Fake news and fear-mongering

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zeta1454
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Fake news and fear-mongering

Post by zeta1454 » 28 May 2018, 12:46

There has always been "fake news" spread in communities one way of another but nowadays it is even easier for people to be misled by those trying to sell a product or just create an atmosphere of fear as online social media adds to newspapers and posters. Where dogs are concerned, the biggest area of fakery and fear is around health: persuading people to buy unnecessary products, avoid exercising their dogs in certain areas or trying to influence their choice of food or need for medication / pesticide treatments for their dogs by scare tactics.

A particular topic that illustrates a couple of these is around the serious but poorly understood illness "cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)" which shares clinical signs with a disease that affected racing greyhounds in Alabama in the 1980s and which has been dubbed in the popular press Alabama Rot. Statistically the numbers of dogs affected in the UK is still very small. So far this year, there have been around 30 confirmed cases, with 40 cases in 2017 and 19 in 2016 out of a population of around 9 million so this really is not the equivalent of the Black Death for dogs as some journalists have described it. It is not as easily understood as the situation in the USA in the 1980s where the deaths were widely believed to be due to E. coli infection derived from the raw meat meal from diseased carcasses that had been fed to these dogs as a cheap poor quality food.

However, not only have some papers and other media spread fear stories of impending doom to dogs walked in certain areas of the country but some have quite falsely tried to implicate raw feeding dogs as the primary cause. A particularly badly edited item in one paper had a headline which said just that:
Raw meat could be cause of dead dogs, scientist warns

And goes on to say in the first line:
"A trend for feeding dogs raw meat may be behind the deaths of 40 pets in Britain, a leading scientist who tackled an outbreak of the same disease in America has warned."

I have highlighted the word "trend" as in context it implies some fad that has no basis in health or canine physiology. The article continues on this theme:

"Prof Fenwick said: “My first suspicion with the outbreak in the UK would be to do an epidemiological study of the dogs that have had the disease and see if in fact they had been fed uncooked raw meat.....That is becoming more popular with some dog owners and you can buy it in the grocery store sometimes.”

However, having pointed the finger at raw feeding being the cause of the UK dogs who succumbed to CRGV, the article goes on to say:

"However owners whose dogs have succumbed to the disease said they have never fed their dog raw meat further adding to the mystery surrounding the outbreak."

So the raw feeding headline and much of the text bear no relation whatsoever to the actuality of causes of CRGV in dogs in the UK but the notion however fanciful has been publicised and will doubtless have an effect on some who may not read such items critically or only scan the headlines. The full text is on this link:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health ... warns.html

As with anything that is shared, publicised or advertised in the media, always check via as many sources as possible whether this has any basis in reality or is just being used to influence opinion and attitudes. People can be manipulated in more than just political views by these tactics. It happens on a constant basis in vet surgeries where posters (and sometimes TV images) abound with hideous photos of parasites that may infect your pet or promoting regular vaccination with no attempt made to uphold the veterinary code of conduct by treating their animal clients as individuals whose ongoing health requirements should be individually assessed with evidence-based tests used to justify the use of e.g. flea or worming products or repeat viral vaccines. Frightening people into thinking that no dog or cat can survive without regular pharmaceutical treatments is very poor practice and does not instil confidence in the vets IMO.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Magic - Silversocks Sharade at Darksprite
Trilby - Darksprite Rosa Bud

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jacdales
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Re: Fake news and fear-mongering

Post by jacdales » 29 May 2018, 21:17

Thankyou for this article. I had read about the Alabama rot in this country, accepted it at face value and worried about taking my dogs in public places.
I feed mine good quality raw meat and imo this diet is what helped Hamish pull through when he had meningitis

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zeta1454
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Dog #3: Pip
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Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Fake news and fear-mongering

Post by zeta1454 » 08 Aug 2018, 15:07

Another health scare that has been circulating on social media over the past few months has concerned ice cubes and keeping dogs cool in the unusually high temperatures we have experienced in the UK recently.

I found this post by a vet which is interesting for the points he makes regarding some of the stories that get passed around on various dog sites and others and some guidance to spotting "fake news" on Facebook :)

https://vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2018/ ... ater-bowl/
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Magic - Silversocks Sharade at Darksprite
Trilby - Darksprite Rosa Bud

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Robin black mini
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Re: Fake news and fear-mongering

Post by Robin black mini » 12 Aug 2018, 11:00

I recall the health issues reported in the eighties for greyhounds being raw fed...I believe the problem is reporting lines get blurred..as I remember the issue was not the raw feeding per se, but the fact the raw meat was left outdoors in the dogs cages for too long and the resultant diseases were the result of poor hygiene on the part of kennel practices.

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mikegoodson1
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Re: Fake news and fear-mongering

Post by mikegoodson1 » 12 Aug 2018, 11:39

I have to admit I was a little taken in by the ice-cube post on Facebook but only partially because I know my dogs. So in the hot weather I continued putting the odd ice cube or two in their water bowl to keep it nice and cold for them and I have never given them an ice cube directly anyway.

Why do people do this? Post fake news I mean - are they idiots with nothing better to do? What purpose does it serve? It's just bizarre and really frustrating X(

I guess if you are a more experienced and confident owner, you can work your way through all the bull-sh!7 but for those of us relatively new to being an owner, you sort of tend to listen to different pieces of advice and take it at face value.

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