1. New wave of obesity hits pets

    You know what they say about people looking like their pets? Turns out it's true -- because half of all pets in America are now overweight.

    That's 90 million cats and dogs, now facing the same conditions as their overweight owners: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and a premature death.

    And all those sick pets could be costing hundreds of millions of dollars in veterinary bills, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. (There's an association for everything, isn't there?)

    The "experts" claim pets are turning fat for the same reasons as humans: too much food and too little movement.

    But that's only part of the story -- and a small one at that.

    The real problem isn't that the animals are overeating -- it's that they're eating the exact wrong thing: processed soy.

    I don't care what meaty-sounding name is on the label, most store-bought pet foods are nothing but soy, grains and vegetables... with a little bit of meat cooked beyond all nutrition.

    It's a lot like what we feed ourselves -- and as bad as that diet is for a human, it's absolute murder for an animal.

    If you want to get your pet fit, don't put it on a diet. Just give it the foods it really wants -- the RAW foods it needs.

    For a dog, that means raw chicken necks and liver with a raw egg, including the shell. Introduce it gradually into his food -- using a little less store-bought junk and a little more real food every day. Eventually, you'll stop the kibble altogether.

    Your cat wants raw eggs and raw chicken livers (rabbit livers are fine too -- unless you have a pet bunny and don't want Mittens to get a taste for it).

    And if you really want to show your pet some love, sign yourself up for my Douglass Report newsletter and read the July 2007 and February 2008 issues in my archives, where you'll find everything you need to know about dog and cat care.

  2. Vegas clinics spread hepatitis C and HIV

    Vegas clinics spread hepatitis C and HIV

    There are a lot of ways to get nasty viruses in a place like Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the doctor's office is near the top of that list.

    In a nauseating and shocking scandal, a Las Vegas clinic was discovered to be re-using medication vials and even - hang on to your lunch - old syringes. The result? As many as 40,000 patients were exposed to deadly viruses like hepatitis C and HIV. It's taken the biggest public health notification in the history of this country to let those thousands of people know that they've been placed at risk.

    This is the sort of story that usually originates somewhere in the third world like Eritrea or Burundi. But this happened in Vegas. And, unlike most things, it didn't stay in Vegas.

    You always hear me complaining about the current state of the healthcare community. But while I am routinely disappointed in how it can be so easily corrupted and influenced by corporate money, I can say that I rarely come across stories where doctors knowingly and willfully endanger their patients-but that's EXACTLY what's happened in this case.

    Thankfully, the surgical care centers and clinics involved in this scandal have been shut down. A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rightly said that he finds it "baffling that in this day and age anyone would think it was safe to re-use a syringe."

    And he's right. As you can imagine, the concept of a sterile needle is something that's drilled into a physician's head within the first few seconds he enters medical school. It's incredible and frightening that such a routine practice could be so easily abandoned on such an immense scale. The sterility of needles and surgical instruments is one of the cornerstones of modern medicine.

    The endangered patients need to immediately be tested for hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV - the three blood-borne viruses that could most easily have been spread from person-to-person with the dirty needles. What health officials fear most in this case is a widespread outbreak of hepatitis C, which is most dangerous because it causes no symptoms in about 80 percent of those infected. So people could unknowingly have hepatitis C assaulting their liver and doing irreparable damage. Eventually, the liver swells, causing jaundice (visible yellowing of the skin), fatigue, and stomach pain.

    As of right now, there have been six confirmed and acute cases of hepatitis C that are the direct result of the clinic's outrageous practices.

    But the question is, how on earth does something like this happen in the first place? How do such shoddy and dangerous medical practices become endemic in a given healthcare facility (to me, it's even more shocking that there are FIVE separate clinics within the same network that seem to have been doing the same thing!).

    Sadly, we'll probably never get a straight answer. The clinic staff has already fallen back on the "just following orders" excuse (popularized by the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials). The staff said that they'd been "ordered" to re-use vials and needles by the management in an effort to cut costs. Conveniently, this was an "unwritten" order, but apparently long practiced among the staff.

    Believe it or not, the majority owner of these clinics is actually a member of the Nevada governor's commission on healthcare!

    So at its core, this story has a lot in common with many of the other nightmares I'm always telling you about - the problem started with money. Doesn't it seem like a typically dunderheaded bureaucratic move? "We need to save money? Hey, I've got an idea - needles can be used more than once!" I'm sure halving or quartering the needle budget looked great to a spreadsheet jockey; I wonder how those "savings" look now? To me, this needle outrage is the biggest sin in a city that's known for sins.

    Urinary tract infections spread from an unlikely source

    Just because you stay out of the clinics in Las Vegas, it doesn't mean that you're safe from nasty infections. In fact, a new study has found that you could be exposed to E. coli viruses in the home that are carried by your pet.

    Minneapolis researchers have discovered that it's extremely common for humans and pets to share the E. coli that causes urinary tract infections.

    So, the next time you give ol' Rover a well-deserved pat on the head, you would do well to remember that cleanliness is next to healthiness. As always, the best way to avoid sickness and viruses of all sorts is to regularly wash your hands. You don't need anti- bacterial wipes or any other germ fighters - just simple warm soap and water.

    Sure, your dog is part of the family, and of course he's cute and cuddly - but he's also an animal who's probably rooting about in the yard and exposing himself to all kinds of things. So it's best to wash your hands as often as possible whenever you've touched your pet, and be sure that you keep your house clean as well.

  3. Tropical disease rampant in U.S. cities

    A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed some statistics that will give your notions about the living standards here in the U.S. a good shaking.
  4. What's good for the pet is good for the owner

    The right vitamins can be a boon to the health and quality of life for people and their pets.
  5. A cornucopia of craziness…

    A UK advocacy group claims that the average woman who wears mainstream cosmetics may be absorbing as many as 175 toxic chemicals every day!

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