The importance of good nutrition in growing puppies and kittens

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While balanced nutrition is important for the whole of a dog or cat's life, of particular interest is the growth phase, which is the most complex and delicate stage of a dog or cat's life, during which a multitude of macroand micro-nutrients are required at specific levels to ensure ideal growth and development of skeleton, joints and other body systems. This article explores these nutrients and the impact each has on the growing puppy or kitten, examines the complexity of balancing a diet for growth — particularly for large breed dogs — and considers the potential consequences of feeding an unbalanced diet during this key phase.

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... Further studies are suggested by using a larger dataset, to support our primary results. Environmental variables, such as nutrition, and related factors, such as growth rate and body weight, strongly influence HD expression (Hemmings, 2016;Peterson, 2017). Phenotypic selection may fail to identify individuals with the best genetic combinations as HD heritabilities estimates pointed out the strong environmental influence. ...
The heritability of canine hip dysplasia in German Shepherd dogs was estimated using Bayesian methods. Data on hip score and status of 1632 dogs born from 1990 to 2013 were provided by the Brazilian Society of German Shepherd Breeders. Heritability estimates (mean ± standard deviation) were 0.1979 ± 0.058 for hip scores and 0.187 ± 0.055 for hip status. We observed no phenotypic trends and a small rate of genetic trend (0.52%) according to the year of birth, probably because of ineffective phenotypic selection and absence of genetic selection. The heritability estimates in this study can be used to achieve effective selective breeding and genetic gains, which in turn can result in improvements in dog health and welfare.
Feline polyneuropathies are complex diseases which are poorly documented. The affected cats can live functional lives with the appropriate supportive care. Veterinary nurses have a crucial role to play in in the management of the polyneuropathy cat. Care of the patient is varied and includes management of stress, nutrition, physiotherapy and supportive care. Recognition and understanding of the potential problems can allow a holistic nursing care plan to be created.
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Adipocytes, cells of white fat tissue, store energy in the form of lipids and have also endocrine functions. Disturbances in adipocyte metabolism lead to decreased or excessive fat tissue accumulation and are associated with numerous diseases. Pathologic alterations in adipose tissue are known to develop with age, however, changes in young, growing subjects are poorly elucidated. In the present study, glucose transport and metabolism, hyperpolarization of the inner mitochondrial membrane and the lipolytic activity were compared in the epididymal adipocytes of 8-week-old and 16-week-old rats. It was demonstrated that glucose conversion to lipids, glucose transport and oxidation was decreased in the adipocytes of the older animals. These effects were accompanied by increase in lactate release and by decrease in hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane. Lipolytic response to epinephrine was increased (at lower concentrations of the hormone) or reduced (at higher concentration) in the adipocytes of the older rats. However, induction of lipolysis by the direct activation of protein kinase A induced similar response. It was also demonstrated that inhibition of phosphodiesterase 3B or adenosine A1 receptor blocking caused lower lipolysis in the cells of the older rats. Moreover, antilipolytic action of insulin was impaired in the adipocytes of these rats, probably due to changes in the initial steps of the insulin signaling pathway. However, the use of the pharmacologic inhibitor of protein kinase A instead of insulin resulted in similar antilipolysis in both groups of cells. These results show that, in spite of relatively small age difference, substantial changes in adipose tissue metabolism develop in these animals. Decreased response to insulin action seems to be particularly relevant finding.
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Long-chain PUFAs (LCPUFAs) are essential for proper neural and retinal development in many mammalian species. We investigated puppies born to dogs fed diets containing varying amounts of vegetable and marine (n-3) fatty acids during gestation/lactation. The fatty acid compositions of dogs' milk and puppy plasma phospholipids were evaluated, and electroretinographic responses of the young dogs were determined after they were weaned to the same diets. Dogs' milk fatty acid composition reflected the diets fed during gestation/lactation. The milk of dogs fed a high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) diet was enriched in ALA but not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Puppies fed this ALA-enriched milk accumulated more plasma phospholipid DHA than the low (n-3) fatty acid group. However, this accumulation was less than that obtained in puppies fed preformed DHA during development and suckling (P < 0.05). Electroretinograms (ERGs) of 12-wk-old puppies revealed significantly improved visual performance in dogs fed the highest amounts of (n-3) LCPUFAs (P < 0.05). These puppies demonstrated improved rod response (improved amplitude and implicit time of the a-wave, P < 0.05). Puppies from the low (n-3) fatty acid group exhibited the poorest ERG responses compared with the high-marine or high-vegetable (n-3) groups. A novel parameter devised in this study, the initial intensity at which the a-wave was detectable (i.e., threshold intensity), also demonstrated that retinal response of puppies consuming the (n-3) LCPUFA-containing diets occurred at lower light intensity, thereby exhibiting greater rod sensitivity, than the other diet groups. These findings indicate that preformed dietary (n-3) LCPUFA is more effective than ALA in enriching plasma DHA during perinatal development and results in improved visual performance in developing dogs.
How well can you answer pet owners' questions about proper diet and feeding? Canine and Feline Nutrition, 3rd Edition describes the role of nutrition and its effects upon health and wellness and the dietary management of various disorders of dogs and cats. By using the book's cutting-edge research and clinical nutrition information, you'll be able to make recommendations of appropriate pet food and proper feeding guidelines. Pet nutrition experts Linda P. Case, MS, Leighann Daristotle, DVM, PhD, Michael G. Hayek, PhD, and Melody Foess Raasch, DVM, provide complete, head-to-tail coverage and a broad scope of knowledge, so you can help dog and cat owners make sound nutrition and feeding choices to promote their pets' health to prolong their lives. Tables and boxes provide quick reference to the most important clinical information. Key points summarize essential information at a glance. A useful Nutritional Myths and Feeding Practices chapter dispels and corrects common food myths.New clinical information covers a wide range of emerging nutrition topics including the role of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid families in pet health and disease management. Coverage of pet food safety and pet food ingredients includes both commercially and home-prepared foods and provides answers to pet owners' questions on these topics. Completely updated content reflects the latest findings in clinical nutrition research. Information regarding functional ingredients and dietary supplementation provides a scientifically based rationale for recommending or advising against dietary supplements. Guidelines for understanding pet food formulations and health claims differentiate between "market-speak" and actual clinical benefits for patients, with practice advice for evaluating and selecting appropriate foods.
The possible immuno-modulatory action of dietary lutein in dogs is not known. Female Beagle dogs (17–18-month old; 11.4±0.4 kg body weight) were supplemented daily with 0, 5, 10 or 20 mg lutein for 12 weeks. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to saline, phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and a polyvalent vaccine was assessed on Weeks 0, 6 and 12. Blood was sampled on Weeks 0, 2, 4, 8 and 12 to assess (1) lymphocyte proliferative response to PHA, concanavalin A (Con A), and pokeweed mitogen (PWM), (2) changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) populations, (3) interleukin-2 (IL-2) production and (4) IgG and IgM production. After the completion of 12-week study, we continued to collect the blood weekly up to 17 weeks to evaluate the changes in immunoglobulin production upon first and second antigenic challenges on Weeks 13 and 15. Plasma lutein+zeaxanthin was undetectable in unsupplemented dogs but concentrations increased (P<0.05) rapidly on Week 2 in lutein-supplemented dogs. Thereafter, concentrations generally continued to increase in dose-dependent manner, albeit at a much slower rate. Dogs fed lutein had heightened DTH response to PHA and vaccine by Week 6. Dietary lutein increased (P<0.05) lymphocyte proliferative response to all three mitogens and increased the percentages of cells expressing CD5, CD4, CD8 and major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules. The production of IgG increased (P<0.05) in lutein-fed dogs after the second antigenic challenge. Lutein did not influence the expression of CD21 lymphocyte marker, plasma IgM or IL-2 production. Therefore, dietary lutein stimulated both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in the domestic canine.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the vitamin and mineral content of bone and raw food rations fed to adult dogs in Germany. Pet owners completed a standardised feeding questionnaire. The composition of 95 rations was calculated from mean data for foodstuffs using nutrition balancing software. Typical ration ingredients were meats, fish, offal, dairy products, eggs, oil, nuts, cod liver oil and natural and commercial supplements. The supply of nutrients was compared with the recommended allowance (RA). Of the rations that were used, 10 % supplied < 25 % of the RA of Ca. In these rations, Ca:P was below 0.6:1, and vitamin D was below RA. About half of the rations supplied less iodine than the minimum requirement. Many of the rations had low Zn and Cu supply, and 25 % of the rations supplied only 70 % of RA for vitamin A or less. A total of 60 % of the rations had one or more of the above-mentioned imbalance. The remaining 40 % of rations either had minor problems like Ca excess from bones or they were balanced.
This report describes two cases of marked bone loss (osteopenia) occurring in a 9-week-old German shepherd puppy and in a 6-month-old tiger. In both cases the animals were fed a diet which was exclusively boneless meat. The diets in both cases contained approximately 40 mg of calcium and 1000 mg of phosphorus per pound resulting in both calcium deficiency and phosphorus excess, resulting in a phosphorus-to-calcium ratio of 25:1, well beyond the amounts known to cause marked loss of bone experimentally. This has been termed nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (NSH). Both animals presented with severe bone pain, difficulty in ambulation, and difficulty in chewing food. Radiographs showed marked osteopenia and spontaneous fractures. Both responded clinically and radiographically to calcium supplementation and a diet with an appropriate phosphorus-to-calcium ratio. The importance of calcium and phosphorus in the human diet is briefly discussed.
The postmortem findings in 274 kittens were reviewed. The kittens were grouped by age at death: perinatal (< one day), neonatal (one to 14 days), preweaning (15 to 34 days) and postweaning (35 to 112 days); 203 (74 per cent) of the kittens were postweaning and 38 (14 per cent) were preweaning. Infectious disease was identified in 55 per cent of the kittens, and 71 per cent of the infectious disease was viral and detected significantly more frequently in rescue shelter kittens than in kittens from private homes. Twenty-five per cent of all kitten mortality was due to feline parvovirus (FPV). During the neonatal and preweaning periods, the main viral infections were feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. Feline infectious peritonitis caused the death of 17 kittens in the postweaning period. The rescue shelter kittens were significantly younger than the kittens from private homes (median survival 49 and 56 days) and were more likely to have FPV. The non-pedigree kittens were significantly younger than the pedigree kittens (42 v 56 days), and the pedigree kittens were significantly less likely to originate from rescue shelters. There was no significant difference between the age distribution of the male and female kittens. No diagnosis could be found in 33 per cent of the kittens, and this failure was correlated significantly with the submission of tissue samples as opposed to the whole carcase.
An 8-month-old Shetland Sheepdog was evaluated because of the sudden onset of signs of neck pain, collapse, and inability to rise. A cursory diet history indicated that the dog had been fed a raw meat-based diet. Initial evaluation of the dog revealed small physical stature, thin body condition, and signs of cranial cervical myelopathy. Radiographically, diffuse osteopenia of all skeletal regions was identified; polyostotic deformities associated with fracture remodeling were observed in weight-bearing bones, along with an apparent floating dental arcade. Hypocalcemia and hypophosphatemia were detected via serum biochemical analyses. The dog's diet was imbalanced in macronutrients and macrominerals. The dog received supportive care and treatment of medical complications; neurologic abnormalities improved rapidly without intervention. Dietary changes were implemented during hospitalization, and a long-term feeding regimen was established. Following discharge from the hospital, exercise restriction was continued at home. Serial follow-up evaluations, including quantitative bone density measurements, revealed that dietary changes were effective. After 7 months, the dog was clinically normal. In the dog of this report, vitamin D-dependent rickets type I and suspected nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism developed following intake of a nutritionally incomplete and unbalanced diet. The raw meat-based, home-prepared diet fed to the dog was not feed-trial tested for any life stage by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and its gross nutrient imbalance induced severe metabolic, orthopedic, and neurologic abnormalities. Inadvertent malnutrition can be avoided through proper diet assessment and by matching nutrient profiles with patients' nutritional needs.
Dogs are unique among mammals in having a 100-fold range in body weight for nonobese adults. This variation makes the calculation of the power function for metabolic body size and hence the allometry of energy requirements a particularly challenging subject. Several functions have been proposed from W0.68 to W0.88 (W = body weight in kg). In the present study we measured the heat output of 22 dogs representing seven breeds, aged 1-10 y with W from 5.8 to 48.8 kg, using a whole-body calorimeter specifically designed for this purpose. Regression of log energy output against log W gave the equation 678 W0.64 (r = 0.96; P less than 0.001), which is considered to represent resting energy expenditure (REE) as kJ/d. If estimates of the energy cost of activity are added to REE, new equations of 655 W0.69 (low activity) and 643 W0.73 (higher activity) are obtained, depending on the amount of activity included in the calculation. From these results we suggest that the allometry of energy requirements of adult dogs is a function of different exponents for REE and the energy cost of activity. It does not appear to exceed W0.75 and may be nearer to W0.67.
Developmental orthopedic disease is a group of musculoskeletal disorders that occur in growing animals (most commonly fast growing, large breed dogs). Osteochondritis dissecans and canine hip dysplasia are the overwhelming majority of the diagnoses in those musculoskeletal problems with a possible nutritional-related etiology. Nutritional management alone will not completely control osteochondrosis or any of the developmental bone diseases. However, osteochondrosis and other developmental orthopedic diseases can be influenced during growth by feeding technique and nutrient profile. Dietary deficiencies are of minimal concern in this age of commercial foods specifically prepared for young, growing dogs. The potential for harm is in overnutrition from excess consumption and over supplementation.
A three-month-old female Siberian tiger cub with hindlimb ataxia was referred to the veterinary teaching hospital of Konkuk University. The patient was fed only beef without supplementation of calcium and vitamins after weaning. The tiger was presented with ataxia and back pain on digital palpation. In addition, abnormal gait, reluctance to move, and depressed withdrawal reflex were noted at the neurological examination. The overall osteodystrophic change of the lumbosacral vertebrae was observed on the lateral and ventrodorsal view of radiographic examination. And also PTH level was increased in hormonal assay when compared to that of cat reference range. Based on the results of examinations, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism was diagnosed. Clinical signs of this patient were improved after administration of vitamin D and calcium. This case demonstrates that nutritional hyperparathyroidism could be occurred in wild animals raised on a meat diet containing imbalanced calcium and phosphate.
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