing genetic about it but can't pass CERF. CERF is a good check, it's not the end all for eye conditions, it just tells you if you have an eye condition right now, but somethings take time to develop; then you have to go further and determine whether it's genetic (can be passed on) or individual (environmental etc. cant' be passed on). From a breeders stand-point all CERF does is give good faith that the dogs-parents were checked and healthy at the time of breeding, doesn't guarantee that they will always be healthy; nor that their pups will always be healthy; just that the breeder used a tool available at the time to try to produce the healthiest pups, he could.

SO your dog didn't pass Cerf? Now you must determine why. If it can be proven genetic, You'll need to contact the breeder; it might fall under your breeders contract, but if not at least, the breeder knows what's in his stock and will hopefully be able to prevent the condition developing in future pups. If it's environmental, you should figure the cause and watch it to make sure it doesn't get worst. If your concerned about breeding etc. figure this is just one test, one result; if it's not genetic and can be attributed to a definite cause. It wouldn't necessarily stop you from breeding a superior dog. Breeding is a decision made about an entire dog; strengths and weaknesses. Ex: there are dogs that can't pass OFA hips (one that I know of has no hip joint, car accident) but he's a FC-AFC MH, great dog, good familiar OFA history, and completely healthy in all his other testing. Perhaps we'll let it slide that he can't get an OFA number.
 

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Certain cataracts do not form until the age of 1-3 yrs. Same with other eye issues. It has always been this way, which is why they recommend doing them yearly, or at a minimum, before each breeding. Other types of cataracts and other issues do not appear until the age of 5-8yrs. If caught at that time, it will not do any good (other than giving puppy owners a heads up) for previous litters, but may rule out that last one, or at least give information to the breeder if they kept back pups for breeding from this dog. OFAing eyes, hips, and elbows give the best indication of how a litter or line will turn out IF used for a number of generations (more than three) on all the dogs in the pedigree, including siblings of the dogs in question. These tests are available to HELP the breeders to make informed breeding decisions to help weed out issues. There is still a fairly good percentage of issues when dealing with joints and the complicated parts of the eye that happen no matter how much we try to prevent them. It falls under "**** happens".

The tests that we have are great for catching a plethora of issues. Are they infallible? No. You still have human error to deal with, as in the case of testing a litter of pups for OFA on eyes at 7-8 wks and getting some of the paperwork mixed up, or an uncooperative pup that the vet has a hard time seeing anything, so it passes this time with the hope that when older, it will be caught (it happens!), and then there are the owners that choose to only rely on the first exam and never go back for followups.

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and realize that like all of God's creatures, none of us or our dogs are perfect.
 

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Hi Janell:

Thank you for such a thoughtful reply coming from your personal experience as a medical researcher.

I wonder if breakthroughs happen by coincidence (or by accident) sometimes.

Dr. Terry Wahls seems to have become a "poster child" sort of leader in the search for help with auto immune disease. She shares the protocol that she used on herself (and the same protocol she passionately believes helped her) with others--but of course warns that she is NOT issuing medical advice and warns everyone to seek their own advice from their physician.

I think most of us understand that her story is purely anecdotal (although she is fervently working on getting more research funded to prove her assumptions about her remarkable turn-around.)

Likewise Dr Katie Reid, Phd, research scientist and the founder of Unblind My Mind, a non-profit for the study of Autism. Katie Reid's three year old daughter is diagnosed with Autism.

These are just two of the names (out of many) that are bubbling to the top of my mind as examples of people who are out there trying to do SOMETHING about these awful conditions. For both of these women the stories are personal. Terry Wahls is an MD who considered herself a traditional medical doctor for most of her life. She seems to question and suspect everything and everyone, which (I think) is a big part of her appeal. She certainly does not accept anything without question.

In Doctor Wahls' case, she was running out of options and was researching everything to the best of her ability while she was very sick. She had young children that she had made a commitment to raise. I don't know how she initially arrived at her plan--but I suspect that she had to go off a lot of other anecdotal success stories and make a "Hail Mary" attempt to somehow slow the progression of her disease. And got as lucky as any lotto winner when somehow her disease began to reverse.

Maybe when really smart, educated people have their backs against the wall, occasionally one will get lucky?

It seems like when we are not well, at the very least--getting rid of crap in our diets might not help, but certainly won't hurt anything? And if somehow, by coincidence, we start improving--other people may want to try the same? (As much as wheat and gluten are becoming the new "evil," there is no disputing that it saves many people's lives all the time. When people are starving and the get a delivery of highly processed wheat products, they can make food with it. And they do not starve.)

Anyway science is amazing. On the other hand, it seems like the universe rewards some people when they just operate on faith?

Regardless, it is always good to have grounded, educated people around to question people about why they are thinking or acting a certain way.

Thanks again for the input!
 

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"SO you dog didn't pass Cerf? Now you must determine why. If it can be proven genetic, You'll need to contact the breeder; it might fall under your breeders contract, but if not at least, the breeder knows what's in his stock and will hopefully be able to prevent the condition developing in future pups. If it's environmental, you should figure the cause and watch it to make sure it doesn't get worst. If your concerned about breeding etc. figure this is just one test, one result; if it's not genetic and can be attributed to a definite cause. It wouldn't necessarily stop you from breeding a superior dog. Breeding is a decision made about an entire dog; strengths and weaknesses. Ex: there are dogs that can't pass OFA hips (one that I know of has no hip joint, car accident) but he's a FC-AFC MH, great dog, good familiar OFA history, and completely healthy in all his other testing. Perhaps we'll let is slide that he can't get an OFA number.[/QUOTE]"

Thank you--this makes sense to me! (That's sayin' a lot, duhhhh :p)
 

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Here is my question:

How much does environment, and more specifically DIET, have to do with whether a dog will manifest any genetic weakness in the future?

Just recently I have been amazed to read that HUMANS are being able to reverse autoimmune diseases by cutting out gluten, sugar and dairy in their diets and implementing strict (Paleo type) diets, exercise regimes, etc (including electronic stimulation) into their daily routines. I am reading Dr. Terry Wahl's book right now (The Wahls Protocol) on how Dr Wahls beat severe progressive MS by completely changing her diet and (since when she started the program she was already confined to a reclining wheel chair) employing the use of electronic stimulation to exercise her muscles. After changing the environmental factors affecting her, she was able to get out of the wheel chair and progressively get to where she no longer even needs a cane for walking?

There seems to be more and more evidence that sugar, sugary starches, grains (especially the ones with gluten like wheat and barley--but even other grains like rice) and dairy create inflammation in the human body that over long periods of time can activate latent autoimmune diseases like ALS, MS, Diabetes and a bunch of others. There are veterinarians that also believe the use of sugary starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and grains are causing all kinds of problems with dogs.

Is it possible that dogs could carry genetic weaknesses that may never activate and manifest because they are lucky enough to be on the right diet or live in a less stressful environment?

Is it possible that a dog who has full-on genetic EIC, never actually manifests EIC symptoms because of luck in environment? What about dogs that might be pre-disposed for knee injuries or diabetes, epilepsy, eye problems, heart problems, hip dyslasia etc? What about all these allergies? Could a dog be having allergic reactions to things in the environment because the starchy, sugary commercial dog food he is eating is causing inflammation?
You ask a hard question, but I think it's one that can't really be answered at this time. I believe that environment and diet can and do influence some genetic weaknesses to a degree, but there are also so many other factors, I'm not sure it would be possible to nail down an exact "diet" or "environment" to prevent genetic weaknesses appearing.

Take for instance hip dysplasia. It's pretty common knowledge that it can be hereditary. There are also studies out there that propose that vitamin C intake as pups can prevent hip dysplasia. This article for example proposes that perhaps the Vitamin C is helping, perhaps masking symptoms, but that the CHD is in fact still there. http://www.workingdogs.com/doc0039.htm That's what I would guess diet and environment do for other genetic maladies. The genetic problem is still there, but for whatever reason, the disease isn't activated, or isn't as aggressive in some individuals due to many different factors. Some could be environmental...diet...who knows?

Your information about the doctor with MS, leads me to believe that, barring divine healing, this person still has MS, she's just in remission. To my knowledge, MS can come and go and change over time. I believe that for her, this diet she's worked out does work. I can't say the same exact diet would work for everyone though. There are too many variables.

So bottom line, in my opinion, changes in environment and diet could and probably do help, but there are so many other factors, I don't think there is a one size fits all approach that would work for every dog...or obviously every person with MS.
 

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Kate:

I believe when medicine can no longer work hail mary's and faith can certainly be warranted! Any good scientist knows we hold very few answers and many more questions. Many of us have personal stakes in the research we do. Sometimes coming across something that works for one individual is fantastic but more then likely limited to the individual. As long as people like Dr. Wahl make the statement you indicated above I have no problem with it. Most of the time they do not. The sensationalism is typically to blame for it. Sometimes this can lead to very dangerous conclusions, assumptions, and practices that blind people who are often desperate. I have received heartbreaking letters of individuals who catch hold of our research asking us to please give them any insight into a "cure." Unfortunately, I have to write them that there is a large abyss between what we do and providing therapy to their condition.

A good diet (whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, limited red meat) is always an excellent way of trying to preserve one's future activity. I am a strong advocate of rigorous exercise and a healthy balanced diet, and believe that both can have a strong impact on the progression of many nasty diseases. However, I cannot say this as scientific fact. There are probably as many case examples of chronic smokers living to 85+ yrs. old on horrible diets as there are healthy diet and exercise practicing 35 yr. olds who never smoked a day in their life dying of lung cancer.

I would say many breakthroughs happen as accidents some as coincidence. One of my larger findings in my research life was by complete accident. We thought the response we were getting was wrong and decided to investigate it to troubleshoot what we thought was equipment issues. It was not much to our amazement but rather a unique response that we were able to duplicate many times over. So much of science are educated guesses and complete accidents that someone is able to recognize as being something more.
 

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Kate:

I believe when medicine can no longer work hail mary's and faith can certainly be warranted! Any good scientist knows we hold very few answers and many more questions. Many of us have personal stakes in the research we do. Sometimes coming across something that works for one individual is fantastic but more then likely limited to the individual. As long as people like Dr. Wahl make the statement you indicated above I have no problem with it. Most of the time they do not. The sensationalism is typically to blame for it. Sometimes this can lead to very dangerous conclusions, assumptions, and practices that blind people who are often desperate. I have received heartbreaking letters of individuals who catch hold of our research asking us to please give them any insight into a "cure." Unfortunately, I have to write them that there is a large abyss between what we do and providing therapy to their condition.

A good diet (whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, limited red meat) is always an excellent way of trying to preserve one's future activity. I am a strong advocate of rigorous exercise and a healthy balanced diet, and believe that both can have a strong impact on the progression of many nasty diseases. However, I cannot say this as scientific fact. There are probably as many case examples of chronic smokers living to 85+ yrs. old on horrible diets as there are healthy diet and exercise practicing 35 yr. olds who never smoked a day in their life dying of lung cancer.

I would say many breakthroughs happen as accidents some as coincidence. One of my larger findings in my research life was by complete accident. We thought the response we were getting was wrong and decided to investigate it to troubleshoot what we thought was equipment issues. It was not much to our amazement but rather a unique response that we were able to duplicate many times over. So much of science are educated guesses and complete accidents that someone is able to recognize as being something more.
jrrichar,

On what basis do you claim to know that the statement emboldened above is accurate? Conventional wisdom is often wrong. "Healthy whole grains" is very possibly an oxymoron, at least for some people. Why limit red meat consumption? Are you concerned about too much saturated fat in your diet causing heart disease? Eskimos who eat a diet that's very high in saturated fats have a very low incidence of heart disease.

Science is a funny thing. I understand why you caution against taking one person's experiences and drawing a conclusion. However, just because some things are considered common knowledge doesn't make them true.

The OP asks whether diet and environment may play a role in the orthopedic health. I say Heck Yes! He should do a little reading on epigenetics to see how these factors can affect how the genes are expressed. I'm a believer in species appropriate nutrition for man and dog. Man was designed as a hunter-gather, not a farmer. His canine companion developed by his side. They share a great deal of similarity in their preferred diets.

A good resource is the book "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson as well as his blog, "Mark's Daily Apple".

Live Long and Drop Dead!

Swack
 

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jrrichar,

On what basis do you claim to know that the statement emboldened above is accurate? Conventional wisdom is often wrong. "Healthy whole grains" is very possibly an oxymoron, at least for some people. Why limit red meat consumption? Are you concerned about too much saturated fat in your diet causing heart disease? Eskimos who eat a diet that's very high in saturated fats have a very low incidence of heart disease.

Science is a funny thing. I understand why you caution against taking one person's experiences and drawing a conclusion. However, just because some things are considered common knowledge doesn't make them true.

The OP asks whether diet and environment may play a role in the orthopedic health. I say Heck Yes! He should do a little reading on epigenetics to see how these factors can affect how the genes are expressed. I'm a believer in species appropriate nutrition for man and dog. Man was designed as a hunter-gather, not a farmer. His canine companion developed by his side. They share a great deal of similarity in their preferred diets.

A good resource is the book "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson as well as his blog, "Mark's Daily Apple".

Live Long and Drop Dead!

Swack

Please read the comment after I make the above statement you quoted me on...the I cannot say this as scientific fact that one will offset disease through diet alone. My statement is based on current AMA guidelines, recommendations of the ADA, FDA, and more institutions then I can name. Not novel stuff. Eskimos are an extreme case to cite but yes they eat a very rich meat diet since they have to. Last time I checked that does not consist of corn fed cows, packaged hot dogs, or many of the red meat choices 97% of the US population consumes. Although one cannot make the statement if you eat the diet I recommended disease will halt we have much evidence to support the notion that it can be beneficial.

Swack the understanding of gene expression and environment is poorly understood unless you are aware of huge advancements in the field.

Humans were originally hunter gatherers but progressed into agriculture. Our GI tracts are quite good at processing grains and for a lot of people whole grains can be part of a balanced diet with the exception of those who suffer from Celiacs. As canines developed along humans so did their ability to also consume grains a surprising finding done in the last 3 years and whose findings were published in Science.

What one chooses to eat is freedom of choice. To say that X will cause gene expression alterations is rare but still uneventful. Gene expression means little, protein expression more so, functional proteins more critical. How these functional proteins could be implicated in the etiology of a disease of paramount importance. Each step has a plethora of variables. This is what I am trying to relay.

You say heck yes based on no evidence. I just stated the reality.
 

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jrrichar,

On what basis do you claim to know that the statement emboldened above is accurate? Conventional wisdom is often wrong. "Healthy whole grains" is very possibly an oxymoron, at least for some people. Why limit red meat consumption? Are you concerned about too much saturated fat in your diet causing heart disease? Eskimos who eat a diet that's very high in saturated fats have a very low incidence of heart disease.

Science is a funny thing. I understand why you caution against taking one person's experiences and drawing a conclusion. However, just because some things are considered common knowledge doesn't make them true.

The OP asks whether diet and environment may play a role in the orthopedic health. I say Heck Yes! He should do a little reading on epigenetics to see how these factors can affect how the genes are expressed. I'm a believer in species appropriate nutrition for man and dog. Man was designed as a hunter-gather, not a farmer. His canine companion developed by his side. They share a great deal of similarity in their preferred diets.

A good resource is the book "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson as well as his blog, "Mark's Daily Apple".

Live Long and Drop Dead!

Swack
There is also a big difference between common knowledge and scientific fact. They are not the same!
 
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