I write and talk about cancer often, because years ago, cancer was a household word here at Highmeadow Farm, not only with the dogs, but with the humans.
Cancer is a serious topic, and we've all had it in our lives personally, with family members or friends, and unfortunately with our dogs.
Until 12 years ago, as most of you know, we were losing literally all of our dogs to cancer as early as age 7. And, it was all kinds of cancer. Each loss was devastating to us, and there were so many, since we've always kept a number of dogs!
Yes we understood that cancer was the number one killer of dogs, yes we understood that giant breed dogs have a shorter lifespan than small dogs, but, there had to be something we could do to improve this situation. We were desperate!
In talking to our beloved vet, Dr. Norelli, we learned he was not a fan of fresh raw feeding, which, after doing some research, made sense to us once we began studying what really goes into dog food. We were convinced that the food we were feeding our dogs, albeit the "healthiest" and definitely the most expensive, was contributing to our dogs' health issues.
At some point during our research, we discovered Dr. Ian Billinghurst who writes and teaches extensively about the benefits of feeding a fresh diet. One benefit really caught our attention, that dogs fed a fresh raw diet are rarely diagnosed with cancer.
Shortly after that, during a routine visit to Dr. Norelli, he handed us one of his veterinary journals to take home. He told us that there was an article in the journal that dispelled all the myths about feeding a fresh raw diet to dogs, mainly having to do with bacteria, and that he fully supported the idea now! Hurray!
We jumped in with both feet in 2012, and began using Dr. Billinghurst's formulas to make our own fresh raw food for our dogs.
Our dogs went nuts at every meal, jumping, howling, whining, and barking, same as they do now. We knew this had to be a good thing. We even began raising our litters on our fresh food with great success.
In April of 2013, we began sharing it with our neighbors, and here we are today, making 4,000 pounds of Napa Fresh every month for us and for almost 200 local dog lovers. The best news is that we have not had cancer in our any of our dogs since 2012. Yes, we have lost some dogs over those years, but not to cancer, to severe mobility problems common in old, giant breed dogs, and some genetic heart issues.
The other great benefit we have noticed is that all but a couple of our 16 dogs have perfectly clean teeth, also very common with fresh, raw fed dogs. We haven't had to have any of our dogs put under anesthesia for a dental, and solved the couple of tartar buildup issues completely with Leba lll, which I have also written about.
Grateful doesn't begin to describe how we feel about our dogs thriving now into very old age, living longer than ever before, healthier, and cancer-free.