Saturday, November 24, 2012

A little misinformation goes a looooong way

This blog is in response to a young lady who has some major misconceptions about dog breeding and ethical breeders in general. I feel it is my job-nay, my DUTY to educate her.  Here is her blog post:

Now as a breeder I am seriously offended. As a dog owner I am relatively offended.  As an educated member of the canine community I am saddened. As an outspoken, intelligent, (usually) reasonable human being I am challenged.

So as my kids would say


I am going to refute and/or provide additional information to each of her points. I don't propose to tell you WHAT to think-I only ask that you DO think. And use all the information-not just a snippet provided by a biased point of view that obviously (as you will see) does not have the whole story.

1. Each breed is designed for a purpose. Just as I would not want your rescued Boston Terrier mix looking for my child lost in the wilderness, I would not want to put a Great Dane mix in a 25th floor 1 bedroom studio apartment. And I agree-many times you can find breed specific rescues. Of a mix of the breed you prefer-but there are no guarantees with a mixed breed. I will cite 2 examples.
     a. We have a rescued Dalmatian mix. Let me start with YES-we love him. He is a member of our family and has been for almost 10 years. However, he has issues. When I say issues I don't mean run of the mill variety like jumping on people or pulling on the lead. As an behaviorist and trainer those are easy to fix. Our boy has temperament and health issues. He is fear aggressive-which although I have made GREAT strides with him socially, he still can be a problem. The uncontrollable barking whenever someone comes over is the least of it. He tries-but his issues push him beyond his threshold so the barks escape. Sporadically, not incessantly-which is what tells me he is trying but mentally cannot do it. He also has gone after people unwarranted. We have been fortunate-he hasn't hurt anyone. But we have to watch him at home, as he doesn't have self-control. His health has been an issue for some time-severe allergies that manifest as skin problems. We call it Zombie face. Yes, it is that bad. So between vet bills, maintenance care, special food and cleaning products he has cost us more than all of our breeder obtained dogs combined.
     b.  My husband has allergies. He can't even be around cats, and our shorthair dogs aggravate them as well. However with my poodles he is fine. Although we can do a pretty good job of guessing breeds from the shelter, it really is only a guess. I will not guess with the health of my family. And when talking doodle mixes, it is a crap shoot as far as the traits you may get. With my poodles I can GUARANTEE they will have hair-not fur, which is drastically more likely to cause an allergic reaction.

2. I agree that you can get a pup from the shelter. Maybe. If they have them at that time-and they are healthy, and they are a breed that will fit your family/lifestyle. And we are back to what it may be-I personally know of a family that adopted a "lab mix", which is a common generalization in the rescue world (almost every medium to large dog is a lab mix apparently). Then this pup grew up and displayed a look which very closely resembled an American Pit Bull Terrier. Since they lived in a place with BSL (which is a WHOLE nother post in itself!!) they had to get rid of their family member. Can you imagine telling little Suzy and Johnny that Buster has to go live somewhere else because we didn't know what he was when we brought the cute little furball home 9 months ago? How heartbreaking that was for the kids....I can't even explain it!  I also know of a lady that was just getting a "medium" sized mutt. Surprise!!!! It was a Great Dane mix. It barely fits in her Ford Focus!

3. Um, wrong. Just flat out wrong. ANY breeder of quality has one goal for the pups not staying there, and that is to make sure they are staying with the family that buys them. So as a canine professional, we spend years learning personalities and place our pups accordingly. Not to mention when the family is happy with Fido, word of mouth is very positive. When Granny is looking for a couch buddy and someone who doesn't mind the speed of her walker, but gets the most obnoxious, dominant pup in the litter chances are she is NOT going to be very happy. Not at all.  We watch these pups from day one. We spend time with them, socialize them, evaluate which would be good show or working prospects and many times the ones that don't fit the bill are too laid back or quiet. Feisty is good in a working dog-not as good in a house dog. Most rescues get pups in and adopt them out very quickly. With adult dogs it takes about 2 weeks for them to show their true colors-now take a baby who doesn't even know what to think yet, and it is very difficult to know what their temperament is.  Also, breeders have/know the parents. Genetics, folks!! It works!

4. I have 2 small children. I brought home a coonhound on a trial basis. This dog engaged with my older male shepherd mix (rescue) every day we had it, and with little to no warning. The last time the 2 of them ended up right outside my 4 yr olds bedroom door. Had he walked out just then it could have had devastating consequences. Then I couldn't get the rescue to take him back. I will be the first to tell you that rescue sucked and should never have been in business. But I will also tell you that if one of my puppy buyers called tonight and said I don't want this dog anymore for reason a, b or c-first thing in the morning I would be heading out to meet them and pick it up. But as far as her point-I need to know the dogs coming into my house are not going to be a danger. And many times without knowing the background of the dog, we have NO idea what will set it off. What if its the clarinet. And my daughter happens to play. Until that dog takes her face off-and how were we to know it was beaten daily with a clarinet?

5. Breed for money? BAAAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAAAHAAAHAHAHAHA....oh...wait...let breath...BAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!   Oh that's rich!!! LEGITIMATE BREEDERS DON'T BREED FOR MONEY!!!!  They breed to have somewhere to spend their money. Lots of it. More than we even keep track of-because then we may not breed!!!  People that "breed for money" are creeps. And dirtbags. And puppy millers. Here is just a taste of a dollar comparison:
Money made on pups a year:   most breeders have 1-2 litters a years. Depending on the breed there could be 1 to 15 pups. Smaller breeds tend to have much smaller litters. So for my breed, average is about 9 pups. Selling price is say $1400. I sell my whole litter, and "make" $12,600. AWESOME!!! Thats a lot of money!!

Now, what did I spend this year?
- food $1820.00
- maintenance vet visits $750
- show entries approx $1500
- grooming supplies $300
- genetic testing $1000
- travel for shows $600
- stud fee $1400
- vet bills for normal pregnancy $300
- prenatal vitamins $75
- whelping supplies $200
- vet bills for emergency/problem pregnancy $400 and up
- advertising litter $100
- registering litter $75
- shots for pups $75
- extra supplies for caring for pups $150
- pup food $40
Now I am quite sure I forgot some costs, but for the sake of argument I will stop here. So the grand total is $8785....hmmmm? So did I make money? Yeah-almost $4000!! Woo hoo!  Except one of the pups doesn't make it. So that is minus $1400. And I kept 2 for myself as the next generation (I don't breed unless I want something from the breeding, you see) so that brings the profit margin to a negative $385. Oh-did I mention the litter was only 7 pups, not 9? Let's see, now I am negative $3185.

You can see very quickly how proper care and maintenance for our dogs, special care for our pregnant dogs, and then care for the pups eats away that big old sum of profit quite fast. Ethical, legitimate breeders know darn well they aren't going to make any money. We do it because we truly love our breed. Our goal is to continue the breed we find to ba amazing, and strive to make it better.

I want to tell you I am NOT against rescuing. I have rescued dogs in the past and they have been wonderful. And for the general population a rescue is great! But breeders are pretty great too. Ethical breeders are not the reason for overpopulation of shelters. It the dirtbags that DON'T do it for love. And don't have a passion for the well-being of their pets.

Not to mention if you get rid of breeders, don't you think we are going to run out of these amazing animals? If everyone with a rescue pays and neuters, and we find homes for all the homeless dogs and kitties.....where are the new ones going to come from?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Holistic or horrifying? Canine care and controversy

**Note-although this started with dog info, the concepts are quite balanced between human and even if you don't have pets please keep on a' reading!!

This post is regarding something near and dear to my heart-my dogs. Let me first say they are dogs. They are not my "furkids", they don't "love"me (Trust and respect, yes. Depend on, pretty much.) and they live like dogs. Cared for and integrated into a household sure, but they are still DOGS.

Now that is not to say my attachment to them isn't very strong. I have lived without dogs for a time and I was very unhappy and unfulfilled. I spend a good portion of my day caring for them and alter my schedule to accommodate their needs. I have also done an extensive amount of research on health care and nutrition. **Please note, I am not a vet nor am I a professional nutritionist. The knowledge I have is because it was very important to me to be able to care for them properly and to be honest, because preventive care is SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper than curative, as long as you don't blindly follow every recommendation you read/hear/dream about.

So in the process of my research, I came across an.....interesting......theory. Which apparently came from studies on humans. Accordingly to a Dr. Johanna Budwig cancer can be easily cured by a simple dietary adjustment. So before I even get any further a number of things are racing around in my brain.

  1. Why do so many people still get/die from cancer?
  2. How can a diet attributed to an omnivore be so effective for a carnivore?
  3. Who actually BELIEVES this bizarre crap?
So to be fair, maybe there really has been One of the most important and far reaching health discoveries of the Twentieth Century (Swami Sivananda)1 and I just missed it. I do spend a substantial amount of time watching the Disney Channel and Syfy!  Since my father had lung cancer twice now, and cancer treatment for dogs is quite expensive in the event any of mine get it, well I certainly should investigate shouldn't I? o_O

So in the interest of science (as opposed to hope or blind faith) I have looked into this "cure" as objectively as possible beginning with the originator, Dr. Johanna Budwig. Who was this unbelievably talented woman that the world lost in 2003? I am pretty shocked myself that with all the media buzz about cancer research and the multitude of causes that her face has not been plastered everywhere!

According to the Budwig Center website Dr. Budwig was a qualified pharmacologist, chemist and physicist with a doctorate in physics who worked as the chief expert-consultant for drugs and fats at the former Bundesanstalt fur Fettforschung (Federal Institute for Fats Research).2 who was nominated for the "alternative Nobel Prize" seven times. 

The Health and Well being site by Swami Sivananda describes her as  a German biochemist who is a leading European authority on fats and nutrition.1 who was nominated for the "Nobel Prize" seven times. (Please note the difference between described nominations-and below find a comparison of the 2 along with other relevant information). And apparently cancer was not her only forte-She used her methods to successfully heal terminal cancer patients, people with heart diseases, arthritis and other ailments after they had been given up as hopeless by the conventional medical practitioners.

The Holistic Dog (the site which initiated this little venture) states Dr. Budwig holds a Ph.D. in Natural Science, has undergone medical training, and was schooled in pharmaceutical science, physics, botany and biology 3

In the interest of time and boredom (both mine and my readers) I am not going to cite every single website I went to to find a description of who Dr. Budwig was. Suffice to say many Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Also known as "CAM") websites confirmed the 7 time nomination, as well as others saying 6. I found the "german biochemist" designation on quite a few, but as far as her Ph.D. about half I found said physics and half said Natural Science-whereas NONE said both so I am not quite sure where that disconnect happened.

Apparently even the CAM folks cannot agree on this protocol however, as I found a Dr. Weil who is a self-professed "Integrative Medicine" specialist-and an actual MEDICAL doctor. His opinion is that its probably a pretty darn good idea to eat flaxseeds-ground, and instead of just the oil as oil has no fiber and goes rancid rather quickly. And putting it in cottage cheese is good for you as well-personally, I think cottage cheese is quite tasty and a good way to put dairy into my diet. I have used it with the dogs to put healthy weight on, especially for my very active working dogs and pregnant/nursing bitches. So Dr. Weil's opinion of this is as follows: This sounds completely fanciful to me. For the record, I found only four studies by Dr. Budwig in a medical literature search. None of them supported her "cancer cure.

So at this point I am still not sure what kind of education this person pursued. "Will the real Dr. Budwig please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?" However I do understand scientific research, and that not everyone who is an expert on something  has a degree. I fancy myself an expert on behavior modification and am pretty dang good in the medical arena (won't be performing any major surgery any time soon, so please don't ask. Besides, I don't take insurance) but I don't have a degree in either. I do a lot of research, and have an extensive amount of experience in both, as well as having a college education which includes aspects of both. Just haven't completed the degree yet. So I can see where she may have just gained the knowledge required to research these topics.

Now time to evaluate the research (this should be FUN!).

Many people regard patient testimonials as valid evidence that something worked. "Hey, it worked for me so it must be a completely valid and dependable treatment!" I can understand this completely, as scientific research includes results of the test-ALL the results. That means looking at how many test subjects were used, what factors were involved in each group of test subjects, and what the results were for each test subject, broken down by group. This is what determines the efficacy of what is being tested.

For example, take 400 test subjects (assuming animals) with the SAME KIND of cancer. Split into 4 groups. This is very important as the factors surrounding each cancer vary so much, to compare skin cancer and lymphatic cancer would completely invalidate the test-just due to statistical percentage of cured cases.  (This is going to be a very simplistic example-trust me when I say there are many more factors in reality!) Group one is given the proposed treatment with no other lifestyle changes. Group two is given the proposed treatment as well as a very regulated and controlled diet, which is consistent throughout every test subject in the group. Group three is also given the controlled diet, however no proposed treatment. Group four has no treatment, and no lifestyle change.  After a set amount of time the condition of each subject is recorded noting any health changes. They are compared to each other, and that is the initial test. Now, in the interest of science, a true test has repeatable results. So anyone else can perform the outlined procedure and achieve the same results. And this needs to be done a number of times to verify the accuracy of the initial test. It takes into account human error,and unaccounted for factors. 

So we did our experiment and found out our treatment alone cures 73% of subjects. With the dietary change it goes up to 87.5% (yay us!) The other two groups saw rates of 42% with the dietary change and 17% with no lifestyle change whatsoever. Keep in mind I am making this stuff up! So I would say we gots ourselves a purty good treatment! So another scientist comes along and performs our procedures and within about 5% gets the same results. That is a good thing. 2 more give it a shot, and again within about 5% replicate the result. This is a good example of a cure that is going to get a heck of a lot of attention! Now, if the next scientist came along and got a cure rate of 40% with our treatment and 42% with dietary change, and no change with a 12% cure rate.......well, people are still going to talk. But we sure won't like it. Now he could be a we talk a couple more guys into trying it. Unfortunately the results look a whole lot more like the first scientist's than ours.  Chances are that "cure"..well, wasn't. HOWEVER-we still cured ~40% of our subjects, right?? And that is pretty good-especially for the 40%! Well, we could go hide...or try to find a different cure....OR we could start advertising!!!! Assuming a larger test group, say 4000, it could look something like this "Revolutionary new cancer cure! Hundreds have tried it and seen that big bad disease go away!" or "Live cancer free like the other hundreds who have used our special peanut butter waffle cure!"  :-/

I bet the owners of the dogs (of course, for this blog lol) would be ecstatic to give us testimonials too! Just think-a website with hundreds of cured Boo-boos and Fidos and Triggers and Spots.........

So is a testimonial a good source of data? Here are a couple of pages that have some very good info-Highly recommended reading  :-)

So essentially, if I want the truth about this I cannot base it on patient testimonials. I need actual, recorded clinical test results with all the factors possible taken into account. Um, that could be a problem. Because I can't find any. I looked-really I did.
(by the way-if you notice that one is actual from an alt/comp medicine site)
(another site with a substantial amount of talk about CAM)
A video with some info on Budwig's diet and the fact that is has no clinical data to back it up.

So at this point I have some unreliable testimonials, and the only clinical data is that she never got past rats in the testing process, and apparently didn't even track those results in such a manner that we could make sense of it.

Add that to the fact that IF there really was some kind of green, gelatinous goo in place of hemoglobin in a cancer patient's blood I would have to imagine at least one other person would have noticed it.....and yeah, thanks-but I think I will stick with my vet's guidance if my dog gets cancer. Not to mention one of my loved ones!

Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!

Alternative Nobel Prize vs. Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prize as stated on :
Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award

The "Alternative Nobel Prize" is actually something called the Right Livelihood Award and was developed by  Jakob Von Uexkull after his suggested additions for environment and human development awards were rejected by the Nobel Prize committee. (Authors opinion-While being very admirable awards, they really do not focus on science or medicine so carry little weight as an award with respect to doctors in cancer research....don't cha think?)

In addition, as far as the Nobel Prize and the Right Livelihood Award, anyone can be nominated. I can nominated myself. Or my husband, child, neighbor I don't even like or heck-I could nominate my dog. A nomination is no more than a letter written to the committee-of either award-saying I think you should give this person (or dog) the award because _____________. 

Lastly, the nominations for the Nobel Prize each year are kept sealed for 50 years, and nominees are never informed if they were even considered for the prize. So unless these sites have some serious contact with the prize committee, I have a hard time understanding how they confirmed this information. But then, I guess so do they-since depending on where you go it is 6 or 7!

Come get kicked in the face for the craic!

This is a blog by a man who I have come across via Twitter. I have read many of his posts, tweets and the like, and definitely appreciate his views.  Worth checking out!!

Come get kicked in the face for the craic!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stick me with WHAT?!?!

So adult immunizations-who knew? Well, apparently not me. Or at least not enough. Sure I have kept my Tetanus shot up because I have been known to get hurt. And lockjaw? Yeah, not my thing.  Well at TAM2012 I met some people from the health activism group, "Hug Me , I'm Vaccinated" and was enlightened even further.  I have always been a proponent of childhood vaccines. The evidence is such that it cannot be denied. Well, it can, but not with any sensical basis. And since this post is about ADULT vaccines, I won't be having that discussion.

So what vaccines are recommended for adults? And why?

is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat. This material can block your windpipe so that you have to struggle for breath.1  

Can I just say...YUCK!!!  

is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it's marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whoop." 1

Now this may not seem like a very big deal-nasty cough, antibiotics, all good. With Pertussis the biggest danger is not to yourself as an adult (unless you have a compromised immune system or are elderly), but to the children you may come in contact with-infants are extremely susceptible to whooping cough and have a severe reaction which can end in death. Since 2004, a mean of 3,055 infant pertussis cases with more than 19 deaths has been reported each year through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. 2  And while 19 is a small number in the grand scheme of things, when you compare it to none for a disease that has a reliable vaccine it is a mountain of dead babies-especially to the parents who lost those babies.

is a serious bacterial disease that affects your nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions, particularly of your jaw and neck muscles. Tetanus can interfere with your ability to breathe and, ultimately, threaten your life. Tetanus is commonly known as "lockjaw."1

So no food, no beer, and the worst case of muscle cramps ever??  Oh, lest we forget, you could SUFFOCATE too. Yep-count me out thanks!

So those three up there can be taken care of in one fell swoop with the Tdap vaccine. There are some other ones that are available and are recommended by the Center for Disease Control

Or Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.3

My past view on this has been that this is an unnecessary vaccine. That it only vaccinates for a couple versions and there are so many it is better to just fight it out if you happen to catch it. After doing some research I have been enlightened substantially. One in 10 Americans gets the flu each year. While 90% of deaths are in the elderly, many deaths and hospitalizations occur in otherwise healthy children and adults. And even a "mild" case of the flu will make you miserable for a week.4  And a week is much longer than the reaction you may get from the vaccine. According to the CDC, up to 20% of Americans get the flu each year. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year, and about 3,000 to 49,000 deaths are flu-related4 

As far as the reaction from the vaccine, it has been thought to be as bad as the flu, that you will get a bad reaction and "probably" won't even get the flu and even that everyone gets a reaction.  These ideas are suppositions from people based on fear. Fear of needles, fear of disease and in some cases spread by conspiracy theorists who like to believe the government and drug companies are out to get us. In reality, the vaccine is not the horrible danger many people (formerly myself included) think it is-just the opposite. According to the World Health Organization the most effective way to prevent the disease or severe outcomes from the illness is vaccination. Safe and effective vaccines have been available and used for more than 60 years. Among healthy adults, influenza vaccines can prevent 70% to 90% of influenza-specific illness. Among the elderly, the vaccine reduces severe illnesses and complications by up to 60%, and deaths by 80%.5  And while I can only make an educated guess on this, it seems to me that the WHO has better things to concentrate on than "how the U.S. government might be trying to screw its own citizens"!

(chickenpox) is a highly contagious disease that is very uncomfortable and sometimes serious6

I am going to let this one speak for itself-check out this link:

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs.7

Expectations (prognosis)

Those who do not have complications such as pneumonia do very well.


Complications of measles infection may include:

  • Bronchitis
  • Encephalitis (about 1 out of 1,000 measles cases)
  • Ear infection (otitis media)
  • Pneumonia 8

Mumps is an infection caused by a virus. It is sometimes called infectious parotitis, and it primary affects the salivary glands. Mumps is mostly a mild childhood disease. It most often affects children between 5 and 9 years old. But the mumps virus can infect adults as well. When it does, complications are more likely to be serious. Mumps virus is present throughout the world. It is spread by airborne droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs and by direct contact with an infected person. 9

Rubella  commonly known as German measles or 3-day measles — is an infection that primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. It is caused by the rubella virus (not the same virus that causes measles), which is usually transmitted by droplets from the nose or throat that others breathe in. It can also pass through a pregnant woman's bloodstream to infect her unborn child.
It's a generally mild disease in children; the primary medical danger of rubella is the infection of pregnant women because it can cause congenital rubella syndrome in developing babies.10
As you read through the descriptions for the above three, it may strike you that in each description it is noted that these are "mild childhood diseases". Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are three very dangerous infectious diseases which cause severe morbidity, disability and death in low‐income countries.11   Also as with many diseases, the susceptibility for a more serious illness increases greatly as seen above with measles.

Now a typical response might be "but we are not in a low-income country". Below you will find an explanation on "herd immunity" and an example of a pathogen path, explaining how you are at risk even though your residence isn't in a third world nation.

Genital Human Papilloma Virus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives. About 20 million Americans are currently infected, and about 6 million more get infected each year. HPV is usually spread through sexual contact.12

Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. But HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. In the United States, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year and about 4,000 are expected to die from it. HPV is also associated with several less common cancers, such as vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, and anal and oropharyngeal (back of the throat, including base of tongue and tonsils) cancers in both men and women. HPV can also cause genital warts and warts in the throat. 12

There are a few other recommended as adults, however they have high-risk factors which indicate who should get them. You can find the current guidelines at I strongly recommend doing your own research through the websites listed below to see if they apply to you.

This is a pretty neat little video outlining adult vaccine necessity:

So now that I have outlined some of the most important general vaccines (again PLEASE check out the guidelines to see which others fit your own personal situation) you may still wonder why as an adult you need them. Some of these we received as children going through school vaccines. Some are for relatively minor diseases, or so it may seem. Or diseases that are much more prevalent in other countries-places that you or I may never even go.

As far as vaccines we have had as children, the immunity has a end life. We need to "reboot" our immune system to account for loss of immunity or even adaptations in the disease. For example, the flu vaccine that was given out last year may not cover the same strain of flu that is projected to be the most prevalent this year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does an extensive amount of tracking to determine which are the top 3 strains for that year so as to develop the vaccine with the most efficacy, or chance of being efficient.  And the 30-40 years that may have elapsed between now and your last Pertussis vaccine, well that is a long time for your immune system to store that antibody information. Especially considering how hard it has worked trying to keep you healthy over those years.

"Herd immunity" is another concept I mentioned above. This is the idea that if one person is not vaccinated, but everyone that comes in contact with that person has been, who is going to infect the non-vaccinated party? So in cases where someone cannot get vaccinated due to age or health, you play a vital role in helping to keep that person safe. Because that disease that was just going to be a minor inconvenience to you could be the death of them!

To address the idea of prevalence in low-income countries, we are going to take a little trip. First we will make the assumption that the parties involved have not gotten an MMR booster as an adult. So I am going to TAM in Las Vegas (Woo Hoo!) In between conferences I sit down at a good ol' slot machine and try to get rich! Well, that doesn't work-but I do get something. o_O You see, this particular slot machine had a visitor right before me. This gentleman had flown in from Germany yesterday. He was feeling pretty lucky, because only a week ago he had a fever, bad cough, swollen lymph nodes and rash. So he got all better just in time for his trip.  Now previous to his American vacation, he was travelling from Sweden for work. He took a train, and sat next to a very fetching young Swedish beauty. They talked at length about the amazing trip she had just taken to Samabula in Fiji. 

So now fast forward to the end of TAM, and my journey home. (yes, sad I know) I am quite excited as I just received news that my favorite cousin is expecting! So as soon as I can manage I go to visit, and share the great experiences I had in Las Vegas. Unfortunately there is something else I share, because 4 days after my visit I come down with a rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes and cough. Now being unaware of the danger of Rubella (come on, I was vaccinated as a child!) I figure I have a nasty cold or flu and just suck it up. However this "cold" turns into a lifetime of sorrow.

You see, being the loving cousin, so thrilled to know a new babe is joining our family, I exposed my cousin and her unborn child to German Measles (Rubella). And here is what we are now dealing with instead of the joys of pregnancy and anticipation of birth:
 Up to 90 percent of infants born to mothers who had rubella during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy develop congenital rubella syndrome. This can cause one or more problems, including:

  • Growth retardation
  • Cataracts
  • Deafness
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Defects in other organs
  • Mental retardation
Can you imagine having to live with this, and the poor child who is most likely going to suffer with the results-if they even live? Just because you didn't want to get a shot??

Thank you for reading, I hope you learned something. Now please excuse me, I have to go call my Doc and schedule an appointment. ;-)








Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hello world!

So as you may have gathered by my title, I am a simple skeptic. Not simple minded however, as I supposed that would be quite the oxymoron. By simple I mean I remain relatively happy without a lot of effort. I love my family, I enjoy spending time with friends, I thrive on a good stimulating conversation and I spend as much time as possible outdoors and doing activities with my pets.

That being said, education is a vital part of my life and the choice of hubby and I on how we raise our children. Too many people are still choosing to teach the next generation based on outdated information and so-called facts that have no supporting data nor basis in truth. Our choice is to teach our children to question everything. We have been fortunate enough to have our children in a school where the educators are progressive enough to support this-for the most part. Now, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for an 8 year old to correct you in front of 27 other children but hey, right is right....right?

As far as my brain fodder, much of it comes from a lifelong passion for science, especially the biological sciences. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Biology. I have a strong background in animal behavior and behavior modification. I also have a very intelligent husband who introduced me to the skeptic community.

Why barefoot? Simple answer-it's comfortable. ;-)

So enough about me, let's get to the good stuff! And thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. I am always up for a lively discussion or a respectful debate.