The Fan Hitch Volume 8, Number 2, March 2006

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

In This Issue...

Editorial: Tradition: Passing the Torch
Fan Mail
F.I.D.O.: Kevin Slater
Dog Yard Noise
Road Food Inuit Dog Style
Differences in Mushing: Greenland and Arctic Canada, Part III
How Much is That Doggie in the Window?
Product Review: MAXIGUARD® Zn7™ Derm
 IMHO: People, People, People

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
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Product Review.....


reviewed by Sue Hamilton

In Section 6 - "Dermatologic Diseases" - of Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy VII (W.B. Saunders, Publisher, 1980) there is a chapter entitled "Zinc Responsive Dermatoses in Dogs". Author Gail A. Kunkle, D.V.M. describes "Syndrome I" in which crusty skin lesions appear principally on the head but are also sometimes seen on the legs and elsewhere on the body. The author identifies Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes as particularly affected, suggesting that "sled dogs represent breeds that may require more dietary zinc than others" and that the stress of work and environment (extreme cold) may increase the need for dietary zinc to the point where deficiency becomes apparent in the form of these lesions. Dr. Kunkle touches on the role phytates may play. Phytates, found in plant based protein (soy) as well as the grains that make up the carbohydrate portion of commercial dog foods, are known to chelate (bind and render unusable) minerals such as zinc. Although there is much valuable information in this chapter, we must remember that it was written in 1980 (maybe even earlier than the publishing date of this text book), in the infancy of super premium dry dog food. Much research has gone into canine nutrition since then and today's dog owners have access to high quality feeds that address concerns raised decades ago. For example, soy is no longer used, at least in the premium brands. 

In a recent telephone conversation with Eric Morris, former biochemistry and cell biology research scientist and now owner of Redpaw Feeds, he stated that the process of making kibble destroys about 90% of phytates and that makers of quality dog food incorporate enough and the right balance of vitamins and minerals to assure that AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) requirements are met in the finished product after the rigors of manufacturing and that the desired results are enjoyed in the form of healthy dogs. His extensive experience with many breeds, including hard working hunting dogs, has lead him to observe that zinc responsive dermatoses are more universal than just sled dogs and may be more work related than breed specific. Morris did indicate that poorly formulated diets and over supplementation were contributing factors to zinc deficiency related problems. He agreed, however, that while in theory it would seem the primitive Inuit Sled Dog, historically having had no exposure to plant based proteins or grains, may be more susceptible to the zinc chelating affects of phytates (especially in the presence of excessively high levels of calcium in the diet, which interfere with the absorption of zinc), this has yet to be proven. We concurred that it would be great if a research project could be undertaken to further study the real causes of zinc responsive dermatoses as well as explore our theory that the primitive physiology of Inuit Dogs makes the breed more susceptible to the effects phytates and low zinc levels.

Having said this, it is important to know that there exists a huge body of research proving how and why zinc is an essential component of the wound healing process. Even dogs with adequate levels of zinc can and do benefit from wound healing agents incorporating zinc into their formulations. And given the Inuit Dogs' passionate and intense social relationships with other members of their canine community (e.g. they enjoy a good brawl every now and then), it makes sense to choose a wound treatment that includes zinc.

For many years I've been using MAXI/GUARD® Zn7™ Derm Natural Antipruritic/Astringent Skin Conditioner. I consider it such a valuable asset as a wound-healing agent, that the bottle is kept as part of my dog emergency supply kit for use after initial wound cleansing. There are two  "formulations", a pump spray and a gel. The spread pattern on the spray bottle is narrow enough so none is wasted. The aqueous gel formula is cohesive enough not to drip all over the place, yet it flows well into areas it needs to reach - a perfect balance.  Given that Zn7™ Derm comes with us on the trail, the bottle holding the gel version may be easier to use once thawed out (under an arm pit) than a pump spray bottle. Speaking of freezing, the manufacturer says, "We have purposely frozen the Zn7™ Derm and thawed it at normal room temperature with no change in efficacy, consistency or shelf life." Glad to know that. 

Aside from the "dings of battle", we've had a couple of dogs with foot pad problems likely due to this past fall's unusually wet weather. All wounds have healed very nicely by applying Zn7™ Derm twice daily. The dogs don't seem to have the desire to sniff at or lick the treated area. The manufacturer also recommends their product for hot spots and moist dermatitis and adds that insects dislike it, a real plus for spring and summertime wounds.

MAXI/GUARD® Zn7™ Derm comes as a 28 g (2 oz) squeeze bottle (gel) or a 28 g (2 oz) spray and is available only through veterinary supply distributors directly to veterinarians.  Here's the contact information for the company. They are happy to help your veterinarian find a source.

Addison Biological Laboratory, Inc.
507 North Cleveland Avenue
Fayette, Missouri 65248 U.S.A.
Phone: 660-248-2215
Toll-free: 800-331-2530
Fax: 660-248-2554

Is there a useful product you'd like to tell everyone about? Email your experience to or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.

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