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Via-Pet Health Scan - Canine Longevity

A one-minute sample collection of your dog's hair may ensure their lifetime of health

The ultimate bio analysis of your dog's health testing a sample of their hair using mass spectrometry
The biology, psychology, and uniqueness of your dog- the guide to a longer, happier relationship

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Why are we testing the dog's hair? Why not blood?

Hair is the definitive, scientific, long-term record of substances that are, and have been present, in the dog's circulatory system, and that have a major impact on physical and mental health
The most important route for substances to enter the hair follicle is via the bloodstream. Because of rapid cell division in the cells forming hair, the hair follicle is provided with a good blood supply. Substances circulating in the blood will thus also be delivered to the hair follicle.

For these substances, the matrix cells of growing hair have to diffuse across the cell membrane and once inside the cell, the molecules of substances present in the blood will be protonated and not able to diffuse back into the plasma. The most important hair components for drug binding and interaction include the Keratin and melanin in the hair shaft and the substances they entrapped in blood provide a clinically precise record of a wide range of what we should be concerned about

The advantages of a hair sample over a blood sample are obvious. Collection is non-invasive, easy to collect at home, and the window and levels of substance detection are extended to months compared to hours for a blood analysis. Blood provides a snapshot at a point in time of substances of concern but obviously a test that gives us the daily average levels over a 90 day period, is significantly more informative than a blood analysis covering a period of perhaps up to one day: a Hollywood movie versus a snapshot.

Your dog is your life partner, and it is important that at least once in their lifetime, and preferably while they appear to be in good health, you should take a proactive step to help ensure your relationship will be long-lasting.

Nutritional elements in your dog, even in trace amounts, are vital to health, assisting in the production of critical biochemical processes. Of the thousands of enzyme reactions that control your dog's metabolism over 80% depend on trace minerals for activity.

Cortisol (one of the glucocorticoids) causes an increase in the concentration of glucose, fatty acids, amino acids in blood and can also be measured in urine. This ensures the body's cells are fuelled with energy, helping the animal to be primed and ready for action.

Cortisol is a clear indicator of stress. High levels of cortisol are linked to anxiety, social phobia, and emotional deprivation. They are indicative of increased blood pressure and heart rate.

Nutrient Minerals: The electrolyte minerals - Calcium, Magnesium, Salt, Potassium - and trace elements such as zinc, selenium, molybdenum and iron.

Toxic Metals: Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium and uranium.

When minerals are deficient, the kidneys automatically reduce the water volume in the body. This leads to dehydration, disease and premature ageing. These dogs appear to age faster and become more stiff, immobile and sick as a consequence of this depletion.

Two examples of deficiency

As an example suppose the test results show a deficiency of calcium, what are the potential problems?

A deficiency of calcium is a warning sign that vital bodily functions such as bone and teeth formation, blood clotting, muscle contraction, heart pumping and the metabolism of hormones and enzymes could be adversely affected. It would be prudent to consult your veterinarian and take steps to rectify the deficiency.

How about a selenium deficiency?

A selenium deficiency, something most dog owners never consider, and happily in most cases there is no need for concern. But insufficient selenium intake can cause serious health problems, including Kashin-Beck disease, which is characterized by the degeneration of the articular cartilage between joints, thyroid disease and a variety of cancers.

These are but two examples of the many areas, that hopefully you will never encounter, but should be aware of. The Clear, easy to understand report, will prove enlightening.

Those areas are linked to toxicity, but just as important is what the test reveals about excessive levels of minerals that are causative factors in toxicity.

A report from the World Health Organization estimated that 85% of all disease is linked to environmental pollution. Testing reveals that the same heavy metals that make us sick also are killing our canines. Persistent low-level toxic exposure effects the body's nutrient mineral balance, resulting in symptoms of illness and ultimately, death. Toxins are known to be an underlying and aggressive cause of the alarming increase of cancer in animals. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in canines two years of age and older

The excessive production and use of heavy metals in our environment can expose dogs to acute cases of heavy metal poisoning, but this article is not about acute poisoning (which is fairly well understood) but persistent exposure to low levels of heavy metals is what this analysis is intended to show because nearly all dogs are victims of this insidious type of exposure.

If nutrient minerals are not available in adequate amounts the body will actually substitute toxic metals (minerals) in their place. This is like using tissue paper to plug a leak, at some point it fails. If the levels of toxic metals are too high in the body's soft tissues, they will displace vital nutrient minerals. Leading to cellular dysfunction, disease and death.

Five common toxic metals that affect most dogs.

  1. Aluminum (Al 13)
  2. Lead (Pb 82)
  3. Mercury (Hg 80)
  4. Arsenic (As 33)
  5. Cadmium (Cd 48)

Take aluminum as an example:
Aluminum is the most common toxic element found at high levels in dogs. The most common source is their food. Other sources include vaccinations, medications, and in-utero transfer. Gloria Dodd, DVM submitted 17 commercial dog and cat foods for testing by atomic absorption methods. The aluminum content ranged from a low of 17 mg% in canned wet foods, to a high of 855 mg% in the dry kibbled product.

Aluminum interferes with the absorption of a number of essential elements including, iron, fluoride, phosphorus and calcium. It inhibits gastric muscle contraction and can cause constipation. This disrupting effect on the essential minerals leads to endocrine gland dysfunctions as these glands all depend on balanced mineral ratios. These dysfunctions include hypo- or hyperthyroidism, hypo- or hyper-adrenal, hypoglycemia, diabetes, dry dull coats, dry or flaky skin, and digestive disorders due to lack of pancreatic digestive enzymes and lowered stomach hydrochloric acid.
Aluminum is a neurotoxin. Central nervous system symptoms found in dogs with aluminum toxicity include chewing wallboards and door knobs and trying to catch imaginary objects in the air, and aggressive, violent behavior.

The Cortisol Test Component

The cortisol analysis - a critical

Causes of Elevated Cortisol Level (Hyperadrenocorticism)
The pituitary gland produces the adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) as directed by the hypothalamus. This hormone stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete glucocorticoid, which is a cortisol-like hormone. The glucocorticoids are responsible not only for the reaction of the body to stress but also for some metabolic functions such as regulating the blood sugar level, the fat metabolism.and the immune system. The causes of canine hyperadrenocorticism may include some factors such as:

Some breeds are at greater risk to develop Cushing's disease including German shepherds, Golden and Labrador retrievers, terriers and poodles. Pituitary dependent Cushing's is more common in small dogs, under 20 kg (44 pounds).

Physical Symptoms of Elevated Cortisol

The symptoms of high cortisol levels can vary and they tend to appear gradually and progressively. Some of the most frequent symptoms of the disease are:

Psychological factors

Have you ever thought about what goes on inside your dog that leads to an escalation in unusual behaviour - and possibly a dog bite?

When Fido's body is placed under stress his body springs into action. Hormones called glucocorticoids are released, and a 'feedback loop' is created. That means once the hormones are released and reach a particular concentration level, these hormones will - at the same time - stop the factors that stimulate their release, and this helps the body to regulate itself. However, when a dog is placed under prolonged stress this feedback loop can break down.

A dog that experiences prolonged periods of stress can end up with all sorts of problems that we don't necessarily see, from damage to the internal organs to mood disorders and behavioural changes.

Taking a hair sample is easy

The best places to sample are respectively the shoulders, flank and forehead although any body hair is functionally suitable. We require about 90 to 120 hairs which is about the total diameter of a pencil. Hair should be snipped as close as possible to the skin, and if long enough, hold it together with the supplied clip and card. Place the hair sample in the supplied paper envelope. In The case of shorthaired dogs if less than a half inch in length of hair can be obtained, two samples should be taken.

Follow the instructions in the kit you received and sample collection is actually very easy for you and your dog