My name is Joke Miedema, I live in the North of the Netherlands with my husband, two sons, our three Border Terriers and two cats. I am the owner of the cramping Border Terrier Spike.
At the end of the year 2001 I was desperate about Spike's condition. He had 2-3 epileptoid episodes per week. In November I joined the American BT List to hear if there were more dogs like him around. After I told the list Spike's story I received a lot of support. Because there was no name for this cramping condition; it soon was called 'Spike's Disease'. Later this condition was given a scientific name; CECS.
March 2002 I created an international support list for owners of cramping Border Terriers, to help and support them. I called the list 'Spike's Disease'. One of my first messages to the list was :
'I stopped feeding Spike rice, bread and spaghetti and he is showing great
improvement. Could it be some of the vegetable proteins (wheat) what is in the
food that harms our cramping dogs?'
Somehow it lasted till spring 2004 before my friend Karin Holsbeek (Karin is he owner of cramping Border Terrier Britt) and I finally discovered HOW true this question had been. Karin and I often talked about which ingredient in our dog's food triggered their episodes and one day we both concluded it must be gluten. At that time Britt and Spike were on a raw gluten free ready made food but since Karin and I didn't see any harm in them eating breadcrumbs and other gluten containing food they weren't fed 100% gluten free. After our conclusion we started to feed our dogs a 100% raw gluten free diet and both our dog's showed a dramatic improvement. We felt confident enough to start a Dutch e-mail list where we would recommend raw gluten free food only for cramping dogs.
April 2004 the Dutch e-mail list 'Spike's-Disease-NL' was born. This decision to start a Dutch e-mail list has proven to be a success! It was a relief for most Dutch owners they could talk about their problems in their own language. People trusted us enough to start feeding and treating their cramping dogs the way we did it; raw gluten free. At the moment we have 17 list members who almost all are feeding their cramping dog a raw ready made gluten free diet.
Beside those 17 members we helped a lot of owners by telephone or e-mail. The condition of all dogs has improved; their episodes became much lighter and further apart. Ailments a cramping dog can suffer from; besides cramping like e.g. itchy feet, obsessive licking of the feet, chronic ear infection, anal gland problems, eczema, hotspots, bloody diarrhoea or ADH behaviour almost totally vanished once the dogs were fed 100% gluten free. All those ailments must have been a sign of a gluten intolerance too. Some members; whose dog was prescribed Phenobarbital or Kalium Bromide; successfully weaned their dog's off medicine. Some of them stopped vaccinating their dog, all of them stopped using flea and tick repellents and most of them stopped de-worming their dog.....Most owners have chosen to feed a frozen ready made raw gluten free food. Karin and I are preparing the raw food for our dogs ourselves.
Our discovery has brought the health and pleasure back in our Dutch cramping dogs. They look and act younger in behaviour and posture. Karin and I never thought our dogs would grow old; but Britt celebrated her 15th birthday last September; and Spike his 9th birthday in November; both in better health than ever before!
Website Spike’s Disease (CECS): http://www.de-border-terrier.com/spikes-disease