I pick on this one all of the time in the exam room. In fact, to me, this condition stands out among those things that are skyrocketing in incidence in this country. Why? Because the incidence of asthma in pets has not risen at all over the past 5-10 years. In fact, I believe that it has actually declined in my veterinary patients over the course of my career. How could that be when it has become the number one reason for children to repeatedly visit their doctor?
Check out these numbers:
26 million Americans say they were diagnosed with asthma sometime in their life.
10.6 million of these had an asthma attack in the last 12 months.
8.6 million are under the age of 18.
3.8 million of these young people also had an asthma episode in the past 12 months.
Asthma accounted for over 5,000 deaths.
Studies show that there are many more Americans suffering from undiagnosed asthma.
And yet, the numbers of asthmatic pets has not risen at all. Once again, I believe that they have actually declined since one certain, historic event took place…. we took ALL of the dairy products out of pet food. Yes, about 10 years ago, gone were the milk-coated puppy and kitten chows and gone were any trace of cow milk in commercial pet foods, except in those high-priced, “all natural” foods that were made by the misguided souls that think that lactose is the culprit in milk problems. (See lactose intolerance below for the disposition of that myth.)
“Oh boy, here he goes again… slamming milk. Is it the root of all evil, Dogtor J.?” some people are saying to themselves. Nope, greed holds that position. Spending time on this site drives home one big point, the reader quickly finds out. All of these “plagues” are related in one way, shape, or form and they are usually traceable back to the same foods. Once again, cow milk is the number one human (and pet) allergen for a very good reason. The allergies are warning you of the things to come. That is the fact I want everyone to grasp and hold onto tightly.
It all goes back to the concept of “safe mode”. Most readers know what I mean by that know, having read this over and over in my work. This is the point where your immune system says, “Enough is enough” and starts to (“over”) protect you. Keeping in mind that the body never makes mistakes, the reader must realize that the body is just doing its job when it constricts your bronchi and causes swelling of the nasal passages to limit the intake of foreign proteins. It is that simple. So, why does the immune system feel like this is necessary in some individuals and not in others? Why does this occur in such a range of ages, from the very young to the not so young? Because we are all on a spectrum here and there are too many factors to list to show why this is true, but we have to accept that differences in diet, surroundings, genetics, previous viral infections (oh oh) etc. all play a role in the degree of susceptibility to and manifestation of disease processes.
But, the moment we enter “safe mode” is usually pretty well defined. Asthma is one of those times. As with other forms of inhalant allergies, I am one million percent convinced that asthma (allergic bronchitis) occurs only after our immune system is “full”…it has reached it’s threshold of chronic problems and is now triggered to protect that person from other invaders, such as pollens, house duct, and animal dander. This just makes sense, doesn’t it?
The chronic problems relate back to those issues existing in the gut and are caused by the same foods that trigger the allergic response upon re-exposure. The damage is being done initially by the top three primary allergens…cow milk, wheat, and SOY (errrrrh) and once that damage is bad enough, “safe mode” is entered. Too simple to be true? Medicine is not THAT complicated, I’m happy to report.
The biggest problem that the layperson and the medical profession both face is the task of separating causes from triggers. This is seemingly an insurmountable task until one sees the Truth is just what the number one, two, and three primary allergens are doing. Then, it is downright academically simple. (Corn, by the way, is also a common cause of asthma in animals and people.)
The air pollution, cigarette smoke, inhalant allergens, et al are then mostly triggers, not causes. If they were causes, the incidence of asthma would be going up in pets at a similar rate to their human counterparts. This is simply NOT happening, as I have said. Combine this with the fact that I have interviewed a number of older clients (60 years and older) that were told when they were young that their asthma would resolve if they went off of all dairy products. They did and it did!!! End of story. Where are those doctors today?
Dear readers, wheezing is even listed as a symptom of cow milk (and soy) formula intolerance in infants. You can find that on just about any site that deals with infants and formulas. Also, doctors tell their patients regularly to go off all dairy products when they have a cold because these foods cause congestion. Cow milk has been identified as the number one cause of chronic sinus congestion in people, as well.
Are we all saying duuuuuh yet? We should be.