Fur analysis is an underappreciated way of learning things about your dog’s health.
Can fur analysis uncover quiet problems such as mineral deficiencies and toxicities, presence of heavy metals, and even state of your dog’s metabolism?
Toxins. Fascinating topic. On one hand, we have holistic vets talking about the toxic load our dogs have to bear, and on the other hand, we have those who keep saying that there is no evidence of such things.
In the earlier article, we took a look at the results of a study examining some of the toxic chemicals in the environment and their effects on the health of our dogs.
Clearly, there is evidence, one just needs to look for it! A failure to observe and document something does not negate its existence.
My dog nutrition course instructor, Dr. Ava Frick, DVM, utilizes fur analysis to assess dog’s metabolic rate, energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, stage of stress, immune system and glandular activity.
Hair tissue mineral analysis is used for biological monitoring of trace elements and toxic metals.
Jasmine’s fur analysis
We decided to get fur analysis done for Jasmine, hoping to gain new insights that could explain some of her lingering mysterious issues. It is totally non-invasive, so there is no downside, except, of course, the cost. But if we could get to the bottom of Jasmine’s elusive episodes, it would be well worth it.
Toxic metals results
What I found particularly disturbing are the toxic metals that were found. I really hoped that we would have been doing much better on that front.
What seems particularly shocking, are the high levels of aluminum.
Aluminum can come from aluminum cans and cookware, aluminum-containing antacids, antiperspirants, baking powders, drying agents, processed cheese, bleached flour, and drinking water.
Except for the water, Jasmine is exposed to none of those. We filter the water we give them to drink and cook with. I guess the filter is not good enough and we need to look into reversed osmosis instead and see what that will do.
Interestingly, all example fur analysis I saw are showing extremely high aluminum levels. There was not a single one that wasn’t showing this.
Nutrient mineral analysis is also thought-provoking. Most of her values are just about where they should be. Sodium is elevated, which points to the presence of inflammation. This agrees with the blood panel and urinalysis findings.
Potassium levels, however, are showing extremely low, which is interesting because the blood panel is not showing a problem with this mineral. Low magnesium does, however, reflect the blood levels, which were at the low end of normal. Manganese is not tested for on the blood panel, I wonder why.
Recommendations for Jasmine
Based on Jasmine’s fur and saliva analysis, we received the following interpretation and recommendations.
Jasmine’s thyroid and adrenal glands are not keeping up with the body demands.
With Jasmine’s thyroid hormone supplementation, the theory is that the adrenals are unable to keep up with those levels.
This is interesting in light of Jasmine’s medical history. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the process of trying to find the cause of her episodes that were getting quite bad at that time.
After starting thyroid hormone supplementation, the episodes went away for about half a year. We all thought that the problem was solved. But then the episodes returned. There also seems to be a cumulative nature to them.
Perhaps the thyroid and adrenals need to work in some kind of sync?
If that is true, then, theoretically, the very low thyroid hormone levels were messing with the balance. As the treatment was started, things temporarily leveled out, but later the thyroid hormone levels got ahead too far for the adrenals to keep up. Which would have brought back the episodes.
It is an unorthodox theory but it could explain things.
The recommendation is to start suggested supplements and then slowly lower the thyroid medication. Interestingly, Jasmine’s TCVM vet also felt that she would do better on a lower dose. We will, of course, do this with extreme caution, testing the levels along the way.
The biological reason for the high aluminum levels is the elevated sodium and the below optimal function of the adrenals.
Many organs are not running at an optimal frequency.
Not really to the point of a disease, but some may be overworking and others not doing what the body needs them to do. This agrees with the TCVM findings.
Active bacterial infection?
The results are showing evidence that Jasmine is positive for bacteria of some kind.
This worries me, after her fall tick encounter. It was a deer tick. We had it tested and it [the tick] was positive for Lyme. (I will write about all that soon) Jasmine’s blood tested negative when we ran the test, but that might have changed.
The lab is having a spring special on blood test bundles (yay!), so we’ll be testing for Lyme, Ehrlichia, Heartworm, and run complete blood cell count, blood chemistry, and thyroid.
Good news is that Jasmine’s present diet requires only minor adjustments.
Here are the supplements indicated by the results of her fur analysis.
|SP Canine Whole Body Support||Everything|
|SP Chezyn||Zinc and minerals for helping sodium level and organ function|
|SP Lactic Acid Yeast||Digestion, gut pH, and function|
|EndoMet Endo-Dren||Endocrine organs, adrenals especially|
|Pro-Inflazyme||Joint inflammation and pain|
Jasmine’s vet’s response
Jasmine’s main vet is being great.
He reviewed all the findings and recommendations. This stuff is fairly foreign to him but he is open to it. Just because some of the concepts are different, doesn’t make them wrong. Once I get all the recommended supplements we will give this a go and see where it takes us.
Starting the plan
I am quite comfortable with trying this; after all, all we are using is food.
To play it as safe as possible, and also to have a baseline to see the progress, we started with a thorough physical examination and blood tests.
We did a full blood panel, as well as checked her T4 levels, and tested for heartworm, Lyme, and Ehrlichia. The lab had a spring special on early disease detection for senior dogs, so we bundled in everything we could.
We specifically wanted to test for the tick born diseases, because of the tick Jasmine got in the fall. Dr. Frick’s analysis also indicated evidence of bacteria, which really made me want to make sure we are not looking at Lyme. All these things were negative, so that was great news.
Jasmine’s blood panel looked good; in fact, there was only very little difference between hers and JD’s (taking advantage of the special we tested his blood also).
Jasmine has the blood of a 4-year old! 😉
An interesting finding was her T4 levels, which were higher than the last time she was tested. In the light of the fur analysis recommendations, that is interesting. It also gives us some wiggling room to experiment with the dose of her thyroid meds.
Introducing the supplements
I was finally able to acquire all the suggested supplements. So far I have introduced four out of six, with no ill effects. With Jasmine, one cannot be too careful. It is our policy to always introduce things one at the time.
If we introduced a whole bunch of things at once, and it didn’t sit well with Jasmine, how would we know which of the new things is causing trouble?
So it is a good idea to always do one thing at the time. With a sensitive dog, this applies to just about anything, including food ingredients. It has happened enough times, that something we thought to be perfectly safe, turned out to be a problem.
So far so good though.
Once Jasmine is put on all the new supplements, then we wait and watch for changes. Follow up fur analysis will be done in three months.
Physical exam results
The physical exam also revealed some enlargement of the popliteal lymph nodes (nodes under the knee) but no direct cause was found. The theory is that they are caused by Jasmine’s muscle injury (she injured her iliopsoas). So we are working on getting those healed and will check the nodes again.
This is the same injury she had a couple of years ago.
That time it took seven months to fully heal! These muscles are tricky to deal with because they are really tucked away. This time I decided to try reiki, so we’ll see how that works out. It is hard to keep Jasmine subdued. She’s just all go, no quit.
One of the new supplements are anti-inflammatory enzymes, so maybe they can help out with this also. We are really curious what these new supplements can do for Jasmine.
Hair Analysis for Animal Health