Canine Health

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” - Eckert Tolle

In this section of our web site, you will find brief yet informative and factual summaries on Canine Hip Dysplasia, natural immunity, and dewclaws interjected with our own pondering on the subjects. We invite you to take the time to browse around. For links, in-depth downloadable files visit here or here.

Before scrolling down the page, please read this message from all of us at Highland Glenn:

    "All too often when it comes to the care of our companion animals we allow various “experts” to think for us. We trust what they say, believe those ads with cute puppies and kittens or the long-time breeder. We've all done it. The responsibility of deciding what you will do for your companion, however, rests squarely on Your shoulders, and yours alone. Many have learned to be proactive about the health care and nutrition of human family members. Even livestock husbandry is improving. Why not the care of the devoted companion animals relying on us?

    It is our earnest hope that each of you will use your own mind and listen to your instincts. Learn what is best for the animals entrusted to your care. For their health and happiness please investigate the facts for yourself, immerse yourself in research, ask questions, look at all sides of an issue, thoughtfully consider what seems logical and reasonable. And then whatever you do, do not dismiss the evidence simply because it upsets your long-held views. Never stop learning and questioning!

    Our dear companions trust us; they look to Us for their care. Have the courage to be their voice!

Tom and Krystal
& the canine crew


"There is no shame in not knowing something. The shame is in not being willing to learn." - Alison Croggan

Hip Dysplasia

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer



Consider this: Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) was first diagnosed in 1935, this was approximately 5-10 years after the introduction of commercial dog food. Yet, here we are over 70 years later with generations of breeding dogs tested and selected for clear hips, and still, we haven't managed to get rid of it. During that same period of time, we've continued to feed our dogs a processed diet completely inappropriate for the species. Mere coincidence? Absolutely not. Thus, the reasonable question is raised: If genetics is not the main cause of CHD, then what is?

The fact is there are several secondary factors which influence the development of dysplasia, one being growth patterns. Feeding a high calorie, high protein diet produces rapid growth and weight gain thus increasing the chance and severity of CHD if the genetic potential is present. This rapid growth is especially contraindicated in puppies between 3 months and 10 months of age. Obesity is another factor as excess weight exacerbates joint degeneration. Too much exercise and jumping activities at a young age also contribute.

The amount of calories a dog consumes and when in its life they are consumed appears to have the biggest impact on whether a dog may be prone to hip dysplasia. We believe nutrition is the key factor in growing sound dogs!** Incorrect nutritional values are where bone growth problems begin- when the muscles fail to develop and mature at the same rate as the bones, it leads to joint instability. Commercial dog food is too high in protein, fat, calories, carbohydrates, and calcium (too high or too low), and conversely too low in bioavailable vitamins and minerals due to processing, all of which contribute to the development of CHD through improper muscle growth. 

To reach their full potential, puppies and dogs need a Species Appropriate Raw diet.

The second most important factor is the oft-overlooked production of hormones. Hormones affect the development of joints, bone, and muscle. When spayed/neutered at an ever-increasingly young age as is now common, rapid cessation of those growth hormones adversely affects proper development. This fact is recognized in the show ring and in livestock as well.

    **In 1997, a book called "The Thirty Years War 1966-1996" was published in Germany by Marc Torel and Klaus Dieter Kammerer about the role nutrition plays in the development of CHD. Unfortunately, it hasn't been translated into English yet, however, a summary of it can be read at: The Error of the Millennium in Veterinary Medicine.

Front Dewclaws

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer


We are not against the removal of "front dewclaws" by other breeders, nor do we view this fairly painless practice as cruel, but it is unnecessary and does impact a dog’s life.

HG does not remove front dewclaws from our puppies. Our Natural Rearing philosophy is about life as nature intended. The 'front dewclaws' dogs are born with are normal and functional, part of their beauty.

The term "front dewclaw" is actually a misnomer, though widely used. The term dewclaw properly refers to the claws on the rear feet, common in the Briard, Beauceron, Great Pyrenees, and Kangal Dogs. Although some claims about the functioning of those rear dewclaws are dubious, x-ray reveals they can also be attached by bone.

In contrast, the fifth toe of the foreleg is neither an ill-formed remnant nor the characteristic of a remote ancestor, virtually all dogs are born with five toes on their forefeet and all five toes have functional uses in the everyday life of a dog. Many people do not realize that on the foreleg those fifth digits are essentially thumbs, complete with their very own pad- fully functional and movable, used for grabbing the earth in running and turning, as well as for grasping objects, climbing, and grooming the face and ears. Dogs also use them while eating to hold large chunks of meat.

Evidence suggests that they are also acupressure points. Yes, a dog might injure that digit, but they injure other toes much more commonly. Does it seem logical that simply because injury might occur it's wise to cut off all such appendages "just in case"? Not to us!

Canine structural experts such as Dr. Chris Zink found that the fifth toes of the foreleg serve an important function in athletically active breeds. Research has shown that performance dogs without these digits are more likely to suffer carpal injuries as well as other related injuries. On a fast turn those thumbs dig in, providing stability and balance, and the carpal pad provides cushioning as the front dewclaws actually come in contact with the ground's surface. Now, does that sound unnecessary to you?

"Another Look at Dewclaws"- by Fred Lanting

Natural Immunity

“A person who is not vaccinated has one risk: catching the disease. A person who is vaccinated has two risks: catching the disease and damage from the vaccine. That damage is vaccinosis.” Judith DeCava, “Vaccination Examining the Record”

The immune system is very complex and involves many organs and systems of the body. It is still beyond the full understanding of modern science. It begins when puppies are born and receive hundreds of antibodies through their Dam and her colostrum. Interfering with the immune system in the way allopathic veterinary medicine does dysregulates the immune system, causes disease and damages DNA passed on to future generations. Vaccines within the human and animal populations have literally altered their genetic make-up.

Natural exposure produces the strongest, safest and most effective immunity response. Take notice of the following natural action: for several weeks after vaccination with a modified live virus vaccine a dog "sheds" particles of the virus into its environment via stool; when another dog is exposed to the "shed" virus it triggers an immune response. The immune system receives low-level stimulation to produce antibodies just the same as if it were exposed to the actual disease.

This natural immunity is worlds safer since it is through a natural means of exposure (inhaled or ingested through mucosal membranes, rather than injected) and at a greatly diluted concentration. Whereas attempting to “trick" the immune system by vaccination with an abnormal pathogen actually impairs its normal defense process, producing an abnormal response. A body must be able to recognize a virus or bacteria in order to overcome the challenge on its own.

There are so many harmful aspects to vaccination it's difficult to know where to begin. So, let's start by reviewing the typical medical schedule for a young dog. By the time a dog is two years old it has been subjected to:

  • Deworming chemicals at 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age

  • Vaccines are given approximately three times before the age of 16 weeks, in combos of 5 or 9 different viruses

  • Rabies vaccine anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks old

  • A microchip implanted at  8 to 12 weeks old

  • Topical insecticide flea/tick products monthly during warm weather

  • Spay/neuter with anesthesia, pain medication, and possible antibiotics by the time they are 6 months old

  • Second rabies vaccine at 1 year old, another at 2 years

  • At 1 and 2 years old, 5 or 9-way vaccine boosters given

  • Heartworm drug monthly during warm weather in some locales

  • Deworming chemicals annually

    Is it any wonder why today's canines suffer from so many chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders after such an extended duration of assaults on their immune system? On their own, some of those may seem minimal, but month after month, year after year the damage adds up. Generation after generation the damage continues to compound.

    Vaccines are an assault on the immune system, even more so when given as combination shots. Then there are adverse reactions, ranging from a limp to diarrhea to loss of appetite to seizures and even death. These reactions don't have to be immediate or within 24 hours but can occur weeks or months afterward, auto-immune disease years later. Time and time again vaccination damage leads to the early death of companion animals due to cancer.

    All vaccines contain toxic ingredients such as, but not limited to, antibiotics, aluminum, formaldehyde, Polysorbate 80, and Thimerosal (a preservative that is 49% mercury). Such toxins are repeatedly being injected into our animals, yet vaccines aren't a 'protection' guarantee. In fact, 1 in 10 dogs vaccinated for Parvovirus still contract it. 90% of protection comes from the immune system; vaccines are designed to catch the remaining 10%.

    While conducting a five-year study, Purdue University was able to say in only three years that they found dogs given 1, 2 or Zero vaccinations were healthier than the dogs that had the typical annual vaccinations. Juliette Di Bairacli Levy realized that 70 years ago. Nothing in science indicates dogs need annual vaccinations.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley