What is Canine Health Concern?

Canine Health Concern (CHC) is an organisation that was formed in 1994 by Catherine O’Driscoll after two of her beautiful young Golden Retrievers – Oliver and Prudence – tragically died.  She asked, “Why?” and the answers that came back were sufficiently disturbing to make her feel that independent research was necessary – free from commercial bias.  Catherine was sent scientific papers* which told her that commercial pet food can be nutritionally inadequate and that many deficiency diseases are the direct result of poor feeding.  She also learned that the annual shots we give to our pets each year, in the belief that we are protecting them from disease, could be the largest cause of ill health in our pets today.

CHC advocates real food (species-appropriate) for dogs.  They go on to explain that this is food that Mother Nature has designed, over millions of years, and which has made the species thrive for millions of years.  Members of CHC who have reverted to a CHC-recommended natural diet have reported illnesses easing or disappearing and vet bills plummet.  The CHC diet survey showed an 85% drop in the number of veterinary visits once dogs were changed to real food.

Canine Health Concern was a big factor responsible for the huge popularity of the book, ‘Give Your Dog a Bone’ written by Australian vet Ian Billinghurst. They publicised the book widely throughout the UK and North America and brought Ian to the UK on his first seminar tour outside Australia. Today, thanks to this hard work and financial investment, the raw meaty bone diet is here to stay. Catherine said that their reward is the knowledge that, around the world, thousands of dogs are now thriving

*Visit the CHC health resources page on their website to see research papers and other useful information.

Catherine O’Driscoll’s Books

Catherine’s books include:

What vets don't tell you
In 1997, CHC published the book, Who Killed the Darling Buds of May? This seminal work brought together, for the first time, the scientific evidence to prove that vaccines may be the biggest killer of companion animals today. Revised and expanded in 1998, it was subsequently reprinted as a second edition in 2007 under the new title of What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines, the book became an official word-of-mouth best-seller. CHC members can be proud that their hard work contributed to the largest canine vaccine survey ever to be mounted, one that has the potential to contribute significantly to veterinary medicine.
Shock to the systemIn 2004 a follow-up book, Shock To The System, was published to bring together all the different areas that affect health.
The real epidemicThe Real Epidemic – Preventing and Treating Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases in Your Dog [and Yourself] is a brilliantly researched, wide-ranging, and comprehensive treatise on canine health and disease. This book is a deeply scientific and respectful expose of the causes of so much ill-health and suffering in the modern dog. Catherine takes the reader through the workings of the immune system and the man-made products that impact upon it. She explains what is happening, specifically, when your dogs get allergic reactions and autoimmune disease, as well as cancer. This is a great starting point for you to help, along with your vet and CAM practitioners, prevent them from occurring in the first place.
The Animals’ Agenda is a personal development book for humans, written from a dog’s perspective.
It illustrates how humans, with their advanced cerebral cortex, get caught in programmed patterns of behaviour that are unhelpful and even destructive to their lives. Animals operate mostly from their heart-centres – they don’t get stuck in the mind traps that humans do.  As such, animals have helped humans to find peace since the beginning of time.
You can purchase these books, DVDs and many other things via the CHC store

CHC advocates the use of complementary and alternative healthcare for pets. This includes homeopathy, natural flea and worm prevention, Bach Flower Remedies, Chiropractic, Emotional Freedom Technique, Reiki, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and more.

The research and much information about these topics can be found on the CHC website.

Membership of CHC

You can become a member of CHC. Their advice could reduce your vet bills substantially and save you from unnecessary heartache. Quoting from CHC, “Putting it colourfully, if you feed real food and stop over-vaccinating . . . you’ll be quids in!”

Continued membership supports the work of CHC and their mission to improve the lives of dogs in the world.

Membership of Canine Health Concern”, Catherine says, “is a declaration on your part. You are saying that you are now taking your power back, and taking responsibility for the health of your animals.”

TV Documentary

In 1998, Canine Health Concern’s work became the subject of a prime-time TV documentary, World in Action, which has been networked around the world. Since that time, pet food manufacturers have launched what they describe as better quality processed food, and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association has mounted its own research into vaccine damage – fronted by the UK veterinary vaccine industry. This led to positive changes to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines concerning the frequency of core vaccines.


In 2008, CHC members funded the DVD, In Search of the Truth About Dogs which received the Best DVD award from the Dog Writer’s Association of America. The DVD has continued to be a wonderful tool for CHC members and the general public alike to spread the word and show pet owners the truth about canine health.

In order to bring all the various TV, DVD and YouTube videos and appearances together, CHCTV was created to provide a comprehensive free resource.

CHC Store

In 2011, the CHC Store was created to bring together a range of quality and safe, natural and ethical products, providing pet owners with alternatives to commercial and potentially toxic chemical-based products. All the books can be purchased here as well.

Pet Welfare Alliance

Although already a worldwide concern, in 2012 CHC branched out to form the Pet Welfare Alliance to bring together an international community of campaigners to act as a watchdog for the poorly legislated multi-billion pet products industry. It comprises pet owners and veterinarians from around the world who join together in strength to take practical, positive action to protect the wellbeing of pets. Their aims are to expand awareness and understanding of the multi-billion international pet products industry, and the potential harm that is being done to pets by elements of it, and to raise awareness within the pet-owning community to effect positive change on behalf of our pets.

There is a lot of useful information on this website too so it is worth dedicating some time to look through it.

Catherine O’Driscoll

Catherine with her Golden Retriever, Edward

Reading the list of research and information above it is hard to believe this was largely achieved by one person. The moment she discovered why her beloved dogs had died so young she was on a mission to stop it happening again.

Carol Fieldhouse, CAM practitioner:

I remember attending several of Catherine’s events – evening talks on dog health and also a weekend seminar on Animal Communication and EFT. Given the passion for her work and the high profile she had, I was really surprised the first time I met her to find a quietly spoken, loving and gentle woman. She had pushed herself to stand up for the animals because nobody else was doing that, even if it was out of her comfort zone sometimes and despite various attacks from those with vested interests who didn’t like her message. That made her all the more inspiring and adorable to all those whose lives she touched.

“For one initiative, Catherine wrote to every local authority to inform them of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA guidelines) which state that annual vaccinations are often not necessary. Many of the authorities issued licences to boarding kennels that insisted upon vaccination certificates and this was contributing to over-vaccination. The alternative of providing blood test (titer test) results that show immunity for certain diseases** was proposed as a valid alternative.

**More information about this can be found on the CHC or Pet Welfare Alliance websites

Catherine sadly died in the early hours of 12th November 2020 after suffering from Motor Neurone Disease for some time. Despite its progression, her husband and partner in CHC Rob said:

She remained defiant and resilient, and thoroughly beautiful and the most incredible human being.”

 Rob has set up a tribute page that also serves as a history of Catherine’s and CHC’s achievements. You can see this at: https://caninehealthconcern.weebly.com/catherine.html

Catherine’s words from the website:

“Years into CHC’s campaign, the veterinary profession is still vaccinating animals annually – even sick and elderly animals who should not be vaccinated. There is no scientific justification for annual vaccination. Indeed, veterinary specialists have been telling their colleagues for many years that it should be stopped. This leaves you – the animal guardian – with the imperative to gain knowledge, for it is time we stopped killing our animals in the name of love.

CHC’s message is sometimes distressing – but we promise you this: take our advice on board and feed real food, and stop over-vaccinating your animals, and – providing you haven’t left it too late – you and your beloved pets will be glowing with happiness. You should never have to stand over the body of your dead friend and say, “If only someone had told me.”

Catherine’s work is continuing

Rob is taking it forward so any donations and purchases you can make to help keep it going would be gratefully received.

CHC relies upon membership to function. So, in addition to supporting and helping to keep CHC on an even keel and helping to keep Catherine’s tremendous legacy going, new members get:

CAM4animals and CHC

Sara Kernohan, a founding member of CAM4animals said:

“Catherine was the first person I approached when the RCVS statement on Complementary and Alternative Health was released. It was Catherine who put me in touch with my fellow Co-Founders of CAM4animals. So without Catherine, we may never have been formed.

Catherine lead from the front, guided and inspired so many to find the best way to treat their animals in as holistic a way as possible. She is a very great loss but she leaves behind a tremendous legacy.”

The two organisations have different focuses and reasons for existing, yet are agreed about the benefits of integrated healthcare for our pets and the importance of keeping them as healthy as possible using the gentlest and most effective means.

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

This blog may also contain an element of consumer opinionWhilst CAM4animals welcomes positive recommendations for holistic healthcare products, we don’t necessarily endorse the product or the author’s opinion. We acknowledge that each animal is an individual and may react differently to the highlighted product/s. There may also be other products available that produce similarly positive results.

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website