a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Health Myths Debunked Here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Health Myths Debunked Here

SUMMARY: A public service announcement with an agility slant.

While we bate our breaths in anticipation of tomorrow morning's appointment at the car repair facility--whereat I will also receive probably a RAV4 as a rental car for hauling dogs around in--I bring to you some useful agility news from Consumer Reports on Health.

This month's (March 2009) issue's cover story is "Accepted medical advice that misses the mark." Try these on for size, you dog-agility readerships out there.

1)You need to drink the eight 8-ounce cups of water a day. Fah! False! CROH says "that erroneous advice seems to have originated some 70 years ago from a misreading of government recommendations for total fluid intake from beverages and food, not just water." (The emphasis is the mine.) (Several people seem to be using the the recently, so I'm going with it.) Even the Weight Watchers (with whom I am intimately familiar, thank you very much) have embraced the revised information and clarified that that liquid comes from ANY source--e.g., that orange you had from the free breakfast at the agility trial, that latte that you drank to wake you up for that 7:30 start-line lead-out (but tsk tsk no more than 1 caffeinated drink can count, because as we all know, caffeine is also a diuretic--just it's not as bad as the Conventional Wisdom has led us to believe).

2) Everyone gets enough Vitamin D. Way false!
While all you clever agility people are wearing big floppy hats and long pants and long sleeves and slathering on the sun lotion so that you can avoid the skin cancer so that you can keep doing the dog agility, you may also be cleverly depriving your bodies of Vitamin D. CROH says "Even in the sunniest climes, there's now evidence of widespread vitamin D deficiency [as a result of avoiding sun on the skin]." They (the infamous "they") have linked "a host of illnesses and conditions" to lack of de D. Including depression, cancer, osteoporosis. So, many people will need supplements. To avoid the depression that makes you think you'll never be a good agility handler and you might as well give your dogs away to any random person because they're likely to be better than your pathetic self is. Which none of us ever think, really. Am I right?

3) Stretching prevents injured or sore muscles. False also! It is now an old wives' tale, assuming that the wives are teaching aerobics and basketball and such, that has been debunked. It prevents neither. But stretching IS good for you for the limberness, the coordination, the range of motion, balance, and posture, all of which we know are critical for being the best agility handlers that we can be, although I'm not sure about posture (except how about you hunched-over little dog handlers, though?). So DO stretch, but do it AFTER exercising when your muscles are warmed up. 'Struth!

4) Arthroscopic surgery eases knee pain. False oh falso! You may all have read, as I did, about the recent study where they TOLD people that they were doing the arthroscopic knee surgery and put a little incision in the knee but didn't ACTUALLY do it, and the people got exactly the same relief as when they did the real "clean out the joint and repair the torn cartilage" thang. Now how stupid do I feel about having had arthroscopic surgery and then my knee got (mostly) better? Was I one of the test cases and they didn't tell me? And how about all those dozens of other agility people who've done the same thing? You know who you are--I talked to you all after I had my surgery and we had a whole big reunion thing there next to the agility ring. So I'm thinking, gee, maybe what fixed my knee wasn't the surgery--it was the enforced rest, the super antiinflamatories, the ice machine icing my knee constantly day and night (yes really!) for a week or more that really did the trick. So you might want to consider that instead of surgery if that's what you think you're facing to be able to keep doing the agility.

OK, the article also talks about angioplasty, flu treatment, cough syrump, dental x-rays, blood pressure, and antioxidant pills. But the agility link is not so clear there. So you'll have to go read the article yourself. Be informed!


  1. Did they give vicodin and all the other fun surgery drugs to the fake knee surgery patients? Maybe that's why they felt better. Can I sign up for some fake knee surgery? Cause I don't want to go through the real thing again and my knee hurts.

    I've always thought drinking all that water in a day was ridiculous.

  2. Right, I'm sure the vicodin helped, too. The trick is that the knee issue has to be your basic "cartilage messed up, will clean it up a bit" kind of surgery. If so, you could self-treat by doing exactly the same things for the same amount of time that you'd have done post-surgery. Icing, meds, rest, crutches, physical therapy...

    Water, yeah, I always argued that my soft drinks counted because what's the difference in terms of getting fluid between drinking a soft drink or drinking 12 oz of water followed up with some flavoring and sweetener? No diff.