HAPPY 4TH

This is a famous painting by John Trumbull of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, completed in 1819. It hangs in the US Capitol. I’ve included an edit of the painting by Arlen Parsa for reasons that I will explain later.

On July 4, 1776, these men made it known to the world that they were no longer a part of the British Empire. In 1763, many of them helped defeat the French and their Indian allies in a war partially about controlling the Ohio River Valley. The men in this painting wanted that land; George Washington himself speculated on thousands of acres there. When that war ended in 1763, however, the British told the Americans they couldn’t move to the Ohio River Valley. Moreover, the British told those Americans they were going to have to help pay for the war as well. Adding even more motivation for the Americans to separate from Britain were recent court decisions in that country that hinted that slavery and British ideals could no longer coexist.

As a nation, the US has done a wonderful job promulgating the idea that on July 4, 1776, they built a country based on ideas of universal freedom. Not true. They created a country that protected the ability of the wealthy to continue to steal land from indigenous people and enslave other people. A red dot indicates a slaveholder. Clearly, these people did not believe in universal freedom.

What they created was a country where capitalism would trump all other concerns. The profit motive was king. And it still is. Freedom and democracy have never been a priority to this country. It is all about power and money. When you realize this fact, nothing will surprise you anymore.

I am not surprised that voter suppression is thriving, corporate profits are soaring, inflation routinely makes wage slaves of us all, half the country just lost their freedom with the dismantling of Roe, the state legislatures and the Supreme Court are quietly making it so that elections can be more easily stolen, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world and it isn’t even close, gun violence is at an all time high and rising, and the Earth may soon be unlivable because profits outweigh life itself.

People often clutch their pearls when they see one group or another lose their freedom and rights, or when some undemocratic policy or law is enacted. But when you realize that it’s always been this way; that “freedom” and “democracy” are just words the powerful use to pacify us, you aren’t surprised anymore. Study the history of this country and you’ll realize that it is functioning in the dysfunctional way it was designed.

But there is hope. I dare say, though, that the hope cannot be found in emulating the men in this painting. Follow the example of the men not here. The Black men and women who were outside, in the hot Philadelphia sun, dreaming and plotting for true universal freedom. Emulate the Indigenous people, who stood firm and resisted encroachment on their land, and raised arms against their actual oppressors.

The men in the painting may very well have felt they were being oppressed, but at the same time they oppressed others in even more dreadful ways. And when the wealthy men in this painting won their war for independence, they oppressed their fellow countrymen and women even more.

All gains that people have made in this country have been by resisting people like Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry; by resisting Roger B. Taney, Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson; by resisting Woodrow Wilson, Richard Russell, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and on and on.

It is okay to celebrate the Fourth of July. I will celebrate my desire to see what this country has yet to become: a country of universal freedom. But when I toast today, it won’t be to George Washington. How could I? Old George would have enslaved me!!

No. I’m toasting to Nat Turner and John Brown and Crazy Horse and Queen Mother Moore and King and Chavez and all the other true freedom fighters. They didn’t fight for a flag or some warped sense of nationalism. They fought for freedom. For everyone.

They tell me July 4 is a day to celebrate freedom. Okay. I do that. I just do it differently.

502Patrick Lapid, Lily Ann B. Villaraza and 500 others

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  • Kirin Amiling MacapugayThis is perfect, Don M. Dumas. I’m sharing the hell out of it.3
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  • Danielle RogersWELL stated!3
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  • Diane Dumas AbellaI shared. You may go viral, be warned. 😜3
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    Diane Dumas Abella replied ·2 Replies
  • Antionette WestryI love and agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with EVERY word spoken in this post! Awesome post and a MUST read for all ESPECIALLY black and brown Americans.3
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    • 1d
  • David ValentaWould be interesting to see this angle more fleshed out by documents, letters, etc in a researched format, vs the condensed editorialized version shown here.Recovering actual history from there textbook writers should happen, all for accuracy; I’m in favor of that..
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    David Valenta replied ·2 Replies
  • Linda DockensI am sick to my stomach sick at what I just read HOW DARE YOU DISHONOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THIS COUNTRY WERE THE FOUNDING FATHERS PERFECT NOT BY LONG SHOT DID THIS NATION DO RIGHT BY EVERYONE WHO HAS AND DOES LIVE HERE NO BUT WE … See more22
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    Vincent Gervais replied ·26 Replies
  • Donna RoseAll of that!3
  • Carlos Vasquez1776 happened because of the case of “Somerset vs. Stewart”. But, they don’t teach this in school. Why?3
  • Pj ZiveMeh… that perspective is just one of many, and probably no more nor any less accurate than others.Washington et al threw off the yoke of colonialism, only to fashion new ones to place on others. This tends to be the repeating history of civilization.4
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    • 23h
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    Pj Zive replied ·2 Replies
  • John StumpIt is all true and nice too be so pampered, fed, and free to be able to say it.2Vincent Gervais replied ·3 Replies
  • EA LoveThank you for sharing this, Don M. Dumas. I deeply appreciate your perspective.
  • Sheryl SanchezAbsolutely f**ckn LOVE this💖💖. You speak truth so eloquently. ✊🏽✊🏽 Lali and I were just discussing these very issues around this day.3
  • Miguel Dawson100Tenor
  • James CabanThank You for this wonderful history lesson. I wish I had learned it in school.4
  • James FosterThis is so right on point
  • Kimberly DrKim Chandler✊🏿
  • Bobby GarlandJuly 4th is a white men holiday. Not made for women or men of other races. Dont buy into the hype of this propagandist holiday folks.6Eboney Joelle Whitney Lewis replied ·8 Replies44m
  • Stacie GuerinUh yeah no3Stu Arbury replied ·6 Replies5h
  • Steven ZumbrunThey still thought of themselves as “superior” beings bringing enlightenment to the “savages” (i.e., people of color and indigenous people). In their souls they were just as dedicated to colonialism as the British they broke away from. They just called it a new name.7
  • Luke DunnFeels
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  • Danielle WrightLove it
  • Sandra Ginsburg AnjardI am a white grandmother (but a minority religion) and l agree 100%5
  • Peter MartinWell said, but the people you are talking about are the same people who have been in politics for 50 plus yrs. People who should be retired and enjoying their retirement. Only reason why they didn’t is because they’re the people who were put into pol… See more4Peter Martin replied ·2 Replies
  • Jesse JamesWho were the non red dots? The Quakers in the room?2
  • Christina Shugart EudyWell stated! ✊🏽✊🏼✊🏾
  • Christopher WalshThere are different times and things going on and we all grow but nevertheless that man gave you the freedom you have today! He gave us all the freedom that we have today without him you wouldn’t have any of this! Take him out of the equation and many … See more7
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    Brandon Taylor replied ·12 Replies4h
  • Mike BuntynChristopher, while flawed, the principles of the Enlightenment would not have been spread or flourished without these men. Your statement is too far reaching with context. I will still admire Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin, flawed as they were.4
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    Mike Buntyn replied ·2 Replies
  • Macario RamirezIts always good to remember the world is never black and white. Some will say nay to this article but that’s like saying they founders we’re perfect.
  • Susan MannThus great!
  • Susan MannExcellent!
  • Kevin LourensNope, no universal freedom here. As it seems to be the case with all bourgeois revolutionaries.Not with Bolívar in Colombia, not with Robespierre and the Committee of Safety in France, and not even with Lourverture in Haiti who was willing to keep sl… See more
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    • 17h
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  • Angie DeniseTatia Gaines you see this?Tatia Gaines replied ·3 Replies
  • Diana CarpioI needed this today. Thank you 💗2
  • Emma LarsonFor the curious. I also did a quick Wikipedia search of the men not pictured, and crossed any noted slave owners off. (Lyman Hall bought a plantation at the end of his life, so I assume he counts.) The ones not crossed off I don’t know for sure though.… See moreKristin Rubisch replied ·2 Replies6h
  • Charles BelekisLet rationalizing and justifying begin…the American exceptionalism brain washing is too deeply embedded.7David Atkinson replied ·6 Replies
  • Cane RalloSo much garbage to unpack here…Anna Martine replied ·3 Replies
  • Neil Rest🐴💩 In 1776 you were ruled by a king, put on the throne by God.These men staked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on our being able to govern ourselves. That proposition was so radical that when Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address it was stil… See moreRoger Dalzell replied ·8 Replies4h
  • Drew NewellWhy is America blamed for slavery when it was instituted by the British?Anthnette Drone replied ·5 Replies3h
  • Jack LindbladWell said, Don.We hold the promise of our collective selves to wage the two revolutions to end capitalism. … See more
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  • William HackworthThank you for sharing. Many people do not and they Prove they desire not the Truth. To point to Africa is just ignorant. This is about America claiming FREEDOM.
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    • 6h
  • Paul PhelpsDrops 🎤….BoomWell said !!!!!
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  • Janice D LombardiWow. I just saw the Soldiers Cemetery at Gettysburg (where Union soldiers are buried) and I daresay they were not capitalists nor slave owners, but those who fought to preserve the Union. Why do you trash all of American history because of your opinion… See more7
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    Janice D Lombardi replied ·9 Replies39m
  • Andrew SmithDon’t you think it’s a bit contradictory to bemoan rising gun violence while at the same time advocating that people emulate those who took up arms against their oppressors?
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    Andrew Smith replied ·11 Replies1h
  • Kena DrumgoWhere was this gem yesterday when I needed it?Thank you, Don, for assembling all the bits and pieces into a complete narrative.… See more2
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  • Robert M DeemsDon’t Forget that Abe Lincoln knew all about an early 5-0 Supreme Court Decision that, just 1 of the numerous times in US History overstepped the Case in Front of them, that Decided that Slavery was Constitutional, because there was nothing in the Cons… See more3
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  • Nassim MazanUSA has never ever been a free country other than the 1% who OWN the other 99%. Almost all those men in that painting were either freemasons or in some form an Anglo Saxon Aristocrat. USA has provided massive amounts of funds & manpower for British imp… See more
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  • Roland ColemanPreach on.
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  • Gerry StaackWe live in a country created were capitalism triumps all other concern. That is why nothing society wants gets passed in Congress.
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  • George HillaryI agree my way
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  • John WilsonJames P. Cannon on Independence DayFrom Karl Marx to the Fourth of July… See moreFrom Karl Marx to the Fourth of JulyWSWS.ORGFrom Karl Marx to the Fourth of JulyFrom Karl Marx to the Fourth of July
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TRIXIE’S JAW

Early Diagnosis Of Masticatory Muscle Myositis Is Needed For Treatment Success

Imagine what it would be like if your Golden Retriever could not open his mouth to eat and drink. That is often what happens with an autoimmune disorder called masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) that affects the jaw muscles, causing pain and dysfunction.

Swollen, painful masticatory (chewing) muscles and an inability to open the mouth (trismus) are clinical signs of the disorder. “These dogs are not able to pick up a ball or eat without experiencing severe pain,” says Brian E. Greenfield, D.V.M., who practices at Animal Clinic Northview in North Ridgeville, Ohio. “In the early stages of the disease, the muscles that are used for eating and chewing appear swollen. As the disease progresses, these muscles begin to atrophy, or waste away. Sometimes the eyes appear sunken, or, less commonly, they seem to protrude.”

Although MMM can occur in any breed, it occurs more commonly in large breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Labrador Retrievers. Young Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may be severely affected and are believed to be genetically predisposed to developing MMM. Although the disorder does not occur on a widespread basis in Golden Retrievers, anecdotal data suggest that the incidence may be increasing. Thus, whenever a Golden is suddenly unable to open his mouth, experts recommend immediate veterinary care to determine the cause. 

The condition occurs in males and females, with an average age of onset of 3 years, though puppies as young as 4 months have been affected. Fortunately, if MMM is diagnosed early, dogs can be treated to increase the likelihood of a full recovery. Research of this disease at the University of California-San Diego led to the development of a blood test in 2004 that detects the presence of 2M antibodies and accurately identifies affected dogs.

Pathologist Diane Shelton, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVIM, and her team at the Comparative Neuromuscular Laboratory identified type 2M fibers in the masticatory muscle group and showed that antibodies against type 2M fibers are involved in the pathogenesis of MMM. They found that type 2M muscle fibers are not present in any other muscle group and antibodies against this fiber type are not involved in any other muscle disease.1

“Masticatory muscle myositis is an inflammatory myopathy,” Shelton explains. “It is a unique myopathy, or muscle disease, in which dogs commonly have jaw pain and inability to open the jaw. The autoimmune process in this disease involves circulating antibodies that specifically target the masticatory muscles. We still don’t know what causes the autoantibodies to form or why they are directed specifically against the type 2M fibers.”

One theory is that antibodies or T-cells generated in response to an infectious agent subsequently cross-react with self-antigens. Antibodies directed against these bacterial antigens potentially could cross-react with the 2M fibers. In humans, autoantibodies directed at Streptococcus pyogenes have been shown to attack cardiac and skeletal muscle. Pericarditis and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of diseases in which autoantibodies are directed at specific myofibers.1

Rhonda Hovan, research facilitator for the GRCA and a member of the club’s Health & Genetics Committee, says, “The genetic components of autoimmune diseases are very complex. Although a great deal of research has been done to identify the causes of human autoimmune diseases, much less research has been done in dogs. Still, the same overall principles of autoimmune disease apply to dogs. Genes play a role in increasing susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, but environmental triggers initiate the onset of clinical signs.

“In dogs that are predisposed to autoimmune reactions, suspected triggers include viral and bacterial exposures, possibly vaccinations, hormones, stress, allergens, medications, and environmental toxins. Most of the time, it is impossible to know with certainty what triggers the onset of an autoimmune disease.”

Shelton agrees that MMM is not purely a genetic disease. “Hormonal, environmental and other unknown factors come into play,” she says. The genes responsible for a dog’s susceptibility to autoimmune diseases are part of the major histocompatibility complex.

“Goldens seem susceptible to many autoimmune muscle diseases, including not only MMM but also polymyositis, extra­ocular myositis and myasthenia gravis,” says Shelton. “Perhaps the most common autoimmune disease in Goldens and many other breeds is autoimmune thyroiditis, the underlying cause of most canine hypothyroidism.”

Determining an Accurate Diagnosis

Bill Page of Wildwood, Mo., recalls experiencing MMM with his first Golden Retriever many years ago. “’Buddy’ was diagnosed when he was about 8 years old,” Page says. “It began as soreness when he chewed, so we thought perhaps he had a bad tooth. The veterinarian examined him and diagnosed MMM.”

The veterinarian started Buddy right away on prednisone and referred Page to a specialist, who performed a muscle biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis. (Note: This was before the 2M antibody blood test was available.) The prednisone was effective. One year later, the signs of MMM recurred, and Buddy again began prednisone therapy, which effectively managed the condition. 

“The quick diagnosis by our veterinarian in the beginning made all the difference in Buddy’s outcome,” Page says.

An accurate diagnosis is important in treating dogs with MMM. Early detection and aggressive immunosuppressive therapy can help reduce myofiber loss and muscle fibrosis, which can lead to irreversible jaw dysfunction and severe muscle atrophy.

Complete physical and neurological examinations are necessary to determine that the clinical signs are restricted to the jaw muscles. The most definitive confirmation of MMM is the 2M antibody test, which detects the antibodies that attack and destroy the 2M muscle fibers. A blood chemistry profile determines the creatine kinase (CK) level, which may be mildly elevated during the acute phase but becomes normal as the disease progresses. Although a blood test may produce a normal CK level, it does not rule out acute MMM.

“Clinical signs compatible with MMM and positive results from a 2M antibody test confirm the diagnosis,” says Shelton. “False negatives are possible if a dog has been given immunosuppressive dosages of corticosteroids for seven to 10 days before testing or is in the end stage of the disease with severe loss of myofibers and fibrosis.”

A veterinarian also may use radio­graphs to evaluate the temporoman­dibular (TM) joint and advanced imaging techniques to help diagnose MMM. A muscle biopsy is useful to demonstrate the inflammation and determine the severity of muscle fiber loss and the degree of fibrosis, which may help to predict a dog’s long-term prognosis and chance for successful therapy.

Dogs in the acute phase of MMM have swollen, painful jaw muscles and trismus, or the inability to open the jaw. Clinical signs vary in severity and rate of onset. Ocular signs occur in 44 percent of dogs and, if severe, can result in stretching of the optic nerve and subsequent blindness.1 The condition often progresses to the chronic phase, involving muscle atrophy with or without trismus. In some cases, only progressive atrophy of the masticatory muscles is found and an acute phase may not be identified.

“Unfortunately, many owners do not recognize a problem until the chronic phase,” Shelton says. “Dogs generally show no other neurological or physical abnormalities, which may help veterinarians differentiate this disease from other causes of trismus.”

Masticatory muscle myositis is not the only cause of a dog’s inability to open the jaw. In MMM, the inability to open the jaw under anesthesia is a typical finding. However, this also can occur following trauma to the TM joint or chronic arthritic changes in the TM joints that could restrict movement. Infrequent causes of restricted jaw mobility include tetanus, muscular dystrophy or other muscle diseases, and even a foreign body in the mouth. In these cases, the 2M antibody test is negative.

Treatment & Breeding Recommendations

As with Page’s Golden Retriever Buddy, an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are vital to help a dog regain the ability to open his mouth without pain. Corticosteroids, particularly prednisone, are the cornerstone of therapy, Shelton says. During the acute phase, corticosteroids help to achieve aggressive immunosuppression.

“Immunosuppressive dosages of prednisone should be continued until a dog has maximum jaw function and his CK levels are normal,” says Shelton. “At that time, the dosage can be tapered to the lowest every-other-day dosage that prevents clinical signs. Once the lowest alternate dosage is reached that keeps the dog free of clinical signs, the alternate-day therapy should be continued for at least four to six months. In most cases, this low alternate-day dosage should not result in significant side effects. Many dogs require a maintenance dosage throughout their lifetime, though others can eventually discontinue therapy.”

Side effects from prednisone include polyuria, or excessive urination; poly­dipsia, or excessive thirst; and poly­phagia, or excessive appetite. Other immunosuppressive drugs, such as azathioprine, can be prescribed if a dog cannot tolerate prednisone.

Dogs that do not receive proper treatment are likely to progress to the chronic phase. “A common problem is dogs receiving an inadequate dosage of corticosteroids for too short of time,” Shelton says. “MMM generally responds initially to therapy, but relapses occur quickly if treatment is discontinued prematurely.”

“If the disease is diagnosed early and a dog is treated appropriately, the prognosis is good for dogs with MMM,” Greenfield says. “In these cases, dogs can usually regain normal jaw mobility and function. If the disease has progressed for a longer period without treatment, the amount of scar tissue formation in the muscles can cause permanent problems.”

The prognosis for an individual dog is determined by the degree of fibrosis and how well the dog responds to corticosteroid treatment. Dogs that receive aggressive treatment during the acute phase generally have a good outcome. Because corticosteroids can cause muscle atrophy, progressive atrophy may not necessarily indicate a worsening disease state.

Dogs that relapse may be harder to treat during the subsequent course of treatment, Shelton says. Those that are treated in the chronic phase of the disease have a more uncertain prognosis though they can do well if they do not experience persistent jaw dysfunction.

“It is important that owners realize that though jaw function should improve if treated in the chronic phase, there may be residual fibrosis and muscle atrophy that could be irreversible,” explains Shelton.

Regarding breeding recommendations, the Golden Retriever Club of America does not consider MMM to be a high-priority disease to target for reduction. “This is due to the genetic and environmental complexities, the low incidence of the disease, the overall good outcome with appropriate therapy, and importantly, the concern for maintaining as much genetic diversity in the breed as possible,” Hovan says.

“Instead, we suggest that breeders include MMM along with other auto­immune diseases, such as hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, as one factor when they evaluate the overall pros and cons of each dog for breeding,” she says. 

“A dog with a parent, littermate or offspring that has any autoimmune disease is at slightly increased risk of also having an autoimmune disease — but not necessarily the same disease,” Hovan says. “More important, the majority of dogs with an affected first-degree relative may never be affected themselves.”

A recommended breeding strategy if a dog has a close relative with an autoimmune disease is to select a mate that does not have a first-degree relative with an autoimmune disease and to keep the coefficient of inbreeding low. “This helps to reduce the likelihood of both parents having the same MHC genes, which is important because diversity within MHC generally reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases,” Hovan explains. 

The good news is that breeders can use these breeding principles to help reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases in their puppies without unnecessarily reducing genetic diversity in the breed. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, Golden Retrievers that develop MMM can live happy, normal lives. 

1 Melmed C, Shelton GD, Bergman R, Barton C. Masticatory Muscle Myositis: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment. Compendium. 2004:590-605.

Purina appreciates the support of the Golden Retriever Club of America and particularly Rhonda Hovan, the GRCA research facilitator, in helping to identify topics for the Purina Pro Club Golden Retriever Update newsletter.

The 2M Antibody Blood Test

Masticatory muscle myositis is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies attack the 2M fibers in the masticatory (chewing) muscle group. A blood test was developed in 2004 by researchers at the University of California-San Diego to confirm the circulating antibodies that attack 2M fibers. The test is available to veterinarians through the Comparative Neuromuscular Laboratory at the University of California at San Diego. For information, visit http://medicine. ucsd.edu/vet_neuromuscular.

Recognizing Signs of MMM

Owners who recognize these signs of masticatory muscle myositis (MMM) in their dogs should promptly seek veterinary care. The sooner a dog is properly diagnosed and begins treatment, the greater the chance of recovery.

  • Inability to open the jaw (trismus)
  • Jaw pain 
  • Swelling or atrophy of the jaw muscles
  • Difficulty eating and drinking
  • Reluctance to play with toys
  • Sunken or protruding eyes

https://www.vetfolio.com/learn/article/masticatory-muscle-myositis-pathogenesis-diagnosis-and-treatment

Tamaraw Revisited

this playlist chronicles a Tamaraw reunion held at the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) National conference on July/2010. the band was disbanded in the mid-70s after a great run of gigs from 1972…including opening for Tower of Power at Lake Hills in March/1972. The playlist contains practices and the actual performance. Good times make great memories. Thanks for listening.

https://music.apple.com/library/playlist/p.V7VYYMDCZv4gEM