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Why We Must Test Early on for Deficiencies and Toxicities in Our Pets

By Marlene Siegel, DVM


picture of a vet holding a puppy.

In my 40 years of clinical veterinary practice, I am seeing unprecedented levels of dis-ease in dogs and cats. I passionately believe, based on testing, that many of these diseases could have been prevented had the early imbalances been detected and corrected.


I have simplified the dis-ease model into four basic contributing factors:


1. Deficiency of Essential Nutrients: Essential nutrients are those nutrients that the body requires but cannot produce in sufficient quantities on its own. Animals need to eat them in their diet. Since we know most food today is nutrient depleted (because farming practices are not regenerative), this means we MUST supplement the diet!


2. Excess of Toxins: Our pets have six organs of elimination designed to eliminate toxins. The problem is that in our current world, the toxic burden has exceeded the capacity of the body to effectively eliminate them. Since World War II, there have been over 100,000 synthetic toxins released into the environment. Our pets are exposed to toxins in tap water, chem-trails, glyphosate (in rainwater and many foods), hormones, chemicals and pesticides in non-organic foods, cleaning products and body care products loaded with xenoestrogens (endocrine disruptors). Many toxins that cannot be eliminated are stored in fat. In most patients, there is a combination of deficiencies and toxicities.


3. Mitochondrial Dysfunction: This results in a decrease of energy production (energy is required to run all metabolic activity) and it also affects biological activity and gene expression. The mitochondria communicate with the microbiome to turn on or turn off gene expression.


4. Trapped Emotions: All dis-ease has trapped emotions associated with the dis-ease. Identifying and resolving trapped emotions is a specialty trained skill.


Case Studies


I will now present two cases involving dogs around one-year-old who have presented with common complaints that most veterinarians would have treated with symptom suppression medication (antibiotics, steroids or non-steroidal meds) without identifying or addressing the root cause of the disease.


These animals would likely have had intermittent relapses or new dis-ease symptoms develop as they aged, and possibly result in a chronic degenerative end stage dis-ease like cancer.


Case 1

Meet Sophie

A four-month-old female/spayed toy Aussie


History: Sophie presented to me for a second opinion. She had pain and lameness of the right rear hip. Her owners had noticed a week-and-a-half prior that Sophie would limp and sometimes hold her right hind leg up for ten seconds or longer. Her pet parents assumed she hurt her leg playing with her older/bigger sister but after a couple of days and no improvement, they decided to take Sophie to her vet. Her primary vet performed X-rays and diagnosed Sophie with “Avascular Necrosis” of the right hip. The veterinarian recommended non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and monitoring. If she didn't improve then a full hip replacement would be needed. The owners gave the medication but stopped when they noted it was not helping.


Diet: A freeze dried commercial “raw” diet (I will leave out the name because they use synthetic vitamins and most of the animals tested on this diet have elevated levels of cobalt). 


Medications: A commercial flea preventative (not one I would have approved of due to toxicity levels).


Sophie’s Lab Results: 

  • It was shocking to see how deficient Sophie was in copper, manganese and molybdenum. The calcium magnesium ratio was exceedingly low, and the copper zinc ratio was alarmingly low.

  • Magnesium is more accurate using the Veterinary Diagnostic Institute (VDI) methodology, so we began supplementation.

  • Vitamin D was insufficient, impacting the ability of the innate immune system to function properly and necessitated supplementation. Carnivores derive their vitamin D from their protein source, and herbivores convert vitamin D from sunlight. 85% of dogs and cats eating a commercial processed diet will be vitamin D deficient because the meat used in these diets are from animals that have not had sufficient time in the sun.

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a tool for identifying osteoarthritis. This could explain the hip pain and the equivocal increase in thymidine kinase 1(TK1) which is a marker for cell proliferation and may be associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis or cancer. 

  • Based on the radiographic evidence I had at presentation, I did not agree with the diagnosis of Femoral Head Avascular Necrosis (Legg-Calve-Perthes disease) but I will repeat radiographs in a few months and re-evaluate.

  • A complete blood count (CBC) and serum chemistry panel was unremarkable other than the liver enzymes, a specific enzyme called alanine aminotransferase (ALT), being a little on the low side.


vitamin and mineral deficiencies lab result


toxic elements test results for pet

Treatment: 

Sophie’s diet was improved, and I added natural supplements to reduce inflammation. Within a few days, Sophie was not limping.


Case 2: 

Meet Ziva

A 13-month-old female intact Australian Shepherd


History: Ziva presented with a skin rash. Her pet parent was astute and did not want a symptom suppression approach, she wanted to identify the root causes and resolve them.


Ziva’s Lab Results: 

  • It was utterly shocking to see how nutrient deficient Ziva was in all the elements tested!!!

  • She also had exceedingly high levels of antimony and moderate levels of lead, strontium and arsenic. 

  • Similar to Sophie, the high cobalt is likely due to supplementation in the diet of synthetic vitamin B 12.

  • Ziva is vitamin D insufficient and has elevated TK1 and mild inflammation.

  • Though Ziva was not showing any joint pain yet, her elevated HA is an early warning sign that she does have osteoarthritis. The mild inflammation – evident with the elevated canine c-reactive protein (cCRP) –is likely to go to the weakest link in the body, and in Ziva's case, it appears to be her joints.


pet lab results for toxic elements


Toxic elements lab results for dog

Treatment: Ziva went onto a raw food diet (Evolove Raw) which was supplemented with Evolove vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Her skin issues cleared in days.


In conclusion, early detection of deficiencies and toxicities enables early intervention. I observe dramatic improvements in patients who switch to a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation, routine detoxification, and a healthy lifestyle.


Currently there are no retrospective studies and no long-term studies to support the theory that early intervention could alter health outcomes, but it is my belief, based on clinical experience, that we can not only improve the quality of these pets’ lives, but we greatly impact anti-aging and longevity.



Marlene Siegel, DMV











Marlene Siegel, DVM

BRMI Veterinary Advisor


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